The Blood Line

Posted in Episode by - March 23, 2023
The Blood Line

Aired 09 September 2011


Traveling to both Shanghai and Buenos Aires, Torchwood desperately looks to stop the Three Families and reverse the Miracle that has cursed humanity with immortality in the conclusion to Miracle Day, ‘The Blood Line’ by Russell T Davies and Jane Espenson.

Miracle Day has been a bumpy ride from the start, clearly not knowing how best to explore the concept of immortality thrust upon everyone nor how to fill its allotted ten episodes as intriguing plot elements were brought up and discarded in rapid succession. To their credit, however, Davies and Espenson just about manage to bring everything to an emotional conclusion, albeit a conclusion that is still a bit disjointed with its logic and either unable or unwilling to fully provide answers. With that in mind, the Blessing remains perhaps the biggest mystery of them all, an entity through the core of the world that remained undiscovered until technology progressed enough to calculate patterns and trends in human lifespans that hinted at its existence and location. This Blessing is responsible for the morphic field bonding humanity Jack has been trying to uncover for so long, and whether through torture as intimated or not, members of the Three Families feeding Jack’s collected blood to it at both of its visible points in Shanghai and Buenos Aires resulted in the elimination of death from the human race. It’s a murky explanation at best lacking in far too many details to truly resonate, but after several episodes of Jack proclaiming that his blood is not important and in no way linked to his prior immortality, it at least provides a foundation upon which this series can finally rest while also providing Torchwood a means of action to fight back.

Of course, everyone knows that the reversal of the Miracle will result in countless deaths across the globe, and ‘The Blood Line’ manages to draw quite a bit of drama out of that premise. Less effective, however, is the Three Families’ plan to use immortality to break down the established global order and step into a leadership role in the process as humanity is built back up under their guidance. In theory the premise is sound if a bit nebulous in terms of how they will achieve this, and it’s easy to imagine an entirely more effective storyline taking place within the Three Families’ reign after humanity’s collapse as Jack returns from his self-imposed exile to join Gwen and lead a rebellion. Instead, the gradual decline of economies and societies has mostly been told through news broadcasts or the occasional exaggerated character like the man leading the compound or the man searching for Gwen’s father previously, meaning that a true exploration of the world as a whole at this point has never been presented as an anchor from which to contextualize any actions.

As a microcosm of that issue, Oswald was assuredly created as a character to explore society’s reverence of the wrong people, and while ‘The Blood Line’ does give Oswald the most characterization yet with even mildly heroic moments, it makes no sense that Jack and Gwen would trust him enough to wear an explosive vest into their confrontation with the Blessing. Even if none of Torchwood could have known about the Blessing revealing the onlooker’s inner soul which has resulted in the death of some, this fact makes Oswald’s character all the more problematic simply because he is utterly irredeemable, a fact he cruelly reinforces in his final moments as he calls out to the young girl whose innocence and life he took. This narrative may have worked had Oswald’s crimes been almost anything else less abhorrent, but his seeming alliance with PhiCorp came to nothing and his acceptance of sorts into Torchwood was narratively forced and unearned. Bill Pullman deserves immense credit for making this character an intriguing one throughout against all odds, but as written Oswald could never fully work as intended.

In a series that rarely followed up on any of its genuinely interesting ideas, the introduction of Rex as another immortal after transfusing Jack’s blood into himself to provide the second source of now-mortal blood to reset the Blessing is one final fascinating element for Miracle Day to celebrate. It may have taken a leap in logic for Rex and Esther to come up with that idea, and if he was filled with enough mortal blood to achieve his goal he should have died from a transfusion reaction rather than being sustained by the Miracle’s effecs as he claims, but it provides a unique cliffhanger that makes Esther’s death all the more resonant while also allowing for Charlotte to be discovered despite her best and explosive attempts to keep the CIA from discovering her affiliation with the Families. Rex sacrificing himself and Gwen choosing to sacrifice Jack so that he does not have to do it himself are both genuinely tense and gripping moments as they jointly accept Esther’s death as a cost for what they know is right after the Families try to force their hand, and it’s here that John Barrowman, Eve Myles, Mekhi Phifer, and Alexa Havins shine brightest. Miracle Day often put it characters in emotional situations but never really allowed for genuine emotions from its characters, and ‘The Blood Line’ succeeds most because it finally does exactly that. So many plot threads remain unexplored like the Soulless, Category Zero, Esther’s sister, and even the true reach of the Families across the globe and how society as a whole is falling, but the suggestion that the Families somehow have a plan B is nonetheless intriguing if somewhat hollow at this time. As with almost all of this series, this final episode is disjointed and stubbornly keeps many of its secrets to itself, but it is nonetheless genuinely gripping and shows the promise that Torchwood as a whole still holds, especially if it ever returns to standalone episodes or a more condensed arc akin to Children of Earth.

This post was written by

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.