Well, we're at the penultimate episode of the season, so one might assume the show would move at a breakneck pace to get the viewer's blood pumping leading to a doozy of a cliffhanger that would drive immigration to the UK. Well this turns out to be half true.
The episode begins with a bang, ok four bangs to be specific. While investigating some rift activity at a building outside of Cardiff, the team splits up and each come across some interesting bomb shaped devices, which promptly detonate. Jack, Tosh, Owen, and Ianto all get caught in blasts while Gwen, who decided to sleep in this particular day, remains comfy in bed with Rhys. Do we get a race against time to unearth the team from the rubble? Nope, we get nifty flashbacks showing us how this rag tag group of alien hunter/boinkers got together. Let's recap these little vignettes then, shall we?
With Jack being a drunk who tends to survive bar brawls even after being impaled with bottles all while claming to be searching for a certain Doctor, Victorian Torchwood
brings the captain in for questioning. They break up the questioning by trying to kill him, over and over again. Jack agrees to help them, even though Torchwood was designed to combat alien threats, including The Doctor, and goes on assignment bringing in a nice fish faced alien. Jack has a knack for catching aliens and Torchwood has a knack for blowing their brains out with a firearm. Initially Jack quits the team until he runs into a fortune teller who reveals that he will not meet The Doctor for another century. With nothing better to do, Jack accepts a position with the organization, because what else would you do if you were immortal, certainly nothing involving a blender and a rabid monkey.
Fast forward to 1999 when Jack returns to the hub to see that one of his teammates has gone on a killing spree, dude didn't even wait for the ball to drop. Psycho teammate tells Jack everything will change in the 21st century and gives Jack command of Torchwood. His two week notice is a gun to he head. Note to self, stay away from Torchwood around holidays, I'm betting they have some weird spin-the-bottle Russian-roulette hybrid they play for quarters.
Oh that Tosh, she's a hardworking employee for the Ministry of Defense, staying late, sneaking around and stealing plans for weapons, wait what? Yeah, Toshiko manages to construct a sonic device using her new plans and brings her new toy to a secret location. She demands to see her mother set free in exchange for the device, that Toshiko fooled us, she's a good girl and a loyal daughter. Her mother's captors decide that since Tosh was so useful they'd keep her mother and retain Tosh's services. All should go according to their evil plans until UNIT busts in and takes the gang down, poor Tosh gets taken away and thrown into her own private cell, never to be released. After who knows how long, Jack comes to visit Tosh and offers her a job at Torchwood in exchange for a pardon from the government. So either rotting in a cell or spending time with Jack, yeah the choice is actually harder than you'd think.
Ianto stalks Jack and they catch a pterodactyl using only the power of homoerotic undertones! Having lost his job at Torchwood One during the Battle of Canary Wharf (see the Doctor Who episode: Doomsday) Ianto seeks a way to rebuild his life, by doing what he's good at, making coffee. Jack finally lets him into Torchwood after the dinosaur battle and we all know how that works out, sextastically!
Owen gets the most surprising flashback when we learn that before Torchwood, Owen was a regular doctor engaged to be married. Unfortunately his fiancé was suffering from what may be a rare form of Alzheimer's that hit her at a very young age. Refusing to see the woman he loves deteriorate Owen runs every test in the book to save her, and finds that there is a tumor that if removed could save her. During the procedure Owen, who was in the waiting room, hears a loud noise from the operating room. He goes to investigate and finds all the doctors dead and an alien parasite in his fiancé's brain. Jack shows up and says there is nothing that can be done to save her life, and knocks Owen out and covers his tracks so nobody knows what truly happened in the operating room. Thinking Owen is clearly suffering from the trauma of his fiancé's death, he is told to take a long vacation. It is then at the cemetery that Owen runs into Jack again, who offers him a job, which Owen accepts. Clearly that worked out well for Owen.
Wait who set those bombs? I'm glad you asked, after Gwen and Rhys show up and save everyone from the rubble, they all head outside and Jack receives a message from out old friend Captain John, who isn't alone. John has Gray with him, who you may remember as Jack's brother, only now he's all grown up. John vows to tear the world apart to get to Jack. Cliffhanger!
Next Time on Torchwood:
John is back, this week's bombs were child's play, all is not what it seems, and major tragedies will hit the team.
Story by Dan Chruscinski
Starpulse contributing writer