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|11 – "Combat"|
|Directed by||Andy Goddard|
|Written by||Noel Clarke|
|Script editor||Brian Minchin|
Chris Chibnall (co-producer)
Russell T Davies|
|Originally broadcast||24 December 2006|
"Combat" is the eleventh episode of the first series of the British science fiction television series Torchwood, which was originally broadcast on the digital television channel BBC Three on 24 December 2006.
In the episode, a team of alien hunters called Torchwood investigate kidnappings of aliens called Weevils by an estate agent in Cardiff called Mark Lynch (Alex Hassell), who uses them for deadly cage fights with rich humans.
Jack is chasing a Weevil through the streets of Cardiff. He passes the restaurant where Gwen and her boyfriend, Rhys are having a dinner. Gwen wants to help Jack and after an angered Rhys orders her to stay, she leaves with Jack. The two witness the Weevil being captured by unknown men.
Several hours later, Toshiko tracks the van to a deserted warehouse. She and Jack go to investigate and find the body of a man who has been mauled by a Weevil; the dead man's phone rings, and a distorted voice warns Jack to drop the case. Owen, who is still recovering from Diane Holmes's departure, is reluctantly enlisted to look into the estate agent overseeing the warehouse.
Gwen ends her affair with Owen, and then comes clean about it after administering a memory-altering drug to Rhys to ensure he'll forget the conversation. Rhys doesn't forgive her before falling asleep due to the drug's effects, and Gwen is distraught.
Meanwhile, Jack and Ianto follow reports of suspicious Weevil-like injuries and interrogate one of the victims at the hospital. The man refuses to talk, and after being pressured by Jack claims that if he talks, "They'll kill me."
After getting into a fight at a bar, Owen and Mark form a sort of friendship. Mark reveals he knows Owen is not who he pretends to be, but wants to show him what happens with captured Weevils anyway.
The Weevils are used for a fight club, where they are pitted against willing men in a one-on-one fight. Each combatant puts down £1000, and the person who lasts the longest in the cage wins the pot. The people in the fight club are men with disposable income trying to find meaning in their lives. Mark considers Owen weak since he disapproved and he forces him to fight. Owen agrees to fight a Weevil, and he initially stands without fear and does not challenge the Weevil until it strikes him. The rest of his team storm into the complex and pull him out before the Weevil can finish him off. They bust the operation, but Mark gets into the cage with the Weevil Owen was previously fighting to prove he too can show no fear.
Owen admits to Jack that he did not want to be rescued and later goes to Torchwood's captive Weevils, intimidating them.
- When Mark Lynch searches the Internet for information on Owen, he uses a search engine called search-wise.net. While the site actually exists, it was created specifically for use in television programmes and films. Search-wise.net was also seen in "Rose" where Rose Tyler uses it to search for the Doctor.
- Mark tells Owen that "Something's coming. Out there in the darkness, something is coming." Suzie Costello says something similar in "They Keep Killing Suzie", mentioning something moving in the darkness beyond death and that it is coming for Jack. This presence is revealed when the second glove is used in "Dead Man Walking".
- After drugging Rhys and confessing her affair with Owen, Gwen begs for forgiveness in much the same manner as she jokingly did in "Everything Changes".
- Noel Clarke, who wrote this episode, is better known for playing Mickey Smith in the 2005 and 2006 series of the revived Doctor Who. He is the first actor with an ongoing role in Doctor Who to write a televised episode of a Doctor Who-universe production, although previous Doctor Who actors Colin Baker and Ian Marter wrote the Doctor Who Magazine comic strip "The Age of Chaos" and novels based upon the series after his tenure on the show, respectively. Mark Gatiss has also starred in and written for the show since its 2005 revival.
- The song "Over and Over" by Hot Chip plays in the background during a scene in the bar.
- The deceased man, Hodges, has a Crazy Frog ring tone on his mobile phone.
- The song "Assassin" by Muse plays in the background when Owen first enters the warehouse.
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