End of Days was the thirteenth and final episode in the first series of Torchwood. It was written by Chris Chibnall, and directed by Ashley Way. It continued directly after the previous episode, showing the spillover effects caused by Owen's tampering with the Cardiff Rift.
It featured Jack's revelation of his immortality to the rest of Torchwood Three — something which had been a secret throughout the series. The episode also introduced Abaddon, son of the Beast, a villain who last appeared in TV: The Satan Pit. It ended on a cliffhanger which prefigured Jack's return to Doctor Who in TV: Utopia. As of 2021, the sound of the Doctor's TARDIS at the end of this episode is the closest to an appearance of the Doctor in Torchwood, apart from his hand, which served as a prop throughout the entire first series.
Gwen and Rhys have a morning in, until Jack calls Gwen to tell her to watch the news. UFOs have been sighted over the Taj Mahal and police have clashed with English Civil War era soldiers. They speculate and Gwen concludes it can't be an act of terrorism — terrorists use bombs. This is different.
At the Hub, Ianto recites verses from the King James Bible, but Jack cuts in as he moves onto an apocalyptic text on Abaddon the "great devourer", remarking how mankind is obsessed with anything that "denies the randomness of existence".
Institutions across the globe (including UNIT) have their eyes trained on Torchwood and the team question their responsibility. Running a simulation, Tosh demonstrates how the rift — more specifically, Torchwood Three — is the epicentre of all the temporal incidents. The rift is expanding and history is falling through the cracks. Jack is quick to put the blame on Owen, who justifies opening the rift to save Jack and Toshiko.
Jack orders Owen and Toshiko to investigate a quarantined hospital, where the bubonic plague has broken out after the admittance of a plague victim from the 14th century, the time of the Black Death. Owen is not only terrified by this development, he also blames himself for it as the one responsible for opening the rift. He instructs a doctor in what medicine to give the patients. He warns the doctors this may happen more often and then leaves.
Gwen and Jack go to investigate a Roman soldier who was arrested by PC Andy. They explain to him how the soldier arrived. Andy states that even if he believes them, he is still confused. He does not know how to treat the new prisoner. Jack and Gwen solve this by drugging the soldier and taking him to the cells at Torchwood.
Back at the hospital, Toshiko sees her mother, who tells her in Japanese that the darkness is coming and Toshiko must open the rift to stop it all. Her mother vanishes.
At the prison, Gwen sees Bilis Manger in a cell. He apologises — somehow speaking with his mouth closed — before disappearing. Back at the Hub, Ianto sees Lisa, who tries to convince him to open the rift. Ianto does not believe it is Lisa but being told to open the rift still makes him think. When the team meet back at the hub, Jack once again blames Owen, and the pair start to argue. Jack fires Owen, who goes to a bar to drown his sorrows. Diane appears and tells him to open the rift. He decides to do it.
Jack and Gwen go to Bilis' clock shop "A Stitch in Time". They question him, and Bilis reveals that he can step between eras in time, then disappears. Jack leaves, but Bilis returns and shows Gwen a vision of Rhys dead in their flat. She runs home to find Rhys alive. Gwen tries to get him to come with her to the Hub where she can protect him, but he won't come quietly, so she knocks him out and gets Jack to help her get him there. They place Rhys in the vaults, where he wakes. He is very angry at Gwen, but she says that she only wants to protect him. The team, minus Owen, are all in the central area of the Hub when the power suddenly goes off. Gwen runs to the cells, shouting Rhys' name.
With the power off, Rhys' cell door opens. Before he can leave, however, Bilis appears and stabs him twice, twisting the dagger. Gwen arrives to find Rhys dead and no sign of Bilis.
Rhys' dead body is cleaned and brought into the autopsy room, where a sort of funeral is held. Gwen cries and shouts at Jack, who consoles her. Owen bursts in and tries to console her, but she shuns him. Tosh however is very happy to see Owen, and hugs him. Owen announces that he's opening the rift. Ianto follows him and Jack orders him to stop Owen, but Ianto says no. Tosh and Gwen follow as well and begin to open the rift, but they are stopped by a security protocol that demands retina prints of all Torchwood personnel.
Jack threatens Gwen with a gun, but she just walks up to him. Gwen insists that she must get Rhys back but Jack taunts her by reminding her of her affair with Owen. Gwen erupts with terrifying anger and punches Jack with extreme force, knocking the gun out of his hand. Owen seizes the revolver and turns it on him. He announces that they are relieving Jack of command and "getting back what [they] lost". Jack tells Owen that if he wants to take charge, he'd need "significantly bigger balls". Jack picks himself up and walks forward but Owen fires the gun. Jack is dropped by the headshot but Owen fires another two rounds into his torso. Ianto, stunned, drops to Jack's side and asks Owen, "What have you done?" Owen answers that he's "sick of people doubting" him as Gwen tries to calm him down.
With Owen calmed, the team activate the machine with all of their retinal scans, including Jack's. As the Rift opens, Jack revives. The revival stuns the rest of the team. He comes round and asks what they've done. The team evacuate the Hub as an earthquake splits across Cardiff. Jack is weak so Gwen holds his hand while he walks.
Outside, the team find Bilis, who speaks of "[the] son of the Great Beast, cast out before time" named Abaddon trapped inside the Rift, before disappearing. Suddenly, a huge creature rises above Cardiff. Anyone in its shadow immediately dies. This gives Jack an idea: he can't die, so Abaddon can feed off his life. Gwen drives him to an open space. Screaming, she tearfully tries to stop him without success. Jack shoves her away, shouting at her to drive to safety. Still she doesn't leave, crying by the SUV.
Jack stands before Abaddon. The shadow begins to kill Jack, but a blue light flows out of Jack's chest towards Abaddon. The creature dies from absorbing Jack's immortal life force and the Rift is sealed. Jack lies dead before Gwen as she holds him, crying over his body.
The timeline has been restored with the closing of the Rift. Rhys is alive. Gwen is so happy to see him that she kisses him on the lips. Yet there is a price: Jack has not resurrected. Owen, Ianto and Tosh appear resigned to the reality of his death, but Gwen refuses to move from his side, telling them forcefully that she "wants to sit with him".
Days pass, and the team grow increasingly concerned for Gwen, but she remains faithfully by Jack's side, watching him, occasionally smoothing down and re-arranging the body bag he lies in on the morgue slab. Ianto is seen crying into Jack's military coat. Finally, Gwen appears to give up. She picks up Jack's hand, pressing her cheek to the back of it before hesitantly leaning over him and kissing his lips. She stands and walks away, almost crying, before hearing him gasp a breath and weakly calling, "Thank you." Gwen sprints back to find him alive and smiling up at her.
Jack has recovered some strength, although he is still pale. Gwen accompanies him into the main Hub area, taking his hand and smiling up at him. Toshiko runs into his arms and Jack embraces her. Next, Ianto comes forward somewhat uncertainly, extending an unsteady hand but Jack pulls him into an embrace and then kisses him on the lips. Owen, clearly shaken, steps up to Jack as the Captain walks towards him. He begins to stammer his apology but Jack cuts him off. "I forgive you." Breaking down, Owen sobs into Jack's shoulder and clings to him as Jack hugs him.
In Jack's office, Gwen and Jack are talking. Jack tells her that although the Rift is sealed, it will be more volatile than before. Gwen asks him what vision would have tempted him to open the rift. He says simply, "the right kind of Doctor." Jack walks out of his office to find the severed hand of the Doctor glowing, the preserving liquid bubbling actively and its tank sounding some sort of alert. His excitement is obvious, a nervous smile mixed with confusion covering his face as a wind sweeps through the area and the sound of the TARDIS materialising is heard. Jack turns his head to something, smiles widely and picks up the Doctor's hand.
Gwen enters the room, calling for Jack, who is nowhere to be seen. The rest of the Torchwood team enter with coffee and Gwen asks them if they've seen Jack. Owen remarks that the Hub has been dishevelled after they cleaned up. Gwen looks around the emptiness of the Hub, saying that "he was just here". The team stand in the Hub, wondering what has taken Jack.
- 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
- Bilis - Murray Melvin
- PC Andy - Tom Price
- Lisa - Caroline Chikezie
- Diane - Louise Delamere
- Doctor - Matthew Gravelle
- Toshiko's Mother - Noriko Aida
- Roman soldier - Jamie Belton
- Newsreader - Carrie Gracie
- Weevil - Paul Kasey
- Religious Woman - Rhian Wyn Jones
- Barman - Paul Bennett
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.|
- Jack receives calls from UNIT, the CIA and the Houses of Parliament.
- Jack says that only the right kind of doctor could have made him change his mind and help open the Rift.
- Jack mentions that not messing with the Rift is the first thing the Torchwood members learn when they join.
Cultural references from the real world
- This story was originally titled Apocalypse.
- The episode was repeated on BBC Two, two days later at 9:00pm on Wednesday 3 January 2007; it was edited together with Captain Jack Harkness into an omnibus.
- This episode first aired on the same day as Invasion of the Bane, the hour-long premiere of The Sarah Jane Adventures.
- The same shot of the Taj Mahal was used in 2006's Army of Ghosts.
- The Torchwood website states that Jack disappeared in early February.
- This episode marks the final appearance of the Doctor's severed hand in the Hub. Jack returns it to the Tenth Doctor in the conclusion to the cliffhanger, Utopia.
- War and The Plague, referenced by the Roman soldiers and the plague patients, are common representations of two of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
- 1.23 million viewers
to be added
- When the TARDIS is heard materialising, a wind picks up in the Hub, even though a layer of concrete separates the Hub from the TARDIS.
- In the final shot of the Hub, the jar containing the Doctor's severed hand can be seen, even though Jack supposedly takes it with him as he runs to reunite with the Doctor and the TARDIS, as seen in TV: Utopia.
- Rhys's stomach moves up and down when he's on the autopsy table.
- On the morgue table, Jack's pulse is visible, even though Owen claims he has no vital signs.
- When Abaddon is rampaging through Cardiff, in the shot in which his shadow kills several fleeing shoppers, some of the shoppers fall down before Abaddon's shadow even touches them.
- After Jack kills Abaddon by feeding the latter his unlimited life force and temporarily dies, in the shot of Jack's body from above, both his arms are spread out. But in the next shots in which Gwen runs up to Jack's corpse, Jack's left arm is at his side.
- After Ianto sees Lisa and she disappears, she can still be seen partially in the frame to the far right when his eyes open again and the camera cuts to where she was standing.
- Toshiko still has a bandage around her wrist from when she cut her hand. (TV: Captain Jack Harkness)
- Jack mentions Owen opening the Rift. (TV: Captain Jack Harkness)
- Ianto sees Lisa appear to him, though before her Cyber-conversion. (TV: Cyberwoman)
- An apparition of Diane appears to Owen. (TV: Out of Time)
- Jack taunts Tosh about her previous obsession with the Arcateenian pendant, (TV: Greeks Bearing Gifts) and mentions Owen's desperate need to be in a cage with a Weevil. (TV: Combat)
- Abaddon is "the son of the Beast". (TV: The Impossible Planet, The Satan Pit)
- Gwen recalls that Jack revealed his immortality to her when she joined Torchwood. (TV: Everything Changes)
Home video releases
- End of Days 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.
- It was also released in the Series 1-4 boxset (Region 2 release: 14 November 2011.)
- 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)
- End of Days at Shannon Sullivan's A Brief History of Time (Travel)
- End of Days at The Locations Guide
- The Discontinuity Guide to: End of Days at The Whoniverse