The Blue Box Blog

Emma Lou's adventures in Doctor Who fandom

Torchwood: Miracle Day “Categories Of Life” Review

Posted by emmahyam on August 11, 2011


Hello all and welcome one to the halfway point of Torchwood: Miracle Day! The pre-match hype for this episode had it this was the big one, the episode that would ROCK OUR WORLDS and CHANGE EVERYTHING and HAVE HUGE FX and FINALLY REVEAL THE TRUTH BEHIND MIRACLE DAY OMG!!!!

As you may guess from my previous posts Miracle Day has yet to impress me even a tiny bit and the fuss surrounding this episode was met by this humble blogger with a rather large pinch of salt. This being said the previous episode provided some tiny glimpses of hope, if show five could just take the momentum gained by episode four by the scruff of the neck there might be some way back to Torchwood’s former glories…

And suprise suprise it was not to be, it seems incredible to me that a show can fill an hour yet actually accomplish so little, more baffling, jarring shifts in tone, more introducing people  just to info dump and sod off again, more incredibly stupid leaps in logic (why bother with the conceit of Rhys going in disguise as a limo driver to pick up an “incognito” Gwen at the airport, only for them to snog in front of everyone?).  Miracle Day means that no one dies, except if you incinerate them apparently, because we need to try an inject some goddamn drama in to this pile of turgid arse. The episode treats this piss poor Final Solution “revelation” as if its some sort of stunning plot twist when in fact anyone with any sort of higher brain function surely thought “Overflow Camps? Oh that means Auschwitz then”. I mean how dense are Gwen and Rhys not to clock it as soon as they saw the enormous bleeding chimneys next to the modules?

This episodes biggest crime was the pointless “death” (I suppose) of  Vera Juarez, the poor woman spends 4 episodes delivering exposition, finally gets to do something only to be incinerated. Not only does it do the character a colossal disservice to discard her like a nothing character such as the info-dumping assassin of last week but what contempt to show to your audience. The whole point of Miracle Day is that NO ONE DIES, except if we need to deliver some kind of cheap, rubbishy plot twist to desperately try and shock the audience, then KILL IT WITH FIRE works just fine.

What are PhiCorp trying to accomplish with this whole performance, where is the profit in death camps? How does this benefit them in any conceivable way? This makes not a jot of sense, not because “I haven’t seen the whole picture” or  “theres something deeper going on here” it because there was meeting that went something like this:

TV Dude 1: We need to pitch something for this new Torchwood show any ideas?

TV Dude 2: Yeah how about if no one could die?

TV Dude 1: Yeah not bad, is it an alien thing cos we’ve only got a few bucks for make up

TV Dude 2: Nah, I figure its a huge corporation, they could make money selling drugs to people

TV Dude 1: How is that going to fill 10 episodes? Surely Torchwood would find that out and shut them down in like… half an hour

TV Dude 2: No problem, I figure I could throw like a weird messianic movement in there and maybe some shitty overtones of Nazism, and if it looks like things are slowing down I could always kill off a character for no reason at all.

TV Dude 1: Kill someone off? I thought the point was no one died?

TV Dude 2: Whatever, also I could pad shows out with lots of panning shots of where our characters are, lots of weird and off putting news reports and not at all funny jokes

I find myself  nearly too angry with what I’ve seen to type this post in any coherent manner, its not often I feel insulted by what I’ve seen but here I am. The acting was awful, the drama limp and uninspired, the promised revelations no where to be seen, the reek of cheapness pervades the whole affair like prawns sewn into the curtains, the endless ripping off of Torchwood’s old episodes continues and the padding continues.

If this crap wasn’t under the banner Torchwood I would have turned off in disgust, the trailer for episode six promises little except more endless talking, in corridors, death camps and deserts. I will not give up on this purely because of its lineage but shame on you RTD, you took the money from Starz and ran and left loyal, forgiving fans of Torchwood this bag of insipid, poorly thought out, badly executed rubbish.





2 Responses to “Torchwood: Miracle Day “Categories Of Life” Review”

  1. Neil said

    Only one thought so far, what if the Phicorp plan from the start was to use the undead ash in some way? That would make sense 🙂

  2. In terms of story momentum the episode was the best so far; but I have some sympathy with those who think the concentration camp parallels are a little obvious, not to say heavily misanthropic – and Russell T Davies has never had the most cheery view of humanity. I watched the first two episodes of Torchwood series one earlier today, and while they had their problems they had a redeeming sense of attempting ‘fun’, ‘edginess’, ‘urban drama’ (apologies for the inverted commas but these terms could do with unpacking and I’m tired!) which this series lacks, and which I miss.

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