Torchwood: Miracle Day 5
Dr Vera Juarex (Arlene Tur) is going to get hot under the collar when she finds out what is happening... © BBC Worldwide Productions/Starz/BBC 2011

There’s a burning question this episode – what’s happening to all the people who should have died? What are these overflow centers where the ‘not-dead’ have been sent?

So now Gwen’s flown back to Wales to meet up with hubby and then ‘rescue’ her father from a fate worse than death, if death still existed… Meanwhile, the rest of the group – I can’t really call them a team as they all do whatever they please – decide that they need to infiltrate the nearby “Overflow” facility; that’s where the “people who should be dead” go.

It’s all rather remarkable. One week there seems to be an enemy who knows every move they make, and then the next they’re going all over the place practically without a care in the world. What it is to be a member of Torchwood!

Torchwood: Miracle Day 5 - Eve Myles
Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) gives the sort of help no-one wants... © BBC Worldwide Productions/Starz/BBC 2011

Back to Gwen. First she sounds off at a soldier who treats her with the contempt she so deserves, and then – amazingly easily – infiltrates the Cardiff Overflow camp, with hubby, quickly finds her father, and then drags him off to their escape lorry. Oh dear, he has another heart attack; Gwen’s plan is not going quite right! Maybe if she’d done what they always do in hospitals, and put the sick person on a trolley he might have had a chance. But then having such an idiotic daughter he never reall had a chance…

Back in the US, Jack mysteriously detects that Rex and Vera have had a liaison and are strongly attracted to each other. How he does this I cannot imagine. Perhaps he’s seen the script? I’ve certainly not seen any sign, apart from the obvious sex scene and some very mild banter.

Torchwood: Miracle Day 5 - John Barrowman
Captain Jack (John Barrowman) sends some time standing mysteriously in corridors © BBC Worldwide Productions/Starz/BBC 2011

So off Vera trundles, getting into the LA Overflow camp and encountering the boss, Colin Maloney, who is one of the worst over-the-top clichés I’ve seen for some time. Could such a prat really be in such a position of authority? I know times are desperate, but really… Then when Vera discovers some of the unpleasant truths of the camp she sounds off Mr Maloney, who panics and shoots her – as you do. So does she pause to consider what happen, perhaps alter her approach? No, she goes into an uncharacteristic rant, and gets shot again! Well I never, who could imagine that would happen? Then we go into super-farce territory as a bewildered soldier is ‘forced’ to help Maloney dispose of the riddled body.

Meanwhile, Rex has managed to get into a mysterious ‘module’ where the ‘brain dead’ not-dead are taken with his video camera. Now we have seen lots of computer hardware so far, so why isn’t what he sees being directly transmitted to one of the Torchwood computers? Except that no one is left at their HQ – they’re all off doing their own thing!

But Rex is in time to see what happens in the module, in particular to Vera. Oh dear – not very nice.

Torchwood: Miracle Day 3 - Alexa Havins
Esther Drummond (Alexa Havins) thinks she's useless, well... © BBC/BBC Worldwide Productions/Starz 2011

But why is this happening? Was the Miracle created for this outcome? It doesn’t make sense. I hope it eventually will, but I’m not holding my breath as Russell T Davies is notorious for pulling a rabbit out of a hat to finish his ‘stories’. Still, we have another 5 weeks to get through, so there is some hope…

Vera’s fate was a real surprise, and that makes this a slightly better episode. My problem is that I’m not engaging with the idea that the Earth is exploding with over-population and that the world of Torchwood is in danger. Everything looks the same; the streets, the beach, the rally, everything! There is no growing feeling of menace or danger. Even the Overflow camps, which are meant to be oh-so-secure, have lots of people wandering around. People say the right words, but the only danger seems to be from a nutty camp commandant and a disinterested secretary. The “dead” just lie around on beds, or complain. It should be starting to feel like 1984, but it’s empty, insubstantial.


[Rating: 2]


Jan Vincent-Rudzki

UK editor of Film Review Online