Friday, 29 July 2011

'Torchwood: Miracle Day' Episode 3 Review


'Torchwood: Miracle Day' - 'Dead Of Night'
Written by Jane Espenson - Directed by Billy Gierhart


So here's the episode the world has been talking about - however it's not been about the Miracle, or Oswald Danes, or either the sudden surge in the globe's population. No, the chat has been about sex, and how much of this episode's sexual adventures did the BBC decide to remove. But let's forget about this for a bit and get stuck into the episode in general...

Plot Outline:
The Torchwood team goes on the run and finds a new enemy, but as they launch a raid on PhiCorp headquarters, Jack must confront the mysterious Oswald Danes.

 After the great efforts with the second episode, 'Dead Of Night' applies the breaks again slightly and allows for some character development - a very smart move as we still have seven more hours with the Cross-Atlantic crew. What's more is that we actually got a little comedy which was nice and refreshing, and although the jokes were a little clich├ęd (mainly sniggering at the differences of terminologies in American and the UK), they were still amusing and helped to further define each individual character and how the operate inside the machine of the show. 

 Last week I mentioned that 'Miracle Day' was putting aside some of the over-used elements of the show, and this included the sex. Well as mentioned earlier, this episode contained some, but it was thankfully a short expedition and did not draw away from the weekly narrative. Barrowman praised the BBC at Comic-Con for cutting some of the sex, and although I'm sure it wasn't very graphic at all, it's good to know that the cut hasn't affected the point of the act too - you don't have to see to understand.

 'Dead Of Night' excelled in two particular departments; firstly the drama. The scenes in which the team discover the haven of painkillers in PhiCorp was a brilliant segment of television that played out like it had a feature film budget. The American dollars from Starz have really boosted the budget for this series and I'm glad they are being spent wisely rather than thrown away on over-the-top CGI. Also a high-point was the confrontation between Dr. Vera Juarez and the Police officer when discussing the 'murder/assault' of the woman who had been brutally strangled by her husband. The idea of eliminating death has brought so many interesting sub-plots to the series, and I think the changing of the laws and the affects of medication upon those who 'should' be dead is fascinating screen-writing.

 The second department is tension and atmosphere - with everything surrounding the Miracle, the suspense levels are at an extreme high. As of yet, no 'alien' technologies have been discovered so nobody can truly trust one another. This level of tension is perfectly exploited by the sudden televisual fame of Oswald - a man who committed a savage crime, yet his views on medicating those in needs is somehow bringing hope to people and almost making them and indeed us slightly care for him; it's a brilliant and morbid concept.

 Talking of Oswald, Bill Pullman's performance was incredible in this episode, particularly in the closing stand-off between him and Jack. His speech about the rape and murder was amongst the most uncomfortable dialogue scenes I've sat through for a while - describing Susie Cabina's bruised body as a "painting" was unforgettably demented. Eve Myles was also fantastic yet again here - Gwen's almost 'Mission: Impossible' break-in to PhiCorp was highly entertaining. Alexa Havins was brilliant too and was really able to give Esther some scope - her fears about being part of Torchwood and her lack of experience in the field is touching and emotive. Barrowman and Mekhi Phifer were also great, especially with their argumentative dialogue sequences.

 For my money, this episode was stronger in character than 'Rendition', and stronger in tension than 'The New World'. 'Dead Of Night' was dark, driven and sublimely performed. So far, 'Miracle Day' has produced three stunning episodes and I'm desperate for the fourth. This series is not only consistent, it's downright fantastic. 


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