Recap / Torchwood S 4 E 9 The Gathering
Public Enemy Number One after getting his unsympathetic ass whupped by Torchwood.

The ninth episode of Torchwood: Miracle Day.

Two months later.

Economic disaster has affected the world. Governments have become more isolationist, and closer to dictatorships, and have started enforcing rationing. Also, the Overflow Camps have remained open despite the full public knowledge of what occurs there. Rhys is considering appyling for them as a lorry driver. Gwen's desparate enough to consider it, with scares her intensely. Her father — still Category 1 — is hidden in the basement, she's breaking into pharmacies at night to steal pain killers for him, and they're in panic mode every time there's a knock on the door. Nazi Germany is evoked in every possible way.

Esther and Jack are on the run in Scotland. Esther has been storing Jack's blood in a metal briefcase, since they suspect it is significant to the Miracle, The Families, and The Blessing.

At the CIA, Rex investigates The Families through a series of increasingly convoluted theories. Charlotte tries her best to stop him, but eventually fails.

Oswald Danes travels to Gwen's home in Swansea, claiming to have information about a man behind the Miracle. Harry Bosco. That's not a name at all, Gwen remarks, while making sure that Oswald is securely tied up and very far away from baby Anwen. Harry Bosco is a media tactic. Relaying translated information by tweaking the translation ever so slighty. Torchwood and the CIA discover together that Jilly Kitzinger was hired by Phicorp to mistranslate foreign news clips into English. This includes one of a man in Shanghai, where Jilly is now, saying he was saved by "The Blessing". Jilly is a proper fish out of water in Shanghai and is getting very, very scared.

Esther notes that blood banks were burnt down, shortly before the Miracle, in two of the most populous cities in the world: Shanghai and Buenos Aires. Rhys, examining a globe, realizes that they are the exact opposite points on the Earth... the "phi" in the Phicorp logo.

When an inspector returns with a new thermal imaging application on his smartphone, he discovers and finally removes Gwen's father (though he Failed a Spot Check on Jack Harkness and Oswald Danes, also in the room). Mary resigns herself to the new regime and signs the papers to have her husband taken away. She's too tired, there's been too much pain and suffering. Gwen won't have it, and very casually phones the guy who's been spying on her for a few months ("have you seen my car keys?") to get some vital information, then makes him drink Retcon. Jack contacts some arms smugglers, and they're on their way to Shanghai (Oswald blackmailing them into taking him along) while Esther and Rex go to Buenos Aires.

At CIA headquarters, Charlotte notices that Rex has touched down in Argentina and immediately informs The Families.

Jilly is taken to The Blessing, which is revealed to be a massive fissure running through the centre of the planet Earth, one that pulls the surrounding debris into itself.

In Shanghai, Gwen discovers that Jack has not recovered from his gunshot wound and is, in fact, faring worse after traveling. Undressing the bandages, Gwen assesses his wound and a drop of blood falls to the floor of the apartment they're staying in. Oswald brings to their attention that it travels across the floor, as if magnetized by an invisible force, and Gwen speculates Jack's blood is being drawn to The Blessing. In Buenos Aires, Rex somehow seems to be experiencing the same thing.

Tropes in this episode.

  • Bowdlerize: Weaponised by the Three Families. People from foreign nations who speak truths about the Blessing have their words muddled and altered in the subsequent subtitles and translations to other languages until there is no evidence of the Blessing even being spoken about.
  • Crapsack World: It definitely is by this point; the economy's collapsed world wide, countries are sealing themselves off, and as Shapiro points out, every day is bringing them one step closer to a dictatorship, especially when you take into account the governments of the world now use Gestapo tactics to enforce burning Category 1's alive simply because they should be dead for all intents and purposes, and unlike in Episode 6, they aren't even trying to apologize or soft soap things anymore.
  • Continuity Nod: The Retcon water makes an appearance.
    • The pizza boxes Gwen uses to hide the stolen drugs are the same ones she used to attempt to sneak into the Hub way back in the first episode.
  • Creator Cameo Guess who's the radio announcer at the start of the episode? None other than showrunner Russell T. Davies!
  • Digging to China: The Miracle was engineered by unearthing a lifeform which stretches from Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Shanghai, China, which are close to being antipodes of each other.
  • Eldritch Abomination: "The Blessing" is some sort of massive lifeform looking like a huge blood vessel stretching from one end of the planet to the other, somehow passing through the core. It also seems to draw Jack's blood to it.
  • Eureka Moment: Rhys has one regarding the Buenos Aires-Shanghai connection while looking at a globe. Oswald Danes gets one towards the end of the episode when he realizes Jack's blood is drawn like an iron filing to a magnet (i.e. - they could follow a drop of Jack's blood straight to the Blessing).
  • Frying Pan of Doom: Used by Gwen against Oswald.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: The Blessing shows people their true selves. In some cases it's enough to drive men to suicide. In others?
    Jilly: ...I'm right.
  • Hero Antagonist: Despite his portrayal in Episode 8, CIA Director Shapiro is actually a good guy. Admittedly a bit of Jerk Ass and would rather have Torchwood be under CIA control, but he ultimately gives Rex the green light to more or less drop off the face of the planet and assist Torchwood in zeroing in on the location of the Blessing.
  • Hidden Badass: Oswald Danes, of all people, proves he can be one when he reveals that he shadowed his own pursuers after he was forced to go underground, even managing the amazing feat of staying more effectively on the downlow than the entirety of Torchwood while still gathering all sorts of info on his pursuers in the process, despite being permanently weakened since his failed execution and having a face known the world over.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: The PhiCorp logo is a visual representation of the Blessing.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Shapiro, Rex's boss
  • Meaningful Name: Jilly's new Families-given identity? Lucy Staten Meredith. Devil in a red dress, indeed!
  • Middle-Management Mook: Two of them. There's the Family member who meets Jilly in Shanghai, and explains her purpose. Then, there's the government inspector who searches for (and eventually takes) Gwen's father — he seems sinister, but is really just doing his job.
  • Papa Wolf: Rhys spends the whole episode threatening to kill Danes for coming into their house and touching their daughter; Danes himself seems quite certain he means it.
  • Shout-Out: The episode title is another one to Highlander.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Whether they like it or not, Torchwood's newest member is Oswald Danes. However, to be fair, he's mostly helping them because of an Enemy Mine situation.
    • It becomes a bit of a Running Gag when you note that all three incarnations of Torchwood had one member more than capable of killing innocent people. However while Suzie did it for the knowledge, and Johnson killed out of duty, Danes pretty much killed the girl for fun.
  • Translation with an Agenda: Jilly is hired by the Families for this purpose, among others, altering the translation of foreign broadcasts to obscure knowledge of the Blessing.