After last week's less than stellar episode (I'm being kind here) Jack and the team are back in top form with an alien-free Gwen-centric story. We learn tonight that the rift giveth (aliens) and the rift taketh away (people).
We open on Jonah Bevan, a sweet lad who is waking home from a wholesome teenage activity, he receives a text message from his mum about being late and he looks up to see her watching him from their flat across the way. There sure isn't anything creepy about this scene as Jonah heads across an empty bridge, well as long as you don't count the strange flashing light, and then no more Jonah. Fast forward seven months and Andy, Gwen's old partner from the force asks for her help in investigating the disappearance. He is certain something Torchwoody
is going on, while Gwen seems keen to just bug Andy about why he didn't show up to her wedding to Rhys. Andy has a crush on Gwen and thinks Rhys is fat, so he's pretty much like every non-Ianto cast member on the show.
So Gwen's investigation leads her to the realization that there have been plenty of unexplained disappearances in Cardiff and with Toshiko's help they deduce that these vanishings occur during negative rift activity. Tosh seemed genuinely excited to be featured in a story line, even if she's just someone's accomplice. Naturally everyone forgets about Tosh after this scene. Gwen brings this information up at the next Torchwood staff meeting, and Jack blows it off by pulling rank and being an ass.
Gwen of course refuses to let it go and becomes obsessed with the mystery, sacrificing time with an ever more pissed off husband, who is sick of her only talking about work and herself. When she finally takes all of her findings back to Jack we are treated to a hilariously awkward scene. Gwen walks in on Ianto and Jack in the midst of something that would surely get them fired from any other company. Not because they're both dudes, but they are doing it at the office, people work there! Ianto feels sort of bad about Jack's attitude towards Gwen and gives her a device with a hidden location on it. I don't even want to fathom how he hid that device from Jack who seems very thorough with his employees.
Off to the mysterious location, an island where Gwen spots Jack and a nurse escorting a shrouded person into a warehouse. Gwen easily gets in with her "I'm with Torchwood" routine and to her surprise locates Jonah. Oh did I mention Jonah is about 40 years older and suffers from massive burn-related scars? Our good teenage friend Jonah was sucked into the rift and spat out on a burning planet, where he was eventually rescued and got to watch a solar system burn, and even got to see the heart of a Dark Star, which will become important in a few minutes. Jack appears using his plot-teleporting device that places him wherever the plot needs him and explains to Gwen that this facility was set up to help those who have become victims of the rift.
Will a lot of pushing, Gwen convinces Jack to let Jonah's mother see her son. This also involves a lot of trust on the part of the mom, who gets to visit what she is told will be her son, although looking quite different. When she first see's Jonah, she flips out and refuses to accept that the man in front of her is her son, Jonah tells her things only they would know and she eventually accepts him and they hug. Jonah begins to act strangely and the staff forces Mrs. Jonah away from him, and then they learn why. Looking into the heart of a Dark Star tends to drive people insane and Jonah lets out a piercing scream for twenty hours a day. The scream breaks his mom's heart who reveals to Gwen that she wishes she had never been taken to see Jonah. Until then she had hope, and now she has nothing.
Gwen returns home, emotionally drained from this week's case and Rhys man's up and let's Gwen tell him the story, while crying. You're a better man than I am Rhys.
Next week on Torchwood:
How did Jack, Tosh, Owen, and Ianto become members of Torchwood?
-More Torchwood News
Story by Dan Chruscinski
Starpulse contributing writer