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Torchwood: Miracle Day X

Sometimes you hate the things you love. I hate an entire season of The A-Team, most of an entire season of Angel, and almost two entire seasons of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. I'm not sure, therefore, why it bothers me so much that there are bits of Torchwood: Miracle Day that I don't like. Maybe it's because I loved season one an insane amount, and season two only a little bit less. Maybe it's because season one, despite being hated by almost every other science fiction fan on the planet, somehow seems to be one of my most favourite things in all the world. I don't know. Either way, it rankles. I want to grab the entire series, give it a big shake, and get rid of all the blatantly stupid bits. Actually, that's unfair. Torchwood has been blatantly stupid since the beginning. Demons, and pterodactyls, and talking fish, and Richard Briers in the middle of a giant, psychedelic octopus... These are the loud, colourful and stupendously silly things that made Torchwood great. Then it went to America, and became about talking very fast. Maybe "blatantly stupid" wasn't the phrase I was looking for. I think I probably just meant "dull".

Not that it's been all bad. It hasn't, by a long shot. The stuff back in Wales was mostly good. There was a fine old story there, trying to get out. Gwen's father, caught on the brink of death, hauled off to be incinerated by a government gone mad; Rhys trying to look after his baby daughter, with no idea if Gwen was ever coming back to him; PC Andy just trying to be a nice person in the middle of it all. It wasn't realised too well all of the time. PC Andy holding a dying girl's hand in tonight's episode is a case in point - talk about laying it on with a trowel. Nonetheless, the ideas were good. The little sub plot a few weeks back with Angelo was terrific. It went nowhere, it was entirely pointless, and if they'd really wanted to make it into anything significant, it shouldn't have all been shoe-horned into the one episode. Nonetheless, it was a fifty minute rush of pure joy. Jack, running about in history, having adventures, fighting bad guys and aliens, and deciding to have a companion, just like the Doctor does. Lots of dashing about in corridors, and firing guns, and long coats flapping, and giggling in the face of danger. I'm not sure why they made it, or what it was supposed to lead to, but I'm very glad it was there.

There were other moments too. Gwen blowing up half of Wales from the back of a motorbike; PC Andy just being there; anything involving Gwen being a mother and a gun-toting hardcase at the same time; every time Jack smirked at something; Oswald Danes doing anything at all whatsoever. Lots of good moments. Some really genuinely lovely moments. When they're all added up together, though, the final product is something that never really made much sense, never went anywhere, never led to anything, and didn't even have a proper ending. I'm left somewhat baffled.

To address episode ten specifically, then... Basically it was all about being on the brink. Everybody was racing to get to Point A or Point B, only to reach a stalemate when they got there. Then they found a way to get out of the stalemate, and stood around talking about it forever. Then the bad guys stood around letting the good guys win, without trying to stop them. Yes, okay, so Rex is a walking weapon. You can't shoot him. There are other ways of disarming and moving him, though. Honestly, there are. Hitting him would be a good start, especially when you've just conveniently shot his girlfriend, so he's busy being spectacularly distracted. Instead the super-powerful bad guys just stand there, whilst the good guys think up their plan, discuss it, and then enact it. It's like this hundred year old conspiracy just thought "Sod it," and walked away at the last moment. I don't entirely blame them, as they'd probably just realised how silly it all was. I could wish for a plan that's been brewing for a hundred years to not be quite so anti-climactic, but I can't say that I'm exactly surprised.

And then there's all those wince-inducing moments. Rex and Esther suddenly announcing that whilst they were off screen they had injected Rex with loads of Jack's blood, despite having just lamented the fact that it had all been destroyed. It's always so popular when you pull plot resolutions out of thin air like that... And speaking of the blood being destroyed - how convenient that Rex should suddenly double over in pain right before they were due to get into the truck that then promptly blew up. That whole scene was astonishingly bad. And then while we're on the subject of explosions; facing imminent unmasking as a traitor, CIA analyst Charlotte rigs a bomb to go off. A bomb that she's been keeping hidden in a filing cabinet, and that is, apparently, primed to go off the moment a brand new computer program she's never heard of before correctly identifies her cell phone number. Boy. Now that's what I call being prepared. On the plus side, the spectacularly bitchy way that she made sure the other researcher would blow up too was awesome. And while I'm mentioning good bits, Jilly's line about the advisability of giving Oswald a giant bomb, and then showing him the contents of his soul, was brilliant. Shame that it took place in a huge, protracted scene where the good guys and bad guys just chatted at each other for twenty minutes. It was like watching a daytime soap.

I don't mind Torchwood being daft. I don't mind it not entirely making sense. I do rather draw the line at ten weeks' worth of plot being entirely pointless, though. And then, at the end of it... huh? I think we can assume that The Jack Effect will wear off soon enough. In the coming months and years, as Rex's body makes more blood and cells, he will inevitably be left with nothing of Jack. Not that - as they said themselves, repeatedly - Jack's blood could possibly have granted anybody immortality anyway. Otherwise all those people in that cellar back in the twenties would undoubtedly also be immortal. They clearly forgot all that five minutes after saying it, though, so I guess we're supposed to as well. Anyway, Rex is immortal now? Because... Oh, never mind. It really doesn't make any sense. At all. It just screams the makers wanting their own American Jack Harkness to play with, and never mind that it destroys years of Doctor Who and Torchwood continuity in the process. Still, there genuinely is no way that it's lasting. Sorry Rex, but unless you got accidentally zapped by a TARDIS that was being channeled by an angry teenager, then you don't get to be immortal. And since all that actually did happen to you is that you ripped off a sticking plaster in a needlessly dramatic fashion, you're staying mortal. That's just the way that the world works, giant pink spongy tunnels notwithstanding.

So, yeah. Torchwood ended, possibly forever. I'd like to have seen it go out in more style, preferably in an adventure that made sense. I'd also like to have seen it go out in a secret, underground base with a pterodactyl nesting in the roof, but you can't have everything. Actually, yes you can. You can have season one, with its Weevils, pink clouds of gas, time travelling aeroplanes, and peculiarly lewd jokes about stopwatches. You can have season two, with its alien fish, time-travelling boyfriends, zombie doctors, and dodgy-looking space whales. Then there's season three, with tanks of green goo attempting to destroy society, and Ianto in a forklift, saving Jack by throwing him over a cliff. And, yes, season four. I'm pretty sure that a swashbuckling, murdering paedophile saving the world in a cellar in Shanghai is a world first.

Man, I love Torchwood. I have no idea what I've been watching for the last ten weeks, and there's no denying it had a rubbish, wet squib of an ending, but if that really was the end, at least it's been a fun ride. I did hate the last five minutes, I'll admit. The previous five years, however, I wouldn't have had any other way.

Except for fifty percent of the plot of Miracle Day, obviously, but I'm trying to end this on an up note. ;)


Gwen indulges in a rather hilariously awful monologue at the start of the episode.

Jilly realises that her new employers are stark raving mad. And then decides that actually she doesn't care, because it's much better working for homicidal megalomaniacs than it is doing PR for celebrities and politicians.

John Barrowman should always have to act opposite Bill Pullman. It helps him to remember 'subtle'.

Oswald Danes. Probably the only swashbuckling, child-killing dead man who ever helped save the world.

Q. He was cool, and then he blew up. Unsurprisingly, not a rare CV around here.

Jack looks inside his soul, and decides that he's actually quite cool. For a man who's lived for thousands of years, and seen the wonders of the universe, he can be remarkably slow at times.

Something explodes. Just for a change.

Goodbye then, season four. You didn't make a lot of sense, but I did like quite a lot of you. Other bits not so much, but it could have been a lot worse. Should have been a lot better, but wasn't, to nobody's lasting surprise.

If I'm taking one moral away from all of this, it's that if you live in a hole in the ground with a chocolate-guzzling pterodactyl, you should never ever leave. And I don't care how attractive the relocation package is.


( 10 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )
Sep. 16th, 2011 09:23 am (UTC)
"I'm taking one moral away from all of this, it's that if you live in a hole in the ground with a chocolate-guzzling pterodactyl, you should never ever leave."

I think that is wise advice for everyone - In fact I think it is going to be my motto for today. :)

Sep. 16th, 2011 01:44 pm (UTC)
I always like to offer good advice. ;)
Sep. 16th, 2011 09:37 am (UTC)
TW, Primeval and Dinosaurs!
I'm glad you enjoyed some of MD, sorry that you didn't enjoy more of it. Any chance you'll be writing some Jack fic soon-ish?

Hey, did you hear about the Canadian Primeval spin-off? If you use news dot google dot com and type in "Primeval", you should get some articles about it.

I'm pretty surprised I haven't seen you post about "Planet Dinosaur" yet, did you watch it? (yeah, checked to see what the ratings were like for TW and saw the show mentioned just before TW) If you did, what did you think of it?

Ooooooooooo... almost time for Jack to return on DOOL! Isn't he supposed to show up next week? Any idea what day?

Yes, I know, you can't wait for the week after, to see John Black return.
Sep. 16th, 2011 01:49 pm (UTC)
Re: TW, Primeval and Dinosaurs!
I don't write fan fiction anymore. Never say never of course, but it's not something that's likely to happen any time soon. Unless it does!

I did hear about the Canadian "Primeval", yes. Bit dubious, though. The official press release talks about a team of scientists and animal behavioural experts, and then goes on to claim that the cast will be "younger and sexier" than the British one. So presumably it'll be a team of animal behavioural expert teenagers, then?! Anyway, "younger and sexier" is usually just short hand for "the characters will be pretty, but will have no depth". Still, we'll see!

Not watched "Planet Dinosaur". I didn't like "Walking With Dinosaurs", so I've not bothered. I've heard that it did quite well, though.

As for Jack, reports vary. I read that he wasn't coming back until Friday, but I've also heard that they want to get his storyline started off before the other big returns - so maybe Thursday? His return might be Wednesday's cliffhanger or something.

You'll just have to watch all week. :p
Sep. 16th, 2011 09:13 pm (UTC)
Re: TW, Primeval and Dinosaurs!
:~( I hope it will happen! Why don't you write fanfic any more, no ideas, no interest any longer or what?

Ah, Canadian Primeval sounds like the last season of Forever Knight when USA picked it up... and decided that Nick and Nat (two of the main characters) were 'too old' (in their thirties) and needed a younger Nick and Nat (Vachon and Tracey) and, oh yeah, Janette (Deborah Duchene) wasn't sexy enough so she was dropped (Google Deb, Janette and FK for a laugh and see who was sexier, Tracey or Janette).

I'm sorry that the new dinosaur show isn't to your tastes. :~(

Oh well, I know where I'm going to go every day to read the recap of each day's episode, Dustin at dayscafe dot com. Saw the spoiler that Jack wasn't the one to write 'his' blog, it was a friend trying to do him a favour while Jack was out of touch with everyone. Bet the first time Jen sees Jack will be what was shown in that link you gave me to the Days preview, so we'll (well, I'll) have to wait until at least the 26th to see them interact.
Sep. 18th, 2011 06:23 pm (UTC)
Re: TW, Primeval and Dinosaurs!
No shortage of ideas, no. It's just not something that I really want to be doing anymore. I did a fanfic challenge a few months ago, though. Might try something like that again sometime.

I haven't visited Dustin's Days site in forever! Used to use it all the time, when I was trying to keep up with the show in my pre-broadband days. It's a good site to use, yes. A handy place for spoilers is http://www.dayscafe.com/, which runs day ahead/week ahead news. According to them, no Jack tomorrow.
Sep. 21st, 2011 06:38 pm (UTC)
Re: TW, Primeval and Dinosaurs!
Just read the latest Days Ahead, and Jack will be shown in the preview for Friday. Until then, he was the person not quite shown, phoning Jen, etc., this week. If DOOL was GH, Jack would be shown in the last segment on Friday but I hope I don't have to wait that long in the episode to see him.
Sep. 16th, 2011 11:41 am (UTC)
Yep. What you said.

I wonder if part of the problem is that they had too many writers, so couldn't get more of the plot points interweaving. There is a very good reason why JMS wrote well over half of B5.

Too much happening in the last episode. Why couldn't they have found the Blessing last week and then had this week to plan.

I think the explanation about Rex will be not that Jack's blood made him immortal, but that the Blessing did. In pouring mortal blood into both ends of the portal, the Blessing changed back all the immortals to mortal, and the motals to immortal. Because Rex had only Jack's blood in him, the blessing thought he was mortal and so switched him. Make sense?

Where was Richard Briars in Torchwood?
Sep. 16th, 2011 01:52 pm (UTC)
Your explanation certainly makes sense. I prefer my version, though, as it means that Rex doesn't get to stay that way! ;)

Richard Briers guested in season two of TW, right after Owen was revived. Around about episode nine, I think, called "A Day In The Death".
Sep. 16th, 2011 03:49 pm (UTC)
Ah, the really old guy in the bed. Only saw it once so that's why I don't remember him.
( 10 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )

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