25 – "Fragments"
Torchwood episode
Fragments (Torchwood).jpg
Tosh, Jack, Rhys, Gwen, Ianto and Owen watch the holographic message depicting Gray and Captain John.
Directed byJonathan Fox Bassett
Written byChris Chibnall
Script editorGary Russell
Produced byRichard Stokes (producer)
Chris Chibnall (co-producer)
Executive producer(s)Russell T Davies
Julie Gardner
Music byBen Foster
Production code2.12
SeriesSeries 2
Running time50 mins
First broadcast21 March 2008 (2008-03-21)
← Preceded by
Followed by →
"Exit Wounds"
List of Torchwood episodes

"Fragments" is the twelfth episode of the second series of the British science fiction television series Torchwood, which was broadcast on BBC Three on 21 March 2008.

The episode follows four members of the alien-hunting team Torchwood having flashbacks to how they were recruited after getting trapped under debris.



After the team gets signs of an unidentified life form, they (apart from Gwen, who is running late) go to investigate. Searching an abandoned building, the team discover they've been trapped and the building explodes. The explosion causes the team to be trapped in various places; unable to contact each other. Gwen and Rhys arrive (Rhys having given Gwen a lift), and as they dig everyone out, the team's lives flash before their eyes revealing how Jack, Ianto, Owen, and Toshiko were recruited by Torchwood.

Jack's story

In the Victorian era, Jack is picked up by two women - Alice Guppy and Emily Holroyd - who have noticed his immortality and his numerous references in public to the Doctor. They examine him, which includes attempting to kill him. Jack recognizes that the technology being used during the interrogation is more advanced than Earth technology of the time. They identify themselves as being Torchwood members and offer Jack a job. Jack initially declines the offer after learning that they view the Doctor as a threat. He agrees to the assignment after being told that if he doesn't cooperate he will be treated as a threat himself. He takes an assignment, which is to capture an alien. While they have the alien in a small cell, one of the officers pulls out a gun and shoots the alien in the head without warning. Jack disagrees with this policy and refuses the next assignment they try to give him. Jack goes to a bar, where a young female fortuneteller comes to his table and offers to read his cards. After ignoring his refusal, she tells Jack that he will meet the Doctor again...but not for another century. Needing something to do with himself until then, he returns to Torchwood and opts to join as an employee.

Still working for Torchwood in 1999, Jack returns to the Hub from trying to stop the Millennium Bug (which he claims 'has 18 legs and a poisonous stinger') to discover that Alex, the present team leader, has murdered the rest of the team out of fear of the future. He has in his hand a locket, and claims to have seen the future and killed the rest of the team as an act of mercy (he apologises to Jack that he can't do the same for him). Based on the vision from the locket, Alex states that the next century is when everything changes and that Torchwood isn't ready for it. He then commits suicide, leaving Torchwood to Jack as a "reward for a century of service." With the rest of the team dead, Jack needs a new team.

Toshiko's story

Toshiko's story takes place five years earlier when she was working for the Ministry of Defence. After her boss leaves one night, she breaks into the security room where she obtains secret files for a Sonic Modulator. Tosh begins constructing a basic version of the Modulator, and once complete, takes it to an unknown location. She gives it to a woman, one of her mother's captors, in trade for her mother's release; but in seeing Tosh's potential, they decide to have her work for them. Tosh refuses, and so the captors set off the Sonic Modulator, sending an ear-piercing sound around the room and bringing Tosh and her mother to the floor, as their blood vessels begin to pulse violently. At that point, however, UNIT soldiers break in and arrest them all. Tosh is locked in an empty cell and told that she now has no rights. She is denied communication with anyone, and will not receive any information concerning her mother.

After living in solitary confinement for some time, she is visited by Jack. Jack states that she'll be imprisoned indefinitely unless she agrees to work for him and will be allowed to stay in touch with her mother. He recognized the high amount of talent Toshiko had after coming across the Sonic Modulator and realizing that the plans she was working from were wrong, meaning Tosh had virtually made it herself. Toshiko agrees to Jack's offer of five years work and is released from prison.

Ianto's story

Ianto first encounters Jack by helping him fight a Weevil 21 months earlier. Ianto asks for a job, but is rejected by Jack after Ianto was found to have worked for Torchwood London. The next morning, Ianto gives Jack coffee as he exits the Hub. Jack recalls knowledge about Ianto, stating that he researched him after he was able to identify a Weevil. Ianto again asks for a job, as his old job was lost when Torchwood One was destroyed, but Jack states that he had severed all ties with Torchwood One and refuses. That night, Ianto steps in front of the SUV, and once more asks for a job. After Jack threatens to run him down, Ianto explains he is pursuing a pterodactyl. After a long battle (in which Jack implies he survived Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event), the two manage to sedate the creature. Finding themselves pressed together on the ground, they experience a moment of sexual tension, before Ianto excuses himself. Jack tells Ianto that he expects to see him at work the following morning.

Owen's story

Owen's flashback shows him working as a regular doctor and planning a marriage four years previously. His fiancée, Katie, who exhibits signs of Alzheimer's, is discovered to have a brain tumour and is admitted for an operation. Jack enters, apologising to Owen. Jack enters the operating room with Owen following to discover all the hospital staff inside dead. Jack says that an alien parasite was residing in Katie's brain and emitted a toxic nerve gas when threatened, which has killed her and the operating surgeons. Jack attempts to take the brain, but Owen protests and Jack chloroforms him. Owen wakes up in hospital, but because Jack has erased all evidence of himself, Owen has no proof of ever encountering him. After concluding that Owen is suffering from grief, the doctors prescribe him three months' rest. At Katie's grave, Owen finds and confronts Jack, realising he wasn't imagining things. Seeing Owen's potential and love for his job, Jack convinces him to join Torchwood as their medic.


The team escape the building to discover the SUV is missing. Jack receives a holographic message, as pictured, from Captain John Hart, who reveals that he had placed the bombs and shows Jack an image of his brother Gray. He then vows to tear Jack's world apart, so Jack will spend time with him.


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Cast notes

Clare Clifford had played Kyle in the Fifth Doctor story Earthshock.

Critical reception

Ben Rawson-Jones of Digital Spy reacted highly positively saying 'this episode demonstrates the power of the ensemble cast', praising the narrative structure and acknowledging the 'gripping twist ending.' The fansite Androzani.com, who react mostly negatively to Torchwood, say 'It's not entirely stellar. But when it does work, it works very nicely indeed.' This episode is also a favourite among the fan base.


  1. ^ "torchwood.co.uk - Letter". BBC. 28 March 2008. Retrieved 29 March 2008.
  2. ^ "Radio Times - "Exit Wounds" synopsis". Radio Times. Retrieved 29 March 2008.
  3. ^ Three stars ("pips") are on his epaulette or cuff, depending upon the tunic style.