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The Middle Men was the sixth episode of Series 4 of Torchwood. It was written by John Shiban, directed by Guy Ferland and saw the first mention of "the Blessing".

Synopsis[]

With Gwen Cooper, Rex Matheson and Esther Drummond trapped on different sides of the Atlantic, it's a race against time as Jack Harkness goes straight to the heart of the conspiracy.

Plot[]

Stuart Owens (Chief Operating Officer of PhiCorp), working late with his secretary Janet in Phicorp Central, Los Angeles, reviews paperwork on Phicorp acquisitions. He calls Zheng Yibao in Shanghai, China to investigate a large land purchase near Shanghai centre. Zheng warns Stuart he might not like what he finds, then enters the guarded building on that site. Seven hours later, Stuart calls Zheng for a status report. Zheng reports he found nothing, then jumps from a tall building with no apparent signs of distress.

There are news reports on the existence of a 45 Club, people who believe that jumping forty-five floors is now the only way to lose consciousness forever, with Zheng the latest addition to that group.

Rex Matheson is still speaking into his video camera in San Pedro, reporting what he's seen (burning of Dr Vera Juarez in "the modules"). He reports that Category 1 patients are burned and suggests that "they" will burn "anyone they just don't like".

Esther Drummond, from her desk at the camp, attempts to call Dr Juarez on her cell phone, but the call fails to connect. She then investigates Colin Maloney, who is acting suspiciously while intimidating Ralph Coltrane. Colin claims that he has just finished playing badminton. Colin plans to "drop" Dr Juarez's car at Constitution Mall to thwart investigation, then puts the camp on "lockdown". Colin tells Esther that Dr Juarez had left while saying that his camp was "very good indeed", which sounds suspicious to Esther.

At Cowbridge, Gwen Cooper (disguised as a nurse) confronts Dr Alicia Patel about Gwen's father Geraint Cooper, who has been labelled "Category 1". Dr Patel says, "There's a fine line between categories 1 and 2" and that she was following governmental guidelines and she is too busy to revisit patients. Gwen points out that those patients are being burned, and Dr Patel replies, "It's the law." Gwen accuses Dr Patel of running a "concentration camp" and of being a coward, and tells her, "Don't call yourself a doctor," and, "Shame on you."

Gwen finds Rhys Williams working as a driver for the camp, and makes plans with him to help her father escape.

At a bar in Los Angeles, Jack Harkness finds Janet and coerces her into helping him, also revealing (through Torchwood's hacking) that Stuart intended to send Janet away against her desires. She was having an affair with, knowing that he's married.

Jack finds Stuart and his wife Elizabeth at a restaurant, and sends Elizabeth away (by purposely revealing Stewart affair with his secretary) while he talks with Stuart. Stuart suggests that he is just a middle man in "all this", and that even Phicorp is just a pawn. Stuart suggests that "this pattern" started "maybe five years ago" based on "Market Share Projections". Stuart also says that he found an Italian document which said, "They have found the Blessing" but he doesn't know what it means.

Back in San Pedro, Rex attempts to leave the camp by knocking out a guard and putting on the guard's uniform. Rex is captured in disguise after wandering into a checkpoint. Colin interrogates a handcuffed Rex alone. Rex tells Colin his intention to go public with his videotape evidence in order to expose events at the camp, including Dr Juarez's incineration. Collin watches the video and has a break down. Rex attempts to comfort him, persisting people need to know the truth. However, Colin (having been the one to kill Vera) decides to silence Rex. He looks for a method of silencing Rex, and decides to slowly push his ballpoint pen into Rex's heart through his open wound. Rex screams in pain and points out that he can't die because of the Miracle. Colin, overwhelmed by his horrific act, pulls the pen out. Rex briefly recovers, realising Colin killed Vera. Colin begins crying and proceeds to shove the pen into Rex again, who faints from the pain.

Esther finds the interrogation area, calling out. Colin discards the pen and confronts her, as Rex silently cries. Esther tells Colin, who hides his bloody hand as Esther approaches him, that she had just spoken with Dr Juarez, which Colin knows is a lie. Rex regains consciousness and recognises Esther's voice. He calls out, bellowing Colin killed Vera. Esther makes to run but Colin grabs her, initiating a fight. Eventually, Esther chokes Colin to death. Traumatised by her actions, she leaves Colin on the floor to hurry to Rex's side. Rex tells her Colin has the keys on his corpse but Esther is too scared to go back, crying. Rex convinces her to do so. As Esther returns to Colin to get the handcuff keys, the Miracle revives Colin, who grabs her and proceeds to choke her. Despite nearly killing her, Ralph Coltrane arrives and shoots Colin in the side, having grown tired of following Colin's orders. He helps Esther back up as Colin loses consciousness.

Meanwhile, Rhys steals a truck to get into Cowbridge, and meets Gwen with her father (on a gurney). Gwen overhears that sick people are arriving in Wales like "boat people". Gwen and Rhys load Geraint into the truck, then Rhys rams the truck through a gate to escape. Gwen uses the Eye-5s, then steals some explosives and blows up part of the Cowbridge Camp as a message, "This is the truth for the whole world to see, we let our governments build concentration camps. They built ovens for people in our names. Now I don't care if the whole of society bends over and takes this like a dog. I'm saying no." She sets the camp in flames. While watching in America, Jack laughs and says, "That's my girl."

At San Pedro, Rex and Esther are safely in a vehicle. Esther has been crying. Rex, trying to comfort her, says, "The regular army is coming in, they'll shut it down". Esther points out that the camp was sanctioned, and she'd used her real name to gain entry. She begins to sob again, causing Rex to pull her close before driving off.

In Venice Beach, Jack congratulates the Torchwood team for getting the word out, as the White House refuses to apologise for the camp and compares the camp to a state of emergency in time of famine or pestilence. Jack says that they need to look at the bigger picture, while they search the internet for "the truth".

Gwen arrives at Los Angeles International Airport and is paged to pick up a phone-call for her that says "lenses". Gwen puts in her Torchwood contact lenses again, and receives the text, "We have your mother. We have your husband. We have your child. Bring us Jack."

Cast[]

Uncredited[]

Crew[]

General production staff


Camera and lighting department

Art department


Make-up and prosthetics


General post-production staff

Special and visual effects

Sound

UK crew
General production staff
Camera, lighting and sound departments

Casting

Make-up

Costume

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".


References[]

  • Stuart is due to chair the PhiCorp executive board.
  • NNM, which stands for National News Media, covers a story on the 45 Club.
  • The 45 Club is growing in popularity. They believe that jumping from forty five floors up or higher is the only guaranteed way to lose consciousness forever. Reports of such activity have come in from New York City, San Francisco, London and Milan.
  • In 1999, a large parcel of land near Shanghai centre was purchased by a division of PhiCorp.
  • Locations in and around Shanghai include Qiandengzhen, Shengpuzhen, Zhangpuzhen, Zhengyizhen, Kunshan and Tinglin Garden. Roads include Huning Expy and Suhu Expy. Kuilei Lake is also shown.
  • Zheng's uncle was dying prior to the Miracle. He told Zheng never to question a miracle, as you may not like what you find.
  • Rex officially confirms he is part of Torchwood, rather than the CIA.
  • Rex was prescribed painkillers by Vera that are labelled with instructions to take three pills a day.
  • Rex uses the phrase "get the hell outta Dodge".
  • Rachel says she has $2000 with the Savings Expedition.
  • Colin Maloney mentions playing badminton at the club several times as a cover story for the sweating he is doing from the stress of murdering Vera Juarez.
  • Modules are supposed to be used as storage, until a senator signs paperwork stating otherwise.
  • San Pedro Camp is put on lockdown. During lockdown, nobody leaves and every member of staff is logged and noted.
  • In San Pedro Overflow Camp, patients are processed by the camp's categorisation centre.
  • Esther asks whether Maloney would like tea or coffee.
  • Tony mockingly refers to the day staff at San Pedro Camp as "illegal immigrants", and states that "it may make sense in Mexico but not here".
  • Maloney plans on dumping Vera's car at the Constitution Mall in San Pedro.
  • Patel states that she is simply following guidelines given to her by the British government.
  • At Cowbridge Overflow Camp, movement of category one patients to the modules starts at 6am, while nurses change over at 5am.
  • Janet drinks an Appletini. She is 27 years old, 5ft 9 and weighs 119lb. She's the youngest daughter of Gerald and Elaine Tanner from Nantucket, Massachusetts. She moved to California to attend college where she earned a bachelor's degree in art history. As of 2011, she resides in a Westwood apartment and works as an administrative assistant at PhiCorp.
  • Janet believes Jack to be a stalker last seen on America's Most Wanted.
  • Janet wished Stuart a Happy Valentine's Day and had a sexual relationship with him.
  • Stuart emailed PhiCorp Human Resources requesting Janet's transfer to Cincinnati.
  • Stuart wonders whether to have the salad. Jack recommends steak, bourbon and cigarettes.
  • Stuart is Chief Operating Officer for PhiCorp Industries.
  • The stock market is threatening to collapse.
  • Stuart and Maloney are both referred to as middlemen.
  • Stuart Owens believes Jack Harkness thinks of him like he's "the Devil in a three-piece suit".
  • The Blessing was referred to in a document from Italy from a source inside the Council of Ministers.
  • The US Army drive Humvees.
  • Rex incapacitates Billy Smith and steals his uniform. Billy had a habit of not listening.
  • San Pedro camp is accessed by scanning a security ID card.
  • Tony uses "blonde" as an insult, implying Esther lacks intelligence.
  • Maloney asks a couple of soldiers to leave him with Rex, and to go and see Jackson at the West Gate.
  • Maloney is the director of San Pedro Camp.
  • Rex is being kept in the Generator Room of San Pedro Camp.
  • Maloney tortures Rex with a pen.
  • A man refers to a cruise ship full of British Category 2s arriving in Cardiff, having been expelled from Europe like boat people.
  • Rhys drives through the South Gate of Cowbridge Camp.
  • Gwen steals a motorbike and blows up the Cowbridge modules.
  • The White House stands by the overflow camps as appropriate and as sanctioned by Congress. It is what would be done in times of famine, plague or pestilence.
  • Gwen flies into Los Angeles International Airport.
  • Someone hacks the Eye-5s.
  • The overflow camps are referred to as death camps.
  • The hat check boy likes Jack Harkness' coat.

Story notes[]

Ratings[]

  • UK: 4.48 million (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 Gwen uses the Eye-5s to hopefully contact a Torchwood member, Jack types a message in the lenses. She responds back, "Jack, is that you?" His reply, "In the flesh. You OK?" is prompted to appear onscreen too early, with a few letters typed in before actually Gwen speaks the dialogue.

Continuity[]

  • As a result of looking into the Blessing, Zheng Yibao was shown his true self, and he lost the will to live. (TV: The Gathering)
  • Gwen chastises Patel for turning her back on the injustice being waged in the overflow camps, telling her, "Don't call yourself a doctor." The Eleventh Doctor had a similar reaction to the abuse of the star whale housing Starship UK on its back, when he almost euthanised the innocent creature, bitterly stating that he wouldn't be "the Doctor" anymore once the act was carried out. (TV: The Beast Below)

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.)

Footnotes[]

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