After the team gets signs of an unidentified life form, they (apart from Gwen, who is running late) go to investigate. Searching an abandoned building, the team discover it is a trap and the building is bombed. The resulting explosion causes the team to be trapped under piles of concrete rubble. Gwen and Rhys arrive (Rhys having given Gwen a lift), and as they dig everyone out, the team's lives flash before their eyes revealing how Jack, Ianto, Owen, and Toshiko got recruited to Torchwood.
In the Victorian era, Jack is picked up by two women - Alice Guppy and Emily Holroyd - who have noticed his immortality and his references to the Doctor. They examine him, which includes attempting to kill him. Jack recognizes that the technology being used in his interrogation is more advanced than Earth technology of the time. They identify themselves as being part of Torchwood and offer Jack a job with them. Jack initially declines the offer learning that they view the Doctor as a threat. He agrees to the assignment after being told that if he doesn't cooperate he will be treated as a threat himself. He takes an initial assignment which is to track down and capture an alien. While they have the alien in a small cell one of the officers pulls out a gun and shoots the alien in the head without any warning. Jack disagrees with this policy and refuses the next assignment they try to give him. Jack goes to a bar when a young female fortune teller comes to his table and offers to read his cards and doesn't listen to Jack's refusal. She tells him that he will not meet the Doctor for another century. He returns to the Torchwood office and opts to join Torchwood for that century.
He is still working for Torchwood in 1999, when he comes back to the Hub on New Year's Eve to find that one of the team has murdered the rest out of fear for the future. He has in his hand some locket or pendant, and he claims to have seen the future in it and killed the rest of the team out of a sense of mercy that the immortal Jack cannot benefit from. Based on the vision from the locket, he states that the next century is when everything changes and that Torchwood isn't ready for it. He then commits suicide, leaving Torchwood to Jack as a "reward for a century of service." With the rest of the team dead, Jack will have to recruit a new team.
Toshiko's flashback takes place five years ago when she was working for a research facility contracted by the Ministry of Defence. One night after her boss leaves she immediately breaks into the security room where she obtains secret files for a Sonic Modulator. At home, she begins constructing a mock version, and once complete, takes it to a secret base. She gives it to a woman, one of her mother's captors, in the hope of her mother's release, but in seeing Tosh's potential, they decide to have her work for them. Tosh refuses, and so the captors set off the Sonic Modulator, sending an ear-piercing sound around the room that brings Tosh and her mother to the floor as their blood vessels begin to pulse violently. At that point however, UNIT soldiers break in and arrest both the captors and Toshiko and her mother. Tosh is locked in a plain empty cell and told that she will have no communication with anyone, and they refuse to answer her questions to her mother's whereabouts. After living in solitude for some time, she is visited by Jack. Jack chats to her and states that she'll be imprisoned indefinitely. He recognises, however, Toshiko's talent and high intelligence in building the fully operational device from plans that could not possibly work and offers her a pardon if she takes a job at Torchwood.
In Ianto's flashback, he first meets Jack by helping him fight a Weevil. Ianto asks for a job, but is rejected by Jack. The next morning, Ianto gives Jack a coffee outside Torchwood. Jack recalls a large amount of knowledge about Ianto, stating that he researched him after he was able to identify a Weevil. Ianto again asks for a job as his old job was lost when Torchwood One was destroyed. Jack states that he had severed all ties with Torchwood One. That night, Ianto steps in front of the SUV, and once more asks for a job. After Jack threatens to erase his memory, he tells Jack that he is pursuing a pterodactyl. After a long battle, the pair of them capture it, and Jack tells Ianto that he expects to see him at work the following morning.
Owen's flashback shows him before he was employed in Torchwood, working as a regular doctor and planning a marriage. His fiancée, Katie, begins to exhibit signs of Alzheimer's Disease and is taken in for a brain scan. The doctors, in fact, state that it is a tumor, and decide to operate. While Owen waits outside, he hears a loud noise in the operating room, and enters to find all of the surgeons dead on the floor. Jack enters, and states that there is an alien parasite residing in his fiancée's brain that gives off a toxic gas when threatened. Jack attempts to take the brain, but Owen protests, and so Jack knocks him out with chloroform. Owen wakes up in a hospital bed, but because Jack has erased all evidence of himself, there was no proof of Owen ever seeing him and telling him about the alien. The doctors come to the conclusion that Owen is traumatised and they prescribe him 3 months of rest. Visiting his fiancée's grave, Owen sees Jack and confronts him for answers, saying that he was right and Jack was not just a figment of his own imagination. Seeing Owen's potential, Jack convinces him to start up at Torchwood as a medic for the team.
When the team reunites, they discover that the SUV is missing. Jack receives a holographic message, as pictured, from Captain John Hart, who reveals himself to be behind the bombs and shows Jack an image of his long-lost brother Gray. He then vows to tear Jack's world apart, so Jack would spend time with him.
Kai Owen – Rhys Williams
Paul Kasey – Weevil / Blowfish
Noriko Aida – Toshiko's Mother
Amy Manson – Alice Guppy
Heather Craney – Emily Holroyd
Skye Bennett – Little Girl
Julian Lewis Jones – Alex Hopkins
Simon Shackleton – Bob
Gareth Jones – Security Guard
Clare Clifford – Milton
Andrea Lowe – Katie Russell
Richard Lloyd-King – Doctor
Catherine Morris – Nurse
Selva Rasalingham – Psychiatrist
James Marsters (uncredited) – Captain John Hart
Lachlan Nieboer (uncredited) – Gray
Writer Chris Chibnall
Director Jonathan Fox Bassett
Script editor Gary Russell
Producer Richard Stokes
Chris Chibnall (co-producer)
Executive producer(s) Russell T. Davies
Production code 2.12
Series Series 2
Length 50 mins
Originally broadcast 21 March 2008