Stars: John Barrowman, Eve Myles, Mekhi Phifer, Alexa Havins, Lauren Ambrose, Kai Owen, Bill Pullman, Arlene Tur, Wayne Knight
Writer: Jane Espenson
Director:  Billy Gierhart
Network: Starz, airs Friday nights
Original Telecast: July 22, 2011

In the third episode of the all-new BBC/Starz co-production of TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY, “Dead of Night,” the Torchwood veterans Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) and Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) join forces with CIA agents Rex Matheson (Mekhi Phifer) and Esther Drummond (Alexa Havins) after Matheson’s attempted rendition of Jack and Gwen goes horribly awry. On the run from their own agency, Matheson and Drummond have to rely on these strange UK adventurers to see them through as they uncover the involvement of a company called PhiCorp.

Meanwhile, Oswald Danes (Bill Pullman) finds that he can find fame and even forgiveness in a world where no one dies, but his villainy truly goes up several notches…and just try to sit through the revelation of how he really feels about what he did. Dr. Juarez (Arlene Tur) takes up Jilly (Lauren Ambrose) on her offer to meet Jilly’s bosses, but who does Jilly work for? Oh, just PhiCorp, the same company that just gave Danes his very own bodyguards. What kind of a world has this become anyway, and will we walk through it hand in hand with a murderer?

The mystery adds another layer as Jack explains that this event seems to be forcing people to such a level of life that even unconsciousness is not allowed. It’s also worth noting that this story is taking its time to unfold, to lay out the factors that relate to the central mystery, to let us get to know the characters both new and old, and in doing so it doesn’t feel slow but rather satisfyingly methodical. The idea that perhaps all of this has been exploited or even caused by PhiCorp, an evil pharmaceutical company (I know, is there any other kind), for the express purpose of supplying humanity with an endless supply of non-narcotic pain killers is an intriguing notion but hopefully not the only answer awaiting us. Still, by episode’s end we know there’s a government connection when a plan is initiated to eliminate the need for prescriptions to any and every drug.

It’s also time for a crisis of faith as facing the reality of becoming part of Torchwood takes its toll on Matheson, who goes AWOL, and Esther, who contemplates allowing herself to be caught so it can be over for her. Havins’ tearful performance is particularly good when that idea comes up in conversation with Myles’ Gwen. Speaking of faith, this episode also touches on how quickly we’re able to build elaborate religious significance around events. A new masked cult called the Soulless believes everlasting life has robbed us of souls, and there are signs that Danes may become their messiah. Religion also rears its head when Juarez faces down a Catholic doctor who insists that babies that once spontaneously aborted but now do not die cannot be considered mistakes even though they are incompletely formed and suffering. Weighty stuff indeed.

By the way, those creepy cult masks mirror the teardrop graphic design of the Cybermen from TORCHWOOD’s parent show, DOCTOR WHO, which also gets a subtle shout-out when Jack refers to an Indiana Jones-like warehouse as “bigger on the inside than the outside.” And speaking of TORCHWOOD’s heritage, there are some fun culture clash moments with the UK and US contingents comparing notes on common local colloquialisms. When Esther tells Gwen that lemonade is “fizzy in the UK, and flat in the US,” Gwen suggests that sums everything up. For those fans still biting chunks out of the wall about the “Americanization” of TORCHWOOD, take note that the creators of the show seem to be having a good time making jokes at the expense of the both sides, but the cultural exchange does seem to be biased toward the right side of the pond…and I mean the UK. No worries then. Oh, and the camera contacts from CHILDREN OF EARTH return, and Ianto gets a heartfelt mention.

Although there’s certainly plenty here for new viewers to enjoy, there’s such a richness of character development for old fans to appreciate, mostly in Eve Myles’ Gwen. She’s such a seasoned, hardened investigator, and it’s fascinating to compare her with the naïve, wide-eyed police officer that first wandered into Torchwood’s sphere of influence all those years ago. As for Jack, we get a profound moment in which he acknowledges his understanding that no one can feel forgiven for taking the life of a child, and his omni-sexuality comes into play as he decides it’s time to take a break from investigating. Well, actually we don’t see “omni” much anymore. Jack began as a man with no boundaries, capable of loving or at least lusting after anyone and anything, but lately he seems limited to homosexual encounters. Still, the season is young and at least the guy still has a randy side; “you should’ve seen the other guy!”

Last episode, Matheson seemed a bit too much at ease with what should still be crippling pain from his injuries, but this time around he’s falling victim to bleeding and seeks out Juarez for clandestine help, so the show is keeping that beat going. Their deepening relationship also reveals that Jack isn’t the only one capable of getting some action in the new era of TORCHWOOD, but more importantly, Juarez may find herself its newest team member. With the triangle icon heralding the behind-the-scenes influence of some secret cabal, what will we learn next week?


Click on link: TORCHWOOD – “Dead of Night”  – Review #2

Click on link: TORCHWOOD – “Rendition”  – Review #2

Click on link: AX’s 10 Things About Torchwood You Need To Know

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Article: Review – TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY – “Dead of Night”

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  2. Someone told me that Ianto got a cheap mention. Well, not enough for me to watch the show.

  3. Torchwood gets an A+ from me. Granted it started off a bit slow for a seasoned Torchwood fan such as myself, but I am assuming that the producers are breaking in new fans slowly and reeling them in slowly. I imaging seeing Jack shag a hot 24 yr old guy might have shocked some new viewers but I am glad they got that side of Jack out in the open in the 3rd episode. I am like Ianto from the BBC Torchwood – for some reason Jack does it for me but only Jack. Go figure.

    I miss all the gadgets and artifacts of the old torchwood headquarters and hope that Jack and Gwen bring back some of that supernatural, sciencefictiony atmosphere, with rifts in time and aliens locked up in cages and mysterious artifacts.

    Thank god Russell T. Davies is only 49 yrs old. I would be devastated if anything ever happened to him. His genius has been entertaining me since 1994. His Dr. Who genius is quintessential as is everything else he’s done in that area.

    I hope this show lasts as long as Dr. Who did.

  4. Pingback: TV Review: TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY – “Dead of Night” – Review #1 – Assignment X | Online Information

  5. i love the show it is very entertaining.

  6. Well for all my differences with the “new” torchwood, it seems to be quite good. Its definetly not up to the standard of old torchwood, buts its setting itself up as a very good series.

    I’m still not liking the Rex or the Dr characters at all but the Esther character is fast becoming my favourite amaerican cast member and im thinking that I would really like her to survive the series and come back again if/when they make another. Oswald Danes is one weird character, I find moments when I dislike him and other moments when I think he really has an impact. The PR woman – Jillian – Is I think more of a threat than Danes, she seems in all the right places at all the right times and pulling a hell of a lot of strings.

    Gwen is still as brilliant as ever (Liking the reference to British/American differences – Nice touch) but I keep wishing we could see a little more of good old captain jack!!!

    And despite my feelings towards it, the hour just seems to fly by in no time at all!!!

    Overall, I prefer this episode to episode one although it was a bit of a lull after last weeks episode


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