Jul 28, 2011
|34 – "Dead of Night"|
|Producer||Kelly A. Manners|
|Originally broadcast||22 July 2011|
"Dead of Night" is the third episode of the fourth series of British science fiction television series Torchwood, and was broadcast in the United States on Starz on 22 July 2011, in Canada on Space on 23 July 2011, and will be broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC One on 28 July 2011.
Rex (Phifer) and Esther (Havins) have joined Torchwood out of necessity. The team successfully acquire the phone from CIA director Friedkin (Wayne Knight), through which Friedkin received mysterious orders to exterminate Torchwood. The team follow leads and uncover a stockpile of painkillers at the pharmaceutical corporation PhiCorp, indicating they knew the Miracle was going to happen. At a loose end, Jack (Barrowman) takes the night off and picks up a man in a bar, and Rex seeks solace in his surgeon, Vera Juarez (Arlene Tur). Juarez tells Rex that PhiCorp representative Jilly Kitzinger (Lauren Ambrose) has invited her along to an important meeting tomorrow; Rex recruits Juarez to listen in for Torchwood, while Gwen goes on mission with the special Torchwood contact lenses and steals information from Kitzinger's computer. The meeting turns out to be a seminar, where Congressman Morganthall announces plans to make painkillers legal to purchase without prescription. At Torchwood HQ, Rex and Esther receive a mysterious phonecall from Friedkin's anonymous superiors and figuring their base has been compromised, realise that Torchwood must now leave D.C.
Released murderer Oswald Danes (Bill Pullman) struggles to fit in the real world, and after being assaulted by police officers accepts Kitzinger's earlier offer of representation. He attends a select board meeting at PhiCorp. PhiCorp award him personal security on the condition he promotes their new painkiller legislation on national television to his growing following. Suspicious of Danes, Jack confronts him at the TV station. Jack gets Danes to admit that he does not feel forgiveness, but also that he enjoyed the rape and murder of his 12-year-old victim; Jack realises from this speech that Danes has a deathwish that is being denied him. Danes' security assaults Jack and releases him onto the streets just as Danes tells the world about the need for PhiCorp's painkiller legislation.
"Dead of Night" features a concurrent gay and straight sex scenes; the straight sex scene features Rex and Vera (Mekhi Phifer and Arlene Tur), and the gay scene features John Barrowman and guest actor Dillon Casey, playing bartender Brad. Gay mens' website AfterElton.com enthusiastically reported on Casey's casting in March; the casting side for Brad, released in December 2010, had assuaged fears that Jack would be "de-gayed" by American network Starz. Barrowman later told Access Hollywood reporters that the gay sex scene the series would feature would be more explicit than previous shots of its kind in Torchwood, because Starz as a US premium cable network allowed the show to "push the envelope a little bit more". For airings in the UK, the BBC (a public broadcast network) edited the scene because it was deemed inappropriate for the primetime slot. However, a BBC spokesperson stated that the edit would not affect the story in any way. Barrowman however, responded by saying that sex scenes in the show were not gratuitous did form a part of the plot.
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The A.V. Club's Zack Handlen awarded "Dead of Night" a B- rating. He felt that the episode did not have any truly tense scenes compared to previous episode "Rendition". While he celebrated that the "two-fer sex scene" was unusual for mainstream science fiction, Handlen felt it "didn't make for gripping television", and felt Jack's hook-up was at least more believable than the prospect of a Rex/Vera romance. Though he gave the episode a relatively high rating, and was optimistic for Miracle Day as a series, Handlen's concluding paragraph stated "an episode like this isn't a good sign". Los Angeles Times reviewer Todd VanDerWerff wrote "With every week it’s on the air, Torchwood: Miracle Day continues to expand its scope"; his reviewer was largely positive but marked with criticisms. He felt "the episode's mid-section was where it was flabiest", referring to Gwen's contact with Rhys and the lovemaking scenes. Like Handlen, he remarked on the believability of the Rex/Vera pairing, saying "It made sense for later in the episode that Rex and Vera had hooked up (since it gave her stronger motivation to work with Torchwood), but in the moment, it seemed ludicrously convenient." Like Handlen, VanDerWerff didn't find the American public's reaction to Danes believable either. However, his summary said "All in all, this was a "putting the pieces in place" kind of episode, and though some of the pieces were moved quite inelegantly -– again, the Rex and Vera hook-up -– much of whether this episode stands out as the start of a decline or a brief hiccup will be determined by where the pieces go from here."
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