Friday, 28 February 2014

Articles Out of Time Breakdown Episode






Out of Time Breakdown Episode

Written by Catherine Tregenna
Created by Russell T Davies
Produced by Richard Stokes
Directed by Alice Troughton
Music by Ben Foster/Murray Gold
Additional music by: Ray Lamontagne – Trouble (Trouble 2004), Groove Armada – I see you baby (Vertigo 1999)

On a cool winter’s day before Christmas a Sky Gypsy de Havilland plane circles the airfield and comes in to land on the private air strip.  Jack, Owen and Gwen wait and watch as it taxi’s towards them and parks up.  Diane Holmes peers from the cockpit, wearing her ‘Biggles’ headgear and flying jacket and leather flying gloves.  She acknowledges them with a smile.
   “Hello there!”  She climbs down from the plane and walks over to them.  “Apologies for the unplanned touchdown, just hit some rotten turbulence.” 
   “Captain Jack Harkness.”  Jack extends his hand in greeting.  Diane shakes his hand and introduces herself to the Captain as John Ellis a middle aged man in a business jacket and trilby hat helps Emma-Louise Cowell, a young girl in a pink coat with matching hat and bag down from the plane. 
   “Is this some sort of secret base?  You must show me around sometime Captain.”  Diane says.  Jack nods and smiles
   “Is everything alright?”  John Ellis asks as he and Emma walk towards the gathered group, curious. 
   “How long before we head off again?”  Emma asks in a soft voice.  “My Uncle’s expecting me.”
   “When did you leave?”  Jack asks them
   “About half an hour ago.”  Diane replies.
   “What date?” 
   “Today, September the 18th.”
   “Which year...which year?  Jack asks a little more urgently.  “Which year...I need to know!” 
   “1953.” Diane confirms.

The siren sounds as the door rolls back in the Hub and Owen, followed by Gwen, step into the underground base towards their workstations.  John and Emma take a step forward as Jack insists that there’s nothing to be frightened of.
   “Who exactly are you?”  John asks stepping into the base and taking in his surroundings.
   “The least you know about us the better!”  Jack replies stepping through ahead of Diane and advancing towards the steps.  He turns to face the little group.  “Meet the team.”
Toshiko and Owen introduce themselves as Owen shrugs on his white coat and insist the group follow him.  Jack waves them up.  Gwen looks to him.
   “At least it wasn’t a spaceship full of aliens.”  She quips
   “That might have been easier.”  Jack replies following after them.

   “How can you travel 50 years in half an hour?”  John laughs at the incredulous idea.
   “Your plane slipped through a transcendental portal.”  Jack replies leaning against the large table in the boardroom where the team including the group gather. 
   “A what?”  Emma asks.
   “A door in time and space.”  Jack replies breaking it down into simple terms.
   “It’s some kind of trick it has to be.” Scoffs John.
Jack calls Tosh who steps forward.  Behind her are images on a moving screen of events since they disappeared.  Emma watches, shocked.
   “Celebrations of the Millennium in your respectful home cities, photographs documenting the development of Cardiff Bay from the 50’s to present day, blueprints of modern day aeroplanes. “
   “And if all this is true, how do we get back?”  Diane asks lifting the photographs of the planes as she directs her questions to Jack and the team.
   “You don’t!  According to history your plane had never returned.  I’m sorry.”
     Diane sets down the photograph.  “What’s going to happen to us?”
   “Never mind about us what happened to everyone else?”  John asks as a thought struck him.  “Our families?”

   “Your father died in 1959...he was 48.”  Gwen tells Emma as she reads off a list of details while they walk around the Hub.
   “Dad said he’d die young.”  Emma said, detached slightly.  All the men in the munitions factory did.”
   “Your mother lived till she was 81 though.”  Gwen adds“I know this is hard to take in but, is there anyone else?”  Emma shakes her head.
   “My son Alan Ellis” John adds.  “he was born on the 6th April 1937.”  Toshiko types the data into the computer.  “14, Park Place, Grangetown, he might still be alive.”
   “The archives in the 50’s weren’t that well documented.” Toshiko apologises.
   “We’ll try again tomorrow.”  Jack suggests clamping a sympathetic hand on John’s shoulder.  “Right now you need to get some sleep.”
   “Friends...er boyfriend?”  Owen asks Diane as they sit at his workstation.
   “Not really, never stayed in one place long enough.”  She draws on her cigarette.

Jack and Gwen take the little party to a hostel where the girls share one room and John has a room of his own.
   “It’s a bit basic!” Gwen apologises as she leads Emma and Diane into their room. 
   “Not when you’ve slept in barracks.”  Diane replies.  She sets her small case on the lower bunk of a bunk bed while Emma sets her bag on the single bed by the door.
   “I was going to close a deal on a shop in Dublin tomorrow.”  John says to Jack as he unpacks his suitcase.  Jack smiles curious.
   “What do you trade in?”
   “Food nick knacks essentials.”  He replies setting out his shirt for the next day and opens his travel radio, twiddling the knobs to locate his favourite station.
   “What are you after?”  Jack offers to help.
   “A bit of music.”  John replies.  Jack selects a station that is playing Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata.  He steps back.   John picks up his camera “There’s photographs of my family in here.”
   “I’ll see what I can do.”  Jack takes the camera.
   “Don’t worry Captain Harkness I’ll look after the ladies.”  John says extending his hand to Jack who shakes it firmly.
   “Call me Jack.”

Emma lifts out an outfit from her suitcase as Gwen looks on.  Two girls can be heard laughing from out in the hallway.  Emma looks over.  “Who else is here?”
   “A couple of young girls.” Gwen smiles as she watches Emma unpack.  “Pretty dress.”  Gwen admires it as Emma hangs it up in the wardrobe.
   “Thank you, I made it myself.”
   “Where are you from?”
   “Bristol.”  Emma replies.
   “What were you going to Dublin for?”
   “Auntie Nora’s ill and Uncle Finn can’t handle the children.  It would be good practice for when I have children of my own, Mum says.”  Emma lifts a soft rattling teddy bear out of the suitcase and holds it close to her.  “She’s gone next door, so Uncle Finn can telephone.  She’ll know I’m missing by now.”
   “Emma she found out in 1953. Over 50 years have passed remember?” 
Emma looks at Gwen as the hard truth comes back and hits her like a kick to the guts.  She sits down still clutching the bear to her chest.  “What did she think happened?  Must have been like one of those murders where they never find the body.”
Gwen sits beside her on the bed. “They seem to think that the plane went down in the sea.”  She says comforting Emma as she breaks down in tears. 

The following day, at the Hub Gwen issues the party with their new identity cards as Jack explains what they are.
   “These will be your means of identification for the authorities, we’ve set up bank accounts for you but for now we’ve set up a daily allowance for each of you, so you can practice with the currency and money management.”
John looks up from the ID card in his hand“David Ward?”
   “Sally Ann Hope?”  Diane reads hers.
   “Deborah Morrison. And it’s spelt how Deborah Kerr spells it.”  Emma geekily points out to Diane.
   “Your background story should fit around the skills you already have.”  Says Jack.  “For example, John, you could have run a corner shop.”  He suggests.
   “No.”
   “We can fake references.”  Jack explains.  But John won’t have it.
   “You can’t take away our names, god sake man, it’s all we’ve got left. It’s my son’s name.”  He slaps the ID book onto Jack’s desk.  “It’s the name above my shop!” 
When John walks out of Jack’s office, Jack sighs and follows him out.  He places an apologetic hand on his shoulder and apologises.  “You’re right, I’m sorry, I didn’t think.  You should keep your name.”

Outside Asda superstore Ianto relays the spending allowance to the small party before they enter the supermarket.
   “I suggest you use £25 for your food and £20 for luxuries, like cigarettes and magazines.”
   “My dad only made £10 a week.”  Emma says catching up with Ianto outside Asda store.
   “Things are a lot more expensive now.”  Replies Ianto heading towards the entrance.
As Diane steps forward the double doors slide open, all three are taken aback. As Ianto explains the technical term for why this happens, Diane spots something more interesting.
   “Bananas!”  Diane makes a beeline for them.

   “Look at all this, we’d just got off rationing in ’53.”  John says, amazed.
   “Yeah...” replies Ianto.  “Sorry we’re a consumer society”
   “It’s bloody fantastic.” John replies making his way inside. 

Inside the store, Emma is amazed at the abundance of biscuits, Diane stares at the colour tvs and John marvels at the array of newspapers and magazines.
   “How much food money have I got left?”  Emma asks turning to Ianto.
   “£15.40.”  He replies.  Emma fills her basket with sweets and chocolate as Ianto calculates out loud, reminding her that she’ll rot her teeth.
   “You sound like my Mum.”  She laughs.

Diane lifts out a disk as Emma and Ianto walk around the aisle.  “They sell films in boxes and you can watch them at home.”
Along another aisle John lifts down a magazine with a semi naked woman on the front cover.   
   “Good God”
   “Welcome to the world of scantily clad celebrities.”  Ianto smiles.
   “There’s children around.”
   “She’s a children’s tv presenter.”
At the checkout
   “So you like your musicals?”  Ianto asks lifting the dvd from the conveyor belt before it’s scanned.
   “My best friend Katy and I went to see Calamity Jane at the cinema five times. I’ve got the LP.”
    As Ianto helps John to pack Diane walks over with a packet of cigarettes and questions the warning on the front of the box.
   “What does that mean?”

Ianto pulls up outside the entrance to the Millennium Stadium
   “I’m just going to take a look at the Stadium you girls stick together now. I’ll be back for supper.”  He says glancing into the backseat before leaving the car.  Ianto drives away.  Taking a moment to get his bearings, John turns his back on the Stadium.  His walk takes him to the house where he once lived, boarded up now.
   “Excuse me do you know a man called Alan Ellis, he used to live here?” 
   “No sorry mate.” Shrugs the stranger who walks on.

Back at the hostel, Emma makes tea, by ripping open the teabags and emptying the leaves into a large teapot.  Closing the microwave door, Diane turns and watches Emma. 
   “I’m going to check on the plane this afternoon, want to come?”
Emma lifts the DVD.
   “I’m going to watch this then maybe make some paper chains.” 
   “I wonder what work I can get in aviation.”  Diane ponders. 
   “I’m going to have to find myself a husband.”  Emma ponders.  Diane raises a brow.
The door bursts open and two young girls enter, giggling, one makes her way to the kitchen counter and lifts two mugs, bringing them to the kettle for a cuppa.  Emma and Diane watch amazed as instead of opening the teabags, they pop one each into the cups and pour over the hot water. 
The girls introduce themselves as Alicia and Jade.  Alicia compliments Emma on her shoes.

At the hangar, Diane greets her plane like an old friend, while she runs a few maintenance checks on the ‘old girl’, Owen tells her he’s been reading up on Diane’s exploits in aviation.
   “England to Australia in four days in 1952 that is impressive. “
   “Yeah, terrible wind across the Bengal Bay.”  Diane replies checking the dipstick and oil level.
   “Something you ate?”  He quips.  “So how did you get into all this?”  He asks as his joke falls flat.
   “I ferried planes during the war of course when it was all over it was back to reverting to dutiful wives and daughters but I got a taste for it and no pig headed man was going to tell me what to do.”  She smiles.
   “Sky Gypsy?”  Owen remarks on the name on the side of the plane.
   “After the engine. The de Havilland Gypsy six, the work of genius, tuned with a higher compression ratio so you can squeeze far more energy into its air and fuel
 mixture.  Can I take her up?”  Diane begs Owen keen to be in the air again.
   “Nope.”  He replies, deflating her spirit.  “You could get arrested you haven’t got a licence.”
   “But I ...” Diane says but Owen shakes his head.  “Bugger, it’s no longer valid.”  She curses.
   “I guess I’m another pig headed man telling you what to do.”  Owen replies walking towards her, hands in his jeans pockets.
   “Well you’d better make it up to me I want to learn all about this new world!”  She smiles.

In the pub, Jack is on his pint of water, John is on his pint of bitter, and adding tobacco to his pipe as he recalls the moment he spent with his son Alan.     “Blackpool were 3 – 1 down and Stanley Matthews worked his magic.  He scored two goals in the last 20 minutes.  Bolton lost 4 – 3.”  They both laugh“My boy was on his knees punching the air.  The FA cup final, live in my own living room. I charged the lads a shilling each to come and watch.”
   “Ever the business man eh John?” 
   “That’s an American accent isn’t it?”
   “That’s right.”
   “So how did you end up here?”  John asks puffing away on his pipe.  “Doing whatever it is that you do?”
   “It’s a long story.”
   “I’m a slow drinker.”  He replies putting out the match. “You know everything about me what’s the problem?”
   “It gets kinda complicated.”  Jack replies politely.
   “What did you fall through time too?”  John asks
   “Yeah you could say that.” 
They raise a glass to each other.  As Jack takes another drink of his water John attempts to light up his pipe again as the barman politely tells him not to.  He blows out the match.

In the hostel Jade and Emma are hanging the paper chains around the door frame. 
   “What are you doing Christmas Eve, we could go carol singing?” Emma says.    Jade and Alicia break into hysterical laughter.
   “I’m sorry love. I’ll be getting hammered.”
   “Where are your families?”
   “No idea.”  Jade replies clutching a beer can.
   “We grew up in care.”  Adds Alicia.
   “Like a children’s home?”  They both nod. “I haven’t got anyone else either.”
   “What happened to you?”  Asks Jade.
   “My parents are dead.”  Emma replies, feeling the loss creep up on her again.  “So I came down here to start afresh.”  She replies blinking back the tears.
   “So they didn’t leave you a house or anything?” 
   “No, I’ve got nothing.”
   “Were you close to them?”
   “Yes I loved them very much” Emma replies, her voice breaking with emotion.
Putting down her can, Jade picks up another and brings it over, holding it out to Emma with both hands.  Both laugh at the kindness.  Emma takes a good swig, pulls a face and laughs with the girls.

In the pub Jack and John pull on their coats, their glasses empty.
   “It must have been an awful Christmas for them thinking that I had drowned. I just want to know what kind of life he had.  My son, he might have kids.  I could be passing my own flesh and blood in the streets.  Find him Jack, he’s all I’ve got left.” 

Owen and Diane are escorted to their seats in the Chinese restaurant where it’s reasonably quiet.  Their table is beside a walled in fish tank.  Owen takes his seat while Diane remains standing. 
   “What?”
   “I’m waiting for you to pull out my chair.”  She replies patiently waiting, her hands clutching the box of cigarettes.
     Owen laughs.  “Let me get this straight, you expect equality and chivalry?”
  “I don’t see why they should be mutually exclusive.”
  “Well if it makes you happy.”  Owen gets up and pulls out Diane’s seat, and pushes it forward as she sits.    “Your chair ma’am!”
  “Thank you.”
     He retakes his seat.  Diane takes out a cigarette, Owen lights her cigarette.  Enjoying the first draw of her smoke Diane is interested to know how history has changed over the years.
   “So what other strides have women made”
   “Well on the strange but true how about this, you don’t have to have sex to have kids anymore.”
   “What?” 
Owen laughs
   “How come?”
   “You get yourself inseminated with a sort of syringe, cheery little process. Seriously, men donate sperm anonymously, a little shuffle into a pot at the sperm bank and they say romance is dead.”
   “Oh come on I wasn’t born yesterday.”  Diane laughs, finding it unbelievable.
   “No but for a bird who is going on 90 you look pretty hot.”  He smiles.

Back at the hostel Emma has loosened up, quite warm with the alcohol and getting on like a house on fire with Alicia and Jade. 
   “What was your favourite song?”  She asks the girls sitting up after watching the film. .
   “It’s hard to say!” Laughs Jade.
   “I know what mine was.  ‘It just blew in from the windy city, the windy city is mighty pretty but it ain’t got what you got, I’m telling you boys.’”  Emma sings loudly turning around to see John staring at her disgusted by her behaviour.
   “What do you think you’re playing at?”  He says “I thought I could trust you to behave.”

Helping Diane on with her coat at the end of the meal, Owen asks her where she would like to go next.
   “I’m in your hands.”  She replies
   “Well we could go back to mine.”  He offers.  Diane looks at him. “You could read up about yourself on the ‘net.”  He folds his coat over his arm. “That sounds like a line.”  He winces. “It’s not a line.  I’m not chatting you up not because I don’t think you’re attractive, because you are but because I wouldn’t want you to think I was taking advantage of you.” 
   “Got any scotch?”

In the hostel Gwen has been called by Emma and stands beside her as she learns what has happened. 
   “I don’t see why she had to get you involved.”  John mutters setting out the dinner plates.
   “She called me, she was upset.”
   “She was drinking.”
   “I only had half a glass.”
   “Enough to make a show of yourself. We’re not meant to draw attention to ourselves. We’re not the same as them, we can’t trust anyone. ”
     Gwen turns to look at Emma, who is still shaken by the response from John.  “Will you be ok now Emma?”
   “Don’t worry, I won’t let her out of my sight again.”
   “I don’t like liver.” 
   “Sit down young lady and be grateful for what you’re given.”
   “And why should I listen to you, only my dad gets to talk to me like that.”  She says trembling. “I’m never going to see him again am I, nor my mum or my best friend or my dog. And I miss them AND I HATE THIS FILTHY STINKING PLACE.”
   “I never had this sort of trouble with my son.”  John replies opening his napkin and placing it on his lap.  Gwen leaves after a distraught Emma.

Clearing his flat of magazines and rubbish, under the sofa.  “Women have been to space an’ all you know, you’ve got a lot of catching up to do.”  He says as Diane leans against the door frame an odd look on her face.
   “Do you have a girlfriend?”
   “No.”
   “So who do all those beauty products belong to?”
   “Me actually” Owen replies screwing the lid back onto the whisky after pouring two good measures.
   “No.”  Diane laughs.  Laughing with her, Owen picks up the two glasses and walks towards her.
   “Oi, real men can moisturise too you know.”
Taking the glass she glances about the flat“It’s not very homely here.”
   “No, not here that much. It doesn’t seem worth the effort.”  Diane lights a cigarette as she stands beside the windows.  Taking a sip of whisky Owen watches her.  “You smoke too much.”
   “So I gather.”  She replies.  “Amelia Earhart she disappeared in 1932, do you think she’s still out there somewhere?”
   “No I doubt it.  One in a zillion chance, you ending up here. “
   “A whole new world.”   “It’s not so bad once you get used to it.”  Owen says stepping towards the window staring out across the dark city at night.  “I reckon you’ll fit in just fine.”
   “I’m glad you don’t have a girlfriend.”  Diane turns to face Owen.
   “Me too.”  Says Owen looking into her eyes.

Gwen turns the standard lamp off and glances back at the sofa where Emma lies sleeping.

Owen settles back on the bed, hot and sweaty after passionately making love to Diane.  Panting he looks back at her.  “I take it that wasn’t your first time?”  She laughs.
   “I had a lover, he was married.”  She replies.
   “And you didn’t care?”  Owen said resting up on his elbow.
   “I was free to do as I liked.  And I didn’t have to cook and clean for him.  It suited me.  I’m not exactly marriage material”
   “I always thought the 50’s were uptight and sexually repressed.” 
     Diane laughs.  “You didn’t invent it you know.” 
     After a pause, Owen looks back at Diane.  “Can we do it again?”
   “I don’t see why not.”  She replies
   “You could have an affair, we could be fuck buddies.” He suggests.
   “What’s a fuck buddy?”  Diane asks curiously, her hand in his.
   “It’s a...um, a friend you have casual sex with.”
     Diane laughs“There’s nothing casual about what we just did.”  She tells him.
   “Oh no I didn’t mean that.”  He replies
   “Sex shouldn’t be devalued.”  She said slipping her hand free from his, dipping under the sheet for a moment, taking hold of his manhood she continues as he gasps at her touch.  “Both parties should give it 100% concentration.”  She gets closer to him.  “Because when you take off together it’s the next best thing to flying.” 
The following day as Emma slowly awakes, Rhys is in the kitchen buck naked.  He fetches a can of soda from the fridge.  As he walks back to the door, Emma cops an eyeful and lets out an enormous scream.
As Gwen makes everyone a cuppa, she explains who and why Emma is in their flat to her boyfriend Rhys.  She almost sounds convincing.
   “Emma is my auntie’s step daughter, she was meant to spend Christmas in Cardiff with a friend, but they had this awful argument last night and er...she rang me.”  Gwen says while Emma stares silently at Rhys now suitably dressed stares back equally surprised.  Gwen pours out the tea.  “...got my number from Mam.  The thing is she doesn’t want to go back home so I thought if maybe she could stay with us.”  Gwen places the mug on the counter beside Rhys and stands back beside Emma, encouraging Rhys, silently mouthing encouragement that he would make the decision for Emma to stay all by himself.
   “For Christmas? I’d better get a bigger turkey.”
     Gwen rejoices loudly, all smiles.
     Gwen introduces Emma to Rhys, planting a kiss on his lips as she does so“He lives here.”
   “Don’t your parent’s mind?”
   “Emma’s parents are a little religious.”
   “Better not tell them you saw my ‘morning glory’ then eh?”  He laughs Gwen screws up her face in almost a wince of embarrassment.  Stepping back towards Emma Gwen explains why she couldn’t tell Rhys the truth.
   “Thing is I couldn’t tell Rhys that your parents were dead, he’d ask too many questions.  The thing is he doesn’t know exactly what I do.”  She says, gesturing with her hand that Emma says nothing to Rhys and heads off to get dressed.

In the Hub Gwen talks with Jack about last night and the morning with Emma. 
   “Thing is we can’t ask John and Diane to look after her, they’re complete strangers, I had to take her in.  Diane didn’t come home last night.”
   “I think she was in a B&B.”  Owen says as he walks past the pair with paperwork on the way to his desk.  “I’m going to take her job hunting later if that’s alright.”
Toshiko calls over to Jack that she thinks she’s found John’s son.

John enters the nursing home and is directed to his son by the nurse.  She walks over to a thin old man staring out into space in a chair beside a water jug.  John is horrified to see his son, even more so the state he is in, a shell of his former self.
   “Alan, there’s someone here to see you, he’s a nephew on your father’s side.  He’s been tracking down the family history.”
   “Is Sally coming?”  Sadly according to the nurse, Sally was his wife had passed away a while back.  The nurse apologises again. 
   “Sorry this isn’t one of his better days.”
     John asked what is wrong with him.
   “Alzheimer’s.”  The nurse says “He’s senile.”  She explains.  “He doesn’t remember who he is most of the time. He couldn’t live at home anymore, he’d leave hobs on, couldn’t dress you know.  He never had any children so there was nobody there to look after him.” 
After the nurse leaves them, tears spill down his face, his blood line ends with his son.  John takes out photos that were developed from the camera and shows them off to Alan, smiling as he remembers the time, hoping his son will too.  Alan isn’t listening, his mind away on other thoughts, such as when he can go home as he hates the home. 
   “He keeps me going this one.”  The nurse says carrying on with her duties.
   “What did he do for a living, was he in retail?”
   “I think he was a fireman.”  She replies.
     Looking back at his son he smiles.  “That’s what I did, in the war.”

   “Sixty pounds for half an hour?”  Diane says as she and Owen stride across the airstrip towards a Cessna.
   “Don’t worry, I’ll pay.”  Owen says softening the blow.
   “Cessna, my first plane, I bought one after the war, they’ve hardly changed.”  Diane says running her fingers across the bodywork.
   “A dream to fly.”
   “We’ll soon get you back behind the er...throttle.”  Owen says, struggling for the correct term.  Diane smiles and thanks him with a kiss.

   “Matthews did three set ups in twenty minutes.”  John tells his son as he sits  beside him.  “Then Bill Perry cracked home the winner.”  Alan turns to face him, a recollection eking through.  “You said he had wings on his feet.”  Alan’s eyes light up, a smile etchs across his weary face. “That’s why he was called a winger, you used to say clever things like that.”  John says his heart breaking inside.
   Blackpool won.”  Alan says happily.
Elated, John sees a glimmer of hope and tells his son who he is, but the look soon fades in Alan’s eyes his memory clouds over and he becomes lost in his own thoughts again.

In the Hub Jack goes through the notes as he sits on the sofa.  Toshiko rests against her workstation desk.
   “John is witnessing the end of his  world the end of his line, and we can’t help.  There’s no puzzle to solve, no enemy to fight.”  He says lowering the photo down beside the two girls“Just three lost people who have suddenly become our responsibility.“  Unable to find an answer Jack sighs and sags against the sofa.

   “Best I can do is Friday at 3 o’clock.”  Says the instructor to as they wait at the airfield.
   “Can’t you take her up today?”
     He shakes his head.  “Fully booked.”
   “It’s alright, I’ve flown for years I go up on my own”
   “Not without a licence, sorry.”  He replies dashing Diane’s hopes.
     Even when Owen offers to pay extra for the lessons the instructor isn’t swayed.
   “I couldn’t do that to my regulars now could I?”
     Disappointed, Diane wants to leave.  To not fly is as bad as having her wings clipped. Being grounded sucked.
Gwen and Rhys take Emma to her first night club, the music is thumping, ‘I see you baby’ plays on the turntable and the room is full of men and women having a good time.  Emma stands alone in amongst them. From across the dance floor a young man in a white shirt makes a beeline for her, a soft smile, she relaxes.  Gwen and Rhys take their drinks to an empty table and settle down.  Gwen doesn’t think Emma has been out to a night club before and worries about her while Rhys thinks the girl will be fine.
After some time and a change of tempo Gwen crosses the dance floor after realising Emma is no longer there only to discover her with the young man in a quiet corner, lips locked.  Gwen yanks the young man away from Emma, Rhys moves him gently on, suggesting he goes back to his friend.  Despite Emma protesting that nothing was going to happen, that it was just a kiss and a cuddle, Gwen feels it’s time to break it to her about how much times have changed over the last fifty or so years. 

Sitting at the table back in the flat, Emma gets to grips with the young adult magazines of the day and is appalled at what she reads and views.
   “Oh my god that’s disgusting!” 
   “I just want you to know that people are more sexually aware these days.” Says Gwen.  “Then maybe you’ll be more careful.”
   “Mum said that no man wants to marry soiled goods.”
   “Attitudes have changed as long as it’s between two consenting adults no-one cares.”
   “So how many men have you...done it with?” 
   “A few.” She smiles awkwardly.
   “And were you in love with all of them?”
   “No.”  Gwen replies “Sex, can be about having a good time together if you’re with the right guy and the right time, it’s the best.”
   “So, if I meet a boy.”  Emma says as Gwen nods.  “And we get on...he wants sex then...you think I should let him?”
   “No...that’s not what I said.”
   “Then what are you saying?”
   “Sex -  Is nothing to be ashamed of.”  Emma takes it in.  “And your first time should be with someone special.”  Gwen smiles.
   “Do you wish you’d waited for Rhys, he’s your special someone isn’t he?”
   “Yes.  Yes I suppose.” 
   “And sex with him is better than sex with the others.” 
   “Well.”  Gwen pauses and looks for something else to say.
   “Well I’ll wait for Mr Wright I think. I’m really not the kind of girl who sleeps around.” 

The following day Owen enters his flat with a red designer bag.  Diane is at the laptop trying to get to grips with modern technology.  The sea is calm across the Bay.  Frustrated at the questions Owen suggests she leave it, as her frustration increases he slams the laptop shut and holds out the bag for her.  “Leave that and open this.”  Smiling excitedly she lifts the long flowing evening dress from the bag and admires it against her. She pulls Owen into a lingering kiss.

At the flat Gwen pours herself a large glass of wine just as Emma enters from her interview with a top dress designer firm.  Excitedly she tells her the good news.
   “This coat I’m wearing is their latest fashion, 50’s inspired.”  She says excitedly“They offered me a job on the spot.”  She screams.  Gwen is overjoyed and they both embrace.
Gwen decides that they need to find Emma a new flat nearby but Emma explains the job is in London.  “I’ve always dreamed about working in a London fashion house.  They open the day after boxing day, I’ll be a shop girl and a trainee buyer.  They’re going to let me house share, they’ve given me contact numbers.”
Gwen is concerned that London is too big a place for Emma to cope with and suggests she try for somewhere more local.  But Emma feels there is nothing keeping her in Cardiff.  Her mind is set on London.

Stepping from the tunnels into the Tourist Booth, John tells Jack about his plans for the future.  He sounds as if he is ready for a new life.  As Jack returns to the tunnels, John takes a deep breath and sighs.  He steps around the counter and locates a set of keys pocketing them just as Ianto steps through from the other room.  John asks for a bus time table, he was going to try some of the DIY stores for work. 
Wished luck by Ianto, John leaves the booth with plans afoot.

Owen parks the car on the empty roof top car park.   
   “Where are you taking me?” Diane enquires stepping from the car on the dark night.
   “We’re here.  Bear with me.”  Owen says walking to the boot for his surprise.

Sitting on the sofa in the flat, a face like thunder, Rhys looks towards the door as Gwen and Emma return from their shopping trip.  Gwen greets him with a kiss on the cheek, wiping the lipstick from his face she settles beside him, still a face like thunder and enquires about his mood.
   “Your mum rang.  Funny thing she’s no idea who Emma is.”  Emma and Gwen exchange looks.  “And I’m thinking to you and me back on the couch, work calls and you go out in the middle of the night and come back with a surprise relative, so let’s have it, who exactly is Pollyanna?”  Gwen laughs awkwardly - rumbled.  The penny clicked with Rhys“Oh is it to do with work?”
   “It’s so hard to explain.”
   “Do you even know her?”  Rhys asks.
     Gwen shakes her head. “She was lost.  I’m sorry.”
   “What worries me is how easy it seems to be for you to lie to me Gwen.”  He gets up to leave as Emma runs towards him.
   It’s my fault.  I’ll leave by tomorrow.”  She says.
Although Gwen tries to explain to Rhys that Emma was only 18 and she couldn’t leave her on her own, Rhys was disgusted that his fiancée felt she had to lie to him.

Gwen hugs her knees while sat facing the Christmas tree, as Emma wrapped smaller gifts.
   “It’s like two separate worlds, there’s Torchwood then there’s real life.”
   “That’s why you’ve got to let me go.” 

Back on the roof of the car park, Owen pours champagne into two glasses and carries them over to Diane.
   “I couldn’t help noticing you standing there in that beautiful dress.”  He hands over a glass.
  This beautiful dress is a gift from my lover.”  She replies going with the flow.
  “Then he is a fool to let you go out in it alone.”  They share a laugh.
   “What shall we drink to?”  Diane asks.
   “Chance meetings.”
Owen and Diane dance to the music of Tony Bennett’s ‘It’s the Good life’ till the cold air chills and they return to the flat and make out again, passionately.

Jack climbs up from the hole in the floor to answer the phone that rings out on his desk.  It’s Ianto.  He reports that his car keys are missing and the last person in the booth was John.  Tracking the car’s location he discovers that John has gone home.  A horrific thought crosses Jack’s mind and he runs for the door. 
Driving out to the location Jack parks up the SUV and using his VM heads along the road toward the abandoned building, locating the garage he opens the double doors to find the smoke filled car and the hosepipe in the window.  John is slowly yielding to the smoke.  Jack pulls out the hose, opens the door and switches off the engine, pulling John from the car.  John begs to be left alone but Jack isn’t prepared to allow him.
   “You can’t throw it all away, not without trying.”
   “I’m not as strong as you, you don’t understand.”
   “I do.”  Says Jack. “I was born in your future, lived in your past, my time has gone too.”
    “Why are you doing this, speaking to me in bloody riddles?  Keeping me here while my wife is dead, my son is a shell.”  He gasps emotionally.
   “John, you’re still young, you can get work make friends, start a family.”
   “I did all that Jack, years ago, when I was meant to.” 

Diane and Owen enjoy each other’s company, something Owen has never done on such a regular basis.

In the garage as the air clears Jack is unsure what to say to John, who clearly wants to end his life.
   “I can’t leave you here.”  He says.
   “Then we’ll wait.  The sun will rise, we’ll have some breakfast.  Take a walk.”
   “Yes, a new day.”
   “And I’ll suffer it all, smile and wag my tail and when your back is turned I’ll make sure I do it properly because I want to die.”
    Jack walks up to John with a startling revelation.  “You don’t get reunited John, it just goes black. “
   “How do you know?”
   “I died once.”
   “Who are you?”
   “A man...like you, out of his time, alone and scared.”
   “How do you cope?”
   “It’s just bearable. It has to be.  I don’t have a choice.”
   “But I do. If you won’t help me then let me go with some dignity don’t condemn me to live.”
   “Are you scared?”  Jack whispers.
   “Yes.”  John admits.

Diane rests her head against Owen’s shoulder as they lay in bed together. Owen is exceptionally quiet, which Diane notes. Owen considers for a few moments.
   “I don’t know if I can do this anymore. This isn’t how it works for me.  I’ve slept with enough women, I’ve done the fuck buddies thing.  This is not it.”  He looks back at Diane and laughs lightly “I can’t concentrate.  All I see is you.  All I can think about is what you’re wearing, what you’re thinking, what your face looks like when you come.  It’s been what, a week and it’s like when I’m not with you I’m out of focus. How have you done this to me? I’m scared. I’m fucking scared.”  He takes a sharp intake of breath pushing back on the pillow.  Diane rests a hand against his chest and smiles.
Reaching up Diane looks into his eyes“I love you too.”  She says before meeting his lips. He holds onto her, deepening the kiss.

In the garage John holds onto Jack’s hand as they sit in the smoke filled car, engine running.  John inhales the smoke into his lungs, his breath becoming heavy, his head becoming light.  His hand finally slips from Jack’s and his eyes finally close. 

Diane watches as Owen finally succumbs to sleep, concerned that the medical officer has fallen for her “The thing about love is that you’re always at its mercy.”

John is dead in the driver’s seat of Ianto’s car as the engine still runs pumping carbon monoxide into the interior.  Jack sits quietly beside him in the passenger seat.

Gwen sees Emma onto the coach bound to London, giving her a return ticket should she ever wish to return.  She gives her the talk about not talking to strangers.

Owen awakes to find the other side of the bed cold, and empty.  He sits up to find a note on the pillow and hastens to the small private airport just as Diane readies Sky Gypsy for another flight.
   “I’m not letting you do this.”
   “I’m not a possession Owen”
   “You can’t do this it’s madness”
   “If I listened to everyone who told me that I wouldn’t have broken any records.”

As the coach pulls into the station Gwen hopes Emma will change her mind, but Emma tells her that if she doesn’t go now, she never will.  Embracing for the last time, Gwen hands her the tickets and watches as she boards the Cityswift Cardiff to London coach.

Owen begs for Diane not to leave but her mind is set.
   “You belong with me now.”
   “I belong in the sky.”
   “We can get you up in the sky in a couple of month and you can fly wherever you want. “
   “Look weather conditions are the same as when we arrived.”  Diane tries to convince him but Owen doesn’t want to hear it.  “That rift will open again I can feel it.”
   “Diane listen to me, there is no way back. You cannot get home.”
   “Then it will take me somewhere new.”

Gwen waves goodbye to Emma as her coach leaves.

   “I’ll come with you.”
   “I fly solo Owen, I go faster and further than others.”
   “We have no idea how this rift works, you could end up anywhere.”
   “That’s the beauty of it.”
   “It’s too dangerous.”  Owen snaps.
   “It’s what I do.”  Diane says reaching for the door handle.
Owen slams his hand against the door and growls “And what about me?  Please!  Please don’t go.”  He begs.
Removing her white flying scarf she places it around Owen’s neck and kisses him deeply.  “What memories I’m taking with me.”
Knowing he has no other choice Owen steps away from the hatch.  Diane closes the door.  She cranks up the engine and blows him a kiss from the cockpit.  He waves lightly, heartbroken.  Pulling on her goggles she taxi’s the plane along the runway and takes to the skies as Owen watches her.

Jack remembers John and the short time he spent in the man’s life, watching his world fall apart and being with him right at the end while Gwen remembers opening the presents on Christmas Day with Emma before waving her off at the station.
Owen remembers his time with Diane just as the Sky Gypsy takes to the skies.

   “...because when you take off together it’s the next best thing to flying.”





 ©BBC Torchwood 2006

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful and partly sad episode. It was said that neither Louise nor John could cople - John even saw no meaning in life anymore, as everything he had lived for had gone. It was beautiful of Jack to let him die and be with him to the end. Also, interesting, how differentiated they were treating the issue of suicide here. It's not seen as something only bad or sad, but that it can also be a relief. And Jack - well, I think it's clear he wishes to have that way out, too. The way he sits there when John dies staring sadly, you could really feel how he aches he could do that, too. That's part of the darker side of Captain Jack. Must just be hard to be condemned to live.

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