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Review of Torchwood ‘The Middle Men’

Neela Debnath

starz unit torchwood episod 300x199 Review of Torchwood ‘The Middle Men’SPOILERS: Do not read this if you have not seen episode 6, series 4 of ‘Torchwood’

Just like the title of the episode, this week was middle-of-the-road for ‘Torchwood’ both in terms of action and plot progression. ‘The Middle Men’ seemed to be killing time, perhaps for something bigger to come, and ended up being disappointing.

Rex and Esther were still stuck on the San Pedro compound and attempted to escape from Colin Maloney (Marc Vann), the facility’s director who has been driven mad by all the power and pressure he has. Sadly, Vera could not be saved and her death is a reminder that none of the team is safe.

Captain Jack delved deeper into PhiCorp but the results were poor. The company’s Chief Operating Officer Stuart Owens (Ernie Hudson, Winston from ‘Ghostbusters’) explained that something known as the “blessing” has a part to play in the Miracle Day.

The scene where Jack questions Owens in the restuarant was just painful to watch, with the exposition being unnecessary and the acting cringe-worthy. Owens simply re-iterated what viewers have known all along: PhiCorp is just a shell company for something or someone bigger which is really pulling the strings. The answer to what is controlling the Miracle Day will be found in Shanghai.

As ‘Torchwood’ is aimed at adults and seeks to present a distorted reflection of our own world, it works best when the aliens only appear at the end otherwise it descends into space opera and loses its grittiness. Therefore, it is likely that the aliens will only emerge at the end of ‘Miracle Day’. They were never really seen in ‘Children of Earth’ which kept them as an omnipresent and sinister threat. Generally, when the monster is revealed it can often sever the suspension of belief and become farcical.

The only thing really gleaned from ‘The Middle Men’ was that there might be a connection between Danes and the “blessing”, given that Danes declared that he was an angel last week at the Miracle rally. This was the first episode without Danes and his absence was noticeable.

Back in Blighty, Gwen continued to try and get her father out of the Cowbridge camp. It was only towards the end when she returned (unhindered again) to America that the pace picked up. And there is no doubt from the trailer that next week’s episode will be far from dull, with viewers learning more about Jack’s mysterious past. After all he is the man who could become the Face of Boe.

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  • albiestar

    i thought it was awesome and always is. so intelligently written

  • albiestar

    also i love the jack/gwen relationship and how that looks set to develop

  • Paedant

    I tried to watch this as transmitted, then gave up. I later watched it on iPlayer where you can scroll through the dull bits.  There was nothing in this episode that couldn’t have been fitted into another episode as a couple of scenes. Basically, this whole thing is a 90′-120′ movie idea stretched out to10 hours.

  • airstairs

     Take your tablets, now.

  • greggf

    so intelligently written… and profiled. 
    Er, just thought I’d finish the sentence for you…


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