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Children of Earth: Day Four was the fourth episode of the third series of Torchwood. It marked the death of Ianto Jones.

Synopsis

Torchwood finally learns of the events of 1965. Britain is in danger of becoming a rogue state and everything pivots around John Frobisher as the ambassador of the 456 destroys its old allegiances.

Plot

Jack recalls the events of 1965. The aliens offer a cure for a deadly new flu strain that will soon arise and in return wanted twelve children. Jack's partner (a woman) claims that the aliens say the children will live forever and he was asked for because he can't die and doesn’t care.

Clement escapes abduction. Jack is in charge of handing over the children. It turns out that Clement wasn’t taken because the 456 disappeared first and Jack does not know Clement escaped. The 456 do not seem to care when they hand over the information for the cure ...

Back in the present Clement steals Gwen's gun and shoots Jack. Gwen retrieves her gun, Jack wakes up and Clement runs off in a panic. Gwen calms him down. They wonder why Clem wasn’t taken; perhaps he was on the verge of puberty and so not wanted by the 456.

At Johnson's facility, Alice and Steven are imprisoned, and Alice warns Johnson about angering Jack.

Back at the home office, Frobisher asks what would happen to the children, and the “456” by responding that a “Remnant” is watching [statement unclear] and then says it is off the record. It invites Frobisher in with a camera.

A cameraman enters. A 456 appears in profile. Dekker says he detects three heartbeats and three distinct types of life in there. A child, one identified as one taken in the 1960s, who has not aged, is hooked up to something.

The cameraman leaves. A recording of Frobisher's voice announces this is off the record. The 456 says they do not harm the children and they feel no pain. If humanity refuse to hand over the children, they will wipe out the human species. The Americans demand all the records of 1965 from the Prime Minister and threaten him with UN sanctions for withholding the information.

Jack and Ianto argue about Jack's role in the swap of children. Jack calls Frobisher to confirm the 456 have returned. Jack insists the 456's return is proof that they cannot be trusted. Frobisher says he has Jack's daughter and grandson but they will not be harmed if Jack does not reveal Britain's dealings with the 456. Jack insists he needs to confront the 456.

Lois attends a Cobra meeting. The PM says they will try to haggle, but they can't take military action. There isn’t anything to target. The PM and Frobisher talk about camouflaged targets but no more. Bridget looks at Lois with suspicion. The PM tells Frobisher to offer "sixty units” and no more.

Back at the 456 “embassy” Frobisher offers the 456 one child per million people on Earth. The 456 refuse. Around the world, children begin to chant a number. It is a tenth of all the children in the world.

Back at Johnson's facility, she is being kept in the dark. She decides to go into London, but keeps her team on the lookout for Jack.

At the Cobra meeting, a discussion ensues over how to select the tenth. It is proposed that every family should lose only one child and perhaps each "second child" should be taken. The logistics are deemed too complicated. Denise, one of the cabinet members, proposes that they select the children on the basis of intellect and social status, using the school league tables. This proposal is accepted and given to Frobisher.

The Torchwood team decide Lois' footage gives them leverage to blackmail the cabinet. They force their way into Thames House. Ianto phones his sister to warn her, knowing that the line is tapped. He sends a message to those listening -- to protect their children -- and makes a quick call to Gwen, providing Johnson with information of Torchwood's location.

Frobisher begins to plan how children will be gathered and notes that the government can promise an "inoculation" to prevent children from chanting messages in unison. He suggests it be reported that the false vaccination "went wrong,” allowing the government to put the blame on the 456 for the loss of the children.

Johnson arrives at the Torchwood Hub, but Gwen was expecting them and shows them what they were recording. Rhys has gone into hiding and is ready to send out the footage to the public if anything goes wrong.

Jack and Ianto enter Thames House. Jack talks to the 456, who will not yield on their request for 10% of the world's children. Jack says he is making it a war. The 456 say, "A virus has been released. It will kill everyone in the building." Jack runs out of the room and warns two guards of the virus. Meanwhile, Ianto orders the 456 to release an anti-virus or he'll blow a hole in their tank. Jack returns and tries to negotiate, but the alien refuses. Ianto and Jack shoot at the 456 chamber, but the bullets bounce off. The 456 start to shriek. Clement screams in agony and starts to bleed. The 456 say the Remnant will be disconnected and Clement dies in Gwen’s arms. Jack says he will get Ianto out, but Ianto collapses.

Jack ianto last kiss

Jack kisses Ianto one last time.

Everyone in Thames house is collapsing and dying save Dekker, who dons an environmental suit in time. Ianto tells Jack that he loves him and dies in his arms. The 456 tell Jack that he will die and tomorrow the children will be delivered. Jack kisses Ianto and succumbs to the virus himself.

The Cabinet decide to go ahead and deliver the children. Gwen walks in with support. The men point out Jack's and Ianto's bodies and she walks towards them. She pulls off their sheets and begins to cry. Jack wakes up and comforts her. She says, "There is nothing we can do."

Cast

Crew

General production staff

Script department

Camera and lighting department

Art department

Costume department

Make-up and prosthetics

Movement

Casting

General post-production staff

Special and visual effects

Sound



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.


References

to be added

Story notes

Ratings

6.24m (overnight)

Filming locations

  • Mount Stuart Square, Cardiff Bay - Johnson's team attempt to track down Torchwood
  • No. 13 Rupert Brooke Drive, Newport - Ianto's sister's
  • Thames House, Millbank, London - Thames House
  • MOD Caerwent, Monmouthshire - Ashton Down
  • Cathys Park 2, Cardiff - MI5 headquarters foyer
  • No. 41 Cefn Coed Road, Cardiff - The Frobisher residence
  • Avesta Polarit Steelworks, Newport - Torchwood London warehouse
  • National Park Vistitor Centre, Brecon - Jack revealed his involvement in 1965
  • Coedarhydglyn, St. Nicholas, Cardiff - Prime Minister's office
  • City Hall Road, Cardiff
  • West Brute Street, Cardiff - Jack and Ianto hit a traffic jam on the way to Thames House
  • Ship Lane, Cardiff - Jack and Ianto head to Thames House
  • Abington Street, London - Frobisher heads back to MI5
  • Chelsea Bridge, London - Johnson's convoy on its way to Torchwood
  • Dumballs Road, Cardiff - Johnson tracks down Torchwood
  • Tresillian Terrace, Caardiff - Johnson tracks down Torchwood
  • Queens Circus, Battersea, London - Johnson's convoy on its way to Torchwood
  • Brangwyn Hall, Swansea - MI5 Thirteenth floor
  • Western Lesuire Centre, Cardiff - Gwen finds Jack and Ianto amongst the bodies
  • Ponton Road (aerial), London - The Torchwood 1 holding area
  • BBC Broadcasting House (Lift shafts), Llandaff, Cardiff - Elevator shafts in Thames House

Production errors

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
  • Clem is still breathing after the 456 killed him.
  • 325,000 is way below 10% of the UK's children. The UK has around 10 million children aged under 15, so the figure should have been around 1 million.

Continuity

to be added

Timeline

In the present:

For Jack Harkness in the flashback:

Home video releases

  • Children of Earth: Day Four was released on DVD along with the rest of Children of Earth on 13 July 2009.

Footnotes

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