Greeks Bearing Gifts (Torchwood)

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07 – "Greeks Bearing Gifts"
Torchwood episode
Greeks Bearing Gifts.jpg
The alien reveals herself to Tosh.
Directed byColin Teague
Written byToby Whithouse
Script editorBrian Minchin
Produced byRichard Stokes
Chris Chibnall (co-producer)
Executive producer(s)Russell T Davies
Julie Gardner
Incidental music composerBen Foster
Production code1.7
SeriesSeries 1
Running time50 mins
First broadcast26 November 2006 (2006-11-26)
← Preceded by
Followed by →
"They Keep Killing Suzie"
List of Torchwood episodes

"Greeks Bearing Gifts" is the seventh 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 26 November 2006.

In the episode, a killer shape-changing alien called Mary (Daniela Denby-Ashe) has been stranded in Cardiff for nearly two hundred years. She seeks to retrieve a recently unearthed transporter so she can escape the planet Earth.


The Torchwood team is called to a building site where a human skeleton and a rusted alien artefact have been discovered in the ground. Owen initially identifies the skeleton as a woman who died from a gunshot, having been buried for nearly two centuries. They return to the Hub, where Owen and Gwen flirt incessantly, infuriating Tosh. She leaves for a local bar, where she meets Mary, who claims to know about Torchwood and calls herself a "Scavenger" of alien artefacts. Mary gives Tosh a pendant that allows her to read minds; Tosh is initially overwhelmed by all the collected thoughts at the bar, but Mary has Tosh focus only on her thoughts, revealing romantic intentions. Tosh accepts the gift, and promises to not tell Torchwood from whom she got the gift.

The next day as Tosh examines the pendant, she finds she is able to read Owen and Gwen's mind, both having dismissive and contemptuous thoughts about her. She races home, only to find Mary there; Tosh attempts to return the pendant but Mary insists it can be used for good. Mary convinces Tosh to read her mind again, reveals romantic intentions for Tosh. The two spend the night together. The next day, Tosh asks Mary her true identity but she remains coy, answering "Philoctetes". Tosh wears the pendant in a crowded street, and though overwhelmed with the thoughts of everyone, identifies one man preparing to commit murder, and she is able to identify and stop him.

Tosh returns to the Hub where Owen reveals he had misidentified the skeleton, and now knows it to be a man that died of an unidentified trauma. Tosh speaks to Jack about the name "Philoctetes", which Jack recognises as a reference to Greek mythology; Philoctetes was an archer who was exiled on the island of Lemnos during the Trojan War. Tosh returns to Mary later, who asks Tosh about the artefact recovered with the skeleton. When Tosh is unable to provide her any answers, Mary convinces Tosh to ask the others at the Hub, using the pendant as they may be hiding information from her. Tosh finds Owen lacks any information on the artefact, while she is unable to read Jack's mind. Meanwhile, Owen has discovered that the same trauma that had been inflicted on the skeleton has been reported several times in the last few centuries, while Jack becomes aware of Tosh's strange behaviour.

When Tosh returns to Mary, she reveals herself as an alien, an exiled dissident, and that the artefact is a transporter that can help her to leave the planet. Tosh offers Torchwood's services to Mary, but she refuses, and instead asks Tosh to take her to Torchwood so she can retrieve the artefact herself. At the Hub, they find that Jack has deduced that Mary is an alien and the murderer of the skeleton and others through the century. Jack explains that the artefact is a transporter for a guard and a prisoner; when the artefact first arrived in Cardiff in 1812, Mary was able to kill her guard and took the body of a human woman, killing others to keep her human form. Mary holds Tosh at knife point, demanding the artefact. Jack, now aware of Tosh's telepathic abilities, instructs Tosh to remain still as he makes the trade with Mary. As soon as Mary takes the artefact, she and it disappear; Jack explains he programmed the device to transport her directly to the centre of the sun.

Owen and Gwen apologise to Tosh for their behaviour to her. Jack offers Tosh the pendant for herself, but she smashes it underfoot. Tosh tells Jack in private that attempting to read his mind produced only silence, like that of a dead man.


  • The officer is killed in 1812 (per caption), and Toshiko calculates his skeleton has been there for "196 years, 11 to 11 1/2 months", placing the episode in 2008 with the concurrent Doctor Who timeline.


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