The best episode of Miracle Day so far, by some distance, thanks to overdue back-story to humanize Rex (Mekhi Phifer) and Esther (Alexa Havins), and tangible development about exactly who, or what, is behind the Miracle Day phenomenon itself. Buoyed by an entertaining moment of espionage for the Torchwood crew in the second half, "Escape To L.A" was breezy and decent fun, showing signs of improvement I hope will continue into the remainder of this miniseries.
Team Torchwood are beginning to form a tetchy dynamic now, too. I was pleased to see Rex becoming less annoying, although his understandable frustration with the amateurism of Torchwood dragged his character back to being unlikable towards the end. This was also the hour where we learned something about the show's new characters: Rex is estranged from his vagrant father and trying to heal their relationship because he's starting to suspect he'll die when the "miracle" ends; and Esther has a sister called Sarah (Candace Brown) who's incapable of looking after her two kids, meaning Esther had to call social services to have them taken into protection. Both stories didn't take up much time and weren't hugely compelling—although Phifer gave a decent performance in the scene with his cantankerous dad and Esther felt more human. Considering the difficulties of fleshing out characters when there's an urgency to a story being told, I've seen it done a lot worse.
Overall, most of "Escape From L.A" worked well enough and it was a more capable hour than we've had so far. It's still not especially gripping, but at least we've been given big clues about what's going on: the unseen villains (their "organisation" symbolized by a rotating triangle) are referred to as "The Families" at one point, so are there three alien families behind this? They've also given Oswald Danes this platform intentionally, and must therefore have infiltrated PhiCorp to do that, so there's a feeling this episode has started to draw a few of the subplots together. We'll have to see if Miracle Day manages to resolve the story in a satisfying way, and I'm still not convinced it can, but I'm prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt for now.
- Love the scene with Monroe being crushed in a car compactor, ending up trapped alive inside a metal cube, with just her eye blinking. That's quite a horrific fate to be given, and a more imaginative twist on the common scene of someone immortal being buried alive in a coffin.
- Does anyone care about Gwen's family? I know Rhys (Kai Owen) has his fans, but every time Gwen has to dash off to call her husband while on a mission my attention wanders. And putting her sickly father in jeopardy doesn't feel like a good move, considering all that's happening in Wales. Are we going to see Gwen fly back to Wales for an episode of two to save him? If so, maybe this subplot only exists to stretch the miniseries out? I have a feeling Miracle Day doesn't need 10 hours, and we'll see more padding in the future, like episode 2's plane journey shenanigans.