Torchwood: Miracle Day – episode five review

Now that’s no way to end a promising medical career…

In the American TV game show Jeopardy!, answers are given to which contestants must provide the questions. Dr Vera Juarez is about to find out the hard way what asking “So does that mean I’m part of Torchwood now?” means.

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Gwen has returned to Cardiff to rescue her dad from the Cowbridge overflow camp. Her and Rhys’s first attempt is swiftly rebuffed, but not before she gets in a canny little dig about healthcare being run by private business – one for the British viewers, there.

The obligatory Welsh elements are starting to grate: if they got shot of Gwen “I’ll take the moral high ground” Cooper and her “humanising the drama” family, would the programme itself suffer?

In California, the team discovers that these camps all have mysterious “modules”, so they’re going to go and recce – except Jack, that is. “You’re fragile, mortal man,” says Esther, patting his cheek as she walks out the door. Jack’s not going to take that one lying down.

Oswald and Jilly, meanwhile, are also in LA, for a Miracle Rally, where Oswald shows his dark side. Thanks for reminding us that he is a murdering paedophile. We were almost starting to forget.

But the horror has only just begun. Vera, who’s infiltrated the California camp as an inspector, almost immediately crosses swords with Maloney, the slimy, offensive jobsworth (bad guy, d’you think?) who runs the camp. His conflict resolution idea? To pull a gun, shoot her twice, then dump her in a box with a load of bodies – before turning on the burners. Anyone reminded of the soon-to-be-no-more Spooks deep-fat fryer incident?

Jack, fed up by being sidelined this episode, confronts Oswald and tries to persuade him to expose PhiCorp, at which point he’ll help him to die. I’m thinking that’s probably not the way to get the supremely self-interested Oswald on your side.

Sure enough, on stage he starts raving about the next stage of humanity before shouting “Revelation!”, just as Jilly demanded. It’s as if the writers are spinning a bottle week by week to decide what Oswald’s going to do and say next. I’m starting to feel sorry for Bill Pullman and his sideways glances.

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Vera’s demise should put an end to the naysayers’ complaint that this new Torchwood has been neutered by Hollywood cash. The series has never been afraid to get rid of its key cast members, and I doubt she’ll be the last.