Okay, so I take back the snarky Star Trek movie comment. This is an even-numbered episode and it was also good. Pacey, emotional, funny and with added jeopardy and John De Lancie. If the plan is to bring in new viewers to Torchwood (assuming the dreadful early episodes didn’t drive them away) I can see now how it might work.
We pick up this week with Jack coming face to face with Angelo again. But Angelo has survived all those decades not through any kind of miracle (unless you count extraordinary self-control and a lot of luck) – he’s an old man, unconscious, and hooked up to the full gamut of heart monitors, drips etc.
(Spoilers below the line…)
I’ve watched the scene where Angelo’s granddaughter Olivia (Nana Visitor) explains her reasons and methods in getting Jack to the luxurious mansion twice, and frankly I’m with Gwen on the whole WTF?-get-me-a-drink reaction. Still, everyone’s alive (so far) and there are answers around the corner.
After a brief biology lesson about immortal jellyfish, we learn that Angelo and the Families have been researching immortality for some time – cancer cells and stem cells can, in theory, divide for ever…
We have the names of the three men who witnessed Jack being repeatedly murdered in the butcher’s shop – Ablemarch, Costerdane and Frines – and the knowledge that they had Jack’s blood. (Although as Jack points out there’s nothing special about his blood itself, that’s not what made him immortal.)
It looks like the three Families found The Blessing – whatever that is – and that that’s the key to the mystery. Just as Torchwood get ready to hunt down the Families (which is going to be tricky because they’re been wiped from the records even more effectively than Torchwood) bad ol’ Friedkin turns up to turn them all into Category Ones – starting with Rex.
Thankfully we have the glorious, wonderful John De Lancie on hand to recruit Torchwood into the CIA, steal every scene he’s in and throw out some of the best one-liners all series – on dealing with Olivia: “Take her to the safe house. Tell her to line up her lawyers so I can piss on them, long and hard.”; After Rex defends Gwen: “Did you sleep with her? … Because most women that bitter, you’ve slept with.”; and on meeting Jack: “And what is it with you Red Baron? You got Snoopy up your ass?”. I really hope we get more of him in the last two episodes. He’s even more fun as Shapiro than he was as Q in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
And just as we think we know where we’re going, Jack having shared a few moments and memories of the other love of his life – Ianto Jones – kisses Angelo goodbye and sends the story spiralling off in a whole new direction, by inadvertently killing – really brown bread dead killing – Angelo.
Angelo knew the Miracle was coming, salvaged some of the alien tech from the destroyed Torchwood Hub and made sure that he wouldn’t be forced to live forever in a useless, comatose body.
We also revisit Oswald Danes and Jilly Kitzinger – starting with a reference to the ‘bisected bride’ who lost everything below her bikini line in a car accident and got married a week later propped up on a box. “Basically she’s made up of positive thinking and colostomy bags…” and followed rapidly by some terrible, constipated dancing from Danes.
Jilly can see light at the end of the tunnel where Danes is concerned. A whole new category just for him. Category Zero – people who have earned themselves a place in the oven for moral reasons. After Danes’s ‘date’ with a well-connected hooker goes wrong and he beats this information out of Jilly, he runs – as anyone would.
Back at the mansion, Shapiro deports Gwen back to the UK and Jack persuades Rex to get him out of the building. Unfortunately the escape goes horribly wrong and ends with Esther driving a dying Jack god knows where as he clutches a gunshot wound to the abdomen.
So now we need to know is the total financial collapse an unimportant consequence of the Miracle, or is it part of the Big Bad Plan? Where are the Families? What is the Blessing? How is the morphic field thing working? Why do the Families want Jilly working for them?
HIghlights of End of the Road:
- Gwen telling Rex to ‘get back in his cave’.
- Those photos on Angelo’s mantelpiece, especially the moustachioed one from the ’70s.
- Olivia pointing out that Jack is ‘not the only remarkable thing on this Earth’. True, but he is one of the wonders of the modern world – immortal or not…
- Rex getting properly Torchwood sneaky with his theft of the Eye-5s to stitch up Friedkin by broadcasting his statement of involvement.
- Shapiro: “People seem to be talking over me. Which is fascinating. And rare. And forbidden.”
- Shapiro instructing his agents with regard to Friedkin: “Take that fat-ass traitor to the airport and put him in cargo.”
- Friedkin giving us a real sense of just how terrifying the Families are – with both words and deeds…
- Another unintended consequence of the Miracle – the people, like Esther’s sister, who are volunteering to become Category Ones.
- Shapiro enjoying his cigarette on the rumour that previously immortal cancer cells are now mortal. The government ‘is keeping it quiet in case there’s an outbreak of spontaneous joy. I mean, we can’t have that.”
- The blink and you’ll miss it moment of treachery from CIA Charlotte…