TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY Recap: 'Immortal Sins' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY Recap: ‘Immortal Sins’

August 20, 2011 by  

We slowed down the pace for last night’s TORCHWOOD, telling two character-driven stories from two different periods of Jack’s life. In present-day, Gwen will stop at literally nothing to save Anwen (and Rhys and Mary) from their captors, even if that means sacrificing Jack. We spend most of their story in the car, as Gwen drives a tied-down Jack toward a rendezvous with some bad guys. It’s interspersed with flashbacks to 1927, where Jack is on a very different adventure with Angelo, a young Italian immigrant.

After trying to fake immigration papers — and being called out by Jack — Angelo is locked in an Ellis Island holding facility, until Jack, feeling merciful, helps him better falsify documents and get released. The two move into a boarding room in Little Italy together, and even though Angelo offers to sleep on the floor, they start sharing pretty quickly, if you know what I mean. Before long, they’re bootleggers, selling a church’s communion wine for a profit. They ended up getting involved with Italian mobsters, who task them with moving a box from one location to another — with strict instructions not to look inside.

Of course, when they get to the box, the first thing Jack does is crack open the box, revealing the most alien element of TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY thus far: it’s a parasite from another planet. “It’s a species of brain spawn, treated as vermin on more than 150 planets that I know of,” Jack says. The parasite drills into the host’s brain and deposits larvae. (Yuck.) Slowly, over a period of years, the host goes insane. The intended recipient of this particular parasite is future New York Governor Franklin Roosevelt; by shooting this parasite dead, Jack prevents the Nazis from controlling the world. (Or something.) There’s a big conversation about changing the future by creating chaos, which is pretty confusing, and it’s all moot anyway when the cops catch up with them. Jack is shot at point blank range in the forehead, and Angelo is sent to Sing Sing for a year.

Upon his release, he’s obviously pretty freaked out to see Jack meet him at the door. Angelo is Catholic, but he’s been struggling with his faith since realizing his attraction to men. And although he lets Jack into his bed again, Angelo soon turns the tables on his lover, stabbing him multiple times while swearing that he must be the devil.

What follows is one of the most disturbing sequences this show has ever aired: Angelo brings the landlords (a butcher and his wife) up to witness this miracle; the butcher tries in vain to kill Jack. He’s tied up like meat in the basement, as neighbors take turns stabbing, shooting, and otherwise mutilating Jack’s body, only to watch him return to life again and again. Women collect his blood like some kind of sacrament. Eventually, three men are brought into the room to purchase Jack from the butcher for $10,000. They form a partnership, formalizing their deal with a three-way handshake that leaves their arms in the shape of a triangle. This, right here, somehow, is the origin of the Miracle. Remember that the triangle symbol has popped up throughout the season in mysterious ways, all related to the forces behind Miracle Day. Whether Jack’s collected blood or the weird alien parasite are also involved remains to be seen, but at least there are more pieces on the table now, even if they don’t all fit together yet.

Angelo helps Jack escape before the three men can take him, hoping they can move to the west coast together. Jack isn’t really feeling it, though, and I can appreciate that — the guy did just put him in a position to get murdered dozens of times in one night. Jack sneaks away and presumably never sees Angelo again.

Back in the present, Gwen isn’t in the mood to talk. When Jack comes to in the car, understandably upset about his predicament, Gwen demands he start thinking. “This is all your fault,” she tells him. “They want to kill you, but why do they want to do that? What have you done? You’ve done something, haven’t you? Way back when, in that long bloody life of yours. God, you’ve lived so long, you can’t remember half of it — now, you think.” On the drive, even with a prisoner in her backseat and her child’s kidnappers in her eyes, she is not to be trifled with.

And here is where Gwen makes her priorities clear: she’ll choose Anwen over Jack any day. “I swear, for her sake, I will see you killed like a dog, right in front of me, if it means her back in my arms,” she says. He understands, but confesses, “Now that I’m mortal, I’m going to hang onto this with everything I’ve got. I love you, Gwen Cooper, but I will rip your skin from your skull before I let you take this away from me.”

I have to say, it’s hard not to side with Gwen. Her motivation is protecting the daughter she loves more than life itself. Jack, who’s lived for countless years already, just sounds selfish.

At the rendezvous point, some well-dressed mystery-type folks hop out of a car, prepared to take Jack into their custody. Unfortunately for them, Rex and Esther (remember them?) are up on a ridge with a sniper rifle, drawing beads on the bad guys. Turns out, Esther used her computer to check the history on Gwen’s lenses, and when she sees the messages about babynapping and sacrificing Jack, she’s understandably alarmed. Now, I understand that Gwen wasn’t thinking clearly when she decided to just flat-out deliver Jack to the eye messengers. But would it have been that hard to tip off Rex and Esther and bring along some backup on purpose? Rex agrees: “Next time, just ask for help. I’m sick of Torchwood acting like amateur clowns.” Word.

Rex and Esther stop the mystery folks, then place a call for the Welsh equivalent of a SWAT Team to barge in and rescue Gwen’s family. Everyone is okay! Hugs all around!

Unfortunately, mystery lady isn’t quite done. In fact, it turns out she could’ve probably gotten Jack to come with her just by piquing his curiosity. The babynapping probably wasn’t even necessary. “You’ll want to come with me,” she says, “Because I can take you to the one man who knows how the Miracle began.”

And who is that?

“Angelo.” And he’s been waiting a long time.

What’s interesting is that we don’t know whether Angelo had already figured out how to make himself immortal, pre-Miracle, or if he’s just a guy who managed to live to 110-ish on clean living and Italian food. Also, what prompted him to seek out Jack? Revenge? Curiosity? Greed, evil, power?

Finally, I get that Jack’s been through a lot, and that being hog-tied and stabbed repeatedly in a prohibition-era basement might not even register on his life’s list of bad days, but did he really never try and follow up on the Triangle Men or the blood-collecting women, or think it might be relevant when this whole Miracle Day thing started happening?

I’m fascinated to see a potential Jack/Angelo reunion next week, and to possibly get some answers about the guys who kickstarted the Miracle. I’m also glad to know Anwen’s safe again (for now), and that the enemy has a face again. While this episode was a nice and necessary change of pace, let’s get back to the action.

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