Sunday, 9 April 2017

Articles Miracle Day - The Gathering - Episode Breakdown

Episode Breakdown:

The Gathering

Episode 9

First broadcast September 2nd, 2011.

To recap, Oswald Danes left a bloody faced Kitzinger without a laptop, Gwen Cooper was deported by the CIA, back to Wales, and Jack, having been shot was losing blood in the back of the SUV, driven by a snivelling Esther.

‘Day 61 of the Great Depression, and the government has announced that all medical Overflow Camps will now stay open. Under the new emergency laws, Category One patients must be taken for disposal. Campaigners have called this institutional murder.’

Late in the evening, an old man walks his dog past a chemist shop in Swansea when the sound of a car nears. He stops and watches as the car straightens up in the road and ram raids the front of the building, creating one hell of a mess. CCTV is fired at, as the driver gets out, removing their balaclava.
Gwen Cooper heads to the back of the store, for the hard drugs, and loads up a bag of the kind she needs. She turns her gun instantly at the first sound from inside the store and glares determinedly at the man, with the dog. He begs her for some Metanec, for his wife, who is bad with the arthritis. Terrified of losing her should he go to the doctors, exclaiming that his friend Huw Jenkins ‘went up in smoke’ after only having a bad back. Gwen tells him to help himself but to hurry, as it won’t be long before the blues and twos arrive.
As the sound of sirens are heard in the distance, Gwen heads off in the other direction, on foot.

Gwen stands outside her mother’s terraced house holding two pizza boxes, and glances warily up and down the street. From a room above, on the opposite side of the road, a surveillance guy watches her silently, a mobile phone in his hand, reporting back.
   ‘OK, relax. She’s back. She’s only been for pizza.’

Gwen steps inside the house, and opens the pizza boxes. Packed neatly inside are the stolen drugs from the chemist. Rhys reads off a list of orders, from Reynolds and Llewellyn’s, and mentions Iris Price, someone who thinks that having a headache warrants her to be top of the list of priorities. Gwen suggests that if she wants that, she will have to pay double.

   ‘That’s the same policy as Phicorp.’ Rhys adds, irking Gwen just a touch.
Mary hands Anwen over to Rhys as Gwen holds up the diamorphine that Mary needs to give to her husband, currently sleeping downstairs, hidden from view.
   ‘That’ll do the trick. Come on.’ Mary says. She’s a tired, elderly woman with the constant threat that her husband will be one day discovered and taken from her.
Downstairs in the basement/cellar, she and Gwen sit with Geraint. It’s horrible seeing him so unwell, so unlike the man he used to be, and administering painkillers to him, in a cellar, and not in his own bed, in their own room, breaks her heart time and time again.

Up at the topmost point of Scotland, at St Margaret’s Halt, Esther nurses Jack back to full health. His bullet wound healing, he lies in bed watching her redress his wound.

   ‘The infection’s almost gone.’ She says pleased at her handiwork.
   ‘Yeah, the gunshot didn’t kill me, but I think you will.’ He smiles.
   ‘I’ll go into the village tomorrow, see if I can buy a steak, get you some iron.’ She says. ‘As long as they don’t start asking questions again. That last guy creeped me out. If he’s still there, I think we should move on.’
   ‘We’re in Scotland. We can’t go much further north.’ Jack replies, concerned.
   ‘Yes, we can. Keep running for as long as it takes.’ Esther says.
   ‘I remember when you were too scared to leave home.’
   ‘Yeah, that was a long time ago. You were the strong one, standing tall. Look at you now.’ She remarks.
   ‘And now you’re a vampire.’ Jack comments.
   ‘More like a gunsmith. Closest thing to a weapon we’ve got.’ She says, stowing another plasma bag into the fridge, where more are hanging.
   ‘Esther, my blood isn’t magic. It didn’t make me immortal. They can’t have cloned it or copied it.’
   ‘All the same, Jack, they took your blood and they keep trying to spill your blood. Someone wants you dead for a reason, and I think this stuff’s the only hope we’ve got.’

Back in Swansea, Gwen resumes her Torchwood trawl through endless internet search results regarding The Blessing. Page 56 of 12 million.
   ‘God, I need Esther.’ She moans.
Rhys breaks some news to her that, under the circumstances he’s not sure she’ll be happy about – he’s not entirely happy with the prospect either, but work is work, and as Gwen explains, it’s not his fault, the money would come in handy.
   ‘It’s funny, isn’t it? When they first opened the camps, we all protested. Second time we’re all too busy looking after ourselves.’
   ‘Aye, all part of the plan to wear us down.’ Rhys remarks.
   ‘Yeah, but what is the plan? What’s it all for, Rhys?’
The electricity goes out, plunging them into darkness, albeit for the laptop.
   ‘Oh great. That’s just what I needed. That’s. Bollocks.’ She shuts the lid of the laptop.
Rhys leans in closer.
   ‘You know those power cuts in the seventies. Nine months later there was a baby boom because people took advantage of the dark.’ He grins. Gwen smiles, grins and chuckles, and snuggles up.

Back over the Pond, in the CIA building corridor, Rex picks up a stray sheet of paper from a stack of papers in the hallway and hands it to a woman currently sorting through paperwork.
   ‘Here. This could be the one piece of paper we need. Come on, focus people.’ As he spies Charlotte at her desk he calls over to her as he reaches his own office.
   ‘Hey, you been here all night? Don’t you have a home to go to?’
   ‘Not any more, she left me, remember?’ Charlotte replies.
Rex apologises, but as a parting shot, suggests that while she’s going to be around, that perhaps she could clean the place up a little. Charlotte replies in true fashion, by raising her middle finger.
   ‘Really?’ He replies, laughing at her response.
Despite knowing the outcome of this story, before we found that out, the connection between Rex and Charlotte, was entertaining and quite endearing at times. If Esther hadn’t been a character in the story, I would have enjoyed seeing these two sparring more than once.

In the office, Shapiro sits behind his desk smoking on a cigarette. Rex points out that the No Smoking law still exists. Shapiro points out that now however, smoking isn’t going to kill anyone.
   ‘But they still haven’t changed the building’s insurance.’ Rex points out.
   ‘Insurance companies went bust along with half the western world. Oh, did I tell you? Gas allowances have been halved. You are way over limit.’ Shapiro adds.
   ‘Well, what do you expect me to do, walk to work?’
   ‘Hey, don’t complain to me.’ Shapiro replies. ‘Recession became depression. We’re all being rationed, even the CIA.’
   ‘OK, well, since you’re too busy housekeeping, then you probably won’t be interested in this.’
   ‘What is it?’
   ‘A lead.’ Rex smiles, proudly.

To his team in the main office, Rex explains the lead.
    ‘All right, it's 1928 and there's a guy hanging in the cellar of the Giordano butcher shop and they're selling tickets. For two dollars, you can watch him get killed and come back to life again. So, who knows if it's a miracle or he's Harry Houdini? Either way, it's news. So, plenty of people wrote about it.’
   ‘Yeah, but that's where the records disappear. I've told you, Ablemarch, Costerdane and Frines, they went through the archives. They scrubbed them clean.’ Charlotte reminds him, as if Rex hadn’t listened the first few times she’d explained.  
   ‘Look at this place, Rex. We have tried.’ Noah backs her up.
   ‘According to the census of 1930 the population of Manhattan was one million eight hundred sixty seven thousand. That's more people than live there now. Allow for an average of two children per family across three generations, by 2011 we're looking at a potential six million descendants. That's six million suspects. We have to find and interview six million people.’ Charlotte says.
   ‘So do you see? That proves my point. You're looking too close at the facts.’ Rex grins.  
   ‘What else should we be looking at?’ Charlotte asks.  
   ‘Fiction. Look, I'll trade you six million people for one short story. Because the London office, they found a story. It was published in 1935. The Devil Within. Now, it's just pulp fiction, it's all blood and Satan and that kind of shit, but it contains five points of reference identical to the Harkness case, which is more than a coincidence. Now I believe the author was in that cellar. He saw Jack Harkness die, decided to write about it. And his name was Victor Podesta.’
   ‘Then we follow the Podesta family.’ Shapiro replies, confidently.
   ‘Oh, sir, this is where it gets interesting. You see, the Podestas owned a grocery store about ten blocks east of the butcher shop and they had connections to organised crime. Now, the youngest son John was stabbed to death back in '27. Unsolved, mob related. But check this out, now we jump to 1938, and the whole family just disappears. I mean all of them. Mom, Pop, Victor, daughter Emmeline, just all gone. Well, look, maybe the Podestas changed their name. Who knows? Maybe Emmeline married into the Three Families.’ Rex continues.  
   ‘We could look for a marriage license.’ Noah replies. 
   ‘And where would we check that, hmm? The Manhattan Central Repository?’
   ‘Damn it, every time. The most effective thing they did was burn that place down.’ Shapiro replies bitterly.  
   ‘Yeah, and that was 1965. I mean everywhere we turn this conspiracy spans the whole of the twentieth century.’

   ‘People, come on. This is me you're talking to, remember? You're forgetting about the younger brother, the murder of John Podesta, unsolved. This is where we got lucky. The case was bagged, tagged and locked away, just sitting on a shelf collecting dust for almost ninety years. We still have the murder weapon.’
   ‘With blood on it? Is that blood?’ Shapiro asks staring at the details on the large screen in front of the team.  
   ‘We have blood. We have DNA. We can trace the family.’ Rex smiles, happy they have something to go on.
   ‘All right, everybody.’ Shapiro gathers the troops. Charlotte looks just a little concerned now. ‘Let's make a DNA profile and start looking for matches. Good job. Come on, let's go. Let's go.’
     As the team disperse, Charlotte informs Rex that she has Jordan and Carlyle, two DNA specialists who they had used with the O’Grady case, and indicates that they’re fast, and would he want them on this case too. Naturally, Rex is keen for fast results.

In a quiet park, on an exceptionally large bench, Jilly Kitzinger is visited by a man known only as the Blue Eyed Man, a rep from the Three Families. He thanks Jilly for coming but is welcomed with a less than enthusiastic response. Jilly is not happy with  her new line of work, sitting in a nondescript office distributing for a Harry Bosco.

     He slides over to her and hands her a one way plane ticket to Shanghai. The name on the ticket is Lucy Statten Meredith.
   ‘You’ll be travelling under that name. In fact, that is your name from now on. But the Families want to meet you in person.’ He tells her, getting to his feet. He looks almost regretful as he tells her it would be the last time they would meet.
   ‘I’m rather jealous. They’re taking you to The Blessing.’

Rhys is folding washing while Gwen is entertaining their daughter with nursery rhymes when there’s a knock on the door and the Gestapo are standing at the doorstep. Rhys quickly glances through the net curtains and Gwen slips into action mode, handing Anwen over to her husband before whispering loudly to her mother in the cellar. She grabs a cloth and removes the lightbulb over the cellar steps. She informs Rhys to take it upstairs and flush it.
Finch, a balding man in his late forties, bespectacled and evidently a known jobsworth knocks again a little more impatiently this time. Gwen shouts ‘I’m coming’ as she prepares the place.
   ‘If you don’t open the door, we’re legally empowered to knock it down, Mrs Cooper.’ Finch calls from the other side of the door. Gwen opens the door but blocks the entry.
   ‘You must be Gwen Cooper. Ralph Finch.’ He replies, introductions out of the way. ‘Can we come in?’
   ‘Not without a warrant, no.’ Gwen replies, defiantly.

   ‘Oh, not necessary, I’m afraid. I have reason to suspect you may be illegally harbouring an unsupported Category One deceased person. And according to the Emergency Powers Act, reasonable suspicion is all I need. You keep an eye on the front. Gentlemen, we're in.’ He pushes past Gwen who follows after him.
   ‘Oh, I’m going to complain. I’m going to take this to the top. Just you wait and see. I used to be with the police.’ Gwen growls.
   ‘Yeah, very much in the past tense as I understand it. Up you go, boys. Check the rooms upstairs.’ Finch orders the officers.
   ‘My father is dead. He’s gone. We never said goodbye. No funeral. No chance to mourn him. For all I know he was just thrown into a furnace still alive.’
     Rhys ambles downstairs.
   ‘I can’t even have a bit of peace in my own bathroom. You allowed to barge in like this, anyway?’
   ‘Husband, Rhys Williams. You never shared his surname, which says a lot. But we’re still missing one person. So, where’s Mary, Gwen? What’s keeping your mother so busy?’ Finch enquires, curiosity eating away at him.
     Below stairs, Mary pinches her husband’s nose to stop him making a noise, terrified he’ll be found out.
   ‘Shopping.’ Gwen replies, irked by the man, standing in her living room.
Rhys looks edgy as Finch tries the light in the cellar. Curious, Finch takes this to mean something of importance is worth checking out downstairs, and taking a torch from an officer, heads downstairs. Gwen in the meantime, holds a carving knife from a knife rack, behind her back – as you do!
     Having been told that there are only rats in the cellar, Finch isn’t surprised to see a squeaking four legged creature scurrying from the torchlight, but informs her that it’s a mouse, not a rat. Seriously, that was a mouse? I would hate to consider the size of the rats in comparison.
Unable to find what he was looking for Finch informs Gwen that as her father is still unregistered, that he can’t leave her alone, until he is absolutely certain that Geraint Wyn Cooper is in fact, dead. He suggests that Gwen and her family take a great deal of care.
Gwen closes the door on the men and heaves a sigh of relief that no trace of her father was found in the house, however, down in the cellar, Mary is exhausted. It had taken all of her strength to keep her beloved Geraint quiet. She cries against her daughter.

Back across at the CIA office and Charlotte breaks the surprising bad news that the DNA trace came back as negative.
   ‘There’s no bloodline from John Podesta on file. I tried everything.’ Charlotte tells Rex.
Both Rex and Shapiro curse. Charlotte tells them she will keep looking but holds out little hope. Just as she’s leaving, Rex asks her to send him the digital format of the Podesta short story, that they have on file.
Despite her protestations that the story isn’t worth reading, due to its quality, Rex insists. It’s at this point that I feel he knows something relating to his team, and whether or not he suspects Charlotte, is yet to be discovered.

In Swansea, the Valley Bara Bread van pulls up near number 72. The driver wearing a thick grey hoody over a checkered shirt and tshirt, and a red baseball cap, carries the groceries into the house, let in by Mary, who suggests he head straight for the kitchen. Used to the
deliveries, nobody bothers to check the face carrying the box, setting it down on the floor, and picking up Anwen from her high chair. When he finally comments on Anwen’s eating habits does Gwen then react, lifting without word her daughter from the driver, handing her over to Rhys, returning to the sink and wiping dry a saucepan, swings it at Oswald Danes as he wishes information from her, that he can’t find in any other location due to the popularity of his face. Gwen puts paid to that and lamps him one – actually, lamps him several times to his severe injury.
     Shocked, Rhys comes in still holding Anwen, only to find a bloody faced man on the receiving end of one of his wife’s cooking pans.
   ‘What the hell are you doing?’’
   ‘Look at him, for God’s sake! Look at him!’ She exclaims angrily. ‘It’s Oswald Danes in our house.’
Mary is horrified as she enters the room. Gwen glares at the injured man on the ground.
   ‘You touch my daughter again and I will kill you.’ She threatens. ‘Take her out of here, Mam, now.’
     Mary takes Anwen out of the room as Gwen goes to attack Danes again, until Rhys pulls her away, afraid she will be arrested for murder. Of course, Rhys has no qualms about calling in an angry mob and letting them rip him to shreds.
   ‘Tell me quickly you bastard…what do you want?’
   ‘Jack Harkness. The men who smuggled me into this country, they brought Harkness in seven weeks ago and they brought him to you. And then you, in turn, found him a haven. Now I paid good money for your name, Gwen Cooper, so I really need to see Jack. And you will do exactly what I ask.’
   ‘Why should I?’ she asks.
   ‘Because I have a name. I have the name of a man. I have the name of a man who created the Miracle.’ He tells her, proudly.

In the CIA office across the Pond, Rex and Shapiro are still in their office. It’s late into the evening now. Rex is concerned that someone is leaking information, he’s certain of it and he’s certain Shapiro knows too. Perhaps it’s not from the department but someone is hindering their investigation at every turn, so Rex hopes that he can keep this investigation just between the pair of them. Shapiro agrees and asks him what he’s found so far.
   ‘Victor Podesta. I figured anyone who writes pulp fiction is gonna want to keep on writing, even if it's under a different name. So, I ran the short story through the pattern recognition software identifying key points of similarity in prose styles.’ Rex explains.
   ‘Did you find him?’
   ‘I found three hundred and twenty. You see, it's more difficult with that sort of fiction because everyone writes the same. And that's only the ones in the database. But, out of that there's around forty six with pronounced similarities scattered all across the world. Look at this. Twenty two in the US, nine in the UK, one in Sweden. We've got Argentina, Germany, Japan. And I've got to check them all out.’
   ‘Well you’d better get started.’ Shapiro informs him. ‘The latest from the White House is that they're gonna stop all immigration. China closed its borders, now we're gonna do the same. Every passing day, we are taking one step closer to a dictatorship. And we don't even know who the real dictators are.’

Across the road from Gwen’s mother’s house, the surveillance guy receives a phone call, from Gwen, asking him if he’s seen her car keys. Curiously as to how she has his number, she informs him that she doesn’t care who he works for, he’s wasting his time where he is. It’s Jack Harkness they’re looking for and knowing Jack, he wouldn’t turn up in a month of Sundays, and suggests he take the night off.
   ‘Do you think we’re stupid?’ The surveillance guy laughs.
From behind him, the deep voice of Captain Jack Harkness causes him to turn around.
   ‘Yeah, now drink this. It won’t harm you. You’ve had it before.’
From his phone, Gwen confirms this, informing him that she gave it to him before. Jack gives him an ultimatum either drink the water, or he’ll leave him with nowhere to put a hat. The guy drinks some of the water, and within seconds, passes out. The bottle of water, as with the bottle he gave to Esther at the start of the first episode is laced with Retcon.

Gwen is overjoyed to see Jack, in far better condition than their earlier meeting. She hugs him, apologises for hurting him, then hugs him again. Esther can only look on. After their embraces, Gwen leads them into the kitchen where Danes is trussed up like a chicken, sat on a seat in the middle of the kitchen.

   ‘Jack. I was told the correct form of address is Captain. You once asked me for help. So you can remember that, the rest of you, the Captain invited me in.’ Danes says, looking to Jack.
A little later at the table, Esther sets up the laptop, Gwen sits beside her, Jack stands. Before they start, Gwen wants to know if Danes really said at the trial that Suzie Cabina should have run faster. Oswald confirms it.
   ‘Right. Okay. Because let me tell you, Oswald, I used to be a policewoman and I worked with paedophiles and murderers, and God help me, I saw men so alone and damned and wretched. But that's not you. That's nothing like you. Because for the first time in my life I've met a monster. Is that clear?’
   ‘Oh, I feel very special. And well said.’ Oswald tells her. Rhys wants to kill him. Gwen calms him down. Esther calls them back to the table keen to get this man out of their lives as fast as possible. She wants the information he has.
     Oswald however is curious as to what will happen to him once the information is given. Rhys aims to kill him, making him a permanent Category One. Gwen and Oswald both know that by doing that, it would trap Gwen. Her husband a murderer, of a, murderer. And even if he didn’t kill Oswald but called someone else into the frame, it would all come back to him. Oswald also knew that if Gwen went to the police, that he too could tip them off about whatever may be holed up in the cellar, that Gwen and her family have been casting eyes towards.
   ‘Okay, there may be deals to be made. There may not. But before we can decide anything, there needs to be a full and fair exchange of information. Mister Danes, there's no going back. You need to tell us what you know.’ Esther tells Oswald.
     Oswald tells them of Jilly Kitzinger, employed through Phicorp to look after him. He informs them of the laptop he stole from her when he fled. Gwen sighs.
   ‘For God’s sake, is that it? We raided her file way back.’ Gwen replies almost exasperated.

   ‘Wait a minute. Wait, wait. As soon as I'd stolen the laptop, good little Jilly did exactly the right things. She changed the passwords, opened new accounts, deleted the old ones. But I was watching. And I know my way around online better than most. I know how to keep myself hidden. So I shadowed her, and I've been following Miss Kitzinger these past two months. Here's a funny thing. Yesterday at twelve midday she disappeared. Her entire profile online vanished. Jilly Kitzinger ceased to exist.’

Jilly steps off the plane at Shanghai airport.

   ‘You said you had the name of a man.’ Jack says.
   ‘Soon as I say this, I’ll be at your mercy.’ Oswald realises.
   ‘Yes.’ Gwen confirms.
   ‘Tell us his name!’ Jack presses.
   ‘I'll have to trust you. Remember that. I'm trusting you. One man's name keeps reoccurring. Kitzinger was employed to send him information. And his name's Harry Bosco.’
Despite Gwen’s lack of knowledge of Bosco, Esther knows only too well.
   ‘You think you’re so clever, Oswald? Is that really all you had?’
   ‘It’s a name.’ He replies.
   ‘Harry Bosco isn't a man. Harry Bosco's a process. It goes back to Vietnam. It was the first war to be televised and the government didn't want US networks taking feed directly from the Vietnamese, because for the first time information was beyond their control. So they put agents into every newsroom, every major TV network, filtering the output for the public. Cleverest of them all was a man called Harry Bosco.’
   ‘What did he do?’ Jack asks.

   ‘He'd alter information. It was subtle. He did it by mistranslation. He couldn't censor or change, but he could manipulate the English translation. Change one word, change the entire meaning. If you say victims instead of bodies, you influence public opinion. All the channels Harry Bosco these days.’
   ‘My point still stands.’ Oswald says after Rhys calms down. ‘The name's still important because Kitzinger works in PR. Why would she be handling this Harry Bosco process?’
   ‘To be fair, it’s a good question. Why would the families hire Jilly to do all this in the first place?’
   ‘She’s translating it?’ Jack asks.
   ‘What’s she mistranslating, because the three families changed their name, now Jilly’s changing words? Maybe they’re connected.’ Esther switches on Jilly’s laptop.
A little while later, Gwen returns with take away.
   ‘Chicken and chips. Didn't have any fish. Too expensive. World gone mad.’
     Rhys comes in with the beers, and when Oswald requests his, Rhys shakes the can and sprays the froth over Danes, laughing. Jack looks on disdainfully. Gwen embarrassed by Rhys’ behaviour.
   ‘Hey, they've been going great guns, this lot. You know, going through someone's emails, yeah, is like reading their diaries.’ Rhys says.
   ‘So what did we find?’ Gwen asks.
   ‘Another problem. Jilly processed this clip from a local news station in Shanghai. It's got three layers of language. It's in the local Wu dialect dubbed into Mandarin and then she sent it out for English subtitles. How are we supposed to know what's wrong or right?’
   ‘What, nobody speaks Chinese?’
   ‘What do we do? I can’t go down to the take away and ask Kenny.’ Gwen replies.
   ‘Esther?’ Jack says, with an all too knowing smile. She smiles back.
   ‘Yeah, I know.’

In the CIA office, Rex’s phone rings. He’s a little surprised to hear Esther’s voice on the other end. Shapiro is using his own office as a meeting room, for the other analysts, and insists they leave the room immediately.
   ‘Top priority, clear the room. Let’s go. Let’s go.’

Back in Swansea, Esther explains further, putting the phone on speaker. Rex discovers that Jack didn’t die, he also deduces that they’re in Swansea, after hearing Gwen but he’s a little curious about the other voice in the room, belonging to Oswald Danes.
Esther brings him back to the problem.
   ‘We need help, Rex. We need the CIA. We need translations specifically.’
Rex offers his services, unable to trust anyone else in his team. He asks of the language required.
   ‘Mandarin. We think there’s something in Shanghai.’

In a Shanghai restaurant, busy with only one customer, stand the waiters, waiting. Jilly walks towards the tousled haired man at the table on his tablet and mobile phone. She introduces herself, unfortunately, she uses her own name, and fails the ‘test’. Taken aback by the whole new failed identity, she takes a seat and looks across at the man opposite.
   ‘OK, I keep wondering, why me?’

   ‘You’re a storyteller.’
   ‘Thank you.’
   ‘Look at you.’ He says looking up. ‘The nails, the coat, the lipstick. From the moment you walk through the door, you tell a story. You might have noticed we're kind of good at keeping quiet. So we need you. We need experts.’
Jilly is interested in his story.
   ‘I’m the latest chapter in an epic.’ He tells her. ‘Once upon a time there were three wise families. Then they went out into the world. One family took politics, one family took finance, and one family took media. But that's all in the past. The stories yet to come, they're the best.’
   Jilly is curious. Is there a story about to break, perhaps about the miracle? The young man talks in riddles, and she has no clear clue what the Families need from her. When she suggests a couple of ideas, the man tells her she’s not aiming high enough. When she questions him, he tells her.
   ‘We need you to write history.’
   ‘I can do that.’ She replies. Happy with her response, he closes his tablet, and puts away his phone. He comments on her recovery of the conversation and her hair, calling it a work of art.
   ‘If you ever come here at night, try the mitten crab. It’s a local delicacy.’ He gets up to leave as she asks him.
   ‘So, what do you want me to do next?’
   ‘Stay in your hotel and wait. When we’re ready you’ll be taken to the Blessing. I hope you survive.’
Somewhat shocked by his statement, Jilly questions him.
   ‘Some people die. The Blessing, it kills them. Good luck. You won’t see me again.’

Between Mary Cooper’s home and Shapiro’s office, an English translation of a news clip from China shows a badly burned young man sobbing, apologising several times, including to his mother, stating he’s so ashamed, but saying through tears, that it was a godsend that his life was saved, after he burned down a hospital and was caught up in his own fire. Jack picks up on the word Godsend and asks Rex if he heard it. Rex confirms he had already seen the clip before, but says that the original Wu dialect is different again. And that it wasn’t godsend the man said, but Blessing. It was mistranslated on purpose. Esther and Jack smile. The Blessing is in Shanghai, but how do they get there when the borders are closed?
Jack knows of a contact from his early days with Torchwood, a man who worked out of Hunan Province. Esther looks at the clip again and wonders why a man would burn down a hospital, it makes absolutely no sense at all, and does a little digging, turning up another mistranslation.
   ‘The Mandarin says medical facility but I looked up the address. It was a blood bank.’
   ‘Blood again.’ Rex replies.
   ‘It’s always about blood. Why is that?’ Gwen asks curiously.
   ‘Wait, wait, wait. Okay. Run a check on that, but reference it with Kitzinger. She has a second clip in Spanish. There's a second blood bank in Buenos Aires. A blood bank destroyed by fire twenty four hours before Shanghai, five days before the Miracle.’ Suddenly the team discover a little more of a pattern on the blood.
   ‘I had Argentina.’ Rex replies. ‘Right there. John Forester died age seventy six in La Boca. I think he was in the cellar with Jack. But that man said Miracle in Shanghai, yes?’

Rhys stares at the inflatable beach ball globe in his hands, at the words Shanghai, and then to Buenos Aires, suddenly he starts making his own conclusions. But before he can do anything about it, the front door is smashed down and armed police enter the establishment. Esther quickly stows her case under the table, Gwen concerned for her Dad calls to her husband, who heads to the cellar. Jack and Danes stand by the kitchen sink, hands freely able to raise above his head, uncuffed.
Finch steps into the room and addresses Gwen and is interested at the number of people in the room.
   ‘We’re just visiting from London.’ Jack calls.
   ‘Don’t worry. Anyone can leave the house under their own steam, is of no interest to me.’
Rhys comes up from the cellar. Finch seizing on the assumption that there would be a bounty downstairs for him, uses the latest in technology. A Thermal imaging app from his phone, and heads down the stairs to seek out Gwen’s dad.

Outside in the street, poor Mary is held back from entering her own home. She already knows that if they find her husband, it’s all over.

In the cellar, the thermal imaging locates Geraint Wyn Cooper and the armed officers prize the protective door apart. Gwen is beside herself with grief and begs Finch not to take him away. But jobsworth Finch is following orders and orders the man be taken out of the house, to be ‘disposed of according to the laws of the land.’

As Geraint is later loaded onto the ambulance, Mary is handed the tablet to sign. Finch offers his condolences but anyone can see it’s read off a script and the man feels nothing for the pain and hardship he is dealing out.

Jack stands on the doorstep near Gwen on the cold evening. He could offer her sympathies, but he’s known Gwen long enough that no amount of ‘I’m sorry’ will fix this.
   ‘What do you want to do?’  
   ‘Go to Shanghai. I don’t care if we have to walk. I will travel the whole bloody world to put this right, Jack.’

Rex looks to Shapiro for permission to go off the grid with the information he’s been given. He also makes it clear that even without permission that he would go anyway. Shapiro asks about backup, should it come down to it.
   ‘Well then and only then will I contact you, sir. Minimum notice. Because if we’ve got a mole, I can’t risk anyone finding this out. But this could be it sir, this could be the Blessing.’
Shapiro wishes him luck.

Back in Swansea, Jack laments of an old Torchwood deal where they tracked down a black market trade in alien artefacts coming out of China. ‘Skullion metal and coins, things like that. We closed it down but the route stayed open for arms dealing.’
   ‘We’re gonna trust arms dealers?’ Esther is less enthusiastic about that.
   ‘I don’t care. I’ll do it.’ Gwen is going all out for this.
The decision now, is which city to go for. Is it Shanghai, or Buenos Aires?
   ‘It’s both, you bunch of nuts.’ Shouts Rhys getting up from the sofa, with his soft ball globe. ‘You can’t see for looking, can you? Eh? Look. Right, Shanghai, Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires, Shanghai. Opposite sides of the world. Quite literally, opposite sides of the Earth, yeah? Yeah? So whatever's going on, there's got to be something connecting them.’
     Gwen can’t believe it’s that simple, but as Esther checks on the computer, it proves Rhys is correct.

   ‘They’re antipodes of each other. Two massive population centres balanced on either side of the planet.’
   ‘As the old saying goes, count your blessings, because it turns out there’s two of them.’ Oswald points out.
Gwen curious as ever wonders what it means. Esther suddenly sees it. It’s been right under their noses all this time.
   ‘Look at the PhiCorp logo. The letter phi, a circle with a line through it.’
   ‘A line through the world.’
   ‘The Blessing. The Miracle.’ Says Jack. ‘We need to find out. We can get into Argentina no problem.’
Esther can see that they need to investigate both ends, so Jack and Gwen choose to go to Shanghai, while Esther will travel to Buenos Aires. Danes speaks up, demanding to go with them, because it’s plain to see that leaving him with the husband, could seriously ruin Gwen’s life forever.
After much thought, Danes got his answer. He was travelling with Jack and Gwen to Shanghai.

In Shanghai Jack, Gwen and Danes hare across the tarmac towards the security fence and climb over it, while at Buenos Aires, Rex awaits Esther, carrying her attaché case. She greets him with a hug. Rex explains to Esther that he had to get her bag through in a diplomatic bag which means should someone be alerted to the Embassy notifications, then they were mightily screwed. And to prove this fact, Charlotte discovers the alert on her mobile and alerts the Families.

In Shanghai, Jilly is dropped off in an alleyway by the taxi cab. Walking through the alleyway, Jilly feels a little apprehensive, unsure of what lies ahead for her. She spies a woman in a grey pointed outfit, waiting for her. Walking over, she is greeted by the older woman, who is known as Mother.

The Mother welcomes Kitzinger to Shanghai. Not wishing to screw things up a second time, Kitzinger corrects the older woman by confirming her new name is Meredith. Mother laughs it off, not caring whether she be Meredith or Kitzinger.
   ‘The men enjoy those sorts of games.’ She tells Jilly about the feeling from the Blessing. ‘It started as soon as we dug deep enough. I think it’s the Blessing’s attempt to communicate.’

Mother leads Jilly down to the ‘buttcrack of doom’ where she looks upon it and finds it exhilarating.
   ‘I've seen people look upon The Blessing and end their lives. There's a brilliant truth about that, because each and every time that person was hiding something vile. Isn't that wonderful? It's exhilarating, the damage it does. I wonder what you'll see.’

Jilly stares into the abyss, at the exposed rawness of the rock, where tiny pieces of debris fall in through the middle. Mother asks what she can see and what would the Blessing tell her about herself, as those who had come to look at it before her, saw something vile hidden within them, and many had killed themselves because of it. When Jilly looks into the vast rock drawing debris through the middle of it, that looks very much like…well, you all know what it looks like, right?
   ‘That I’m right.’ Jilly replies, emotionally. She leans over the edge to look deep down the dark space below them. ‘How far does it go?’ She asks curiously.
   ‘All the way to the other side of the world.’ Mother replies.

In a Buenos Aires warehouse, Rex’s wound concerns him. He’s looking worse for wear and at this point we have no idea what gruelling punishment he had recently endured, so another twinge from the wound, we think nothing of it. But when you think about how close they are to the Blessing, it’s interesting how strong those twinges become, the nearer they become.

Gwen talks to her from a small hovel in Shanghai, comparing theirs to Rex and Esther’s accommodation, although Gwen has the added bonus of sharing a room with Oswald Danes. Esther smiles.
   ‘Just started looking for that Blessing. God help us. We're in two of the biggest cities on Earth. Try starting with the family of that arsonist, and I'm gonna go to a local library.’
   ‘You look after that weapon, OK? Jack's blood has got to be important.’ Gwen tells her. They end the phone call. Jack gets up and instantly feels pain from his wound. Gwen is beside him instantly and leads him towards his bed, on the lower bunk as Oswald looks across from his. Gwen eases Jack back on the bed and examines his wound, noting with shock that it’s still bleeding. Discarding the dressing on a chair, she fails to see the drop of blood that drips onto the floor, and move like lightning speed across the floor as she redresses Jack’s wound.
Jack feels tired. He feels now, as a mortal that he’s going to die.
   ‘Fine place to die, in old Shanghai.’
   ‘You’re not dying. Don’t say that.’ Gwen for sure can’t bear the thought of losing Jack, not here. Not now.
   ‘I’m tired Gwen. This mortal life, it hurts so much.’ It’s at this that you realise that although Jack is dragged back to life, as if dragged over broken glass, that the pain doesn’t last for an immortal. So, struggling through a constant nagging pain, would take him back to those times before the Doctor, before Rose and her immortal life giving powers.
   ‘Well, now. Can't say I've been to China before, so I'm not well versed in their customs. But I've got to say I never knew about that.’ Oswald says following the blood drop. Jack and Gwen follow the line too, Jack pulling himself up from the bed.

   ‘It’s your blood.’ Gwen says. ‘No wonder it’s killing you. I think, I think it’s showing us the way. It’s The Blessing. It’s somewhere over there.’ She says, looking out from the window at the bright centre of the city. ‘And I think whatever it is, it’s calling you, Jack.’
Jack stares out across the city in mild horror at what lies ahead, for him.

Join us for the final chapter in our June issue – The Blood Line.

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