End of the Road

Posted in Episode by - March 21, 2023
End of the Road

Aired 26 August 2011


With economies and society on the verge of collapse, Jack confronts Angelo whom he has long believed to be dead and Rex takes drastic action within the CIA in ‘End of the Road’ by Ryan Scott and Jane Espenson.

Throughout its run, Miracle Day has been a series filled with odd choices both stylistically and narratively, and after dedicating an entire episode to the backstory between Jack and Angelo, ‘End of the Road’ confoundingly reveals that Angelo was not directly involved with the creation of the miracle at all. Instead, he has taken extreme measures to maximize the length of his natural life, but in a cruel bit of irony achieved immortality too late once already bedridden and unresponsive. He never forgot about Jack and continued to watch him throughout his entire life, and though he did eventually create a family of his own, he never tried to keep secret of his eternal love for Jack. This love had two momentous consequences, the first being inspiring his granddaughter to create the hostage situation that resulted in Gwen bringing Jack to her despite not really knowing anything about Jack other than his blood being related to the miracle and the second being the trio of men who formed a partnership dedicated to the blessing essentially exiling Angelo from any future involvement with their families. John Barrowman does play these scenes with Angelo with an understated tenderness that speaks volumes about their relationship and that also serves as a heartbreaking reminder that Jack is always destined to see those he cares about grow old, and the alien technology beneath Angelo’s bed that blocks the morphic field of the miracle to allow death is a convenient yet intriguing discovery that will assuredly become more consequential as this series reaches its end.

While finally giving Rex some decent characterization by delving into the fear that his life will end if the miracle does, he somewhat confusingly reveals that he has been working to draw out Wayne Knight’s Brian Friedkin who, though clearly tied to the three families in a servile capacity while leading within the CIA, has largely been an inconsequential and completely absent character. That Friedkin should so easily and quickly admit to crimes to Rex who is furtively wearing Torchwood’s contact lenses is far too convenient, and his decision to kill himself with Angelo’s granddaughter a casualty unfortunately confirms that these characters are nothing more than mere plot devices. Unfortunately, just as the last episode’s heavy focus on Angelo in the past called into question how much of the earlier episodes were actually relevant to current proceedings, these deaths paired with Angelo’s continue to ask that same question with even much of ‘Immortal Sins’ included. At the very least, Rex’s scheme does result in the introduction of the always-superb John de Lancie as the no-nonsense Allen Shapiro who seems well-intentioned despite his incessant need to assert his authority resulting in difficulty working with the unique CIA-Torchwood hybrid team that has formed. Still, with Shapiro ordering Gwen’s deportation and with Jack shot and slowly dying after trying to escape, this is a storyline that certainly holds plenty of dramatic potential going forward.

Still a mystery through all of this is Oswald’s overall relevance to the plot and the three families that are still so shrouded. Oswald is possibly the most popular man on the planet currently, and while Miracle Day has certainly not tried to redeem the character after his atrocious acts despite his lofty claims of providing a voice for those who should be dead like himself, his decision to ask for a prostitute and then to snap at Jilly when he doesn’t get what he wants makes a wholly irredeemable character even more detestable in the short term. To his credit, Bill Pullman gives his all and just about makes the character an engaging one through it all here, but as written Oswald is an impossible character to support in any way even if he has yet to do anything truly villainous with respect to the miracle. The hope is that he does have a bigger tie to the miracle than has yet been revealed given his rather tangential relationship to the story to this point, but these events have at least led to Jilly seemingly receiving a promotion that should finally begin to flesh out the three families who have such a far reach and who seem set to be the true driving force after so many red herrings and missteps to this point. Conversely, the revelation that a category zero has been approved for the worst of humanity falls flat given how quickly it is introduced and then dropped from relevance.

‘End of the Road’ does have much more forward momentum than almost any other Miracle Day episode yet, but it continues to raise questions about this entire series’s narrative structure with so many characters and actions seeming utterly inconsequential. It’s not ideal that so much of the plot is still a true unknown after eight of ten episodes, but this episode does at least manage to set in motion potentially strong drama with Jack who is injured, Gwen who is deported, Esther who is in trouble with Jack and still trying to connect with her sister, and Jilly who is set to take on a much loftier position by stepping into the unknown.

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