Sunday, August 21, 2011

Torchwood 4.07: "Miracle Day: Immortal Sins"

So, as you could probably tell, things have been a bit delayed on the blog this past week. I actually do have a legitimate excuse this time, though- I moved to a new apartment last weekend. Anyway, Sarah agreed to help me catch up by blogging this past Friday's episode of "Torchwood," which happens to be the first really good episode in this otherwise disappointing series. Enjoy!


“I suffer and I perish but I always come back. I’ve lived through a lot of Earth’s past and a lot of its future and I’ll keep living this life forever. I’m sorry Angelo, but this is the story of my life. It always ends the same way; you kill me. Men like you kill me.”
- Jack

Let me just start off by saying this felt like the first “real” episode of “Torchwood” since episode 1 of this season. It just felt right. It had aliens and our core members of Torchwood and honestly, I can’t say I really missed Esther or Rex in the least. Or Oswald and Jilly for that matter (side note: this was the second episode in a row we had zero of their storyline [ed. note: hooray for that!]). Anyway, let’s dive in.

We find ourselves on Ellis Island in 1927. A man is calling out Jack’s name, and a young Italian claims the visa. Before he can take two steps from the teller’s desk, the real Jack Harkness (well okay so he’s not the REAL Jack Harkness- he died in World War II and our Jack assumed his identity) races through the hall and tackles the Italian man. We have a brief beat where Jack has pinned the man down on the floor beneath him and it reminds me of the scene in “Fragments” where Jack and Ianto end up on the ground after fighting the pterodactyl and they nearly kiss. Anyway, Jack gets his visa and the other guy gets tossed in a cell to await deportation. But Jack’s got time to kill until the next boat to Manhattan, so he visits our young Italian and we learn his name is Angelo and he’s from a small village in Italy where he learned English. Jack whips out his vortex manipulator (stop calling it a wrist strap damn it) and uses it to forge a visa with Angelo’s name on it to get him out of the cell. It seems Jack has found himself a hot Italian (Amy Pond would be pleased).

Back in the present, we get a rehash of the end of last week’s episode in the airport bathroom with Gwen finding out someone’s got her family and that they want Jack in return. We see her calling Rhys and her mom frantically, and then we cut to LA where Esther and Rex are in mission control. Esther is watching the footage of Vera burning, and she and Rex have a little chat about Vera. Esther says people are holding memorial services for her, and Rex tries to brush it off that he really didn’t know Vera all that well. This is the most we have of the two junior leaguers until the very end of the episode. Gwen bursts in looking for Jack and after not really acknowledging Esther and Rex’s existence, gets Jack out to her car where she promptly tasers him and drives off.

We’re back in 1927, and Jack and Angelo have gotten a room together in Manhattan run by a seemingly nice Italian lady. There’s a little confusion about the fact that there’s two of them and only one bed, but Angelo says he’ll sleep on the floor. Once their landlady leaves, Jack tells Angelo to save his money (yay for predicting the stock market crash) and makes vague statements about the future. Angelo then spots a young woman across the terrace, and we have what is likely the most erotic scene ever in Torchwood (even more so than the alien sex gas episode). Jack asks Angelo what he wants to do the girl and when Angelo asks Jack to tell him instead, Jack gets into it in pretty graphic detail. Clothes ripping, hot kisses and pretty soon Jack and Angelo are buck naked going at it (I know the BBC has some restrictions on what they can show but come on, all we got when Jack and Ianto were together was that one scene in “Adrift” where Gwen walks in on them shirtless). Later that evening, Jack and Angelo are cuddling in bed when Angelo asks how Jack knew he was gay. Jack says it is from experience (you got that right Mr. I’ll-Do-Anything-With-A-Zipcode) but that no one else can tell so long as he (Angelo) doesn’t want them to know. The conversation then turns to Angelo’s first lover (a boy from his village), and Angelo gets horribly offended when Jack asks if he had a relationship with his school master. Jack apologies and pretty soon Angelo is freaking out over what he thinks is bombs. It turns out to be fireworks. It’s the fourth of July.

We’re back in the car with Gwen and Jack and he’s just come round. Jack kind of panics when he realizes he’s tied down, but Gwen explains she’s got the I5’s in and that someone’s taken her family and they want Jack in return. Jack gets Gwen to look into the rearview mirror so he can talk to whoever is telling Gwen what to do, and he tells them to let Gwen’s family go because they’ve got him. And then Gwen gets on him about not remembering her mother’s name and that he’s obviously done something in his past that has led to the current situation, and she demands that he think and tell her what he’s done to screw up her life now.

We’re back in New York, and Angelo and Jack are meeting a priest in a church. Jack slips off into the confessional and rambles on a bit about all the naughty things his done and then drops Father Timothy‘s name and they get escorted to the back room. It seems Jack and Angelo are bootleggers. And before they get too far, they’re dragged off to meet a mobster, Sal Maranzano, who doesn’t like them encroaching on his turf. But then it turns out Mr. Mob wants them to steal a crate from a warehouse. They are not to look inside. Jack says they’ll do it, and they head back to their apartment.

Back in the car Gwen says that all she was told was to drive east. Jack tries to get her to tell him the exact words they used to try and pinpoint where they came from, but she says it all sounded fine (and he makes a comment that she’s Welsh and wouldn’t notice if the vowels were missing). And then Jack takes a chance and says he can recode his vortex manipulator to Gwen’s DNA to find Anwen. Gwen believes it for a second but then calls his bluff when she realizes she’d have to untie Jack. Gwen gets a message in the I5’s that Jack is a liar and she completely agrees.

Back in the apartment in New York, Jack is packing Angelo’s things. He says that Angelo needs to get out of town because it’s too dangerous and having his name on the mob’s “list” isn’t safe. But Angelo makes a case for staying, saying that he doesn’t see how knowing more of Jack’s little secrets could change his life more than it has changed already. And Angelo admits that he feels guilty about the things they do together but it doesn’t stop him from being a willing participant. And he thinks that maybe, if God is love, then God loves him, too. Jack says that maybe Angelo can stay. He makes mention of the Doctor (yay for Who-verse references!) and how it looks nice to travel with someone. The next night, they break in to the warehouse like they were told and Jack figures out what’s going on. There’s a parasitic alien being stored that releases larvae into the brain and it makes people go crazy. It’s being used by The Trickster’s Brigade (might have some relation to the Trickster from the “Sarah Jane Adventures”- “Doctor Who” has Daleks as the recurring Big Bad and “SJA” had the Trickster). Jack shoots the parasite and liquefies it, and they take off. Unfortunately they’re cornered by some cops and Angelo watches as Jack is shot dead. Of course, at this point Jack is immortal so he just comes around a few minutes later after the cops have driven away and walks off.

We’re back in 2011 in the car, and now Gwen is blaming herself for what’s happened. She says that she knew Torchwood was dangerous but that she joined it because she loved the thrill. She loved that when they lost people, it made her feel like a survivor and that she had purpose and power. Gwen says that she’ll see Jack killed to get Anwen back and Jack says he’ll fight it to hang on to his mortality and basically says he’d kill Gwen before he let her take his life.

It’s been a year since Angelo saw Jack die, and when he gets out of prison, he finds Jack waiting for him. Jack tries to gloss over the fact he was dead by saying he was playing dead. Angelo’s attitude towards Jack has changed. Jack makes little sexual comments and Angelo kind of freaks out. Jack tells Angelo he came back for him and that he’d never done that before (I guess that’s another connection to Ianto). After the craziness of Doctor Who series 3 finale, Jack went back to Ianto and Gwen and company and it could be that he did it because of Angelo. Jack says he’s gotten the same apartment in the city, and they head back there. It seems to be going okay at first until Angelo flashes back to the night Jack was shot and ends up stabbing Jack a couple times (enough to kill him). And then we get a rather horrific and violent montage of all these people stabbing Jack and beating him and each and every time he comes back to life. It was horrific and so very “Torchwood.”

Jack finally comes around to see three men standing in front of him and they say they are going to share him. Very creepy indeed. Finally, Angelo comes to lets Jack go. He says that he just panicked and it all got out of control. He denies knowing anything about the three men that agreed to own Jack but is willing to help him escape. They head to the roof, and Jack pulls out his awesome WWII coat (okay so at that time he probably wasn’t actually wearing it in his timeline, but I love the coat). Jack explains that he’s a fixed point in time and that he can’t ever die (I will say I was a tiny bit irked it didn’t follow the timeline as Jack living through the 20th century again happened before the events of series 3 three-part finale). And then Jack tells Angelo that men like him always kill Jack and he dives off the roof. By the time Angelo gets to the street, Jack’s gone.

Gwen and Jack have reached their destination and they are waiting for whoever has Gwen’s family to show up. Gwen is rather emotional and asks Jack how many children he had and to tell her about his life. He tells her about a fire bird that only lives for a minute. It sounds nice anyway. They arrive and in short order Gwen and Jack are backed up by Esther and Rex (they checked the I5 memory cache and went after Gwen) and in Cardiff, Andy rescues Rhys and Anwen and Mary. It seems like all is well and Jack says he’s not going with the woman who showed up [ed. note: who is played by Nana Visitor, aka Kira Nerys from “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine!”], but she disagrees. She says that he’ll go with her because she’s going to take him to the man who knows how the miracle happened- Angelo.

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