Review: Torchwood: Miracle Day 4.02: Rendition

By Heather S. Vina

[spoilers ahead]

Written by: Doris Egan

Recap: “Rendition” opens at Heathrow Airport, where Rex and his men are met on the tarmac, at a private plane, by another operative named “Lyn Peterfield” (Dichen Lachman). Rex’s plan is to extradite Torchwood back to the States, but not before taking away Jack’s timeband, separating Gwen from her husband and child, and sending Rhys and Anwen back to Wales, over Gwen’s strident objections. Eve Myles said that Rex was going to do something to Gwen that she would find “unforgivable” and I think separating her from her family was a doozie. They’re probably better off away from Gwen right now, since someone is after Torchwood, and at least Rhys and the baby are still together rather than Anwen being taken away and given to strangers, but still. When it’s not your choice and someone is forcefully taking your baby away from you during a dangerous time, that’s not a good thing. I don’t blame Gwen at all if she holds this against Rex.

Anyway, right before this sundering of family, Jack, Gwen and Rhys had a little powwow about what was happening and Jack’s connection to it. Rhys summed it up best when he said, “Everything mortal becomes immortal. Everything immortal becomes mortal.” Whether it was connected to Jack and his immortality or not is still up in the air, but what’s clear is that whatever happened definitely affected Jack as much as it did everyone else in the world. So, despite what the Doctor (and the Tardis) said before, Jack’s immortality is not a “fixed point in space and time”.

On the plane, Rex gets a dirty aspirin from a steward named Danny (Finn Wittrock). Seems he’s still feeling the effects of his accident. Gwen’s heartbroken over her family’s loss.

At the FBI, Esther and Charlotte are talking about how hard it is to predict anything on the basis of human nature and previous actions, since nothing like this has ever happened before. Esther is excited to hear that Rex is coming back with Torchwood, and decides to go talk to Mr. Friedkin. She offers her services to him in regards to Torchwood, but unfortunately fails to pick up on the fact that Friedkin seems overly interested in knowing that she knows as much about Torchwood as Rex does. I have to say, I was a bit annoyed with Esther that she didn’t pick up on that, because Friedkin wasn’t being very subtle about prodding her for info.

So, now Friedkin knows that Torchwood is on their way and there’s not just one person – Rex – outside of his purview who knows about them, but two.

Back on the plane, it looks like Gwen is starting to blame Jack for what happened, but it turns out that she’s just ticked off it took him so long to come back for her. She asks him where he went and he tells her it was a “long way away”. When she asks him if it helped, he doesn’t have an answer for her.

Rex brings the timeband to Jack. He asks Jack what it is and why it’s beeping, but Jack doesn’t answer. Rex informs them that they’re to be interrogated in America. When Gwen tells him he could have just asked what they knew, he tells them that he doesn’t actually think they know anything. But someone out there has made a connection between Torchwood and Miracle Day, so he figures he will keep them and discover what that connection is. Seems he doesn’t think Jack and Gwen are that bright. Jack then proceeds to blow that impression by asking Rex if anyone has looked into “morphic fields“. He theorizes that something on this huge of a scale, that happened at the exact same time all over the world, is a morphic event, and an event on a scale that Jack has never seen before. Then, Jack tells Rex that he needs salt. The timeband bleeping means that Rex is low on sodium.

In the background, Lyn emails someone about what Jack said about the morphic fields. That someone turns out to be Friedkin. Oy, Gwen and Jack are in even more trouble than they thought.

Back in New York, Oswald is about to make a TV talk show appearance. He’s stuffing food from the craft services table into a bag, when the studio manager calls him out on it. He tells her about his hard life now that he’s left prison, and how he isn’t going to be able to get a job, so he’s going to get food wherever he can while he waits for this event to end and for him to drop dead, or for them to send him back to prison. She has zero sympathy for him and tells him she hopes he chokes.

In Friedkin’s office, he receives a transmission on a red-coloured device. It’s a triangle, with the word “remove” in it. He emails Lyn back with one word: “remove”. And considering her evil little glare towards Jack, right after she receives it, I’m thinking our favourite Captain is in some major trouble right now.

Rex calls up Dr. Juarez and gets her to agree to meet him at the airport with some pain medication. He asks her if he has low sodium levels and she admits that he does. Seems Jack was right. She breaks off conversation with him when the hospital receives some trauma patients. In the middle of rushing the most seriously injured into the rooms, she stops and realizes that they need to do everything in reverse: They need to triage the least seriously injured first, so that they can be released, and then work on the more seriously injured. Free the beds the quickest way they can, because the seriously injured aren’t going to die, so they have time to get to them. Clever lady. She also discovers that the Dean of Medicine is at an emergency meeting of all local hospital administrators about Miracle Day.

Jack asks Danny for something to drink. The guy protests that he’s not supposed to talk to them, but Jack points out that it’s just a drink. Lyn says that it’s okay and that she’ll “supervise” it. Instead, she sends the steward away and puts something in Jack’s soda.

Back in America, Esther, Charlotte and some others at the office are watching Oswald give an interview. During the interview, Oswald ends up breaking down crying, saying, “I’m sorry” when the interviewer asks what he would say to the mother of the girl he killed. The studio director who wanted him to choke, and Charlotte who called him a “monster,” suddenly feel some sympathy towards him. I don’t buy it, though. The man who subtly threatened the Governor’s man isn’t someone who suddenly feels empathy towards the family of the girl he raped and murdered.

Afterwards, Oswald is accosted by a PR agent, Jilly Kitzinger (Lauren Ambrose), who wants to represent him. But it seems there’s someone that even Oswald thinks is a reprehensible human being – PR agents – and he turns down her services.

Dr. Juarez goes to the panel meeting and ends up joining in. She brings up the burned, body-removed-from-head mercenary and points out that it’s like people are “too alive”. When a doctor online asks for more antibiotics, she realizes that, pretty soon, there are going to be drug-resistant organisms out there, due to the lack of death and the increase in infections.

On the plane, Jack is feeling sick and points out to Rex that he thinks he’s been poisoned. Rex doubts him and Jack theorizes that maybe it’s just that his lack of resistance to germs is catching up with him.

At the CIA offices, Esther sees men pulling out Rex’s harddrive and going through his office. She asks Charlotte if she knows anything, but she doesn’t. Heading back to her desk, Esther sees men going through her stuff, as well. When they leave, she tries to log in to her system, but her password and ID have been removed. Her bank calls her and she’s shocked to hear that she has received a wire transfer from China for $50,000. Getting a clue, Esther smartly grabs Charlotte’s badge and keys and makes her way out of the office, dodging Friedkin’s men. Go, Esther! Glad to see her instincts kicked in, finally.

Back on the plane, Gwen is concerned that Jack is getting so sick. When she interrogates Danny, she realizes that there was no reason for Lyn to go and “supervise” the drinks. Rex bows to her insistence to search Lyn and finds the poison on her. He handcuffs her and Jack figures out that the poison he was given was arsenic. No one knows what to do, so Rex calls Dr. Juarez and asks her what to do for arsenic poisoning. It takes a few minutes, but Rex finally manages to convince her that Jack really is dying, and she suggests trying collation. Unfortunately, it’s going to take some doing to figure out how to manufacture E.D.T.A. – the drug they need to save Jack – on an airplane.

Luckily, Dr. Juarez is in a conference room filled with doctors.

Between the doctors on land and Gwen, Rex, the stewardess, and Danny, they manage to manufacture the E.D.T.A needed to save Jack. Lyn does her best to stop it when she manages to break free, but Gwen knocks her out. I admit it; I totally cheered when she did! I actually enjoyed Gwen’s frantic, take-charge-attitude over saving a dying Jack. It worked for me. And there was a cute little moment where she watched out for his coat when they were undressing him.

Jack is saved, but Rex locks Gwen and him back up in handcuffs. Oy. Rex, not good. He calls Friedkin and lets him know what is going on – which is, of course, an even bigger mistake. So far, Rex isn’t improving.

The doctors at the panel realize that humans are immortal, but they are also still aging. As one of them says, this is no miracle. Dr. Juarez realizes that the number one thing that they need to concentrate on is pain management. With no one being able to die, they will need more painkillers, because there will be no end to people’s suffering.

PR agent Jilly – who was listening in – approaches Dr. Juarez and offers her her services. Juarez turns her down, but takes her card, especially when Jilly suggests using her to approach a senator to reverse a government decision to stockpile drugs.

Rex, Jack and Gwen are met at the airport by Friedkin’s men. Rex has no idea he’s in trouble, but luckily, Esther finally manages to get a hold of him and alerts him to what is going on. Rex finally buys a clue. Esther gets his hints that he’s already in danger and tells him that she’s on her way to the airport to pick him up. Rex hangs up. He cites some codes to justify releasing Jack and Gwen from their cuffs. Between the three of them, they take down the men (Rex breaks Lyn’s neck in a fight) and escape. Rex gives Jack his timeband back and they all meet Dr. Juarez, and then Esther, at the curb. Dr. Juarez hands over the painkillers to Rex, then stops to take care of a grotesquely distorted Lyn.

Esther takes off with Rex, Jack and Gwen in her car. Still frantic over everything that is going on, and shocked by Lyn’s broken-neck appearance, Esther wonders what the heck is going on. Gwen’s answer? “Welcome to Torchwood.”

Review: Despite the fact that there’s still not enough Jack in it, and Rex didn’t grow on me as much as I had hoped he would, I am enjoying this season so far.

There were a couple of setbacks with the new American members of Torchwood, though. I had to roll my eyes over Esther’s lack of instincts over Friedkin’s decidedly sneaky and suspicious attitude towards her when she approached him about working on the Torchwood case. He was just a bit too obvious for her to not pick up on that. I was happy though, that her instincts kicked in when she saw the men ransacking, first Rex’s office, and then her desk. Loved her ability to think on her feet and get out of the building.

I had really thought that Rex would gain a bit of humility and lose some of his arrogance, after everything that had happened to him in the first episode, but alas, he has not. Hopefully, having his legs kicked out from underneath him, in the form of the CIA turning against him, will do the trick. I really don’t think his arrogant attitude is going to do him any favours in regards to the viewer’s opinion. Certainly not with mine.

I quite like Dr. Juarez, though I’m not sure if the medical parts of the show are very accurate. I’ve seen some complaints about the way that the writers are handling both this aspect and the legal issues, but, not being any expert in either, I’m not really bothered by it. Torchwood has always played fast and loose with the law; I don’t expect them to stop now.

The Oswald side of the show is still the weakest link. I don’t at all buy his sudden remorse. I don’t. I think it’s just some game of his, which we will discover shortly. Jilly is going to be annoying. She already is. I know that she’s supposed to be, but it’s a little too much annoyance for me. They need to either fold this Oswald part of the show into the main storyline, AKA the Torchwood crew, or stop spending so much time on them. Preferably, both.

My curiosity is piqued over who is trying to kill Jack and why. How do they even know that he’s mortal now? Or that he was immortal, before, and now isn’t? It didn’t seem like Lyn had overheard and had time to alert Friedkin, but maybe she did and they just didn’t show it.

I’m actually glad that Rhys and the baby are safely tucked away in Wales. It would have bothered me too much to have the baby in the thick of things, in danger. Too distracting. And this way, it frees Gwen from worrying too much about her, as well.

Gwen continues to earn a favourable viewing from me. I loved her hardcore determination to save Jack. Nice to not be perpetually annoyed with her!

I can’t tell if the continuing jokes about Danny the “big gay steward” are just not that funny or just flat-out insensitive. A few of them were kind of amusing, but they just kept going on and on, with both Gwen and Rex insisting that the guy was gay. It was too much.

Overall, episode two continued to hold my interest, excite me, and keep me intrigued by what is going on. And so far, it’s a lot less depressing and dark than Children of Earth was, so that’s a step up, right there!

About Heather S. Vina

Heather's been a fan of science fiction since she was five years old and developed a crush on Captain Kirk, while watching reruns of Star Trek: The Original Series. A huge Anglophile, she loves reading and watching (and mocking!) TV, but hasn't figured out a way to make a living doing either, yet. But she lives in hope!

Heather S. VinaReview: Torchwood: Miracle Day 4.02: Rendition