Torchwood: Miracle Day:
Dead of Night
Episode Breakdown by DJ Forrest
‘They call themselves The Soulless.
Apparently, everlasting life has robbed mankind of their souls.’
Oswald Danes is in yet another interview, and this time he’s not talking about his past crimes but sees himself as a voice of the people. Since the Miracle Day has given him a new lease of life, he’s saying exactly what the citizens of the US of A want to hear.
As the interviewer asks him why people accept him as an expert on the Miracle. He revels in the fact that, scientists are saying nothing. They have no answers for what is happening to the world at present. But knows that, nobody is looking at the profits made by drug companies at the moment. He insists that as more people are living, that they’re going to need more drugs, and potions and it should be given to the people for FREE. There should be free access, free health care, free drugs for all.
Friedkin, come down the stairs in his dressing gown after hearing his television come on. He’s certain he switched it off along with locking all his exterior doors, so nobody should be downstairs, raging about being set up and pressing the cold hard barrel of a pistol against his skull.
Matheson is pissed. Someone has set him up, and Friedkin would be the only one with access to the files. He demands to know who he’s working for, and presses the gun against several parts of Friedkin’s skull that contain memories, personality and the part of the brain that controls bodily functions such as the bladder. Crying like the baby he is, Friedkin begs for his life, swearing to Matheson that he has no idea of the people he works for. He’s never met them. They contact him on one telephone number.
Sitting in the Getaway vehicle, Captain Jack Harkness insists Rex gets the number and insists he hurries the hell up, as the alarm button that signifies Police or emergency services has most definitely been pressed. Esther confirms that a unit on Fifth is heading for Riverdale. Gwen is ready and waiting with the spike.
Rex swipes the phone from the desk. Friedkin informs him that he’ll never find them. He never did. ‘They’re everywhere. They know everything.’
Hoping that Friedkin doesn’t go deaf, Rex fires the gun close to his ear and heads out to Jack, waiting impatiently. As the police car screams towards them, Gwen casts the spike and jumps into the back of the car.
In Washington DC, as Gwen heads back with supplies, a procession of mask wearing individuals carrying candles, walk silently through the streets. When Gwen returns she dishes out the bags. Esther informs her that her family have been moved to a safe house, location unknown, under the custody of Sergeant Andy Davidson. Gwen asks Jack if he’s called Andy. When she doesn’t receive the answer she’d been hoping for, she undermines his authority and demands he finds it pretty quickly, given that it’s her family, so it’s more important than looking up whatever Jack is looking up on the internet. For now, Jack lets it slide, but you can’t wait for that blow out. You know it’s going to come.
Courtesy of Jack’s cashpoint card, gathering interest since 1906, Gwen dishes out some new clothes for the team, and food, which Esther corrects her on the American terms over the British. Gwen insists Esther remain by her side. She gives each of them a new mobile phone, and informs them of a new cult on the street. The Soulless.
Esther informs them that Friedkin was telling the truth about his handset. There was only ever one number on it. But when she traced it, it hit a vine. Rex explains to Gwen that a vine is when you trace a number back but the trail branches out again and again, so instead of chasing one number you’re chasing five hundred thousand.
On the small tv screen, Oswald Danes is talking about the drugs issue. It piques Jack’s interest as the man is on every network. He discovers through Rex who the man is.
Rex, snaps at Esther as he watches her put numbers into her new phone. He embarrasses her in front of the team. Esther defends herself but as a timid little mouse, it’s going to be some time before she gains the confidence to ‘roar’.
Gwen and Jack stand up for her against Rex. Rex naturally questions Jack’s authority, and is quickly put in his place by Harkness who informs him that he’s now a member of Torchwood whether he likes it or not. As the team settle down again, Jack questions the theory of the morphic fields, because with his knowledge of all things Torchwood, this is the only thing that would make any sense.
‘It's like there's some sort of energy behind this. A will, a drive, a consciousness, because this miracle, it's more than people just surviving. They are so alive. You saw Lyn, that woman at the airport. She should have been paralysed but she just kept on going. And I've seen bodies at the morgue, burnt and broken, still alive, staring right at me. They weren't even allowed to be unconscious. It's as if something is willing them to go on, each and every individual forced into life.’
It forces Rex realise that this was him. He should ideally have been killed but here he is, going through the pain of living with the fact he should be dead, and dealing with the damage of the spike through his heart. Sobering thought.
When Esther asks Jack about his findings, he admits that he wasn’t the only person thinking the same thing. Each morphic field search got 10 million results. As a Watch Analyst with the CIA, this to Esther is a routine job for her.
Rex also informs them that Friedkin had cockblocked the ATF, when Gwen asks for that in English, Esther informs her that the ATF is the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The ATF had asked about information regarding a warehouse in Washington but the request had been forwarded onto ancillary three times. Still vague, Rex explains to her that it’s a paper chase, a guaranteed way of losing something in the system.
Esther begins to realise that the warehouse could be holding something of interest that Friedkin has paid someone to protect, which prompts Rex to take the lead and rally the team into stealing a new car. Jack informs him that Torchwood are in charge and relays Matheson’s instructions, with a grin.
It’s still night time when they venture out into the street, and while the rest of the team try car door handles, Gwen uses her initiative, finds a handy rock at the side of the road because there’s always a handy rock available and breaks a window.
A bit of friendly banter while Rex changes into the dry cleaned clothes in the back of the car, Gwen drives them as close to the warehouse as possible, often on the wrong side of the road. With the security profile at their disposal, Esther relays that the guards clock in every fifteen minutes starting on the hour. With a plan in place, Esther drives the car up to the guard, while Gwen sits in the back with a map and a face of pure innocence.
With the gullible guard knocked out, Esther remains on look out in the car, while Gwen disables the alarm enough to trick it into booting up for the day. It does however mean that when they enter the warehouse, all the lights and computer systems will be on.
Inside the building, they discover rows upon rows of drug filled cardboard boxes that have been stockpiled for at least a year. Rex opens up double doors to discover a room that’s ‘bigger on the inside’ (where have we heard that saying?)
He’s astounded by the level of stockpiling.
‘They were ready for the Miracle. Phicorp knew it was coming.’
Vera Juarez is frustrated that the husband of the woman lying in the bed with a bruised neck can’t be tried for murder. But as the police officer explains to her, they can’t even call it murder any more. Before Vera can say much else, a nurse informs her that she’s late for a panel.
In City Hall, clever men are arguing over issues that affect the world, but bicker like children in a playground, and more so, bicker about contraceptives in the water supply that force you to think ‘did Torchwood have anything to do with this?’
Vera wants more facilities to deal with the problems arising from the walking dead. It makes me realise while I’m reviewing this episode that, it was her idea for the camps.
Outside City Hall, Vera takes a well-earned break and draws on her cigarette. A few minutes behind her, Jilly Kitzinger drops by for a chat, and encourages her to join Phicorp, promising her that she won’t regret it.
Back in the hideout, Jack, Esther and Gwen plan a deep search on Phicorp and uncover their secrets. Unhappy with this plan, especially if they find something and don’t intend to act upon it, Rex decides to see his senior instructor at Langley, who he’s pretty sure will give him a chance. Despite Jack’s reservations, Rex sets up the meet.
Across the road from the Freeville Hotel, Rex watches as police cars screech to a halt outside the building and several armed officers storm inside. Annoyed at being let down by the very people he thought he could trust, he doubts very much that Torchwood can do much better pointing out that Torchwood are dead and buried, and hitting Jack where it hurts, points out that Jack got all his staff killed.
Walking back to the hideout after Rex bails on them, Esther, Gwen and Jack observe the world around them. Jack, having not been mortal for a very long time, experiences things only another mortal man would understand. An itchy arm, a worry that it could be infected, and an urge to get drunk and perhaps enjoy the trappings of a one-night stand, Gwen can do little to stop him.
Jack crosses the road to the Golden Gopher bar, expressing his opinion that he’s a mortal man who has mortal needs.
Inside the Golden Gopher, Jack meets barman Brad, who takes an exceptional interest in the coat he wears, so much so that he tells Jack not to damage the coat, or he’s jumping over the bar to protect it.
In Danes’ Motel room, a talk show discusses yet again the Miracle and news that The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case asking for adjustments to the life sentences of convicted criminals. It worries Danes, who switches off the tv and goes out for some ice. Although it’s a ruse to put a distance between himself and the motel.
In Mabel’s Diner he sits and eats a meal in silence until he’s recognised across the aisle by two young diners. On the television, a preacher gets up on his podium spouting religious clap trap.
Vera comes home to a dark house and begins to undress. Removing her shoes, she jumps out of her skin when she hears a voice close by. Switching on the light she sees a sick Rex Matheson who insists she redresses his wound, before collapsing. A short while later, he’s fixed up and resting on her bed. He asks her for help with medicine and care, until he’s able to clear his name. He wins her around with a little blackmail. It’s enough for her to comply with his wishes, but despite protesting that she’s too exhausted, they kiss, long and slow.
In Brad’s apartment, Jack insists that Brad uses protection. It’s a lifetime of regrets if he doesn’t.
‘Fine. You’re calling the shots.’ Jack nods and pushes Brad to his knees.
There are many scenes in this episode but this is one of my favourite, and a little bit racier than we’re used to in Torchwood.
After an initial yelp of pain from his wound, distracting him, Rex passionately draws Vera back into the game.
The television evangelist recites the fifteenth chapter of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians to a less than interested audience in the diner. Danes finishes up his meal and leaves. The young couple who recognised him, follow him out and berate him over his killing of Susie Cabina. When he runs, they give chase. Unfortunately, two officers on a break are to be his saviours for a short time, suggesting the young couple go home. Agreeing to run Danes home, they take the long route back, via a quiet back road, where nobody will hear his muffled cries, as they beat him up.
Lying beside him, Vera is shocked to learn that Phicorp knew about the Miracle. She feels guilty about her mother, wishing she’d done more to keep her alive a little longer. When she mentions to Rex about Kitzinger, he insists she has to go and find out more, when she refuses, he insists a little more forcefully, pointing out that she’d let her mother die. A sure fire way of ruining a perfect relationship.
Meanwhile on the other side of town, Brad is worn out and Jack is a little drunk. He’s on the phone to Gwen, back at the hideout. The goalposts have changed. With Gwen now immortal, and Jack mortal, it’s given him clarity. He misses her. He misses the whole Torchwood feel that they had. A good team is hard to find and he knows that if Ianto had been with them, if things had been different….
As he continues down the inebriated road, Gwen is interrupted by Esther. She’s found an uplink, bouncing a signal off Paraguay, she’s able to hook up to the safe house and a chance to talk with her husband and daughter. Suddenly, Jack is old news, and while he laments about the good times, and how much they don’t need Rex or anyone else, Gwen’s eyes are only on Rhys and their daughter.
Rhys informs her that with police supervision they can move back to Swansea.
Jilly Kitzinger watches as the patrol car drops off its passenger before driving off. Danes looks up from the pavement. Kitzinger has a very important meeting for them to go to. He can get cleaned up on the plane to Dulles. Danes’ curiosity is piqued.
‘These are the times that make men.’ Jilly tells him. ‘So it’s your choice. Stay where you are, or stand up tall and stride across the skin of the world. Which is it?’
Sitting on a bench outside the Garfield Building, Rex receives the news he’s been hoping for. Vera accepts the task.
Suffering from a hangover from hell, Jack returns to the hideout to find Rex learning about the Torchwood contact lenses, currently being modelled by Gwen. Jack tells them they came from a ‘distant moon of a distant star’. Restating it when Rex doesn’t believe him. Enjoying his new lease of mortality, Jack is enjoying the hangover. Reaching for the pills to cure the headache, Rex dislikes Jack taking his pills, explaining that they’re for legitimate pain.
‘I need them too.’
‘You weren’t impaled.’
‘Ha. You should have seen the other guy. Oh that face. Rex doesn’t like his jokes too gay.’
‘No. Rex doesn’t like men in their forties acting like they’re twenty.’
Rex is impressed with the software, more so when he learns that the camera inside the lens can also communicate with the user. Impressed even further, he can’t wait to try them out when he goes to the meeting with Vera. Disappointed however when he discovers that the contact lenses are isomorphic and only work for Gwen. Of course, we know otherwise, as do the rest of the team. Rex on the other hand doesn’t need to know…. just yet.
When Vera opens the door to the meeting at Phicorp, she’s surprised to find Gwen waiting to enter and not Rex. Unperturbed, Gwen instructs her to return to the meeting hall and keep Kitzinger there for as long as possible.
As Gwen, dressed professionally walks up the stairs towards Kitzinger’s office, Oswald Danes walks down the stairs with his new PA, Kitzinger. Viewing the images from back at the hideout, Jack insists Gwen follows Oswald while Rex insists she continue with the mission.
Esther adds to Jack’s interest of Oswald Danes that the man chose the right day to be executed but that he has nothing to do with what they’re looking for. Jack on the other hand, feels that he does. Danes tells the interviewer that he has been forgiven by the public. He can feel it in his heart and guts. He feels blessed and thinks of the forgiveness as a cure.
In the Meeting Hall, Morganthall opens the meeting by introducing himself then goes into the speech about the drugs that Phicorp are cashing in on. Gwen locates Jilly’s office and enters after picking the lock. She then hacks into the desktop computer. Vera phones Rex as Jilly leaves to return to her office. With seconds to spare, Gwen is given a heads up through the Eye5 software and presses herself against the side of the bookcase as Kitzinger enters her office. A phone call from Vera soon brings her back downstairs. Gwen removes the flash drive that had been downloading the info they need and quickly leaves.
Commending Gwen over the data retrieved, Rex and Esther are surprised when the phone rings. However, the call hasn’t come from any of their phones, but the one stolen from Friedkin. A few hesitant moments, and Rex picks up the phone as Esther begins the trace. But as they suspected, it hits a vine and spans out. Rex is smiling after the call though. It’s time to leave, before the place is swarming with CIA agents and police. Rex begins packing up the gear, while wondering where Jack got to.
Climbing in through the window of the hotel room, Jack is surprised by Oswald’s sudden appearance. Danes none the wiser assumes Jack is connected to the interview he will be giving shortly. But when Jack pulls his gun on the convicted child killer, Danes had a feeling a man like Jack wouldn’t be too far away.
Jack doesn’t care about Danes, only about Phicorp and whether they’d mentioned his name. But as Danes speaks, Jack realises that the man is more involved than they gave him credit for. All the things that he did to the young girl. He was robbed of an execution.
Having recorded Oswald Danes’ response to the killing of Susie Cabina, Jack intends on broadcasting it. But Danes is one step ahead and calls in the goons looking after him, courtesy of Phicorp. Poor Jack is dealt a few hefty blows in the guts, but ‘not the face.’
As Danes goes into the interview, Jack is beaten up before being tossed out onto the streets. People watching outside the studio stare at him on the ground, one woman comes up to him asking if he touched Oswald. Jack stares at the television screens where a crowd gather. Danes’ words become a kind of sermon, and he’s the preacher delivering the good word.
‘I’m asking you to join with me in this great enterprise. As we walk across the fragile skin of this wide world together. The future is now endless and it’s terrifying. I’m offering you my hand to walk on this long journey together. Walk with me. That’s all I ask. Walk with me.’
Unlike the previous episode, this one brought more of the characters together. Esther never considered Oswald Danes to be a key figure in the whole story but as we’re seeing, Danes is as important as Phicorp, as important as Torchwood seeing this through and as important as Rex and Esther, and the story unfolding.
I’m looking forward to the next episode, if only because the story begins to hot up.