s episode was also strong, but moreso in characters than in plot. Plot-wise, the mystery continues to be revealed tantalizingly a piece at a time, and this episode didn’t reveal enough to satisfy my curiosity. Very little was explained about the plot - only that PhiCorp is being run by some invisible force and creating overflow camps for the undead who wont heal. Because the plot of the episode mostly focused around a mission that ended with a cop-out shot-just-before-he-could-say-the-name-of-the-bad-guys moment, the episode felt like filler.

Thankfully Danes’ storyline saved the day and continued its progression from disturbing to extremely disturbing. The entire ‘Dead Is Dead’ campaign was a fascinating example of the perspective people could take to the Miracle. Danes’ choice to go into the hospital and set himself up as a messiah-like figure for the despondent injured and ill was a perfect counter to Ellis Monroe’s campaign and values. Watching him inspire hope in people was downright creepy. I can’t wait to see his role as the messiah of the Miracle unfold.

Jilly’s sheer joy at his actions was fun comic relief - she knows PR, and true to her profession, she loves it when someone pull a good PR play. Her scene where she tells Danes how much she can’t stand him, especially to even look at his hands, was a great piece of character development for her. Up until now she’s just been this agent with no soul or personal opinion and completely focused on the job. That moment reminded the audience that though she’s working for PhiCorp and on the ground level of the Miracle, she’s still just a puppet and not at the top of the foodchain, a very human puppet who knows exactly what she’s doing. Though she might be the ‘devil walking the earth’, she still has some morals, just ones she sets aside for her job.

As an American, I’d like to make note that mayor Monroe was part of the Tea Party. Oh Russell T. Davies. That man loves to knock on America’s right side of politics and glorify its left. Cases in point: the stupidity of President Winters in the season 3 finale of Doctor Who (granted, everyone mocks him) and President Obama’s plan that would have saved the world from financial crisis in the final David Tennant Doctor Who specials. Though it makes a lot of sense for someone of the Tea Party to come up with a campaign like ‘Dead Is Dead’ since it relies on a fairly religious fundamentalist view of the world, I just find it funny to see Davies’ ongoing biases in his TV writing. I’m completely fine with his bias - he’s not a journalist, and since I love his writing that means I want to see his biases since those are quintessentially a part of his writing. I just find them funny since they’re so blatant and don’t actually need to be in Doctor Who and Torchwood at all for the sake of the stories.

Going back to the episode, I also loved the character development we gained with Rex and Esther, especially because the focus was on family. Rex visited his father because he’s scared, though he wont show the rest of Torchwood. He should have died and he knows it, and he wanted to hear, “I love you son and everything is going to be okay.” Instead his father was still just angry, refusing the olive branch and hammering another nail into the coffin of his relationship with Rex. Rex tells his father that he died, and his father doesn’t care - Rex’s expression after that moment was just so sad. And Esther’s decision to report her sister, Sarah, to child services was equally heart wrenching, especially when it led to her sister’s children being taken away. It was a hard choice with unexpected repercussions, and the actress and the writers portrayed this very well. 

These back stories are continuing a running theme in this season of Torchwood - family. Along with Rex’s father and Esther’s sister, Gwen is willing for Rhys to put himself and Anwen in danger to protect her father, and then her father becomes tied into the plot as he’s sent to one of the overflow camps. This family life even extends into the mission, with Esther placing the whole Torchwood team in danger by visiting her sister’s house in person and then becoming an emotional wreck due to her phone call to child services, and Gwen actually talking to Rhys on the phone in the middle of the mission. All this presence of family brings the Miracle and the nature of Torchwood home - though all this is a ‘big picture’ issue ultimately it affects people, and though the Torchwood team might have to act like spies and super heroes, they’re still people who at the end of the day have families.

But this presence of family also highlights Jack’s lack thereof, made even more jarring in the hilarious but also bittersweet scene where Jack and Gwen pretend to be an obnoxious couple to gain the biometrics of Nicolas Frumkin, the PhiCorp engineer. Watching them hold hands was a sad moment of what might have been. Jack has no personal stake left in this world, except Gwen. This focus on family is again showing Jack’s isolation. It’s setting up whether or not he wants to die.

Filters: Torchwood Television