Greeks Bearing Gifts

Roots: Philoctates comes from the eponymous play and the Iliad. There are references to Alien, the Stasi, and The Prince of Tides. Mary quotes "Kubla Khan".

Goofs: It seems odd that Owen and Gwen don't even ask what is is that Tosh wants to show them.

Why is Tosh so surprised that "Mary" knows the name Torchwood? They have it written on the side of the SUV.

It's somewhat odd that the guy at the bar thinks of Tosh as "Asian" – a term that, in the UK, usually refers to somebody of Indian or Pakistani origin. Chinese or Japanese would be more likely.

"Mary" says the device relays thoughts that the thinkers don't know they're having and then moments later insists that a thought Tosh heard wasn't her. How would she know? [She's lying, and knows Tosh isn't in a fit state to spot the lie.]

Jack asks if the Prime Minister is on a secure line. But he's using a wireless phone, and hence broadcasting his end of the conversation to anybody within range. [Torchwood's phones use alien tech to encrypt the wireless signal so it can't be read. Alternatively there is some kind of shielding on the walls that prevents the signal getting out – though that would break every time somebody opened the door.]

Owen's clearly not that good at his job if he can't tell a male and female skeleton apart.

If Mary has been feeding her body by ripping out peoples' hearts and eating them, she would need to be killing hundreds of people every year, which would make her murders a major ongoing trend, rather than something obscure enough that Owen has to look it up. [She's feeding herself normally, and does the heart-eating thing for fun every so often.]

If Mary wasn't bothered about the transporter for the nearly 200 years it was buried, why is she so anxious to get hold of it when it's dug up? [Maybe there are some security features that would enable her people to track her down.]

If the pendant can't read Jack's thoughts, how is he able to send Tosh a mental message?

And why on Earth is Jack just randomly hanging out on top of buildings? We've seen it in establishing shots before, but this is right in the middle of the story.

Continuity: Tosh is running a translation program to see if any of the alien languages Torchwood have on record have a common origin. She was born in London, 1975, moved to Osaka when she was two, then back to the UK in 1986. Her parents were in the RAF, and her grandfather worked at Bletchley Park. She was snapped up by a Government science think tank when she was twenty, and recruited to Torchwood three years ago. She doesn't have an ashtray. Her birthday is in July.

There is stuff about torchwood on the internet if you dig deep enough. "Mary" knows of some people on the internet who are aware of them. Plus she says there's some stuff about them on police scanners.

Jack's coffee preference is industrial strength.

The alien pendant allows you to read thoughts – many of which are subconscious. Jack is immune to being read, although he can project his thoughts so that they can be heard.

Philoctetes – shape-changing alien.Her people have communicated using the thought-sharing pendant for centuries. They have enforced worship in temples the size of cities, execution squads roaming the streets. Dissent of any kind meant death, or transportation to what they'd call a feral outpost.

Jack phones the Prime Minister – citing Security visa 45895 Harkness. He phones her to complain that Torchwood operations have become part of the security briefings to the leader of the opposition. He has asked Tosh to compile a list for UNIT.

Owen's Torchwood clearance code is 45895.

Torchwood records include Operation Lowry, Operation Dogtooth,and Operation Eleanor. Operation Lowry records include various cases of people having their heart removed. Victims include Myra Bennett (1970 – aged 37), Sally Chappel (1972) Richard Playle (1973, aged 39), Melanie Gough (1974, aged 40), Lee Ball (1976), and Joyce Saville (1982).

Extras: This story had an episode of Torchwood Declassified.

Location: Cardiff 1812; Cardiff 196 and 11 to 11.5 months later [which would be either December 2008 or some point in 2009 – which doesn't fit with other dating information for Torchwood]. It's quite some time after Tosh's July birthday

Unrecorded Adventures: Tosh once found an A4 size object with alien symbols. After three months translation work she discovered that it was a letter someone had written to his family, to his children, to say how much he was missing them. Torchwood have previously dealt with someone called Michael Hamilton, who is still seeing Cybermen outside his mother's house (c.f. Doomsday).

The Bottom Line: Yet another episode of Torchwood that's not exactly bad, but doesn't really have any quality to it. And by this point in the series I'm getting really fed up with Owen being such a jerk. What is the point in having one of the leads have no redeeming qualities?

Discontinuity Guide by Stephen Gray

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