Bookmark and Share Torchwood: The Blood Line - Press reaction

9/16/2011 01:08:00 pm - Reported by Chuck Foster

A roundup of some of the comments in the press for the finale of Torchwood: Miracle Day, The Blood Line. Please note that as these are reviews, spoilers will be present.

United Kingdom

Neela Debnath of the Independent:
With twists and turns right up until the last minute, ‘Torchwood: Miracle Day’ was rounded off in supreme style. ‘The Blood Line’ mirrored the first episode of this series with continuous, edge-of-the-seat action. ... The other surprising thing about ‘The Blood Line’ was the hopeful tone. Compared to previous series finales, which have been bleak and desolate, the conclusion to series 4 seemed to suggest that the team will keep fighting to protect the earth. ... The Transatlantic nature of the show gives an all-encompassing feel and is a unique selling point which should be kept if possible. The future of ‘Torchwood’ looks bright. Let’s hope there will be more to come next year.

Dan Martin of the Guardian:
After 10 often-painful weeks, Miracle Day wheezes to a close. And you know what? It was actually pretty enjoyable. Let yourself go with the nonsense and at its finale this series showed the best of itself, with explosions, bloodshed and forced philosophical standoffs at every turn.

Gavin Fuller of the Telegraph:
Certainly by going Transatlantic Torchwood: Miracle Day was a distinctly different beast from previous series; it had added production gloss and a more epic scale but did lose something of its distinctiveness in the process. At 10 episodes it was arguably overlong, and the attempt to meld science-fiction with something of a political/espionage thriller wasn’t entirely successful either. Nevertheless given that there is little enough drama in this sort of genre on television made for decent enough, if not as spectacular as might have been hoped, viewing.

David Brown of the Radio Times:
So how’s the Torchwood team looking at the end of all this? For starters, I need to put my hands up and admit that I foresaw the demise of the wrong member. Rex did die, but because he had Jack’s blood flowing through his veins, he was able to resurrect himself. Thank goodness - he was definitely the most sparky new addition. It was Esther, the agent so fuzzy and disposable that she could have been played by a packet of cotton-wool pads, who made the ultimate sacrifice.

We won’t be seeing her again, but then will we be seeing any of them again? If Torchwood fails to return, would it be (pardon the pun) something of a blessing? My advice to the writers would be to forget about doing a mini-series and return to episodic, small-scale alien-of-the-week sci-fi tales. But maybe, thanks to this lacklustre offering, there won’t be the opportunity to do even that.

Simon Brew of Den of Geek:
Miracle Day has been a bumpy, but worthwhile ride. It’s been an interesting, occasionally brilliant season, punctuated by a bit of overpondering and some strong ideas. Episode seven, in particular, is up there with Torchwood at its very best. The Blood Line, though, isn’t, and given that this is the season finale, it’s a pity that it couldn’t quite rise to the occasion.

Dave Golder of SFX:
It’s all so frustrating, because there are flashes of brilliance, when characters affect you, when dialogue moves you when plot twists surprise you and when explosions dazzle you. But none of that cancels out the huge, great, yawning disappointment that the big revelation is irritatingly vague and amorphous, and that the big resolution involves a lot of nattering and a wearying succession of noble sacrifices (with an equally wearying number of surprise resurrections). Torchwood: Miracle Day, it seems, was never interested in the rich moral, social, economic, political and religious issues of living forever. Shame, really

United States / Canada

Todd VanDerWerf of Los Angeles Times:
The biggest problem with "Miracle Day," ultimately, is that the premise wrote checks the execution couldn’t cash. The idea of a worldwide mystery about just why everybody abruptly turned immortal is a good one, but the actual process of solving that mystery was unspeakably dull and filled with red herrings that didn’t amount to anything. For instance: Angelo’s story line was undoubtedly moving, but it ultimately had so little to do with anything else that it was obviously a way to kill time before the final two episodes. ... "Miracle Day" is obviously made by people who have interesting ideas and lots to say. But it’s also a show that bit off way more than it could chew. Just the central idea could have easily fueled a cool 10-episode story. But that idea had to be mixed with unsubtle politics, largely pointless side trips, and new characters that never took off. In the end, for all the shouting and forced excitement, there was nothing human at the core of "Miracle Day." The best works of Russell T. Davies may be messy and too ambitious, but they also have a recognizably emotional core. “Miracle Day” strived to find that center at all times, but it always fell just short.

Charlie Jane Anders of io9:
All in all, this was a perfectly solid final episode, with a few standout moments. It only falls flat because of a larger failure on the part of Russell T. Davies to devise a story arc that could sustain ten hour-long episodes, with enough twists and layers of mystery to keep us guessing. In trying to follow up Children of Earth, Davies took away all the wrong lessons — the key element of CoE, it turns out, was not the "something creepy happens all over the world," thing, but the "single unswerving storyline with horrifying villains, in which you can barely catch your breath and the stakes keep escalating" thing. ... Torchwood has reinvented itself before, and maybe it will again. If it does, there are a lot of elements of Miracle Day that I'd love to see the show build on. Like idea-driven storytelling that trusts the audience to grasp some challenging concepts. Like the sparky rivalry between the two alpha males, Jack and Rex. Like the quintessentially RTD misanthropy of exploring the worst and the most self-deceiving elements of humanity. And like the willingness to mine Captain Jack's ever-bountiful past for horror. Miracle Day did a lot of things right, which the show can build on in future versions.

Christian Blauvelt of Entertainment Weekly:
Based on that globetrotting, apocalypse-flirting season finale of Torchwood, it’s hard to believe that this series began as just a Doctor Who spinoff on BBC Three about a black ops unit fighting aliens in apparently extraterrestrial-packed Cardiff, Wales. No, it still hasn’t come close to fulfilling its original mandate to give a more “adult” spin to the Who formula. Not by a mile. But what Torchwood still lacks in maturity it almost makes up with sheer expansiveness. ... Torchwood’s always been pulled between smart sci-fi and snark sci-fi, and after that promising opening, "The Blood Line" seemed more interested in getting geeks to drool than think. ... I liked the idea that Harkness would have to die and give up all his blood to The Blessing in order to make people mortal again, though, and that dying would literally be the way for him to become immortal again. That led to one of the best moments of the finale, when Capt. Jack confronted Bill Pullman’s killer, Oswald, about how he’d deliberately made his life "small." But instead of that being the climax, Harkness and Mekhi Pfifer’s Rex had to gush gobs of CGI blood to make mankind mortal again. Good sci-fi should be about inner space more than outer space…but not this kind of inner space. Still, it’s a bold series that builds a major arc not around saving lives but preserving the right to die.

Brian Lowry of Variety:
I won't spoil the finish for those who haven't seen it, but frankly, I'm not sure I could even if I wanted to. "Torchwood" has always showcased cheeky humor and wacky sci-fi concepts, but while "Miracle Day" kicked off with an extremely provocative premise -- namely, what happens when people suddenly stop dying, triggering a global crisis -- the ensuing episodes felt padded to reach its 10-episode length (twice as long, notably, as the tight miniseries "Children of Earth"), and the payoff wasn't worthy of the build-up. Starz and the BBC have pacted to collaborate on future series, but let's hope this isn't a preview of what's to come.

Tim Surette of
Perhaps what's so maddening is all the wasted potential. There was so much to explore thematically that the show didn't cover—or tried to cover, but unsuccessfully. We got early looks at the world descending into chaos when no one died, but as the global situation got worse, the scope of the show got smaller and focused only on the core characters. In short, a great premise was based on was squandered. However, it's still impossible to stay completely upset with the show. Jack and Gwen are two of my favorite characters on television right now, and Torchwood has been very entertaining at times. But am I going to care whether Starz or the BBC renew the series for another season? I doubt it.

Sean Elliott of Assignment X:
This episode is a pretty satisfying wrap up of the series. As I’ve said before the plot meandered for me around the middle episodes, but then got back on track as we headed towards the finale. There were some nice moments between Jack and Gwen that we’ve never seen before in the course of this TORCHWOOD, but perhaps expanding the cast out as much as they did watered it down too much in places for hardcore fans that only really wanted to see Jack, Gwen, Rhys and other familiar faces.

Everything is left wide open for a fifth TORCHWOOD series, but I would honestly like to see it return to a more episode by episode style of storytelling instead of a single serialized adventure, or if they need to make it an overreaching serial have the single episodes with more subplots and bang and less of the talking heads we ended up with on this one.