- You may be looking for Children of Earth: Day One.
Taking advantage of its post-watershed allowances, it was the first Doctor Who-related onscreen production to explicitly centre its conflict around sex. The episode explored sexuality in the 21st century and took a look at an alien interested in something more than just enslavement. It saw Gwen Cooper take on her first mission for Torchwood, following her induction in Everything Changes.
Synopsis[edit | edit source]
Gwen's first day on her new job at Torchwood sees Cardiff's night-life at the mercy of a gaseous alien who consumes its victims during orgasm, leaving behind only dust. And it's all her fault — she let it escape a fallen meteorite. The gas is devouring its teenage host. She's fighting for control as the alien inside takes down victim after victim. Torchwood tracks the alien to a sperm bank, but too late for the patrons within. Soon, if they don't act quickly enough, it'll be too late for everyone else too!
Plot[edit | edit source]
Gwen is having dinner with Rhys, after bowling and a movie. He asks her about her new job at Torchwood. Gwen lies, saying she will mostly be handling filing. A meteor falls through the sky and Gwen notices it crash on the town's outskirts. They run to get a better view, then Gwen gets a message and tells Rhys that she has to go to work.
Gwen is picked up by the team in the Torchwood SUV, commenting on the dual computer stations and a seemingly illegal link to the police CRIMINT computer system. They arrive at the crash site and find, to their disappointment, that the "amateurs" — the British Army — have beaten them there. Jack tells the team to employ the "usual formation"; Owen informs Gwen that the usual formation varies. While the rest of the team head to the meteor to examine it, Gwen remembers her equipment and returns to the car to get it.
Army security stops Gwen until Jack comes back to collect her and tells them to back off. The others move into action, taking samples and readings, and Gwen feels inexperienced and out of place. When Owen starts trying out nicknames, the least of which is "New Girl", and asks for a bigger chisel to help get a part of the meteor, Gwen cracks a joke about Owen needing a bigger tool for the job and tosses the chisel at him.
She misses. It punctures the skin of the meteor, and, as Jack tosses around gas masks, it begins to release a purplish gas that coalesces and rises into the air. Gwen looks around at her team guiltily.
At an alley near an underground night club in Cardiff, a young woman, Carys Fletcher, is leaving a distraught voice mail for Eddie, who she says has stood her up again for another woman, when she is confronted by the gaseous creature. It backs her against a wall, then flows into her body. Carys, confused and shocked, inhales the Sex Gas through her mouth and nose. After all of the gas was inside of her body, she exhales. She suddenly goes from upset to sexually aggressive, and gains re-entry into the club by kissing the bouncer. She picks out a man, Matt, and nearly drags him into the women's toilet. They have sex, and, at the moment of climax, Matt dissolves into a glowing cloud of dust, while the energy portion of Matt is absorbed by Carys.
Gwen keeps apologising, Owen keeps taunting her, Tosh wants him to lay off, and Jack just wants her to get past it and back to work. Ianto thinks he can help, as he's heard an unusual 999 call for the nightclub. The team investigates, and PC Andy is surprised to see Gwen. They find the dust and the CCTV tapes that show Carys and Matt having their deadly sex and the alien taking her over in the alley. Jack arranges for a body to be taken out of storage to fake a suicide for Matt, which shocks and dismays Gwen. Jack confiscates the tapes.
While the team analyses the meteorite and scene data, Carys is feeling the effects of the previous night. She spends most of her dad's breakfast monologue staring into the distance, claiming a hangover. Gwen tells Tosh, Owen, and Jack about Rhys, and finds the other three don't have time to date. Tosh tries to track Carys by cross-checking video from the surveillance cameras with a database of the faces of the UK population. Meanwhile, Carys breaks down crying in the shower. As she brushes her hair afterwards, she is racked with pain several times as she stares into the mirror. The postman arrives and Carys pulls him into her house, throwing him down on the couch and pulling at his clothing, but the team arrives before she can do the deed.
She breaks away but Owen catches her with an alien device that he didn't have permission to carry. After dressing Carys and bringing her to the Hub, Jack puts Gwen in charge of interrogating her. In a holding cell, a consciousness takes over Carys momentarily. It tells Gwen it is not here for conquest, but to feed off human orgasmic energy. Carys pleads for help and doubles over in pain, causing Gwen to open the door and help her up. However, the alien presence takes over and Carys kisses Gwen. After pulling herself away, Gwen suddenly begins passionately kissing Carys.
In the main Hub room, Owen notices this on a monitor and is amused. He informs Jack and Toshiko, calling it a "treat".
Back in the cell, the presence in Carys realises it needs a man for its energy. Carys breaks through and pleads for Gwen to help her. Gwen regains her senses, walking out of the cell and locking it. Gwen receives a call from Rhys just as Jack and Tosh arrive to help get her away from Carys. She signals them that she is all right and vaguely tells Rhys how her job is going so far.
Returning to the main Hub area, Gwen is confronted by Owen, who jokingly congratulates her on her "methodical investigation" before telling another dirty joke. Angered at Owen's lack of care for Carys' plight, Gwen pins Owen to a wall and yells at him; they should be helping her instead of studying her like a lab rat. Jack breaks it up, saying that throttling Torchwood staff is his job. Ianto shows up with dinner.
At dinner, they all laugh over alien anecdotes until Jack excuses himself for the restroom. Ianto, Owen, and Tosh quickly ask Gwen if she has learned anything about Jack yet. Gwen's surprised they're asking her, but they know nothing, except that Owen believes Jack is gay, which Tosh disagrees with. Tosh thinks Jack will go for anything if it's beautiful enough. Ianto doesn't care. They're not even sure he's American, as Tosh found no US citizen by his name born in the last 50 years. Ianto thinks he's CIA. Gwen hears a faint crying and notices Carys on the monitor, and Jack returns. She tells Jack that they should be doing something to help her. Jack explains the scans, tests, and searches that Gwen didn't know were already running. They are doing everything they can think of to analyse the problem. Gwen explains, "You've been hidden down here too long, spending so much time with the alien stuff, you've lost what it means to be human." Jack challenges her to show him "what it means to be human in the 21st century."
Gwen creates a complete profile of Carys' life, and Jack is curious about why Gwen put such effort into it. She insists Carys is not a threat, but someone in trouble who needs their help, and the information can help them help Carys fight the alien influence. Jack is momentarily speechless, and calls her brilliant, until she asks to bring in Carys' dad. Tosh breaks up the discussion with the results of the tests. The alien in Carys is producing a cloud of pheromones around her, turning her into a walking aphrodisiac. They can't let Carys near any man and realise Owen has gone down to her to get medical scans.
They arrive to find him naked and cuffed in the cell; Carys took Owen's swipe card after the pheromones overpowered him. Toshiko tells Owen that he's very lucky that his card is all she wanted and frees him. Gwen asks if Owen is okay then cracks a joke at his expense.
The possessed Carys, meanwhile, makes her way to the Hub's exit and is confronted by Jack. They battle with the ambient weaponry until she takes the mysterious hand hostage to keep Jack from following her to the exit. However, Jack soon catches up through a secondary exit. Even though Ianto offers to help, Jack opens the door in exchange for the hand, which Carys hurls to the floor. The ladies give chase and lose her in the plaza. Gwen berates Jack for caring more about a severed hand than a girl's life.
After Owen dresses himself, he demonstrates the results of his bio-scan of Carys on a rat showing that the physiological effects of the gaseous creature will make the body literally explode if it inhabits a person too long, dubbing the end result "Rat Jam". They then wonder where Carys could be as the alien in her wants orgasmic energy. Owen then jokes if he was possessed by the alien he'd come after Gwen, much to everyone's annoyance. Tosh then comes up with an idea.
The alien in Carys walks a street in a shopping district, in a daze of overwhelming sexual imagery. She drops in on her now ex-boyfriend and attempts to hold back the alien influence. After she learns her ex was only using her, she lets the alien kill him. The team arrive later. Jack makes a joke about his numerous exes.
While driving through town, they discuss how to stop the alien before Carys dies. Gwen double checks the records, finding that she is working as a receptionist at Conway Clinic. Owen recognises it as a fertility clinic, an ideal source of orgasmic energy. They also determine that the alien takes hosts because Earth's atmosphere is poisonous to it. Jack gives Gwen a gun, and is surprised when she protests that she's never used one.
Carys is already at the clinic, dragging the sperm donors into the private rooms. When the team arrives, there are piles of dust everywhere. When they surround her, Carys collapses, too weak to fight the alien any more. Jack kisses her, and she glows as he gives up some of his life force to revitalise her, confusing Tosh and Owen. Carys faints. Gwen offers herself as a host for the alien, asking the alien to spare Carys. Gwen backs away, and the alien flows out of Carys' body. Jack drops a portable prison cell and traps it inside before it can reach Gwen. Separated from its host, the alien dies, falling into a pile of dust. Gwen kisses Jack in thanks for saving her life, causing Jack to pause and consider after she leaves.
Gwen and Jack take Carys back to her father. As Gwen clears up, Jack asks her to keep perspective on the job. She challenges Jack to come clean. Jack says the answers to her questions won't make her feel better. He asks her to be normal, for him. Gwen has dinner with Rhys, then they go to bed.
Cast[edit | edit source]
- Captain Jack Harkness —John Barrowman
- Gwen Cooper — Eve Myles
- Owen Harper — Burn Gorman
- Toshiko Sato — Naoko Mori
- Ianto Jones — Gareth David-Lloyd
- Rhys Williams — Kai Owen
- Private Moriarty — Adrian Christopher
- Sgt Johnson — Ross O'Hennessey
- Carys Fletcher — Sara Lloyd Gregory
- Banksy — Ceri Mears
- Matt — Justin McDonald
- PC Andy Davidson — Tom Price
- Ivan Fletcher — Brendan Charleson
- Gavin — Rob Störr
- Mikey - Lloyd Everitt
- Eddie Gwynne — Alex Parry
- Bethan — Felicity Rhys
- Receptionist — Naomi Martell
- Mr Weston — David Longden
Crew[edit | edit source]
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.|
References[edit | edit source]
- A picture of Torchwood House is visible in the background of the Hub.
- Jack is surprised that Gwen, a police officer, was never trained with a handgun.
- Carys is a fan of Heath Ledger and Orlando Bloom.
- Owen Harper suggests "sweetheart", "sweetcheeks" and "freckles" as nicknames for Gwen.
- Gwen's name is composed of one syllable.
Story notes[edit | edit source]
- This story had a working title of New Girl. This would later be used as the name of the first Torchwood One audio story, referring to Rachel Allan.
- The episode was repeated on BBC Two, three days later at 9:50pm on Wednesday 25 October 2006.
- The alien is never given a name in the episode, although in Torchwood Declassified, Russell T Davies refers to it as the "sex monster" or the "sex gas orgasm-eating monster".
- This episode has the distinction of featuring the first explicit sex scene in the Doctor Who franchise, as well as a same sex kiss between two women.
- After Carys smashes the glass container of the Doctor's hand, as Jack picks it up, "The Doctor's Theme" begins to play.
- Russell T Davies states in Torchwood Declassified that this episode "reflects how sexualised our community is" and considered the scene when Carys is in the city surrounded in sexual images to be his favourite scene because it best defines it.
- The alley where the "gas monster" takes its first victim is the same location later used at the end of Smith and Jones to introduce Martha Jones to the TARDIS.
- Interestingly, in interviews given in the years since the episode aired, writer Chris Chibnall and Executive Producer Russell T Davies have both denied being responsible for the idea of the sex gas monster, with Chibnall suggesting the brief came from Davies, and Davies believing the idea came from Chibnall.
- This episode shares the same title as the first episode of Children of Earth.
Ratings[edit | edit source]
- 2.5 million viewers
Filming locations[edit | edit source]
- Cyncoed Consulting Rooms - Cyncoed Road
Production errors[edit | edit source]
to be added
Continuity[edit | edit source]
- Owen jokingly states he would have sex with Gwen. They later go on to form a sexual relationship. (TV: Countrycide, Greeks Bearing Gifts)
Home video releases[edit | edit source]
DVD releases[edit | edit source]
- This episode, with four others, was first released on a DVD entitled Torchwood: Series 1, part 1 on 26 December 2006.
- It was later released in Torchwood: The Complete First Series on 19 November 2007.
- It was also released in the Series 1-4 boxset (Region 2 release: 14 November 2011.)
Blu-ray releases[edit | edit source]
- Released in the US with the rest of Series 1 as a Complete First Season set on 16 September 2008.
- It was released in the Series 1-3 Blu-ray boxset on 26 October 2009 in the UK. The US release was on 19 July 2011.
- It was also released in the Series 1-4 Blu-ray boxset. (Region 2 release: 14 November 2011)
[edit | edit source]
- Day One at Shannon Sullivan's A Brief History of Time (Travel)
- Day One at The Locations Guide
- The Discontinuity Guide to: Day One at The Whoniverse
Footnotes[edit | edit source]
- Day One. A Brief History of (Time) Travel (18th December 2011). Retrieved on 16 June 2013.