TV It’s the fucking resurrection gauntlet isn’t it? Eight whole episodes and I’ve finally cottoned on to the idea that Torchwood’s Miracle Day is the Owen arc from series two spread across the world like a rash. These families (which at this point might as well be the Slitheen with better compression technology) have the gauntlet, rescued from the wreckage of hub one, connected up to one of Russell T Davies’s patented pieces of made-up magical technology to create the global morphic field Jack keeps knocking on about. Either that or they got the Immortality Gate from The End of Time to work properly. Or a mixture of the two.
But let’s face it, who cares? At this point I’m tapped out. As expected in the week when its parent series gave us one of its most confident episodes ever, Torchwood hasn’t looked more like an illegitimate child so that the most exciting moment is when two actors from a completely different franchise say a few words to one another making the whole thing look like the boringly titled Official Star Trek Convention has staged an invasion of Gallifrey One. About the only thing which made Jane Espenson & Ryan Scott fittingly titled End of the Road watchable was the sight of John De Lancie swaggering around frantically waving his Q-schtick.
At least with Star Trek, because the episodes came at you on mass, even if there was the odd duff episode, an admittedly liquid ratio depending on the particular series, there was at least the knowledge that there were another twenty-odd which might be ok. We’re at episode eight of this and every single revelation across the weeks has proved to be worth as much as the in-universe economy with Colonel Kira’s at the close of the last one a prime example, and we’ve even reached a stage were the characters themselves (Gwen) are throwing their hands in the air wordlessly frustrated at the implacable engineered plotting running on a filler-based fuel.
I imagine the professional reviewers (I tend not to look before giving my "opinion") are digging around repetitious looking from something interesting to say, about how touching individual scenes like Jack’s remembrance of Ianto or Esther speaking to her sister are touchingly well played. Just touching. Gwen’s teary flight home. Again. They’ll be addressing the scene in which Oswald Danes tries to cosy up to a prostitute and show a capacity for change only for it to be spit back in his face, the hitherto unknown category ‘0’ for those people who were supposed to be executed already anyway suggesting the whole Danes strand has been a waste of screen time just like so many other dead ends this series has thrown up along with the expected bits of carrot.
But they’re wasting their time. We all are. RTD and the gang have somehow conspired to produce a piece of drama that inspires nothing but grim determination from its viewers or at least those viewers with high enough standards than the commenter at The Guardian who says “TV is not supposed to be high art, nor life lived, it's just some escapist thing to relax to. So chill out, haters.” The rest of that thread, under an column in which blogger Dan Martin hitherto generally quite balanced in his reviews shows signs of fatigue, has next to no other positive comments and that’s from a fairly general public. Gallifrey Base is reaching for the category one volunteer papers.
Even the revelation that anonymous blonde at the CIA is one of them didn’t illicit so much as a gurgle. Jack’s been shot? Yeah, he’ll be fixed next week. The null-field revelation which should have been cool was rendered with all the style of a sub-Sarah Jane Adventures attic scene, Mekhi Phifer suddenly turning into Clyde Langer rather than a professional member of the security services. About the most surprising moment was that Jilly Kitzinger wasn’t already part of the family, something which her behaviour in the first few episodes might indicate and betrays an element of late rewrite to make her viewpoint character when something else fell through.
When the episode ended, I decided this was going to be a six paragraph review. Here we are in paragraph seven but there’s not going to be another one. Like I said, I’m tapped out. There’s only so many times one can say the same things in different ways about a series which itself doesn’t seem to know what it’s doing. And to make matters worse episode nine looks like its going to be about Gwen defending her father from a man from the local council and knocking over the local chemist, and Frances Fisher quoting from The Eleventh Hour which only goes to remind us that what this series need is a Doctor, though a writer like the pseudonymous Robin Bland would do. Same time next week then?