Torchwood: “The Middle Men”

Posted on August 13, 2011

We’ll give the creators credit: when they spin their wheels, you can’t always tell.

Last week’s episode ended with Vera dead; Rex and Esther stuck inside the San Pedro overflow camp, and Gwen and Rhys inside the Wales overflow camp, trying to get her father out. Forty-five minutes into this episode, Vera was still dead, Rex and Esther were still stuck inside San Pedro, and Gwen and Rhys were still trying to get Gwen’s father out of the Wales camp. That there was a flurry of activity in the last 15 minutes doesn’t really excuse the previous 45 minutes of wheel-spinning, but it did a pretty good job of making you forget about them.

And sure, there were explosions and unlikely combat between 80-lb wimpy CIA analysts in 5-inch heels and large, murderous middle managers; plus, creepy threats delivered via contact lenses, but there was virtually no movement on the plot. We got a sort of “confirmation” (from an EXTREMELY questionable source) that Phicorp isn’t pulling the strings, but we’d already heard information to that effect. No explanation was given as to why people are being incinerated, though. And since incineration is being treated in-story, with no questions asked, as an actual way of achieving death (i.e., Vera is considered dead, as is everyone who’s been incinerated and we see no reason not to accept that unless they’re going to try to posit that dust has a consciousness, at which point our suspension of disbelief might just shatter) … then, what’s the problem?

Despite seeing no evidence of it outside of a lot of people on gurneys, we are told again and again, that “healthcare” is the big problem in a post-Miracle Day world. In fact, it’s pretty much the only problem; or at least, the only problem the story is focusing on, outside of people joining cults or jumping off buildings. We’re supposed to accept that the entire worldwide healthcare industry would be brought to the brink of collapse within weeks or months and that people are pitching themselves off of buildings because a couple months without death would…what? Why are people tossing themselves off buildings? If it’s the normal number of suicides – that is, if the percentage of the population who join the 45 Club is the same or similar to the percentage of people who committed suicide pre-Miracle Day, what’s the issue here? And if it’s a greater percentage, it would be nice to hear that in the story. We’re just told that suicide has a new face but we’re not told if there’s been an increase in suicides.

If people stopped dying, the world really wouldn’t change for most people that quickly. Think about it: how many people do you know who died in the last 4 to 5 weeks? If you’re like most people, you’re only going to be able to name one or two, if that. All this massive worldwide panic doesn’t really make a lot of sense. Nowhere in this entire story is anyone – except massively creepy people like Oswald Danes – having what we would consider a far more human reaction: “We can’t die? AWESOME!” This story is expecting us to accept that the news of worldwide immortality would result in concentration camps, the dismantling of the healthcare system, the granting of the power of life and death to the U.S. (and other) governments, and people jumping off buildings in despair within weeks. The more this story unfolds, the more we think it should have been set on some far-off planet in the Doctor Who universe because setting it on present-day earth makes almost all of the concepts and ideas impossible to accept.

And to return to an earlier point, if incineration = death, then the entire concept of the story falls apart. Death isn’t gone; it’s just more difficult to achieve. And if you consider the guy in the first episode who survived the explosion AND getting his head cut off, does incineration sound like such a horrible idea for someone like that? Or if the elderly just keep aging without dying, wouldn’t many of them choose the ovens rather than, say, a 150th birthday, hopelessly frail and senile without an end in sight? Wouldn’t this be a version of “pulling the plug?” Wouldn’t family members get the right to choose the ovens for someone who is hopelessly incapacitated and as close to actual death as one can get? Why did the story automatically go to “The government builds concentration camps?” Why, every time we see “Category 1″ patients, do they look relatively normal and treatable? Where are the smears on the road who survived? Or the people with 3rd degree burns all over their bodies? Because if we saw more of that in the overflow camps, rather than Gwen’s gently sleeping father, the story wouldn’t feel so stacked and one-sided. Instead, the minute we hear about the ovens, it’s when someone young and healthy is being murdered inside one. It’s not that we object to the depiction of human ovens as a monstrous thing; it’s just that they’ve set up a world where such a solution makes a certain amount of sense and don’t seem willing to explore that idea.

Still, explosions, right? There was, like most episodes, a decent amount of fun and tension to be had, but, again, like most episodes, you have to sit through a lot to get to the good parts. Forty-five minutes of Gwen in tight leather on a motorcycle blowing up chunks of Wales would have been a hell of a lot more fun than watching some incompetent middle-manager trying to cover up a murder. As silly as Esther’s takedown of a murderer three times her size may be, we found ourselves cheering her on. For all the talk by her team mates of Esther’s naivete and lack of experience, she is the ONLY member of Torchwood who seems to understand that when you’re undercover, you don’t make huge threats to the bad guy in charge with no exit strategy(Vera), or go around a concentration camp giving self-righteous (and loud) speeches trying to appeal to some administrator’s better side (Gwen), or you don’t hand over all the evidence of wrongdoing to the guy in charge while you’re chained up (REX, WTF?). The Torchwood tradition of doing really, really stupid things continues.

And while it was fun seeing Jack work his little Jack magic and get some information from a high-ranking Phicorp exec (whose words should not be trusted by any agent with a lick of sense), we thought it was odd that he was spending his time hitting on gorgeous secretaries in bars and disrupting meals in expensive restaurants while everyone else was fighting for their lives. Sure, Jack’s charm is pretty much his superpower, but it made him look a little frivolous, traipsing through trendy bars and restaurants while literally every other member of his team was in dire circumstances.

T has been introducing Lo to some classic episodes of pre-Children of Earth Torchwood (Lo on Suzy: “That bitch is CRAZY!”) and when they occasionally stumbled across a good story, the show could be quite fun. But no one could ever accuse it of being thought-provoking; not really. We may have to return to looking at the show that way, despite the current creative team’s insistence that we ponder the big questions. Stick to the fun and the charm.  It ended on a pretty shocking – and well-presented – note, what with Gwen receiving the message – via her eyes – that her family has been kidnapped and the bad guys want Jack. If we just focus on the fun parts, like Jack being Jack (“DOES YOUR WIFE KNOW?”) and Gwen being Gwen (boom), with a little bit of Esther redeeming herself, we can have fun with it. Honestly, it’s only the next morning when we think about the actual plot and the implications of it that we start getting all cranky.

Although we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that part of the reason we enjoyed much of this episode is because Rex acted like a human being, rather than just a dick (albeit a really stupid and suddenly naive human being), and because the wholly unbelievable Oswald Danes was nowhere to be found.

    • http://twitter.com/hmbscully Wendy

      I met Kai Owen (Rhys) yesterday. He was brilliantly charming and it made the so-so opening to the episode fade away the minute he showed up on the screen. I guess the who “Jack can die” now factor is regulating him to the sidelines somewhat, but it is annoying. But Gwen continues to kick ass and I totally *GASPED* at the end with the lenses! Don’t make Gwen mad.

      • Anonymous

        I like Rhys’s character. Owen is very good at making us feel what it might be like to be caught up in Torchwood without the training. I was hoping Esther’s character would deliver that, too, but have been disappointed until after her first battle with Evil Camp Middle Man last night. I liked her realistic reaction (shaking, freaked out about what she had just been through, needing Rex to talk her through it…).

        Oh, and how cool you got to meet Owen!!

      • MilaXX

        you met in the flesh?  I’m totally jealous. He seems quite cheeky.

    • Anonymous

      I *have* to take the show on a non-thought-provoking basis, because it is too confusing and not enough clues have been dropped.  Rex’s stupidity last night was very hard to take, especially after the scene outside the module where he makes the transition in his head from CIA to Torchwood. I thought, “Yay! Rex is finally on board!” Then he went and did stupid thing after stupid thing. Maybe that was part of the transition? Fully commit yourself to the Torchwood cause then make extremely ill advised decisions?

      I am hoping Gwen’s situation ramps ups the action and plot. And the Phicor COO cracked me up. That scene in the restaurant reminded me of the limo driver (Chris Farley?) in Wayne’s World. That was very conveniently delivered information. And WTF did the Chinese dude see that made him join the 45 Club?

    • http://twitter.com/bentley1530 F E B

      I can not give Esther any credit.  She used her real name while undercover and she kept bugging the bad guy in his office rather than quietly trying to gather information.  And why would Gwen think it was safe to leave her family back in their home after smashing her way around the camp telling everyone about her father.  Really this episode had a bad case of the stupids all around.  Which is why Torchwood had such a high death rate.  I seem to remember in one of the early episodes they said the average Torchwood member died after a couple of years on the job. 

      • Anonymous

        And then, pretty sure that Camp Middle Manager is up to something nefarious, she runs around shouting his name so she can be sure to alert him she’s coming.
        I have a hard time watching Esther’s scenes, the character she plays is so unrealistically idiotic.

      • Anonymous

        Right, and wasn’t Esther’s role at the CIA “information gatherer?” So that part of it should have been within her element. 

        • http://twitter.com/bentley1530 F E B

          Right, it seemed as if the CIA just pulls people off the street and puts them behind a computer with no training. 

    • Anonymous

      Yes, you’re completely right about this show, but…Ernie Hudson!  YAY!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1320594013 Miki- Mikal Casalino

      I am behind on my episodes, but I must say that I really enjoyed Torchwood when it was not in this “same story for 8 episodes” mode. I liked Jack the way he was in the BBC originals. Connected to the future, etc. I love John Barrowman, but so far this season, I can’t say I like the character Jack as much as before. I think it is due to the storyline.  I miss the old concepts of Cap’n Jack, and the whole team. I must say I am disappointed in this version of the show. I wonder if it will be renewed…I doubt it.

    • Debby Ruth

      I officially give up. If they spent half as much getting decent writers than they did on the production there might be something. 

    • http://twitter.com/Goldielox73 Goldie

      I don’t really think the whole world has gone insane in four weeks.  I think the news and governments are trying (for whatever unknown reason) to inflame the public into panicking.  The reason the ovens are such a big deal is because family members aren’t being allowed to make the choice to end a loved one’s suffering.  The government is making that choice based on doctors opinions who aren’t entirely sure how to handle this situation.

      I blame Rex’s stupidity last night on the massive amounts of painkillers he’s been taking.

    • Rand Ortega

      I don’t like the serial aspect of this series of Torchwood. I found this episode much better than last weeks, but the wheel spinning & lack of action tedious & frustrating. Though the chemistry of Rhys & Gwen is so sweet, hilarious & real I nearly forgave this episodes shortcomings (nearly).

    • Anonymous

      The thing that’s driving me crazy about how implausible it is that the world would be in such a state after such a short period of time is it’s completely unnecessary. If they’d just fast forwarded a year after Miracle Day in the first episode I’d be a lot more in board. And if there’s some stupid retcon about the Pink Floyd phone people making things move faster that’s dumb too.

      I don’t even know where to begin with Torchwood’s undercover operations. They should all be chained to poles in boiler rooms. And why did the first episode showing Rex as a human being mean he turned into an idiot? 

      Ugh, I don’t know why I’m still watching this mess. Oh, yes I do. Because Gwen puts on leathers and blows shit up. And all the boys in LA love Jack’s coat.

    • Anonymous

      There were exactly three scenes in this entire episode I enjoyed:
      Gwen telling Camp Doctor she couldn’t call herself a doctor anymore. (Then again… the ranting one sure didn’t get a lot of attention from anybody else in the neighborhood)
      Gwen blowing shit up….(Then again, how did she know she didn’t blow any people up? That was one giant explosion)
      Gwen getting the news of her family’s kidnapping via contact lens. (Then again….your whole family wasn’t in hiding?)

      For some reason this season I’m having no luck in just ignoring the plot holes and enjoying the show for what it is.

    • Anonymous

      It’s not often I’ll critique a story in such a shorthanded manner, but this storyline is just plain STOOPID now. I’ll still watch because there are fun moments, but you really have to lock down that ‘suspend all disbelief’ button hard for the whole episode. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=688595909 Sue Tyler

      why was rex not broadcasting live? and why all the face to camera stuff. anyone can broadcast live with a half decent cellphone

      • Scott Hester-Johnson

        More to the point, who the hell walks around with a video camera, especially when they’re trying to be sneaky? Does Rex not have a smart phone? You know, one that could directly transmit the videos as he takes them and isn’t so ruddy conspicuous?

    • Anonymous

      After this past episode, I’m inclined to change the name of the show to Torchwood: Stupid Humans and the Presumed Stupid Aliens Wanting To Take Over Their World In the Most Convoluted Way Possible. 

    • ArKane Fyre

      I feel like I’m repeating myself, but where the eff are the aliens? Jack said it himself: “Torchwood is not equipped to deal with politicians”. So don’t. We’re half-way done, and the closest to aliens we have is a triangle on a screen.

      I didn’t like Gwen, and the only redeeming thing about the series so far is that I’m loving kickass!Gwen

      Also. Jack needs to hit on girls. They keep pushing his homosexuality. It’s like they’re confusing Jack with John. John is gay; Jack is omnisexual. It’s not that hard. John will have sex with men; Jack will too, and will invite an alien to join in the fun. 

    • http://diaryofaconsumerpunchingbag.blogspot.com/ Laura Ann Springer

      Did anyone see the preview for the next episode? That is where I think we will see that this is all happening because of Jack and that Aliens are involved, just not in a typical Torchwood way. At least that is how I read it. I don’t care what anyone says I love this show because, lets face it, we all need a release from life and this totally does it for me. Besides it is nice to see Bill Pullman being a total Jack Ass!

    • Anonymous

      Interesting. It’s not a direct comparison of groups but I seem to be seeing more comments on UK forums from viewers saying they’re enjoying it more as it goes along which is generally contrary to the trend on these posts. That’s a bit worrying, as I get the impression from this co-production deal that if this series doesn’t work and Starz doesn’t wish to continue then that will probably be the end of Torchwood altogether. That was always the danger from this set-up. 

      I’m reluctant to lay blame at either the production companies or at the creator’s door as we don’t know what compromises and demands have been made between the two. Perhaps it’s a clash of approach or a case of too many cooks. My feeling is that there has been an attempt to create something that will please a US audience so that the Starz deal and therefore the show will continue. But, as is often the case when that sort of attempt is made, it hasn’t come off. But as I’ve said previously (and I’m not always a fan of his writing) that isn’t entirely RTD’s fault given the predominantly American writing and directing team and crew. Perhaps it’s a case of trying to please all of the people and pleasing none (or few).

      Anyway, I’m still in enjoying it as of the episode prior to this. But I’m taking it at face value and not thinking into it too much. As no, it doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, but then neither does Who, and neither do a fair chunk of the movies that make the cinemas. 

      • Anonymous

        American speaking here. My biggest problem is that there are 10 episodes (correct?) of almost an hour each, and the writers/directors are squandering it. That’s a lot of time. It is the equivalent of 5 feature-length movies. They are also squandering a pretty good cast of actors. They should be able to dish out character development, action, and suspense (with hopefully a dash of humor) in that amount of time. And they aren’t doing it. I think the scrutiny comes in because this show seems to take itself more seriously than Dr. Who. American writers have proven their ability to create creative, smart, successful shows on cable stations (Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire, Rescue Me, etc.) Perhaps you are right and it is an issue of too many cooks or too many compromises. Although, I’ve been watching the old Torchwoods, and those weren’t all that great either. A bit more fun, though, that’s for sure.

        • Anonymous

          I agree with you, it is a lot of time and the fun is over-rationed. A few quips from Jack and some good stuff from Gwen, it’s not enough. It just isn’t pitched right. Although I am still enjoying it (yet to see this epidsode of course).
          And yes, some brilliant series have come from the pens of American writers. Totally agree. Clever, glossy and well written. And likewise we produce some fabulous shows here, but generally quirkier and with less polish. Is the problem trying to cross the two?
          There does seem to be a problem when UK shows cross over and are re-created in the US. It rarely works for some reason. I caught a little bit of the US Shameless, and I couldn’t even bring myself to watch the US Life on Mars as the original is my favourite series ever. So perhaps Torchwood is suffering from being in a compromised halfway house. Or perhaps there’s just something in the transatlantic writing team that just hasn’t gelled?.

          • Anonymous

            Indeed and agreed!

      • MilaXX

        I liked this week’s episode a lot.

        • Anonymous

          By the time I can come back and say whether or not I have, you’ll all be ready for the next one! LOL!

    • Anonymous

      Interesting. It’s not a direct comparison of groups but I seem to be seeing more comments on UK forums from viewers saying they’re enjoying it more as it goes along which is generally contrary to the trend on these posts. That’s a bit worrying, as I get the impression from this co-production deal that if this series doesn’t work and Starz doesn’t wish to continue then that will probably be the end of Torchwood altogether. That was always the danger from this set-up. 

      I’m reluctant to lay blame at either the production companies or at the creator’s door as we don’t know what compromises and demands have been made between the two. Perhaps it’s a clash of approach or a case of too many cooks. My feeling is that there has been an attempt to create something that will please a US audience so that the Starz deal and therefore the show will continue. But, as is often the case when that sort of attempt is made, it hasn’t come off. But as I’ve said previously (and I’m not always a fan of his writing) that isn’t entirely RTD’s fault given the predominantly American writing and directing team and crew. Perhaps it’s a case of trying to please all of the people and pleasing none (or few).

      Anyway, I’m still in enjoying it as of the episode prior to this. But I’m taking it at face value and not thinking into it too much. As no, it doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, but then neither does Who, and neither do a fair chunk of the movies that make the cinemas. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/leah.robin Leah Robin

      I think the writers have a real problem in this season. Cuba set up camps for people with HIV; we historically had leper colonies and plague ships, quarantines, and “social distancing”. So some segment of the audience will shrug at setting up camps and ask what the problem is, so they had to go to the ovens as a trope of Nazi-like evil. And of course, the problem with those is that the governments are making life and death decisions rather than the patients or families– weren’t “government death panels” an immediate and knee-jerk response to health care reform? And also– why the camps as a solution at all? What need do the governments have to centralize in this way?  (And I’m rather intrigued and creeped-out at the notion that the ashes could have some form of consciousness and think that the question should be raised– who could say for sure what conscious ash would be like?)  I also think that over time, living forever would cause huge social upheavals because death as a deterrent is gone and so would the underpinnings of a lot of religions be, let alone the resource questions, which would become pressing. I do think that many of these health care problems would raise their head, it would just take some time.  The writers have tried to telegraph this to the audience, but it wouldn’t have hurt to show some time passing so that the action is happening closer to the end of the first year of the deathless world. Their problem is that they are trying for the same level of urgency with Children of the Earth, and the story doesn’t really call for it.

    • http://twitter.com/boocatbutterbee boocat

      To heck with the 45 Club – you think people would be jumping into volcanoes!

    • Anonymous

      I think the problem here is the American writing. (…and the American locations, the American actors, the American directors…and so on and so on.) That scene with Ernie Hudson and John Barrowman in the restaurant was atrocious. American writers always use too many words to get the point across. All you need to do is re-watch Day 1 of Children of Earth to see that the British writers do this better. (Not to mention the superior performances by the UK actors.)

      American writers like to tell us what’s about to happen, then we see it happen, and then again we are told what has just happened. I think that Russell T Davies isn’t getting his message across because he left the bulk of the writing to others. That was more acceptable, story-wise, in CoE when there were only 5 eps. With a ten episode story it feels very much like it’s lacking his immediate direction. Compare Lois Habiba to Esther Drummond. Lois walks in off the street as a temp, and eventually finds herself in the room with The 456; yet she remains calm under extreme pressure. Sh*t needed to get done and she’s decided to help. Esther, on the other hand, works for the CIA (I know she’s just a researcher) and yet she falls apart at EVERY turn. I was really hoping that after she fought off Maloney, Esther would finally emerge as a focused member of the team. We just got more tears. Esther should have been on board and done with the hysterics by the end of episode 1.Having said that; I’m still enjoying Torchwood and eagerly anticipate each new episode. BTW, Miracle Day writer, Jane Espenson said on Twitter the other day (Aug 11.)  “Oh, one more thing to clarify — burning means you really really are dead.”

      • Anonymous

        I was thinking something similar–that the problem with Miracle day is too little RTD (not too much as some have written).  In his book about writing he says something about having characters tell you what is going on — “Look–the sky is getting dark..” as an example of lazy writing.

        • Anonymous

          Maybe, I’ve protested all along that RTD is getting all the stick for getting the US wrong, when so many of the episodes have American writers.
          As I said in my post below, I think it’s a clash of styles. I recently watched a scene for scene comparison of Being Human on youtube (a series I loved) and was struck by how different the styles were, and how much of what I loved about it was lost (partly Aiden Turner LOL). From my end of things I don’t see why it needed to be re-made (or the various others that are), but the producers obviously think US audiences require a different approach. Torchwood has fallen into a place between the two, and that’s where I think a lot of the problems come from.

          • Anonymous

            I think the UK writers are very much used to telling great stories in less time. They get right to the story.  

            I have to think that if RTD went with UK writers, the American actors, directors and locations would have had much less of a negative impact.

            Oh, and I agree with you about the US remaking UK shows. We haven’t been good at that since the 70s. I’ve only watched the 1st ep of the US Being Human, but that was enough for me. It seemed to be about what everyone looked like, not telling a story. I just know that if you describe the show to someone it always sounds like the beginning of a corny joke, yet the BBC version is just flat out great. Not many shows have a character as well written and performed as Herrick.

            And if anyone needs to see undeniable evidence that we should not be allowed to remake UK shows anymore, I urge you to seek out and watch both versions of Life On Mars and watch the UK version first. If you’re American, you’ll be embarrassed…very embarrassed. 

            • Anonymous

              I’m from the UK. Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes are my favourite shows, probably ever. It would take handcuffs and chains to make me watch the US version ;) Aside from the ludicrous ending, Phil Glenister is the heart of the show, remaking it made no sense whatsoever.

              And agree, Herrick is fabulous.

              I’ve never understood this need to remake shows. We don’t do it here with US shows, we just broadcast them as they are. There doesn’t seem to have been any successes since sitcoms like Steptoe & Son and Til Death do us Part kicked off US versions in the 60s/70s. Well, apart from The Office. I’ve seen some of Shameless too, I’m saying no more ;)

              (and in case anyone thinks I’m being one-sided, one of my top 5 dramas of the last 15 years was Oz)

        • Anonymous

          I agree. He doesn’t write that way. That’s what I’ve always loved about RTD. But it does seem like this series is now full of all of that. Maybe it’s a product of having to keep a new viewer up to speed, but I doubt it. I think it’s just the way that American writing is. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the show. I’ll always love Torchwood.

      • MilaXX

        I disagree. CoE may have been a tight, sharp script, but this series could fit in quite nicely with Torchwood series 1 & 2. I enjoyed this week’s episode. Perhaps it was because Rex was less shout-y than he usually is, or perhaps it’s because Ive become resigned to the fact that what we are getting is more like this is as goo as it gets, or maybe I just like seeing Gwen blow stuff up wearing leather pants.

        To me this is Torchwood. The agency that couldn’t kill Suzie and had a depressed man keep his half cyber woman girlfriend alive under the nose of everyone, including Jack’s very nose.

        • Anonymous

          Yes, they couldn’t kill Suzie, but they figured out why they couldn’t kill her before the last 5 min of the episode.  They knew about the glove, they figured out what was happening to Gwen. There was a plan of action. We also knew what Cybermen were and what their goals were. The audience was able to follow along. We’re half way through the series and Torchwood doesn’t seem any closer to figuring out what’s going on, or choosing a plan of action. Again, I’m glad Torchwood is on the screen in any form, but i just hope the second half has more of Gwen and Jack figuring out, and taking control of the situation. 

          Honestly, I’d watch anything that Russell T Davies is involved with. He is my television hero. Maybe this series will work better when viewed back to back.

          • MilaXX

            True, but I don’t blame the problems we are seeing in the show being based in the US. The things I see as problematic are the same issues Ive always had with RTD; he tends to go in too many directions and gets ham fisted with the political stuff. The only difference is  bigger budget, but that seems to have made him even more heavy handed. I appreciate RTD for reviving the series, but prefer Moffet’s story telling over RTD

            • Anonymous

              I disagree. Russell T Davies is one of those writers who can go in many directions and is still able to bring it all home. How has a bigger budget increased what you see as heavy handedness? Big explosions and a larger cast are the only differences that I’ve seen budget-wise. “Ham fisted” and “heavy handed” are not ways that I would describe Russell T Davies.

              I’ve seen pretty much everything RTD’s written for the past 12 years and Miracle Day, for me, stands out as being very different. I don’t hate it, but so far it’s not my favorite.

              BTW, Moffat’s not writing for Miracle Day, thank god. If he did, it’d be an episode where Jack announces to Gwen that since nothing is going on at the moment he needs a vacation immediately. He flies off to Barbados and blocks out the world for a week or two. We don’t see Jack again in this episode. Meanwhile Gwen takes Esther and Rex to Cardiff where they see these strange angel statues everywhere. They recruit Dr. Elizabeth Corday to round out the team and then stay on in Wales to enjoy Christmas dinner with Gwen’s mother and father (there’s no mention of Rhys and Anwen). Dr. Corday calls everyone “Sweetie” and later shows up at the hub with Dr. Vera Juarez. (even though we saw Dr. Juarez burned in the module in the previous episode, and it was shown again at the top of this episode in the section called “Previously”). Dr. Juarez is needed because, strangely, Dr. Corday can’t seem to come to any conclusions about anything, for fear of spoiling some surprise. Oh, and they never mention The Miracle, or anything else from the other 9 episodes in the series.

            • MilaXX

              Interesting. I don’t always see RTD as bringing it home when he goes in many directions. In fact it was one of my main issues with much of his handling on Who.  As much as I am thankful of him reviving the franchise, he has never been my favorite writer.  What I see as heavy handed is the overkill with the blame it on big Pharma theme or the political jabs such as the unnecessary in my opinion tea party character.  I felt the same way about the story arc with The Master. (Sound if Drums &  Utopia) Whenever he talks politics, is gets a little too cartoon-y. When it done for just an episode or 2, I can look the other way. This time (so far) we haven;t had any aliens to distract us and big government.big pharna see to be the recurring theme every ep.

              Honestly except for the sex ep I am actually enjoying the series. To me what we have is more on par iwth TW series 1 & 2 than CoE, but I’m okay with that. My main point is I don’t see any of the weakness this series has a result of the American partnership or US setting, It’s just RTD doing what he usually does and as a matter of personal preference I’ll take Moffet over RTD any day of the week.

    • http://twitter.com/HGSpot HGSpot

      My husband and I just keep hoping that The Silence is behind it all and that we’ll get a Who cross-over. Bring on the damned aliens.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=768540908 Badriya Al-Badi’a

      My speculation is that the modules are not just for getting rid of excess humanity–I think they were part of the ultimate plan all along, that something is being harvested from the burnt people.  It might explain why the Asian PhiCorp executive killed himself after doing some digging into things:  he couldn’t face up to what he had been a part of creating.  And there was a great deal of secrecy regarding the modules in the plans of the camps.  Just a thought.

      Esther makes me miss Lois Habiba every time she opens her mouth.

    • Anonymous

      I haven’t been able to read your reviews until today b/c I just now got caught up, but I am so glad I am not the only who doesn’t understand this show.  I have never watched Torchwood before, so I suppose that could be part of the problem.  But in general, I just don’t understand the big panic about things.  They are doing a lot of telling, but no showing.  They are no where near crisis mode yet.  Eventually, yes, resources will be strained, but it will take awhile to get there.  I was also really raising my eyebrow over the blatant sexist remarks from the camp manager and the in your face racism of the other guy working there.  Obviously we have racist and sexist bastards in our society, but I don’t think anyone who makes those kind of remarks out loud is going to get anywhere in their career path.

      I’m just not understanding this show, though parts of it are really fun.

      And yeah, the ovens seem like an ok thing to me as long as they are used for the completely brain dead.  I would want to make sure the patients get a big dose of pain killer first, though.