Torchwood episode 37: The Middle Men (18/8/2011)
‘Someone is playing the system right across planet Earth with infinite grace, beyond any one person’s sight.’ This one is about the infrastructure of evil. It isn’t just one villainous mastermind but a whole network of people “just following orders” as terrible decisions become homeopathic, diluted in bureaucracy and transport networks and requisition paperwork. This is the reality that faces Jack when he confronts PhiCorp COO Stuart Owens (it’s Winston from GhostBusters!), and Gwen, as she tries to save her father. These sequences are chillingly powerful: which of us would risk losing our jobs saying no when it makes no difference to the machinery of extermination.
The Middle Men acts as a mid-season climax, with Gwen bringing down the Cowbridge camp in a satisfyingly explosive way, while Rex and Esther take a slightly less dramatic route in San Pedro and Jack tries to track the evil back to its root. John Shiban’s script contains several great sequences – those detailed above, plus Rex finally admitting he’s Torchwood, and Esther’s mounting unease as Vera phone goes unanswered. With the bigger design behind Miracle Day, ‘the Blessing’, slowly revealing itself, there’s a sense that we’re poised on the brink of something big – and then there’s that excellent cliffhanger. Gripping.
Next Time: Immortal Sins