Warning: spoilers under the cut!
Rendition [Episode 2 (Torchwood 4.02)]
As much as I praised the first episode, “The New World”, I found myself concerned about some aspects of Torchwood: Miracle Day while watching the second episode, “Rendition”. Most of the concern is directed more at the American characters and their direction than anything else. Combined with the somewhat quirky plot of the episode, I find myself mildly concerned for the remaining episodes. Still it is early in the series run, so I can put aside my concerns for now in the hopes that the remainder will result in a satisfying payout as a viewer.
Rex Matheson separates Jack and Gwen from Rhys and their baby to take them back to the United States to further interrogate them about the events of Miracle Day and glean more information about Torchwood. Matheson’s associate on the place with him poisons Jack and uses his doctor to develop an antidote made from items only available on the airplane. Meanwhile, back in the United States Matheson’s partner Esther Drummond’s digging into Torchwood draws the attention of those who may be out to eliminate the organization and anyone with knowledge of its existence. Esther discovers she and Rex have been framed and warns him in time to allow him to escape with Jack and Gwen. Oswald Danes also adjusts to life outside of prison, fully aware of the hatred and anger directed. His on screen breakdown during an interview generates surprising sympathy.
I thought the acting was much improved this episode. Or perhaps the writing was better allowing the actors to better portray their characters. Mehki Phifer (Rex) seems much more relaxed this time, though the character still seems quirky and erratic. He does a good job of making me, as a view, not like Rex most of the time and then suddenly make me reverse that opinion. Bill Pullman (Oswald Danes) also seems much more comfortable in his role and less a caricature. I still feel the interview breakdown scene seemed a little forced, but otherwise the performance was well done. John Barrowman (Jack) and Eve Myles (Gwen) are unsurprisingly continuing their familiar onscreen rapport.
The whole creating an antidote from only items found on airplane felt a bit like a MacGyver episode. I can appreciate the whole unorthodox approach to solving problems and of course it fits with some of Torchwood’s more quirky moments but this bit just seemed oddly out of place to me fro some reason.
It’s interesting to see how the ongoing crisis is causing a change in how things are approached and done around the world, often with unexpected results. Such examples are the Doctors realizing that it is now the least injured who should have first attention over the critically injured, India and Pakistan since without reincarnation there is only one life to live, and the discovery that humans infected by various diseases are becoming breeding ground for those diseases.
I thought the scenes of Barrowman and Myles on the plane were really well done. It maybe some of the best with those two to date.
Sadly, I admit that upon seeing Wayne Knight I immediately thought “Newman”. Poor guy is never going to live that down I think, despite being a good actor in a variety of different roles.
The CIA agent with the broken neck walking around didn’t work for me. At all.
Over all pleased with the general direction of the show and very interested in seeing how everything progresses with the team on the run from the CIA, Oswald Danes’ sudden sympathy from certain members of the public, and just exactly how and why the “miracle” happened. I am greatly looking forward to the third episode.