TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY Recap: 'The Gathering' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY Recap: ‘The Gathering’

September 3, 2011 by  

TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY began its penultimate episode by flashing forward two months, a reveal that cheapened last week’s cliffhanger dreadfully. We ended last week with Esther driving a wounded Jack away from a crime scene, repeating, “I don’t know what to do” over and over. Well, I guess the writers didn’t know what to do, either, since they time-jumped and wrote away the suspense with an off-handed remark about Gwen stepping in to get them out of the country. What could have been a defining plot point for Esther ended up as just another moment where she’s outshined by her teammates. She is, however, banking Jack’s blood in a mini-fridge, and if that turns out to be useful next week, I’ll give her some credit back.

When she’s not intervening to get her friends out of America, Gwen is holed up in Wales protecting her father. See, the overflow camps are open again — but this time, the burning policy is public knowledge. All Category One patients are considered already dead, and are required to be delivered to the camps for disposal. This has led some families, including Gwen’s, to hide their Category One loved ones. Gwen’s father is being kept in a basement room behind a false wall, with government investigators popping by every once in a while to try and catch them concealing a patient.

Rex is back at CIA headquarters, where he’s doing the best investigative work this show has seen all season. It involves a novelist who Rex believes wrote a story based on the night Jack was repeatedly murdered. That guy’s family disappeared, and the writer himself was murdered. Sounds like a dead end, until Rex uncovers that the CIA still has the murder weapon — including bloo d— in evidence. Now they can trace The Family. (Meanwhile, that CIA agent who’s a mole for The Family is shaking in her boots, but of course her coworkers don’t notice.)

Jilly Kitzinger’s been given a new name (Lucy Stanton Meredith) and transported around the world, promised to be delivered to The Blessing.

And Oswald Danes has tracked down Gwen in truly creepmonster fashion, and he wants in. He asks her for access to Jack, in exchange for, he promises, the name of the person who created the Miracle. Soon enough, she’s having a late-night gathering with Jack, Esther, and Danes at her mother’s kitchen table. Unfortunately, the name Oswald has (“Harry Bosco”) isn’t a name at all, but rather a Cold War-era process of hiding information in bad translations and subtle subterfuge.

They figure out that Jilly has been Harry Bosco-ing media clips on behalf of The Family, and track down one specific clip that, when properly translated, connects The Blessing to Shanghai, China. (You may recall that several weeks ago, that Chinese PhiCorp employee jumped to his death after seeing something — may we now presume that was The Blessing?) It also connects them to a blood bank fire in Shanghai, and then to another blood bank fire in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Rhys gets to play hero for a second, when he realizes that Shanghai and Argentina are antipodes, points on precise opposite sides of the earth. This whole sequence is fun and suspenseful, because it feels like actual clues leading Torchwood (and us viewers) to The Blessing, and to the resolution of Miracle Day.

Unfortunately, their streak of good investigating is broken when Welsh police bust into the house to find and take away Gwen’s father. It’s excruciatingly sad to see Gwen beg for her father’s life, and to see Gwen’s mother say a tearful goodbye as they load her husband into the ambulance. But I can’t help but think that Gwen’s father is, compared to other TORCHWOOD characters, expendable. At least it’s not Rhys, and good heavens, at least it’s not Anwen.

With their first solid lead in weeks, Gwen, Jack, and Oswald Danes are off to Shanghai, while Esther flies out to rendezvous with Rex in Buenos Aires. Unbeknownst to Rex, The Family is hot on his trail, thanks to the CIA mole. And unbeknownst to Team Gwen, Jilly is also in Shanghai — getting her first eyeful of The Blessing. She’s escorted by an unnamed blond woman (played by Frances Fisher, who I haven’t trusted since she sold out Scully’s baby to the aliens on THE X-FILES), who answers a few questions about the nature of this phenomenon.

We’ve been waiting nine weeks for this reveal, and it doesn’t disappoint. There aren’t a lot of answers yet (even though we’ve now seen The Blessing), but there are a lot of interesting tidbits to speculate on:

  • The Blessing makes you feel weird inside. The blond woman says it’s like “your skin’s a little too tight.” Eep.
  • The Blessing may be a living thing, and may be sentient. No one really knows, but it seems to be able to communicate.
  • The theory amongst these shadowy Family people is that The Blessing “shows you to yourself.” It has been known to cause people to kill themselves, if what they are holding inside is bad enough.
  • It’s a big hole, cutting right through the earth, presumably from Shanghai all the way to Buenos Aires.
  • In some freaky way, it’s pulling Jack toward it. A blood drop from Jack’s body slides across the floor in a clear direction — Gwen suggests it’s The Blessing “calling” him. Ouch.

So now we know what The Blessing is (kind of), and who’s controlling it. What we don’t know is who created it, what The Family wants with Jack, and what’s going to happen when (if?) they can turn it off. Will there still be a big hole in the earth, or will it just seal itself off? Also, wouldn’t a big antipodal hole cause some geological or gravity-related problems?

Next week — the season finale! I’m expecting good answers … and sad deaths. Will it be the end of the road for Rex once The Miracle reverses? Should I fear for likable but disposable characters like Esther and Rhys? Or should I only fear an unsatisfying ending to this journey?

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2 Responses to “TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY Recap: ‘The Gathering’”

  1. Mike Edenfield on September 7th, 2011 2:01 pm

    An antipodal hole that small probably wouldn’t cause any geological problems. Gravity would still be effectively focused at the exact center of the planet, and the magnetic field is caused by convection in the molten iron outer core; unless you changed the rotational characteristics of the core, the field would be fine.

    *Making* it would require way-beyond-current-human technology. Of course, it’s Torchwood, so “aliens tech did it” is almost guaranteed to be the explanation, but the problems to overcome trying to make one of those are myriad:

    For starters, even a tiny hole that deep holds a ridiculous amount (relative to human scales) of dirt and rock you’d have to stash somewhere, and that’s just the first 25 miles of crust. Then you get to the “plasticy-rock” mantle for 1800 miles, then molten rock for 1400 miles, then 700 miles of insanely dense solid iron. You’d have to do that on both sides, somehow keeping the outer core from flooding into your hole or the inner core (experiencing enough gravity to reshape *the entire planet* into a sphere) from crushing your equipment. Then you have to deal with the fact that the inner core may actually spin faster than the rest of the planet, meaning your antipodal hole would go out of alignment by about 1/2 a degree per year.

    (At least they got the cities right.. Argentina and China are among the very few places on Earth where two large land masses sit antipodal to each other.. most of the world is antipodal to an ocean.)

  2. Bob on September 10th, 2011 11:56 am

    Mike, I take it you don’t know what Science Fiction is, they make it up to fit the storyline.

    It’s like saying Jack can’t be from the 52nd Century, as time travel to the past is impossible, as you need the reference point from where the time machine was developed, but the Tardis, and Jacks machinery seem to be able to go anywhere.