TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY 1.07 ‘Immortal Sins’

Gwen betrays her friends as a man from Jack's past may hold the key to Miracle Day.

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

Episode Title: "Immortal Sins"

Writer: Jane Espenson

Director: Gwyneth Horder-Payton

Previously on "Torchwood: Miracle Day":

The formerly immortal Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) confronted PhiCorp COO Stuart Owens (Ernie Hudson) and learned that even PhiCorp itself was largely in the dark about Miracle Day's origins, save for something called "The Blessing." At the Los Angeles PhiCorp relocation camps, former CIA Agent Rex Matheson (Mekhi Phifer) and Esther Drummond (Alexa Havins) attempted to escape and let the world know that the government was condoning the death by incineration of all category one patients, a secret that cost Dr. Vera Juarez (Arlene Tur) her life. Rex and Esther eventually came face-to-face with Vera's murderer, but neither of them took the shot that brought him down.

In the United Kingdom, Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) and her husband, Rhys Williams (Kai Owen) smuggled her father out of the local PhiCorp camp. She then used the Torchwood issue contact lenses to broadcast a message of what the camp modules were used for before she blew them up. Gwen returned to the U.S. in triumph, but she was briefly unnerved when Rhys wouldn't answer his phone. Then Gwen received a message through the contact lenses: the conspiracy behind Miracle Day had her mother, husband and baby in their custody. And in return for their safety, they told Gwen to bring Jack to them.

Story:

In 1927, a man named Angelo Colasanto (Daniele Favilli) claims to be Jack Harkness as he goes through Ellis Island to enter the United States. The real Jack Harkness tackles Angelo and seems to fall for the man after he mounts him. Jack later sees Angelo in the lock up and he forges new documents for him that will let him be released to the states. Back to the present, Gwen freaks out over the message and she tries to reach Rhys again. In the U.K., both Rhys and her mother are under guard. The conspirators tell Gwen to keep her lenses in so they can monitor her. When she arrives back at Torchwood's makeshift headquarters, Esther and Rex notice her strange behavior.

Gwen lures Jack to her car and then tasers him into unconsciousness. In 1927, Jack rents a room with Angelo and seduces the young man into a relationship. Back in the present, Jack awakens to find that he is tied up. Gwen explains why she did it and he is stunned that she didn't leave him with an easy way to escape. Gwen angrily blames him for the danger to his family and demands that he think back to his past about how he is connected to Miracle Day. Back in the '20s, Jack and Angelo become low level bootleggers.

Jack and Angelo come to the attention of a local mob boss, whom Jack deduces wants them to make a dangerous delivery without checking the cargo. Jack tries to send Angelo away for his safety, but then he decides to imitate the Doctor and take on Angelo as a companion on his travels. They go to the mobster's warehouse and uncover a parasitic alien race that a group called the Trickster's brigade intended to use to change Earth's history. Jack destroys the box and the aliens, but on their way out he is shot and killed by the police. Angelo is captured and taken to jail, so he doesn't see Jack revive from the gun shots.

In the present, Jack tells Gwen that now that he is mortal, he will fight her to keep his life. In turn, Gwen tells him that she will sacrifice him for the return of her family. Back in the '20s, Angelo gets out of jail after serving a year and he is stunned to find Jack waiting for him. Jack explains that he survived the gun shots and played dead, but Angelo is initially wary of him. When they return to their apartment, Angelo notices that Jack has no scars and he assumes that he is the devil. He stabs Jack to death. And when Angelo shows his neighbors (the local butcher and his wife), the butcher kills Jack again when he comes back to life.

Jack is then taken to the butcher's shop, where he is killed again and again by people who assume that his immortality is a divine miracle. Some of them even take his blood as they take turns killing him. In his fevered state of mind, Jack witnesses three mob bosses make a pact about owning Jack and they use an odd three way handshake to seal the deal. Hours later, Angelo frees Jack and apologizes to him for putting him through that. But Jack doesn't forgive him and he abandons Angelo by throwing himself off the roof and simply running away before Angelo can run down the building.

In the present, Jack is much more frightened now as he practically begs Gwen for his life. A car arrives to pick up Jack, with two men and a woman (Nana Visitor), but before Jack can be handed over, a sniper fires at them. The shooter turns out to Rex who is there with Esther. In flashback, we see Esther follow up on Gwen's odd behavior by finding the message that blackmailed her into kidnapping Jack. In the United Kingdom, Gwen's friend, Sergeant Andy Davidson (Tom Price) leads the raid to free Gwen's family. With the ordeal over, Jack and Gwen reconcile and then threaten the woman to make her tell them the truth about Miracle Day.

In response, the woman says that Jack will come with her anyway, because she is the only one who can take him to the only man who can tell him the truth about the Miracle… Angelo, who is still alive after over 80 years of waiting to see Jack again.

Breakdown:

While in theory this is the part of the season that "Torchwood: Miracle Day" should be firing on all cylinders, it seems to have become completely derailed. Never mind the fact that it's a mistake to introduce the villains so late in the story because it loses the dramatic impact, but making Angelo into a key figure behind Miracle Day seems like an incredibly bad decision. Daniele Favilli's performance was lukewarm at best and most of the flashback sequences between him and Jack were tedious to sit through. John Barrowman works best as Jack when he has someone dynamic to play off of. And Angelo wasn't dynamic… he was boring.

This episode also did a lot to undercut the Miracle Day conspirators. By grabbing Gwen's family and hijacking the Torchwood tech to monitor Gwen, it gave the villains a sense of power. But the easy way that Rex, Esther and even Andy (!) thwarted them made the villains look like jokes as opposed to menacing figures. Aside from Oswald Danes, "Miracle Day" still doesn't have a real adversary for the team through seven episodes. The three mob bosses seen in the past are likely to be the ringleaders of Miracle Day, as their handshake seemed to mimic the triangle insignia that we've seen on the conspirator's cell phones. But again, it's way too late in the story to be introducing these characters. They should have been subtly slipped into the previous episodes. And if somehow I missed that, then the writers are off the hook for that one.

The most enjoyable part of the episode was the rising tension between Jack and Gwen, especially when it seemed like Jack would tear through her just for a chance to survive. The problem is that we never see him really try to do that. If ever there was an excuse for a physical confrontation between Jack and Gwen, this was it. However, it seemed like Jack became meek again after his threat to rip off Gwen's flesh. Their reconciliation was also a little forced.

Rex and Esther's surprise appearance at the end didn't serve either of them well. It just pointed out that almost an entire episode took place without them and at no point was I ever curious as to what they were doing. This season of "Torchwood" was largely built on the notion that it could reach a broader audience by bringing in more American characters and setting the bulk of the action in this country. So far that hasn't been the case.

There's still some time left for "Torchwood: Miracle Day" to pull a rabbit out of its hat and close out the season with three strong episodes. However, I'm quickly losing faith and patience with it.

Crave Online Rating: 5.5 out of 10.