Dead of Night
(Ep3 of Torchwood Miracle Day)
The third episode is a pause in the frenetic action sequences so far, for some “character time”…
It’s the first episode with “Writer – Jane Espenson” as its credit (who was also one the five people who were either an executive producer or co-executive producer of this season) – mentioned as she has some sort of writer credit on half the season, on Ep3, Ep5, Ep7, Ep8, and Ep10 and so can be said to be RTD’s second-in-command for the writing. (Though she’s written of the writer’s room method of scripting this season, emphasising that although certain writers scripted episodes, it really was a collaborative process as they talked longer than planned to ensure all the smaller plots meshed correctly.)
Although RTD only has some sort of writer credit on Ep1 and Ep10, each episode is “Created by Russell T Davies”, and he of course briefed the team of writers as to the overall storyline, in much the same way as he would have on a season of Doctor Who.
CIA members are Esther and Rex are welcomed into Torchwood. Jane Espenson has experience of crafting characterful SF (Buffy, BSG to mention just some) and the scene in which Esther and Gwen have a heart-to-heart is a good one.
Rex isn’t quite sure what’s going on, and he finds some solace in the arms of Dr Vera Juarez.
The episode has scenes of that tryst mixed with Jack’s encounter with his own solace. There was controversy as – because there seems to be different levels of watershed, 9pm is not quite “anything goes” – the UK version of the episodes didn’t show quite as much of Rex’s and Jack’s scenes as the USA version.
Although Jack seems to have moved on from Ianto with this new man, the episode makes it clear that he hasn’t forgotten.
In between all this, Torchwood find time to further the plot: after following leads, they find that PhiCorp has been stockpiling painkillers. As Vera has been invited by Kitzinger to a PhiCorp meeting, they’re able to plan their next mission.
Danes after some wavering finally accepts Kitzinger’s offer of representation, and he’s brought in to speak at the PhiCorp event.
The big confrontation between Oswald Danes and Jack means the plot strands are being woven together, with the main villain so far (Danes) meeting the ostensible main hero of the story, Jack. It’s an interesting scene, and by the episode’s end all the main characters are sketched in that much more.
There’s many plot-threads whirling about – PhiCorp, the masked “Soulless”, the mystery of the Miracle Day – and it’s a more meandering story than Torchwood Children of Earth. The characterful scenes though are making for a fascinating drama, and there’s seven more episodes for the plot to flow.
Quantity-ratings (click here for guide to rating system):
Episode Quality-rating: 4/5
Next Torchwood review is Thursday, with the Top 10 Doctor Who monsters countdown continuing on Saturday.