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Fragments was the twelfth episode of Series 2 of Torchwood. It was written by Chris Chibnall, and directed by Jonathan Fox Bassett. Composed largely of flashbacks, it established how each of the main Torchwood Three members had come to work for Torchwood before the start of the series.


A booby-trapped building explodes and knocks the Torchwood team unconscious, and kills Jack again. Each team member's life flashes before their eyes. There is a series of flashbacks for all of the main characters except Gwen. Captain Jack was initiated into Torchwood in 1899; Toshiko went on a mission to trade alien technology for her mother's life; Ianto wooed Jack with coffee and a flair for alien-catching; and Owen lost his normal life to an alien in his fiancée's brain.


The Torchwood team, minus Gwen, investigate a derelict building and are trapped when it explodes. The four experience flashbacks about their origins with the alien-fighting organisation.

Captain Jack Harkness (1,392 deaths earlier)[]

Captain Jack is picked up by the all-female Torchwood Three in Victorian times when they become aware of his immortality. They torture him to extract information about the Doctor to no avail, but soon decide to enlist him as an agent. After many decades have passed, Jack now works for Alex Hopkins, and it is New Year's Eve, 1999. Jack discovers that his boss has murdered everyone else in the Hub because of his fear of the new millennium and the horrors it may hold. Alex has used a piece of alien technology that showed him the future and decided to eliminate his team as "mercy killings", knowing that if they lived, their fates would perhaps be even worse. He cannot do the same to Jack because of his immortality. He turns Torchwood Three over to Jack, telling him, "The 21st century is when it all changes... and we're not ready". Hopkins puts his gun to his head and takes his own life. Jack is now left without a team, but he is now in command of Torchwood Three. After 100 years of servitude under supervising authority, Jack is free to act as he desires.

Toshiko Sato (5 years earlier)[]

Tosh joins Torchwood after Jack finds her in a top secret prison. She leaked information from her Ministry of Defence job to a vicious gang holding her mother captive. UNIT raid the building and take Tosh, Milton and her henchmen to a secret prison where she is told she will be kept forever. However, Jack is impressed by her ability to assemble a sonic modulator despite flawed instructions. He has her released and given a pardon once she accepts the Torchwood job.

Ianto Jones (21 months earlier)[]

Ianto harasses Jack for a job after the demise of Torchwood One, where he worked. Helping Jack fight off a Weevil and repeatedly praising his coat doesn't work at first, but they capture a pterodactyl together — with the help of some chocolate — and Ianto is enlisted.

Owen Harper (4 years earlier)[]

Owen meets Jack when he bursts into a hospital room after brain surgery on Owen's ailing fiancée Katie. Despite warnings from Torchwood, the surgeon tried to remove an alien from her brain. When the alien lifeform was threatened, it emitted a toxic gas, killing all the humans in the operating room. Jack arrives too late. After explaining the situation to Owen, Jack knocks him out. Owen wakes to discover a massive cover up. He encounters Jack when visiting Katie's grave. After a fight, he agrees to join Torchwood as a medic.

Back in the present, Gwen and Rhys help to pull everyone from the debris in the building. However, Jack receives a holographic message from John Hart in which he claims responsibility for the bombs and says he has taken Jack's brother Gray captive.


Uncredited cast[]


General production staff

Script department

Camera and lighting department

Art department

Costume 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.






Story notes[]

  • This episode aired 40 minutes after the BBC Two repeat of Adrift at 10:30pm on BBC Three; and was repeated on BBC Two in its usual 9:00pm timeslot the next week, on Friday 28 March 2008.
  • A family friendly pre-watershed edit of this episode aired at 7:00pm, six days later, on Thursday 3 April 2008 on BBC Two.
  • The Doctor is named explicitly for the first time in the series.
  • This is the first appearance of UNIT soldiers and a UNIT facility in the series. UNIT is depicted as a somewhat malevolent organisation, in contrast to previous depictions in Doctor Who, more in line with the portrayal of its evil parallel universe counterpart on Inferno Earth, the Republican Security Forces (RSF). Jack suggests this may be due to the political climate of 2004.


Filming locations[]

  • Caerwent Military Training Area

Production errors[]

to be added


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.

Home video releases[]

  • Fragments, 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.)


External links[]