“Murder is impossible”
When I first heard that Jane Espenson had been signed up to write episodes of Torchwood: Miracle Day, I’m not going to lie: I was thrilled. Her CV speaks for itself, with significant contributions to Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Battlestar Galactica already to her name. So, what could she bring to Torchwood?
Inevitably, the answer is really quite a lot.
This week’s episode, Dead Of Night, really starts to up the ante, after the fast and furious foundation work of The New World and Rendition. For starters, there’s a sense that there’s a new Torchwood team of four at work, with some kind of base to work out of. Rex, Gwen, Esther and John are still not quite gelling, but there’s a common cause unifying them, and thus, they’re working together.
Secondly, we get to see ‘the soulless’ for the first time. You’ve likely seen them already in assorted trailers for the show.
And thirdly, there’s a real sense of a greater threat emerging. Some bigger plot strands are brought out in this episode, which we won’t spoil here. So, as much as Dead Of Night is concerning itself with the continually evolving characters, there’s work done on the broader narrative, too.
For the longer-established Torchwood fan, Dead Of Night captures more of a sense of the previous series than any of the three episodes of Miracle Day so far. It’s still not old Torchwood, nor will it ever be. But while Miracle Day is still keenly establishing an identity for itself, it certainly remembers its roots.
Espenson also bridges old and new with a fun series of exchanges about cultural differences between Britain and America, which almost feel like they’re giving a hand up to those still struggling to get to grips with the changes to the show.
Dead Of Night, too, continues to expand on the ramification of the Miracle Day scenario, and just what it’s doing to the world. Each week, the show has taken time to offer another example of how people not dying is changing the world, and that proves to be the case again here.
Furthermore, not only is there a sense that the threat posed has been recognised, but work is finally being done to attempt to resolve it. There’s a long, long way to go there, though.
For the second episode running, though, the moment I warmed to the most was an on-the-surface simple conversation between Jack and Gwen. I love it when it slows the action down to make space for this, not least because the chemistry between Eve Myles and John Barrowman remains unrivalled on Torchwood, and struggles to find equals in other shows, too.
Dead Of Night is, for my money, the best episode of Torchwood: Miracle Day’s run to date, with a sense of momentum really starting to build up. And the good news? There are more Jane Espenson-penned episodes still to come…
Read more about Torchwood: Miracle Day here.