Fri, 28 March 2008
From out of the Rain
After the old cinema "Electro" re-opens, the old scenes of a black and white film are interrupted by mysterious sequences which show a travelling company in the early 20th Century before the age of cinema. The Ghostmaker (the leader of the company) and Pearl ("the mermaid woman"), once captured on film, manage to escape it. Ianto witnesses the escape, noticing that two characters have suddenly disappeared from the film, and informs Captain Jack Harkness.
The escaped characters start roaming the streets of Cardiff. They steal the last breath of innocent people, keeping their breath in a silver flask, leaving the victims only half alive with a heartbeat, but no breath. Torchwood starts investigating the casualties and begins research on these old travelling companies. Jack used to be a member of one of the companies, performing the act of "the man who couldn't die". He tells of the "Night Travellers", who perform only during night, and the mythology surrounding them, saying that 'young children were told to hold their breath while the travelling show passed by'.
The ghosts begin to bring all their other travelling carnival fellows to our reality at the old cinema but, finally, it occurs to Jack that, being filmed again, the loosened entities may be recaptured onto celluloid. Effectively, Jack manages to achieve this with a home movie camera, filming all the phantasmagoric creatures. He exposes the reel to the sun then, vanishing the carnival ghosts for ever. However, for its last act before disappearing, the Ghostmaker throws the open silver flask and, despite Ianto's quick catch, most of the human souls are lost in the air, so the coma-like affected victims of Cardiff die, except for a child. The silver flask ends up being stored by Jack in his safe at Torchwood.
Though the threat of the Night Travellers has been stopped now, Jack speculates that there could be more films with their ghosts trapped inside, confirmed by a scene at a boot-sale where a man and his son purchase an old film reel. The metal case of the film is briefly opened and, back at the Hub, Jack hears a sliver of the Night Traveller's carnival music.
Cast and credits notes
Jonah Bevan is walking home when a bright light appears over him. One second later he is gone. Seven months later, at the instigation of PC Andy Davidson, Gwen is investigating the disappearance of Jonah. Her research reveals there are more cases that resemble Jonah's disappearance. Toshiko discovers that these disappearances happen during a negative spike in the rift activity, which were previously discarded as background noise. Gwen is able to compile a list of all missing persons and informs Jack. However, Jack tells Gwen that nothing can be done and instructs her to stop the investigation, which she refuses.
The investigation slowly turns into an obsession and takes a toll on the relationship between Gwen and Rhys. When Ianto secretly gives Gwen a GPS device with a stored hidden location, Gwen finds a facility on Flat Holm. It harbours 17 of the missing people that the rift took and subsequently brought back, including Jonah, the boy she has been looking for. However, he has aged 40 years and is very deformed. Gwen also finds Jack there, and she demands access to Jonah. Jonah tells how he was stuck on a "burning planet" and how he was taken into a building that was actually a rescue craft, from which he witnessed the burning of a solar system. Afterwards, Jack reveals that he set up the facility when he first took command of Torchwood, in order to care for the victims of the rift, who had previously been locked away in the vaults.
Gwen brings Nikki, Jonah's mother, in to see him. At first she is horrified, believing it to be a cruel joke, but Jonah starts telling her things that only he would know. Nikki calms and they hug for a moment, but one of the staff tells Nikki to get away from him. She resists and says that she can take care of him. However Jonah starts screaming, a scream so horrible that everyone flees. In a voiceover, Gwen reveals that he screams like that for 20 hours a day because he looked into the heart of a Dark Star, which drove him insane.
A week later, Gwen goes to see Nikki, who implores her not to show the island to anyone else. Gwen takes down her notes over the missing and Nikki packs up Jonah's room. At home that night, Gwen prepares a romantic candle-lit dinner for Rhys, who lets her cry into his chest.