Stars: John Barrowman, Eve Myles, Mekhi Phifer, Alexa Havins, Kai Owen, Bill Pullman, Lauren Ambrose, Arlene Tur, Jonathan Spencer, Frederick Koehler, Jason Brooks, Tom Price, Marc Vann, William Thomas, Ciera Payton, G. Lane Hillman, Lena Kaur, Liz Jenkins, Ernie Hudson
Writer: John Shiban
Director: Guy Ferland
Network: Starz, airs Friday nights
Original Telecast: August 12, 2011
Now that there’s only four episodes left of the new TORCHWOOD series MIRACLE DAY, let’s discuss the evolution of Jack (John Barrowman) from a leading man into a pretty looking prop. When the first couple of episodes started, it seemed that while Jack didn’t have a whole lot to do, he would inevitably take control of everything and coordinate a new underground Torchwood to combat ‘The Miracle’ and whatever was causing it. This did seem to still be case as we moved towards the middle of the series, but now by this episode, “The Middle Men”, Jack is firmly established as a background character who goes and talks to other people and that’s what he does. Whatever happened to the guy who was so desperate to talk to The Doctor that he rode the TARDIS (The Doctor’s time and space machine) to the end of time itself?
Jack has always been the charming rogue who steals every scene he is in, proves himself a capable and insightful leader time and again, and try to bed everything (and I mean everything) that crosses his path. Perhaps it’s the fact that this series has been introducing new writers into the mix, which might know TORCHWOOD, but not really know it and it’s parent program DOCTOR WHO as well as they should.
Jack has become a full-blown gay man (which is not a big complaint from me speaking as a gay man) but it completely undermines what the character has been up to this time. Yes he had a homosexual love affair within the confines of the walls of Torchwood, but even during that time he was making passes at women, blue insect women, and all manner of creatures. Jack has a daughter and had a grandson up until the end of CHILDREN OF EARTH, so writers are clearly muddying the waters and just labeling Jack as gay instead of keeping him the charming omnisexual rogue that he has always been.
It’s sad to me that Jack has become a guest star on the show that was created around that character in the first place. I don’t know if this is an attempt to push all of the American cast to forefront, but there really isn’t anyone (now that they killed off Arlene Tur’s character) who is a credible forerunner to build a new TORCHWOOD in the US.
So again not a lot happened in this episode, the story inches forward a bit more, Ernie Hudson joins the cast as Phicorp’s COO Stuart Owens, and I pretty much love him in anything he does, but this doesn’t seem to go anywhere. The only thing we learn about from his meeting with Jack (filmed at downtown LA’s amazing Cicada Club) is that he as one of the heads of PhiCorp has no knowledge of what is going on either, so the mastermind(s) behind all of this are a much higher and powerful group.
Colin Maloney (Marc Vann) gets his in this episode, but since no one dies unless you reduce them to ash, he’ll probably be back at some point to cause more problems. Vann is an actor who excels at playing creepy characters, and you may recognize him from the Los Angeles branch of Wolfram and Hart from ANGEL.
Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) has the most action this episode, and I love focusing on her, so maybe she’ll be the new head of Torchwood, and Jack will run off with the new Doctor? Gwen destroys one of the PhiCorp facilities, but once she lands back in the US she is told to put in her Torchwood lenses. She then gets a message from the big bads that they have her whole family and she has to bring them Jack. So once again, poor Jack is a pretty prop to be moved from place to place.
It’s tough to do another series of a popular science-fiction program when most of your recurring cast were killed off in previous seasons. The two leads on TORCHWOOD are still some of my favorite characters around, but the new cast just isn’t as fun and instantly likable as Owen (Burn Gorman), Tosh (Naoko Mori), and Ianto (Gareth David-Lloyd). So, I’m still trying to give TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY the benefit of the doubt, but I hope my faith isn’t misplaced and we have an amazing last few episodes!
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Click on link: TORCHWOOD – “The Middle Men” – Review #1
Click on link: TORCHWOOD – “The Categories of Life” – Review #1
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 – “The Middle Men”