The Gathering (2011)

The penultimate episode is the best that there has been for quite some time. The story takes place primarily in Wales and that makes this episode the most British that it has been. The episode did something that I wasn’t expecting which was to move the story along two months. I think because at the end of the previous episode it was looking quite grim for Captain Jack who had been shot and was looking pretty ropey. When we return to Jack he and Esther are holed up in some room still on the run. The worldwide situation continues to focus on the financial meltdown which still seems relevant today (but I wonder how poignant it will seem in 25 years!). Rex is now back in the bosom of the CIA so it means that the various plot strands can continue.

With Gwen booted out of the US it means that she has to go back and live with her mom who is still looking after her category 1 Dad and that is where some of the best tension comes from because the authorities are after the Dad and he has been dumped in a small hidden room and has to remain hidden whilst the evil man and whilst he was searching for the dad there was a moment of whether he would be found but thankfully he didn’t. When the story moves to America and in the CIA that was good because firstly we get to see more John De Lancie who has been a superb piece of casting and secondly because we get a bit of the 24 vibe in the story because in the workplace there is someone who is pretending to be on the side of good but in secret is working for the opposition. I did think this was a bit of 24 but to be honest I thought it was a nice thing.

Bill Pullman is as usual brilliant in this episode but due to the strong performances from everyone he doesn’t steal the show. It was good how he finally got to be in the UK and interact with other members apart from just John Barrowman. I did think that John Barrowman was on good form as was Mekhi Phifer and Alexa Havins. But this was Eve Myles’ best episode for quite sometime. Despite it being a family episode it was done very well and Eve Myles does very well. She does have a tendancy to go overboard on the family defence thing and becomes unlikeable but in this episode she found the right balance. Another big name that debuts is Frances Fisher who plays Mother and appears at the end when she greets Jilly/Lucy. Fisher has appeared in stuff like Titantic, Unforgiven and The X-Files, she is very good in her brief appearance. The casting in this season has been superb and its been one of the benefits of this UK/US co-production.

The moment when it revealed that the logo of PhiCorp is pretty much like the direct line between Shangai and Buenos Aires was brilliant. I thought it was a very clever thing and it was the sort of stunt that RTD was pulling when he was running Doctor Who. This is the first time in this series it felt like the old RTD. I just think it was a bit of a let down when it was Rhys that put the pieces together and told all the ‘smart’ people about the link.

The thing about this part of the series is that the loose ends have to tied up and the PhiCorp story seems to be going off in a strange way because Jilly has gone and has become Lucy Statten Meredith. When she arrives in Shangai she meets some bloke ad it seems like its going to be a deep and important scene but felt rather throw away.
The moment that Jilly arrives in Shangai and sees the blessing was a weird moment because I don’t know what to make of it. It looked like some blocks of meat with bits falling off and going into the black. I hope that this is resolved in the final episode because it doesn’t quite sit right with me and needs some explanation to make sense. I did like the bit with As an episode it is another strong episode and sets up the final episode brilliantly.

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