Torchwood Episodes

2007, TV Show

Torchwood Episode: "Ghost Machine"

Season 1, Episode 3
Episode Synopsis: A long-buried crime resurfaces when an alien object produces visions from the past.
Original Air Date: Sep 22, 2007

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Season 1, Episode 3
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Aired: 9/22/2007
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"Ghost Machine" Season 1, Episode 3

I'm all for a quick start, and "Ghost Machine" certainly had that: Gwen and Owen (who really impressed me for the first time, but more on that later) are pursuing an alien signal through the streets of Cardiff, with Captain Jack closely following in the Torchwood-mobile. Gwen is apparently the fastest on her feet, and she catches up to the guy who's giving off the signal - only to have him slither out of his jacket and get away. Tosh convinces her that the alien signal is still with her, and Gwen fishes in the jacket pocket and finds another alien doodad. The only conclusion I can draw is that all alien creatures and artifacts are utterly irresistible. It's the technological version of last episode's hyped-up sexual pheromones: Even though you'd think she's been around such items long enough to realize not to touch the alien on/off button, she does just that anyway. She's transported to the same place, a train station, some 60 years ago. A young boy with his name pinned to his jacket and a teddy bear in hand is wandering about, lost. She comes out of the trance, saying that she's seen a ghost. She and Owen track down the boy's name, and the next day she talks to him, Tom Erasmus Flanigan, now an old man, who as a boy of 8 was evacuated from London and has lived in Cardiff ever since. Even though it was a sad moment in his life that Gwen observed, this particular story seems to have had a happy ending. Not so with the next "ghost" the team observes: Owen's encounter with the device leads him to witness a man attacking a young woman under a bridge. After some investigation, they discover that the teenage girl, Lizzie Lewis, was raped and murdered that night. This sets off Owen, who is visibly shaken by his spectral encounter, and he spends all night drinking from a liquor bottle and tracking down the man he thinks responsible for the crime, one Edwin Morgan. Back at HQ, a swaggering Jack trains Gwen to become a Welsh Rambo with a variety of handguns, helping her feel the correct stance. I'm not at all a fan of guns (either in real life or on television), but this was definitely a scintillating scene. Of course, Gwen stays at work late and comes home to an empty apartment - all is not well between her and her beau. But she's smuggled her first bit of alien technology out of the office: the "ghost machine." It's a quantum transducer, according to Jack's research, and its visions are produced by echoing a moment of emotion. So Gwen sees sweet memories of domestic bliss and they make her appreciate her fella when he does show up. I guess we'll be getting more of Gwen's struggle between normal home life and sexy, risky Torchwood life. Not that I mind - any up-close-and-personal time with Captain Jack is certainly fun to watch. Meanwhile, Owen decides to take on Lizzie's killer himself, knocking on Morgan's door and finding another old man, whom he confronts. Owen says, "I know what happened, under the bridge..." and the man sits there silently, listening to a description of his crime, the tension mounting, until he explodes and throws Owen out. The scene was riveting, and Burn Gorman gave a powerful performance. Owen spots Bernie, the original culprit, the owner of the jacket with the alien object in its pocket, and the ensuing chase is reminiscent of Ferris Bueller trying to get home ahead of his dad. Owen grabs him, sits him down in a pub for a pint, the team shows up, and it turns out Bernie stole the device from some odd old fellow, thinking he'd take it to Antiques Roadshow and see if it was worth something. Oh, and there's a second half. When joined together, the two alien doodads show the future: Bernie saw his own death, in the street outside his home; Gwen, again apparently irresistibly drawn to try it out, sees herself holding a bloody knife in that same spot. Jack explains that there's only one possible future, but Gwen is clearly shaken. She decides to go explain to Bernie that his death's not written in stone. Next thing we see is old Ed Morgan calling Bernie, who, it turns out, had been trying to blackmail him to keep silent about his long-ago crime. We also learn that Morgan is suicidal, paranoid and agoraphobic (a delightful trio of disorders), and when Tosh tracks him leaving his apartment heading toward Bernie's, we know that all is not well. He's come with a knife, and as Bernie and Gwen run into the street, Jack and Owen pull up as well. Jack disarms him, and Owen grabs the knife, threatening Morgan with it. He eventually cools down, and Gwen takes the knife from him - but Morgan breaks free and, saying "I knew you'd come for me," plunges himself onto the open blade, effectively killing himself. Captain Jack decided to file away the device as dangerous - seeing into the future, or seeing the ghosts of the past, is just "not meant for us." This show is definitely warming up! "Ghost Machine" was full of twists and turns, exciting action, a bit of humor, and one particularly noteworthy bit of acting. All in all, just about all of the ingredients for a truly entertaining sci-fi series. For more on Torchwood, visit our Online Video Guide. show less
I'm all for a quick start, and "Ghost Machine" certainly had that: Gwen and Owen (who really impressed me for the first time, but more on that later) are pursuing an alien signal through the streets of Cardiff, with Captain Jack closely following in the Torchwood-mobile. Gwen is apparently the fastest on her feet, and she catches up to the guy who's giving off the signal — only to have him slither out of his jacket and get away. Tosh convinces her that the alien signal is still with her, and Gwen fishes in the jacket pocket and finds another alien doodad. The only conclusion I can draw is that all alien creatures and artifacts are utterly irresistible. It's the technological version of last episode's hyped-up sexual pheromones: Even though you'd think she's been around such items long enough to realize not to touch the alien on/off button, she does just that anyway.She's transported to the same place, a train station, some 60 years ago. A young boy with his name pinned to his j... read more

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Premiered: January 05, 2007, on BBC 1
Rating: TV-MA
User Rating: (240 ratings)
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Premise: A top-secret team of investigators use scavenged alien technology to solve crimes---both human and alien---in this sci-fi adventure series from the producer of 'Doctor Who.'

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