Doctor Who #882: The Middle Men

"I'm not a bad man, Captain. I'm not a good one either. I'm a middle man in every sense of the word."
TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Aug.12 2011.

IN THIS ONE... Rex tries to escape the overflow camp. Gwen tries to get her dad out of its Welsh equivalent.

REVIEW: The team finally manages to do what they set out to in the previous episode and it takes forrrrevvvvvverrrrrrrrrr. Gwen has ethical conversations with overflow camp staff - the same conversations Vera was having in the States - before finally getting her father off the base. And after all that effort, her whole family gets nabbed by the Families. So we could excise these elements entirely and not change the story then? Groan. Back in America, Rex recaps the story so far on video tape (hey, Gwen's making a tape too, why not, and sure, there's an audio link so she's been talking into mirrors for no reason all this time, yeah) while Esther sits at a desk in what feels like real time. Only Jack actually makes headway, finding a PhiCorp boss who makes for an unlikely ally also searching for the truth. The headway in question: keyword "the Blessing". It's like swimming in molasses.

I'm still struggling with what Esther brings to this team. It's not computer skills, really, because Jack and Gwen are also shown to be more than proficient in that department. Esther actually causes more problems than she solves. She goes into the overflow camp under her own name, walks around wet-eyed like she's hiding a big secret, and despite all the evidence pointing to that jerk Maloney having disposed of Vera in some way, still uses her name to cover her walking into the generator room to help Rex escape. Dumbass! It's surprising that she's got enough self-defense training to choke the dude out, but not surprising at all that he would wake up again (Esther forgets dead isn't dead), would grab her again, and would get shot by Ralph the overwhelmed young soldier. Thrill-by-number. Are they just using Esther as cover for the fact Rex isn't particularly smart either? Here he lets himself be captured and tortured, trusts the wrong person, and oh yeah, makes sure to mention Torchwood on his tell-all tape, the word that apparently activates a computer virus that would, if the writing were airtight, erase the footage as soon as it hit the internet. Maybe that's a good thing because he also makes a death threat on there. Stupid!

As usual, the original Torchwood characters get the better deal, but that's not saying much. Jack has fun flirting and threatening, sometimes in the same breath. He finally turns someone, even if it's not Oswald Danes (he doesn't appear at all), and Ernie Hudson as Stuart Owens is a great, smooth presence. Gwen's terrorist attack on the overflow camp is predicated on the place having a stash of C-4. I know these are converted military installations, but if security is this lax, why was it such a pain to get her dad out? The hijack of her contact lenses is a good cliffhanger, even if it renders the past two episodes' worth of her story moot. Anyway, once all their footage has gotten out to the media, the U.S. government commits P.R. suicide by saying they're not ashamed of their oven solution... I don't know what to say, this is just ridiculous to me, and another sign that things are happening because the script needs them to happen, not because they make sense. And if you remember my Star Trek: Voyager reviews, you know how that drives me crazy.

REWATCHABILITY: Low - Miracle Day's lowest point, this is padding by way of characters being stupid and successes being reversed by the plot.

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