Torchwood: Season 4, Episode 1

Miracle Day: The New World (8 Jul. 2011)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Action, Drama, Sci-Fi
7.8
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In an American prison child killer Oswald Danes is given a lethal injection but fails to die. CIA agent Rex Matheson is one of several severely injured hospital patients who should be dead ... See full summary »

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Title: Miracle Day: The New World (08 Jul 2011)

Miracle Day: The New World (08 Jul 2011) on IMDb 7.8/10

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Storyline

In an American prison child killer Oswald Danes is given a lethal injection but fails to die. CIA agent Rex Matheson is one of several severely injured hospital patients who should be dead but survive. The phenomenon is worldwide and the press dub it Miracle Day,when noone dies. Rex's colleague Esther Drummond attempts to contact the long disbanded Torchwood and is visited by Jack as a result. The pair survive an attack by a bomber - after Jack - whilst the bomber,though blown to bits,goes on breathing. Gwen and Rhys Williams are living in seclusion in Wales with their baby when Gwen's old colleague Andy tells her that her father Geraint is one of the sick people who cannot die and that the world will be over-populated in a matter of days. Rex and Jack arrive in Wales to bring Gwen back to the States with them. Written by don @ minifie-1

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8 July 2011 (USA)  »

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Gwen and Rhys's Welsh cottage is called "The Old Rectory" and is owned by the British National Trust. It can be rented as a holiday cottage. See more »

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The helicopter explodes only a few feet from Gwen, yet her hair doesn't even move although there must have been a shock wave. See more »

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Next Time On Torchwood
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Performed by Murray Gold
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User Reviews

Solid Start
16 July 2011 | by See all my reviews

For the record I'm an American but I have family in the UK and have watched Torchwood regularly from the first season on including the audio dramas.

Considering that this is an extraordinarily British show trying to make the tremendous leap to the transatlantic mainstream the writers have done a competent job of defining what Torchwood is while introducing the complexities and unforeseen problems inherent in a world where no one dies.

Critically injured patients, horrifically maimed and burned patients, the cancer riddled etc not only don't die but also appear to fail to heal. It is projected that within as little as four months human society will have collapsed as no one continues to die and babies continue to be born leading to a world wide food supply failure.

The opening episode is necessarily exposition heavy but most of the exposition is handled competently during high action sequences such as when a CIA Agent Rex Matheson played by Mekhi Phifer takes two lengths of steel pipe to the chest while driving in the rain at night and yammering away to his assistant Esther, he survives a punctured heart and collapsed aorta. Later he and Esther also relay a great deal of exposition via phone while Rex races around tracing the term and eventually the institute Torchwood. A lot of the exposition occurs via phone calls between the two while Matheson traces Gwen Cooper to an isolated cottage in Wales. Jack Harkness himself even shows up and provides more background while speaking with Rex's assistant after she digs up information on Torchwood and the two survive an assassination attempt, until, of course, he Retcons her.

The opening episode closes with Jack pointing out that while the rest of humanity is no longer dying he is no longer healing. The remnants of Torchwood are then rounded up by UK police officers and transferred into Matheson's custody to be transported to the U.S. in order to investigate Miracle Day.

A few things that were nice continuity wise were that Jack claims to be an FBI agent and introduces himself as Agent Owen Harper at one point and while investigating Torchwood it is revealed that they have authority over 456 cases and above. Whether that is literally a reference to the villains from Children of Earth or not hasn't been revealed yet but was a nice nod either way. There were also a couple incidents of Wales 'bashing' by Rex Matheson (who, to be fair, is established to be a prick as in the opening he is crowing over a job opening he will receive as his rival's wife has been diagnosed with cancer) which I assumed was meant to be a shout out to the area but it was a bit weird. They did convey the perpetual American confusion over the U.K. vs. England Vs. Wales etc which was cleverly done.

For me, there were a couple of inconsistencies.

One, the apparent failure of the State of Kentucky to schedule the execution of one character at 12:01 AM on the day of his execution. While it is not a requirement that a prisoner be executed as soon as possible on the scheduled date that is usually how it is handled AFAIK.

The second was the fact that somehow the CIA not only had the unilateral ability to capture or draft citizens of the UK (Jack states in the opening episode of Torchwood season one that he's a citizen) but that they can do this to persons privy to extremely secure highly classified information and activities. How the hell does that work? Rex does refer to the action as a 'Rendition' which is further confusing as a rendition is usually defined as a translation or interpretation unless someone is making soap or otherwise dealing with animal fat. In a word, WTF? Further, Matheson cites what is evidently a U.S. code of some kind to do so, one would think that, if the CIA were able to legally do this, they would cite some kind of U.N. or U.K. law in order to do so as it's awfully difficult to argue for U.S. sovereignty on foreign soil over foreign citizens. O.o Third, after being Retconned Esther shows up late to work and brushes it off as 'I had some things to do' at the C.I. freaking A. I mean, really now, I worked fast food in High School and that excuse wouldn't have flown THEN.

The final niggling point was the apparent failure of the Retcon Jack uses on Esther. It may be that this is an unforeseen side effect of Miracle Day, that is just as people don't seem to be healing from fatal injuries or conditions they also are now immune to Retcon? Alternately it could be that the episode actually occurs over more than 24 hours which is reasonable as in the opening Rex is driving at night, roughly a third of the episode later Esther is digging through the CIA archives at night (this may be the same night) and later after a roughly 8-10 hour flight by Rex the remnants of Torchwood are taken into custody by Rex Matheson - at night outside the old Hub in Cardiff.

Additionally Esther's memory may be jogged when someone brings her a file about Torchwood the following day when she arrives late to work. She seems to be confused about the role of Torchwood shortly thereafter while speaking with Rex over the phone but not as confused as one might expect after being Retconned. Finally this is the first episode of 10 it's entirely likely that this will be addressed in the next episode Rendition.

All in all a very watchable and surprisingly well handled opening episode complete with a helicopter chase and rocket launchers. Good times :)


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