Review: “Torchwood: Miracle Day” Ep 3: “Dead of Night”

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No, not Ianto. Nor Alonso. I'm Brad. I'll be your one-night stand this evening. Shall we proceed to the bed?

Rating:  ☆ ☆ ☆ 1/2

It’s Pharma’s biggest wet dream come true. The “miracle” that has plagued the world has proven a boon to pharmaceutical company Phicorp, with its non-narcotic painkillers proving to be the only solution for a population unable to die but continuing to experience pain. But the convenience of Phicorp’s suddenly integral role in the whole scheme of things–the company seems to have Congress on its side, with legislation in the pipeline to make drugs accessible without prescription, essentially clearing the way for exponential profit–seems suspect to the new Torchwood team. Not only may Phicorp be simply leveraging the situation, it may have anticipated–and perhaps even instigated–the miracle in the first place.

The “Miracle Day” plot continues to thicken with “Dead of Night,” written by Jane Espenson, though with not quite the thrill of the two episodes that preceded it. But I suppose that’s to be expected in a serialized story line. You’re bound to have “in-betweeners” that help set up bigger bangs in later episodes. Still, I wouldn’t skip over this one (and believe me, I’ll let you know if a waste episode comes along that you can fast forward through).

On the lam in their makeshift HQ, and with no one to trust, the two Americans and two Brits (well, Jack is of questionable nationality…being from the 51st century and all) comprising the new Torchwood team must, out of necessity, learn to be just that:  a team. The opening scenes make for some funny working-out-the-cultural-kinks (“chips” instead of “crisps”; “cell” instead of “mobile”). Oddly enough, I’m particularly liking Gwen these days. I hated the sorta-ingenue role she’s had to take on in previous seasons/series; this time, she’s a veritable pro and a bona fide kicker of arse (as a consequence, I’ve now transferred my annoyance to new rookie Esther Drummond).

How Jack makes love: All clothes off, but with his Vortex Manipulator still on. Just in case he wants to engage in time travel mid-sex, I guess. Not really the best way to, er, "withdraw," but hey, whatever floats your boat, haha.

Amid a relatively blah episode, the controversial gay sex scene (which the BBC had edited out but which was left intact for the Starz broadcast) was perhaps for some the standout moment of the night. “Mortal man, mortal needs,” Jack says, upon spotting a gay bar, where he proceeds to meet, and hook up with, the bartender (and just in case you want to know, his name is Dillon Casey). The sex scene the follows is intercut with a parallel sex scene between Rex Matheson and Dr. Juarez, I suppose to dilute the “gayness” factor of the show and keep the heterosexual contingency drawn in. It is quite hot, though the insertion (pun half-intended…I had to write an accompanying joke to the photo caption to the right) of the Rex-Vera scenes did make it feel like a bit of a de-gaying exercise. (I’m being a little facetious, yes!).

The climactic face-off between Jack and Oswald Danes is perhaps an interesting throwaway moment for those new to the show, but meaningful for those with prior knowledge about what had happened in the previous season/series of “Torchwood.” In “Children of Earth,” we witness Jack take on the role of child-killer. But unlike Jack, full of remorse over the sacrifice of a child’s life, Oswald reveals candidly that the apologies he’s been doling out for his past pedophilic and murderous actions have all been for show. With Phicorp having allied itself with him, even providing him with bodyguards, we now have a clear picture of the “villains” of the series.

We’re watching the “rising action” unfold in this current “Torchwood” series, and I’m eagerly looking forward to uncovering more of the plot–and perhaps a bit more man-on-man action under the sheets–in episodes to come. (Blimey, the sexual innuendo just seems to write itself. Sheesh!).

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