Escape to LA (TV story)
|Escape to LA|
|Main character(s):||Jack, Gwen, Rhys, Rex, Esther, Oswald|
|Featuring:||Vera, Jilly, Sarah|
|Main enemy:||The Gentleman|
|Main setting:||Washington DC, Los Angeles and Cardiff, 2011|
|Writer:||Jim Gray, John Shiban|
|Producer:||Kelly A Manners|
|Premiere broadcast:||29 July 2011|
|Dead of Night||The Categories of Life|
|Another memorable moment|
Escape to LA was the fourth episode of Torchwood: Miracle Day. It explored the family relationships of Esther Drummond and Rex Matheson, which had been strained by their duties for the CIA. Esther had to deal with an addled sister, Sarah, and Rex had a disgruntled father, neither caring for each other's company very much.
Of note was the introduction of politician Ellis Hartley Monroe, a foil to Oswald Danes. Moreover, the anonymous organisation that had its hooks into Brian Friedkin began to move out of its thus far quiet operations and take a hostile initiative against Torchwood. This unknown collective, identified by its triangular calling card symbol, contracted a professional assassin to eliminate the group, who dropped hints about what these individuals sought to gain.
Despite the risks, Esther Drummond decides to pay a visit to her sister Sarah, only to find her house boarded up with messages to stay away. When Sarah answers the door, Esther discovers she's added several locks to it and is apparently having a nervous breakdown. When Sarah explains that she's been questioned about her, Esther explains she's leaving Washington DC soon and wants to say goodbye to her nieces. However, Sarah says she won't let them outside, believing everything people are saying about the Miracle online. Forced to leave, Esther calls Child Services, explaining Sarah may pose a danger to her daughters. Unbeknownst to her, an agent of the Families has found her and is ordered to follow her to Jack Harkness.
Arriving in Los Angeles, the Torchwood team take in their new surroundings while Rex Matheson puts money in the parking metre. Jack expresses his fondness for seeing the Pacific Ocean, saying it must have been in the 1940s that he last saw it. Esther questions him if he's joking, but Gwen Cooper changes the subject, asking where PhiCorp headquarters is; it's in the next city. Jack informs his team that they have to find a base of operations in the meantime, with Gwen complaining about the locations he always chooses.
In the meantime, Rex phones Dr Juarez, having been handed a flier advertising Dead is Dead, learning Ellis Hartley Monroe is leading a campaign to treat those who should have died as they are dead and wait for their "pause" from death to come to an end. Dr Juarez, on the other hand, is being shown an abandoned hospital along with a medical panel; it's intended to be used as storage for the overflowing ICU patients. Despite protests, the plan will go through.
Elsewhere, Oswald Danes is enjoying the privileges of being in a fancy hotel, everything paid for by PhiCorp of course. Jilly Kitzinger arrives and explains to him that PhiCorp has made her his personal assistant, saying she will do anything within her job description for him; however, that doesn't mean she has to like him, as she is disgusted by what he has done. Oswald prepares to leave for another interview, but is told he has been replaced by Monroe; her popularity is growing fast, putting Danes in danger of being thrown back to the mob.
Jack has located a small house of residence, and a mysterious man, following Gwen, states that "Torchwood has been located."
Rex goes to meet his dad, who has regressed into a thief. He says he doesn't want to live forever. When Rex shows him his wound, his dad tells him to "get the hell out."
Esther shows that server 113 of the PhiCorp computer system contains information they need. The security for their server system was designed by a Nicholas Frumkin; every entry point is activated by Frumkin's voice print, palm print and iris recognition. Jack and Gwen impersonate a couple and gain the respective things with the help of a water bottle and Gwen's cell phone.
The new temporary hospital that Juarez is managing is failing miserably: no ID checks, no electricity and people just being thrown in without permission. Moore has a rally just outside. Oswald, who is there at the time, decides to go into the hospital, locking everyone out. He says he is not scared of the people inside. He says he wants to help, promising food and security. This gets him more popularity among the populace of the world. Monroe, while leaving, is poisoned.
Frumkin is put at gunpoint by an unnamed person. He tells them that Torchwood is behind what is about to happen. For the palm and eye, he mutilates Frumkin, who lives through every second due to the Miracle. Esther's sister Sarah has been taken to a psychiatric hospital.
Gwen is admitted undercover at PhiCorp under the alias of Yvonne Pallister, International Sales Representative, and Esther poses as "Lorraine" in Human Resources to get Gwen to Floor 21. She also sends Jack to Floor 21, with him posing as a delivery worker. Jack sets a small fire and then extinguishes it, to set off the fire alarm. They enter the room with a blank server.
Rex realises the possibility that someone might have followed Esther while she was at her sister's house. The mysterious agent who followed Esther knocks out and gags Gwen, and when Jack enters, he follows. Rex goes to rescue them. The man says that the reason Jack is mortal is because of something that happened many years ago, and that Jack caused this. He says that the moment has come when they found "specific geography." He is about to reveal this information when Rex bursts in and shoots him in the throat.
Monroe finds herself gagged, inside a vehicle and into a compactor. She's still alive due to Miracle Day. A screen in the dashboard lights up with a spinning triangular symbol and a voice speaks to her. It apologises to her about what is to befall her, musing that they could have been friends under different circumstances. However, though her style was in their liking, the anonymous group has Oswald Danes, not needing another player for their cause. Monroe's strategy nearly revealed their hand too soon, which would have ruined their long-awaited plans. The voice tells her a final cryptic statement: "We are everywhere. We are always. We are no-one. And soon, the families will rise." Ellis is mulched into the wreckage of the compacted vehicle. All that can be seen inside the cube of twisted chassis is one terrified eye from a person who can no longer scream.
Rex reprimands Esther for her mistake during the operation, announcing this is her last warning. Esther apologises and begins the lengthy process of compiling data to seek out the organisation that has put a hit on Torchwood and learn more about PhiCorp. They find that PhiCorp plans to build overflow camps, and worse still, it's already started. Rhys Williams phones Gwen with the news they are moving her father out of the hospital, and into an overflow camp. Rhys doesn't know the government's plans are duplicitous, thinking his father-in-law will be safe. Gwen frantically tells Rhys to stop the removal of her father from the hospital. Rhys runs outside to find ambulances pouring out onto the street. It's too late for him to stop the patient transfer — PhiCorp has captured Gwen's dad.
- Captain Jack Harkness - John Barrowman
- Gwen Cooper - Eve Myles
- Rex Matheson - Mekhi Phifer
- Esther Drummond - Alexa Havins
- Rhys Williams - Kai Owen
- Oswald Danes - Bill Pullman
- Dr. Vera Juarez - Arlene Tur
- Mr Peterssen - Brian Guest
- Ellis Hartley Monroe - Mare Winningham
- Bisme Katusi - Juanita Jennings
- Sarah Drummond - Candace Brown
- Nicolas Frumkin - Kelvin Yu
- Male Nurse - Desean Terry
- Thin Old Man - Roger Vernon Burton
- Voice of the Cousin - Chris Butler
- Woman - Katsy Chappell
- Young Mother - April Clark
- Lobby Guard - Anthony Dilio
- Burly Guard - David Fofi
- The Gentleman - C Thomas Howell
- Spanish Newscaster - Teresa Garza
- Jilly Kitzinger - Lauren Ambrose
- Maurice Matheson - Roy Lee Jones
- Veronica - JoKnell Kennedy
- Japanese Newscaster - Masami Kosaka
- Simran - Ronobir Lahiri
- Sick Man - Michael D Nye
- Scared Old Woman - Barbara Mallory
- Landlord Brian - Keith Russell
- Chauffeur - Christian Svensson
- Candice - Randa Walker
- Male Newscaster - David Grant Wright
Created by Russell T Davies
|Executive Producers Russell T Davies, Julie Gardner and Jane Tranter|
|Co-executive producer(s) Vlad Wolynetz and John Shiban|
|General production staff||Art department||Make-up and prosthetics
Special and visual effects
|Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.|
The Starz broadcast carried a final credit of "Originally Developed and Produced by BBC Cymru Wales". The BBC One broadcast says, instead, "BBC Worldwide Productions for BBC Cymru Wales and STARZ Originals".
- One can find a guava jalapeño cheese tart at a nearby Los Angeles café.
- Gwen Cooper seeks to get her father Geraint Cooper free from his hospital-bound predicament because of the reports hospitals are being overrun with outbreak of staph infection, specifically MRSA.
- Sarah Drummond's children are taken into custody by Child Protective Services when her sister Esther gives an anonymous tipoff to local social services that she is mentally ill. Sarah is then put in psychiatric treatment and her children are prepped for foster care.
- Sarah mentions disease outbreaks across America, involving cholera in Boston and dysentery in Philadelphia.
- Gwen has trouble wearing high-heeled shoes. She decides to be barefoot after much discomfort, saying that the women who wear them to work are heroes.
- Gwen can impersonate a Minnesota regional accent, albeit a terrible one. She, with Jack in agreement, resolves to never use it again.
- Torchwood has stolen another vehicle for cruising around LA unnoticed — a station wagon likely snatched from the local beachfront area.
- Rex has an antagonistic relationship with his father and has not spoken to him since he joined the CIA.
- I-5s require the user to be conscious for visual output. Knocking them out cold will cut off the live feed through the contact lenses.
- Oswald Danes has re-educated himself on how to use computers since his lengthy imprisonment cut off from such technology. Prior to his arrest, he was an internet predator who went to great lengths to conceal his presence online while indulging in paedophilia. This allows him to detect PhiCorp's similar efforts at covering their tracks, because he recognises the pattern of information just scattering away, getting discouraged with misleading names, tangents and diversions, and finding nothing tangible to incriminate the company. He concludes that PhiCorp is maintaining its subterfuge on a worldwide scale.
Story notes edit
- A supporting character in this episode has the last name Katusi. This was going to be Esther's last name before Alexa Havins was cast.
- Vera calls Rex a "dead man walking", the exact title of a series 2 Torchwood episode.
- UK: 5.19 million
Filming locations edit
- It appears that the beach locations were shot in Venice Beach, CA. (e.g., when Gwen is on the phone with Rhys.)
Production errors edit
- At the beginning of the mission to infiltrate Phicorp, Rex asks Esther if all the systems are online. Esther says yes, and the signal looks good; the computer screen, however, states the I-5 is offline.
- Jack introduces himself as John Smith, the alias often employed by the Doctor. (TV: The Wheel in Space, Spearhead from Space et al)
- When Ellis Hartley Monroe takes centre stage at the hospital instead of Danes, Jilly describes it as a "timing malfunction". This was also the term used when the Master took control of the Doctor's TARDIS before landing in San Francisco on 30 December 1999. (TV: Doctor Who)
Home video releases edit
This episode was released worldwide in a box set containing all ten episodes of Torchwood: Miracle Day. In the United Kingdom, it was released on Region 2 DVD and Region Free Blu-ray on 14 November 2011. In Australia, it was released in Region 4 DVD and Region B Blu-Ray on 1 December 2011. In New Zealand, the same sets were released on 7 December 2011. In North America, it was released on Region 1 DVD and Region Free Blu-Ray on 3 April 2012.