Torchwood: Miracle Day – episode six review

In which Rex gets the point and we get an obligatory lockdown

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Sooner or later all American dramas have a lockdown situation. We’ve seen this happen on 24, The West Wing and ER, so you must know what I’m talking about. Whining klaxons, doors locking and beads of sweat inching down foreheads. That kind of thing. So now that it’s more-or-less an American production, Torchwood is required to have a lockdown of its very own, hence the state of emergency at the San Pedro overflow camp.

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All of this drama coincided with the fact that folksy lech Dr Maloney has turned into a reluctant murderer after reducing Vera Juarez to ash. This week he continued the descent into hell by jabbing his pen into Rex’s chest wound, an act that had me clamping down on the stem of my own biro, which shattered the plastic and tore the roof of my mouth to shreds. Poor Rex but, more importantly, poor me.

With all this unfolding, Jack was very much downgraded to supporting character status. He got out of the office at one point to chat to Winston from Ghost Busters and deal with perfunctory dialogue like “I don’t know what kind of game you’re playing”, but for the most part he was left looking like a line manager who had to catch up on paperwork while his team had an away day.

Gwen got busy back in Wales with some explosives but not before committing the cardinal sin of explaining the plotline in shouty outbursts: “They built a concentration camp in Britain. Today!” Show don’t tell, Gwen, for goodness’ sake. I think we were all able to glean the social engineering analogy when we first caught sight of the ovens.

Having said all that, Miracle Day really is finally beginning to knit together. Earlier episodes contained more padding than a Wonderbra warehouse but part six was impressively taut, despite the fact that Rex’s efforts to expose PhiCorp’s eugenics programme ended up counting for nothing thanks to a speedy White House dismissal.

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What I’d like to see more of is the team acting like a cohesive unit rather than a bunch of lone wolves, although next week appears to be a Gwen-and-Jack-centric instalment, complete with flashbacks to the 1920s. But if this means another hour without unctuous Oswald Danes (seriously, was there anyone who missed his absence tonight?), then I won’t be complaining.