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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In this episode things don't look too good for Jack and Gwen as CIA
agent Rex Matheson forces them onto a flight to the United States. Rex
does not know that while he is taking Torchwood to the US his superiors
are planning to eliminate anybody that knows anything about Torchwood
starting with Jack who became mortal at the same time everybody else on
the planet became immortal. This attempt on his life takes place while
their plane is still in the air; this leads to considerable
difficulties as even once the poison is identified they don't have a
ready supply of antidote. Meanwhile in Langley CIA agent Esther
Drummond has realises that something is very wrong but getting out of
the building without being captured will not be easy.
This was a good second episode; it had several tense moments as well as a fight scene that had a rather shocking ending! We also learn a little bit more about the nature of the immortality people have been 'blessed' with and when it becomes clear it is more of a curse than a blessing. There is still no hint why people have become immortal but probably villains are starting to emerge including senior CIA personnel and convicted child killer Oswald Danes. It is too soon to predict whether this series will be as good as previous ones but so far I'm optimistic.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Jack, Gwen, Rhys and their baby daughter arrive at an airport escorted
by local police, Rex,and another CIA spook. Rex splits up Gwen's
family, this is one of the few logical things Rex does, although
admittedly his actions grow more logical as the episode continues.
Gwen and Jack load up on the plane along with Rex and his female compatriot. They are offered refreshments by an amusing bit character I shall dub Danny the conflicted gay steward.
Gwen bawls out Jack for taking his sweet time coming back and leaving her stewing, she mentions that she felt like she'd been pulled out of a fairy story. She asks Jack if his absence had made things easier, Jack doesn't answer. She does grudgingly admit that she missed him.
Danny is skittish around Gwen and Jack assuming they're terrorists as they're the only ones in large transatlantic aircraft and they're in handcuffs guarded by CIA agents - not much of a stretch really.
Jack and Gwen bitch out Rex for strong arming them instead of just asking them for help. Then Jack launches into a tirade about morphic fields and points out that the event behind Miracle Day occurred simultaneously worldwide.
Rex's compatriot overhears the exchange and contacts her handlers who respond with a single directive, remove. It is also revealed that one of her handlers, a middleman, is overseeing Esther and Rex's section. Shortly after the flunky on the plane rats out Jack's theory a team of strangers cleans out Rex's office and Esther is setup for espionage charges, she manages to flee the CIA building and make contact with Rex at the US airport where their flight lands.
Jack demands refreshment and Danny is authorized to give them water, Jack puts up a fuss and claims that as an American and a member of the great trade hegemony he should be allowed a frosty cola. The other CIA agent takes the opportunity to slip Jack a fatal mickey. Seriously some of the best scenes are between various people on the plane and hapless but sympathetic Danny.
Jack rapidly sickens while the other agent puts up a minimal objection to the accusation of poisoning. Gwen and Jack make an educated guess that Jack's been poisoned with arsenic. Rex calls his doctor and he, Gwen, Danny and a female flight attendant set about Macgyvering a recipe for a keylation solution. It also burns like a son-of-a-bitch sending Jack into shrieking paroxysms but saving his life. Gwen gets to punch out the poisoner and then gets cuffed and dumped back in her seat by Rex-the-not-quite-a-total-idiot Meanwhile a shady and ambitious PR/pharmaceutical rep shows up and interacts with the incredibly creepy Dane Oswald a recently released death row inmate. He shoots her down when she offers to represent him and make him rich. Dane earlier appears on a national live news show and breaks into a sobbing apology for his actions claiming he'd been too frightened before to apologize. Whether his reaction is an act or genuine it softens hearts in surprising places. Dane is played by Bill Pullman and the scene is pretty hard to watch, he basically completely loses it.
The rep then approaches Rex's doctor about a regulation regarding pain medication. The doctor has rightly surmised that in the brave new world of post-Miracle Day existence pain killers will be needed in unprecedented amounts to keep patients that should be dead from suffering in unimaginable agony. She also, earlier, rewrites the rules for her E.R. intake and triage to reflect the need to rotate out those with minimal injuries ASAP to save beds at her hospital. The medical community also realizes that human beings have become massive petri dishes for the development of virulent drug resistance microbes. A very short scene mentions that Israeli scientists and some others suspect that something like an alien virus may be responsible for the Miracle. It is also discerned that humans are still aging.
This episode has a great deal more action, though, admittedly no helicopter chases on open beaches ending with explosions.
The race to save Jack is surprisingly action packed as is Esther's escape from the CIA. There is one fight scene with Rex and Torchwood facing off against the poisoner and her fellow goons.
I was pleased that Gwen and Jack at least put up a fuss about being Shanghai'd out of the UK by US government spooks. Sadly no logical explanation was forthcoming though it was mentioned that both the US and UK governments were asking questions and Rex had to load Jack and Gwen quickly if he hoped to get them to US airspace.
There is no further explanation as to why the Retcon might not have worked on Esther.
One scene that bothered me but was so amusing I didn't really bother is after Esther and Rex hang up at the airport Rex proceeds to baffle the poisoner's crew with bullshit as he uncuffs Gwen and Jack. But this leads to the fight scene and the poisoner's neck being snapped like a twig, lemme tell you seeing a woman with her head on backwards trying to walk is enough to do your head in.
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