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Is Torchwood series 2 really split into episodes set in 2008 and 2009?

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Continuing from this archived topic, and in an attempt to summarise and/or rephrase:

I'm sure Torchwood's internal chronology is fairly contradictory (I don't think the "21 months" bit in Fragments can ever really be reconciled any more than the UNIT dating controversy), but, regardless of what the story pages and 2009 say, is series 2 really seriously implied to be anything other than in 2008? If I recall correctly, in Exit Wounds, Jack gets frozen for 107 years in 1901. And the dividing point between the years at Dead Man Walking seems so arbitrary, too. -- Tybort (talk page) 00:34, September 5, 2012 (UTC)

Going by the page history of 2009, this seems to have at least spun from dates given on torchwood.org.uk, even though it's not given as a source on the current revision of that page. The site's up, but I'm not sure if bit dating the episodes is any more. Couldn't find anything on the episodes section saying a time of year. -- Tybort (talk page) 23:33, October 7, 2012 (UTC)
I've pondered this one for a while. And yes, I think TW dating is in fact the new UNIT dating controversy, largely due to the file on Gwen in The New World, as well as the "Aliens of London controversy", in which it's somewhat uncertain whether that story put us narratively ahead a year or not. The New World-given date about when Gwen joined TW completely knocks out anyone's timeline. So let's lay that to one side, perhaps considering it a production error. We can do that, I suppose, with the same ease that we dispense with some of the truly awful graphics department work with the "news flashes" in The Waters of Mars.
The Aliens of London thing is essentially something you have to flip a coin on. Either you believe things are advanced by a year after Aliens or you don't. I don't think there's firmly an answer one way or the other. A lot of the case for there not being a year difference between broadcast and narrative depends on the no-longer-accessible Martha Jones myspace blog. Which means we have to go off what other fans claim existed there. (I've tried to Wayback Machine it to no avail.) That's why I tend to come down in favor of the Pro Leap Year Party. It's easier to prove that case with extant sources.
So, if you believe that most of the stories broadcast in 2005 took place in 2006 and that this obtained throughout the RTD era, and if you assume all narrative sources are of equal value, and if you assume that reference works are secondary sources, the following is my best guess at present:
Strictly going by pre-Miracle Day stuff, the lynchpin is Lost Souls. This puts Martha at the Large Hadron Collider at around the time it was activated. I can't remember if the play actually specifies the date of activation or not. But if we just assume — and of course this is dangerous and not strictly allowed by T:NO RW — that the LHC goes live on the same date in the DWU, then we're talking 10 September 2008. Because Lost Souls is quite definitively set after the deaths of Tosh and Owen, it would seem to be the "backstop" for series 2. Nothing in series 2 can be in 2009 if Lost Souls actually says that it's set in 2008. So I'd give Lost Souls a listen before doing any other deep research.
I would be much more circumspect about using the Torchwood website, because it's not narrative, which is rule 1 of T:VS.
Oh, I'd also point out how very much we actually do know about series 1-2 timing because of Jack's appearance in series 3 of DW. So it's really important to understand the parameters of series 3, which is generally believed to be in 2008, thanks to a newspaper seen in Love & Monsters which establishes 2007 as the year of that story, the intervention of a Christmas with Donna, in which he refers to The Christmas Invasion as "last year", and the apparent springtime of Smith and Jones, Lazarus and The Sound of Drums. We also know that the distance between Smith and Jones and Last of the Time Lords is 4 days (as experienced by, say, Francine and Leo). I've heard May 2008 as a date bandied about, but I honestly don't have confirmation of that. Let's assume that's true, though. Certainly the whole of series 3 takes place across 4 days, so let's just say those 4 days are in May 2008. (Again, they certainly are in 2008.)
We also know that the end of series 1 of TW is in (May) 2008, because Jack hears the TARDIS groan from the Hub, and then runs topside to begin his adventure in Utopia. We know he returns to Torchwood Three immediately upon finishing that adventure in Last of the Time Lord (The Year That Never Was notwithstanding). Thus the distance between End of Days and Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang can be measured in hours. Series 2 of Torchwood thus occurs between (May) and August 2008. Why August? Because Lost Souls says it's been a few weeks since the funerals of Owen and Tosh, and Lost Souls is — and we need to investigate this bit — set in mid-September. The other definitive piece of dating for series 2 comes from SkyPoint, which says that Gwen's wedding was a month and a half after Martha's first contact with Torchwood Three.
Of course, there are many ways to skin this cat, as is proved by wikipedia:List of Doctor Who serials by settings. They have wildly divergent views from ours, largely because much of the RTD era is dated according to the non-narrative Gary Russell book, Doctor Who: The Encyclopedia, which we obviously can't use here. (Their sourcing policies are precisely opposite to ours. They need to source reference works, else they get called out for "original research". We, on the other hand, only work from observation of the stories. Plus, for reasons I've never understood, WP:DW actively discriminates against non-televised DW — but vigorously maintains there's no such thing as canon. I understand their prejudice against original research, but I've never understood why they feel the need to always say things like "the canonicity of spin-off material is uncertain".)
However, having said all of this, I think it's a mistake to put a year in an infobox unless the story actually, explicitly says it. This business of "the story must take place in January 2010 because this other story said that the preceding story took place 5 months before" is far too tenuous for my tastes. We'd be much better off, as a community, of reporting only what is stated in episodes and leaving the speculative timelining to Forum:Timey-wimey detector.
czechout@Wikia    16:56: Wed 14 Nov 2012
I listened to Lost Souls a while back. I don't think I heard a year specified in that story, certainly not a day and month.
I'm disputing that End of Days takes place in "May" however. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (which is undoubtedly within hours of Last of the Time Lords) shows that enough time has passed for the chain of command to have changed (IIRC Owen was second-in-command at the end of series 1, not Gwen) and the Hub to have a mild revamp. I may need to rewatch it, but I don't think the gang (and the Blowfish's) reaction to his reappearance was that he'd left Torchwood earlier that day. On top of that, episode 10 of series 1, Out of Time, explicitly takes place around December 17-24 thanks to details in both that episode and either Combat or Captain Jack Harkness. I don't think there's anything from Utopia's opening scene which establishes it as taking place over those four days any more than Blink's contemporary setting does so.
I think there's enough evidence however to put series 1 in 2007 (with Combat, Captain Jack Harkness and Exit Wounds in early 2008 due to what I said earlier) regardless of if we leave series 2 and Lost Souls' setting ambiguous and up to the Forum:Timey-wimey detector. -- Tybort (talk page) 17:49, November 14, 2012 (UTC)
If Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang happens within hours of LOTL, then it's difficult to see how you can argue against End of Days being in that same ball park. Jack goes straight from End of Days to Utopia (as in, the latter is seconds after the former). And Utopia is basically a day out from Last of the Time Lords. I think it may be possible to dispute the May-ness of this all, but I think it's hard to argue that the distance between End of Days to Kiss Kiss is more than a few days.
As I understand it — and bearing in mind that I don't actually care all that much about DW chronology — the standard argument goes something like this:
Smith and Jones references the pending election. The Lazarus Experiment indicates that Leo's birthday party in Smith was "last night". 42 says the election is tomorrow, but we've moved on a day from Lazarus. The Sound of Drums is in the immediate aftermath of the election, so is one day on from 42. The Sound of Drums itself takes place over the fourth day. At the end of Last of the Time Lords, The Year That Never Was gets reverted, leaving everyone back at day four, since time reverts only to the point that the US President is killed. Jack and Martha leave the Doctor on that day. So for Martha it's been four days since Judoon on the Moon. And Jack has to be on the same time frame as Martha, because they journeyed together. So End of Days takes place the same day as Utopia, which is set, for Francine, in the hours between 42 and The Sound of Drums.
czechout@Wikia    00:22: Thu 15 Nov 2012
I'd have to look closer at the references to the first trip from Cardiff to 100 trillion in the series 3 finale before I go any further, but another bit that seems to imply more than a few days have passed (from Torchwood's POV, not Jack's) was Rhys' proposal between series 1 and 2 of Torchwood. And yes, Jack goes back to Cardiff following the events of LOTTL, but it's well-established the time periods the Doctor drops off his companions at isn't always a few hours after leaving. But maybe I'm reaching out on that. -- Tybort (talk page) 01:17, November 15, 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, but we never see the Doctor drop anyone off at the end of LOTL. Presumably, the Jones family just disembarks from the Valiant when it lands, and that's that. Course, I guess if you really wanted to press the point, you could say — in a way that the visual evidence doesn't definitively prove — that Martha and the Doctor take Jack to Cardiff in the TARDIS, and they drop him off at a different time than when they return to Francine's home. But there's no shot of the TARDIS in the Cardiff scene, so for all we know, they took westward train from Paddington to get Jack back home. Still it is possible to imagine that the Cardiff scene takes place at a different time than the Martha-go-bye-bye scene.
These "what ifs" are exactly why timeline stuff does't belong in the infobox, and why there's now an entire forum dedicated to these issues.
czechout@Wikia    02:28: Thu 15 Nov 2012

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