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The Gathering was the ninth episode of Series 4 of Torchwood. It was written by John Fay, directed by Guy Ferland and featured landmark moment for former executive producer of Doctor Who, Russell T Davies (who had also created Torchwood), who had his very first in-universe role in a Doctor Who-related production, though a small one. His voice can be heard in the opening moments of the episode as a radio announcer. It advanced the story two months from the previous episode and presented an apocalyptic scenario as the economies of the world collapsed as a result of the Miracle Day phenomena.


The culprits of the Miracle are now known: the Three Families.

Two months later, the world has further devolved into chaos, with everyone no longer caring about anyone other than themselves. The Category Ones are no longer a concern, with them all being burned without a care.

At the same time, Torchwood continues looking into the Blessing, while Rex and the CIA look into finding a lead to the identities of the Three Families' members.


Two months have elapsed. Back at CIA headquarters, Rex is making progress trying to track down the Three Families. References to them are few and far between but he soon begins to think that there is a mole in the CIA. After her deportation back to the UK, Gwen has been working at keeping her father hidden from the government agents responsible for rounding up all Category 1s. She has taken to stealing drug supplies from the local pharmacies, knowing she is being watched. Her and Rhys ensure others in the neighbourhood are able to use the pain killers to help their loved ones too.

Esther and Jack are hiding in Scotland while he recovers from his gunshot wound. Esther remarks on how they should go even further north, suspecting the local local butcher is becoming suspicious of why she keeps needing blood. Jack remarks how Esther has hardened over the past two months. Esther puts a bag of Jack's blood in a freezer filled with other bags of his blood. Jack claims his blood is not what makes him immortal but Esther insists on storing it anyway.

Meanwhile, Rex is back working for the CIA, doing everything he can on the inside to uncover the families bloodline. He learns from his superior, Shapiro, that cancer cells have become mortal, so he has resumed his old smoking habit since the risk of death has dropped dramatically. Eventually, he finds an old tale about a man who can't die. He theorises the man we inspired by seeing Jack die and that a family member was later killed. He informs the staff, who confirm the knife is still in the archives, meaning they can trace the blood on the knife to find the family's roots. Charlotte Wills offers to take the lead, which Rex agrees to. However, she comes back to Rex and Shapiro with no match. However, Rex is not ready to give up on it and insists Charlotte let him look into it on his own, which she hesitantly accepts.

At home, the police do a surprise search on Gwen's house, looking for his father. Gwen feigns her father was taken and burned, with them unable to say goodbye. Despite their efforts, the police check the basement. However, because of Rhys creating a separate room, the police conclude Geraint is not present and leave, the investigator insisting they will return.

Oswald Danes, also on the run, eventually locates Gwen's home. He sneaks in as a delivery man. Gwen initially does not recognise him until her picks up Anwen. She takes her daughter back as Oswald rambles about why he is there. Enraged, Gwen attacks him with a frying pan. Rhys stops her, despite realising who Oswald is. Gwen goes to strike again but Rhys stops her, citing she can't go to jail for murder. Oswald thanks him but Rhys reveals he will kill him instead, rounding on him, daring Oswald to explain why he there before he tells everyone where he is. Oswald says he needs Jack Harkness. He reveals he knows Jack came to her weeks earlier, Gwen helping secure him and Esther in Scotland.

Understanding such, Gwen covertly informs Jack, who drives down. A man across the street notes Gwen's activity. Gwen phones him, confusing the man. Jack appears behind him, holding him at gunpoint. He reveals they have met before and offers him a choice: take retcon and forget meeting Jack, or be shot and left a Category 1. The man chooses the latter, soon falling unconscious. Jack pauses the man's surveillance before he and Esther enter Jack's house. Rex also connects with them via their laptop.

Collectively, they soon discover a connection in two places, Shanghai and Buenos Aires, and set out to find the source of the Blessing. Jilly Kitzinger is already in Shangai, having been drawn into the secret families. With the help of Oswald and Rhys, Jack and Esther figure out that Jilly is being used to mistranslate news clips from before the Miracle regarding the destruction of blood banks, with Rex confirming the translations have been altered to change the meaning entirely. They changed a patient's line from "The Blessing saved my life" to "it is a blessing my life was saved". As such, they deduce the families and the Blessing are in both Shanghai and Buenos Aires where Rex has tracked the possible location of a man who was in the cellar in 1928 when Jack was repeatedly killed. The man in Shanghai, who died before the Miracle after burning down the blood bank but not before living for awhile, is shown to have said that "the Blessing saved me", which causes them to realise it's there but leaves them confused about why the one in Buenos Aires was blown up.

However, their conversation is interrupted by the police barging in again, the investigator revealing they have brought heat sensors this time to ensure they don't miss anything. Jack briefly considers handing Oswald Danes to the police as a distraction but Danes protests Jack would be arrested as well for knowing him. Eventually, the police discover Gwen's dad in the basement and take him away despite Gwen and her mother's protests. The incident fuels Gwen's desire to combat the families even more.

Rhys realises that the two cities are antipodes, exact opposites of the world and that the Blessing must run between them. Rex informs Shapiro he must go rogue on the mission to find the Families himself because he suspects there is a mole in the CIA. Shapiro reluctantly agrees, telling Rex to get in touch should he need anything.

Splitting up, Esther, carrying her stockpile of Jack's blood, travels to Buenos Aires and meets up with Rex while Gwen, Jack and Oswald travel to Shanghai using old Torchwood connections after Gwen's father is taken away again. In Shanghai, the group discovers that Jack's blood is being mysteriously drawn from his wound into the ground, implying a connection between Jack's blood and the Blessing.




General production staff

Camera and lighting department

Art department

Make-up and prosthetics

General post-production staff

Special and visual effects


UK crew
General production staff
Camera, lighting and sound departments





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.

The Starz broadcast carried a final credit of "Originally Developed and Produced by BBC Cymru Wales". The BBC One broadcast says, instead, "BBC Worldwide Productions for BBC Cymru Wales and STARZ Originals".


  • Gwen tries searching for the Blessing on the website Search.
  • Gwen hides her looted drugs in Jubilee Pizza boxes.
  • Rhys mentions the rolling blackouts from the energy crisis of the 1970s. The baby boom that came afterwards was a result of people taking advantage of the dark.
  • The Emergency Powers Act enacted after Miracle Day allows the search of private property based on suspicion of harbouring a Category 1 person without a warrant.
  • There was a fire in the Manhattan Central Repository, destroying its records.
  • Gwen brings back chicken and chips, saying that fish is too expensive.
  • Retcon is used on the man keeping the Cooper residence under surveillance.
  • Finch uses a brand new app for thermal imaging.
  • D. Sinclair translates a sentence from both Mandarin and Wu Chinese to English for Rex.
  • Jack mentions a Skullion trading route in the black market.
  • Gwen uses diamorphine on her father.
  • A man named Huw Jenkins, who had a bad back, was put in Category 1.
  • Matty Sheldon offered Rhys a job driving Category 1s.
  • Gwen warns her mother about a raid on Oystermouth Road.
  • One of the books Victor Podesta authored is called The Devil Within, which talks about Satan and blood, likely inspired by the night he saw Jack repeatedly killed and resurrected in a cellar decades ago.
  • Rhys remarks he could say the word "Jesus" and not be in Jerusalem when he dismisses the idea the Blessing is located in Shanghai just because the word is connected to the city. He changes his mind when he sees the Blessing could be linked to more than one location.
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina and Shanghai, China are antipodes.
  • The Blessing is a sentient vein in the depths of the planet Earth that stretches from Shanghai to Buenos Aires. Those who approach it will encounter sensations of dread, possibly brought on by its attempts to communicate. People who stare at it directly will be given messages that can either uplift them or drive them insane, even to suicide.
  • Jack's blood is drawn toward the Blessing, some of which is agitated inside his body to the point it exacerbates his wounds trying to get out. Likewise, Rex Matheson feels similar discomfort from his chest wound, but no bleeding.

Story notes[]


  • UK: 4.64 million (Final BARB ratings)[1]
  • US: 1.16 million

Filming locations[]

to be added

Production errors[]

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.
  • When Rhys mentions Jesus, his mouth doesn't match the audio on the word Jerusalem.


Home video releases[]

  • This episode was released worldwide in a box set containing all ten episodes of Torchwood: Miracle Day. In the United Kingdom, it was released on Region 2 DVD and Region Free Blu-ray on 14 November 2011.[2] In Australia, it was released in Region 4 DVD and Region B Blu-Ray on 1 December 2011.[3] In New Zealand, the same sets were released on 7 December 2011.[4] In North America, it was released on Region 1 DVD and Region Free Blu-Ray on 3 April 2012.[5]
  • It was also released in the Series 1-4 boxset (Region 2 release: 14 November 2011.)