Torchwood: Miracle Day episode 9 spoiler-free review

It’s the penultimate episode of Torchwood: Miracle Day. Simon offers his spoiler-free verdict on The Gathering…

”I will travel the whole bloody world to put this right”

For the penultimate episode of Miracle Day, writing duties have been handed to Torchwood veteran John Fay. And he’s got a lot of work on his plate, too. This is an episode, after all, where lots of characters spend most of the time talking to each other, trying to tease information out of one another in attempt to get to the bottom of the collection of mysteries that have been offered up.

There are fewer shady characters hiding around corners, and little in the way of a big action sequence. Rather, things are gradually being brought out into the open, building up to a finale that, inevitably, is designed to have you yearning for episode ten there and then.

It didn’t really do that for me, though. In fact, I found The Gathering to be one of the weakest episodes of the run, a real surprise given some of the reveal work that it’s been set up to do.

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For here is where lots of threads begin to come together. There’s a sense of escalation, building up to a final episode that still seems left with quite a lot of work to do. But it’s a penultimate episode that pales next to something like Children Of Earth’s last but one instalment, which had me screaming at the television, desperate to see what happened next.

Granted, comparing Children Of Earth and Miracle Day isn’t entirely fair, as they’ve proven to be different beasts, with vastly different running times. But I was expecting a bit more of a sense of urgency, and more interesting revelations, from The Gathering.

It’s still a decent piece of telly, though, and there are many reasons to watch it. Among the highlights this week are the brilliant Lauren Ambrose, who really gets a bit more time in the limelight, and the unravelling of conspiracies, which is always good fun.

It’s spoiling nothing, too, to reveal that a good chunk of this episode is centred on digging into the three families, who were introduced properly in last week’s episode. We get Rex Matheson back within the walls of the CIA, doing the kind of detective work that we saw right back in The New World. I really enjoyed this, too, with the well-plotted mystery proving something of a challenge to resolve.

It’s Esther Drummond who continues to emerge as the most rounded and interesting of the new characters, though, and I dearly hope she survives to make it to future Torchwood series.

I can’t talk too much more about the episode itself, as, being so late in the series, there are lots of things within it that you’ll want to discover for yourself. And, even though the cliffhanger is less effective than I was hoping (Russell T Davies’ shows, generally, are excellent at cliffhangers at this stage in a series), there’s enough in place for a busy final episode.

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It’s just a little bit disappointing that, after several weeks of very effective build-up work, The Gathering fell just a little bit flat.

Torchwood: Miracle Day airs on BBC1, Thursdays at 9:00pm.

Read more about Torchwood: Miracle Day here.

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