Torchwood: Miracle Day “Escape To LA” TV REVIEW

City of Triangles

4.04
Writers:
Jim Gray, John Shiban
Director: Billy Gierhart

THE ONE WHERE The Torchwood team moves to LA to infiltrate PhiCorp HQ, and Oswald begins his messianic campaign by standing up for the rights of the dead in the face of opposition from a right-wing mayor.

VERDICT The best episode of Miracle Day so far. “Escape To LA” feels leaner, tighter, more focused and better paced than previously, while its mix of action/adventure with issues-led drama meshes far more smoothly. Better yet, the mysterious villains – for the moment known as “The Triangle” for want of a real name – finally begin to show their cards, delivering a simply chilling speech at the end before crushing the still-alive Mayor Monroe in her own car for all eternity. The zoom through the wreckage into her staring, desperate eye is a top bit of telly.

Vera remains the main focus point for the harrowing side effects of Miracle Day. There’s less theoretical chit chat about the consequences of this new world and more actual on-screen evidence as she helps run the “plague ship” hospital. These scenes are harrowing and thought-provoking enough even before Oswald arrives, turning the tables on the right-wing mayor who’s demanding apartheid for the dead. While previously it’s been difficult to understand quite how Oswald is turning into a cause célèbre, here you can see exactly how his opportunism, warped intelligence and Hitler-esque magnetism would convince ordinary people that a child murderer could be the source of their deliverance.

Meanwhile, the A-Team, sorry Torchwood, have to deal with the Triangle assassin, who, it has to be admitted, is one of the episode’s weaker elements. As a plot device he functions well enough, but dear lord, he’s like that flame-on-metal metaphor Jack goes on about, making clichés arrange themselves around him. From his summer blockbuster dialogue (“What happened?” “I did”), through his method of infiltrating biometric security (cut out the guy’s eye) to his untimely “death” (well, as near as it gets in this show) just as he was about to blab the enemies’ plans, he feels like a pastiche character. (And couldn’t Jack and Gwen just get him to write the info?)

Luckily, the Torchwood team is far more pro-active this week, and it’s fun watching them swing into action to some first-rate thrills (and silliness – Gwen’s US accent and grumbling about heels are great stuff). Although it’s good to see that some things never change. Torchwood may have new members but Esther is proving every bit as incapable of acting professionally for more than 60 seconds as Owen and Tosh were back in the old days.

And is it just us, or does there seem to be some competition between all the characters to see who can say PhiCorp the most. Anyone feel a drinking game coming on?

With “Escape To LA” Miracle Day feels like it’s moved up a gear. Let’s hope it doesn’t find “reverse” again.

BLOOPER When Oswald Danes first pick the baby out of its crib, it is only wearing one sock, but by the time he holds it triumphantly in the air, it’s wearing two socks (compare above and below).

IN-JOKE When speaking to Professor Frumkin in the park, Jack uses the alias “John Smith” which is, of course, the Doctor’s preferred nom de plume.

BEST LINE:
Triangle voice: “Mrs Monroe. We’d like to apologise. We’re really very sorry about this. Indeed we’d like to imagine if time and tides had flown in a different way, we could have almost been friends. I hope that’s some consolation. At the end. Truth of it is, we liked your message, Mrs Monroe. We liked your style. But we already have Oswald Danes. We don’t need another. And certain aspects of your strategy were revealing our hand just a little too soon. And we have been planning this so carefully for such a long time. Because we are everywhere. We are always. We are no one. And soon, the families will rise.”