Escape to L.A.
‘Because we are everywhere. We are always. We are no one!’
Esther Drummond sits in her car, outside her sister’s house, which from the outside looks a lot like a derelict building with a Keep Out sign painted onto the boards. She has one of those ‘should I shouldn’t I do this’ moments. One of many in this episode, and one she may regret as the episode wears on. Esther’s older sister has many issues, one of them being gullibility at believing everything she sees or reads in the media.
Esther loves her sister, but even her erratic behaviour at the start of the episode is enough for Esther to call Social services after she leaves 1032, King Sovereign Road. Whatever her sister may be going through, Esther is torn over how best to deal with her sister while she’s away. Will she live to regret this decision, only time will tell.
Heading away, poor Esther has a tail. A black car with a hired assassin, hell bent on finding Jack Harkness, and doing away with everyone else.
The media is running with the stories captivating the news. With health care reaching crisis point, a sick old man learns that he no longer has a job after suffering a heart attack in October. Theoretically he should have died, but the Miracle is causing a major headache for health care institutions right across the board. With so many people still hanging on, what are people to do about the ‘walking dead’?
One person with an answer is Ellis Hartley Monroe.
It’s been a long journey for the four travelling in an estate car to Venice Beach. Twenty-seven hundred miles, according to ex Agent Matheson. While Rex looks for some change for the meter, Jack, Esther and Gwen hit the beach where once again, Esther is a little unsure about Jack’s declaration of the last time he visited the ocean.
Gwen tries to get her bearings, and requires knowledge of the distance of Phicorp from their current location, and Rex, finding food, takes a leaflet from a hippy declaring ‘Dead is Dead’. Rex makes a phone call.
Vera, knowing she will never get rid of Rex, now realises that while he’s on the run, she’s his messenger, to run errands wherever she can, to feed back to Torchwood, through Rex.
Ellis Hartley Monroe has surpassed Oswald Danes in the popularity stakes, Vera explains. Monroe started the ‘Dead is Dead’ campaign. She wants the dead to remain dead. The walking dead should be treated no differently to those who should be dead if the miracle hadn’t happened. That’s a lot of Dead!
In an abandoned hospital, a large group of doctors are taken on a tour of the building by a woman called Bisme. She sells them the idea that the overflow of ‘dead’ patients from IDU departments in the major hospitals could be brought here. It has enough rooms to cater for the ‘dead’. It would only be a short term measure, but as we’ve seen with ideas like this in the past, a short term measure, is often on a long term basis.
The team find accommodation from a tall, tattooed, body pierced male whose mannerisms change from a rough tough biker dude, to a softie who wouldn’t kick a kitten after he shakes hands with Jack and gives them a quick tip on where to buy the best take out.
Rex as usual is not impressed. Convinced that Jack is determined to make everyone gay around him.
Esther suggests they use the place as their delivery address, so they can order the spare server. When Gwen’s phone rings, she takes the call outside. It’s Rhys. Gwen is a little disappointed that she can’t say ‘hello’ to her little girl, and is most concerned about her Dad, still in hospital. With all the news, she’s heard so far about the ‘dead’, she is adamant that she wants Rhys to get her dad out of the hospital as soon as possible.
Watching Gwen, a photographer calls in that he’s located Torchwood. Of course, it doesn’t take a Weevil long to discover just who this guy is, nor who he’s working for. But at this stage of the game, the spinning triangle is a mystery.
Gwen returns to base to see that Jack has the plain wall in the living area set up for the overhead computer screen, for all to see. While Rex discusses the mission to ‘lift out the security protocols on Kitzinger’s files, Jack is a little obsessed with Oswald Danes. He explains his reasoning behind it to a curious Esther, quick to dismiss Oswald as a waste of time.
‘It's never a waste of time, because our greatest problem is that what's happened to the world is invisible. But quite by chance Oswald's found himself right at the heart of it. George Eliot wrote this chapter in Middlemarch. She said that if you take a piece of metal with random scratches all over it and hold a flame up to the metal, the scratches look like they're forming patterns circling around the light. And that's Oswald. He's blazing away and patterns are starting to revolve around him. And all we have to do is keep watching.’
Danes is finding some of the things we take for granted, fascinating. Having been incarcerated for a long time, and made a little bit more permanent had the Miracle not happened, finds enjoyment opening the bottles of soda in his fridge. When Jilly enters, she steps around the bottles as if they’re skittles.
Jilly has never liked Danes, and she cannot look at his hands knowing what they did to poor Susie Kabina, but a job is a job, and while Ellis Hartley Monroe is competing for centre stage, she must do all she can to keep Oswald one step ahead. But the popularity stakes are likely to make him yesterday’s news.
Irked by his meeting with his father, Rex violently wrenches open the boxes containing the fake servers, while Esther recaps on the information regarding Phicorp and the secure server, number 113, accessible only by the highest corporate brass, which is their target. Protected by so many firewalls, their only option is to steal it and replace it with a duplicate, that would be empty. It would be fire damaged. Phicorp, Esther tells them, would think the information would be lost and not stolen and wouldn’t over react.
Rex is keen to get started. Even more so to get into the building. But on every CIA list, he’s too hot property to get away with it. Unlike Torchwood, who thanks to Jack are off the grid, and anonymous. Gwen will be entering the building. But first they need to get all the ID personnel details from one person, the man who designed the heavy duty biometrics. Nicholas Frumkin. Rex knows exactly how they’re going to acquire everything they need.
While out in the park walking their child in a buggy, Frumkin and his wife meet Gwen and Jack. Jack, dressed in civilian clothes looks very casual indeed. Gwen, adopting a Minnesotan accent, takes on the ‘aww you have a baby, awwww let me see’ role while Jack is convinced he knows Frumkin, but can’t remember his name. Nicholas obliges, giving them their voice recognition ID. Jack introduces himself as John Smith, a familiar name to all Whovians out there. While Gwen rummages in her bag to show Nicholas and wife a photo of their own child. She hands a metal flask to Frumkin to hold, securing the palm ID. As she holds up the photo of her child, an image that feeds back to base, secures the iris recognition ID.
Leaving Frumkin to enjoy the rest of his day, Jack and Gwen exit quickly. Watching is our good old photographer by day, assassin by night guy.
In the not so abandoned hospital, the staff wear surgical masks to avoid breathing in any contamination from those who should theoretically be dead. It’s bedlam. Two hospitals, St Helen’s and Open Brook send all their patients at the same time, and due to there being no electricity upstairs, they can’t even move them. Then more patients from Coniston Drive are also sent over.
As a male nurse and Vera discuss the state of play, a woman drops off her husband. Unable to cope with his condition, she leaves them with his belongings of pills, his books and his old sweater and leaves.
In a makeshift ward, where patients are thrown together in a mishmash of beds, a young child continues to cry. Nobody admits owning her. Nobody knows where she came from. It’s a shambles. A sick man questions why only the medical staff get to wear masks, when any one of the people lying two feet from him on either side could be infectious. Vera grows increasingly frustrated when she learns that there’s no paperwork on the baby. She calls for Sally Richter, demanding it’s an emergency.
Outside the hospital, Vera and fellow colleagues wash up and discuss the state of play, while across the barrier, Ellis Hartley Monroe gets on her podium about her campaign, Dead is Dead. But admits that a hospital is hardly the best place to discuss it. She sees the hospital as the right place for those who should be ‘dead’, stating that behind closed doors they pose no problem to society. But she refuses to go inside, unlike Danes, who seeing that he could be yesterday’s news, crosses the barrier, puts on a surgical mask and walks inside. The media go crazy. Monroe has lost her moment, and Danes is back on top.
Danes pulls the doors closed, insisting that it will keep the hospital hygienic. He goes on to tell the patients that those outside are scared of them. He goes on to tell them that he and them are the same, but the same sick old man earlier doesn’t buy it. He knows who Danes is, and can’t forgive him for what he did to the 12 year old girl. Danes accepts what he says. He doesn’t pander to it. He knows that the window of opportunity will only shine for a short time, and he has to grab it with both hands and claim it for his own.
Danes removes his mask. The reporters outside witness everything.
Danes begins to preach to his flock. He has an audience who like himself, are unable to die. He sees himself as a Messiah. Risen with unending life.
When a sick woman asks him to get help for the sick child, he lifts the baby girl up in his arms. Preaching that Dead is not Dead. Life is life.
The reporters go crazy. As Danes lifts the baby for them to see outside. Jilly smiles and calls Phicorp.
Disgusted by the changing of events, Monroe storms back to her limo, and shouts instruction to the waiting team. The chauffeur hands her a coffee, which she takes into the car. It’s not a regular coffee. It has a few hidden ingredients. And before too long, Monroe has collapsed on the back seat.
Nicholas Frumkin may have thought nothing untoward about the strangers in the park, but when our ‘photographer’ happens to be sitting in the back seat of his car with a set of demands, you know it’s not going to end well.
Rex and Jack set up the fire damaged servers by using a blow torch on the hard drives.
In the van, later while Esther monitors the Eye-5s, she makes a call to Social Services enquiring after her sister and children. It should have come as no surprise to learn that the family had been taken into care, and that the children were now in the system, and her sister had been admitted for psychiatric treatment. When Esther asks more questions regarding the family than someone would normally ask (who wasn’t related), Veronica from social services grows suspicious. Esther hangs up.
When Rex returns to the van, it’s all Esther can do to keep focused on the job. Her mind is working overtime on what she had allowed to happen.
Gwen has entered Phicorp HQ. She’s dressed in a tight black dress and high heels. Something that she moans about to Jack later, and removes them. Her hair is tied up and with red lipstick, she looks pretty hot!
Rex has an issue with the words ‘Good’ and ‘Luck’ in the same sentence. He finds it childish, and typical of Torchwood. To many fans, they find him irritating and it’s not hard to see why.
When Esther’s phone beeps, Rex almost bites her head off. Already in his bad books after adding her sister’s number to her phone at the start, he will hit the roof if he discovers what the phone call was all about.
Gwen enters the Phicorp building and walks up to reception. The lobby guard asks for her name, when she tells him she’s there for the training sessions. She introduces herself as Yvonne Pallister, International Sales. She informs him that she received an email from Lorraine in Human Resources last night and waits while the guard calls them. Of course, we know Esther is there to intercept the call and reply on their behalf. Gwen is allowed up to Floor Twenty-One.
In the service area of the building, Jack arrives with the delivery and opens up the back of the truck. The guard who greets him has nothing on his schedule, and calls Human Resources. Again, Esther to the rescue confirming the delivery and tells him to send Jack up.
It’s all going sweetly. Back in the van however, things are not going as smoothly. Tears are falling down Esther’s cheeks and Rex has noticed. Esther refuses to tell him.
In the service lift, Gwen meets Captain Jack Harkness, looking quite fetching in his green uniform.
‘Hello, Handsome. Love the uniform.’
While Gwen moans about her shoes, Jack prepares the fire alarm, by setting fire to his delivery note, blowing the smoke towards the fire detector. It sounds the alarm. Gwen and Jack wait till the coast is clear and head towards the server room. Using the ID collected earlier from Frumkin, they gain access to the room.
‘Welcome back, Nicholas.’
Rex eventually finds out what happened to Sarah Drummond. He suddenly feels sympathetic towards her.
While Gwen begins dismantling the Server 113, her phone beeps. Multi tasking, Gwen talks while dismantling the cables. Esther sees everything that Gwen sees, while she wears the Eye-5s. Rhys informs Gwen that he can get her Dad out of the hospital. As she puts her phone away, Jack has been able to swap the good hard drive for the burnt one. He wishes her good luck and heads back downstairs to the service station.
Esther relays the coding for the clips to go back into the server unit for Gwen, while Rex talks over Sarah’s position. It’s only when Esther lets slip that she’d visited her sister before she escaped to LA, that all Rex’s fears are confirmed.
‘You’ve compromised the security of the entire mission!’
Back in the van, Esther sees with her own eyes that her actions HAVE compromised the team. She sees the assassin before the picture fades. She hears the disgust in Rex’s tone. It’s all gone to shit, and it’s all her fault.
When Jack reaches the bottom floor and finds the security guard, with tight ligatures around his neck, he knows Gwen is in trouble and heads back up. Jack enters the Server room, weapon drawn he carefully stalks across the room till he finds Gwen, bound and gagged, she lies helplessly on the floor. He ditches the gun and drops to his knees to help free her, when the assassin comes back into view. Gwen tries to warn Jack but it’s too late. He’s pistol whipped around the head.
Leaping from the van, Rex puts the blame at Esther’s door before heading upstairs. There’s a lot of stairs to climb, and the lift is on the 33rd floor. Esther is unable to override the elevator as the fire department have shut it down. Rex has no other alternative but to climb the full sixty six flights of stairs, with a ruptured chest.
Gwen demands to know the assassin’s name, but he’s not about to reveal his identity to them. Jack asks him what he wants. His answer is simple. He wants Jack Harkness dead.
‘Then why am I still alive?’
The assassin is curious about Jack. His Holy Grail. The last real human. When the world is living forever, Jack is the only mortal being on the planet. How can that be? He wants to know what makes Jack so different. Jack would like to know the answer to that question too.
Esther’s question isn’t answered either. But again, it doesn’t take them too long to figure out that Phicorp knows a lot of people, and can pay to have certain people erased from history.
The assassin knows that something was given many years ago by Jack to the people he works for. Jack, of course, is unaware of this, because if you watched the animation Web of Lies at the start of Miracle Day, you’d already know what he gave.
The Assassin loves to talk. He has the floor after all. And a knife, which he threatens to use unless Jack can give him the answers he so craves. When Gwen, eventually growls at him for the answer of who he is and who he works for, he works himself up to tell her, just as Rex Matheson empties his bullets into him, shooting him in the throat, losing every possible chance of knowing just who the fudge he is.
Rex hopes for some kind of thanks for coming upstairs to save their lives. He was expecting too much.
Oswald Danes is back on top. He’s taking the world by storm. The new Messiah. People are eating the crumbs from his hands. But where is Ellis Hartley Monroe?
In a scrap yard, bound and gagged, Monroe wakes up unsure where she is. A voice comes over the phone, from someone referred to as the Cousin, who apologises for what is about to happen. They’re happy with Oswald Danes, and as the Cousin goes on to say, ‘certain aspects’ of Monroe’s strategy were revealing their hand a little too soon. And with all their careful planning, they were determined not to allow anyone to screw it up for them.
The giant claw lifts the car up and carries it over to the crusher. Dropping the car into the beast of a machine, Monroe’s whole career, as her life, would be crushed. As the ‘car’ is dropped out of the machine cubed, a frantic eye looks out at the world beyond the hunk of metal.
Rex is still bitter about the events of yesterday. Despite Jack thanking him for saving his ass, Esther was on her final warning.
Esther in a bid to redeem herself, is able to unlock some of the data from the server. She uncovers land prices. Estimates dating back years and all linked to the construction plans she also unearths. They’re overflow camps. All for the patients in the ICU.
Gwen’s phone rings again. Swearing in her usual fashion, she takes the call. It’s Rhys. It’s not good news.
Initially pleased with himself that he’s finally able to get Gwen’s dad moved, Gwen informs him about the overflow camps and insists he stops that from happening, but he’s too late. The ambulance has already taken him.
Turning to Jack, Gwen is distraught.
‘They’ve got my Dad, Jack. They’ve got my Dad.’