a real world point of view
|Main character(s):||Jack, Gwen, Tosh, Owen, Ianto, Martha|
|Main enemy:||Aaron Copley|
|Main setting:||Cardiff, 2008|
|Premiere broadcast:||13 February 2008|
|Premiere network:||BBC Three|
|Adam||Dead Man Walking|
- You may be looking for the drug called Reset.
Reset was the sixth episode in the second series of Torchwood. It marked the return of Martha Jones to television after her departure from Doctor Who in Last of the Time Lords. It also marked the death of Owen Harper, starting a storyline that would feature prominently for the rest of the series.
Martha Jones arrives at Torchwood after reports of numerous deaths. A medical researcher has been injecting workers with Mayflies. The Mayflies cure all illnesses before killing the patient, and Martha Jones has got one...
A series of seemingly-professional murders in Cardiff prompt Jack to call in UNIT medical specialist Martha Jones for help. The Torchwood team are surprised and curious about Dr. Jones' relationship with Jack, as they still do not know much about his past. Martha informs him there have been similar murders throughout the UK. Owen and Jack flirt with her. Jack is more open and lighthearted when Martha arrives, dropping hints about their travels with the Doctor. When the two sit down for a brief catch-up, Jack tells Martha she should have contacted him if she was looking for work. Martha replies that she wasn't; UNIT rang her out of the blue, and said she was what they needed, having been recommended by an 'impeccable source'. Jack and Martha conclude it must have been the Doctor, as no one else knew about Martha's time-travelling experiences. Jack says thoughtfully that perhaps the Doctor thought he owed Martha a favour...they all did, which makes Martha thoughtful.
As the Torchwood team investigate the murders, they discover that one of the victims had been cured of diabetes and another of HIV. They trace the killings to a medical centre named the Pharm. One woman had been attacked but survived and is in a hospital. She has a seizure after admittance and fly-like creatures rise out of her mouth and try to enter Owen and Martha, but die first. Owen and Jack go to the Pharm and talk to the director, Professor Aaron Copley, but fail to gain access to any areas of the facility.
After searching for ways of infiltrating the Pharm, the team learn the facility recruits people for human trials. Jack concludes it is far too dangerous to send one of their own undercover, but Martha suggests that if a doctor with the appropriate knowledge went in there, it would be less dangerous. After a verbal protest from Jack and a silent one from Owen, Martha convinces Jack to let her go in undercover as she's 'been in worse situations'. Owen follows Jack and begs him not to let her go. Jack assures him he'd rely on Martha if the world was ending...and he has.
Ianto sets up Martha with her instructions and gear. A short conversation about his relationship with Jack ensues. Toshiko fits Martha with contact lenses that act as cameras, so the team can monitor her while she is inside. Martha goes undercover as Samantha Jones, a hepatitis sufferer, to investigate the centre's real purpose.
Back at the Hub, Tosh and Owen are keeping watch over Martha in the Pharm. Tosh remarks upon seeing Owen gazing at the picture of Martha's UNIT badge, about their quickly developing friendship and that Owen and she are a perfect match, both of them being doctors. She points out Martha's obvious beauty and shares a laugh with Owen, who tries to feign ignorance. Owen remarks that the flirting is harmless, seeing that Martha is only interested in work and that if he tried anything, "Jack would have his kneecaps". This seems to cheer Tosh up. Owen asks her about the pool tournament she was supposedly organising. Tosh says it was supposed to be a date. Owen looks abashed and asks Tosh if she is still interested. Tosh eagerly says yes. If they got to know each other outside of work, something could come of it, and Owen casually agrees to one date, which excites Toshiko immensely. He points out he wouldn't stop flirting with people just because of their situation and Tosh tells him that he can be 'King Of Flirts'. The conversation disintegrates and they change topic and watch over Martha again.
Inside the Pharm, Martha discovers the facility is responsible for the drug "Reset", which is what cured the previously incurable diseases. The problem with Reset is that it works by releasing alien parasites called Mayflies into the human bloodstream - the Mayfly larvae proceed to "reset" the human body, eliminating even incurable diseases like HIV. The downside to the drug is the Mayfly larvae eventually hatch and eat the person from the inside.
Trying to escape, Martha is attacked by an adult Mayfly. She is captured by the Pharm workers who strap her to an operating table. The medical director examines her and states that her white blood cells have mutated due to "travel in time and space'. He questions Martha about her alliance with Torchwood and her travels. All the while, Martha acts as if she doesn't know what they are talking about. He is curious to see how her immune system will react to Reset and injects her with it.
While Gwen and Ianto track down the Pharm-hired assassin carrying out the murders, arrest him and take him to the Hub, Jack and Owen find during questioning that he has a Mayfly in him as well. Jack needs the assassin alive so Owen tries to use the Singularity Scalpel to vaporise the Mayfly in his body. He screws up and the fly bursts out of the assassin's stomach instead. Toshiko concocts a program that will get them into the Pharm by controlling the car from the back while the dead assassin is strapped in the driver's seat.
Inside the Pharm, the team split up: Tosh, Gwen and Ianto are sent to find the 'research labs', while Owen and Jack find the Director and Martha. Tosh, Gwen and Ianto discover the 'labs' where alien life-forms are being held captive and tortured. By the time Jack and Owen reach Martha, the Reset drug has been injected and the Mayflies fight each other off until one remains inside. While Jack tells Prof. Copley that his team are shutting the Pharm down as a result of the damage they are doing, Owen tends to Martha, using the alien gun to extract the Mayfly from her body safely. The trio exit the Pharm before it reaches complete shut down and meet up with the other three by the vehicle they came in. Owen, who is supporting Martha as they walk, continues to flirt with her by suggesting she should spend a few days in bed, hopefully under his supervision. Martha says that she already has a boyfriend. Owen asks if he's ever saved her life like he just did. Martha replies that he has.
As the team get ready to leave and Owen is ushering Martha towards the car, Professor Copley returns and points a gun at Martha, telling Jack and the others that he wouldn't just stand by and watch them ruin his work and let them get away with it. Owen steps carefully in front of Martha and attempts to reason with the Professor, claiming they are both rational men and that he doesn't really want to shoot. Professor Copley shoots Owen in the chest and Owen falls to the pavement in extreme pain, unable to even scream. Whatever mercy Jack was going to give the Professor is lost with this unforgivable act. Copley then points his gun directly in Martha's path and voices his intent to end her next, but the precious moment he wastes on a threat gives Jack a chance to shoot the Professor in the head, killing him instantly. Martha, Jack and Toshiko run to Owen, who lies on the ground, bleeding. While Martha gets out medical supplies, Jack holds Owen's hand and assures him he'll be all right, while Toshiko becomes hysterical. Martha and Jack try to get him to focus. Martha attempts to treat Owen's wound by injecting a medicine near his heart. Toshiko looks over him as a look of peace comes over Owen's face. Martha says tearfully that he is dead. Jack quavers Owen's name in despair as he and his team are forced to realize that Owen Harper is gone, taken away from them by one mortifying stroke of death.
- Captain Jack Harkness - John Barrowman
- Martha Jones - Freema Agyeman
- Gwen Cooper - Eve Myles
- Owen Harper - Burn Gorman
- Toshiko Sato - Naoko Mori
- Ianto Jones - Gareth David-Lloyd
- Copley - Alan Dale
- Plummer - Jacqueline Boatswain
- Marie - Jan Anderson
- Billy - Rhrodi Miles
- Mike - Michael Sewell
- Policeman - John Samuel Worsley
Created by Russell T Davies
|Executive Producers Russell T Davies and Julie Gardner|
|General production staff|
Camera and lighting department
|Make-up and prosthetics
General post-production staff
Special and visual effects
|Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.|
- Jack claims to have met Christopher Isherwood (a case of him doing Doctor-style name-dropping).
- Martha and Owen are listening to "Feel Good Inc." by Gorillaz.
Story notes Edit
- This episode was the first of three to feature Martha Jones; during several of her scenes which reference events in the main show, the musical motif "Martha's Theme" from Doctor Who can be heard.
- At this episode's end, it appears that Owen Harper is dead, making him the second known Torchwood 3 fatality after Suzie Costello (discounting Jack's numerous deaths).
- This is the second episode of the season to focus on humans exploiting alien life forms for their own gain, following Meat. Other Doctor Who universe stories also explore on this theme. (TV: Planet of the Ood, The Beast Below, et. al.)
- The plotline of medical malpractice and treatment using an alien parasite is similar to PROSE: Slow Decay.
- When writing the initial outline of Series 2, Russell T Davies' original intention was that Ianto would die and be resurrected instead of Owen. This was changed only hours before production. (REF: The Writer's Tale)
- 849,000 viewers
Filming locations Edit
- Georgia Pacific GB Ltd - Tosh and Owen chase a weevil into a warehouse
- The District Miners Hospital - Martha and Owen visit Marie in hospital
- Heath Park - Gwen and Owen find a body in the woods
- Wyastone Estate - The Pharm
- BBC Studios
- The newspaper clipping with Margaret Blaine's photograph from TV: Boom Town can be seen on the door of the tourist information entrance to the Hub just before Martha shows her card to Ianto.
- The episode establishes that after leaving the Doctor in Last of the Time Lords, Martha very quickly completed her doctorate and was seconded to UNIT. Martha and Jack imply that they believe it was the Doctor ("an impeccable source") who recommended her to UNIT, although neither of them knows that for certain.
- Numerous vague references are made by Jack and Martha to the Tenth Doctor, as well as to the events of Utopia, The Sound of Drums and Last of the Time Lords (especially Martha's activities during the Year That Never Was, which are referenced when she lists the countries she has visited).
- Although no names are given, Jack asks after Martha's family, a reference to the year spent in captivity aboard the Valiant during the Year That Never Was.
- Martha shows physical traces of her time travelling in the TARDIS. The presence of temporal "background" energy in the body as a result of time travel has been referenced multiple times (TV: Dalek, Doomsday, Invasion of the Bane, et. al.)
- Martha uses the name Samantha while infiltrating the Pharm and she keeps the last name Jones, making her name Sam Jones, a (possibly unintentional) reference to the character of the same name.
- Martha mentions that she has a boyfriend who once saved her life, a reference to Thomas Milligan (who by the time of TV: The Sontaran Stratagem had become her fiancé).
- Jack tells Aaron Copley that he does not like politicians because he "recently had a bad experience with one" - a reference to Harold Saxon.
DVD releases Edit
- Reset, along with the rest of Torchwood Series 2, was released in a complete series box set in 2008.
- Detailed synopsis of Reset at the Doctor Who Reference Guide
- Reset at Shannon Sullivan's A Brief History of Time (Travel)
- Reset at The Locations Guide