Torchwood Review: “The Middle Men”

This week’s installment of Miracle Day brings us head-scratching decisions, a new mystery, and an expected revelation, all unfolding with the breakneck pace of a brontosaurus on barbiturates.

Title: “The Middle Men”

Cast and Crew

Written by John Shiban
Directed by Guy Ferland
John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness
Eve Myles as Gwen Cooper
Mekhi Phifer as Rex Matheson
Alexa Havins as Esther Drummond
Ernie Hudson as Stuart Owens
Lauren Ambrose as Jilly Kitzinger
Kai Owen as Rhys Williams
Marc Vann as Colin Maloney
William Thomas as Geraint Cooper
Sharon Morgan as Mary Cooper
Tony Strauss as Jonathan Spencer

Additional cast and crew information may be found here.


We learn about a mysterious facility with a secret so SHOCKING, it causes the man who uncovers it to attempt suicide, even in this post-death world. It’s so shocking, they’re going to withhold it for at least another week. Meanwhile, our ex-CIA agents attempt to escape the concentration camp with evidence of its shocking secrets. Jack learns what will be no shock to the audience: Phicorp isn’t behind the miracle, and most of its management probably have no idea who or what is behind Phicorp.

The previews suggest we’re finally going to meet the Alien Overlords next week. At this point, such a development would be a Blessing.

High Points

The episode featured a few suspenseful moments and, heavy-handed though it may be, the episode does address the complex role of “the middle men” in perpetuating an unjust system.

Low Point

Characters make really bizarre decisions, which may or may not have an explanation. Rex Matheson’s escape plan involves knocking out a card with one punch and hoping he can just walk out with his video? The people behind the camps decide on a security protocol that allows someone to wander wherever the plot requires during a lockdown? Maloney not only sends the armed guards away (which I understand), he makes no attempt to secure his position, so that, say, a person wandering around during a lockdown won’t rescue his prisoner? Gwen and Rhys assume no one will be able to follow a large truck that bursts from a secure facility?

The Forces Behind the Miracle can access Torchwood’s private communications, but they need Gwen Cooper to bring them Captain Jack? They can’t just go and get him?

The writers of this conspiracy thriller appear to be employing the same logic as conspiracy theorists.1

The Scores:

Originality: 3/6

Effects: 4/6

Story: 3/6 See “High” and “Low” points.

Acting: 4/6 The cast is fine– but Marc Vann’s “camp” commander fails to be sufficiently disturbing or believable.

Emotional Response: 4/6 You would think that a show with this premise would set up a lot of tales that could be told, and the chance for some well-paced thrills, but, lord, has it moved, for the last few eps, at a rate that is quite slow.

Production: 5/6.

Overall: 4/6

In total, “Middle Men” receives 27/42


1. Their decision only makes sense according to the same rules by which, say, the Forces of Evil are powerful enough to manipulate governments, develop tech from the ground up, and censor the news, but they cannot stop one lone blogger who strikes from deep within his parents’ basement.

4 replies on “Torchwood Review: “The Middle Men””

  1. It’s simply not Torchwood any more, and did you see the previews for next week?
    Under NO circumstances would Gwen EVER give up Jack. She’d have a plan. Yes, she’d be pissed about her kid and hubby, but she’d find a way around that.

    It damn well better be part of a plan or I’m not gonna watch any more.

    I hate it that Jack’s no longer the main character. We barely see him. He’s the only reason I watch. Him and Gwen….

    Stupid Americans.. (yeah, I’m American, I can say that) can’t come up with our own shows so we gotta steal from the Masters, the Brits.

    *sad sigh*

    • The previews could be misleading, and I want to give them some scope to show Gwen conflicted, at least, given that they have her family (and what she learned in COE). Problem is, what other outcome could she expect? Then again, if they can get her entire family, why don’t they, you know, just come after Jack?

      On another note, they showed a quick look at what could be an alien– something I know you’ve been waiting to see.

      • YES! Very excited about the possibility of aliens!
        Kinda sad that I enjoyed SciFy (Skiffee) ‘s Saturday night movie more than I’ve been enjoying Torchwood. I mean, hey, at least the aliens were implicitly implied!!! :)

    • Here’s my thing, really. Season 2 of Torchwood was kinda different from season 1. And Children of Earth was WAY the hell different.

      I’m kind happy that they go in different directions. I’m… a bit sad that the show has been… a bit amercanised (once again, San Pee-dro???) but hey. It’s still entertaining.

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