Everything Changes (Torchwood)
|01 – "Everything Changes"|
|Directed by||Brian Kelly|
|Written by||Russell T Davies|
|Script editor||Brian Minchin|
|Produced by||Richard Stokes
Chris Chibnall (co-producer)
|Executive producer(s)||Russell T Davies
|Originally broadcast||22 October 2006|
"Everything Changes" is the first episode of the British science fiction television programme Torchwood, which was first broadcast on 22 October 2006. The story was written by show creator and executive producer Russell T Davies as an introduction to the show's mythos. The episode re-introduces the omnisexual Captain Jack Harkness, who had proved popular in the first series of the 2005 revival of Doctor Who, as the leader of the Torchwood Institute's Cardiff Branch.
The story is told from the perspective of Gwen Cooper, who comes across the Torchwood team through her job as a police officer with the South Wales Police, who are investigating a series of strange deaths. Through Gwen's discovery of Torchwood, the audience are introduced to team members Owen Harper, Toshiko Sato and Ianto Jones. Suzie Costello, as played by Indira Varma, had also been billed as a series regular prior to transmission, though in a twist the character was revealed as the murderer and killed off at the end of the episode, with Gwen replacing her as a member of the Torchwood team.
The episode originally aired on freeview channel BBC Three and upon broadcast earned the channel its highest ever viewing figures. Critical reaction to the episode was mixed, with reviewers making both positive and negative comparisons to Torchwood's parent show Doctor Who.
During a murder investigation in Cardiff, Gwen Cooper spies on a mysterious group of five people calling themselves "Torchwood" led by Captain Jack Harkness. Another member, Suzie, uses a metal gauntlet to temporarily bring the victim to life in an attempt to identify his killer. Jack notes Gwen's presence, causing her to flee the scene. The next day, she runs into Jack again at a hospital and, following him, finds a sealed-off area where she runs into a Weevil, which kills a porter. Jack arrives, giving Gwen the opportunity to escape. As she leaves the hospital, she spots the Torchwood vehicle and follows it. She learns from her office that the vehicle is unregistered, and that while there was a "Jack Harkness" who disappeared in 1941, there is not one currently on record. She follows the vehicle to Roald Dahl Plass, where she continues the pursuit on foot only to lose sight of them as they pass a large fountain. She then learns from her partner Andy that all personnel at the hospital have been accounted for.
Catching sight of a pizza delivery scooter, she inquires at the local pizza store and learns they make deliveries to Torchwood. Disguised as a pizza delivery girl, she enters a tourist centre where Ianto presses a button to reveal a secret passageway and lets her through. Following it, Gwen eventually finds herself in the Torchwood Hub, where the rest of the Torchwood team members initially try to ignore her entrance but break into fits of laughter, well aware of who she is. Jack shows Gwen around the Hub, including the captured Weevil from the hospital; they then leave the Hub via a pavement slab lift, which takes them to Roald Dahl Plass in front of the fountain. Jack explains that a perception filter exists around the spot they are standing, making them invisible to passersby, explaining why Gwen lost track of the team earlier. Jack takes Gwen to a pub, and over a drink, explains that the purpose of Torchwood is to help monitor and control the flotsam and jetsam of the time-space vortex that falls to Earth through the rift that exists on the site where the Hub was built. As Gwen wonders why Jack is telling her all of this, he explains that he has placed an amnesia pill in her drink, and that she will have forgotten the information by morning. Gwen races home and tries to type out a message to herself before the pill's effects are complete, but falls asleep; Ianto remotely turns off her computer, causing the message to be lost.
The next day at work, Gwen is shown a drawing of the knife believed to have been used on the victim two days prior, which triggers a series of memories. These solidify when she spots a Millennium Centre programme with the word "Remember" in her own handwriting at home, and she returns to the Plass. Suzie is waiting for her there, and explains that the effects of the amnesia pill could be broken with a specific image, in this case the knife. Suzie goes onto explain that it was she who killed the man Gwen saw resurrected, as well as other victims, in order to test the metal gauntlet, with the hope of learning to make its resurrection effect permanent. Suzie pulls a gun on Gwen; as she does, Jack rises from the pavement lift, and Suzie turns and shoots him in the head, killing him. To Suzie's surprise, Jack then recovers and his gunshot wound disappears. Jack tries to coax Suzie to stop, but she puts the gun to her chin and kills herself. Gwen falls to her knees, remembering everything.
In the Hub, the metal gauntlet is sealed away in a box labelled "NOT FOR USE", while Suzie's body is placed into their morgue. Standing on the roof of the Millennium Centre, Jack tells Gwen that he died once, but was brought back to life, and that he has been immortal ever since. He adds that he needs to find the right sort of doctor who can explain what happened. Jack goes on to explain that in the 21st century, "everything changes," and agrees with Gwen that perhaps Torchwood can do more to help people, and offers her a job, which she accepts.
This episode had the working title of "Flotsam And Jetsam". This title was worked into the script when Jack describes the idea of "flotsam and jetsam" falling through the Rift into Cardiff. The opening scene, involving the reanimation of a corpse in an alley at night, was adapted from a pitch written by Russell T Davies and Julie Gardner for a possible science fiction series called Excalibur, devised before Davies became responsible for the 2005 revival of Doctor Who. In "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" Captain John Hart jokes about the name Torchwood and says it should have been named Excalibur. The BBC Three premiere on 22 October 2006 aired Everything Changes back-to-back with the second episode, "Day One", in a 100-minute premiere special; the closing credits of both episodes were combined to air at the end.
The song "We Are the Pipettes" by The Pipettes is featured in this episode (as Gwen & Andy arrive to break up a bar fight), "She Moves In Her Own Way" by The Kooks (heard in the background at Jubilee Pizza) and "Spitting Games" by Snow Patrol (as Owen hits on Linda at the bar).
In the unofficial overnight viewing figures, "Everything Changes" gained an average audience of 2.4 million for its debut showing on BBC Three, a 12.7% share of the total television audience for its slot. This was the largest audience ever recorded by a BBC Three programme, as well as the highest ever audience for a programme broadcast solely on a digital television platform that was not either a United States import or a live football match. The figure also placed "Everything Changes" third in its timeslot across all channels, beaten only by the analogue channels ITV1 and Channel 4 with Prime Suspect and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen respectively.
When "Everything Changes" was repeated on analogue channel BBC Two three days after its BBC Three airing, it won an audience of 2.8 million, a 13% share. This again placed the episode third in its timeslot, behind Who Do You Think You Are? on BBC One and the thriller Bon Voyage on ITV1.
Reviews and reception
The website of The Stage entertainment industry newspaper gave "Everything Changes" a positive preview in its coverage following the 18 October press screening of the episode. "The first episode is an economical, by the numbers introduction to the team", wrote reviewer Mark Wright. "It's certainly bold, the cast are very pretty and the dialogue has a zippy archness to it. Whether that will become grating after a few episodes remains to be seen, but if you like your sci-fi drama a bit punchier than the whimsical Doctor Who, touch wood, you should find a lot to enjoy in the adventures of Torchwood."
Previewing the episode for the Radio Times listing magazine, Mark Braxton was impressed, but felt that the series would offer better episodes later in the run. "It's slick, scary, funny and expensive looking, but it's also very much an establishing episode", Braxton commented. "With the guided tour dispensed with, however, the fun can really begin."
The Guardian newspaper's television reviewer Sam Wollaston also gave the episode a guarded welcome, although he felt that the attempts to make Cardiff appear glamorous were a failure. "They've done their best to sex the place up—lots of helicopter shots of that posh bit where Charlotte Church lives, but it still looks like Cardiff, to be honest. No matter—most of the interesting things are going on below the ground... It's not yet clear whether Eve Myles as new Torchwood recruit PC Gwen Cooper can fill Billie Piper's boots. Surely not—those boots are two gaping weekend voids that no one can fill. But this looks promising: it's slick, quick and a tiny bit scary. Not much humour yet, which was the lovely thing about Doctor Who. But it's early days; don't jump quite yet."
The Sunday Times Culture magazine mentioned Torchwood as one of the week's highlights and added that it was "arguably better than Who". Less positively, the Scotsman when reviewing the episode said "Torchwood seems to me to be as nonsensical and full of holes and unexciting as the genre always is." The use of the alien perfume on the young woman and her boyfriend by Owen has drawn criticism of the character online, with some viewers pointing out this is similar to date rape.
References and notes
- See "Captain Jack Harkness".
- Shannon Sullivan (2006-11-01). "A Brief History of Time (Travel): Everything Changes". Retrieved 2006-11-07.
- White, Cindy (24 August 2007). "BBC's Torchwood Has U.S. Roots". Sci Fi Wire. Archived from the original on 15 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-25.
- Deans, Jason (2006-10-23). "Torchwood scores digital first" (Requires free registration). Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved 2006-10-23.
- "Torchwood scores record audience". BBC News Online. 2006-10-23. Retrieved 2006-10-23.
- Deans, Jason (2006-10-26). "Torchwood lands on BBC2 with 2.8m" (Requires free registration). Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved 2006-10-26.
- Wright, Mark (19 October 2006). "Everything changes—a first look at Torchwood". The Stage. Archived from the original on 4 January 2007. Retrieved 2006-10-23.
- Braxton, Mark (2006-10-21 – 2006-10-27). "Today's Choices – Sunday 22 October". Radio Times. BBC Worldwide. 331 (4307): 74. Check date values in:
- Wollaston, Sam (2006-10-23). "The weekend's TV". The Guardian. Retrieved 2006-10-23.
- Heggie, Iain (2006-10-21). "Aliens versus yoof". The Scotsman. Retrieved 2006-12-19.
- Rawson-Jones, Ben (2008-01-13). "Cult Spy: Catching Up With 'Torchwood'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2008-05-07.
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