Posted in Episode by - March 17, 2023

Aired 15 July 2011


Following a bold introduction to a world in which no human can die, Miracle Day continues with ‘Rendition’ by Doris Egan as Jack and Gwen head to the US and the world struggles to cope with the mounting crises of immortality.

Maintaining momentum throughout a ten-part serial will be a significant challenge for Miracle Day, but ‘Rendition’ for the most part manages to do so even if it does not meaningfully advance its overall narrative. It has already been established that Jack is now the only mortal man on Earth, and so it’s only natural that this fact that represents such a departure for the franchise should be exploited to increase the drama and make an otherwise boring overseas plan journey more exciting. Dichen Lachman is an established and powerful actress who brings a quiet menace to the CIA that has seemingly framed Rex and Esther and positioned them for expulsion and detainment, but the fact that there is no chance Jack will succumb to her poison this early in Miracle Day’s run means that her presence is largely in a filler capacity for this episode despite the larger implications her presence has for whatever may come next. Still, the tension that John Barrowman, Eve Myles, and Mekhi Phifer bring to that sequence is immense, and Rex’s use of Dr Juarez and her collected colleagues in a hospital to come up with a solution to arsenic ingestion is certainly a unique and fitting means of finding a solution.

While the immortality aspect of the population isn’t necessarily overtly dealt with here, the realization that undying bodies being cared for with traditional medical standards will produce antibiotic-resistant bacteria at alarming rates is a profound foundation upon which a change in medical philosophy can form while providing a fitting entry point for Lauren Ambrose’s Jill Kitzinger. Her first appearance is quite irritating and overbearing, likely a purposeful decision given the aggressiveness of her public relations strategy, but her keen interest to be associated with both Dr Juarez and Oswald Danes is an interesting piece of characterization that will assuredly be explored in detail as the world continues to adapt to its new reality. To that point, Bill Pullman plays Oswald with much more nuance here than in the opener, and his seeming ability to recognize public perception of his own shortcomings and to develop a strategy to garner public sympathy by appearing to break down during a television interview and apologize repeatedly for his past actions is as interesting as it is frightening and hints at a truly deep and conniving character even without knowing just how he will ultimately intertwine with the larger narrative at hand.

‘Rendition’ is very much an episode dedicated to moving pieces around for either immediate or future development and to highlight the true peril that Jack, Gwen, Rex, and Esther are in with the CIA wanting them out of the picture, but it maintains a solid pacing throughout even if it does perhaps spend a bit too much time with Jack’s poisoning that culminates with what should be a triumphant moment for Gwen that ultimately falls a little flat and feels quite hackneyed and forced. Still, Torchwood has always been a series that has tried to interject levity into its darker and more serious narratives, and not every attempt will land perfectly as intended. Fittingly, that is a sentiment that can be applied to this episode as a whole which, though containing key pieces of information and character introductions including Wayne Knight’s Brian Friedkin that will assuredly become more important, is something of a step backwards from what the premiere presented as an obvious conspiracy remains completely shrouded.

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