Torchwood: Miracle Day Blu-ray Review: A Welcome Return with an Unsatisfying Ending

The last time we saw Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) was at the end of the Torchwood: Children of Earth saga. He and the rest of Torchwood had just saved the planet against alien invaders who planned on taking the Earth’s children for their own nefarious needs.

But there was a price to be paid to save the world, and that price would come at the expense of our hero who was forced to sacrifice his own grandson in order to save all of the others. This price not only horrified the remaining members of Torchwood, but it took a heavy toll on Jack’s soul, causing him to retreat back into space vowing never to return.

As in all things, time heals all wounds. And when the Earth found itself in trouble once again, it was Jack Harkness to the rescue. But before he could save the day, it was important to put Torchwood back together and reassemble its members. Since all of them but one had been killed off during the run of the series, it left him only Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) as the one he must find.

Over a year had passed since he left and Gwen had moved on with her husband, Rhys (Kai Owens). They had a baby and went into hiding somewhere in Wales. They knew that one day someone would come after them for the part Gwen played in Torchwood and they would not let anything happen to their newborn. At the same time Gwen longed for the excitement and adventure she once had, so when a CIA agent, an assassin in a helicopter, and Jack all appear on her doorstep at the same time, she is back into the thick of it.

So what is this major catastrophe that brings our heroes back together? People have stopped dying. No, that doesn’t mean there are zombies running around. It means that when people get sick, they simply don’t die. Even with most of their bodies destroyed they are still alive and can feel and sense what is going on. While people not dying doesn’t sound like a bad idea, the reality is much worse. The world will become overpopulated and unable to sustain itself if nature cannot take its course. And to make things even worse, the once immortal Jack can now be killed.

Solving this mystery will require them to expand their team with two CIA agents, Rex (Mekhi Phifer) and Esther (Alexa Havins), who will search the entire globe in order to find out what “The Blessing” has to do with Miracle Day and how it can be stopped.

The four-disc Blu-ray is presented in High Definition 1080i / 16:9 format. The video is very clear and crisp without any distortions or color issues. Unfortunately, the quality is so good that Barrowman and Myles look a quite a bit older and worn out than they did during their last outing.

The audio is DTS-HD 5.1 and is not used to its fullest potential. There are some nice explosions during several episodes that feel and sound like they could bring down your living room, but most of the time there is a lot of dialogue which tends to make the viewer overlook the sound quality.

The Blu-ray contains the typical deleted scenes and audio commentaries, but also has several special features.

“Web of Lies Motion Comic” – this is by far the best feature on the discs. There are two separate storylines that end up having unexpected connections to the Miracle Day storyline. The first is about Holly Morki (voiced by Elizha Dushku) who is in search of the people responsible for killing her brother. The second involves the kidnapping of Jack several years earlier.

“Character Profiles” – discussions on each of the main characters.

“FX Special” – an in-depth profile on all of the new special effects that are presented during the episodes, descriptions on how they are accomplished and why having a bigger budget contributed to the overall look.

“Behind the Scenes Special” – a typical look on what happens on the set and about the storyline.

For fans of the show, it is great to see Jack and Gwen back together again. Torchwood has always been a little quirky and filled with oddities, much like the show Doctor Who which it spawned from and uses an anagram of the name for its own.

Bill Pullman, who plays convicted pedophile Oswald Danes, does an excellent job as the character, but he is such an odd and awkward hero/villain that it really never seems to fit in with the story. It appears that his main purpose is to compare the pedophile murderer with Jack having to kill his own grandson in the last series.

While there are many good things about the series, Miracle Day ends up being a bit of a mess. The time frame is really compressed as governments make major decisions, build concentration camps, and begin the systematic destruction of human beings at what feels like a couple of days.

Not only does it move way too quickly, but so does the danger the group find themselves in. The sense of urgency from one episode to the next completely changes. There are assassins after them and they must keep hidden at all times, then next episode they are fine, then the next episode they are being hunted again and hiding and it just keeps going back and forth.

It’s possible to overlook the confusion and probably even easier if you watch each episode a week separated from one another, but with all the buildup the first nine episodes bring, the tenth and final episode needs to have an awesome ending that pays off for the viewers. But it doesn’t.

After all of the running, the death camps, the double agents, the torture, the mystery of the three powerful families, saving Gwen’s father and all of the rest, the ending comes down to Jack’s blood and the planet Earth having a sphincter, two of them in fact. It’s such an unsatisfying ending that it will make even hardcore fans groan.

Todd Karella

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