“Torchwood” will be released on DVD on January 22 here in the U.S. If you haven’t been able to catch it on BBC America, you should definitely check it out. It’s a dark, super-sexy sci-fi TV show that reminds us a little of “The X-Files” crossed with “Doctor Who”—as you know by now, the word “torchwood” is an anagram of “Doctor Who.” We’re looking forward to seeing more of Jack and his crew in season two.
1. “Everything Changes” (October 22, 2006): Police constable Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) arrives at a crime scene only to find the crime scene taken over by a team from Torchwood. Curious, she goes up to an adjacent parking garage to watch. She sees Suzie (Indira Varma) bring the corpse back to life for a minute or two so the team can question the victim. A research request in the morning, persistence and a trip to the hospital yield additional information; Gwen gets into Torchwood by taking the place of a pizza delivery boy. But they know she’s coming, and when Captain Jack (John Barrowman) takes her out to a bar afterwards, he tells her he has slipped an amnesia pill into her drink that will take effect that night. Gwen tries to write down what she’s learned before she falls asleep, but Ianto (Gareth David-Lloyd) wipes her computer files as she goes. Meanwhile, the Torchwood staffers have taken home certain alien items they’re not allowed to have—including Suzie, who has the resurrection glove with her. In the morning, Gwen is confused, especially when confronted with a murder weapon she can almost recall and a brochure of the Millennium Centre that has “Remember” written on it in her handwriting. When she goes there, she learns from Suzie the terrible truth about the murders, and her memory returns. Good thing Jack’s there too.
2. “Day One” (October 22, 2006): Gwen’s first day as a Torchwood employee begins early when a meteor hits near Cardiff. Torchwood takes over the scene, but when Gwen throws a tool at Owen (Burn Gorham) she inadvertently hits the meteor and lets something out. This something soon finds a human host, a girl named Carys (Sara Lloyd-Gregory) on the phone outside a nightclub. Carys finds a willing man, has sex with him and absorbs the energy created from climax—turning the man into dust. Torchwood finds her and captures her. Gwen, abashed at her mistake, takes on first contact—to the delight of the male Torchwood staff. But Carys, who is emanating pheromones like crazy, needs a human man, and uses Owen to escape her cell. She has a short confrontation with Jack, then heads to a fertility clinic where Carys was temping. A building full of potential victims awaits.
3. “Ghost Machine” (October 29, 2006): While chasing a guy with an alien energy signature, Gwen pulls off his jacket and finds a small machine that phases her out of the present time and into the past for a few minutes. She sees a boy at the train station where she’s standing, and she believes it must be a ghost. Torchwood finds the boy in the present; he was evacuated during WWII as a child and taken in by a couple. He’s an old man now. Owen uses the machine and sees a young woman named Lizzy being raped and murdered. Jack discovers that the device turns old emotions, attached to a place, into ghosts. They find Bernie Harris (Ben McKay), the boy who had the machine in the first place. He tells them he has the second half of the machine—and, put together, the two parts can see the future. He’s seen his own death. When Gwen uses the machine, she sees a disturbing vision of herself with a knife. Meanwhile, Owen has located the man who killed Lizzy; and it turns out Bernie was trying to blackmail him. He thinks Owen is doing the same, and this leads to a fatal confrontation.
4. “Cyberwoman” (November 5, 2006): After the workday ends Ianto ushers a scientist into the lower levels of Torchwood. It turns out Ianto has a rather big secret—he’s keeping a Cyberman down there. Well, actually, it’s the partially mechanized body of his old girlfriend, Lisa (Caroline Chikezie). He hopes against hope that Dr. Tanizaki (Togo Igawa) can help her become human again. The scientist succeeds in getting her to breathe on her own, but the Torchwood staffers are returning to track a UFO. When they experience a power drain, Ianto claims the generators have been acting up all day and offers to investigate. He discovers that Lisa has tried to upgrade Tanizaki—and killed him in the process. Jack soon discovers how Ianto has tampered with operations and hidden Lisa’s conversion unit at Torchwood’s base. And Lisa is free—she goes after them all. Ianto stops Jack from killing her at least once, but Ianto’s loyalties will be sorely tested this day.
5. “Small Worlds” (November 12, 2006): We learn some tantalizing bits about Jack in this one. A strange dream and odd weather patterns lead Jack and Gwen to visit an older woman named Estelle (Eve Pearce). She’s giving a lecture on faeries, and she believes they’re good. Jack, on the other hand, tells Gwen that this is not true; faeries are not alien, but they are dangerous. Meanwhile, a little girl named Jasmine (Lara Phillipart), walking home from school, encounters a pedophile. The faeries protect her. Their next victim is Estelle. Faeries ransack Gwen’s apartment as well. Jasmine gets into trouble for walking home alone, but she tells her mother she can’t be hurt. Later at school, while she’s being bullied, a wind blows up and disperses her tormenters. At an engagement party thrown by her mother and future stepdad, Jasmine discovers he’s put up a fence to keep her from playing in the forest. They fight; the stepdad loses. Turns out she’s a Chosen One, and will become a faerie herself. Torchwood arrives on the scene.
6. “Countrycide” (November 19, 2006): Torchwood arrives at the country to investigate 17 disappearances within a 20-mile radius. After an ill-advised attempt to lighten the mood, the group discovers a body stripped of organs and flesh. While they investigate, someone steals their SUV and they track it to a small village a few miles away. The group splits up to investigate; they discover more bodies and a young man, who shoots Gwen thinking she’s one of “them,” come to get him. Ianto and Tosh (Naoko Mori) get captured. Although this is a spoiler, I can’t help but add: how great is it that the most frightening and malevolent episode of the season turns out not to have an otherworldly origin?
7. “Greeks Bearing Gifts” (November 26, 2006): This is a Tosh-centered episode. The Torchwood team is called to a site where a violent event happened in 1812. They find a skeleton and a metal object and take them back to the Hub. Tosh leaves, frustrated by the antics of her co-workers, and goes to a bar for a drink. There she meets Mary, who gives her a strange pendant that allows her to hear the thoughts of other people. This tells her more about her co-workers, but this knowledge is not welcome. She talks to Mary about the pendant; the two begin an affair. Meanwhile, Owen is trying to find out what happened to the skeleton. He links it to a series of murders in which victims’ hearts were pulled out of chests. Mary reveals herself to Tosh as an ethereal being and says she needs the object, which is a transporter that can get her home. They go to Torchwood, where Jack tells Tosh that the transporter carried one guard and one prisoner—and Mary is just a host.
8. “They Keep Killing Suzie” (December 3, 2006): Three strange murders get Torchwood’s attention. With little to go on, they decide to use the Resurrection Glove to question the dead victims; Gwen is the only one able to use it. The information leads them to resurrect Suzie—but Suzie won’t die again. As she gains strength, they start to discover that the actual killer is a man named Max (The Shend), who had apparently gotten an overdose of the amnesia drug because Suzie needed to talk to someone about Torchwood. Suzie and Gwen begin to form a bond. Gwen decides to get Suzie out of the Hub so she can see her dying father, but the others soon realize Suzie had actually programmed Max as part of her plan to come back to life. She is running away, and draining the life from Gwen as she gets better.
9. “Random Shoes” (December 10, 2006): This episode focuses on Eugene Jones (Paul Chequer), who at a young age became obsessed with an alien’s glass eye. He died in an accident not knowing the source of the eye, and his invisible, dead self follows Gwen while she investigates his death. She has one clue: he has pictures of shoes on his cell phone. Eventually she discovers that he was planning to sell the eye on an online auction, but the bidding got so high Eugene started to suspect it was the alien who was trying to get his eye back. So he arranged a meeting with the potential buyer, which went horribly wrong and ended in Eugene swallowing the eye. The question is, why remain on Earth as a ghost? What does he still need to do?
10. “Out of Time” (December 17, 2006): A plane from 1953 plummets into the present day. With no way home, its three passengers must assimilate into life in Cardiff. These separate stories are presented simultaneously. Diane (Louise Delamere), a flirtatious pilot, catches Owen’s eye. He falls for her, but she decides she likes the taste of adventure and doesn’t want to be limited to just this time frame. John (Mark Lewis Jones), paired with Jack, is a retailer who searches for his family only to find them all dead or dying. Stealing Ianto’s keys and returning to his old house, John believes life in this era is not for him. Gwen helps teenager Emma (Olivia Hallinan), who gets drunk for the first time, visits a nightclub, discovers courage and decides to start a new life.
11. “Combat” (December 24, 2006): A body is found. Owen, still broken-hearted, is sent to investigate why Weevils are being captured. He goes undercover at a real-estate agency, only to be brainwashed by Mark the property manager (Alex Hassell) into thinking that fighting solves all the world’s ills. Mark is keeping a Weevil locked up in his closet, and invites Owen to fight it. Turns out he’s in charge of a fighting club that lets people test their wits against Weevils—for a very large fee. Owen feels badly enough that he decides to go for it and let the Weevil win. Torchwood comes in to save the day. Meanwhile, Gwen faces the music about her affair with Owen. Sort of.
12. “Captain Jack Harkness” (January 1, 2007): Tosh and Jack go to investigate anonymous reports of ghostly music, only to fall through a time rift. They end up in a dance hall in 1941, where soldiers are having a last hurrah before the Blitz. Tosh tries to make sure her calculations get to the present day while Jack is introduced to a man named Jack Harkness (Matt Rippy). The real Jack, who is destined to die in battle, ignores his girlfriend and hits on our Jack. Jack explains to Tosh that he took Jack Harkness’ name to blend in on Earth. Back at the Hub, Owen and Gwen race to find Tosh’s calculations and get their friends back, which involves getting the blueprints to the machine that opens the time rift—from Jack’s safe. But opening the rift again could be dangerous. Could there be a third party out there manipulating the Torchwood crew?
13. “End of Days” (January 1, 2007) : It turns out that opening the rift does have its consequences, including the return of the black death and the appearance of a Roman Centurion. Owen is fired; Gwen and Jack track down Bilis Manger (Murray Melvin) at his clock shop. They find he is selling timepieces from the past for a profit. He tells them the only way to restore time is to open the rift all the way, so that the anomalies are sucked back in. He also tells Gwen that Rhys is in danger, so she drags him into Torchwood—but he can’t escape his fate there. Using various methods Bilis manipulates the members of the team to believe that the rift must be opened, but he’s unable to sway Jack. In the end, there’s a confrontation that leads to Jack’s death. The others succeed in opening the Rift, and of course Jack comes to life again. However, a terrible beast has come through, and in order to vanquish it Jack may have to give up all his lifeforce.