The Middle Men
|37 – "The Middle Men"|
|Directed by||Guy Ferland|
|Written by||John Shiban|
|Originally broadcast||12 August 2011
18 August 2011 (UK)
In the pre-credits sequence, PhiCorp COO Stuart Owens (Ernie Hudson) attempts to investigate PhiCorp construction sites in Shanghai but his hired investigator (Eric Steinberg) jumps off a high-story building to end consciousness, rather than tell him the horror of what is really going on. Jack later confronts Owens and learns from him that PhiCorp is as much a pawn as any other player in the system, and that whoever orchestrated the miracle has been working towards it for a very long time. He also learns of another term relating to the miracle which Owens' team of investigators have uncovered: "the blessing", dating back to the 1990s.
In San Pedro, Rex finishes his video message contained along with the footage of Dr. Juarez's incineration, and Esther begins to suspect something has happened to Dr. Juarez. Rex attempts to pass himself off as a soldier working at the San Pedro Overflow Camp but is unsuccessful and captured. Juarez's killer, camp director Colin Maloney (Marc Vann), briefly considers using Rex's video to expose the death of Dr. Juarez and become a hero, but then attempts to kill Rex. Esther finds them and is forced to strangle Maloney. With assistance from soldier Ralph Coltrane (Fred Koehler), who had been complicit in Juarez' murder, they are able to escape the compound with the footage. They release it, causing a public outcry, but do not affect the government's stance on Overflow Camps and the life and death category system.
In Wales, Gwen manages to break her father out of the Overflow Camp as Rhys runs over the gates with Geraint in the back of his truck. With the Torchwood contact lenses, Gwen publicly broadcasts a message explaining the purpose of the Overflow Camps shortly before blowing up the Modules (where people are incinerated) at the Cardiff facility. However, touching down again in Los Angeles she is unable to make contact with Rhys. A mysterious phone call at the LAX white courtesy telephone tells her to put on her lenses, where she receives a message directly to her line of sight from some mysterious conspirators: they have her mother, husband and child, and to set them free she must deliver Jack.
Assignment X described the episode as "lackluster", stating, "This story seems to excel in examining all the permutations of its premise in society – such as the intriguing “45 Club” early in this episode – but the further it goes in following the actual plotline with the Torchwood team and their investigation, the more frustrating it gets as a viewing experience". The Yorker was positive about the episode saying "With each new episode of Torchwood, the revelations become grimmer and more disturbing. The switch between Wales and the US works well now, and there’s a realistic contrast between the two."
The Guardian commented saying "it's actually starting to feel rather normal, this show being set in both California and Wales. It needed to eventually, It's Esther who really comes into her own this week. After inadvertently getting her sister's kids taken into care the other week, she's now gone through a Torchwood rite of passage in killing someone as Evil Colin enacts a horror movie cliche, grabbing her ankle and extending what are actually some pretty shocking and graphic scenes of violence against women. Still, her final, broken scene with Rex in the car, where unlike the rest of the team she would very clearly be doing absolutely anything else, was really very moving."