Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Articles Combat: Episode Breakdown by DJ Forrest


Episode 11, Series 1

By DJ Forrest

Writer Noel Clarke
Director Andy Goddard
Broadcast 24th December 2008
Additional Music: Hot Chip Over and Over from the Album The Warning (2006)
Crazy Frog from Crazy Frog Presents Crazy Hits (2005)
Muse Assassin from the Album Black Holes and Revelations (2006)

It’s typical, the night Captain Jack Harkness gives the team the night off, he’s chasing down a rogue weevil with no intentions of coming quietly, they tussle and the spray is ineffective.  Cut and bleeding from a slash to the chest, Jack chases after the weevil through the streets of Cardiff.

Gwen Cooper sits opposite her boyfriend Rhys on her night off, they’ve just finished their meal at the restaurant and Rhys is talking but it’s clear she’s not listening.  As Rhys focuses on Gwen something catches the corner of his eye and he sees the weevil running away from Jack Harkness. 

Jack stops to check the readings on his VM and spots Gwen with her boyfriend at the restaurant as Rhys brings Gwen to the attention of the strange creature.  Gwen has never been happier to see Jack and smiles as he reaches them.  Jack promises he’ll have Gwen back as soon as possible but Rhys has other ideas and bemoans the Captain for the fact Gwen is rarely home and this is her first night off.  He becomes aggressive and orders Gwen to “Sit the fuck down!”  Of course Gwen is not going to be spoken to like that and heads off into the night in pursuit of the weevil with Captain Jack Harkness.
Jack apologises for butting in at the restaurant but this particular weevil has been a pain in the ass all night.  Gwen tells him that Rhys will get over it, he normally does, but Jack concerned doesn’t want Gwen to destroy her life on the outside of Torchwood
“You promised to keep a hold of your life, don’t let it drift!”

Jack has located the weevil in the multi storey car park and walks carefully along the levels till he spots it.  But someone else has the same idea, and with the screeching of tyres, a white van speeds up, opens its doors, masked men exit and round up the weevil with cattle prods and coerce it into the back of the van and away.  Jack calls to them and one man turns to face them, wearing a balaclava, smiles and disappears with his team. 

Back at the Hub and in a fresh shirt, Jack throws out the questions about who would want the weevils and what would they want them for.  As he reaches the office, Ianto reads off his clipboard a series of unexplained injuries logged at A&E recently.  It could be connected.  As Jack reads off the list, the injuries are identical to attacks made by weevils.  Jack also informs Toshiko that the weevil spray is lacking the effect it had in the past indicating that the weevils are becoming immune to it, mutating or possibly evolving.
While Jack waits for an answer on his phone call he queries the van owner.  Toshiko reports back that the licence plate is fake but she’s running a check on the amount of vehicles matching that description in the Cardiff area.  Always one step ahead of Jack’s suggestions, she smiles having an answer for each of his questions, and walks back to her desk.  Her computer is busy processing the data that will give them the vans last whereabouts.
Jack hears the voice mail from Owen Harper’s phone.  He’s not picking up.

Gwen calls home and speaks to the answer machine in the flat, “Hi it’s me...”  she says.  “I’ve left three messages now, look I’ve got dozens of excuses and hundreds and thousands but none of them are good enough.  Things have got away from me a bit lately.  It’s this job it never lets up.  Look I’ll see you later I’m not sure what time yet, I’ve got some work to finish off first.”  Gwen curses herself for that last remark. Rhys angrily deletes the message from the answer phone.

Dr Owen Harper is nursing another glass of liquor, he still can’t cope with the loss of his beloved Diane, despite her only being in his life for little more than a week.  Normally he’d chat up the barmaid and they’d leave together but he’s not even interested although he enters into conversation with her, till her boyfriend steps in threatening her and upsetting the ambience.  Owen lays the boot in and takes another drink. 

Gwen tries to call Owen again and has the same luck as Jack.  She can’t understand why he’s avoiding work.  Toshiko tells her that he’s not been the same since Diane left, something which Gwen is surprised about, even more so when she learns that Owen had a soft spot for the pilot.
In the cells Jack and Ianto stare at the weevils, one in particular is moaning as if in pain, but Jack suspects that one of their kind is hurt and they’re communicating through a low level telepathic field.  The weevil is clearly distressed.
   “Kind of hope we’re wrong though.”
   “Because that means that not only is someone kidnapping weevils but they’re causing them pain.”  Jack replies repulsed by the thought.

Toshiko locates the vans whereabouts to Unit Q19, a warehouse in Cardiff Bay near the Docks.  Using CCTV Toshiko has managed to track the van to the location.  Jack watches the screen as Toshiko brings up the data, as the men climb out the CCTV goes down.  Is it deliberate?

 Toshiko and Jack head out there to investigate, but their arrival doesn’t go unnoticed.

With flashlights to see their way in they both sweep the building for any clues as to who or what they’re dealing with.  Jack gives a brief history lesson about what the use the warehouses back in the War. Telling her of the bodies of dead GI’s, and stares ahead as if he’s seen a ghostly apparition.  A door slams shut forcing the pair to draw their weapons .  Lying in the archway to another area of the warehouse, a body is spotted.  It’s not moving and Toshiko can see blood.  As they reach the body they discover it’s not only dead but that it’s been mauled by a weevil.  Suddenly the ‘frog song’ ringtone belts out from the pocket of the man’s trousers, Toshiko comments over it and Jack is surprised that she thinks it’s his ringtone.  He extracts the phone from the dead man’s trouser pocket and against Toshiko’s wishes, responds to the call. 

The caller demands that Jack drops the case but Jack isn’t about to.  As the man hangs up, Jack calls Ianto on the dead man’s phone and requests him to locate every single phone call to and from the phone in the last 24 hours as fast as he can.

Owen who has been ignoring the phone calls from the Hub, ignores the next one instructing him to get his butt back to the building, but when his attempts of pretending to be an answer phone don’t wash with Jack, he returns to work with an air of sarcasm.  It’s duly noted by everyone.

In the autopsy room they ascertain from the dead man’s wallet that he’s called Dan Hodges and is a salesman for Web Publishing Software, holding up the wallet to show the team, Gwen reveals to them that he was married with a child. 
Owen reveals that Hodges was indeed killed by a weevil but he took a right beating before hand, he points out the damage on the body to the team.  What he can’t understand is why the man was beaten first before being left for the weevil. 

Ianto enters the autopsy room with information on the phone.  The last number was blocked and all other numbers and calls had been erased.  This gang moves fast.

Gwen has drawn the short straw on breaking the news to the family of the deceased and steps from the house to climb back into the SUV.  Owen remains in the vehicle, his mind elsewhere.  Broaching the subject of Diane to Owen was perhaps not the best moment, as after a few coarse words, Owen leaves the SUV in a huff and slams the door, storming off.  He returns to the Hub some time later and grilled by Jack as to where he’s been.  But Owen’s approach is anything but apologetic.  He slaps himself onto the seat and drains the last of a bottle of water.  Jack is glad that he’s back and to add salt into the wound tells him that Toshiko has had a terrific idea. 
   “Owen Harper you’re going into property. Toshiko is in the middle of fixing you a cover story.”
   “Hang on, why me?”
   “Jack and Gwen were in the car park, I was in the warehouse.  If they’ve got access to CCTV they’ll recognise us.” 
   “We have to get under their guard and find out what’s going on.”  Jack says.
   “Yeah alright.”  Owen replies.  “I could do with being someone else right now.”

Owen enters the Estate Agents and shakes hands with Mark Lynch, a refined looking gentleman with chiselled good looks.  He finds Owen’s cover story about Jellied Eels a little hard to believe but Owen carries it off with an air of confidence.  Owen is looking to relocate his business to Cardiff and he hopes that Mark Lynch has the right sort of property for what he needs. 

On his application he requests properties out by the docks.  “A nice big warehouse.”  Owen replies staring out of the large Agent’s window.  While Lynch goes off to print out what Owen is looking for, Owen lifts a sheet of paper to deflect what he’s about to do, and removes from his inside coat pocket a piece of alien tech that allows Toshiko to access the hard drive of the laptop.
Jubilantly she calls to Jack that they’re in, and begins to access the computer to see what Lynch has including encrypted files.  Owen removes the device when Toshiko downloads all that she needs. 

Lynch provides Owen with a list of properties at the docks but they’re not what he’s looking for.  Lynch isn’t impressed but counters and smiles.  Owen asks about the Q19 property out on the docks but Lynch tells him that that property has been sold.  Toshiko corrects Owen through an ear piece that Lynch is lying.  Lynch suggests that they meet up after work and go for a drink, allowing Owen to settle into the new area, which must be difficult coming from a big city.  This also gives Lynch a chance to check Owen’s credentials.

Second guessing Lynch, Toshiko confidently tells the team what Lynch will do, and follows it up with answering the phone as Owen’s receptionist. 

Ianto informs Jack that he’s tracked down more suspicious injuries at the hospital that sound pretty bad.  Jack and Ianto head over to investigate. 
Gwen offers to go with them but Jack tells her to go home and not let her relationship with Rhys drift.

Across the city, in their flat, Rhys is getting ready to go out with Dav and a few mates as Gwen enters.  He’s going to an all day Stag Do, despite the fact Dav isn’t getting married, he felt he was missing out and is having a ‘Staying Single Stag’. 

Ianto pulls around the curtain at the hospital to give them some privacy.  The injured man tells them he’s already given his statement.

   “According to your chart here you almost had your heart torn from your ribcage.”  Jack told the patient as he sat beside him, eating a few grapes“A ten hour operation to repair chest wounds.”
   “Why should I talk to you?”
   “Let me tell you what did this to you.  Six feet high, teeth like a shark, rippled skin and the rage of a wild animal.”  Jack says leaning closer towards the patient.  “Am I close?”
   “I was mugged, there was three of them.  They had knives.” 
   “So why were your wounds described by paramedics as bite marks?” Asked Ianto popping a grape into his mouth.
   “I can’t help it if they got mixed up. They’re overworked.” 
   “Well there are lots of ways I can get you to talk but the easiest would be if you consider the consequences should you not tell me the truth and that is this creature will attack again, somebody will die and it will be on your conscience.”  Grinning wolfishly at the patient Jack pressed for the truth but the patient was terrified for his own life, telling Jack that everyone would kill him if he blabbed.

Venturing into the cells Jack stares through the small window in the door at the weevil contained within as Toshiko asks both Jack and Ianto what the patient meant by ‘everyone’.  It left them with only one option.

Jack releases Janet back onto the streets of Cardiff, but keeps her tagged so that they can monitor her. 
“Go Janet”

Lynch brings over the drinks and sits opposite Owen at a table in the same bar he’d been in previously.  The boyfriend of the barmaid brings over a few friends to even up the score against the bruises on his face.  Owen realises that he has to deal with these lads, in a vicious manner to earn Lynch’s trust further. 

Jack, Toshiko and Ianto follow the bleeper, which brings them out through the car park onto a quiet road where the white van also pulls up, deals with the unfortunate weevil and subjects it to a beating before putting it into the van. 
“The weevil has landed.”

Toshiko is less than impressed by Jack’s methods, knowing that he wouldn’t subject a human to the same kind of treatment.  Not wishing to rise to it, Jack insists that they need to follow the van.

Owen is invited back to Lynch’s flat, a minimalistic apartment, large and spacious.  Owen stares at the size of the rooms, and the contents within, some areas barely look lived in.  Lynch wants to know what Owen uses as a release for his anger, but Owen tells him that he’s not an angry person. 
As Lynch changes his shirt Owen notes scratches down the man’s back that are the usual for a weevil strike.  After much deep talking about life and what Owen uses to channel the rage, Lynch tells him that something is coming out there in the darkness.

Gwen waits up for Rhys, sets out two glasses of Scotch on the table.  She’s ending her relationship with Owen and racked with guilt knows it’s time to ‘fess up to Rhys.  On his return, she tells him about her affair with Owen, then breaks it to him as he reacts to her news that she’s also drugged him with retcon, so that he’ll not remember in the morning.  It affects him somewhat quicker than she had planned and he falls into a deep sleep before he can grant her the forgiveness she wants for her actions.

Owen goes in search of the bathroom and discovers many rooms on the upper level, at Lynch’s apartment, including one that’s padlocked, and housing a chained weevil, suspended off the ground by its wrists.  When Mark locates Owen in the room, he smiles and shows off the weevil, telling him it took 5 of them to bring it in, but he has no clue on the species, but thinks it could be a scientific experiment gone wrong.  One of the lads thought it was an alien, but Lynch thinks it could be them, in a thousand years time “When all we have left is our rage.” Lynch suggests that Owen give it a smack, when Owen questions why he would, Mark lays into the defenceless creature pummelling it like a punch bag.  Owen calls for him to stop, as the weevil is hardly putting up a fight.

Lynch then sets about belittling Owen, having already decided that Owen is punching above his own weight, his website a complete con and wants to know why Torchwood are interested in what he does. He mocks Owen who shows off the butt of his gun that he’s not a man if he’s hiding behind the gun. If he wants to know what is going on he won’t find it with a weapon.  Owen discards the gun.

Gwen stands in the quiet Hub calling out to anyone who might be there, but she’s all alone, just her and the body in the autopsy room.

On the streets, Jack, Ianto and Toshiko are following the location of the van and locate the tracker down a side alley, fastened to a wired fence.  Now they have no clue where the white van gang have taken Janet.

Owen and Lynch sit in the car and wait at the address for the fight club.  They don’t start moving until more people, men only, move towards the open doorway at the bottom of the street.  They exit the vehicle as more people arrive at the venue.

Gwen sits on the sofa with two pizzas and sits on her own eating the pizza between sobs.  A phone keeps messaging and after checking her phone each time realises it’s not hers but the dead man’s, in the autopsy room.  She opens the bag of belongings and checks the phone.  It gives a post code address.  Gwen brings up the address on the computer and presses her ear piece, only to discover she’s not wearing one.  Locating one on Toshiko’s desk she calls Jack who is a little concerned that she’s not at home as he’d instructed her to be.  She tells him about the phone and patches through the location.  Jack informs her that he’ll pick her up on the way.

Owen has no idea what to expect when he arrives at the venue, and he certainly wasn’t expecting to see grown men fighting each other before bouts in the cage with a weevil.  Each man has to pay £1000 to go in the ring, the winner takes the lot if he stays in the longest.  Lynch tells Owen that the guy in the ring who died, didn’t want to come out, it was as if he wanted to die.  Owen tells Lynch that this has to stop before someone else dies.  He strides away Lynch goes after him and asks him how long Owen is going to do this, the lies, the bullshit, he knows Owen is hiding something, and pulls a gun on him, instructing him to get in the cage.

Owen tells him he will so long as Lynch puts the gun down.  Removing his jacket, psyching himself up, Owen goes down to the cage and steps inside, facing the weevil. The crowd cheer until the doors close, then they watch with baited breath. 

Owen closes his eyes and makes peace with himself before Jack and Torchwood come crashing through the doors and fire warning shots, demanding they stop what they’re doing.  But it takes Owen by surprise and he glances towards his team as the weevil charges towards him and takes him down, mauling him as he screams on  the ground.  Jack has no alternative but to shoot the weevil.  Catching it in the arm, the weevil withdraws and Owen is taken out of the cage.  Lynch can’t believe how calm Owen was and steps into the cage with the injured weevil.  Jack nods to the weevil to finish the man off.

He calls to the men in the room to go home and that the fight club is now closed. 

In hospital Jack tosses a bag of grapes onto the table in front of Owen, who looks up at him.  Owen is battered and bruised, and tells him he shouldn’t have. 
“I hate grapes.”
He confesses to Jack that he didn’t want saving.
Jack shrugs “Do you want us to apologise?”
“For a few seconds in that cage I felt totally at peace and then you blunder in.  Do you always know best Jack? Is that what you believe?”
Not wishing to engage in an argument with Owen Jack ends the conversation abruptly before leaving.
“I want you back in work tomorrow.” 

When Owen returns to work he visits the weevils down in the cells and as they snarl at him, he snarls back and mocks them.  They huddle in the dark confines of their cells and moan to each other.  Owen smirks darkly. 

King of the Weevils.

©BBC Torchwood 2006

1 comment:

  1. Inspired by this month's issue, I re-watched that episode last night. Still I find Owen's behaviour as a result of the loss of Diane a bit incomprehensive. It's just the way he acts it out which I still find odd, so I didn't really warm up after that ep with Owen either. Took until S2. Owen's stupid question at the end towards Jack, if he always thinks he knows best, was rather stupid. I mean, what should Jack have done? Stood there and watch his team member being mauled by a weevil and shrugging and saying to the bystanders: "Oh, well, but he's at peace with himself" ?

    Another low life of this episode is Gwen. THAT woman, she is not willing nor capable to accept the consequences for her baviour. She behaves like a stupid, little girl, demanding forgiveness from Rhys for her stupid fuck affair with Owen, not willing to accept his disappointment and the consequences of him knowing. Rhys is right, she is selfish. And immature and a hypocrite. Yet moralizing and lecturing everyone else from her oh so high moral stance. Which in reality is pretty low. Where does she take the right from to lecture everyone else, especially Jack? She hasn't experienced a single thing as hard and difficult as Jack has numerous times in his long life. She can't even handle herself cheating on her boyfriend and living with the consequences, no, she has to retcon him. Gwen is such an insincere character. And apart from being such a self-righteous, ignorant and hypocrite, she is such a boring character, other than all the other team members, there's nothing about her. Sorry, but that's the truth, and that always strikes me when watching this episode. :)