by J.C. Wilsher
While in pursuit of a Weevil, the Torchwood team discover the corpse of a man, Meredith Roberts, the latest in a recent spate of accidental deaths. Jack calls in an old friend to help Owen in his examination of the body: Doctor Martha Jones, former companion of the enigmatic time-traveller known as the Doctor, who is now working for U.N.I.T., the Unified Intelligence Taskforce. Although Meredith’s online medical records have been wiped, Martha is able to identify the real cause of death: a minute puncture wound in his eye, through which ammonium hydroxide was administered into his bloodstream. Martha and Jack take time to catch up; despite missing their adventures with the Doctor, they have each moved on with their lives, and are both happy. Jack then gives Martha a tour of the Hub and introduces his team, allowing Gwen the opportunity to swap gossip on her boss. Investigating the attacks, Owen and Martha determine that the killer is destroying evidence in his victims’ bloodstreams, possibly to hide a medical condition. Following up a police report of another corpse, this time found lying in a park, Gwen and Tosh identify the victim as a student named Barry Leonard; when Ianto and Gwen talk to Barry’s flatmate they are astonished to learn that the deceased had recently been cured of diabetes. Owen and Martha head for a local hospital to interview a girl named Marie Thomas, the victim of a failed attack by an assailant armed with a hypodermic; Marie reveals that she was recently cured of H.I.V. by ‘Reset’, a drug prescribed to her during clinical trials at The Pharm, a top secret, government-sponsored medical research centre. When Marie suddenly suffers a relapse and dies, a swarm of tiny insects bursts out of her mouth; Owen and Martha struggle to cover their faces, but the creatures die in a matter of seconds. Examining one of the insects, Owen determines that it grew from one of millions of alien larvae incubating in Marie’s body – it seems that the creatures’ eggs are the basis of Reset, enabling the drug to restore the human body back to its original ‘factory setting’. Jack and Owen pay a visit to the Pharm to meet with its director, Professor Aaron Copley; going for the direct approach, Jack confronts Copley over the recent murders, but Copley coolly denies any involvement and then orders his guards to escort the Torchwood duo from the premises; as they leave, Jack scans the area and finds it has a high concentration of alien life forms… Back at Torchwood, Owen surprises Tosh by taking her up on her idea of a date. Martha decides to infiltrate the Pharm by posing as a volunteer for clinical trials; Jack reluctantly agrees, ensuring that his friend is equipped with special contact lenses that provide two-way contact, and a cover identity, ‘Samantha Jones’. During her interview Martha meets Copley, and manages to ingratiate herself with the professor by pretending she had hepatitis. That night, Martha sneaks out of her room and gains access to Copley’s office, where she links the professor’s computer to Torchwood’s systems. While Martha slips back to her room, Tosh remotely accesses the Pharm’s files and downloads data on the lifecycle of the alien parasite, dubbed ‘The Mayfly’; confirming that the recent victims were all subjects at the facility, Tosh also identifies a military hitman named Billy Davis. Hearing an alarm warning of the breakout of a creature on the facility, Martha follows a group of armed guards; she is soon confronted by the giant, mosquito-like form of the adult Mayfly – but as the monster flies off, Martha is subdued with a tranquiliser dart by a pursuing guard… Tracking Billy Davis’ mobile phone, Gwen and Ianto arrive in time to prevent him from killing his latest victim, Elin Morgan. Martha comes to and finds herself strapped to an operating table; Copley knows that she works for Torchwood; he is also interested in her body’s immune system, which has been affected by alien radiation, and will prove invaluable in his research. Back at the Hub, Jack and his team use their ‘pet’ Weevil to make Billy reveal his clean-up operation; however, during his confession, Billy experiences chest pains and then suffers a gory death as a giant Mayfly bursts out of his chest. Tosh comes up with a plan to rescue Martha: by taping Billy’s corpse to the driving seat of a van, while Tosh drives the vehicle via remote control from the back, the Torchwood team are able to get past the facility’s guards. Jack and Owen burst in on Copley, only to learn that he has already injected Martha with the alien larvae; meanwhile, Gwen, Ianto and Tosh search the medical area for the Mayfly, finding it amongst rows and rows of cylinders containing dozens of other imprisoned aliens. Condemning Copley for abusing life, Jack orders the shutdown of the centre, instructing his team to arrest the staff, wipe all records and put the captive creatures out of their misery. As the Mayfly within Martha begins to write furiously, Owen uses a risky alien device to destroy the creature before it can burst free of its host. Copley pulls a gun and levels it at the team, but when Owen tries to talk him down, he is shot in the chest. Putting a bullet in the professor’s head, Jack joins his colleagues as they rush to Owen’s side – but they are too late, Owen is dead…
John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness), Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper), Burn Gorman (Owen Harper), Naoko Mori (Toshiko Sato), Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones), Freema Agyeman (Martha Jones), Alan Dale (Professor Aaron Copley), Jacqueline Boatswain (Plummer), Jan Anderson (Marie Thomas), Michael Sewell (Mike), John Samuel Worsey (Policeman), Natalie Danks-Smith (Elin)
Directed by Ashley Way
Produced by Richard Stokes
Executive Producers Russell T. Davies and Julie Gardner
A BBC Wales production
13th February 2008 @ 9.50 pm
*Featuring Captain Jack Harkness, Gwen Cooper, Owen Harper, Toshiko Sato and Ianto Jones, and reintroducing Martha Jones
*Martha Jones first appeared in the 'Doctor Who' story, 'Smith and Jones'
*In 'SFX' magazine issue 168, published March 2008, executive producer Russell T. Davies confirmed that, following objections from the real United Nations, "U.N.I.T." now stands for "Unified Intelligence Taskforce", rather than the original "United Nations Intelligence Taskforce"
*Unlike the earlier episodes in the season, this story premiered on BBC 3, immediately after the transmission of the previous episode, 'Adam', on BBC2; it was then repeated in the usual timeslot on BBC2 on 20th February 2008 at 9.00 pm, and as a specially-edited pre-watershed version the next day, on BBC2 at 7.00 pm