Small Worlds (Torchwood)
|05 – "Small Worlds"|
|Writer||Peter J. Hammond|
|Script editor||Brian Minchin|
Chris Chibnall (co-producer)
|Executive producer(s)||Russell T Davies
|Originally broadcast||12 November 2006|
"Small Worlds" is an episode of the British science fiction television series Torchwood. It is the fifth episode of the first series, which was broadcast on 12 November 2006. It was filmed in the villages of Radyr and Bryn-Derw in Cardiff North.
At the Torchwood Hub, Jack wakes from a nightmare of dead soldiers in a train carriage with rose petals spilling out of their mouths, to find a single rose petal atop his desk. Ianto informs Jack that there are strange weather patterns in the area. The next day, Jack takes Gwen to visit an old friend of his, Estelle, who is giving a talk on fairies. Estelle shows them the Cottingley Fairies photographs, then compares them to photographs she had taken the day before, and claims to have found proof of the fairy's existence. After her talk at her home, Jack and Estelle discuss the photographs and the nature of fairies. Gwen asks Estelle and Jack about an old photograph she found of Jack. They both claim it is of Jack's father and say that he had a relationship with Estelle during World War II. Estelle mentions that Jack looks and walks just like his father. Jack asks Estelle to call if she encounters any more fairies. On the way back to Torchwood, Jack explains to Gwen that the fairies are creatures from the dawn of time and are not bound by linear time. He says that the fairies can be very dangerous. Jack instructs Toshiko to watch for strange weather patterns in the area in order to locate the fairies.
Meanwhile, a young girl, Jasmine Pierce, decides to walk home from school alone because her mother's boyfriend, Roy, did not arrive on time to pick her up. She encounters a man, Goodson, who tries to lure her into his car. When Goodson makes a grab for Jasmine, a strong wind kicks up along with strange, ethereal voices, and Goodson is forced to retreat into his car as Jasmine continues to skip on her way home to play with her fairy friends in the nearby woods. Later, a tense Goodson, still hearing the voices, stumbles through the Cardiff market. He is attacked by something unseen by the other shoppers, and starts to cough up rose petals. He manages to get himself arrested in order to seek the safety of a jail cell. However, he continues to be attacked by unknown forces, and is found the next day dead by asphyxiation. Torchwood arrives and find Goodson's mouth filled with rose petals. Jack confirms that Goodson's death was by the fairies as part of their protection of a "Chosen One", a child that will soon become the fairies' if Torchwood cannot find her in time.
Late at night, Estelle starts to hear the strange voices and calls Jack to alert him. However, before Torchwood can arrive, she is killed, having drowned in a rainstorm despite the area around her being completely dry. Jack mourns her loss, and Gwen makes him admit that it was him who had a relationship with Estelle long ago. Jack explains that he has seen the rose petals before, on a train in Lahore in 1909. Some of his troops had drunkenly run over a little girl; a week later, all of his men died, their mouths filled with petals, and he realised that the young girl had been a Chosen One. Gwen returns home to find her own house in disarray, with leaves and rock patterns on the floor. The team understand that the fairies are becoming more protective and aggressive.
At her school the next day, Jasmine is bullied by two girls, and the fairies cause a large gale to sweep over the area. Torchwood arrives and finds out from Jasmine's teacher that no one was harmed but the only one not affected by the storm was Jasmine. Meanwhile, Jasmine's mother Lynn and her boyfriend Roy are celebrating five-years together by throwing a backyard barbecue party. Jasmine helps her mother with the food and gives disturbing answers to her mother's questions. When Jasmine goes outside she finds that the backyard has been fenced off by Roy to prevent her from going to the woods. Angrily, she bites him. He slaps her and calls her a bitch. A sudden wind rushes up, and the fairies make themselves visible to everyone present, attacking and killing Roy. Torchwood arrives in time to prevent harm to other guests, but Jasmine and the fairies race off to the woods. Jack catches up with Jasmine and demands that the fairies not take her away. They refuse, stating that she is their Chosen One and if she is prevented from going many more people will die. Admitting he has no other choice, Jack requests a promise that Jasmine would not be harmed and the fairies respond that she will live forever. Jack lets Jasmine go and she skips away, surrounded by glowing fairies. Lynn, having witnessed this, cries angrily and hits Jack over and over, with Jack only able to apologise.
Back at the Hub, Gwen is sorting through the pictures in the case when a Cottingley photograph from 1917 appears on the board room monitor. Spotting something, she zooms in on the photograph until the face on one of the fairies becomes clearly visible. It is Jasmine, smiling out of the picture, frozen in mid-dance. A fairy voice whispers:
- "Come away, O human child!
- To the waters and the wild
- With a faery, hand in hand,
- For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand."
- (excerpt from "The Stolen Child", a poem by W. B. Yeats)
- Although Jack claims that he does not sleep in "Ghost Machine", he is shown to have a waking nightmare in this episode.
- A pair of 3-D glasses, originally used by the Tenth Doctor in "Doomsday", can be seen hanging on a lamp shade on Jack's desk at the start of the episode.
- This is the first episode that explores Jack's past. At one point, he was in charge of a troop of 15 men in 1909 Lahore. A letter on the Torchwood website, dated 1908, appears to suggest that this was part of a diamond mining scam during his conman days.
- The hymn "Lord of the Dance" features during the school scene.
- The songs "Better Do Better" by HARD-Fi (Jasmine helps Lynn prepare food for the party), "Born to Be a Dancer" by Kaiser Chiefs, (Kaiser Chiefs having been previously heard in the episode "Day One"; Jasmine and Lynn take food out to the party), and "Ooh La" by The Kooks (The Kooks having been previously heard in the episode "Everything Changes"; Roy returns to the party and makes a toast to Lynn) feature.
- The music during the closing credits contains quiet samples of the fairy laughter.
- Lara Phillipart, who plays Jasmine in this episode, appears as a member of Tommy's family in the Doctor Who episode "The Idiot's Lantern".
- The primary school is called "Coed y Garreg", which translates as "The Stone Woods", a possible reference to the Roundstone Woods seen at the beginning of the episode.
- The discussion about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's involvement in the Cottingley Fairies hoax is based upon real events that occurred near Bradford in West Yorkshire, England from 1917 onwards and based around two young girls who had taken photographs of what they claimed to be fairies. Doyle was apparently convinced of their veracity. The mention of Harry Houdini's involvement, however, is not historically accurate. While Conan Doyle did send a letter to the skeptical Houdini about the fairy "discovery", Houdini did not respond or use the event for self-promotion as suggested in the show. The image seen on the show is very slightly altered, with Jasmine's face over one of the fairies.
- Jack compares the fairies to the Mara. His noting of "Mara" as the origin of the word "nightmare" and their ability to steal the breath from their victims suggests that he is referring to the Mara of Germanic/Scandinavian mythology and not the Mara of the Doctor Who stories Snakedance and Kinda. Christopher Bailey, author of Snakedance and Kinda, was a practising Buddhist and named Doctor Who's Mara after the Buddhist demon Mara.
- The episode's director, Alice Troughton, is not related to Second Doctor Patrick Troughton.
- Torchwood External Hub Interface - Letter Written In Lahore
- Torchwood External Hub Interface - Pictures of Fairies
- Shannon Patrick Sullivan. "A Brief History Of Time (Travel): Kinda". Retrieved 13 November 2006.
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