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, stealing PhiCorp drugs. His dad holds him at gunpoint, but Rex disarms him. He says he doesn't want to live forever. When Rex shows him his wound, his dad tells him to "get the hell out." Rex agrees, exiting. Once out, he takes out a package of PhiCorp drugs, having taken them from his father's stash.
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. Fex berates Esther, realising she visited her sister's house, allowing them to be traced. Rex goes to rescue Gwen and Jack. The man says that the reason Jack is mortal is because of something that happened many years ago, and that Jack caused this. Rex is midway sprinting up the 30 flights of stairs, his wound taking its toll. 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. Exhausted, Rex collapses against the wall. Jack and Gwen chastise Rex, stating he stopped the man from telling them what he knew but Rex dismisses them, citing he saved their lives.
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
- Bisme Katusi - Juanita Jennings
- Sarah - Candace Brown
- Nicolas Frumkin - Kelvin Yu
- Male Nurse - Desean Terry
- Thin Old Man - Roger Vernon Burton
- Woman - Katsy Chappell
- Young Mother - April Clark
- Lobby Guard - Anthony Dilio
- Burly Guard - David Fofi
- Spanish Newscaster - Teresa Garza
- Maurice - Roy Lee Jones
- Veronica - JoNell Kennedy
- Japanese Newscaster - Masami Kosaka
- Simran - Ronobir Lahiri
- Sick Man - Michael D Nye
- Scared Old Woman - Barbara Mallory
- Landlord - Keith Russell
- Chauffeur - Christian Svensson
- Candice - Randa Walker
- Male Newscaster - David Grant Wright
- Dr. Vera Juarez - Arlene Tur
- Mr. Peterssen - Brian Guest
- Ellis Hartley Monroe - Mare Winningham
- Voice of the Cousin - Chris Butler
- The Gentleman - C Thomas Howell
- Jilly Kitzinger - Lauren Ambrose
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".
- There's cholera in Boston and dysentery in Philly. New York has typhus and hemorrhagic fever.
- Esther's sister is Sarah Drummond. Her nieces are Melanie and Alice Drummond. They live at 1032 King Sovereign Road.
- KCNU reports on the miracle. As do WYUB, WNKW and NNM.
- It says on the news that revolutions have started on Twitter.
- The scientists, White House and Vatican are all silent regarding Miracle Day.
- Pharmaceutical companies, including PhiCorp are predicting record profits.
- There is a Big-Daddy Pizza by Venice Beach.
- Torchwood has stolen another vehicle for cruising around LA unnoticed — a station wagon likely snatched from the local beachfront area.
- Venice Beach is on the west coast of America beside the Pacific.
- Venice and Los Angeles are separate cities.
- Ellis Hartley Monroe sets up her Dead is Dead campaign.
- An abandoned hospital has been empty since 1992 or 1993. It is toured by representatives from City General Hospital, St Mary's Hospital, St Helen's Hospital, Open Brook, Grand Maple Forest, Attenwood's Hospital and Woolsey Heights.
- The abandoned hospital used as a containment facility is compared to a plague ship.
- The landlord says that the apartment "ain't Nirvana".
- The team compare themselves to a travelling circus. Jack is the clown and Gwen is the bearded woman.
- One can find a guava jalapeño cheese tart at a nearby Los Angeles café.
- Rhys understands that it's boiling hot in Los Angeles all year round.
- Esther bounces the mobile phone signal off a Chinese satellite.
- 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.
- Jilly's freelance, but has been working with PhiCorp for around six months.
- Jack refers to a chapter George Eliot wrote in Middlemarch, regarding scratches in metal circling around light.
- The White House is planning a rally in Los Angeles.
- Jilly states that her job is not to like Oswald, but to find him coffee, accompany him to studios and recommend who is better out of Diane Sawyer and Piers Morgan.
- 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.
- Central News cancelled Oswald and booked Ellis Hartley Monroe, who has been looped on channel 55 all day.
- Esther gives Rex a couple of aspirin.
- Rex is from New York but has a father living in California.
- Rex has an antagonistic relationship with his father and has not spoken to him since he joined the CIA. Maurice has stolen drugs and owns a shotgun. He hates the United States government.
- Server number one thirteen is PhiCorp's secure server, accessible only to highest level employees. It is located on floor 33 of PhiCorp HQ. Every entry needs Frumkin's voice print, palm print and iris recognition.
- Jack uses the alias "John Smith".
- "John" and Gwen's supposed child is called Sally Anne Louise Matilda Jane.
- Gwen can impersonate a Minnesota regional accent, albeit a terrible one. She, with Jack in agreement, resolves to never use it again.
- Saint Helen's and Open Brook send all their patients to the abandoned hospital at the same time, followed by patients from Conniston Drive. The second floor has no electricity.
- Vera asks a male nurse to fetch Mr Holland. She then asks for the whereabouts of Sally Richter.
- Hartley Monroe asks that her guards get hold of Fox News and them she's heading for New York. She also asks that she see Mr Coulidge.
- 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. Esther calls pretending to be FBI.
- Sarah is under the care of Dr Cottesloe.
- Gwen uses the alias "Yvonne Pallister" and pretends to work in international sales and Esther pretends to be "Lorraine" in PhiCorp Human Resources.
- 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.
- Jack sets off a smoke alarm as a distraction.
- I-5s require the user to be conscious for visual output. (TV: Reset) Knocking them out cold will cut off the live feed through the contact lenses.
- Oswald is trending on Twitter. In France, he is being hailed as "The Sainted Danes". He is to replace Hartley Monroe at the Miracle Rally in Los Angeles.
- Inside a Ford, Hartley Monroe is put through a car compactor at a scrap yard.
- PhiCorp has sold a strategy to the UN involving overflow camps.
- The UK Government steps in to prop up the NHS.
- Rhys puts Gwen's dad in the South Wales site
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.
- When Gwen holds the phone up to Nicholas' face, the shot of Esther's computer clearly shows that the Torchwood software is run using Quick Time Player
- The hand wearing the latex glove with Nicolas Frumkin's handprint is not Gwen's. If it was then we'd see her black sleve and the glove wouldn't fit perfectly, which it does.
- 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)
- Rex's his wound hinders him physically, having pushed himself to the point of death again. (TV: The New World, Dead of Night)
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.