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TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY 1.08 ‘End of the Road’

Jack's former lover finds a way to die as the team splits up and Oswald Danes learns that he's been betrayed.

Episode Title: "End of the Road"

Writers: Jane Espenson & Ryan Scott

Director: Gwyneth Horder-Payton

Previously on "Torchwood: Miracle Day":

Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) was contacted by a group that held her husband, Rhys Williams (Kai Owen), her mother and her baby hostage. In order to save them, Gwen was ordered to betray Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) and hand him over to them. When Gwen returned to the Los Angeles Torchwood base, former CIA Agent Rex Matheson (Mekhi Phifer) and Esther Drummond (Alexa Havins) noticed her strange behavior. Outside, Gwen tased Jack and tied him up for delivery to the people holding her family hostage. In flashback, Jack arrived in the United States during the late '20s and took a lover named Angelo Colasanto (Daniele Favilli).

After pulling a job for Torchwood, Angelo witnessed Jack being fatally shot. When the two were later reunited, Angelo believed that Jack was the devil and he killed him again. Soon enough, everyone in the neighborhood was killing Jack to test the miracle and bottling his blood. Three mob bosses also made a pact while a delirious Jack watched them. Angelo eventually helped Jack escape, but Jack rejected Angelo and went off on his own. In the present, Esther and Rex arranged for Gwen's family to be freed and they held a woman named Olivia (Nana Visitor) and her men at bay with a sniper riffle. But Olivia explained that she was the only person who could bring Jack to Angelo, who was not only still alive but possibly their best hope for answers about Miracle Day.

Story:

Olivia takes the entire Torchwood team to meet Angelo at his vast estate. She also explains that she is Angelo's granddaughter and that he spent most of his life attempting to replicate Jack's immortality. But to Jack's surprise, Angelo is now a decrepit old man on life support. He lived this long by natural means, but now he is barely alive. Olivia also tells the team that "The Families" are behind the Miracle, as they had been chasing immortality since they "bought" Jack in the late '20s. Outside, the CIA moves in on Torchwood and captures the entire team, with the treacherous Brian Friedkin (Wayne Knight) leading the way.

As Friedkin takes Rex away in private so he can maim him, Rex tricks Friedkin into admitting that he works for the Families and he transmits the confession with the Torchwood contact lenses. The CIA agents then take Friedkin into custody and Allen Shapiro (John de Lancie) arrives and clears Rex and Esther of treason charges before essentially conscripting Gwen and Jack into the CIA as well. Outside, Olivia is taken into the same car with Friedkin just before he triggers an explosion that obliterates himself and everyone near him. Upstairs, Jack basically shrugs off Olivia's demise and says goodbye to Angelo.

To Jack's surprise, Angelo passes away from old age and dies despite the Miracle. In Dallas, Oswald Danes (Bill Pullman) makes Jilly Kitzinger (Lauren Ambrose) send him a prostitute, among other demands. Shortly thereafter, a young woman named Shawnie (Constance Wu) presents herself as Jilly's new assistant. Soon enough, Oswald has a willing red headed girl in his room, but he just wants to spend time with her and form a relationship. The girl scoffs at him and says that he's still a monster and he's about to be declared "Category 0." When Oswald confronts Jilly, she gleefully admits that the law is being changed so that Oswald and people like him will be dealt with like the Category 1 patients. 

Oswald goes on the run after striking Jilly, but she mocks his attempt to escape with his now famous face. Shortly, a representative of the Families approaches Jilly about a "promotion" and shoots Shawnie before outing her as a CIA mole. Back at the estate, the CIA is frantically looking for anything that could have disrupted the Miracle and let Angelo die. Jack quickly realizes that it was something in the floor, but Esther reveals this info over his objections after hearing her sister volunteer to become a Category 1 patient. When Jack refuses to tell Shapiro what they've found, Shapiro orders Gwen to be deported back to Wales.

Jack finally relents after Gwen is gone and he tells Shapiro that the device beneath the floor is a null field transmitter that blocks the morphic field that presumably created Miracle Day. In private, Jack tells Rex and Esther that Angelo must have recovered the technology from the destroyed Torchwood hub in Cardiff and he pleads with them to help him escape with a vital part rather than let the government control who lives and dies. Reluctantly, Esther and Rex agree to help him, but one of the agents spots Jack and shoots him before witnessing Esther attempting to help him.

Rex knocks out the agent and remains behind as Esther and Jack flee. But Jack is badly wounded and Esther panics when he can't tell her what to do. Elsewhere, Gwen finds herself stuck on a plane home as she wonders what to do next.

Breakdown:

Although the latest episode thankfully didn't use Angelo as the mastermind behind Miracle Day, "The Families" remain highly underdeveloped as villains with only two episodes left in the season. One of the biggest problems that "Miracle Day" has as a series is that it lacks a well defined adversary. The villains are so faceless and without personality that it's hard to care if they go down or not. We don't even know what they've really gained from the Miracle if it leads to everlasting suffering for mankind. This can't just be about making money on painkillers and medical care.

This episode also quickly squandered the idea of Jack and Gwen being forced to work within the CIA as opposed to being underfunded operatives on their own. It was like watching an episode of "24" in which Jack Bauer goes rogue, gets caught and reinstated almost immediately before going rogue again. John de Lancie's Allen Shapiro was starting to grow on me after watching him refuse to take crap from Jack and Gwen.

Esther still seems like she's barely there on screen, but the moment with her suicidal sister was very effective and it gave us a new way to view the people who want to die in a world of immortals. I can buy the governments allowing the volunteers for Category 1 to save resources, but I have harder time believing that they would allow Esther's sister to essentially euthanize her children as well. Still, that was pretty chilling.

Oswald Danes finally broke away from PhiCorp this week after learning that they were going to abandon him.The series has done a good job of establishing the depths of Oswald's depravity, but the consequence of that is he isn't a viable protagonist or even an antagonist. Oswald is simply a dangerous deviant who rode the limelight while he had it. Even if the remaining episodes manage to tie in Oswald's fate with the resolution of Miracle Day, I just don't care about his character one way or another.

For once, Rex didn't come off as a complete tool when he sided with Jack over the CIA. And on a side note, Jack's use of the null field to privately speak with Esther and Rex was a genuinely cool use of the technology. As essentially the third lead of the series, Rex has been extremely underwritten with little development so far. Whether its been the scripts or the performance of Mekhi Phifer is irrelevant. But whether Rex lives or dies when the Miracle ends seems trivial when it should have been paramount to the entire season.

This was a step up from the previous episode of "Miracle Day," but it looks like "Torchwood" is running out of chances to successfully pull off this story.

Crave Online Rating: 6 out of 10.