Previously on Jane’s Take … I’ve been providing my thoughts on each week’s episode of Torchwood: Miracle Day as a viewer and as a writer. It’s a sort of DVD commentary in which you can’t actually see what it is that I’m talking about.
“Torchwood: Miracle Day” Episode Five
We open with Dr. Vera Juarez. Often when you start with a character, that
means the story is told from their perspective … that their arc will carry you
from beginning to end. And when she commits to joining our little ragtag team,
it sure feels like we’re going to be following her transition – from a doctor
who weighed in on the panels to a crusader against this redefinition of life
I love this next bit about Gwen meeting Rhys who is disguised as her limo
driver. And a passionate husband-wife kiss – you don’t see enough of that kind
of thing on TV!
You also don’t get enough scenes of commando grandmothers with pink-clad
babies. How great is Gwen’s mother?
Sgt Andy! So many Welsh voices – Gwen, Rhys, Andy! It’s like a choir of
those beautiful accents. I very much think of this as a real continuation of
Torchwood, and I think stories like this one that take us back home are vital.
The show and the characters are deeply rooted in the UK, and it’s wonderful that we had
the resources to be able to show that.
I wrote the bit about Andy trying to use police authority and the guy at the
camp having no respect for the Welsh police – I love exploring the idea that
even as humanity is being split into new categories, old prejudices remain.
Vera, Rex, Esther – every writer loves a triangle of requited/unrequited
affections. I didn’t write the fist-bump between Jack and Vera, but I love it —
were there ever two characters who could look more charmingly awkward doing
That graph on the wall — the category graph — that’s something we had on the
white board in the writers’ room as we first started working out the
implications of the Miracle. Seeing it on TV feels like discovering there was a
camera pointed into my notebook. I lived with that graph for so long before it
Vera’s hypothesis is really chilling – the idea that they’re using humans to
develop diseases so they could sell more drugs. What could be worse than that?
(Remember that question for later.)
Jack is fragile – isn’t that strange and wonderful? The only mortal man
really shouldn’t go where there might be horrible new diseases. I’m sure he’ll
stay out of danger — oh, never mind. He’s going to go find Oswald.
During production, I actually wrote up and printed Oswald’s original speech
as seen in the limo for the prop master – I’m not sure if the page I printed
actually ended up being used as the prop we see on camera, but let’s say it
Oh, look inside the San Pedro overflow camp – that medical guy is Brad Bell
a.k.a. Cheeks – he’s starring my new web series, Husbands (HusbandsTheSeries.com).
He does a great job.
And this character, Colin Maloney, was someone that Russell saw very
specifically. He described him as: “a pedantic, condescending, misogynist,
middle-manager promoted beyond his abilities.”
I just kept that description and wrote to it as well as I could. He was a
great character to write – he’s a great condensed example of one of the key
themes of this season – that the big enemy really is the sort of depths to
which humanity will sink, not out of evil, but out of fear. He’s that scared
little human who plunges first into those depths.
All of these scenes with Rex in the tent were shot on a day of really
intense and variable weather. The earlier scenes were shot before and during a
torrential downpour in which all the cots got soaked and disgusting. The sun
came out later, but everyone was still in cold wet cots.
“Hillary Clinton?” “No, Hillary Duff” – heh. Kind of a
broad joke, but the joy of a character like Maloney is that I actually believe
it from him.
We made sure that the U.K.
camps looked different than the U.S.
ones – not just to make it easier for the viewers to tell where we are as the
scenes are edited together, but also because they simply would look different.
Gwen and her Dad together reliably move me as they always do. It’s a little
hard to hear, but Gwen panics here and Rhys has to remind her that she’s
pretending to be a nurse.
“I’m under budget” – I think that’s the worst thing Maloney has
done so far, saying that — oh, wait. He got worse. The bit at the end, the
“it was the door; it was only the door” — that was Russell’s addition
and I think it’s amazing writing — Maloney is so ridiculous and petty and small
even as he’s doing evil.
Oswald’s speech — I give the credit here to Bill Pullman. He tears that
Vera. I’m so sorry. I really am. This is not only a horrible and painful
death on its own terms, but it evokes the greatest horror of modern mankind.