TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY Series Premiere Recap - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY Series Premiere Recap

July 9, 2011 by  

Friday’s premiere of TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY involved intense, American-style action sequences, a pond-hopping chase to reunite old friends, and loads of exposition. (By my count, the word “Torchwood” was spoken 33 times.) For this, our first recap for the series, let’s organize our thoughts by character as we reflect on last night’s events…

Oswald Danes (Bill Pullman) is a convicted pedophile and murderer whose execution goes awry when the Miracle prevents him from actually dying. The show wasted no time letting us know just how awful this guy really is; we learn in the first scene that the former teacher’s justification for raping and murdering a young girl was, “She should’ve run faster.” But when Danes’s lethal injection turns out to be, well, not lethal, the real challenge to the U.S. Constitution is revealed. Danes’s sentence was carried out, and with his survival declared an “act of God,” state authorities have no choice but to release him on parole.

Audience surrogate Esther Drummond (Alexa Havins) is a mid-level CIA agent who’s now investigating both the Miracle and the Torchwood Institute. At the exact moment the Miracle hit the planet, the computers of every CIA station chief are pinged with one word: Torchwood. Shortly after, a mysterious computer virus wipes all mentions of the Institute from every corner of the World Wide Web. Esther goes old-school to access hard copies of Torchwood files; it is on this mission that she meets Captain Jack Harkness, our hero, who fills her in on the details of the Institute…before using a drug called “ret-con” to wipe her memory. Esther is also the first to suspect that Torchwood is related to the Miracle. She may be the least defined character so far, but her eagerness and her sharp investigative mind make her likable right out of the gate.

Rex Matheson (Mekhi Phifer) is Esther’s superior, who is impaled by several thick poles in a gruesome car crash in the early minutes of the episode. He’s a cocky American whose attitude is matched by a dedication to his job, which finds him dragging his holey-chested self onto a plane to the United Kingdom for a Torchwood track-down. We’re left to wonder now if Rex is living on borrowed time—and what will happen to him when (if?) they reverse the Miracle. It’s unclear for now if people are miraculously healing, as well, or just not dying.

Our heroine, Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles), is holed up in a cliffside cottage with her family, trying to avoid being found out now that Torchwood is gone. Driving her out of hiding, though, are her commitments to her father and to Captain Jack. In the first half of the episode, Gwen is called to see her father, who was brought to the hospital after a mild heart attack. Because of the moderate severity of this cardiac event, no one knows whether or not Gwen’s father should have died as a result, or whether he would have survived even without the Miracle. Despite a lingering yearning to investigate, Gwen ultimately accepts her husband Rhys’s request to go back home and continue living in solitude. But when Rex and Jack show up at her doorstep—just in time to help her family escape a missile attack from bad guys in a black helicopter—Gwen doesn’t really hesitate to join up with them.

Her husband, Rhys Williams (Kai Owen) is none too happy with this arrangement, having spent the entire episode convincing Gwen to leave Torchwood in the past. The pair have a noisy fight in the basement of a hospital, where he begs her to think of their baby daughter, Anwen, and forget about her life before. “Think about Anwen. Maybe our daughter’s going to live forever,” he tells her, his final plea for her to stop thinking of the past. We can see how conflicted she is when she responds, “Don’t. Don’t do this—this thing. Don’t—Do you think she could?” It’s nicely set up here that the couple is very happy together, and that they love each other very much, but that Gwen’s investigative passion, her need to be part of the Torchwood team, could very well drive them apart. At the end of the episode, Rex extradites Torchwood to America, but it’s unclear if his rendition involves Rhys and Anwen, as well.

Finally, there’s our hero, Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman), whose entrance is delayed until well into the episode, when he rescues Esther from a suicide bomber by bringing her with him through a second-story window and into the fountain below. He spends a great deal of the episode doing underground investigative work and covering up the Torchwood conspiracy. (Turns out, it wasn’t him who sent out the initial Torchwood message, but it was Jack who sent the virus that eradicated Torchwood from the entire Internet.) The biggest piece of news on Jack here is that, while the Miracle prevented most people from dying, it’s actually had the opposite effect on the Captain, who was once thought immortal. Now faced with cuts and bruises that won’t heal, Jack’s become the world’s most vulnerable man.

We also got our first hint at who the Miracle Day perpetrators could be. While investigating the Miracle in a morgue, a medical investigator tells Jack (undercover as an FBI agent named Owen Harper) that it’s as though the human race has been “changed by design,” and speculates that “no one on this earth” could have done this. Could it be ALIENS?

Who do you think is behind Miracle Day? And what are you looking forward to in the coming weeks? Sound off in the comments!

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