EPISODE REVIEW: Torchwood Miracle Day: "A New World," (Season 4, episode 1)

Charles H
Charles H's picture

What if nobody in the world could die? That is the enticing premise for the forth season of the British hit Torchwood. This season is ten episodes and is a partnership between Starz and BBC.

The story opens with the execution, or so we thought, of pedophile Oswald Danes (Bill Pullman). While this is happening, CIA analyst Esther Drummond (Alexa Havins) is on the phone with CIA agent Rex Matheson (Mekhi Phifer). The word “Torchwood” pops up on the CIA screens and emails while the two are talking. The word, just a quickly disappears. As Esther is trying to explain this to Rex, he runs into the back of a truck and a pole goes through his chest, but he doesn’t die.

Gwen Cooper, one of only two surviving Torchwood members, is hiding in Wales with her husband Rhys Williams and their baby. She is living a secluded and quite paranoid life.

Dunne is demanding his release as he says he served his sentence. He threatens to sue as it is not his fault that nature changed. By the end of the episode, Dunne is released.

When Esther goes to the hospital to visit Rex, she is told by emergency room doctor Vera Juarez (Arlene Tur), that no one is dying. News outlets start dubbing the phenomenon ‘Miracle Day’.

Not one to let things go, and to bring new viewers into the show, Esther starts digging for information on Torchwood. She discovers the 456 incident and files on Gwen and Captain Jack Harkness. She looks up and there is Captain Jack. Esther runs only to find the guard dead. Jack saves her from the man that killed the guard and that is trying to kill them. However, the man has a bomb strapped on and blows himself up as Jack and Esther leap out the window.

As Jack and Esther sit by the fountain they just landed in, Jack tells her about Torchwood, He is the one that has been erasing the files to keep Gwen safe. He was not behind the original emails though. Jack also tells her about amnesia pills and uses them on her.

The ‘exploded’ guy is taken to the hospital and he is still alive although not looking very good. Jack, posing as FBI, sneaks his way in to see the man with a group of doctors and law enforcement. Jack asks if he could survive if he was decapitated. The presiding physician cuts away the few tendons holding mans head and body together. The head rolls on its side and the eyes open back up. He is still alive.

Gwen goes to the city to visit her father who suffered a heart attack. Gwen and her friend from the Cardiff police force, Arthur, start looking into the fact no one is dying. If this keeps happening, people will be starving to ‘not death’ within four months. Rhys is upset Gwen is looking into this saying she is putting them all in danger.

Esther and Rex have decided that Torchwood is involved and Rex flies to Cardiff to track the remaining members down. Through a phone call Arthur made, Rex finds Gwen and demands to know what is going on and why he is still alive. A helicopter shows up and starts firing on the house and its occupants. Gwen, with baby in one hand and baby in the other, fires back. As they flee to the car Jack shows up in a Jeep. Everyone jumps in and the helicopter chases them down the beach until Gwen blows it out of the air with a rocket launcher.

Everyone gathers back win Cardiff where Torchwood used to stand. Jack reveals that while everyone is immortal, it appears he has become mortal. The police show up and Rex informs Jack and Gwen that Torchwood is going to America.


What a great episode of Torchwood! If you did not watch any Torchwood previously, this series is totally accessible thanks to Esther Drummond and Rex Matheson. Since they know nothing about Torchwood, newbies learn as they discover things. If you have watched previously, there are little call backs to keep us interested as well. (Really, if you haven’t seen Torchwood: Children of Earth, go watch it right now. Stop everything you are doing and go.)

The new characters are set-up nicely. The transformation from purely British TV to a mix of American and British has only benefited the series (higher production values).

Russell T. Davies, the series creator and the man responsible for the Doctor Who revival, likes large concepts. As with Children of Earth, this season has a simple but world encompassing situation that our team must deal with.

I am really excited to see where all of this is headed.

Random thoughts:
· Not sure the role of Oswald Dunne, although judging from the previews, it will be significant.
· Someone on a British talked show once asked David Tennant (the 10th Doctor Who) if Russell T. Davies was a better writer than Shakespeare… maybe he is.
· With Jack and Gwen coming to America, how will they deal with driving on the right hand side of the road?


I do think consertives will like this episode. Jack's omni-sexuality is not present, the CIA come off nicely, and the action is good.