(Ep2 of Torchwood Miracle Day)
The 2006 film Snakes on a Plane has its extreme high concept spelled out the title. This episode has its own quite high concept, but the title “Rendition” is only half the story.
“What if Torchwood were subject to extraordinary rendition by a CIA aeroplane?” could be this episode’s concept, but really it’s “Double agent on a plane”.
Agent Peterfield, (played by Dichen Lachman) is that double agent. We see that’s she’s communicating with someone in a position of authority in the CIA, the guy who’s quizzing Esther in America while Rex and Torchwood are over the Atlantic. (It’s Wayne Knight playing CIA director Friedkin. We see this character consulting his phone as a mysterious triangle appears on it screen, directing his actions. Another mystery.)
Leaving aside this rogue element of the CIA (or are they rogue? Are Rex and Esther about to become rogue by siding with Torchwood?) the other, main, villain: the media fascination with Oswald Danes continues.
Lauren Ambrose’s Jilly Kitzinger is introduced. This blog is a big fan of her in Six Feet Under so was thrilled to hear of her casting. (The whole cast of this Torchwood season is phenomenal really. Mekhi Phifer is not exactly cast against type – headstrong argumentative dude – but he plays that character type so well he’s always a joy to watch.) The character of Kitzinger is an interesting one.
There’s something being said about our modern media of today with this Oswald Danes plot-strand – not quite sure what quite yet. Of course this isn’t our world, but this New World after the Miracle Day, with no-one dying. Would this character really be one that some people would begin to listen to, for some sort of guidance to this new situation? (Kitzinger is keen to be Danes’s PR agent.)
Vera, (the Doctor who patched Rex up in episode one) is able to advise the team on how to save Jack.
It’s a good bit of science in this Sci-Fi with the chemistry of creating the antidote. Also, definitely different for Torchwood that a plot would hinge on Jack being mortal. Gwen is engagingly energetic as she scrambles to concoct the magic potion.
Esther manages to get word to Rex about what’s happening (and she and Vera join Rex and the Torchwood duo).
A new Torchwood team, of five? It seems that Rex’s rendition hasn’t gone quite to plan and they are all on the run. It’s a more relaxed pace then than the previous season, the plotlines are woven more gradually, but the characters are so fascinating it’s still great TV even with a journey from A to B being what the episode is about.
Still, the status quo has changed. It’s not just Jack and Gwen trying to solve the mystery.
Quantity-ratings (click here for guide to rating system):
Episode Quality-rating: 4/5
This Saturday, the Top 10 Doctor Who monsters countdown begins. Next Torchwood review is Tuesday of next week! (Miracle Day will be reviewed over 5 weeks, reviews Tuesday and Thursday.)