Review: Torchwood: Miracle Day 4.08: The End of the Road

By Heather S. Vina

[spoilers ahead]

Written by: Ryan Scott and Jane Espenson

Recap: Olivia Colasanto (Nana Visitor) brings Jack, Rex, Esther, and Gwen to the estate where her grandfather, Angelo Colasanto, Jack’s former lover, is staying. Rex has Esther stay behind as a security measure. They will keep the phone lines open between them. If anything happens, she will relay it back to a hard drive in LA.

Olivia explains to Jack that Angelo never stopped talking about him. Jack inspired him by proving immortality is possible and Angelo dedicated his life to finding out how to live forever. Jack is happy at the idea that Angelo is young and still alive, but Olivia explains that, while Angelo is still alive, he’s not young. Angelo is an old man, lying comatose in a hospital bed.

Jack confirms that it’s Angelo by the birthmark in his eye. Olivia questions Jack on being horrified that Angelo is still old, but Jack isn’t. He remarks that Angelo is still young, compared to him. Gwen questions Olivia on why she was threatening Gwen’s family. Olivia explains that it was Angelo’s wish to protect Jack. But, while Olivia is carrying out her grandfather’s wishes, she has no personal feelings about Jack. It could be important to keep him “intact”, due to his connection to Miracle Day, though.

There are pictures of Jack in different periods on the mantle, but Angelo never approached him. Olivia explains that he was ashamed of having grown old. Angelo managed to prolong his life through natural means: controlling his blood pressure, temperature, etc. Olivia explains that prolonging life is simple, but you can’t make a profit off of it, so it’s not advertised. She tells them that Jack is not unusual in this world: The jellyfish can make itself younger. Even in the human body, cancer cells and stem cells are immortal. In theory, they can divide forever.

This is what Angelo researched and he wasn’t alone: He worked with the three men who represented three different families, the same men who made a deal over Jack’s tortured body. They formed an alliance, to purchase Jack’s secret of immortality. When Jack escaped, they vowed to find the “gift” again. They are the Costerdane, Ablemarch, and Frines families. They used Jack’s blood to try to discover immortality, but Jack explains that there is nothing special in his blood that they can find because his immortality doesn’t stem from his blood. Rex asks why they were planning to kill Jack. Jack says he doesn’t know. Olivia tells them that whatever they were planning, they didn’t let Angelo in on it. They worked with him, but they kept him at a distance, because they disapproved of his homosexual relationship with Jack and the fact that Angelo never hid it.

Angelo went on to have a family and make a good life for them with the things that Jack had told him about the future, but he never forgot Jack.

Gwen points out that they still don’t know what the Families did to the world. Olivia tells them that, in 1998, they intercepted a message. It was just one word, but that word was “Blessing”. Jack tells her that they’ve heard that word before and that the Families found it, but they still don’t know what it is. All they do know is that they need to find the Families.

Rex asks Esther if she’s found out anything about the Families, as she was searching for them on her computer in the car. She explains to them that there’s nothing in the system about them. It’s as if those families don’t exist, but she’s cut off when someone puts a gun to her head. Seems the security force at the Colasanto estate is not very good!

It’s Friedkin (Wayne Knight) and his people. He’s worried about someone named ‘Shapiro’ being right behind him. It’s the corrupted side of the CIA that is working for the Families and Friedkin plans to take care of the Torchwood gang before the genuine CIA come up and stop him.

The gang sees that something is going on. Rex demands that Olivia tell him where the three Families are. Olivia explains that they came out of New York City, determined to protect their secrets, and what better place to hide than in plain sight?

Friedkin bursts in and tells them that they are being arrested for “violation of the Miracle Security Act.” Turns out that he tracked the gang when Rex used his cell phone to call Dr. Juarez’s brother. He pulls Rex aside and confronts him over the whole thing, telling him that he’s going to set it up so that it looks like Rex tried to escape and Friedkin had to kill him. Rex asks him how much the Families paid him, as Shapiro (John de Lancie, it’s Q!) arrives. Friedkin tells him it wasn’t about the money. The Families own him: “They are everywhere; they are always; they are no one.” While he’s talking, his confession transmits to the TV screens in the vicinity. Rex planned this whole thing: He used his phone on purpose and he’s wearing Gwen’s contacts so Friedkin’s confession would be transmitted.

Shapiro comes in and arrests Friedkin. Rex asks Shapiro if he really believed that he was bad. Shapiro tells Rex that the proof was woven into Rex’s records, going back ten years. Whoever these people are, they’re smart.

Shapiro’s a jerk. He has his men take Olivia away to a “safe house”, despite her objections. He then goes on to try to deport Gwen when she stands up to him. Rex convinces him that Gwen is an asset. Shapiro then goes down the row, telling Esther that he’s docking her pay for “abandoning her post,” and insulting Jack. The only one that he seems to like is Rex. Two arrogant jerks finding a soulmate in each other? Whatever, it’s annoying.

Shapiro leaves Gwen and Jack alone with Angelo for a few minutes, while he gets his men up and moving. There’s a plane waiting for them and he plans to leave soon. He has his men place Friedkin in a car with Olivia and Friedkin’s henchwoman. Olivia points out to Friedkin that the Families aren’t kind to people who let them down. Friedkin bemoans that he’s done a lot of good, but all he’s going to be remembered for is this. There were so many times that he said no to the Families. He wishes he could say no to them this time, right before he blows up the car.

Everyone runs out to see what has happened, while Jack goes back to the room where Angelo is. He sits by his bedside and talks to Angelo, wondering if Angelo ever came and saw him, and Jack never knew. He asks Angelo if he saw Ianto, and tells him that he might have liked him. He laughs and then tells Angelo that he has to go, but he’ll take care of him. He kisses him goodbye. As he does, the machine alarms go off. Jack thinks that they’re just crying wolf, because no one can die, but then he realizes that Angelo really has died. He turns the machines back on and tries CPR, but nothing works. The others rush in and are shocked at what is happening. Shapiro’s men work on Angelo, while Rex bemoans what this could mean for him, since he was supposed to die, too. Really, Rex? Good Lord, you are so self-centric.

Rex rallies up the troops to go online and see if anyone else has died, after Jack insists that Angelo is dead.

A short while later, Shapiro’s men take out the bedding and Shapiro confronts Jack. He asks Jack how this happened. Jack tells him that he doesn’t know. He wants to leave with Gwen, but Shapiro refuses, saying that the house is a crime scene now. They are going to search the place from top to bottom to try and figure out what happened. No one is allowed to leave.

Once Shapiro has left the room, Gwen asks Jack what is going on. She realizes that they are in trouble and asks Jack if it’s because Angelo died. Jack answers yes, but he fails to answer her question on why. He looks worried.

In another room, Rex has a video conference with Noah (Paul James) and Charlotte (Marina Benedict) back at the offices. No one else is dying and Ireland and Greece are about to declare bankruptcy. Rex and Esther give them the names of the Families. Charlotte starts to make a plan to go search for the paperwork on the Families and try to track them that way.

Charlotte tells Esther that she has some information on her sister: She’s in a high security wing of a psychiatric hospital.

Rex has Noah keeping eyes on Oswald Danes. Jack has been looking at him, and Rex trusts his instincts (since when?), so he wants someone close in with Oswald, watching him. Noah tells him that Oswald is in Texas, getting ready for a rally.

In Texas, Jilly is talking to Oswald about his latest rally when Oswald interrupts, telling her that he wants a woman, one of legal age. Jilly is creeped out, but agrees to get him a woman.

Jilly heads off to her room and is accosted by a young woman named ‘Shawnie Yamaguchi’ (Constance Wu), who wants to be her intern. She wants to “learn from the best.” Jilly has her go get her a sandwich and Shawnie sympathizes with her having to put up with Oswald. Jilly cryptically tells her that she won’t have to for much longer, but doesn’t expand on it. Shawnie leaves. When she does, she texts Noah, telling him that she’s in. Seems Shawnie is a CIA plant.

It’s nighttime. Esther gets to call her sister Sarah (Candace Brown). Her sister is depressed, and tells Esther that she wants to volunteer for Category 1. When Esther begs her not to think like that, to think about her daughters, Sarah tells her that she put them on the list, too. Come on. I have a hard time seeing the government allowing a delusional mother to put her children on a death list and then letting it happen. Esther ends the phone call, devastated, and even more determined to end Miracle Day.

Gwen calls home and gets to talk to Rhys. She expresses some concern for Jack to Rhys. Her mother finally comes through for her when she encourages her daughter not to give up and to go “get the bastards, whatever it takes.” Man, I was really ready to hate her mom even more. Then she changed it at the end. Yay for positive change! Rhys gives her news about the run on the banks and how her father is doing. They both wonder if the stock market and banking issues are part of the plan to get the camps opening up again. Rhys theorizes that maybe the financial problems in 2008 were part of the plan, too. Gwen tells him it could be. She thinks that this goes back decades. But they don’t know why or where everything is going. She tells him that she can’t come home yet, but she will soon.

Esther comes into the room and tries to comfort Jack. She notices the raised platform the hospital bed is in, and starts looking at it, but Jack tells her to leave it alone. Gwen realizes something is up. Jack keeps insisting that Esther leave the platform alone and not say anything. Shapiro walks in. Esther ends up telling him that she thinks that there’s something going on with the platform, despite Jack and Gwen begging her not to. Oh, Esther. You have disappointed me so. After everything, you couldn’t trust Jack and Gwen? Gah!

Shapiro has his men dig up the floor. This reveals a panel underneath. Shapiro demands that Jack tell them what it is, but Jack tells them that he doesn’t know. Esther butts in and says that if Jack could hear her sister, he would try to help. And don’t you think that’s what he’s doing, Esther, by NOT telling the CIA what is going on? Man, I hate when characters are stupid, when they should know better.

Jack refuses to answer whether it’s extraterrestrial or not. Gwen defends him when Shapiro gets in his face. Unfortunately for the Torchwood duo, Shapiro decides that the best way to break them is to separate them and he has Gwen deported. Gwen doesn’t go quietly though, as she shouts that she will find Jack and she will be back.

Shapiro threatens to move the panel. Jack stops him, telling him he can’t move it. Rex demands that Jack tell them what it it. Jack says that it’s some sort of transmitter. Rex asks what it does and Jack tells him that it mostly proves his theory that the Miracle was caused by some sort of morphic field. Jack is sounding a wee bit testy. At this point, who can blame him?

Shapiro interrupts, asking if this means that Jack knows what is causing this. Jack tells him no. Saying it’s a morphic field is like saying it’s caused by radiation. It’s just a general vague term that doesn’t really explain anything. Esther concludes that it transmitted a null field that negated the Miracle, allowing Angelo to die. Rex asks how Angelo got the panels, but Jack says he doesn’t know everything. The field is only as big as the panel. Shapiro says that they can stop the Miracle if they create a field as big as the planet, but Jack tells him that they would need a structure like that panel as big as the whole planet.

Shapiro goes to move the panel, but Jack tells him that if they do it wrong, they can nullify everything, including life. Shapiro demands that Jack fix it so that they can take it back to Langley.

Oswald’s prostitute Claire (Megan Duffy) arrives. She tells him that she can act as young and innocent as he wants, but Oswald basically wants to have a date with her. She gets turned off and tries to leave. Oswald reacts angrily at her condemnation of him and she throws in his face that he’s been rated a “Category 0”. He asks her what that is, but she doesn’t give him an answer and leaves.

Oswald confronts Jilly over what Category 0 is. Jilly is surprised that the prostitute knew. She explains to him that Congress has come up with a new category for people who have “earned their place in the ovens” for moral reasons. Oswald is shocked that they want to burn him alive, but Jilly says it was always going to come to an end. Oswald says that they can’t kill him yet; he hasn’t “found them”, yet. He slaps Jilly and Jilly fights back. As he leaves, she screams at him that he can’t run; they are going to burn him alive.

Back at the mansion, Jack does something to the panel, and gets Rex and Esther to help him by placing their hands on it. Esther apologizes, but Jack has no time for that. He has broadened the transmission of the null field so that it will nullify sound waves. No one around them can hear what they are saying, unless they touch the panel, too. Jack explains to them that he doesn’t know how it works. This is alien technology and the only samples of it were in the Torchwood hub. Angelo’s people must have salvaged it. Esther asks if it was triggered with his DNA, but Jack doesn’t know for sure. He tells them that they have to get him out of there, but Rex proclaims that the CIA are the good guys. That’s why he brought them all back in; they can protect Jack. Jack tells him that there was a reason that Torchwood kept things secret: This is a science that the world can never know. Esther asks how he can know that. He tells her he knows because he has been to the future. This technology would destroy the world and that future, because humanity would use it for evil. It would be terminal for this timeline.

Esther agrees with Jack. She tells Rex that if the government had this panel and used it to kill people, it would be the same thing as the ovens. They’ve seen that no one should have control over life and death. Jack tells them that they have to get him and the one control panel away from the house. If the control panel is gone, the panel doesn’t work. Rex still tries to convince Jack that the CIA are the good guys, but Jack begs him to get him out.

Shawnie tells Jilly that she thinks she should call the police, but Jilly says she is going to do something much worse: She’s going to hold a press conference. They are confronted by the mysterious man (Teddy Sears) who talked to her before, and he tells her that she is being watched by a CIA agent. Jilly doesn’t believe it. She is horrified when the man pulls out a silencer and shoots Shawnie. He calmly tells her that she is being considered for a promotion. Jilly is shocked at the murder, but quickly shakes herself out of it and tells him that, yes, she is interested in the promotion. He whisks her away and calls someone on the phone, telling them that he “has her; she’s with us, now.” That person turns out to be Charlotte at the CIA. Man. Another traitor in their midst [sigh].

Rex tells Jack that Shapiro wants to see him. When the guard that is supposed to go with Jack turns away to get his coat, Rex knocks him out. He tells Jack to shut up when he tells him thank you. Esther and Rex aren’t going to come with him. They’re going to stay behind to continue working with the CIA. Unfortunately, when they take Jack out to get a car for him, Jack ends up being shot and Esther is seen. Rex sends Esther off with a wounded Jack and stays behind.

It’s morning and a distraught Esther is driving, with Jack nearly passed out in the backseat. She begs him to wake up, because she doesn’t know where to go or what to do, but he can’t hear her. On a plane flying back to Britain, Gwen sits and cries.

Review: Really, why are all of the new characters so exceedingly obnoxious and annoying? And almost all of the Americans, too. I couldn’t stand Shapiro, who came off like an arrogant jerk right off the bat. And he wasn’t as smart as he thought he was, considering Friedkin managed to blow himself, Olivia and his henchwoman up, right underneath Shapiro’s nose. Did no one search the guy? Jeez.

I was so disappointed in Esther in this one. She’s the only new character that I’ve come to like, so seeing her be flamingly stupid, and betraying Jack and Gwen for the CIA, was a huge disappointment. I expect that kind of idiocy from Rex but not from her. Rex’s gung-ho attitude how the CIA was going to save the day was infuriating, as well. Really? The same CIA that left you guys out to hang and had no idea that there were moles working against them, and for the Families, in their very organization? The same CIA that arrogantly deported Gwen and threatened Jack because they wouldn’t play ball with them?

Both Esther and Rex were really frustrating in this episode. I don’t understand why every new character in this season has been so stupid and annoying for the majority of their time on screen. Oswald and Jilly are evil; Rex is an arrogant jerk; Esther has her moments, but despite everything, she ended up being as stupid as the rest. It’s just annoying. There should be a couple of new characters to root for, but instead, the only characters who are decent are the original Torchwood crew and even they have had their moments of stupidity.

That being said, I did enjoy this episode and how it moved the story along. I’m glad we are finally finding out more about Jack’s connection with the Miracle, even if we don’t know what it really is, yet. And I’m glad we are finally finding out who is behind the Miracle. It sure took long enough. I’m still annoyed at the huge waste of time spent on PhiCorp, when it turned out to be a complete red herring.

I’m really curious about this null field and if Angelo did something to it to change Jack. Jack theorised that it was possible Angelo had used Jack’s blood and done something to him to reverse Jack’s immortality, as a sort of clue for him, but this was just a quick theory. I’d really like a decent explanation for how Jack’s immortality was reversed!

I’m curious about Oswald telling Jilly that he hasn’t had enough time to find “them”. Are they going to say that he was working all along to try to figure out what was going on, once Jack approached him? That would be a curious approach. He did seem to genuinely want to turn over a new leaf in his life when the prostitute came. Or as genuinely as a child-raping killer can be. We’ll see where they go with him. In my opinion, there’s really no redemption to be found, once you rape and murder a child, but it would be nice to see Oswald expressing genuine remorse and realizing what he did.

I’m really annoyed that they killed off Olivia so quickly, as I was hoping she could give us more information. But at least the season is wrapping up in another couple of episodes and we will finally get some answers on this storyline. It’s about time.

Quotes:

Olivia: You must be so horrified.
Jack: Why would you say that?
Olivia: He’s grown so old.
Jack: That’s the way I see the whole world. He’s still young to me.

Shapiro: Torchwood is going to work for the CIA?
Jack: I think the CIA is going to work for Torchwood. If you’re lucky.

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 4.08: The End of the Road