This story in a nutshell: How did I join Torchwood? I'm glad you asked...
'I don't exist, and for a man with my charisma that is quite an achievement.' I love how the rest of the team walk around the warehouse quite slyly whilst Jack cannot resist melodramatically turning each corner with his gun poised, like a child playing cowboys and Indians. This guy just cannot resist making a show of himself. The caption 1392 deaths earlier for Jack's flashback brings a smile to my face every time. Only on Torchwood. Waking up with a bottle in his stomach is a quick and dramatic shorthand for the kind of life (or rather death) that Jack has had to suffer over the years. It is surprising that he isn't more psychologically unstable given the number of undignified and brutal murders he has been forced to endure. It explains a lot about how he seizes each day as it comes and behaves so radically over the top. When you cease to fear death, the rules of life change. Jack was convinced that if he lived through the 20th Century and met up with the Doctor again then everything would be put right. His curse of immortality would be put to rest. Jack cuts quite the figure in his grey cloak and bushy sideburns, working for Torchwood post Tooth and Claw. I'm so pleased that this important segment of Jack's life is sketched in, it fills in so many of the gaps between The Parting of the Ways and Everything Changes (or if you are only including Doctor Who - Utopia). Jack is the only member of Torchwood to survive long term but that is only because he cannot die. Otherwise the life expectancy of it's staff is not hopeful. What is fascinating about the sequence where Alex murders the Torchwood team (the one assembled before the one we currently know and love) on New Years Eve is that he might have a point that they were mercy killings. In the next year Jack would lose Owen, Tosh and Ianto. Who is to say that if he slipped them a pill it wouldn't be a more humane way to go?
Shy Geek: At first Fragments looks as though it is only going to tell us that Tosh is really clever. Big whoop, we know that already. However the purpose of the sequence where she infiltrates the Ministry of Defence is to reveal that she was convinced into working for Torchwood. A splinter group threaten her mother to harm her mother if she doesn't put her skills to good use and UNIT walk in on that operation, capturing what they think to be a terrorist. The shot of Tosh alone in a barren cell with big brothers eye looking down on her exposes the bleakest moment in her life. Toshiko is essentially blackmailed into joining Jack's team, given the unenviable task of helping with the hunt for alien technology or being made an example of by UNIT. It is a good thing that she ultimately learns to love her work because it was never the path she would have chosen. I've always said that Tosh works best when she is portrayed as a victim (it works to Mori's strengths as an actress too, pulling at the heartstrings) and her tale proves that she has always been the underdog, the one who is pushed around and mistreated. What a life. Jack sees something in Tosh and thinks he can bring her out of her shell. She's certainly more confident as a part of Torchwood than she was in her life before. It isn't an entirely altruistic act (after all he wants her skills) but the fact that he sees potential in her is very sweet and step in the right direction for her.
Sparkling Dialogue: 'By the way... love the coat.'
The Shallow Bit: Hands on hips, flirtatious and unafraid of their sexuality, the ladies of Torchwood in the Victorian era are clearly infected with the same lack of sexual inhibitions as the current lot. Perhaps there is something in the water. It strikes me that everybody that has ever worked for this organisation is bisexual. That isn't a criticism, just an observation made because there is a relative dearth of bisexuals on television and so it really stands out.