Torchwood: Miracle Day “The Gathering”

Well, we finally saw the blessing, and it looks like……

….well, never mind what it looks like. I mean, I know what it was supposed to be, but goddamn if my brain didn’t instantly see a giant, bald…..

The good news is all of our plot lines have finally come together, though there weren’t any answers to be had, exactly. At least ones that didn’t spawn more questions. Though the real disappointment of the episode was that, now that we’ve seen The Blessing, we know something very important. Unless there is a very unlikely reveal next week, there are NO ALIENS.

I was fuming this to myself last night after watching the live stream on Netflix and pondering my recap options when I realised this was a funny thing to be upset about. Why did Aliens always have to be the bad guys? Why can’t the evil be something here at home, something the Earth itself has to offer, that when we mine our way down can ruin our lives as we know it. Why can’t the true evil be man’s insatiable curiosity and his inability to know when to stop digging? How is that a bad place for science fiction to explore?

Yet, I’m 100% certain I am not to only recapper whose knee jerk reaction to these revelations will run from “NO ALIENS??!!” to “Lame!” to “Seriously, so this is all because Jack slept with the wrong dude?”

Pending next week’s outcome, I will have more thoughts on this. For now, let’s rejoin our heroes, two months later….

It’s two months into the Great Depression, and Gwen and family are back in Cardiff, hiding Only-Alive-Because-He-Can’t-Die Dad in a panel in the pantry. The authorities show up like so many SS police looking for Jews, but since they’ve apparently never read Diary of Anne Frank, they don’t try to look behind the walls, and leave in frustration. Why aren’t Gwen and Co. off in the remote house in Scotland, like sensible people? One reason is Gwen’s Dad needs a pharmacy nearby she can run a car into and raid for drugs for him on a regular basis. The other reason is the house in Scotland is currently occupied by Esther and Jack. Jack is convalescing from his gunshot wound, while Esther aides in his recovery by bleeding him like a 19th century doctor. She’s gathering bags of his blood, because it’s obviously going to be important down the line.

Rex is back in the CIA, thankful to be back in Business Attire and surrounded by professionals and professional moles. Turns out he’s wasted the last two months getting cock-blocked at every turn by Evil Lesbian Agent Walls. He’s finally clued in that someone is a mole, and that he needs to go off grid. DeLancie makes a second cameo as Rex’s partner in bromance, puffing away obnoxiously on cigarettes (did you know they no longer kill you?) and letting Rex rant on about 1930s pulp fiction writers who write short stories eerily reminiscent of Jack’s life.

Wading into all this water-treading, with a big splash, comes Danes. Remember all those episodes ago, when Jack offered Torchwood’s protection to him if Danes would only expose the conspiracy? Well, now that the Families are done with him, Danes has decided he’s going to take Jack up on his offer. He shows up at Gwen’s house as a bread delivery man, having magically gotten to Wales undectected. This brings Jack and Esther back down to Cardiff to question Danes about what he thinks he knows about the families.

Turns out what Danes knows isn’t what he thinks he knows. The name he has is the man who Jilly has been working for since he left her: Harry Boscoe. Except “Harry Boscoe” isn’t a person, it’s that thing only tin-foil-hat people believe, that the CIA has infiltrated the media back during Vietnam, and have been subtly influencing our perceptions of events by mistranslation and word choices. The team in Wales contact Rex and do a transatlantic data mine of some of the videos Jilly has been mistranslating these last two months, only to discover that all of them feature people babbling on about The Blessing, both in Buenos Aires and in Shanghai.

At that moment the door is kicked down, and that music you hear can only mean it’s time for one thing: It’s time for our Patented Ironic Police Action Moment. Of course, we’re supposed to think that Evil Lesbian Walls found a way to trace the call and the Families have sent the cops in to stop Torchwood. But it’s only the petty dude from earlier, hot on the trail of the Dead Man In the Wall. And this time, you’d better give him what he wants, because he’s HOLDING A THERMAL DETONATOR IMAGER! Off he goes, taking Dad with him for the ovens, completely oblivious to the two Most Wanted Men in the World (Danes and Jack) hanging out in the kitchen with their backs turned.

With that out of the way, it’s now time for Rhys to accidentally say something valuable. As the Torchwood gang try to decide where the Blessing is more likely to be, Rhys pulls out a globe and points out the answer is both–Buenos Aires and Shanghai are cities at polar opposites on the globe. Whenever the Blessing is, it bisects the planet. So we re-split up the Torchwood team, with Jack, Gwen and Danes smuggled into China via drug runners and Rex, Esther and all the extra Jack Blood going to Argentina. Rhys, having served his moment of useful, is left home with the baby.

After all Rex’s whining about how amateur Torchwood is, he signs for the Diplomatic Case of Jack Blood under his own name, alerting Evil Lesbian Walls that they are in Argentina. Meanwhile, Jack Danes and Gwen make a very important discovery. Since landing in Shanghai, Jack’s wound has opened back up and his blood is literally crawling out of him. A drop jumps off his bandage and happily slides across the floor, headed for The Blessing, as our heroes stare in astonishment.

So what IS this Blessing? Jilly is finding out. After spending two months bored silly working for “Harry Boscoe”, she is given a new name, and sent one-way to Shanghai by her Family contact, who says he won’t see her again. Once she gets to Shanghai, she meets a Sad Nerdling who makes creepy remarks about how vibrant she is, and how perfect her hair is. He also tells her she’ll be off to see the Blessing very soon now, and she won’t be seeing him again. (I detect a theme.) When she finally arrives at the Blessing’s headquarters, it turns out to be that fenced off place we saw back at the beginning of The Middle Men episode. A Very Nice Lady takes her in to see the Blessing, while blithely talking about how most people, when confronted by it, commit suicide because they cannot bear to see what the Blessing shows them about themselves.

So what is it?

It’s a Crack. A Big Bald Pinkish Crack in the Earth, that’s sucking things into its endless void. Does it make Jilly commit suicide? No. Proof that Jilly was Evil all along, she is instead empowered by looking upon this Big Pink Crack.

Apparently the crack goes All The Way Through to the other side in Buenos Aires. How does this relate to Eternal life? No idea. How does this relate to Jack’s Blood–except my growing assumption that the answer will be that his blood will somehow heal it, when poured into both sides at the same time? Again, not explained. One answer, spawning thousands more questions. With only one episode left.

Next week–the conclusion! Maybe some answers! One last hope for 12th hour Aliens!

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