After six weeks where Captain Jack Harkness has become the only mortal human on the planet, and where he’s been anything but on the front line of Miracle Day, it’s time for John Barrowman to go front and centre. With the latest episode, Immortal Sins, it’s very much the first Jack-centric hour of new Torchwood, and it’s been well worth the wait.
Oddly, given that one of the recurring complaints of the show is that it’s developing a little too slowly, Immortal Sins doesn’t massively address that at all. The brakes aren’t applied here, though. Instead, it basically takes a left turn, pulling in some flashback work where required, to flesh out the relationship between some key characters.
It’s excellent flashback work, too, which we won’t spoil here. It fleshes a few things out, and, not for the first time this series, plays out a sequence or two that’s really quite uncomfortable to watch. Torchwood continues not to pull any punches, that much is clear.
Immortal Sins does pick up pretty much where last week left off, as Gwen has to decide what to do. Her predicament is that her family has been taken, and that she needs to deliver Jack in order to get them back. She’s ordered to keep the lenses in, so she’s constantly been watched, and this inevitably puts her under all kinds of pressure.
To deal with Gwen’s dilemma, Jane Espenson’s script streamlines things down to just a couple of story threads. Again, Oswald Danes finds himself pretty much benched, and it’s the old Torchwood team that are doing most of the work here. Still, the episode also gives the only overt references we’re going to get to Doctor Who all series.
It’s an important episode, this one, even if it doesn’t always feel like it is. It’s not got the intense moments that have marked out some earlier parts of the show’s run, but this is about characters, and where they fit in.
We can imagine that Immortal Sins is going to be about as divisive an episode as you’ll get all series. Those thirsting for something more on the beaten track are certainly going to be disappointed, as there’s a real sense that Miracle Day is taking a bit of a gamble with this one. Especially given that there’s only three episodes left by the time the credits rolled.
But there’s another group who will, we suspect, think that this one is about the best episode of Miracle Day to date. It’s those people who we’re going to be siding with. And it’s probably best if we say no more about the episode than that…
Torchwood: Miracle Day airs on BBC1, Thursdays at 9:00pm.