Torchwood: Miracle Day – episode four review

As the team plan to infiltrate PhiCorp HQ, there’s a bad guy on their trail

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After last week’s sexual diversions, this episode’s pot-pourri of confusing plotlines – too many writers spoiling the broth, perhaps? – takes us from Terminator to Mission: Impossible via the Brat Pack.

Who’s that watching Esther? Hey, it’s C Thomas Howell from The Outsiders, now a bit of a silver fox, but working for the same mysterious rotating triangle as CIA boss Friedkin.

In sunny California there’s a new campaign, run by Ellis Hartley Monroe (Mare Winningham from St Elmo’s Fire), whose response to Miracle Day is to suggest that the now not-so-dead need to be treated as if they are exactly that. Unsurprisingly, Rex isn’t impressed.

Having found a nice hide-out in Venice Beach, the team plan a clever ruse to get into Phicorp HQ (all that’s missing are rubber face-masks and a Lalo Schifrin score). Instead Gwen attempts an American accent to get vital information from some poor schmuck who invented Phicorp’s security system. In a nice inversion of roles, pretty blond Esther gets to be the tech nerd.

Back in Washington, nice doctor Vera is horrified by the plan to put all intensive care patients in “plague ship” hospitals. While Monroe hogs the cameras, Danes steals the limelight back by going into the hospital and grandstanding.

The PhiCorp incursion is all going very well until Silver Fox, of course, turns up, having unpleasantly disposed of poor security schmuck. He’s about to reveal why revolving triangle people are so interested in Jack when Rex turns up and shoots him in the throat. How clumsy can you be?

And Monroe? In another tasteless Torchwood sequence she ends up concertina’d in a crushed motorcar, with the words “We are everywhere. We are always. We are no-one” echoing in her ear.

Back at base, the team are going through Phicorp’s computers, where Esther learns that the sick are about to be all shipped off to “overflow camps”. Which is when Rhys rings to say that that’s just where he’s put Gwen’s dad…

The story may still be puzzling, and keeping the action flowing between the US and Wales seems awkwardly contrived – but the new cast members, particularly Mekhi Phifer’s Rex and Lauren Ambrose’s Jilly are settling in well. Ambrose in particular seems to be relishing her role as the tightly attired PR woman from hell.

The tortuous turns mean that at the end of each episode I’m very keen to see where it’s going next. And I get the feeling that soon there’ll be very little to joke about, which can only be a good thing.

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