Sunday, 11 September 2011

TV Snark - Torchwood Miracle Day Episode Nine

The penultimate episode, the one before the last one, finale-eve. What happened? How will everything tie together? Will anyone die? Will Jack die from his gunshot wound? That was a good cliffhanger wasn't it? I hope they come up with a good way out of that. Let's find out...


Oh bloody hell.

Yes two months later and Gwen is ram-raiding a chemist's shop (which looks a lot like an American pharmacy rather than a British chemist, looks like the American crew did the set design for a scene set in Wales). She wears a balaclava until she shoots the shop camera and then takes it off. This is despite there being a witness stood right outside the shop. Clearly the balaclava removal is so that the audience know it's Gwen but it's such a 'TV' thing to do, it shatters the moment. Gwen threatens the old man witness but he politely asks her to steal some painkillers for him so she obliges. Gwen then drives home with her ill-gotten gains where she distributes them to the locals.

Over in Scotland, Jack and Esther are hiding out. Jack's still got a poorly treated gunshot wound but is in no danger of immediate death. So there's the cliffhanger from last episode, neatly dumped in favour of moving the plot along. It's like one of those cliffhangers from an old Republic serial from the 1940s where you know the hero will survive the cliffhanger.

Although in this case I couldn't find the resolution to this cliffhanger so maybe Spy Smasher died. I haven't really proved my point here, have I? Still, that clip was fun wasn't it?

Back in Washington DC, Rex is back with the CIA and running an investigation into The Families. Seems that the null field has been forgotten about in the last two months along with Rex's suspicious behaviour when Jack escaped the CIA's clutches. The CIA can't find The Families on Google so they have no idea where they are, but Rex has found a short story published in 1935 that seems to be based on Jack's adventures in the butcher shop. While Jack was being repeatedly killed, someone was selling tickets to see the undying man and one of the people who saw Jack's repeated resurrections eventually wrote a fictional account. The author's family suspiciously disappeared a few years after the story was published and Rex thinks they may have joined The Families (it's a bit of a leap). The author had a brother who was stabbed to death and the knife is still held in evidence with DNA all over it. Rex thinks that the CIA can obtain the DNA of one of The Families. Traitor Lady recommends a team to perform the DNA test while she does her best not to look incredibly shifty.

Jilly meets up with the agent of The Families where she is told to fly to Shanghai. The agent then says that they will not meet again. That love affair is dead before it starts. Awww.

Back in Wales, Gwen's house is searched by the local Witch Finder. He stalks through Gwen's home in search of her dying father. He's unsuccessful in his attempt to find Gwen's dad because he's hidden behind a wall. He must be having the time of his (un)life living in a damp cellar while constantly suffering from a heart attack. The Witch Finder hisses and creeps off, vowing to find Gwen's dad.

Back in Washington, rather unsurprisingly the DNA search hasn't found anything. Rex decides he wants to read the short story now (I thought he'd already read it so he could find the link in the first place). Traitor Lady manages to act extremely suspiciously during the act of forwarding on a PDF.

Over to Wales again, and Oswald Danes infiltrates the Cooper household. The paedophile goes straight for the Cooper baby so we get the sensationalist money shot of Danes holding a baby. Gwen beats him with a saucepan until Rhys stops her and then Danes can finally explain what he's doing. Seems Danes knows who is behind The Miracle...

Rex has decided to use magic writing analysis software to spot patterns in the short story and now he's going to travel the world visiting authors who wrote structurally similar stories during the 1930s. I think there's a flaw there...

In Wales, Jack triumphantly returns from Scotland and removes the policemen who were spying on the Cooper family by making them drink a bottle of Retcon. Danes then reveals the name of the man behind The Miracle - Harry Bosco. Unfortunately Harry Bosco is an American goverment term used to control the message broadcast by the media. It seems that Jilly was part of the Harry Bosco process but she has now disappeared. They find a Chinese news video on Jilly's stolen laptop but they don't have anyone who speaks Mandarin. For some reason they think it's a good idea to contact Rex in the CIA and ask him for a translation, rather than go to a local college or similar place with Chinese language tutors.

Eventually the video is translated and they find that the person in it says, "The Blessing saved my life." They also discover that the man in the video burned down a blood bank, there is another video on the laptop from Buenos Aires that reports about a blood bank. The police then smash down the door as the team start to figure things out.

The Witch Finder appears and reveals that instead of using a sniffer dog, he has a thermal imaging app on his iPhone. WHY DIDN'T HE USE A SNIFFER DOG OR HIS IPHONE THE FIRST TIME HE SEARCHED THE HOUSE THEN? The iPhone does the job and he finds Gwen's father hidden in the cellar. Gwen's dad is taken away in an ambulance to be burnt. Cue sad music.

Rhys points out (using an inflatable globe) that Shanghai and Buenos Aires are on exact opposite sides of the Earth. SCIENCE. Torchwood then decide to split between the two locations to investigate both sites. Jack, Danes, and Gwen go to Shanghai and Esther and Rex go to Buenos Aires. Danes gets to ride along because Rhys can't be trusted not to kill him while they're away.

Jilly wanders around Shanghai until she meets a mysterious woman with 80s shoulder pads. Jilly is taken into a facility that leads to well... a giant fanny. Seriously.

I think this show just hit... rock bottom.
The crack goes all the way through to the other side of the Earth, so I guess the Earth is hollow now?

In Shanghai, Jack's wound reopens and his blood crawls across the floor as if drawn by something...

NEXT EPISODE: It all ends. Blessed release!

Monday, 5 September 2011

What If... Gareth David-Lloyd Was In A 19th Century Torchwood?

Yes what if SyFy had spun off this bit of awfulness from Warehouse 13 into a full show?


Also, it would have been shite.

(But GDL himself was alright in it, maybe one day he'll get to appear in a good show)

Sunday, 4 September 2011

TV Snark - Torchwood Miracle Day Episode Eight

Torchwood episode eight continues to pad things out to their inevitably underwhelming conclusion. Here's what happened...

Jack and the team are taken by Nana Visitor to Angelo's stately home, Angelo is alive but not really living as he's incredibly ancient. Angelo is in some kind of convenient being-really-old coma. Nana Visitor tries to explains the pointlessness of last episode's kidnap plot but even Gwen says, "bollocks" to it. Episode seven didn't need to happen because really it could have been as simple as Nana calling Jack up and saying, "Hi Jack, remember Angelo your Italian lover from the 1920s? Well, I'm his granddaughter and he'd like to see you. Is Wednesday good for you?"

Nana goes on to explain that the real enemies are The Families. Three names are given:
If you look really closely you can see a transcript of Gwen saying, "bollocks".
Those names are Abelmarch, Casterdane, and Frines and they don't exist as names anywhere (probably according to a quick google search that Rusty made during production). The Families had samples of Jack's blood which could have been used to create the Miracle but that's quickly dismissed as Jack's blood isn't special. Nana Visitor finally mentions that The Families have found The Blessing, presumably behind The Sofa or in The Shed.

Friedkin (or Newman from Seinfeld) arrives with the CIA to interrupt the exposition fest. Friedkin takes Rex into a room for a light beating, he's working for The Families not the CIA. In fact the CIA are on the way so Friedkin has to shoot Rex before they arrive. Friedkin traced Rex's location via his phone when Rex decided to call Dr Juarez's brother to offer his condolences. Rex is wearing the magic contact lenses which means that Friedkin's confession is filmed and broadcast live to his boss, Shapiro.

Alan Shapiro is played by Q (or John De Lancie if you prefer). Shapiro wants to deport Gwen because she's stroppy with him, it's a good decision. He has Friedkin arrested along with Nana Visitor, they're conveniently placed in the same car so that when Friedkin activates his suicide bomb he can take out both guest stars and none of the regular cast. Seems Friedkin had to blow himself up for failing The Families. Or something. I'm not sure how The Families benefit from Friedkin blowing himself up away from everyone else.

Jack then sits with the comatose Angelo and I begin to think that Starz are going to push the sex scene envelope a little too far. Luckily Jack keeps his trousers on and just talks to the elderly Angelo instead. It's a tender scene until there's some comedy pratfalling as Angelo dies and his life support equipment starts to bleep and Jack doesn't know what to do. Jack does his best Frank Spencer routine until he figures out that he can unplug the machine.

Of course the big revelation is that Angelo died and no-one can die. How did this happen? Well let's sit around for the rest of the episode and have a think. Yes, in another cynical move we are forced to sit through another episode padded out with scenes of characters sitting and having a think while spouting unconvincing dialogue. There is no way this story should have been approved to run for ten episodes.

The tertiary CIA characters from the first couple of episodes make a return to stare into screens and basically do the same job that Esther does but with less crying. The female puts Esther in touch with her sister who is still crazy. Esther's sister has now decided to get herself and her children classed as Category Zero which means she can voluntarily sit in an oven. I'm pretty sure that even in the midst of a crisis they wouldn't allow someone mentally ill to volunteer themselves and their family for the ovens. This makes no sense.

Oswald Danes makes his return in another deleted scene from Alan Partridge. He wants Jilly to fetch him a prostitute, a legal aged one. A perky intern appears and offers her services to Jilly. Jilly decides to hire her without checking her details, which is convenient as perky intern is an undercover CIA agent.

Eventually Jack lets on that there are panels underneath Angelo's deathbed that contain tech stolen from the old Torchwood hub (it was blown up in the last series, fact fans). These magic panels made Angelo immune to The Miracle, somehow. Shapiro deports Gwen when Jack won't give him any information on the panels. Great, this means that there'll be more ridiculous accent scenes in Cardiff in the next episode. Jack eventually explains that the magic panels have created a null field which stops The Miracle from working.

Meanwhile Danes decides to take his prostitute on a date but she refuses on moral grounds (seconds after offering to dress as a school girl and have sex with him). The prostitute laughs at Danes' attempt to be 'normal' and she informs him that he's been classed as Category Zero. Seems the government have now decided that they can re-arrest him and burn him, or something. It does not make sense. Surely he'd be in custody already if that was the case. Jilly confirms this and Danes flips out, punches her and then flees into the night.

Worst game of Twister ever.
Jack studies the panels and reconfigures them to create a zone of silence so that the CIA can't hear him talk to Esther and Rex while they unconvincingly fumble around the panels. Jack explains that he doesn't want the CIA to have the null field technology as it will be used for evil by the government. Esther even says, "it's the same thing as the ovens" so there's the moral debate settled then. Jack asks Rex to get him away from the CIA.

Jilly meets the mysterious EVIL CONSPIRACY man from a couple of episodes ago, he shoots the perky intern and offers Jilly a job with The Families. He then calls the female CIA agent from the earlier scenes, she's part of THE EVIL CONSPIRACY. This is just like 24 but with characters we don't care about. At all.

Rex helps Jack to escape by punching out his colleagues and getting Jack shot. Rex bundles Jack into a car with Esther and tells her to go. Esther has no idea where to go and Jack is bleeding to death. Gwen is on a plane and crying (the inflight movie was Old Yeller).

NEXT EPISODE: This scene but in Wales.