Torchwood: Miracle Day 7 "Immortal Sins" Review

A column article, Shot For Shot by: Paul Brian McCoy
Determined to save her family at any cost, Gwen takes Jack captive to deliver him to the kidnappers. Also, a flashback to 1927 unites Jack and a young Italian immigrant named Angelo.

Torchwood airs on Friday nights at 10PM on STARZ. In a bizarre marketing move, the BBC will air the episodes the following Thursday nights, with the cable channel's naughty bits cut and replaced with longer character bits.

I'm gonna get whiplash watching this show.

After last week's brutally horrible low point, Torchwood: Miracle Day bounces back this week with an episode that is mostly flashback and provides a lot of information about just what may be going on with The Miracle.

We also get a glimpse at what "The Blessing" is, too.

In fact, this episode was so much better than last week's that I have to wonder if the absence (for the second week running) of Danes (Bill Pullman) and Jilly (Lauren Ambrose), combined with the extremely reduced screen-presence of Rex (Mekhi Phifer) and Esther (Alexa Havins), didn't have something to do with it.

The majority of the present-day action takes place in a car with Jack (John Barrowman) tied up in the backseat while Gwen (Eve Myles) drives him to a rendezvous with the mysterious forces behind The Miracle, because, as you'll remember if you made it all the way through last week's suckfest, they want Jack for some reason.

Well, now we have an idea about that reason. And that reason is a little gay.

I don't mean that as an insult. It looks like Jack's 1927 romance with an Italian illegal immigrant named Angelo Colasanto (Daniele Favilli) is at the heart of everything.

Jane Espenson provides the script this week and it's the strongest one she's contributed this season. I honestly still don't have any faith in the quality of this show from week to week, so maybe that lack of expectation helped make this week's shine a little brighter. And next week could still be a total trainwreck.

But at least there was a reprieve in the quality this time out.

Unless you're uncomfortable with gay sex, that is. Because there was a truckload of that!

There was also a very interesting classic-style Torchwood adventure as Jack and Angelo bust up a plot to infect the about to be elected Governor of New York, Franklin Roosevelt, with a mind-altering alien parasite that would eventually keep America out of World War Two.

How Jack knows that's the alien endgame is not explained, but it sounds good and raises a question for me. I'm wondering if the forces behind the Parasite Plot are the same people behind the Miracle. That's the sort of Long Game that our mystery villains excel at apparently, and after things go South, we get a glimpse of a trio of men who seem to be forming a partnership in order to purchase Jack for ten thousand dollars.

What's that, you ask? Purchase Jack? WTH, Torchwood?

Yeah. When I say things go South, I mean they go about as bad as things can get for a guy who can't die but can still the pain of torture and the shock of death. Last week's pen-torture is nothing, I'm telling you.


Jack is shot and killed in front of Angelo, who then spends a year in prison. When he's released, Jack shows up and freaks the shit out of him. This is the Twenties, remember, and Angelo is from a small Italian village with only 200 people in it. So when I say he freaks the shit out, I mean he freaks out and stabs Jack to death.

And when he wakes up, Angelo and the people who have gathered stab him to death again.

And when he wakes up from that, Jack is tied up, hanging in the basement, and a frenzied crowd takes turns killing him over and over again. His blood is also collected by old ladies who mutter something about "The Blessing" as they do so.

It's during the cycle of dying and waking up that the strange trio arrive, say something about owning Jack, and share their weird triangular handshake.

This is one of the most disturbing scenes in the history of the show.

And sorry, Angelo. Even though you feel guilty and get Jack out of the basement, that sort of betrayal will split up just about any couple.

But that sets up the big reveal at the end.

It turns out that the people interested in getting their hands on Jack are working for Angelo and represented by Olivia Colasanto , who is played by Nana Visitor (whom I've had a crush on since Star Trek: Deep Space Nine). And next week, Q himself, John DeLancie, will be appearing, I assume, as an age-retarded Angelo.

Is this the first time Star Trek actors have crossed over into the Doctor Who-niverse? I'm not sure, but if that's a side-effect of the American influx of money, then I approve.

The best thing about this episode for me, though, wasn't the flashback or the stunt casting. It was the emotional powder-keg that is the Jack/Gwen relationship. The back-and-forth in the car is brutal and honest, as Gwen makes it clear that her family comes first and she's willing to sacrifice Jack to save them. Jack, on the other hand, is just as determined to survive now that he's finally gotten a taste of mortality again.

It's a series of nicely tense scenes that outshine all of the melodramatic uselessness of the last couple of episodes.

Oh, and speaking of which, it looks like the Camps have been temporarily suspended, but not shut down, even though at the end of the previous episode it looked like Dr. Juarez's (Arlene Tur) sacrifice had been in vain. So, at least there's that.

I'm going to go ahead and swallow my pride here and give this episode a solid , even after everything I said last week. I still don't have any expectations for the rest of the series, and we've taken way too long to get to this point, but at least this week wasn't a complete waste.

Hopefully next week won't be either. But I'm not holding my breath.

For more Torchwood action, check out our previous reviews:
Episode One, "The New World"
Episode Two, "Rendition"
Episode Three, "Dead of Night"
Episode Four, "Escape to L.A."
Episode Five, "The Categories of Life"
Episode Six, "The Middle Men"

Paul Brian McCoy is the writer of Mondo Marvel and a regular contributor to Shot for Shot. He currently has little spare time, but in what there is he continues to work on his first novel, The Unraveling: Damaged Inc. Book One. He is unnaturally preoccupied with zombie films, Asian cult cinema, and sci-fi television. He can also be found babbling on Twitter at @PBMcCoy and blogging occasionally at Infernal Desire Machines.

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