Fragments was the twelfth episode in the second series of Torchwood. Composed largely of flashbacks, it established how each of the main Torchwood Three members, save Gwen, had come to work for Torchwood.


A booby-trapped building explodes and knocks the Torchwood team unconscious. 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 a Victorian 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 inside 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 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 discovers one of his colleagues has murdered everyone else in the Hub because of his fear of the new Millennium and the horrors it may hold.

Toshiko Sato (5 years earlier)

Toshiko 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.



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.


  • Jack mentions Suzie Costello 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.
  • Ianto mentions the destruction of Torchwood One and the Battle of Canary Wharf.
  • Toshiko constructs a sonic modulator.
  • It was Ianto who found the Torchwood pteranodon with a rift monitor.
  • Jack died thirteen hundred 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.)
  • Jack took control of Torchwood 3 at the turn of the 21st century, after spending a hundred years with the organisation.

Story notes


  • 717,000 viewers

Filming locations

  • Caerwent Millitary Training Area

Production errors

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


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; one last appeared in Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. As it happens, while the Blowfish in this episode is murdered by a Torchwood agent while Jack watches, in the previous appearance it is Jack shown shooting one (although in defence of others, not as murder).
  • Captain John Hart is behind the bomb attack. He last appeared in Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang.
  • Gray is seen in a hologram. He was last seen (in a flashback as a child) in Adam.
  • The tarot card reading girl appears in a flashback. She was last seen in 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, an event that occurs in DW: 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.
  • When Jack begins to work with Torchwood, they know of the Tenth Doctor based on events in DW: Tooth and Claw.
  • The flashbacks showing Torchwood in the period 1890s-2000 depict its cold, manipulative ways as seen in DW: 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.
  • Jack, upon meeting Ianto for the second time, references his girlfriend, Lisa Hallet, to which Ianto replies deceased.
  • 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. Jack suggests this may be due to the current political climate of the day.
  • The events surrounding Alex's killing of the Torchwood 3 team are current with the events surrounding the "birth" of the Eighth Doctor and his battle with the Master as seen in the 1996 telefilm.
  • 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. (DW: 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 (TW: 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".


In the present day

For Jack's flashback with Emily and Alice

For Jack's flashback with Alex

For Tosh's flashback

For Owen and Ianto's flashbacks

DVD releases

  • This story, along with the rest of Torchwood Series 2, has been released in a complete series box set.

External links


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