Torchwood Logo 'Sleeper'

by James Moran
Torchwood Cast

Torchwood are called to a suburban flat to investigate the aftermath of a burglary gone wrong: one burglar lies dead from stab wounds, the other is critically ill after being thrown out of a fifth storey window, and while one of the victims, Mike, recovers in hospital, his wife Beth, has no recollection of the incident. When the surviving burglar dies blaming Beth with his last breath, Jack and Gwen take the woman back to the Torchwood Hub for questioning. Although Beth insists that she is innocent of murder, Jack quickly becomes convinced that she is an alien after Owen’s hypodermic needles and scalpel shatter on contact with her skin, and she starts giving off electro-magnetic waves. Shocked by this accusation, Beth continues to protest her innocence, but when a captive Weevil becomes intimidated by her presence she begins to realise that something is very wrong. Jack resorts to using an alien mind probe on Beth to determine the truth; the girl is strapped in to the apparatus and the painful procedure begins – but as Beth suddenly gives off another EM pulse her arm transforms, revealing a hidden compartment implanted with alien technology; Beth’s demeanour also transforms, and she gives her name, rank and serial number in a strange, alien language; then when the probe is deactivated, Beth returns to her normal self, with no recollection of her transformation. Jack tells his team that he now knows what their captive really is: an alien sleeper agent, part of an advance guard from Cell 114 implanted with a false identity and sent to gather intelligence on the human race as a prelude to invasion; somehow the burglary temporarily triggered Beth’s real, deadly, self. Watching a replay of her session in the mind probe, Beth is shocked to learn the truth about herself, and is badly shaken by the knowledge that one day her real persona will take over for good, when she returns to her home planet to give her report. Pragmatic as ever, Jack is all for terminating Beth there and then, but Toshiko offers him an alternative: they can neutralise Beth’s implant and place her in cryogenic storage, until such a time as they can properly help her. Jack agrees and the procedure is put into effect – however, the Torchwood team are unaware that the implant is still active, and it transmits a signal that activates three other alien sleeper agents: a man named David murders his wife; a paramedic leaves his patient lying in the street; and a young mother abandons her baby in the path of a car. Back at Torchwood, Beth awakes inside her cryo-pod and uses her implant’s intel to shut down the Hub’s system, before escaping through the tunnels below the complex. Owen and Tosh determine that Beth’s implant gave false readings to their sensors – she was awake all along. Having reverted to her human self again, Beth heads for to the hospital to see Mike, knowing that to keep her husband safe she must leave him; however, Beth’s implant activates of its own accord, manifesting a huge, wicked blade that stabs Mike through the chest. As hospital staff rush in to attend to Mike’s wounds, Jack and Gwen arrive on the scene and take Beth back to the SUV at gunpoint. The other members of the sleeper cell carry out their mission: David murders the leader of Cardiff Council, who holds the city’s security protocols; the paramedic blows up a petrol tanker on the M4 link road, destroying a military fuel line that lies beneath; and the girl walks into the city’s telephone exchange and blows herself and the building to pieces. With the communications system down, Jack resorts to using an old-fashioned CB radio to contact the Hub and learns that David is heading for an abandoned coalmine outside the city; accessing the military’s databases, Tosh discovers that the army are using the site as a secret storage facility for ten nuclear missiles… As Jack, Gwen and Beth race for the site in the SUV, Owen, Ianto and Tosh prepare themselves for the imminent destruction of the city. Arriving at the bunker, David uses his inbuilt weaponry and the soldiers’ own guns to make short work of the armed forces on guard there; after using his implant to unlock the area’s doors David is about to enter the building when he is run down by Jack in the SUV. As David drags his bleeding body towards the bunker, Jack steps up and pulls a gun on him; however, David immediately stabs him with his implanted blade, gloating that his people now know all about Jack and Torchwood. Using the distraction to analyse David’s implant, Gwen neutralises the device, giving Jack the opportunity to shoot his opponent point blank; as the dying alien activates a self-destruct device, he tells Jack that his people have already arrived on Earth; running for their lives, Jack, Gwen and Beth only just get clear before David is blown to pieces. Jack and Gwen take Beth back to the Hub, where Tosh reconfigures the cryo-casket to enable the woman to properly go into storage; however, Beth knows she is too much of a threat to be allowed to live, and by activating her in-built weapon and pretending to threaten Gwen, she tricks Jack, Owen and Ianto into gunning her down. Some time later, Jack confesses to Gwen that he is unsure if they stopped the aliens; in return Gwen offers him some consolation: Torchwood now knows how to stop the invaders…

John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness), Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper), Burn Gorman (Owen Harper), Naoko Mori (Toshiko Sato), Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones), Nikki Amuka-Bird (Beth), Dyfed Potter (Mike), Doug Rollins (David), Claire Cage (David's Wife), Sean Carisen (Mr Patrick Grainger), Victoria Pugh (Mrs Grainger), Luke Rutherford (Burglar 1), Alex Harries (Burglar 2), Dominic Coleman (Police Officer), Paul Kasey (Weevil), William Hughes (Boy), Millie Philippant (Girl), Matthew Arwel Pegran (Driver), Derek Lea (Paramedic)

Directed by Colin Teague
Produced by Richard Stokes
Executive Producers Russell T. Davies and Julie Gardner
A BBC Wales production

TX (BBC2):
23rd January 2008 @ 9.00 pm

*Featuring Captain Jack Harkness, Gwen Cooper, Owen Harper, Toshiko Sato and Ianto Jones

*This episode was repeated on BBC3 at 11:25 pm, and then in a specially-edited pre-watershed version the following day, on BBC2 at 7.00 pm