Adrift was the eleventh episode of Series 2 of Torchwood. It was written by Chris Chibnall, directed by Mark Everest, and featured prominent Welsh actress Ruth Jones of Gavin and Stacey fame. It was a Gwen-heavy plot that also featured a larger-than-normal role for PC Andy Davidson.
When a local teenager disappears, Gwen is drawn into an investigation that reveals a darker side of Torchwood. Hundreds of people have disappeared without a trace, but Jack is obstructing attempts to find them. The answer seems to lie in the rift — literally — and as Gwen follows the trail, she makes a shocking discovery.
Jonah Bevan is walking home across the Cardiff Bay Barrage when a bright light appears. Six seconds later he is gone. Seven months later, at the instigation of PC Andy Davidson, Gwen is investigating the disappearance of Jonah. Her research reveals there are more cases resembling Jonah's disappearance. Tosh discovers that these disappearances happened during a negative spike of rift activity, which were previously discarded as aftershock. Gwen then compiles a list of all missing persons and informs Jack. However, Jack tells Gwen that nothing can be done and orders her to stop the investigation, which she refuses to do.
The investigation slowly turns into an obsession and takes a toll on the relationship between Gwen and Rhys. The two have an argument when Rhys wants to discuss having kids and Gwen shuts down the subject, and he warns her that if she starts prioritising Torchwood over their personal lives then their marriage won't last very long. He tells her to deal with her work problems at work and not to bring them home. Returning to the Hub, Gwen interrupts Jack and Ianto during a sexual encounter and, after apologising, tells Jack that she wants to continue the investigation. Jack sternly refuses, but Ianto secretly gives Gwen a GPS device with coordinates to a hidden location, leading Gwen to a facility on Flat Holm. It harbours 17 of the missing people that the rift took and subsequently brought back, including Jonah, the boy she has been looking for. However, he has aged 40 years and is very deformed. Gwen also finds Jack there, and she demands access to Jonah. Jonah tells how he was stuck on a "burning planet" and how he was taken into a building that was actually a rescue craft, from which he witnessed the burning of a solar system. Afterwards, Jack reveals that he set up the facility when he first took command of Torchwood, in order to care for the victims of the rift, who had previously been locked away in the vaults.
Gwen brings Nikki, Jonah's mother, in to see him under the supervision of a facility staff member. At first she is horrified, believing it to be a cruel joke, but Jonah starts telling her things that only he would know. Nikki calms and they hug for a moment, but when Jonah tells the staff member with growing distress that he can feel "it" starting up, she urgently tells Nikki to get away from him. She resists and says that she can take care of him. However Jonah starts screaming, a scream so horrible that everyone flees. Gwen reveals that the scream lasts for 20 hours every day because he looked into the heart of a dark star, which drove him insane.
A week later, Gwen goes to see Nikki, who implores her not to show the island to anyone else. She states that it would have been better for her to have remembered her son as he was, rather than to know of his true fate. Gwen takes down her notes over the missing. Nikki packs up Jonah's room and, knowing he can never return home, breaks down into sobs. At home that night, Gwen prepares a romantic candle-lit dinner for Rhys and promises to talk about whatever he wants to talk about. Rhys however realises that she is shouldering a massive heartbreak and instead lets her cry into his chest. Going back on his earlier stance, he asks her to tell him what happened and she starts to tell him about Jonah.
- Captain Jack Harkness - John Barrowman
- Gwen Cooper - Eve Myles
- Toshiko Sato - Naoko Mori
- Ianto Jones - Gareth David-Lloyd
- Owen Harper - Burn Gorman
- Rhys Williams - Kai Owen
- PC Andy - Tom Price
- Nikki - Ruth Jones
- Jonah - Robert Pugh
- Young Jonah - Oliver Ferriman
- Helen - Lorna Gayle
Created by Russell T Davies
|Executive Producers Russell T Davies and Julie Gardner|
|General production staff
Camera and lighting department
|Make-up and prosthetics
General post-production staff
Special and visual effects
|Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.|
- Positive rift emissions indicate the Cardiff rift depositing people, things, and objects in Cardiff.
- Nikki Bevan lives at Number 14 Cliffs Rise.
- Big Dave is a friend of Rhys.
- Caroline Hall was born on 16 April 1972.
- Alice Devlin was born on 5 October 1972.
- Saeed Taufeeq was born on 25 February 1978.
- Jonah Bevan was born on 15 February 1993.
- Andy quotes from Field of Dreams.
- This episode aired 10 minutes after the BBC Two repeat of From Out of the Rain at 10:00pm on BBC Three; and was repeated on BBC Two in its usual 9:00pm timeslot two days later, on Good Friday 21 March 2008.
- A family friendly pre-watershed edit of this episode aired at 7:00pm, four days later, on Tuesday 25 March 2008 on BBC Two.
- Jonah Bevan is mentioned as being fifteen years old and born in February 1993, placing the story in 2008. This clashes with and contradicts dates given in several other stories.
- 2.5 million BBC Two viewers, with an AI of 87%
- 0.972 million BBC Three viewers
- 3.49 million viewers
- The Island seen in this episode is Flat Holm (Ynys Echni), 5 miles off the coast of Cardiff. Although the facility seen in Adrift is, of course, fictional, Flat Holm was for some years in fact the site of a similar "isolation hospital".
- Llwyn Passat, Penarth Marina
to be added
- Gwen asks Andy why he missed her wedding to Rhys. (TV: Something Borrowed)
- Andy says that Gwen was different before she joined Torchwood. (TV: Everything Changes)
- Gwen asks Jack if he would take the chance to reconnect with a lost loved one. (TV: Adam)
Home video releases
- Adrift, along with the rest of series 2, was released in a complete series box set in 2008.
- It was also released in the Series 1-4 boxset (Region 2 release: 14 November 2011.)
- Adrift at Shannon Sullivan's A Brief History of Time (Travel)
- The Discontinuity Guide to: Adrift at The Whoniverse
- Adrift at The Locations Guide