It principally featured Owen Harper and significantly developed the mythos surrounding the Weevils. Indeed, this episode established that Owen had a unique relationship with Weevils — something that would be explored further in series 2 and stories in other media.
Still wallowing from the end of his relationship with Diane Holmes, Owen fell into depression. Likewise, Gwen Cooper had grown sick of her affair with him after this change in personality and the buildup of guilt toward cheating on Rhys Williams. It was in this episode that she called off the affair and tried to right things with her boyfriend in a "dress rehearsal" speech, where she confessed to Rhys all her goings-on with Owen, only to supply him with Retcon so he would remain in the dark. Instead of forgiving her, he reacted maliciously, causing her great pain so much so that she is seen to cry in the Hub in a very personal scene.
Written by Noel Clarke, it was, as of 2019[update], the only Doctor Who-related television episode to be penned by an actor who portrayed a major DWU character.
Savage aliens are being kidnapped from the streets of Cardiff, and Torchwood want to know why. Owen is sent undercover to find out who's behind it and soon befriends the charismatic Mark Lynch. Beneath the veneer of city life, Owen discovers a shocking subculture: can he avoid being sucked in?
Jack is chasing a weevil. It evades him, having seemingly developed an immunity to the "weevil spray" used by Torchwood. Gwen is meanwhile having dinner out with Rhys. Rhys is furious when Jack shows up unexpectedly and whisks Gwen away to help him. While chasing the weevil, Jack and Gwen have it snatched out from in front of them by masked men in a white van. The next morning, while Tosh is unable to trace the plates, she does use the CCTV to track the van to a warehouse near the docks. There Jack and Tosh find the dead body of a young man apparently attacked by a weevil. His cellphone rings, and an unknown voice warns Jack not to interfere in things he doesn't understand. Further research shows a recent spike in hospital visits for apparent weevil attacks.
Owen, meanwhile, is still upset over the loss of Diane. At a bar, he speaks with a bartender, who notices he is dodging calls from work, and gets into a short fight with her boyfriend, who believes he is chatting her up. He avoids for some time answering his phone, but ultimately agrees to come into the Hub. Examining the dead body discovered by the others, he determines that the man had first been assaulted by humans before being mauled by the weevil. As Owen is the only member of the team not yet seen by the unknown perpetrators, he agrees to go undercover to meet with real estate agent Mark Lynch, who may have something to do with the incident. Gwen is tasked with telling his wife about him dying, and afterwards she and Owen get into an argument and decide to end their affair.
Jack and Ianto go to the hospital to speak to a patient with injuries that might be Weevil-inflicted. The patient refuses to talk, saying that "they" will kill him. Jack decides to take a desperate measure: they will release the weevil they have in captivity (which he calls "Janet"), plant a tracking device on its clothes, and then see if it will be picked up by this mysterious group. Tosh and Ianto have grave reservations about letting it loose in the city, but Jack assures them they will be with Janet each step of the way. They do so, and watch Janet being captured.
Gwen has meanwhile been sent home by Jack so she can spend some time mending things with Rhys. When she arrives home, Rhys leaves to spend a night out on the town with friends. Gwen is alone.
Posing as an exporter of jellied eels, Owen has met with Mark Lynch to supposedly investigate procuring a new warehouse for his business. Lynch invites him out to drinks, and they end up at the same bar Owen was at the previous night. The same man whom Owen had fought with the previous night approaches him with friends. They attack Owen, but Lynch helps him defeat the men.
Rhys returns home earlier than expected, and Gwen hands him a drink. She then confesses to him that she has been having an affair with a co-worker. Rhys initially does not believe her, and then starts to feel woozy. Gwen has put Retcon in his drink, so that she can confess to him, and hopefully gain his forgiveness, but he will not remember her confession in the morning. She tries desperately to get Rhys to say he forgives her, but he passes out before doing so.
After being invited over to Mark's home for drinks, Owen finds a chained weevil in a locked room in the house. Mark, aware that Owen isn't who he claims, is still intrigued by his anger and offers to take Owen with him for the evening's entertainment.
The entertainment is a fight club which Mark moves to a different empty building each night. Mark brings Owen into the fight club where Owen sees men fighting each other to warm up. Each contender pays £1000 to enter a cage with the weevil. The man who stays in the longest wins the pot. Mark informs Owen that he is up next.
Gwen shows up to the Hub with pizza, but finds it empty. While she sits there alone and sobbing, the deceased man's cell phone begins to chime in the morgue. Text messages with the location of that evening's event show on the screen and Gwen passes that information onto Jack, Tosh, and Ianto.
Owen seems more than willing to enter the cage and leaves his guard down as the weevil attacks. Just then Jack and Gwen bust in and have Owen pulled from the cage and send the participants scattering. While Jack is tending to Owen, Mark realises that both his fight club and his livelihood are ruined. Not willing to commit himself to a meaningless life in prison, Mark enters the cage to end his life, knowing the Weevil will surely maul him to death. Jack does not stop the Weevil as it attacks and kills Mark.
Owen is recuperating at the hospital when Jack appears and gives him grapes. Owen tells Jack that he did not want to be saved. Jack asks if Owen wants him and the team to apologise for saving his life. As he walks off, Jack tells Owen to be back at work tomorrow.
The next day, Owen returns to the Hub. Down in the vaults, he looks at both the captive Weevils, who gape at him with bloodthirsty expressions and hiss at his face. Owen, not willing to be intimidated, hisses back with menacing intent far more pungent and fearsome than theirs. They both groan submissively, recoil, and cower at the superior predator, as Owen looks on with a decidedly satisfied smirk.
- Captain Jack Harkness - John Barrowman
- Gwen Cooper - Eve Myles
- Owen Harper - Burn Gorman
- Toshiko Sato - Naoko Mori
- Ianto Jones - Gareth David-Lloyd
- Mark Lynch - Alex Hassell
- Rhys Williams - Kai Owen
- Weevil - Paul Kasey
- Barmaid - Alexandra Dunn
- Boyfriend - Matthew Raymond
- Hospital Patient - David Gyasai
Created by Russell T Davies
|Executive Producers Russell T Davies and Julie Gardner|
|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.|
- Mark uses the word "bullshit" as an insult.
Foods and beverages Edit
- Owen poses as the owner of a company exporting jellied eels.
- Jack gives Owen grapes in the hospital.
- Mark Lynch searches for information on Owen using search-wise.net.
Story notes Edit
- The character Mark Lynch works at the real estate agency Lynchfrost. In real life, Lynch/Frost productions is a television production company founded by David Lynch and Mark Frost.
- This episode borrows thematically from the movie Fight Club.
- The "Crazy Frog" ringtone, which was a major fad in Britain during the mid-2000s, is referenced in this episode. Toshiko mistakes it for Jack's ringtone, to which he takes offence.
- Writer Noel Clarke played the role of Mickey Smith in Doctor Who.
- This is the first televised episode set in the Doctor Who universe to be written by a writer of colour, although not for Doctor Who itself.
- 0.83 million viewers
Filming locations Edit
to be added
Production errors Edit
to be added
- Owen shows his connection with Weevils. (TV: Dead Man Walking, A Day in the Death, Exit Wounds)
- Owen is still upset over the loss of Diane. (TV: Out of Time)
- Gwen was given Retcon to forget Torchwood. (TV: Everything Changes) Suzie Costello gave Max Tresilian Retcon once a week for two years. (TV: They Keep Killing Suzie)
- Frost and Lynch is the real estate agency promoting the house that Rhys visits during TV: Children of Earth: Day One.
- Mark Lynch theorises that the Weevils are the human race "in a thousand years time [...] when all we have left is our rage". In one possible timelines, this description fit the Dregs. (TV: Orphan 55)
Home video releases Edit
- Combat was first released on DVD, with three other episodes in Torchwood: Series 1, part 3 on 26 March 2007. It was later included in Torchwood: The Complete First Series on 19 November 2007.
- Combat at Shannon Sullivan's A Brief History of Time (Travel)
- Combat at The Locations Guide
- The Discontinuity Guide to: Combat at The Whoniverse