It is traditional to talk about TV shows jumping the shark. But you can’t accuse a show like Torchwood of jumping the shark – a show with weevils in the basement and a pterodactyl in the rafters needs a better phrase to describe the moment when it’s past its best. And, I think we need that phrase now…
The Middle Men has its moments but they’re too few and far between. The proportion of cool to meh is exactly the opposite of what it needs to be for me to get lost in the story or the characters.
(Spoilers below the line)
If anybody cares, this week Jack tries to find out from the chief operating officer of Phicorp operations (yay, Ernie Hudson from Ghostbusters) what the hell the company is up to. Ernie has tried to find out but has got nowhere, all he knows is that this has been planned for a long time by someone who doesn’t want to be seen, and that the phrase “The Blessing” is important. Yes, yes, more religious imagery. I suppose it’s a lot cheaper than CGI aliens.
Gwen and Rhys rescue her dad (eventually) before he’s incinerated at the Cowbridge camp, while Rex gets himself caught trying to escape the San Pedro camp and is almost rescued from creepy Colin Maloney by Esther. (She clearly hasn’t watched enough horror films – we all knew the ‘dead’ guy wasn’t dead, how come she didn’t work it out?) Luckily that nice soldier who got bullied into helping murder Dr Vera last week finally takes a stand and saves Esther and Rex.
The team expose the camps for what they are – hurrah for the internet – only to find it makes no difference. And Gwen, flies back to the US, and gets a mysterious instruction to use the Eye-5s. The messages blazing across the lenses are shocking (if not surprising considering nobody’s been using aliases – do not they never find time to watch Burn Notice?) – the Big Bad has Gwen’s mum, Rhys and Anwen (no mention of her dad though…). To get them back, she has to deliver Jack…
The noteworthy bits of The Middle Men:
- People finding the closest thing to death they can – permanent unconsciousness from jumping from 45 storeys.
- The CSI in-joke when Coltrane (the solidier) talks to Maloney (Marc Vann, formerly CSI’s Ecklie) about how “you see it on TV, they still find tiny little flecks of blood under your nails”.
- The music in the bar where Jack recruits Janet to his cause is very reminiscent of the lovely Tenth Doctor’s theme music (that’s lovely music as well as lovely Number Ten).
- Not to mention Jack’s “What do you say Janet? We could sit here drinking appletinis and complaining about men all night… or we could go get that Phicorp boss of yours.”
- Jack’s hammy “Does your wife know?” as he ruins Stuart Owens’s evening (and probably his marriage).
- Noteworthy for all the wrong reasons – Rex’s attempt to escape the camp. From the solidier knocked cold by one blow, to the dumb plan to send the sentry to the Modules, to the not taking note of the name stitched in inch-high letters on the front of the stolen uniform. Nonsense, nonsense, nonsense (hat tip to Adam and Joe).
- Colin Maloney making a simple ballpoint pen incredibly sinister and giving a whole new meaning to ‘being a pen-pusher’.
- More nonsense – Esther’s attempt to rescue Rex. From using Dr Juarez as the person making an important fictious phone call, to taking on a taller, heavier (and presumably stronger) man in an unarmed fight, to successfully choking him (she was a desk jockey not a field agent) – all too silly.
- Gwen channelling Fi from Burn Notice and blowing up the modules at Cowbridge in style.
- Gwen backing sharply away from her own reflection as the Big Bad make their demand clear. “Bring us Jack”
Posted by Jo the Hat