|'To the Last Man'
by Helen Raynor
In 1918, at St. Teilo’s Military Hospital, two people named Gerald and Harriet investigate reported sightings of ghosts. Tracking the source of the disturbance to the radiology room they see a white light, and then watch as two figures materialise before them: a young soldier and a pretty Asian woman – none other than Torchwood’s Toshiko Sato from the Twenty-First Century. When Tosh implores her companion that only he can stop the end of everything, the soldier tells the two investigators to take him from his bed in a nearby ward; finding another version of the soldier exactly where he told them he would be, Gerald and Harriet introduce themselves – they are from Torchwood… In the present, in the Torchwood Hub, an intrigued Gwen watches as Jack, Owen, Tosh and Ianto begin their annual task of defrosting one of the occupants of their alien cryogenic storage area, Private Thomas ‘Tommy’ Reginald Brockless. Thanks to Owen’s expertise Tommy survives his reawakening, and it isn’t long before he is enjoying dinner and a cup of tea with the team, and looking forward to a series of tests to check his health. Jack explains to Gwen that there was a time shift in 1918 which caused slices of the future and the past to collide; Tommy was frozen by the then Torchwood team, as they believed only he could prevent the time shift from destroying the world; however, the orders Torchwood left behind are sealed with a temporal lock tied in to the rift sequence in the hospital – meaning that they will only open when the time shift activates. Tosh takes Tommy out to enjoy his day’s freedom; together they enjoy a walk by the river, and a game of pool in a pub, and it is obvious that they both feel something for each other. Meanwhile, Gwen and Jack head for the hospital, now abandoned and facing imminent demolition. Gwen sees the ghost of a one-legged patient, who vanishes before her startled eyes, and when a demolition worker begins smashing down a wall, both Tommy and Jack experience a feeling of unease. Searching the hospital corridors, Jack sees the ghosts of a nurse and patient; back at the Hub Owen’s sensors go off the scale. After seeing another ghostly patient, Gwen is shocked when a nurse is able to see her, and takes her for a ghost. At the seafront, Tommy plucks up the courage to kiss Tosh; Tosh feels awkward, but quickly decides to ask the soldier back to her flat; however, before they can head off Jack summons them back to the Hub. Convinced that the demolition is triggering the timeslip, Jack instructs Owen and Tosh to place sensors around the hospital; it isn’t long before the alarms activate – and at the Hub, the box containing Torchwood’s orders opens. Examining the contents, Jack finds instructions for Tommy: in twelve hours there will be a brief moment when the soldier will be able to step from the present into the past, when he must use a rift manipulator to seal the time fissure behind him; Jack is also surprised to discover a drawing of Toshiko inside the box… Jack tells Tosh that Tommy was suffering from shellshock, a condition that will revert on his return to the past; when Tosh learns that in three weeks time this condition cause Tommy to be charged and shot for cowardice she is appalled, and she vehemently objects to sending Tommy back; although Jack insists that Tommy complete his mission, he does allow his colleague to take the soldier back to her home for one last night together... The following morning, the Torchwood team take Tommy back to the hospital, but as soon as the alarms sound and a ghostly nurse appears, Tommy panics, not wanting to return to the trenches. After Tosh manages to calm Tommy down, convincing the terrified soldier that by saving everyone he will be a hero, the rift opens, and Gerald and Harriet appear before them. Following Tosh’s desperate instructions, Tommy tells the two agents to return to the ward and collect his 1918 self; with his memory beginning to fade, the frightened and confused soldier watches as his earlier self is led away by the two investigators, before allowing himself to be led back into bed by a concerned nurse. Returning to the Hub Tosh, Jack, Owen, Gwen and Ianto are concerned to discover that instead of closing, the time shift is now spreading, with time fissures now breaking out all across the city. Unable to return to the hospital for fear of being trapped in the past, Jack decides to use a sample of Tommy’s blood in conjunction with the alien mind probe, to project a psychic image through the time slip and into the soldier’s mind; however, Tosh volunteers to make contact with the soldier instead. Using the equipment she manages to get through to Tommy, and encourages him to use the rift manipulator; although the soldier no longer has any recollection of her, Tommy trusts Tosh’s words, and he activates the device – the rift immediately seals, putting history back onto its natural, tragic course. Some time later, having packed up Tommy’s possessions, a dejected Toshiko goes for a walk in the rain; but after listening to Owen’s words of reassurance, Tosh consoles herself with the knowledge that although she will never see her soldier again, his act of self-sacrifice saved the world.
John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness), Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper), Burn Gorman (Owen Harper), Naoko Mori (Toshiko Sato), Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones), Anthony Lewis (Private Thomas 'Tommy' Reginald Brockless), Roderic Culver (Gerald), Siobhan Hewlett (Hariet Derbyshire), Lizzie Rogan (Nurse), Ricky Fearon (Foreman)
Directed by Andy Goddard
Produced by Richard Stokes
Executive Producers Russell T. Davies and Julie Gardner
A BBC Wales production
30th January 2008 @ 9.00 pm
*Featuring Captain Jack Harkness, Gwen Cooper, Owen Harper, Toshiko Sato and Ianto Jones
*Working title: 'A Soldier's Heart'
*First appearance of Torchwood operatives Gerald and Harriet
*This episode was repeated on BBC3 at 11:00 pm, and then in a specially-edited pre-watershed version the following day, on BBC2 at 7.00 pm