The Middle Men

Posted in Episode by - March 19, 2023
The Middle Men

Aired 12 August 2011


With Gwen trying to free her sick father from a Welsh overflow camp and with Rex and Esther trying to follow up on Dr Juarez’s death in an American equivalent, Jack tries to get straight to the heart of the conspiracy in ‘The Middle Men’ by John Shiban.

It’s no great secret that Miracle Day to this point has had difficulty developing and expanding its plot, somehow managing to make a worldwide diametric shift in the philosophy of life and death as well as the underlying conspiracy seem relatively minor in scope. Unfortunately, whereas the story should be significantly ramping up as it enters the second half of its ten-episode run, ‘The Middle Men’ is the worst offender yet and marks almost no progression in plot or characterization despite introducing some interesting commentary on human complicity in the process. This is exacerbated by the fact that the most heavily-featured storyline with Rex and Esther is centred around Colin Maloney who earlier incinerated Dr Juarez to cover his own missteps and shortcomings. This cowardly but power-hungry man who declares murder legal in his complex is focused solely on himself and is in completely over his head, and his utter lack of redeeming qualities make this segment a chore since there is no depth at all to this one-dimensional character that can be explored for any genuine drama. That Rex foolishly goes to this administrator hoping to use his evidence to expose the evils at the core of this facility is overly naïve and optimistic for a character who has been anything but to this point even if he is clearly grieving from the loss of Vera, and Esther- who at the very least is becoming a more assertive character- then appearing with literally no plan and nearly getting herself killed in the process only makes this group seem less prepared and competent than ever.

While Gwen’s impassioned attempts to save her father with Rhys do at least have a semblance of planning to them, they still pale in comparison to the furtive espionage she proved herself capable of earlier in this series. Still, while Gwen’s steadfast belief that she can walk into any situation and emerge unscathed is perhaps unfounded and certainly has the potential of turning people against her, her incessant declarations about a lack of ethics to a doctor who knows all about the incineration of patients labeled as category one but who believes that it is a necessary evil to keep others alive and safe do at least hint inject a level of conscientiousness into the deeper conflict of morality in this rapidly changing world. Nonetheless, there is next to no plot progression here either, and while the afore-mentioned Rex and Esther storyline could have been excised completely with Rex and Esther stronger characters as a result, these events that do hold some more weight easily could have been combined with Gwen’s experiences in ‘The Categories of Life’ to further accelerate the overall story.

By default, then, the most intriguing storyline is Jack’s as he seeks to glean information from Stuart Owens played by Ernie Hudson. Jack has surprisingly been more of a peripheral character up to this point, but while learning from Owens who is certainly a morally flawed and ambiguous character himself as evidenced by his extramarital affair that PhiCorp is likely just another player in an ever-deeper plot that has been developing for years, Jack does manage to learn about the mysterious term ‘the blessing’ that seems to be integral to the miracle’s formation. Still, with six of the ten episodes of Miracle Day completed, substantively little information is known about anything, and none of the core characters have yet been written as particularly strong individuals which is surprising even if it does make sense to some extent given the far deeper and more nefarious forces lurking in the shadows. The story pretty much stalls in ‘The Middle Men’ with Oswald and Jilly wholly absent as a result, making for a filler episode that accomplishes little except mentioning ‘the blessing,’ drawing attention to an area in Shanghai, and injecting at least a shade of morality amidst a greater societal complicity and ethical regression before presenting a strong cliffhanger in which a mysterious force is holding Gwen’s family as ransom for Jack.

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