David Chute is wishing that some of the lead characters in Torchwood: Miracle Day would just die already.
One measure of the excellence of “Immortal Sins,” the previous, seventh episode of the BBC/Starz mini-series Torchwood: Miracle, is that it ended with a burning question whose answer actually mattered to us. It turned out that Jack’s lover of the 1920s, Angelo Colasanto (Daniele Favilli) was still alive more than eighty decades later, and had grown rich enough to send a car and several employees after him.
But what on earth would he look like, now, all those years later? Immortal and still young, or impossibly old – still alive, perhaps, like many others, only because of the Miracle, but not the Angelo that, you could tell, Jack still pined for?
As it turns out, Angelo is not merely old at the beginning of T:MD Episode 8. He is shrunken-head old, Aztec mummy old. He is a wheezing, wizened husk attached to life supports. Even this counts as quite an accomplishment, since he was already full grown when we saw him last, in 1927, a Mafia spear-carrier in lower Manhattan.
That Angelo worked all his life, after his tryst with Jack, to achieve the immortality his lover exemplified, and failed, is quickly overshadowed by a breakthrough that in the post-Miracle era is a much bigger deal: he managed to find a way, finally, and with Jack at his bedside, to die — with the help of some of that OG Torchwood staple, alien technology.
The off-world artifact in this case is a metal plate positioned under Angelo’s sick-turned-deathbed that in some fashion has (maybe, theoretically) readjusted the resonance of his (oh crap, not this again) Morphic Field.
I summarize rather than analyze, here, because Episode 8 felt disappointingly functional and businesslike, to me, after the exhilaration and romance of the first-rate “Immortal Sins.” Information was dispensed, a few new players were introduced (among them the joyful actor John de Lancie as an enthusiastic CIA agent) and one already established supernumerary was outed as a Quisling — only, perhaps, because one such turned out to be needed to kick the last act into gear.
Large narrative trends include the downgrading of the global drug conglomerate Phi-Corps from its previous standing as the ultimate source of horror and the last word in human evil. The process began when an earnest and therefore plausible company executive (Ernie Hudson) explained a couple of episodes ago that Phi-Corps was profiting from but had not caused the Miracle.
Now a new last word has been introduced in the form of the Mafia-sounding Three Families, an entity founded by the grim-faced plotters who joined hands and made a pact in that blood-soaked basement in Little Italy — the room in which Captain Jack Harkness died a dozen grisly deaths. Would it be too awful to wish him many more, once all this Miracle business is resolved?