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Headscratchers: Torchwood: Miracle Day
  • In Miracle Day, the murderer gets set free because his death sentence had been carried out and he survived. The problem here is that the sentence wasn't carried out - the people who wrote these laws planned for this kind of situation (well, not exactly this kind of situation, but there is always a possibility that a convicted criminal might survive something that was supposed to kill them). A death sentence doesn't just say that he should be injected with a specific dose of a specific chemical and then they hope for the best, it is specifically written that he has to die from the procedure. People have survived executions in real life (and not just through equipment malfunction) but all that means is that the execution has to be carried out again, at most they might get a reprieve of a few days.
    • The fact that circumstances beyond anyone's control have rendered the sentence impossible to carry out might be a mitigating factor in the decision. That being said, his interpretation of the Fifth Amendment is completely wrong - the double jeopardy clause prevents someone being charged twice with the commission of the same crime, not with having a death sentence carried out against them more than once. Given that Russell T Davies has flubbed on American civics before (remember the "President-Elect" going to the conference with Saxon?), it's not that surprising.
      • It is not hard to come up with ample evidence that Davies just doesn't care about even giving a passing nod to normal legal, legislative, and political processes: Danes gets an injunction but nobody even seems to file a case fighting the overflow camps. Somehow there is absolutely nobody talking about the nationalization of PhiCorp assets, even in Scandinavia (where the populace doesn't take well to corporate misbehavior), Russia (see also: "Back tax bill"), or any of a number of other countries with less-than-democratic institutions. The closest is China telling PhiCorp to take their camps and shove them.
      • Being charitable, as of episode 6 it seems that Davies might have simply ported the idea of parliamentary supremacy (the idea that Congressional authorization makes everything alright, for example) into the US (never mind that the ECHR and the Law Lords/UK Supreme Court can still interfere at times). That said, the fact that the news stories mention outrage but no lawsuits seems suspect. After all, even FDR got sued over the Japanese internment camps (Korematsu) and the execution of Nazi spies.
      • Theoretically, the act of Congress that authorized the camps could also have indemnified the operators of the camps from any suits alleging misconduct or mismanagement. It's been done before - for example, you can't sue a gun manufacturer if a weapon they made is used to commit a crime. That being said, look at how many lawsuits have been made after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, and how many wildly differing court rulings have ensued so far - it's a safe bet that nothing short of outright amending the Constitution would be sufficient to block a civil rights challenge, and that's just not the sort of thing that can be accomplished offscreen in a couple days time.
      • The gun thing is a completely different issue, though. There's only so much even the most anti-gun of people can hold a manufacturer responsible for what customers do (making it too easy to go off accidentally, not properly child-proofing it, ect). If the camp managers are actively burning non-Category One's or failing to supervise their staff to the extent that they're going crazy with the burnings then that was something they'd be responsible for.
      • On the piles of lawsuits, Categoty Zero seems to open up all sorts of secondary headaches: Its basis requires the underlying category system to be valid (questionable at best) and for the new category not to qualify as an ex post facto law. Even if that is allowed to stand, the years of fighting over this as things snake through the courts would be impressive. On top of that, even assuming that it is allowable as such, putting people in the ovens for "moral reasons" wouldn't stand up to any sort of legal scrutiny unless it is very well-defined.
      • Probably the best way to try and justify all this is to just assue that the fact that the entire planet was in a state of global crisis and fundamental change meant that the normal legal recourse went out the window.
  • During Miracle Day, what would happen to someone if a person ate them completely, bones and all?
    • So, how were Apollo's cattle?
      • Pretty good, but my stomach keeps rumbling...
    • Good question. From what we've seen so far, the rule appears to be that you remain alive at the cellular level regardless of any trauma that would ordinarily result in respiratory or circulatory failure (i'm reminded of HeLa cells for some reason), but that you aren't Made of Iron - the suicide bomber had almost all of his soft tissue burnt away to the point that his head was only still attached by a single blackened tendon, and his brain was probably severely compromised as well. Anything that can cause complete cellular obliteration of the brain would probably end your awareness, but any remaining tissue would continue functioning.
  • One of Esther's aides says, after the malware is released, that searching for "Torchwood" online nets zero results. Does that mean that Jack's virus managed to scrub the net of all references to the genus amyris, i.e. torchwood? Even if one filters out all results with words referencing the series, a Google search for "torchwood" still brings up millions of hits relating to the plant.
    • Acceptable losses.
      • You'd think this would actually draw more attention to the institute.
      • Russell T Davies either doesn't understand how Google works, or doesn't care - Ablemarch, Costerdane, and Frines, the names of the Families, all of which also have "zero results", all produce hundreds of hits on Google despite not being actual surnames. In a world where people actually exist with those surnames, it's highly unlikely that every single one of them could be erased from Google.
      • They changed their names before Google existed.
  • The suicide bomber who's still alive despite being burned to a crisp - why are his eyes still fully intact and capable of movement, when they should have been immolated with the rest of his soft tissue?
    • The suicide bomber, period. What were they thinking?
      • Presumably the bomber's intention was to blow himself into so many bits that not even the miracle could save him. Which brings up another question: why wasn't he blown to bits?
      • Yeah that was incendiary damage, not high explosive as depicted. Incendiary makes no sense, then again, all explosions are inexplicably slow-moving fireballs in almost all all TV/movie. But it all falls under Rule of Cool. The vivisectionautopsy was one of the most awesome parts of the series here, and it required this, so I can let it go. The part which confuses me is how you "pay" any Henchmen Mook to be a suicide bomber. You can't! Henchmen Mooks don't DO that. Only fanatic cultist-type Mooks would do that, you can't hire a person to gleefully blow himself up, he was shot but he knew it wouldn't be fatal. Will that ever be a part of the story, or just a broken premise in the writing?
      • Well, you could always pay him in advance (to give to his loved ones, or live on years before the job) and / or give money to his family or something. You could also force people into it (actually at least as common, maybe more so, than finding fanatical participants) by threatening them with torture or their loved ones etc. Or maybe they lied to the Mook about how "immortal" he would truly be (or overestimated it themselves).
      • We now know that, in addition to keeping people alive, the "miracle" also keeps them far more physically intact than they ought to be—for example, Lyn, who is still able to walk despite having her neck snapped so that her head is backward to her body. Perhaps it's for the same reason that the bomber is still relatively whole.
  • When they meet at Gwen's house, Rex recognizes Jack as the man who sat next to him on the flight from DC. Why didn't he recognize him as the man flashing a badge during the "autopsy" he watched over the hospital surveillance cam?
    • I may be wrong, but I'm pretty sure Jack was just out of view of the camera for the entire duration of the, erm... autopsy.
    • The camera angle also wouldn't provide a good look at him, and Rex was rather focused on the body.
  • What was the point of Lynn attempting to poison Rex when she knew it would, at most, give him an upset stomach?
    • Presumably to take him out of action long enough to bullshit her way into full control of the situation.
    • Why did Rex suggest that Lynn take one of her pills, and why did she refuse to take them? She can't die, so she has no reason to avoid taking poison. Sure, it might make her sick for a while, but since it's her job to make sure Jack dies, she could have used the minutes before symptoms started showing to waste time.
      • Because if she had taken it, she'd be disabled when she inevitably started suffering, and be helpless if they managed to cure Jack in spite of her. Plus, even with immortality, it'd be asking a lot for someone to willingly subject themselves to that.
  • Not a huge one and probably not going to get an answer, but Maria and Alan Jackson live in DC now. What are they up to?
    • Maybe they joined the Soulless and are wandering about town in masks.
    • I expect she gets back in touch with Sarah Jane? (Which we'll never see, thanks to... you know)
    • Probably the Jacksons investigated, but didn't get anywhere. Probably so did Sarah Jane, UNIT, Mickey and Martha and whoever else is up to that kind of stuff these days. Torchwood only really got anywhere because Jack was integral to the Miracle.
  • Everyone seems completely certain that Jack Harkness is the only mortal man left on Earth...but their only evidence is that he can be injured. So can the rest of humanity; the "miracle" is just that they don't die of their injuries. Until Jack receives wounds severe enough to kill him, we can't tell if he's truly mortal or just brought down to The Ageless that everyone else has.
    • The fact that Jack's immortality is altered in the first place is cause for concern. If his base immortality is suddenly negated, they can't take the chance he got Type VI in exchange. It's not worth the risk.
      • It is easy enough to find out if he is mortal or not, just take some tissue samples from him and leave them out for a while, if they die, he is mortal, if they continue to live, he has the same type of immortality as everybody else.
      • The doc would know that, but the Torchwood team presumably doesn't have the same information, certainly not to that level of detail anyway. If they ever get Jack to the doc like Rex promised, though, I'm sure she'd try that.
      • There have been multiple assassination attempts on Jack by people on the payroll of the conspiracy. The people ordering these assassinations presumably know a lot more about the Miracle than the main characters (and quite likely caused it), so if they think he's mortal he probably is. You can't even say that they were merely trying to incapacitate Jack (like with the woman in the car crusher), since one of the attempts involved poison which would be no more than a temporary setback to most people post-Miracle.
  • What would happen if a person was dissolved (by either alien technology or in some kind of corrosive liquid), and there was actually nothing left of them to be alive? Isn't that kind of a Miracle loophole?
    • Dunno, go ask Owen? This troper is hoping that gets addressed tho, it'd be cool.
    • The most likely explanation for this form of immortality is that cells cannot undergo necrosis. AFAIK necrosis occurs because a cell cannot maintain its cell wall, or the cell walls of its lysosomes (full of acid). Part of being unable to undergo necrosis means that the cells are given free energy to convert carbon dioxide back into oxygen, and reversing any other usually one way chemical reactions. Programmed cell death (apoptosis) can still occur otherwise everyone would have all sorts of issues (fetal development would not work right). I believe that cells can still undergo forceful destruction. If I throw a cell into a plasma furnace or into the sun, the molecules making it up would break apart. Also a person's consciousness can die, even if every cell making up the person is still alive. If I take every one of your cells and spread them out across a field, are you still alive? I can't reconstruct your brain, even if I had every cell back again. Some characters act differently though, like being crushed in a car and still conscious. The neurons in the brain would not be able to communicate properly, thus she would be at least, braindead.
      • Interesting point. Many cells in the body are scheduled to die off and be replaced regularly. Red blood cells have a specific lifespan of about 120 days, if they don't die off our blood would eventually thicken with them. I don't think marrow stem cells would sense the overload and stop producing more RBCs. Skin cells, intestinal and mouth lining, etc, all need to get replaced regularly or horrible things would happen. Now they established that cells AGE but don't "die", which would mean senescence, where they fail to serve the purpose they have in the body as well as they used to. But they don't die off. If nothing else, our shed skin cells, pooped out intestinal lining cells, and pissed out senescent RBCs would fail to break down in the environment and slowly begin to clog up the world. Now THAT would be gross! Hey, if you needed to get a kidney to someone across the country who needed it, just mail it, it's cheaper. The cells won't die.
    • Seems like people in-show thought of it, too. Since brain-death is irreversible, Kill It with Fire.
  • I'm Not That Kind of Doctor, but they keep talking about how no dying means that everyone will get the plague and we'll all be disease ridden forever. Wouldn't immune systems for at least some of the diseases, since they're all forced alive, eventually fight it, like it fights a cold, only taken Up to Eleven?
    • There's a reason the immune system can't fight off some viruses. No matter how much time passes, some viruses are just better at evading the immune system than it is at stopping them.
    • Can viruses even reproduce in human cells anymore? Viruses require the rupture of the cell membrane in order to leave the cell. Many bacteria hide from the immune system in areas that the immune system cannot reach, like dead tissue and pus.
    • It's an intriguing question. The established rule appears to be that even single cells can't die. In the case of a virus, this is trouble since an invaded cell will forever replicate more virions. Now they look at the external case where a person won't die of a disease, but internally, many symptoms are solely from cells dying. Without cell death, it might make many diseases asymptomatic. However, it might well disable a cell's function in the body instead, leading to completely different presentations of diseases. For example, bubonic plague might result in hardened, numb, mummified skin tissue instead of sores. One could speculate that an immune system macrophage could still kill a cell by consuming it, since this is similar to burning I suppose. That would limit a disease's progress and could result in the traditional symptoms showing up; e.g. coughing because immune system's killing off the infected respiratory system lining.
    • As noted above, there's a difference between programmed cell death and necrosis.
  • The suicide bomber clearly retained some brain function (mostly blinking and looking around) after the bombing and even after decapitation, when no blood could possibly be flowing to his brain. However, later we see that a woman who was strangled had oxygen cut off to her brain for so long that she suffered brain damage, going into a vegetative state, like normal asphyxiating humans do. Shouldn't the bomber's brain have also been completely ruined by his lack of a circulatory system?
    • It probably was, but his eyes kept going anyway.
      • Good question, and it raises a fun thought with regard to the Category 1 folks: Either you've got a lot of basic functions continuing on without anything driving them, or the show has (somewhat unintentionally) implied the existence of a soul (insofar as consciousness without brain activity goes). Where that consciousness is residing/what it attaches to is a fun question (are the "cooked people" going to become roving ghosts?).
      • Well, we still have no idea who the people are behind this, or what their true plan might be. Perhaps they need to harvest roving-ghost energy that can only come from burning immortal people.
  • So, Rex is crying for painkillers every other second, and Gwen's dad is still fragile from his heart attack. It seems that most of the undead has some lingering effects of whatever it was that should have killed them, so why don't Oswald take any consequences from his poison injection?
    • Because it's long enough that the poison would have long since passed through his system. Rex and Gwen's father, on the other hand, are suffering from heart conditions and horrible diseases.
      • Danes' voice early on seems to be somewhat softer than later on. I suspect he took at least some time recovering from the effects of the chemicals. That said, even with Danes not dying, what happened to him seems to be in line with descriptions of bungled lethal injections, only taken up to eleven.
      • It's also possible that his convulsions kept him from getting the entire dose of poison...I mean, he pulled the arm off the gurney almost right off.
      • About that...haven't there been enough lethal injections by now that there would be precautions against people freeing themself from the injection by destroying any part of the contraption?
      • Even properly reinforced equipment has a breaking point, and it seems possible that Danes (on account of his body not wanting to die) simply tipped the breaking point. Granted, it probably should be stronger (those sorts of convulsions aren't unheard of in lethal injections where the paralytic chemicals simply fail to work, though they're rarely that strong)...either the State of Kentucky or Russel Davies had a cut budget on that equipment, it seems.
  • So, what is the timescale of the series? I can't tell if it's set over a two weeks or two months; there are some cases of obvious time passage (driving across the US or the rally being "in a week"), but the general timescale is uncertain.
    • I'm unclear on that as well. I'm thinking 4-6 months, maybe even a year? They seem to be saying "a lot of time passed", as their writing requires it to play out consequences, but it doesn't fit the character writing well. It's like "and they all laid low for a couple of months", but their characters wouldn't just abandon pursuit of saving the world. They keep trying to patch this up by having Gwen turn protective of her child, but it makes no sense as the world wouldn't be here for him to grow up in. She's got no history of being a quitter and I don't think they substantiated any such motivations for her well for her during this plot, just handed her an Idiot Ball to make it work.
    • OK, get this. The START of each episode displays the world population statistic increasing out of control. I thought "hey we could take today's population (or wasn't there a figure in Episode 1 or 2?) and the statistic for birth rates and estimate time". But I'm freeze-framing on Episode 9's opening and I see "6,928,198,344". Well, in real life, the world population today is 6,960,048,912. It's supposed to be set in present-day, but there's FEWER people than there really are, not more.
      • Fridge Brilliance: This is set in the aftermath of several Alien Invasions, after all- how many millions of people were killed by the Autons, the Slitheen, the Cybermen, the Daleks, the Trickster, the Daleks again, the 456 or any other extraterrestial disaster throughout this world's human history?
    • The scrolling number in the opening sequence is the same in every episode.
    • There's a two-month gap between episode 8 and 9, and due to the use of cliffhangers, episodes 1-3 (possibly 1-4) and 5-8 almost certainly occur over only a few days each, with the gap between episode 4 and 5 being less clear. Though when did they actually imply "a lot of time has passed"?
  • The most likely mechanism (and the one sorta supported in canon) is that cells without a supply of oxygen and glucose enter hibernation rather than undergo necrosis. Additionally any damage to the organelles inside a cell causes the cell to hibernate until it has regenerated those organelles. Cells must still be able to undergo apoptosis, programmed cell death, or else fetuses could no longer develop properly. Physical destruction of the cell is still possible. Extracellular components (collagen, blood plasma, etc) can still be destroyed. This troper speculated above that cells are given free oxygen and energy, however this is less likely than hibernation as would require violation of laws of thermodynamics. Below are speculations on what would actually happen during various illnesses if cells hibernated instead of died:
    • Heart attack would cause hibernation to spread throughout the body, starting from the affected regions of the heart and then spreading throughout the body (not necessarily radiating outward from the heart). When blood flow is restored and the heart restarted there would be no permanent damage.
      • I'd say no, because cells seems to stay alive, and even functional (depending on which scene you cite), even without blood supply. This trope is a bit hard to dissect what it'd actually mean, but if injuries don't kill, then I'd say a heart attack cutting off blood flow to the heart should be reversible if you repaired the arteries. The problem is, if the heart can die from lack of blood flow as with Gwen's father, then the rest of the body's cells and brain would be capable of dying off too, and thus The Miracle doesn't mean anything. So, my theory is that a heart attack means a vessel got physically clogged or broke open and no longer supplies the heart, so the heart stops beating effectively, but the heart muscle's not dead and could be restored just by clearing out the vessel.
    • Stroke would have a similar effect to heart attacks, except the hibernation would be limited to the region of the brain cut off. When blood flow is restored there would be no permanent damage.
    • Blood loss would be similar to a heart attack, except the treatment would be to add additional blood, then restart the blood flow.
    • Radiation would be dangerous, as it damages cells so that they undergo apoptosis.
    • Cancer would be problematic and would become a even more major disease. I am unsure exactly how cancer kills, however it would no longer be able to kill by monopolizing resources.
    • Cyanide would incapacitate, but not leave permanent damage.
    • Arsenic causes apoptosis, and thus would leave permanent damage.
    • Cholera is very rare in modern nations, as it spreads via human waste and kills via dehydration. Apparently in the Torchwood world, the miracle caused all modern sanitation to suddenly break. Cholera would cause no permanent damage.
    • Most bacteria kill using some sort of toxin they produce. Any toxin that interrupts cellular respiration would have no permanent effect. Only toxins that cause cell membrane destruction, improperly trigger apoptosis, or damage non-cellular tissue would have any lasting effect.
    • Acids would physically destroy tissue, however getting acid into your blood would not be as big of an issue. Your heart monitors CO2 levels by monitoring blood pH, acid in your blood would cause your heart to act as though you were suffocating.
    • Fire would cause similar damage, however smoke inhalation would not cause permanent damage.
    • Carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide poisoning would cause hibernation, and no permanent damage.
    • Meningitis would likely be less important, as damage due to inflammation would not lead to cell death.
    • Edema would likely be less of a concern, as the extra fluid can be drained without worrying about depleting the fluids of the patient.
      • Too bad that the medical community's resources have been depleted too much by trying to treat the post-Miracle workload with pre-Miracle medicine...
      • Early on we see a woman who was choked until she suffered permanent brain damage from the lack of oxygen. Apparently there are some limits on the hibernation. Either that, or the hibernation lasted long enough (to take a guess, at least half an hour) that the woman was diagnosed as permanently braindead, but later woke up offscreen.
      • While the hibernation theory is more plausible, given some sufficiently advanced technology, the free cellular oxygen wouldn't necessarily violate Thermodynamics. Consider a giant Miracle Machine with scanners capable of seeing every human on the planet. Whenever one of them gets near death, it uses its own supply of energy and particles to teleport some additional oxygen into their cells. It's pretty silly even for sci-fi, but at least possible.
  • Is Torchwood still in-canon with the mainline Whoniverse at this point? Handwaving aside, the entire human race suddenly becoming unable to die seems like something the Doctor would involve himself with, and it's scarcely something that his companions wouldn't take notice of.
    • The Doctor does not interfere with every situation that bothers Earth. He travels on a whim. His companions may not be able to contact him.
    • Someone's missing the point if they think the Doctor is going to be involved in this. Aside from the fact that Torchwood is about humanity trying to deal with the horrors that exist in the Whonivurse WITHOUT the Doctor being there, it could be that:
      A. The event is time locked.
      B. The TARDIS doesn't believe that the Doctor, Amy, Rory, or River should be there.
      C. It could very well be that the Doctor KNOWS about Miracle Day, but also knows that it will end at Torchwood's hand.
      D. Doctor Eleven exists in another subset of time of hyper time. Where aliens are pretty common and everybody knows about it. Somehow Jack and Co reality lacks that hence why Rex is sceptical about martians.
    • Let me rephrase that. It's not necessarily that the Doctor would swoop in to investigate the miracle, it's that the repercussions of something like this happening should have unavoidable consequences on all of human history, psychology, philosophy, and religion throughout history, and someone like the Doctor, who's got billions of years of human history memorized (more or less) should know about it, and his companions from post-2011 eras should know about it too. I just can't imagine that Doctor Who is set in a universe where the governments of the world conspired to start up a new Holocaust in the 21st century and nobody ever mentioned it again afterwards.
      • If the Doctor learned about it from a history book or a fellow companion, then interfering would potentially create a paradox. Look at what happened when he willfully interfered by deposing Harriet Jones rather than letting her Golden Age come to past. The Doctor can only interfere if events are vague enough that he doesn't personally and accurately know the results.
    • Not to mention, it brings up the question of whether or not the Miracle is actually MEANT to happen as a part of human history. If that's the case, then the Doctor knows full well to steer clear of it, otherwise he'll have the Fires of Pompeii, and Waters of Mars all over again.
    • The Doctor can't be there for everything. He wasn't there for the Miracle the same way he wasn't there for the Holocaust, the witch trials, JFK's assassination, the Crusades, the Inquisition, the burning of Rome, etc etc.
      • The first episode of the new series suggested that the 9th Doctor WAS at JFK's assasssination.
      • The Doctor was also was there for the the Crusades and the burning of Rome
    • Alternatively, the Doctor may be too busy trying to fix the event from behind the scenes to show himself.
    • Maybe the Miracle Day only exists in the rebooted universe and thus the Doctor doesn't learn about it until it is too late.
    • This messed with the world so much (they averted No Global Consequences, without actually inventing a way to maintain continuity here), that they may just pop a Reset Button so it never happened, thus encapsulating the whole plot outside the continuity. Now I see why No Global Consequences is so very necessary.
      • Here's an alternative theory: since whatever the Blessing did is apparently related to/based on Jack's immortality, maybe the TARDIS just refused to let the Doctor go anywhere near Earth during the time period. She's already proven that she REALLY doesn't like Jack now that he's a Fact...
  • So if "The Glove" from the series was introduced into Miracle Day, would it permanently bring people back?
    • Considering they're not actually dead, that's debatable. It might heal them, but the effects are the almost the same.
      • I wasn't clear on what I meant - if you went to in the morgue to the bodies of people who died before the miracle, would it bring them back indefinitely (only worked for 30 seconds before).
      • By all indications this immortality is worldwide and persistent, so anyone brought back by the glove should be sustained.
  • So what exactly is wrong with cremating braindead people who just won't die, because in between RTD's unsubtle and frankly insulting IMMORTALITY = CONCENTRATION CAMPS HITLER HOLOCAUST NAZIS THE GOVERNMENT IS EVIL, it seems like the most straightforward and efficient approach given all the problems emphasized during the series. And boy, did they gloriously spend five episodes discussing overpopulation, disease, etc.
    • Several reasons:
      1. It's allowing the government to define life. As Gwen's father shows, there's a lot of wiggle room there. Then you throw in idiots like Maloney and you have a recipe for mistakes.
      2. It's more than burning brain-dead people, it's imprisoning the ones who aren't brain-dead, essentially ensuring that they will be sooner or later. As far as we've seen, you go in, then that's that.
      3. As Rex says, it's a slippery slope. The sooner you rationalize burning living people meeting a certain qualification, the sooner you rationalize the same treatment for others.
      Pragmatically, it is a good solution to the problem. In every other way, it is a bad idea and sets a bad precedent.
      • Episode 8 confirms that it's a slippery slope, as the US government is now establishing Category Zero to mean healthy people scheduled for incineration due to being "morally unfit".
      • About that...unless the law was expressly meant to reinstate the death penalty for those already sentenced to die, one would think that a small amount of hell would have broken loose on that plan. That might have been why it was getting covered up, but it seems like something in that vein would have leaked and you would have had an explosion about a law worded so broadly...if from nowhere else than the Catholic Church (you know, which runs the hospital they brought the strawman doctor in from in one of the early episodes and which expressly opposes both the death penalty and abortion?).
      • While Vera said that she designed category one to mean brain-dead, it's really being defined as anyone who loses consciousness or should otherwise be dead. And even IF more space was needed, burning people who "should" have died but didn't - and so are perfectly alive and conscious - is going to be a horrible, horrible thing. And most of the category one people aren't the ones who have lost brain function, as that only seems to come from wounds that would hurt brain function in the real world.
      • The thing is, the very reason they are against this in-story - the 'vague' and extra Categories - are being DELIBERATELY MANIPULATED by people who expressly WANT to control life and death. If the Families weren't in control, there's no in-story reason to believe that the original categories as defined by Vera and her colleagues wouldn't have been used - the one that explicitly states that Category 1's must be brain dead and unconscious - and that Category 0 would exist solely to continue the death penalty. As the OP stated, there's no reason to object to people who are brain-dead, unconscious, AND beyond recovery being burned given their condition and the danger they pose. And it would be redundant to be against the burning of death row inmates (except maybe as cruel and unusual punishment). As for people like Maloney, you can't stop murder, ovens or no ovens.
    • One of the recurring themes in recent series of Torchwood is that Humans Are Bastards and will willingly act in cruel and apathetic ways if ordered to. In Children of Earth, thousands of soldiers and government officers around the world were willing to kidnap millions of children and turn them over to alien drug dealers. Here, inept administrators like Colin Maloney (whose background was in public housing management, and is in way over his head) are more interested in running the camps "efficiently" than humanely, and so anyone who shows the slightest sign of mental degradation is being cat-one'd and thrown into the incinerators, whether they're aware or not, and those "patients" who don't have health insurance are simply being tossed in a holding room and ignored. Assuming the miracle continues for an extended length of time, it's inevitable that the definition of Category 1 will keep getting expanded so that the government/Phicorp can get rid of the financial burden of taking care of people who can't spend money on more pills.
      • Part of the problem with the writers is, as far as I can tell, they push this to an extreme to the point that it breaks a willing suspension of disbelief. Yes, I can accept that a lot of people will go along with orders...but sooner or later you're going to get a spate of suicides and/or fraggings as a result of this sort of a setup. In short, the problem is that apparently nobody objects, blows the whistle, or even gets irritated enough with a supervisor to try and humiliate them...something that I can't quite buy. Humans, being bastards, will do this sort of thing when it only serves their own interests even if the overall program they're objecting to seems to serve the public good. Moreover, it would seem that Torchwood could get farther if Captain Jack actually put some energy into hitting on a bored civil rights lawyer with some experience in forum-shopping than smacking the ass of every waiter or cabin attendant he came across. It would not be hard to bottle up most of the categorizations in reams and reams of legal challenges (particularly after the leak). Frankly, that would have made for far better plotting than the last episode...
      • Hindering the camps, the burning, etc. doesn't address the problem, only its symptoms. The Miracle is what they need to get rid of. They investigated the camps because they needed info on what Phicorp was up to. Now they know, so they move on to the next lead.
      • However, firmly addressing the symptoms of a plot can do as much as anything to upend the plot. After all (and this falls under WMG as much as anything) if the point of the miracle was the camps, then upending the camps would arguably foil the plot.
      • It doesn't address the problem, no, but it would add to the realism to have a throwaway line about the legal challenges and they've wasted screentime on stupider things.
      • Such as Episode 6?
    • The governments' approach to the Miracle seems to be an instance of Jumping Off the Slippery Slope. Incinerating people who are braindead or otherwise beyond recovery is morally dubious at best, but really, in this unprecedented situation, something new would have to be done. It could have been an opportunity for Gray and Gray Morality, and/or a very grim Deconstruction of a lot of immortality-related tropes. However, the writers avoided all that inconvenient complexity by also putting people with concussions and treatable diseases in Category 1 and removing any shred of accountability from the classification process and creating Category 0.
    • Episode 10 confirms that a Holocaust was in the agenda all along - the Families' plan was to use the overflow camps to purge the world of the poor and weak and "undesireable" under the guise of a wrecked economy, while rationing access to healthcare to themselves and those they deemed worthy.
  • If someone were to take in no new energy, from food or pills or anything, what would happen. Presumably they'd mostly waste away, but as they can't completely die, where is the energy to keep them going coming from?
    • The same magical place that everyone else's Miracle powers come from, one would assume. The thoroughly dead suicide bomber definitely lacked a working circulatory system, yet the Miracle gave his cells enough energy to keep moving. From a very detailed perspective, the mechanism behind Miraculously feeding someone, and Miraculously keeping an asphyxiating cell going might be different (the asphyxiating cells need oxygen, while the starving ones need generic chemical energy, unless the Miracle is feeding the cells raw ATP), it seems safe to assume that the Powers Behind the Miracle are capable of it.
      • Or, to put it in a more simple explanation: The Time Vortex. The time vortex is, after all, what made Jack immortal (via Rose), so since it's done via his blood, they've transferred Rose's Time Voodoo onto all of Humanity.
  • At some point in the past, Phicorp got "Bigger on the Inside" technology, and they're using it store bottles of pills? Why would anyone with technology that revolutionary not start selling it? Forget pain pills, they've got Time Lord technology here!
    • I wouldn't take that scene literally. From the positioning, it may very well be an underground area.
  • What's up with Jack's sexuality in this season? He's been well-established in the past as a bisexual who'll go for Anything That Moves - he kissed Rose, flirted with Martha and Gwen, and Children of Earth showed that he has a daughter. Miracle Day, on the other hand, seems to have gone out of its way to play him as completely homosexual. He hasn't so much as batted an eye at Esther or Vera or Gwen (she's married, but when did that ever stop Jack before?), and the only sign of him thinking sexually about a woman is in the flashback where he's just talking dirty in order to calibrate Angelo's sonic screwdriver. Is it Writer on Board since Davies and Barrowman are both gay in real life, or just a sin of omission?
  • Jack's personal timeline seems kinda screwed up.
    • The major points that I see:
      • We first see him in The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances; admittedly we don't know how old he is then, but since at this point he's a regular human let's assume he was about Barrowman's age at the time (39).
      • He travels with the Doctor for a little bit, and in The Parting of the Ways becomes immortal and is left behind by the Doctor.
      • In Utopia, he says that soon after he was left behind he uses his Vortex Manipulator but winds up in 1869, where he takes The Slow Path.
      • In Immortal Sins, he mentions in 1927 that it's been 'about 700 years' since his last confession, though he's only been immortal for 58 years (putting his age at around the century mark).
      • In Exit Wounds (2008, making him 178) he's transported to 27AD and buried until he's found by Torchwood in 1901 (net gain: 1874 years) and then put into cryosleep for 107 years. How you count his years being buried (there's at least one Fan Wank theory that says he stopped reviving until he was unburied) and being frozen might be up for some debate, but he's at around 2159 years at this point. At least this jives with his mentions in Miracle Day about being thousands of years old, though it's a little curious how he knows how long he was buried. Maybe his wriststrap keeps track.
      • Regarding how he knows how long he was buried, he was actually told the date just before being put in the hole. He then woke up in the present, so he could do the maths.
    • I'm mostly confused at his 'about 700 years' comment; either
      • he's traveled back in time again since joining Torchwood and again had to take The Slow Path— this would explain how he had the WW2 greatcoat in 1927, but if it were the case I don't think he'd be freaking out so much about avoiding crossing his own timeline in 1901.
      • The coat question is interesting. Jack didn't have the coat when he first ended up in the 19th century (as he was in black leather when the Daleks killed him in the future), nor did he have it when Torchwood first recruited him in 1892, or when he was in India in 1911, so he picked it up sometime between 1911 and 1927. The US Army Air Corps had only been established in 1926 and I don't believe they'd started issuing trenchcoats in that style yet, so it's likely that Jack had his coat custom-made. This could explain why it didn't decay when he was buried alive for 2000 years - perhaps it's made from super-secret Torchwood cloth?
      • Why would he be wearing a USAAC uniform when he's been posing as an RAF officer?
      • When he was first seen wearing the coat in The Empty Child, he was posing as an American Volunteer, who I believe (feel free to correct me if i'm wrong) would still have worn an American uniform.
      • he was actually around 642 years old when he became immortal,
      • he, or the writers, lost track,
      • he was joking, which I suppose is always possible when dealing with dialogue.
      • I think that he's probably joking and definitely intends for his words to be taken as a joke. The writer of the episode tweeted that Jack's passed through some time periods multiple times (like when he meets the Doctor in WW2, lives through it naturally, goes there with Tosh, and is buried during it). If Jack is redoing 1927 (not necessarily forced to take the slow path but going back particularly for that parasite) then he could still freak out about crossing his timeline in 1901 but be fine here if this takes place after the 1901 incident and he knows that he never went to America that year.
    • When he says '700 years since my last confession' I think he's probably talking about 'from your point of view'. Remember, he's travelled in time and space. The last time he popped into an alien convent on a distant asteroid for a quick confession probably was 700 years in Earth's past. How he can keep track of that kind of thing in Earth-based years is another question.
    • As for how he knows how long he was buried for, that's not difficult. He was buried shortly before the settlement that would be Cardiff was built and dug up in 1901. A glance at a history of Cardiff will give him at least a rough idea.
      • It's also important to consider the possibility that he doesn't count his buried years. He wasn't keeping track of the time, he didn't learn anything new, likely didn't even think much. Since most people think about their experiences and lessons when talking about age, he may not see the point in claiming those years to his age.
    • We also need to factor in the fact that he quite possibly could have already been centuries old. Remember, he came from the 51st Century. It's quite reasonable to assume that human lifespans are pretty long in the year 5000.
    • There's still the Timey Wimey problem of how he knew he was a fixed point in time in the 20s. He didn't find out the specifics of what made him immortal until he went to the End of the Universe with the Doctor (he was up to 2008 on the slow path). He literally would have had to have time traveled back to give Angelo that explanation.
  • So Oswald Danes, most hated man in America, a raping, murdering paedophile, cries on TV then the world decides he's a good guy because people use the hashtag #forgive so much it trends and now he's a messiah? Um, right.
    • Watch the latest episode, or most others. People do not like Danes, they like his television image.
  • Who the hell goes waxing lyrical about his last boyfriend when talking to his obsessive ex on their deathbed?
    • Someone whose relationship with their obsessive ex ended badly due to betrayal and repeated torture and murder who is still secretly bitter?
  • They want Oswald Danes to talk about deregulation, so they give him essays by John Maynard Keynes, the big heavyweight of government intervention in the economy, and not Milton Friedman or someone from one of the free market schools. Is Davies not even trying here?
  • Also, on the topic of bad economics, someone needs to explain why Germany, France, etc. aren't throwing Greece under the bus. Of course, they've yet to explain why they're not doing that in real life, so...
    • The answer to both real life and in-universe questions is "Because they aren't arseholes." The whole point of the EU is for member countries look out for each other.
  • In the same vein, there would seem to be a messy "fix" to the pension collapse being mentioned (and by the way, unless the show is dealing in years, that timeframe is way too quick to have them up and collapse): Government takeover and bailout. Never a pretty fix, and inflation would go flying in decent order, but it would at least save the nominal value of the pensions. Also a bit of unintended (one suspects) irony: Keynes did only deal in nominal terms, not accounting for inflation.
    • Of course, sloppy economics aside, the flight to gold being mentioned isn't insane under these circumstances. Gotta wonder how much the Three Families invested in gold ahead of this.
    • I think I see the problem here. Rule of Cool normally trumps accuracy to a high degree. But, these are not cool like zombie undead, nor is the economic social commentary cool. This kinda throws off the potential for suspension of disbelief.
      • Well, and based on all of the problems that have come up, it seems that Davies just decided to be sloppy and hope nobody cared. The only problem is that it isn't a Fridge Logic bit that only comes up if you think hard/are a's a lot of things that go to the heart of a lot of what the series is trying to address/comment on, to the point that it probably voids out a lot of the commentary.
  • If the Blessing is a rift that passes from one end of the Earth to its antipode, then shouldn't it have disturbed the Racnoss queen and her children, who were hibernating at the Earth's core since its creation?
    • Not if it went around them. It's not like the Families have ran the whole length to check.
      • "Why isn't it a volcano?" is another question like this...albeit one that seems to get asked quite literally in the episode (and which we might see an answer). I think both could be answered if there's some sort of linking portal of one kind or another (i.e. it goes "through" the center of the Earth...but not by a literal physical connection).
    • It probably bypassed them like it bypassed all the rock and magma inside the Earth. When Jilly asks the Families about it, they straight up admit that they have no idea how the Blessing works, as everything about it defies all logic.
    • Nitpick: only the children were actually in the Earth's core. The Racnoss Empress was at the edge of the universe. Plus, I don't think they WOULD have been disturbed. While it may have drawn the attention of the Empress of the Racnoss, from what I understand, only Huon particles; months and months of carefully fed Huon particles into Donna would have awakened them.
  • I'm just not getting the writers' intents here. Are we SUPPOSED to be horrified that they're burning vegetable dead people? I think most of the audience was saying "ah, see, I told you they'd be truly gone if you just burn them". But they're making this extended Soylent Green thing "people- they're burning PEOPLE!!!" over a pretty much no-brainer solution, it was both obvious and not all that morally repugnant. I guess it's a Tomato Surprise that failed? But they keep dragging it on and on with Gwen hiding her dad, even though he wasn't well introduced as a character and she has little tangible relationship with him, being dead and all. Yet nobody SAYS she's being batshit crazy, which seems to be the situation.
    • Gwen's father isn't a vegetable - he's in severe pain, but he's conscious and aware of his surroundings, and moreover he's being kept and taken care of by his family in his own home where he's not leeching off the state or consuming any significant resources. And yet, the government has launched a Gestapo-esque campaign to root out, arrest, and incinerate him and people like him, without the wishes of the subject or anyone who would reasonably have power of attorney over him. Essentially, the British government (and presumably every other government in the world) has declared that it holds power of attorney over every person under its jurisdiction, and that anyone deemed Category One must be executed as soon as possible in the name of healthcare rationing - basically, it's every right-wing pundit's predictions about "death panels" turned Up to Eleven and slathered liberally with Hitler-sauce. It's the government that's gone crazy, not the Cooper family.
      • I don't see that in the material. He wasn't a vegetable before Gwen tried to rescue him and he had the second heart attack. Now he is. He responds to nothing, doesn't open his eyes or mumble or anything, even when the Gestapo burst in and take him away. He's a vegetable, and isn't supposed to have any capacity to improve. I'm not saying it's unthinkable that a person could be blind to that, not by any means, but I think Gwen's carrying a Idiot Ball here, and oddly enough the other characters are too for not saying anything. Jack was always a cynical realist, and should have said outright that he was already gone and not worth what they were doing. Moreover, it was interfering with Jack's goals for Gwen to obsess herself with rescuing and hiding her father, so even from the "selfish Jack" perspective, he should have worked against her keeping her father around.
      • Gwen has been risking her life and the safety of her family pulling smash-and-grabs to steal painkillers. Why? Because her father is in pain. Ability to experience pain indicates at least some level of awareness - pain is a function of the nervous system, and a person who was fully braindead, or in a PVS, wouldn't have the functions necessarily to feel pain, or discomfort, or anything else. He may or may not have suffered brain damage as the result of his heart attacks, but he's not a Terri Schiavo or a Sunny von Bulow.
      • They are burning anyone that they feel should be dead. And whether or not they should be dead or there are far too many people for the space and resources available and so something must be done, burning people who are conscious and alive just because you've decided that they should be dead is monstrous. When Vera created these categories, she wanted them to only be the brain-dead but it's clearly not and all the Category Two people are also at risk of being next. Then there's the people on there for moral reasons. Sure some people may say that people like Oswald Danes deserve it but once you start burning people alive for "moral reasons" then you're opening up Pandora's Box. What other moral reasons will they be able to find? Stealing medicine like Gwen did in the beginning? Hiding your conscious relatives so they won't get burned alive? Protesting the government? Not voting for the right political party?
      • Maybe both the Coopers and the government are nuts: On the one hand, Gwen would seem to be bereaved and acting irrationally. On the other hand, the government certainly seems to have plenty of cops who are less concerned about the rash of pharmacy robberies (it is certainly implied that this isn't the first place Gwen has knocked over for drugs) and more concerned about people hiding not-dead people in their basement. Of course, the fact that Mr. Cooper was rather brazenly swiped from one of the camps in an earlier episode is probably what's attracting attention in this particular case.
    • Russell T Davies is purposely writing a flawed system so that it could easily be pointed out as flawed and invite the Nazi Holocaust comparisons as well bring out the possibility of slippery slope. Compare it with the so goddamn needlessly evil government employee who checks people's houses to see if they harbour Category One's. I personally believe that in no fucking way would the government actually be this incompetent in such event, but you can argue with a writer who purposely writes them as such in order to make a strawman argument.
      • if Davies deliberately tried to get people to invoke Hitler, does that mean that he broke Godwin's Law and has already lost the argument he was trying to make (whatever it happened to be)?
    • Consider that by the metric the government is using - that a Category One is a person who "should be dead", Rex qualifies as a Cat-1. He was impaled through the chest, and by Vera's judgment would have been D.O.A. if not for the Miracle. And yet, he's not braindead, or a vegetable, or catatonic, or unable to experience life meaningfully, like the suicide bomber in episode 1 - he's a fully aware, fully ambulatory, from-all-appearances healthy person who happens to be having some issues with hemmoraghing and chronic pain. Should Rex, or a person in a similar situtation to him, be arrested and executed without trial for the crime of existing in light of a metric which for the foreseeable future is no longer relevant? What about a person with locked-in syndrome, or a quadripalegic who is otherwise mentally sound?
      • He's not Cat 1, he's 2- he's got an injury that leaves him functional. Well, the Category descriptions ARE inconsistent with logic, and the plot: Category 1: "People with no brain function or who normally would have died." But they don't care that a person would "normally have died". They never used that, nor could it make any sense. They'd care about people who aren't functional and/or require massive resources in treatment according to conventional standards, or are infected with contagious stuff but won't die. There's no interest in whether a person "normally would have died", nor would it be possible to make such a determination.
      • This was addressed in the show. The category system was explicitly said to be vague and pretty much meaningless. Rex said (paraphrasing) "I was category 1 right after my injury, I've healed so I'm category two now, and when I heal up I'll be category 3.) The fact that the category system is effed up is sort of the point. The government is deciding which people should and shouldn't live.
      • Most of what we're seeing on the screen is arguably the dumbed-down version of what is probably rather technical language in the actual legislation/executive orders/formal proposals/whatever.
      • Another point that sort of hid in the dialogue: Gwen's father is specifically referred to as an "unsupported Category 1" by Inspector Javert. This would seem to imply that, at least in the UK, if you have the money to keep someone going indefinitely (such as would have been the case in the US with Angelo), nobody was going to complain. The hangup is that, in Gwen's case for example, she was knocking over pharmacies to get drugs.
  • What would happen if Rory or Amy landed here on Miracle Day? And how are previous companions dealing with this?
    • Assuming Miracle Day is in 2011, then Amy and Rory should have lived through the Miracle, since they spent most of 2011 living on Earth in between the season 5 finale and season 6 premiere, and during the season 6 mid-season break. The main series is unlikely to ever acknowledge this, however.
    • A more interesting question is if Jack is from the future, and possessed knowledge of the worldwide Great Depression event, why wouldn't he know anything about the Miracle beforehand?
      • Jack's knowledge of the 20th century isn't encyclopedic - remember him believing that the Doctor's name was "Mr. Spock" when they first met? He probably knew about the Great Depression because he'd been living at the tail end of it in 1940, but either hadn't learned about the Miracle in school, or it "hadn't happened yet" because it isn't a fixed point in time.
      • More specifically, the Miracle happened because of Jack's interference as a time-travelling immortal, so he couldn't have known about it ahead of time because, as far as his personal timeline was concerned, it hadn't happened until it happened to him.
    • Ah. I have not watched the Doctor Who episodes that introduced Jack Harkness, so my knowledge of his backstory was very fuzzy.
    • Maybe the Miracle only exists in the rebooted universe. Which is why neither Jack or the Doctor know about it.
  • Is Barack Obama still president in this timeline? Davies established back in The End of Time that Obama is president in the present-day Whoniverse. I just can't envisage Obama signing off on something as monstrous as the category scheme, the overflow camps, and the incinerators, and the Tea Party and the Republicans going along with it - it's monstrously out of character for him, and it implies a level of bipartisan cooperation that's just plain unheard of in the US government these days.
    • To be fair, no government has ever had to deal with immortality. In the absence of any means to dispose of the dead and an ever-increasing drain on resources (the world is, simply put, going to hell in a handbasket), he just might ok it. Either that, or the Families control enough of the Senate and Congress to override his veto.
    • Furthermore, Barack Obama is not the absolute ruler of the United States, nor does he have the perfect answers. The government needs to do something, and that's the best they could come up with. Monstrous or no, they feel they have no choice in the matter, exactly as the Families planned it.
      • Except that this completely ignores the basics of American law, government institutions and society. A civil war breaking out over this would be infinitely more believable than the government actually deciding to do this, let alone successfully doing it. Besides that, American presidents aren't omnipotent but they can order everything under the Executive Branch to simply not comply with this. What seems more likely is that Davies just wanted to take a shot at the Tea Party without stopping to think about how this would work.
  • So, Oswald Dane says, "You can't set me free, or I'll spill all your secrets." Hello? Retcon anyone? You literally used it a scene ago.
    • They played that card when they had to use it on the guy watching them. Danes wouldn't let them use it. More importantly, it wouldn't change the fact that they took Danes because Rhys would have killed him. That wouldn't have changed with Retcon.
      • Danes wouldn't let them, but they could force him; and they could easily have left him somewhere Rhys wasn't after retconning, maybe turned him in to the police.
  • Okay, wait a minute. Did they explain why the Blessing is some sort of Mortal/Immortal switch for Jack and his blood? Why did Jack become mortal, then immortal? Are we supposed to assume it just "flipped" everyone's mortality on an off because "it's polar"? Granted, I just finished watching it and there hasn't been enough time for possible Fridge Brilliance, but it's the one thing I can't figure out. I mean, it sounds more like fantasy to me (Not That There's Anything Wrong with That). My guess is that the writers wanted to move the plot along without stopping to explain everything.
    • The entire planet is connected by a morphic field. By switching the setting to Jack, it cancels his immortality out.
    • Except Jack's immortality is connected to being a "fixed point in time," not based on being on the opposite end from humanity on the immortality/mortality scale. The Blessing's morphic field influence shouldn't mess with him anymore than it did when it wasn't blasting immortality waves.
    • Sure it would. They feed it Jack's blood. The field calibrates to Jack, recreating the same effect which keeps him immortal except on a worldwide scale. In one man, it works perfectly. The whole world only gets a fraction of it, and Jack's own power is canceled out.
    • Unless the Blessing outright stole Jack's immortality and gave it to everyone else (which is never even hinted at during any point of the show), the fact that the Blessing uses Jack's blood as a template shouldn't have any bearing on Jack's own immortality. Why would calibrating to Jack's blood switch off Jack's immortality. It's not as if immortality + immortality = mortality.
    • Think of it this way. Jack is immortal. Whatever quirk of spacetime keeping him alive is calibrated to him. Then you have the Blessing, a massive morphic field which is now tuned to Jack. Unless what Rose did is sentient, there's suddenly two identical signatures, one of which is a lot bigger. Jack's own power gets shut off by a similar effect of far greater magnitude.
    • Just had a moment of fridge brilliance/fridge logic. There is that episode where Jack faces the Eldritch Abomination that feeds on life force. Now, Jack's immortality does not seem to be based on life force or any biological cause, but in a quality introduced into the Continuum by Rose that made Jack the fixed point in time he is; his healing factor and his full body regeneration may seem biological, but that is only because he is a biological entity, in reality it is the continuum reasserting him because he MUST exist, as part of this new quality or law Rose accidentally created. Now, in that episode of the original Torchwood, Jack seems to be a bottomless source of life force, this can only be explained as his body translating into a sort of biological language, the non biological cause of his immortality. It's not that he really has that much life force stored in him, it's that since the universe keeps recreating him after he should have disappeared -died-, his body gets/generates/comes with a new charge of life force, because it cannot live without that, in that episode it happened several times in a few minutes. Now, what the Blessing might have taken from Jack was the translated effect, not the cause of his immortality, but one of the consequences, just like the Eldritch Abomination in that other episode was overwhelmed by the amount of life force that Jack was generating each time the universe reasserted him. That would be why the immortality people got was flawed, they where not getting the fixed point in time deal, not even watered down -if that is even possible-, but the Blessing creating huge amounts of life force for the whole human population, in accordance with Jack's biological reaction to his temporal nature, in any case, a flawed process that may have not been sustainable for long. But in any case, this, although it could explain the reason one kind of immortality seemed to became another, still cannot explain the switch between mortal and immortal for Jack and later Rex, the Blessing would have been taking the consequence of Jack's immortality, not the cause, and broadcasting it as the new template for human life -as The Life of a Human Must Never Stop = The Life of All Humans Must Never Stop-. After all, the Blessing seems to be working in terms of a biological morphic field, according to the explanations about how the people near the Blessing, in the past, had been living the exact amount of time that was the average human life expectancy, and had been seeing their lives prolonged as humanity, trough biological means, got the life expectancy increased -in that there did was a switch in direction-. So the Blessing does not seem to be working on the same principle as Jack's immortality, which has been mentioned, is something that should not exist, but is just able to use the effect Jack's body, as a biological entity, generates because of his kind or immortality. So Jack should not have been affected by the Blessing in any way, since he cannot be robbed of his life force, given that the universe would simply recreate Jack, having his body get a fresh charge of life force every time as a consequence. In a way, Jack is a sort of Perpetual Motion Machine, probably one of the reasons he should not exist according to The Doctor.
      • I call [[timewimeyball]] on that, its possible that the morphic field that the blessing created was more than just a morphic field, its possible that the field negated jacks imortal, everlasting nature, but only within the field. if the field were disabled, jack would probably come back, we saw a few episodes a null field generator, perhaps the blessing is also capable of nullifying jacks fixed-point-in-time nature within the field, the null field throwing the space-time continuum out of wack.
      • Frankly it seems pointless to try to find a reason for any of this, even in the story the writers had to admit via Jack that they had no idea what was going on.
  • Why did The Families stockpile painkillers? They had no way of knowing what Jack's blood would do to the Blessing or even if it did make people immortal, they could have been given Jack-style regeneration and made painkillers obsolete altogether. Their plan depended on a very specific type of immortality that is very different from the source they're using. Even the masterminds admit they have no idea what's happening. For most of the series, the Families/Phi-Corp/whoever were portrayed as masters of The Plan but end up looking simply implausibly lucky in their predictions. And I'm still supposed to take them seriously as a threat for next series?
    • Or they're very, very, VERY Crazy-Prepared. They might have had the painkillers stockpiled just in case. The same is likely to be said of various other things we didn't see for one reason or another. Eg, they may have had technology/magic/spacey-wacey stuff that lets them not age as well, just in case, or that prevents healing, just in case.
  • Why is Shapiro so upfront and loud about his declarations to track down the mole without setting up any kind of lockdown when he knows the mole is inside enough to disrupt major operations? He's practically begging for sabotage!
  • When Jack and co reverse the miracle, the Three Families representatives just stand there with their guns pointed at them calmly letting them undo all their work. Whilst this makes sense on the end of the Blessing with the bomb, the other side had literally nothing stopping them from bodily restraining Rex before he could tear off his bandage.
    • And if Rex just stabs himself instead? They couldn't stop him. Even if that group could somehow manage to grab him, Rex would do his best to break skin somewhere.
    • "Doing something" in this case is a better plan than "doing nothing." Especially when A.) the subject is already doubling over in pain and B.) is distracted enough by Esther getting shot to kneel over to cradle her and give one a good shot for a punt to the head.
    • They did "do something". The something was shooting Esther so that he'd have a reason to not end the Miracle. Beyond that, they can't shoot him, or do any kind of violence to him that could lead to breaking his skin, lest they do the job for him.
      • Except they don't have to break his skin at all. There were easily enough guards in that room to tackle him to the floor and take him off to some holding facility in the ass-end of nowhere. I mean, fucking hell. He's a wounded man, even just the guy who shot Esther could probably have done it.
      • Wounded or not, he's still an adult human who is not prone to be the least bit cooperative on the circumstances. They were screwed. Rex has a massive hole in his chest and the skin is so thin the blood literally flies out when he peels the bandage. Even if he were tackled or his arms restrained, he could easily wound himself enough to break skin simply by bashing his head against the floor, or just plain biting down on his tongue hard enough - assuming that the takedown itself wasn't severe enough to make him bleed.
      • The Families very clearly say that you need nearly all the blood in the body for the reversal to take effect. It takes some time even when blood is gushing out a giant hole. The guards could drag him away before enough blood gets in and snap his neck. It was certainly a better option than just the guards sitting there while Rex unravels their whole plot with no restraint.
      • Did you see how fast that blood was rushing out? There's no way they could drag Rex fare enough to stop all that. The Blessing attracts blood from across the city. Even a few feet to the elevator is more than enough to drain him. Besides, the Families were trying to discourage them from attempting it. I'd bet good money they were full of shit and just saying whatever they could to stop Rex and Jack.
      • No, there would not be time to prevent enough blood from being drawn in.
  • Why didn't it occur to anyone in-story that Jack's blood might have lasting effects on Rex? They all just seem way too surprised at a very obvious plot twist.
    • Jack has been quite insistent that his blood has nothing to do with his immortality, which it doesn't. Jack is immortal because a teenage chavette turned herself into a god of time and imbued him with energies that turned him into a fixed point in time, and under normal circumstances this is not a communicable condition. None of the non-Family characters know enough about the Blessing to surmise that the fact that Rex had mortal blood in him at the time the Miracle ended would result in him gaining Jack's immortality. In any event, how would you test the proposition that someone has become immortal, without killing them in the event that you're wrong?
      • His blood might not have anything inherently to do with his immortality, but the fact that people with mortal blood in them become immortal and vice versa is obviously important to the Blessing based on their last experience. And you wouldn't be able to test whether he's become immortal, but when he died and came back, the reaction should have been more like "crap, I thought that might happen" as opposed to a cavalcade of Flat Whats.
      • His blood wasn't SUPPOSED to be "special", but then blood taken in 1927 should be long dried-up by now! If it WAS immortal blood that didn't spoil, then it would have turned mortal and spoiled once The Miracle depowered Jack. The blood Rex used was what Esther was taking from Jack post-miracle- which would need to be carefully refrigerated, and the odd thing is, while de-immortalized, Jack wouldn't be able to PRODUCE more than one or two pints in a reasonable timeframe without being weakened. They've got an entire suitcase full, and Rex seems to have gallons of it in the climax.
      • Esther had been taking Jack's blood for the whole six-month period time jump a few episodes back, that's why they had a truckload of it.
      • Well, at the time, the cast was wondering why the Blessing didn't save Ester. Then they found out that the CIA lady (I forget her name) was The Mole. Then she was shot. Then Rex was shot. Then he came back to life. All this happened in the span of five minutes, while walking away from Ester's funeral. That's a lot to take in. With planning Ester's funeral and getting their lives back in order, maybe they decided to wait on theories until they could catch their breath.
    • You'd think someone would have noticed he was immortal when he, oh I don't know, stayed alive after losing enough blood to floor a man twice his size?
      • He was standing right next to (and was sort of connected to) the Blessing, which even before the Miracle had the ability to save people from death. The cast clearly considered this a possibility since they were asking why the Blessing didn't save Esther.
  • Why didn't they split the blood between Rex and Esther? They had what looked to be about 10 or so bags, which is around 3 litres. Most humans only have 4 to 5 litres. They could have split the blood in half and still both had more than enough. It would have made a hell of a surprise twist if the family blast Esther only to have the blood pour into the Blessing and stop the miracle.
    • Esther was the one who oversaw the blood transfer. I think they used Rex because he was already a Category 2. I think Rex mentioned at some point that if he had been mortal during the transfusion, it would've killed him. I guess the reasoning was that if it nearly turned him into a Category One, there was no point doing the same to Ester.
  • Why didn't the government just cryogenically freeze the Category 1s instead of burning them alive? Wouldn't that be more humane?
    • And where do they put the massive facilities required to do such a thing? For that matter, where are they going to get the tech to do that safely? Torchwood can, but the world at large cannot. The point of burning people is that it gets rid of the overflow. Freezing them just uses up progressively more space and resources.
      • It couldn't be that hard. Even if it was, couldn't they just shove them in freezers for the time being?
      • Yes, it could. And the time being until what?
      • You seem to not recognize the logistics involved here. You can't just shove someone in any old freezer. It has to be specifically designed to keep them alive, which means a lot of equipment Earth doesn't have. It needs space which will increase progressively each day. A lot of people die day by day. That needed space increases. So to does the power and materials requires to maintain the freezing. And so on and so forth. No, they couldn't freeze them. That would be logistically impossible. Burning gets rid of the bodies, costs the same amount of energy every time, and never uses more space than the base amount needed.
      • Why would the freezers need to be specifically designed to keep them alive the categories 1's were living during the miracle?
      • Because you can't just arbitrarily freeze something and expect nothing to happen. Unless specially prepared, freezing a living human would cause massive cellular damage, making your Category 1s even more supposed-to-be-dead than they were going in.
    • All of you seem to be missing the point here: the original question wasn't "Should they have frozen the Category One people instead of burning them?", it's 'Would it be less cruel to freeze the Category One people instead of setting them all on fire?" Personally, I believe freezing would be a kinder process: humans usually lose consciousness well before death ensues in extreme cold. Whereas with burning, you run the risk of the person being awake and aware they're burning to death.
      • Actually, the question was asking just that, at least in part: Why didn't the government just cryogenically freeze the Category 1s instead of burning them alive? It may be (and I agree probably is) more humane to do so, but sadly being humane is only one of the factors that world governments are having to take into account in this situation; space, cost, technology,, etc. The more people who don't die, the more space you're going to need to store them, the more it's going to cost to store them, until you're essentially at the point where society is collapsing owing to the stresses of preserving these people because you've run out of space and money to keep the rest of society going. More humane it may be, but as others have pointed out there's more logistic issues that mean it's a much less practical solution, bordering on a virtually impossible one. Ash, on the other hand, takes up a lot less space and is a lot easier and cheaper to produce. Horrific it may be, but the extreme situation means they ultimately have little practical choice, at least at the time being.
  • How can the platforms face the Blessing that way? It's a tunnel through the Earth and the platforms are facing it? Even the elevator's unaffected by the posision.
    • That bugged me too, maybe morphic fields do gravity as well as immortality.
    • It took me a while to realize it, but it's a question of perception. We're thinking of the view from the platform as looking DOWN into the Blessing, which is reinforced by seeing Jack's blood flow towards it, as if gravity was a factor. We're not. It's a cross-section- remember, this is a long ways down into the earth- the "top" of the blessing is above the platform. The Blessing is running down below the platform and above it, so we're looking at it from the side.
  • At the end of Episode 10, after Earth became mortal again, Oswald Danes decides to blow himself, the facility, and the people in it sky high - while being badass about it. However, he decides to let Jack and Gwen get away from the facility first before blowing everything up. This is very out of character for a man who is pretty much a Complete Monster. Why would it matter to Danes that the heroes can get away safely before he blows everything up? Why not just blow them all up the moment death comes back?
    • Apparently, Danes has a very twisted sense of noblesse oblige, and figured he owed Torchwood a favor for letting him die (what he wanted) in such an over the top way and getting revenge against those who were secretly manipulating him at the same time (which was bonus points).
      • Danes is very, VERY smart, as well as being a Complete Monster. Letting the remaining members of Torchwood escape could be a calculated act of revenge: He KNOWS that there are vastly more Conspirators than he can possible kill with his fairly small bomb, and must know that they will try again, if not this, then something else. Torchwood are going to be gunning for them.
  • How did the Families figure out the connection between *cough*Gargantuan Vagina*cough*The Blessing and Jack's blood?
    • There isn't one, not directly. They figured out a connection between the Blessing and the human morphic field. They introduced Jack's blood to it to see what would happen, hoping it would result in human immortality, which it did.
  • Why did the Families copy the "life unworthy of life" idea from the Nazis? If you want money for your Family, those wacky ideological stances usually just get in the way, and a decades-old global conspiracy should have figured that one out by 2011.
    • I think the writers just plain forgot to add a motive. Hitler had reasons for wanting to build a master race extending beyond mere lust for power that were tied to his prejudices and his own sense of self-loathing, but the Mother doesn't really give Jilly any reasons for wanting to create a perfect world or how the original three got a good few generations of offspring to go along with the idea (assuming the Families are actually related). You'd think that after the Holocaust they'd call a meeting and say to each other "Maybe this whole thing wasn't such a good idea. If one of the most powerful leaders in the world couldn't pull this off, we're pretty much shit out of luck."
    • Well, when you think about it, it a reprise of Torchwood: Children of Earth, just with an even more selfish motivations and villains. In CoE, the Greene led government tries to use the 456 blackmail to eliminate the ratbag element of society and preserve the "worthy" people, simply because they felt they had the right to decide who deserved to live as well the somewhat less destable goal of saving their (and by extension the rest of humanity's) ass. The Three Families are basically the 456 and Green in one entity in that they engineered the crisis, then they wanted to use it to force a holocaust that would winnow out the perceived undesirables and leave them able to control everything from behind the scenes and reshape the world to more directly benefit themselves. Their ultimate motive is still nebulous, but at the very least reeks of A God Am I, which is a pretty standard megalomaniacal villain trope.
    • The only motivation that The Families need is money and power. The only problem is that they have to be entirely sure that nobody who learns about it has any moral scruples at all.
      • But, again, why this evil plan specifically? Why not just start a Ponzi scheme or a Freemasons knock-off? Those are much quicker routes to money and power that don't automatically involve killing millions of people. It's one thing for your average corporate baddie to kill innocent people by neglecting their safety in the pursuit of greed, but it's entirely another to do that by design, and we never learn enough about The Families to see what made them take that leap.
      • They have money and power; what they want is more. And we don't need to speculate too hard about why they want that. These people are supposed to have been secretly so rich and so powerful that they can effectively dictate the entire course of nations, which pretty easily lends itself to ego- and megalomania. From their statements and actions they basically seem to be just your run-of-the-mill Social Darwinists who think the wealthy and priviledged of society are the best and the most worthy of life (remembering that they are the wealthiest and most priviledged of the lot). Basically they got bored with "just" being the richest bastards on the planet and decided to move onto reshaping the world according to their prejudices and whatnot. That, and obviously they want to live forever, and the fact that they can do just that via a means of making everyone live forever in a way that will necessitate ginormous social and political changes on a global level means that they might as well get round to deciding how the new world will look as well. When you think the system is broken, you start dreaming about what better systems should replace it, and that applies even if you are the one that is planning to break it in the first place.
      • And they'd have all the time they'd need to manipulate society to the extent that "Category 0" meant anyone they didn't like.
    • Still how would they be able to control the world with this? Society is soon going to collapse. The simple answer is the ideas were thought of without the execution.
  • The Families are international, and everywhere, and there's seemingly quite a few members. How do you ever keep them all in check? Shouldn't there be leaks and inside power struggles?
    • Maybe they aren't human? Who knows. Its probably something the sequel will / was supposed to deal with.
  • So the plan is to make everyone they can kill people. What?
    • You know, when you put it like that, this whole thing was really pointless. I'm calling Shaggy Dog. Why go to all that trouble when you can just release some anthrax or some other super-virus? If The Families are so omnipotent, why not just stage a world coup and do the murdering afterwards? Much lower potential for collateral damage i.e. less chance killing off people labelled as "undesirable" who might have skills that would be useful the regime. I get that they intended for immortality to destabilise society, but why bother with that when you can just run the economy or government into the ground?
    • The plan is to make everyone immortal and kill people. The "living forever" part matters in itself, not just as the means to reshaping society to suit their tastes (because a Society of Immortals does suit their tastes). Its also implied that, while they were preparted for the way things went, their actual goal was to make everyone immortal like Jack.
    • They want absolute power over life and death: some people die, others live forever, and they decide which is which.
  • Word of God saying that the Rift in Cardiff is not only gone, but Never Existed due to the events of "The Big Bang" in Doctor Who?! Erm, RTD, the Rift is a Negative Space Wedgie that connects various parts of space-time, being able to pull people in and deposit people out. The fact there are multiple instances of these across the Universe infers that they are essentially a totally natural phenomenon in this setting. The Cracks however are a time-explosion from the TARDIS being destroyed, creating glowing cracks in the skin of the universe that have either the effect of 1. Connecting a single part of time-space together or 2. Erasing people of events from history. While Type 1 is similar, it is not the same thing as it is a single point, not multiple points like the Rift. Basically the two have nothing to do with each other?!
    • Plus if the Rift is gone, how the hell does the Doctor power the TARDIS now? RTD kind of shot himself in the foot with that one!
      • No one ever said that the Cardiff Rift was the only Rift that ever existed or that the Doctor ever used; chances are, there are other ones around the place as well, or other temporal things that serve the same purpose adequately. Also, strictly speaking, RTD didn't shoot himself in the foot because RTD no longer has anything to do with Doctor Who whatsoever; presumably if Steven Moffat ever feels moved to address the issue he can find some way to do so himself.
    • If Jack is a Fact of the timeline, does this not infer that events around him essentially become Fixed Points due to his mere presence?! Thus how exactly does removing the Rift work, if in doing so, removes the reason he spent so much of his life around it? Wouldn't this create some form of universe-ending paradox?!
    • Also, Torchwood 3 is supposed to have been based where it was specifically because of its close proximity to the Rift- so, if the rift never existed, does that mean that Torchwood 3 was moved somewhere else? Does that mean that certain adventures never happened? What about Abaddon, the monster that was jailed in it- what happened to him?
    • Well, Miracle Day happened in 2011. The universe rebooted itself in 2010. It's possible that Miracle Day takes place in the rebooted universe. The Rift could have been from the old universe. As for Abbadon, I have no idea.
    • For the sake of everyone's sanity it's probably best to ignore Word of God on this one and take the explanation of why/how the rift was sealed in Torchwood: The Lost Files as cannon. It slots in a lot cleaner.
  • Why does the US government try to change the law to get Danes back in jail? This isnít the first time a murderer or a paedophile has walked free because of double jeopardy.
    • Because the law wasn't supposed to work that way, and because the fact that he'd presumably be out permanently was weighing heavily on their minds, especially with all the media attention.
    • Also, as noted on the main page, pretty much everything abut the handling of Danes falls under Hollywood Law to an extreme degree. The real legal system does not work that way.
  • Incredibly minor plus easily explained away by Rule of Funny, but just humor me for a moment here: No freaking way is a person from the US East Coast going to be even remotely thrown by having to pay for a toll bridge. Now, having to go to a New Jersey equivalent I'll grant you, but come on, Rex, you probably pay more than that in tolls whenever you go to the airport.
  • Were the two hikers who come to Gwen and Rhy's house agents in disguise? I thought it was hinted at when they leave and give each other a look but it's never outright said. Am I just reading too much into this scene?
  • Since when do Gwen's parents know about Torchwood anyways? The only other time they were aware of what Gwen did for a living was at her wedding, her wedding where they along with every guest in attendance were retconned. Yet in the first episode of this series they're both pretty in know.
    • Presumably they have to be more aware, now that Gwen is in witness protection.

  • One thing that's bugged this troper since watching Miracle Day is that if Jack's blood somehow made Rex immortal, how come Alice and Stephen, who both share Jack's dna, aren't immortal? Could this be an opportunity for another series of Torchwood where Jack finds out that Stephen didn't die? Obviously Alice would still be pi**ed off with her father, but at least Stephen would be alive.

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