Tying up a story as ambitious as Torchwood: Miracle Day was always going to be something of a challenge. After all, this has been a show based around a big, science fiction idea, which has sought to ground it all in smaller, yet just as significant, human stories. The science fiction elements come forward a little bit more this week, as you might expect, as a loud, crashing finale is duly delivered.
But sadly, we can’t help but feel that the show has saved one of its weakest episodes for last.
When Miracle Day has been at its best, it’s generally involved characters talking to each other, such as the quiet moments shared between Jack and Gwen. That, and the entirety of episode seven, where it applied to brakes and went off piste a little. There’s been some exquisite acting in the show at times, too, but come the finale, the effects budget gets ramped up, and it all becomes really quite frantic.
There’s still a bit of space left in for an individual narrative moment from Gwen right near the start of the episode. There are also some crucial conversations that take place amidst the loud music (I’ve really enjoyed Murray Gold’s score, incidentally), the whizzing computer screens and the continued developments. Without doubt, there’s a real sense that plenty is being thrown at the screen to ensure you get your money’s worth. You certainly can’t deny that Miracle Day isn’t doing its damnedest to keep you hooked in.
There’s going to be no giving the game away in this review, save for the obvious that many of the mysteries of the show get tied up, as promised. It also leaves threads in place that may or may not be picked up again by Torchwood in the future. And there are a few dramatic twists and turns that Russell T Davies (co-writing with Jane Espenson) has saved for this final instalment. We’ll talk about those after you’ve all seen the episode, though. There’s certainly plenty to natter about.
Appreciating this is all coming across a bit downbeat, though, we should say, as an episode, it does quite a lot right,. As an hour-long rollercoaster ride, there’s a lot to commend The Blood Line for. You’re certainly not going to be bored for the duration of its running time, just that you might just be a bit frustrated, if anything. That said, there’s space for every character arc to get some solid work, and lots of people get a bit of a rough ride this time around,
Furthermore, you do get an ending, and there’s logic to what’s been put together here. At no sense do you get the feeling that anybody is cheating, but it’s hard to shake the feeling that the build-up has been more fun that the pay-off itself. Miracle Day isn’t the first show to do that, but Torchwood has set itself tough standards in the past, and Miracle Day’s finale doesn’t always manage to quite live up to them.
The story itself does pick up pretty much immediately after episode nine, with Jack’s blood heading towards The Blessing. The scale of the episode escalates from there, and there’s a real international flavour here. It’s well shot, well written and interesting, too.
But a finale on the scale of Children On Earth? It’s not, really.Miracle Day has still, I’d contend, been a better show than it’s given credit for, and I for one have really enjoyed it. Hopefully, it’ll be a platform for a fifth season in the not-too-distant future. For now, though, we get a finale that’s good, but not great. Yet it’s still a much better television world for having Torchwood in it.