Review is behind the link:
At the end of Episode 8, End of the Road, a tearful Gwen was on a plane back to Wales. Jack was shot and we were left hanging while a sobbing Esther was driving down a desert highway with Jack laying on the backseat bleeding while trying to figure out where she can get help.
Episode 9, The Gathering, opens with the text “Two months later” – Love it when they jump in time to advance the story. It does make sense to jump two months ahead; otherwise we would have used up Episode 9 dealing with Jack’s injury and not much else. So we find two months later Jack and Esther somehow have travelled from Nevada to Scotland and are hiding out in a cottage. Jack and Esther talk while she’s checking his wound and we learn Jack is recovering from his gunshot wound and a secondary infection and Esther’s been taking Jack’s blood by the pint and storing it away over the past few weeks. Jack keeps saying there’s nothing special about his blood – it’s not what made him immortal. Esther points out they took his blood, they keep spilling his blood and trying to kill him; it’s the only weapon they have at this point.
Rex, who is back in CIA headquarters trying to track down the three families, gets a lead as a result of a 1930′s pulp fiction story based on the Harkness case. There was a related 90-year old murder case and a murder weapon which could have helped trace some of the families’ descendants, but the mole, Charlotte, made sure the blood evidence was destroyed. Rex was determined to find the author of the pulp fiction story but realizing there had to be a mole in the CIA, he tells Shapiro, his boss about his idea, and he wants to go off the grid. There were several leads including at least one in Argentina.
Life in Swansea and elsewhere in the UK is desperate (along with the rest of the world) – Why else would Gwen crash a stolen car into a pharmacy late at night and steal medicine for her dad and for some of her neighbors? Apparently people are afraid to go to their doctors for some medical problems fearing they’ll be labeled Category One and carted off to the Overflow camps. In fact the government is hunting down Category One patients and forcibly removing them from their homes and families. The government isn’t using the ovens right now, but it’s just a matter of time before they do. Now people are so busy just trying to survive, the government just may get away with it this time.
Oswald turns up in Gwen’s home demanding to see Jack because Oswald’s got information about the Miracle. Gwen arranges for Esther and Jack to come to her home after making sure the agent watching her home is retconned and the video camera aimed at her front door is turned off. Oswald shows he has Jilly’s laptop and Jilly is feeding information to a Harry Bosco. Gwen’s not impressed; Torchwood had already raided Jilly’s laptop earlier. Esther points out Harry Bosco is not a person but a process where the public is misled by news being rewritten giving the example using the word victims will get a different public reaction than the word bodies. Oswald points out Jilly’s online profile has totally disappeared from the Internet; Jilly Kitzinger has ceased to exist.
Esther discovers some video files Jilly has rewritten and with translation help from Rex back in CIA headquarters they find out a video of a Chinese man has been altered to “It’s a blessing I was saved,” when he really said, “The Blessing saved me.” The man is in Shanghai. Further research also shows a blood bank in Shanghai and another in Buenos Aires were both burned to the ground before Miracle Day. Rhys is the one who figures out Buenos Aires and Shanghai are the exact opposite points on the Earth (antipodes) and are represented on Phicorp’s company logo, a globe with a line drawn through it. The team’s convinced the Miracle is in Shanghai but somehow also linked to Buenos Aires.
Just as they’re making plans the front door is broken down and Mr. Finch, the government man in charge of finding Category Ones walks in with a swat team and searches the cellar where Gwen’s dad is hidden behind some wall paneling. They find him using a new thermal imaging application, tear away the paneling and cart him away at gunpoint.
Determined to end this Miracle Day disaster the Torchwood team splits up; Esther and Rex go to Buenos Aires while Gwen and Jack sneak into Shanghai. Gwen and Jack are forced to take Oswald with them because he knows too much and Rhys would have killed Oswald if they had left him with Rhys.
Jilly is already in Shanghai as the families’ guest and is taken to the Blessing where she’s met by Mother Colasanto (who for some reason is wearing gloves when no one else is). She tells Jilly the Blessing has been known to drive people to kill themselves. When Jilly’s exposed to it and asked what the Blessing is telling her, she just smiles and say, “That I’m right.”
Meanwhile in the dingy Shanghai apartment Jack, Gwen and Oswald are hiding in Gwen’s calling Esther to confirm she and Rex have arrived safely. Rex isn’t looking too good but Esther’s doesn’t seem to be aware of it; she confirms they’ve arrived and she has the briefcase with Jack’s blood in it just in case they need it. Gwen hangs up only to find Jack nearly keeling over. She helps him into a bunk bed and checks his wound. Jack admits he’s been feeling worse since they arrived in Shanghai and Gwen discovers he’s bleeding again. Removing the blood drenched bandage Gwen examines Jack’s wound. Oswald watches a drop of Jack’s blood drop from the bandage to the floor and it starts to roll across the floor. He quickly brings this to their attention and they all watch it roll towards the wall. Jack’s blood is showing the way to the Blessing.
There were creepy moments: Oswald sneaking into Gwen’s home as the grocery delivery man and picking up Gwen’s daughter and holding her – totally understood Gwen’s reaction. I too would have slammed a cooking pot against the man’s face myself if it was my child Oswald was holding. The creepiest moment was watching Jack’s blood roll across the floor pointing the way to the Blessing. Moments which made me angry: Mr. Finch showing up looking for Gwen’s dad and the second time he showed up and discovered her dad and took him away. The man’s a heartless bastard hiding behind the law. I so wanted to smash his face in when he had the nerve to say, “I’m sorry for your loss,” to Gwen’s mum. I had the same reaction when Oswald admitted to Gwen he did in fact say, “She should have run faster.” There was one thing to cheer about – the demise of insurance companies (anyone who’s ever had to fight over an insurance claim will understand what I mean).
Found it interesting the families wanted Jilly because she’s a story teller, but when I thought about it, it does make sense. She’s good at changing keywords in a news story to hide the truth, but they want her to do more than that; they want her to write history. I seem to recall history is usually written for the victors and always is written from the victors’ perspective.
A very touching moment towards the end of the episode when Jack was feeling ill; he admitted to Gwen he was tired of his mortal life because it hurt too much.
I do want to mention one more thing. Somehow Jack’s blood is a key element in this mystery and I think Angelo gave him a clue back in Episode 8; Angelo only died after Jack kissed him. It’s true Angelo had the null field device removed from the destroyed Torchwood Hub and placed under his bed, but there was one thing missing – Jack. Jack may not believe his blood is special but Jack is because his immortality is tied to the vortex. I believe Jack can stop this Miracle Day, but the cost may be his mortal life. The question is if the Miracle Day event is cancelled out by Jack’s sacrifice will he revert to his previous immortal state? And what will happen to all the Category Ones including Rex and Gwen’s dad? We’ll only find out if we watch Episode 10.