Stupid Things From Episode 1 of Torchwood: Miracle Day


This is a Child Molester/Murderer played by Bill Pullman. He's so reprehensibly evil that even anti-death penalty activists don't show up to protest his execution. After the execution fails because the laws of death no longer apply, he announces that he'd like to be let out of prison, since the sentence was carried out.

What's stupid about this? The governor lets him go. Yup. Lets him walk right out of the prison. Why on earth would that happen? Pullman threatens to sue for wrongful imprisonment!

Gasp! Can it be? Would someone actually sue the government over imprisonment? Well they'd better cave right away, for fear of being brought to American court!

Here's a fun fact that Russel Davies might not be aware of - at any given moment there are literally tens of thousands of pending lawsuits by prisoners protesting the conditions or fact of their imprisonment. Lawsuits aren't expensive to file, and people in prison have quite a bit of free time on their hands.

Does Pullman have a case? Maybe - but probably not. The Governor of a state has the unilateral privilege to convert anyone's death sentence to a sentence of life imprisonment. It's as simple as signing a single declaration. “Oh, so human beings can't die any more? Well, then I'm sentencing you to spend forever in prison.”

Naturally Pullman would have his lawyers sue (I've got to wonder how good a lawyer this character, who's essentially Freddy Kruger, could get, though), but getting a court date could take months or even years - also there's a worldwide crisis going on at the moment, which could put all court dates back indefinitely. Also, how sympathetic is a jury really going to be? Members of the potential jury pool gathered outside his prison to celebrate his impending death - are they going to jump at the chance to let him out?

This is a country where various states have laws limiting the amount of money that you can receive in a lawsuit if you were falsely convicted of a crime. Yup - the government puts you in jail for something you didn't do, and then one day, miraculously, you're proven completely innocent. According to your state, the maximum compensation you can receive for that horrifying ordeal? 25K a year.

That's someone who's factually innocent. What kind of a monetary award is a confessed child molester and brutal murderer going to get?


This is the CIA storage library. Apparently they have one of those. It's a big stone building which the public is aware of, and it's filled with wooden shelving where the CIA keeps cardboard boxes full of all of its most secret files. It is protected by a single old fat security guard with a gun.

We're expected to believe that this could possibly exist.


According to the show, this generic office building is either Dulles or BWI. Set the completely superfluous scene of Mekhi Pfeifer getting his passport at his house, if you must have it.

Except you don't need it. All you establish in this scene is that Mekhi is a dick, because he's mean to his maid. The character is introduced by while gloating about the fact that a colleague's wife is ailing. Why? Because that means the colleague will have to come home, and he'll get a promotion to a high-profile foreign desk!

So yeah, we didn't need more proof that he's a scumbag.


This is Mekhi Pfeifer in a hospital bed after being skewered by pipes in a car accident. He's a big muckity-muck at the CIA, which enables him to re-route the 'alien-autopsy' style examination of a blown-up man who's still conscious into a screen in his room.

What's so stupid about this? There wouldn't be anything, if it wasn't for the fact that the autopsy of the top-secret government prisoner was happening in the same 'open-to-the-public' hospital that Mekhi was randomly taken to after his accident. Rather than say, literally any secure government building. Although, to their credit, it might be hard to find one of those.

In Washington DC.


According to the plot, now that no one is dying, there's a de facto population growth of a million people every two days - which is bad, but not nearly as bad as the show makes out. That's partially because of the bizarre double-counting the show does. They add that the 300K people not dying every day to the overall population, as well as the 500K being born, for a total population growth of 2.5 million every three days. Of course, the people not dying don't actually add to the population, they just don't subtract from it - so you can only count the 500K new people as a population increase. And while a million new people every two days is bigger than 400K we'd expect, it's only an increase of degrees, rather than the exponential one they fear.

They announce that if this 'immortality' thing drags on indefinitely the whole planet will run out of resources in 4 months, based on current food consumption levels. It didn't occur to the writer (or any of the characters, it seems), that no one has to eat any more, or be concerned about the nutritional value of the things they consume. If everyone ate the barest subsistence level of rice needed to stave off hunger pangs, the world's food supply could be increased twentyfold. And a simple program of sterilization and banning reproduction now that everyone's immortal could easily deal with the overpopulation problem within the next few years.

Somehow none of this has occurred to the supposedly smartest people in the world.


I'm not sure if this one is a flaw, but it's bizarre - the characters on the show keep using the term '4-5-6' as if it's a secrecy classification along the lines of 'eyes only'. Rather than what the show previously used it as - the name that the monstrous aliens from 'Children of Earth' gave themselves.


A rocket flies through a building, then explodes-

Out the back window against a cliff.

For some reason, the hallway it passed through is completely blackened, as if it had been burnt. By what? If the fire from the tail of the rocket was that hot, shouldn't something be on fire? If the explosion was that powerful, shouldn't it have knocked out the back wall of the house?

Here's the rocket actually passing through the hallway, profoundly not burning or blackening anything.


The team shoots down the helicopter, and acts like this is a definitive end to the whole action sequence. Aren't those three assassins still alive in the wreck of the chopper? Shouldn't you be interrogating them to find out who sent them? Couldn't that lead to an hilarious scene of someone taking a suicide pill and having it accomplish nothing?

That's seven stupid things in a single episode. Not a fantastic start for the series. If nothing else, at least the show is an interesting sociological study about what people who've never been to America or met an American think of the country.

Let's see what happens next week!

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