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Rendition was the second episode of Series 4 of Torchwood. It was written by Doris Egan, and directed by Billy Gierhart. It reinforced that Jack had lost his immortality and showed that there were other forces at work trying to prevent him and Gwen from investigating the Miracle.


Jack Harkness and Gwen Cooper travel to the United States by plane. Rhys Williams is left behind in Wales. Jack is poisoned en route, while Esther Drummond discovers more about Torchwood Three and those seeking to stop her. Vera Juarez attends a conference and learns there will be even more ways for the human race to run itself to painful extinction. Oswald Danes appears to a national audience, winning, of all things, sympathy.


Rex and his security escort arrive Heathrow Airport with Jack and Gwen, finding fellow CIA agent Lyn Peterfield has been sent to help him, much to his annoyance. She tells him that they had better hurry up as both the Brittan and the U.S. are asking questions about this. The police force Gwen and Jack towards the plane, with Jack telling Gwen not to resist as it will only amuse Rex. Rex has also taken Jack's vortex manipulator.

However, Rex stops Rhys from boarding the plane, explaining that only members of Torchwood need to be taken. Rex orders him to be taken back to Wales with Anwen. Rhys tries lying that he's a secret member, but is not believed, being taken to the van with Anwen. Gwen yells threats and swears at Rex and Lyn, telling her family that she will be back.

Oswald Danes, newly released convicted rapist and murderer, is interviewed on TV. Before the interview, Oswald takes most of the food for the people at the station, to a female production assistant's disgust. She tells him that she wants him to die. On the air, he is questioned about the kind of person he is. At one point, he is shown a picture of Susie Cabina, his victim. Asked what he would say to Susie's mother if she's watching, Oswald is stunned but mumbles something. When asked to repeat himself, Oswald says that he's sorry for what he did, breaking down into a sobbing fit as he apologises for the person he is.

Esther and other CIA agents watch on the TV. Charlotte Wills notes that she's not buying the act. However, Esther tells her that they should have some sympathy as the Miracle has only made life harder for people like him.

Oswald and a police officer enter a lift. Jilly Kitzinger congratulates him on his performance, certain he was acting. Jilly offers her card, but Oswald makes a point of tearing it up outside the lift after he had received news of another interview. Jilly, still trying to win Oswald over, explains if Satan walked the earth, he would need representation. However, Danes counters, by saying if Satan DID walk the earth, "He would truly be working in PR."

On the plane, Gwen and Jack catch up; she's angry that he took so long, thus putting Anwen in danger. However, Jack easily counters most of her angry comments by asking, "Did you miss me?"; she does. Gwen then goes on to say that she thought the next time they met would be like a fairy tale; she'd be an old woman and he'd still be the same. Rex interrupts them, asking what Jack's vortex manipulator is. Not answering, Jack asks if anyone is investigating morphic fields, going on to explain the basics of it. He then decides to make fun of Rex, pointing out that the beeping coming from his manipulator means he has low sodium levels and needs salt. Rex calls Dr Vera Juarez, who confirms this diagnosis; Rex asks for salty pretzels.

Dr Juarez attends a conference in Washington, D.C. She learns the scope of the problems that the Miracle is causing. People still age and can be critically injured; a fellow doctor compares it to the Greek story of Tithonus. She overhears that skin cells will continue to grow as old cells die and the Miracle is species-specific to humans. Germs will become resistant to medicine as they have an eternity to feed on bodies and grow stronger. Vera also learns food and medical supplies will drop rapidly and the ever growing population could become a big problem.

Meanwhile, Esther talks to Brian Friedkin about the malware (unable to remember that Jack released it to keep Gwen safe), saying she wants to follow up on it as investigating unusual programs are kind of her passion; she mentions that she also works closely with Rex, when prompted by Friedkin. After she leaves, Friedkin examines Esther's file to see if she is valuable or expendable. Receiving an e-mail from Lyn - "investigate morphic fields?" - Friedkin pulls out a red phone and texts the message. A single word comes back - "Remove". He e-mails the message to Lyn.

On the plane, Jack asks for a Coke. Saying that she'll supervise, Lyn heads after one of the flight attendants, Danny; she tells him to ask Rex what he wants, giving herself an opening to slip arsenic into Jack's drink. Danny tells her that Rex has had too many pain killers to want a drink; she hands him the Coke for Jack and cup of water for Gwen. Jack and Gwen talk about what she was up to; she planned on planting roses. Once Jack drinks his poison, Lyn smiles to herself.

Moments later, Jack gets up, noting he doesn't feel well. Rex takes him to the bathroom, where he begins vomiting repeatedly. Mocking him, Rex hopes Jack isn't airsick as it would be ironic, given he dresses like a pilot. Jack sees his reflection, reminding Rex that he told him that somebody has been trying to eliminate Torchwood the moment the Miracle began. Rex is amused, wondering if that means food poisoning; Jack counters any disease could kill him as his body has not developed any immunities to anything given his immortality meant he never needed it. Rex quips that Jack's immortality has left him a hypochondriac.

Back at the CIA, Esther discovers Rex's account has been deleted from the CIA database after she sees agents she doesn't know in Rex's office, altering his computer. At her station, Esther discovers that her own password no longer works; she receives a call from her bank, asking about investment options. To her horror, Esther discovers she's received a lot of money from a Chinese bank account, framing her as a double agent. She steals Charlotte Wills' ID and car keys, fleeing the building; she sets up false leads to buy herself time. Upon reaching the exit of the parking garage, she sweet-talks the guard into letting her pass.

Onboard the plane, Danny informs Gwen and Jack that there wasn't enough time at Heathrow for a handover of medicine. Gwen points out that Danny gave Jack a drink, and now he's feeling ill; however, she then realises that Lyn went to supervise him, finding the idea someone needs to be supervised pouring a drink ridiculous. When Lyn points out Gwen's blaming everyone now, Gwen retorts "It's either you or the big, gay steward; so my money's on you." Danny insists that he's not gay.

Rex asks for Lyn's purse, but she refuses; he takes it by force and finds a bag of pills. Gwen points out she was right, but Lyn says it's medicine, Gwen and Rex try having Lyn take one to prove it isn't poison; she admits it's indeed poison, but she runs a lot of agents who would sometimes need poison. When asked what she gave Jack, Lyn remains silent; Rex handcuffs her to her seat. Jack asks for the pills, identifying each one and asking for his symptoms. Realising he's been given Arsenic, Jack mentions a Slovenian boyfriend of his that took some for better skin; Rex is confused by this as such a habit only happened in the 1800s.

Rex calls Vera at the conference, convincing her that Jack is the only mortal man left in the world and he's in danger of dying from arsenic and the only things they have to work with are chemicals on a plane. The group comes up with a plan to save Jack: improvised EDTA. When they attempt to inject Jack with the antidote, Lyn breaks frees of her cuffs and kicks the syringe away. Gwen confronts Lyn, who insults her by calling her English; Gwen proudly declares she is Welsh then punches Lyn out cold and injects Jack with the EDTA, causing him pain at the cost of curing him. A relieved Rex handcuffs Gwen again.

Jack, Gwen, Rex and Lyn arrive at Dulles, Esther has been trying to contact Rex. She tells him about his office and her account. Having been given a key by one of the corrupt agents Friedkin sent, Lyn slowly unlocks her handcuffs. Rex notices via a text message that he has also been "bribed", and received even more money than Esther. Thinking on his feet, he babbles an excuse from the 456 amendments, which supposedly enforce him to remove Jack and Gwen's handcuffs, basing it on one important principle. Confused, Gwen asks what he means. Rex replies: "bullshit", promptly striking one guard in the face - the three fight off the agents. Still distrustful, Gwen and Jack race off. Rex goes to follow but is surprised by Lyn, who beats him to the floor. He recovers, snapping her neck. Vera and Esther arrive in cars outside the airport. Rex regroups with Jack and Gwen, informing them they need him since they are trapped in America now. The three exit the airport and get into Esther's car. Vera drives off. Lyn, with a twisted neck, stumbles in front of their car, surviving because of the Miracle. She tries to harm them, but falls over, making Vera run over to assist her. The four drive off. Panicking, Esther wonders what's happening. Calmly, Gwen says, "Welcome to Torchwood."



General production staff

Camera and lighting department

Art department

Make-up and prosthetics

General post-production staff

Special and visual effects


Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.

The Starz broadcast carried a final credit of "Originally Developed and Produced by BBC Cymru Wales". The BBC One broadcast says, instead, "BBC Worldwide Productions for BBC Cymru Wales and STARZ Originals".





  • Esther drives a blue Mini.
  • Gwen is sorely disappointed by the getaway car Esther has for the group, thinking the Americans should have big, boastful SUVs.



  • Rex continues to refer to Jack as "World War II" and notes his clothing makes him look like a flying ace.
  • Rhys refers to himself as "a secret member" of Torchwood.
  • Esther handed in a report to Alan, regarding possible conflict between India and Pakistan.
  • Psychologist Grace London is to be asked whether the miracle will make suicide rates go up or down.
  • Oswald spent six years in solitary confinement.
  • Vera compares Rex to her ex-husband, who calls her for drugs and sex.
  • A doctor asks Samuel to start again and reorganise the patients.
  • Vera requests after the Dean of Medicine, but is told that she is at the panel.
  • Jilly works in public relations.
  • Mr Tepper sends Lianna after Danes, where she tells him that Oprah Winfrey's people are on the phone.
  • Howard at Mass General keeps asking for more antibiotics.
  • Jack believes it is possible that during his immortality he has never developed any resistance, and Rex replies that immortality leads to hypochondria.
  • Charlotte needs to pass a message to Alan, who is writing part of the President's briefing.
  • Carla Hennessy calls from Pacific Monument Bank thanking Esther following a wire transfer of fifty thousand dollars from China.
  • Esther asks Noah to tell Forsyth that she has had to go to Cyber Division.
  • Jack had a Slovenian boyfriend in the 1800s who took arsenic for his skin.
  • Vera is acting Head of Surgery.


Drugs and medicines[]

  • Rex is given an aspirin on the plane by Danny. It was found in the co-pilot's shirt pocket.

Foods and beverages[]

  • Rex asks Danny to get him a vodka.
  • Oswald mentions that prison guards pissed in his food. He tried to cover it up with cream, gravy and salt but the piss had a way of enduring.
  • Rex requests some pretzels while on the plane — the salty kind.
  • Jack asks for a cola while on the plane.
  • Gwen drinks water whilst on the plane.
  • An assistant takes coffee orders at the panel.

Theories and concepts[]

  • Jack speaks at length about the Sheldrake Theory, regarding morphic fields and how their manipulation may have created the Miracle Day.
  • An interviewer on TV talks about a Malthusian disaster.
  • The first sixty minutes after trauma are referred to as the golden hour.
  • Churches are empty as people no longer want to hear about heaven.
  • Oswald and Jilly mention the Devil in humorous context.
  • Jim mentions the Greek story of Tithonus, who was given immortality by Zeus but not eternal youth, so he eventually shrank into a cicada.


  • A woman admitted to hospital has flaccid tetraparesis.
  • A doctor asks for morphine and neurosurgery for his patients.
  • Gwen had planned to plant Rugosa roses in front of the cottage.
  • A man on one of the panels mentions that apoptosis is still going on in humans.
  • A woman mentions that apes, chimps and bonobos are all dying as usual, and only humans are affected.
  • Another man states they are running out of organ donors for transplants.
  • Human flesh affected by Miracle Day continues to age.
  • Koontz reports that cellular necrosis has stopped at Tel Aviv Medical.
  • The continued use of antibiotics (and other drugs and medicines) and the lack of people dying will further the production/evolution of drug-resistant bacteria, such as MRSA.
  • Jack asks whether his lips are blue to determine whether he has cyanosis caused by cyanide.
  • Jack has headache, nausea and convulsions.


  • Oswald attends an interview at WWCN.


  • Jack is poisoned with arsenic and saved by chelation with EDTA, or Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid, made on the plane from (amongst other things) silver, cyanide, and ammonia.
  • Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid can be made using formaldehyde and ethylenediamine.
  • Formaldehyde is made by oxidising methanol.
  • Dichloroethane is found in degreaser.

Story notes[]

  • Unlike broadcasts of Doctor Who, and the previous series of Torchwood, Miracle Day was broadcast in the United States, Canada and Australia before the United Kingdom.
  • In the airport scene where Jack kicks a CIA officer in the face, John Barrowman announced at Comic Con that he actually kicked the actor in the nose for real and "busted" it.[source needed]


  • UK: 5.75 million (Final BARB ratings)(Final BARB ratings)[1]
  • US: 0.98 million

Filming locations[]

to be added

Production errors[]

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
  • When Jilly is smoking a cigarette with Vera, on the camera shot behind her the lighter isn't in her hand, but on the front shot the lighter is.
  • When Lyn is writing her e-mail to Brian regarding Morphic fields, she ends with three question marks and sends; however when Brian opens to e-mail there are only two.


  • Rex recalls his arrival at the hospital and his concern about his undying state. (TV: The New World)
  • Jack and Gwen discuss Jack leaving Earth. (TV: Children of Earth: Day Five)
  • Very similar to Jack's poisoning, the Tenth Doctor survived cyanide by producing an antidote out of materials around him. Also, the people who frantically gather the materials for Jack's detox are worked into a hysteria similar to that caused when the Doctor was poisoned. (TV: The Unicorn and the Wasp)

Home video releases[]

  • This episode was released worldwide in a box set containing all ten episodes of Torchwood: Miracle Day. In the United Kingdom, it was released on Region 2 DVD and Region Free Blu-ray on 14 November 2011.[2] In Australia, it was released in Region 4 DVD and Region B Blu-Ray on 1 December 2011.[3] In New Zealand, the same sets were released on 7 December 2011.[4] In North America, it was released on Region 1 DVD and Region Free Blu-Ray on 3 April 2012.[5]
  • It was also released in the Series 1-4 boxset (Region 2 release: 14 November 2011.)