Torchwood: Miracle Day (Episode Three: Dead Of Night) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Torchwood: Miracle Day (Episode Three: Dead Of Night)

Starz, Fridays, 10/9 Central

Jul 22, 2011 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

The episode kicks off with Torchwood vets Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) and Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) on the run, alongside captor-turned-cohort C.I.A. agent Rex Matheson (Mekhi Phifer) and green-at-the game analyst Ester Drummond (Alexa Havins). Thanks to “Miracle Day”—an event a few days earlier where mankind ceased to die, the human race is in chaos: half morning the loss of their souls, the other half falling into Dionysian excess. The team has their work cut out for them. Who’s behind this cataclysmic worldwide shift? Will the healthcare system crack under the unique pressure? Is it really a good time to eat, drink, and be merry—if you’re the only guy in the world who can still die? (Mild spoilers: Someone with something to gain, it already has, and…duh.)

This would be well and good if it weren’t for the snail’s pace at which it’s all addressed. It’s fun to see the dynamics of the group shift from hostile to friendly, but too much time—and tension—is lost to a cutesy “you say po-tay-to/I say po-tah-to” style discussion about the differences between the UK and America. (Although fans of Doctor Who will appreciate a clever nod to the series.)

The narrative lag is particularly frustrating, given the superb elements of tension that are introduced and then just as quickly discarded. Ester makes a rookie mistake, Rex calls on a friend that may-or-may not be trusted…ect. But the action seems contrived to illustrate little more than that the new characters are still experiencing a Torchwood learning curve. Granted, with a ten-episode season, not every one can be as action-packed as the previous Children of Earth arc—but given the dire circumstances (Cholera! Potential starvation! Unrequited love!) it would be nice to see our characters race against a louder ticking clock.

The revelation here continues to be Bill Pullman’s stunning performance as murder/rapist Oswald Danes. Entire scenes turn on his stomach-turning, multi-layered persona, and finally—in the tantalizing final moments of the episode—he’s given more to do than perfect his hangdog expression. The implications to his newly expanded role in the narrative could point to a dramatic uptick in the action of future episodes. While a bit too plodding for its own good, this episode still has the potential to be a powerful pivot point for the new season. (

Author rating: 6/10

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Average reader rating: 5/10


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A. A. Roi
July 23rd 2011

Speaking about who’s behind the worldwide shift, while the team is searching after leads, why did no one wonder how those masks for those people with candles (not to mention their insta-cult) were mass-produced and in full distribution to a vast group of people mere days after the whole things starts?  I’m very suspicious.