Roots: The X-Files, Men in Black (especially Gwen's induced amnesia), Angel (the idea having a "more adult" spin-off series, and this episode may be a homage to the first episode of Angel, as the plot is incredibly similar). Andy mentions CSI. The hospital porter compares the Weevil to Hellraiser. SEP Fields from Hitchhikers. The secret lift entrance to Torchwood is clearly protected by an SEP (Somebody Else's Problem) Field, as invented by Douglas Adams for his Hitchhiker's book Life, The Universe, and Everything (and probably based on the TARDIS Chameleon Circuit). Rhys's explanations for alien invasions comes from 1950s conspiracy theories about the US Government putting fluoride and mind-controlling chemicals in the water.
Goofs: The scene where Gwen first meets the Weevil makes very little sense. The Weevil is wearing a Torchwood jumpsuit, indicating that Torchwood have already apprehended it, yet is apparently allowed to roam free with just a bit of plastic sheeting to keep him away from the rest of the hospital.
It's not actually a goof, but isn't it a bit dangerous to have all that water freely flowing through a room with so much electrical equipment?
Why is Jack just randomly standing on the roof of that tall building? [he's taking the Pterodactyl out for a "walk".]
There are no signs of the earthquake damage Cardiff suffered in Boom Town. Has it been completely cleared up already?
Technobabble: Jack explains the perception filter as the result of a dimensionally transcendental chameleon circuit placed right on this spot, which welded its perception properties to a spatial-temporal rift. (see goofs)
Dialogue Triumphs: Jack: 'That is so Welsh. I show you something fantastic, you find fault.'
Continuity: Jack claims that he can taste Oestrogen in rainwater. He [jokes] that he won't get pregnant, and he's never doing that again. He has his own recipe for an amnesia pill with a touch of denial and a dash of retcon. He also put a sedative in it. He survives being shot in the head. He explains this by saying that, after his death and resurrection in The Parting of the Ways, he can't die. [Perhaps he was reconstructed using block matrix computations.] He's looking for "the right sort of Doctor" to explain it.
Torchwood don't just catch aliens. they scavenge the things they leave behind, and work out how to use them. They are separate to the government, outside the police, and beyond the United Nations. They have the ability to cover up a death by retrospectively changing a hospital work rota and planting a witness, and to delete information on Gwen's computer. Torchwood's staff are Jack Harkness (who is in charge), Doctor Owen Harper, Toshiko Sato (computer genius), Suzie Costello (second in command), and Ianto Jones (who cleans up after everyone and gets them there on time). Owen often orders Pizza under the name of Torchwood. Following Suzie's death Gwen joins Torchwood. The Torchwood SUV has the registration CF06 FDU, but this does not show up on a vehicle search.
Alien technology that Torchwood have acquired has to stay on the base. It includes a glove that, when touched to the back of a recently dead corpse's head, can bring them back to life for a couple of minutes and which works better when there was a traumatic death; a spray with powerful pheromones that make somebody infatuated with the person it's sprayed on; a device that can read a book from scanning the spine, and then put it onto a computer screen just by touching the two together. Despite the rules Suzie borrowed the glove and an alien knife, Owen borrowed the spray, and Toshika borrowed the reading device to use at home.
Torchwood have a concealed underground tunnel into their base within a small office in Cardiff bay. The back entrance is a lift into the Millennium Centre, which is concealed by a perception filter - people within it don't register. There is a Pterodactyl flying around inside Torchwood's base, and the final shot shows it flying above Cardiff.
There are four Torchwoods. Torchwood One was destroyed in the battle of Canary Wharf (Doomsday), Torchwood two is an office in Glasgow, and is run by a "very strange man", Torchwood three this one, in Cardiff, and Torchwood four has gone missing, "but we'll find it someday".
Gwen Cooper lives with boyfriend Rhys Williams, and is, until her recruitment to Torchwood, a Cardiff Police officer. One of their friends is nicknamed banana boat.
There are 15 Jack Harknesses or John Harknesses in the UK.
The Weevils are aliens who live in Cardiff sewers. Every so often, one goes rogue, comes to the surface, and attacks people. "Weevil" is just a name given to them by Torchwood, rather than their actual name - they can't communicate with humans. Torchwood now have a captive one.
The rift in space and time running through Cardiff allows things to slip through - all sorts of flotsam and jetsam ends up there.
Links: Jack previously appeared in The Empty Child, The Doctor Dances, Bad Wolf, and The Parting of the Ways. Torchwood has previously been mentioned in several stories, but another branch of Torchwood actually appeared in Army of Ghosts and Doomsday. Toshiko Sato previously appeared in Aliens of London.
Gwen's colleague Yvonne mentions Jack's time in the Blitz (The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances) and dates Jack's disappearance to January 21st 1941. Jubilee Pizza boxes were previously used as props in Dalek, as a nod to Jubilee. However, the boxes were never visible on screen. We see the Doctor's severed hand from The Christmas Invasion, although it is not explicitly identified as such. Jack mentions the Sycorax ship on Christmas day (The Christmas Invasion), the battle of Canary Wharf, and Cyberman in every home (Doomsday). Gwen's boyfriend says that they put drugs in the water supply to cause mass hallucinations, as a form of terrorism, and that explains such things. Jack alludes to the TARDIS's visit to Cardiff Boom Town. TARDISes having perception filters was mentioned in This Town Will Never Let Us Go.
Extras: This story has an episode of Torchwood De-Classified.
Location: Modern day Cardiff - the Hub is beneath the Millennium Plaza and Roald Dahl Plas. Jack's statements about the Sycorax spaceship and the battle of Canary Wharf imply that it is the same year as Army of Ghosts.
The Bottom Line: 'CSI Cardiff, I'd like to see that.' This is pretty much a standard pilot episode, the bulk of the episode is given over to introducing the premise, characters, and setting. It does that job well, but everything else is fairly run of the mill, and nothing really sparkles. Also. it's somewhat disturbing to see one of the main cast steals stuff from the Hub so he can rape random women he meets in bars.