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Fragments was the twelfth episode of Series 2 of Torchwood. It was written by Chris Chibnall, directed by Jonathan Fox Bassett and featured John Barrowman as Jack Harkness, Eve Myles as Gwen Cooper, Burn Gorman as Owen Harper, Naoko Mori as Toshiko Sato and Gareth David-Lloyd as Ianto Jones.

Composed largely of flashbacks, it established how each of the main Torchwood Three members, save Gwen, had come to work for Torchwood. Gwen's origin story with Torchwood Three was previously shown in the episode Everything Changes. The episode also featured a brief re-appearance of Captain John Hart, alongside the first appearance of Gray as an adult, both of which transpired over a hologram communication.

Synopsis Edit

A booby-trapped building explodes and knocks the Torchwood team unconscious, and kills Jack again. Each team member's life flashes before his 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.

Plot Edit

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) Edit

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". Alex 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) Edit

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) Edit

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) Edit

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.

Cast Edit

Crew Edit

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.

References Edit

  • Jack dies 1392 times.

Individuals Edit

Organisations Edit

Species Edit

Technology Edit

Story notes Edit

  • The Doctor is named explicitly for the first time in the series.
  • To date, out of the original Torchwood Three, Suzie Costello is the only member whose origins with the team remain unclear. She was also the "black sheep" of the group, which could explain why her character is not explored as thoroughly. Jack mentions Suzie during a flashback sequence as he gives orders to each team member who respond as they are mentioned. However, Suzie's response is cut off by Ianto stopping Jack's car. Indira Varma did not lend her voice for this episode, nor did she reprise her role as Suzie, since she was pregnant at the time of filming. As such, the mention of Suzie in this episode is conveniently scripted to avoid any interaction with her, reduced to a passing mention to preserve continuity.
  • Jack died one thousand three hundred and ninety-two times between meeting Torchwood and the explosion at the beginning of the episode, and at least fourteen times prior to the first Torchwood encounter. (This number will skyrocket astronomically during the events of the next episode, however.)
  • This is the first appearance of UNIT soldiers or 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 the day.
  • The events surrounding Alex's killing of the Torchwood 3 team happen at the same time with the events surrounding the "birth" of the Eighth Doctor and his battle with the Master as seen in the 1996 telefilm.

Ratings Edit

Filming locations Edit

  • Caerwent Millitary Training Area

Production errors Edit

  • In one scene of Jack's flashback, the Doctor's hand jar is visible even though it is years before it is cut off.

Continuity Edit

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.
  • A Blowfish appears in a flashback. (TV: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang.
  • Captain John Hart is behind the bomb attack. (TV: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang)
  • Gray is seen in a hologram. (TV: Adam)
  • The tarot card reading girl appears in a flashback. (TV: Dead Man Walking) except in the modern day. Here she predicts that "two turns of the century" will pass before Jack finally meets up with the Doctor again. (TV: Utopia) The nature of this girl, including why she appears in two different time periods, has yet to be revealed. One of her tarot cards includes an image of Jack.
  • The origins (sort-of) of Myfanwy is shown as well as how Jack acquired her as a Torchwood Three pet. (TV: Everything Changes, Cyberwoman, Meat)
  • When Jack begins to work with Torchwood, they know about the Tenth Doctor. (TV: Tooth and Claw) However, they are operating in accordance with Queen Victoria's declaration that the Doctor is an enemy of the Crown and Torchwood because of her vehement reaction toward him. (TV: Army of Ghosts) This mentality is all but gone by the time Jack assumes command of Torchwood Three.
    • Jack also mentions that he has no clue about the whereabouts of the Doctor, as he left Jack behind. (TV: The Parting of the Ways)
  • Ianto mentions Torchwood One's destruction and the Battle of Canary Wharf in 2007. (TV: Army of Ghosts / Doomsday)
  • Jack mentions Lisa Hallett and Ianto says she's dead. (TV: Cyberwoman)
  • While trying to recruit Toshiko, Jack tells her that he's given her mother Retcon. Retcon was given several times to several people. (TV: Everything Changes, Combat, Meat, Adam, Something Borrowed)
  • The flashbacks showing Torchwood in the period 1890s-2000 depict its cold, manipulative ways/ (TV: Army of Ghosts et al.) Jack mentions on several occasions how he wants to turn it into an organisation that helps people; it is suggested that the cold-blooded killing of the blowfish by an early Torchwood operative might have been one of the inspirations for this.
  • The SUV has been stolen before. (TV: Countrycide)
  • Suzie Costello is mentioned. She later died after shooting herself, (TV: Everything Changes) and was later finished off permanently by Jack, after a short-lived resurrection gone wrong. (TV: They Keep Killing Suzie)
  • Jack indicates that he was on Earth following the asteroid impact that killed off the dinosaurs. Unknown to Jack, however, the impact was actually caused by a freighter in a failed attempt by the Cybermen to change Earth history. (TV: Earthshock)
  • Alex says, "The 21st century Jack, everything's gonna change." This is a reference to the start of aliens getting involved in human life. The Torchwood premiere (TV: Everything Changes) is a depiction of this factor when Captain Jack says, "The 21st century is where everything changes, and you've got to be ready".
  • It was once noted that Toshiko and UNIT "are not mates." (PROSE: The Twilight Streets) Ironically, the first time Tosh is introduced, she is working with UNIT. (TV: Aliens of London)
  • On New Year's Eve 1999, Alex called Yvonne Hartman at Torchwood One to tell her of his epiphany that Torchwood was not ready for the 21st century as he killed his team by shooting them. (AUDIO: One Rule)
  • Jack observes that the "Millenium Bug" was "stacked with poison". Jo Grant will later correct him when he makes a similar observation regarding the giant maggots, explaining the difference between poison and venom. (AUDIO: The Green Life)

DVD releases Edit

  • Fragments, along with the rest of series 2, was released in a complete series box set in 2008.

Footnotes Edit

External links Edit

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