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Torchwood: Miracle Day – Morphic Fields and So Many Other Questions

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How do you connect morphic fields, the chaos caused by a manufactured and highly unnatural population explosion, an old man dying (when no one else can), and Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman)? Well, this is Torchwood, isn’t it?

Somehow, somewhere, we had to get to the root of some sort of alien life form or technology, didn’t we? And the fact that the alien technology was stolen from the ruins of The Hub back in Cardiff makes it logical that the Powers that Be want to keep Torchwood—and especially Captain Jack—out of the picture.

So The Families, much higher up the feeding chain that PhiCorp, have somehow used Jack’s blood—drained from him decades earlier and evidently, morphic resonance, to create The Miracle. So, then, is the immortality (and Jack’s sudden mortality) being caused by some sort of manipulation or disruption of the morphic field?

From what little I understand (and my Bachelors Degree in Biology helps me only a little bit here), morphic fields are essentially templates for species types. Dating back to the first humanoid species (in Doctor Who lore that would be the Gallifreyans), the morphic field created by their emergence, and grown stronger over the eons and as new humanoid species developed, became the physical, behavioral and intellectual blueprint for all humanoid species. The theory suggests that DNA, rather than being the source of morphological/developmental coding, is instead the receiver of information from the mophic field for the species type. The theory is real (although considered very much fringe science by much of the mainstream of scientific thought was developed by Dr. Robert Sheldrake, a British plant physiologist and biochemist.)

So, did Angelo use the alien field generator discovered beneath his floorboards to allow himself a natural death? If the transmitter creates a “null field,” as Jack explains to Rex and Esther, then whatever disturbance in the morphic field has been manufactured by The Families is nulled-out by the transmitter—and allows Angelo to die a natural death. Having stalked Jack for nine decades, Angelo acquired the transmitter—a bit of alien technology from beneath the rubble of the Torchwood Hub when it exploded at the start of Series 3 (Torchwood: Children of Earth).

Now a very wealthy, but very old, man, Angelo is the only one who can null out “The Miracle.” But the stolen (or scavenged) transmitter hidden beneath a platform in Angelo’s bedroom could be more dangerous to humankind than even The Miracle itself. If it can null out the morphic field disturbance—and create a cone of silence for as it does for Jack, Rex and Esther, it has the capability to hide—or null out–anything, from radiation to sickness to…whatever. It makes whomever possess this device all-powerful. It is the ultimate stealth weapon and protective shield, and negates any possible effect of policies like “Mutually Assured Destruction.” You can wipe out your enemies while keeping yourself nice and secure. No muss, no fuss. And Jack warns his colleagues that no one in this timeline should possess it. For it will mean termination of all life.

And as for Jack, does his mortality hold a crucial puzzle piece to thwart The Three Families’ plans? And, how? Is his mortality holding it together? What if he dies? He seems pretty badly injured when we last see him in “End of the Road.”

As Torchwood: Miracle Day winds towards its final two episodes, many questions remain, and it appears that the puzzle is far from completely solved. Captain Jack knows that the people who tortured him back in the day are behind The Miracle, but why? What is their ultimate goal? And if, as is strongly implied, The Plan goes beyond personal life and death issues and toward the financial and political domination of the world, what on Earth (or wherever) does that have to do with the categories, the incinerations, and PhiCorp?

With only two more episodes to go, there’s still a lot of ground to cover, and I’m sure it will be a roller coaster of a ride to get there. The series took a little while to really kick into high gear, but now that it’s there it’s relentless. Episode 9 of Torchwood: Miracle Day airs Friday night at 10 p.m. ET on Starz.

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About Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is publisher and executive editor of Blogcritics, as well as a noted entertainment writer. Author of Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D., her primary beat is primetime television. But Barbara writes on an everything from film to politics to technology to all things pop culture and spirituality. She is a contributor to the book called Spiritual Pregnancy (Llewellyn Worldwide, January 2014) and has a story in Riverdale Ave Press' new anthology of zombie romance, Still Hungry for your Love. She is hard at work on what she hopes will be her first published novel.
  • Jamie

    It did take awhile to get there didn’t it? I’m glad to see a bit of alien technology in this episode. Always makes for good fun. My only concern is that the resolution to the Miracle may be rushed since there’s only two episodes left and I feel like there’s still much that needs to be resolved. I have good faith that it’ll be good though.

  • http://barbarabarnett.com barbara barnett

    I think the series is a lot more ambitious than it first appeared, and that’s for sure. But so are so many of the Torchwood past series episodes. So much happened on each episode (the best anyway) and somehow they all got resolved in one way or another!

  • sarah ward

    what i didn’t understand is the fight in one of the last episodes of miracle day between the man and the woman (the evil doctor and one of the ‘new’ torchwood members) it was a bit odd how she could barely move with him and suddenly she was able to move away a man who is prob twice her weight. it was also strange seeing the chinese security guard in china so easily distracted with talking to his friend, and smoking. and yet on the news you see them having no distractions and strict behaviours. not very realistic!

  • Michele

    Jack took one of the panels and put it in his coat pocket. Wouldn’t that mean Jack’s own morphic field is now reversed back to normal? If his blood was the catalyst for the ‘miracle’, wouldn’t reversing his morphic field send the signal to the rest of the world to return to their normal? Miracle over? And now Jack needs to figure out how to make it permanent? And, if he reversed his own morphic field with the small piece of panel, wouldn’t that mean his bullet wound will now heal in his normal, instantaneous way?

  • http://barbarabarnett.com barbara barnett

    Michele–I don’t think the field was the morphic field. I think it was a field created to null it out so Angelo could die and not be immortal as a very old sick man (who would be a category 1).

  • Angelica

    If financial &/or political domination of the world is your goal, then the categories, the incinerations, & PhiCorp make total sense to me. If you want to rule the world, you need a way &/or system for exterminating your enemy. That’s what the the categories, the incinerations, and PhiCorp are for – an easy way to legally kill your enemy in massive amounts.
    Remember not every Category 1 should have been Category 1. I think they make a point of showing us that as well as make a point of letting us know that just because someone IS a 1 or 2 he/she will not always stay that way (i.e. Rex). Since 1s can heal & became 2s (maybe even 3s), Category 1s are put in ovens (i.e. let’s kill them before the heal). When Category 0 starts the killing will be even easier. PhiCorp is just a tool for The Families to carry out the plan. The Families could have started PhiCorp just to put that part of their plan into action.
    So far this whole season reminds me of the very first Torchwood episode: how technology can be used in the wrong way.