TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY
Episode 10 - The Blood Line

546 Classification - Thank the Lord! It's Over!

Well, we got here at last! And I must say that writing these weekly reviews has turned into something of a war of attrition, where every seven days I've had to struggle to find new and amusing ways of saying 'this storyline's broken!". And so for that reason alone, I minded to be kindly about this final episode...

...Of course I bloody well won't! But it has to be said that The Blood Line IS an improvement on The Gathering - well as far as it is possible to make any improvement in the grand finale of a story that hinges around a massive rude looking gash in Mother Earth.

But there are some positives all the same. Firstly this closing chapter manages to have Jack and Gwen both on top form and doing what they do best, and at the same time unlike many of the previous instalments where we've have had one but not the other doing anything interesting. Secondly there is a rather neat extended confrontation with the Families' agents. I must admit I didn't see the blood switch trick Rex pulled coming and we had some real proper tension building in this stand-off over over two continents.

And thirdly, and possibly the most welcome, was the fact that considering this was a Russell T Davies finale, it was played out in a rather simple and restrained fashion rather than hurling everything the FX wizards can muster at the screen in a swirling maelstrom of logic defying plot holes.

But of course that's not to say that this episode wasn't thoroughly riddled with nonsense. Oh come on, don't look surprised! This is still an RTD script after all! Because if you were you looking for an explanation for the Blessing, forget it! Now, I'm not adverse to story tellers leaving a gap filled with mystery sometimes, and arguably the giant stone labia could qualify. However the scant details we do get about it, notably that it's two ends act as some species of morphic poles, only serves to increase the idiocy of the concept.

Now I could have bought the polar thing if they hadn't shown us a computer model that clearly shows that the colossal crack is off centre - tracing a point from Buenos Aires to Shanghai gives you a line that doesn't pass through the core of the earth . So while this may help some viewers reconcile its existence with small barriers to belief such as the entire field of geophysics, having a pole that doesn't pass through the centre of the earth - i.e .it's not a pole - only replaces the first foolishness with an equally massive hurdle to credibility.

Similarly the reveal that the Families plan to wreck the world with immortality in order to rebuilt it in their own image is similarly half-baked. As we're told they are effectively the secret puppet masters of the world anyway, did they really need this elaborate plot in the first place? Yes, they get immortality but honestly the Miracle isn't really worth having - eternal life coming with eternal pain and aging. But most damningly, we discover at the very end that this whole charade was just 'a trial run'... So effectively the whole Miracle was pretty much a colossal waste of everyone's time. Including yours.

Similarly the end of Dane's plot thread also proves how useless he was a character. Now don't get me wrong, I've really enjoyed Bill Pullman's performances, but in the end the character has been fraught with problems and ultimately serves no real purpose. And indeed how this finale plays out only serves to highlight how irrelevant the majority of what has gone before has been.

Seeing at last how the Miracle Day storyline concludes, I am inclined to suspect that is was originally planned as a five part affair and them clumsily expanded. And that would certainly explain a great deal about the many and varied dead ends and blind alleys the narrative has took us down. But I believe I have harped on about the poor story structure more than enough in previous reviews, so then let's skip to the end.

I doubt many are going to happy with the fact that Davies chooses to kill off Esther, who appeared to strike a chord with most viewers, instead of Rex, who everyone has decried as having all the depth of a cardboard cut-out. And then to add insult to injury, he makes 'the assholey one' of the team immortal. Yes, having Jack's blood as somehow infected Rex with the Captain's same indestructible nature. Insert your own stream of tired, bitter abuse here...

...And the stage is also conveniently left wide open for another series. Or to be rather less charitable, there's a whole mess of plot threads left flapping for another season. And I have to say that the prospect of another ten episodes like this fills me with more tension and dread than the entirety of Miracle Day managed in its frustrating two and half month lifespan.

Now I don't hate Torchwood, and even the messy disappointment this series turned out to be doesn't make me want to see the show vanish forever. Indeed I used to enjoy the series and I still believe the format has potential (and if you want to hear how I'd fix it check out HYPNOBOBS 46 - Torchopsy). However at the same time, I rather suspect that this debacle may well have cooked the Torchwood goose, and what's so galling is that it is the show's own creator who has served up the sauce. And with Starz seemingly not rushing to stump up for another series, the ultimate irony of Miracle Day is that while the world became immortal, the show may have expired...


JIM MOON, 15th September 2011


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