Captain Jack Harkness
Roots: This story is basically exploring the concept of the rift. There are three songs sung in 1941. We can't work out what the first one is called, but the others are (There'll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover and A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square
Goofs: Why does nobody think it odd that a building which has been derelict for two decades and is about to be demolished has a caretaker with an office in the building?
In Everything Changes, Captain Jack Harkness is said to have failed to report for duty in January 1941. Here he is said to have been shot down the day after the 1941 scenes. [Either this is related to Jack falsifying records to give himself an identity in The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances - where Jack did go AWOL, or Jack's presence here changes history so that the real Harkness goes AWOL – which seems very out of character.]
Tosh thinks that pencil marks will fade over time. On the other hand, early polaroids would actually fade - but are not seen to do so here. Also, the stuff she's written in blood is both surprisingly neat and surprisingly red (rather than browned) when Gwen finds it decades later.
Why don't Jack and Tosh just send their message via the Torchwood of 1941? [Perhaps because Jack didn't remember coming across any record of such a message.] Also, why wasn't the message hidden in the junction box removed by one of the dozens of engineers who would have been in there over the decades?
A real all-clear siren would have sounded different to the normal air raid siren.
Continuity: The real Captain Jack Harkness is in the 133rd Squadron. He killed 26 in the Battle of Britain. He has been in Cardiff for a few weeks and has struck up a romance with a woman called Nancy. He dances with, and publicly kisses, "our" Jack.
When Jack realises he's just met the real Captain Jack Harkness he takes the name Captain James Harper. He claims to be from the 71st Squadron – which happens to be where the real Jack hopes to be posted next.
The Hub has a rift manipulator which can open the rift.
Owen tells Ianto that he is second in command.
Links: There are flashbacks and numerous references to Out of Time and Combat (Owen has been "off" recently). Owen mentions Lisa (Cyberwoman). Jack mentions The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances and his resurrection in The Parting of the Ways. We see the "life knife" (Everything Changes/They Keep Killing Suzie and ghost machine (Ghost Machine. There are Vote Saxon posters (The Sound of Drums).
Extras: This episode had an episode of Torchwood: Declassified.
Location: Cardiff, 20th January 1941 and shortly after Owen is back at Torchwood following the events of Combat.
Unrecorded Adventures: Jack says that he went to war as a boy, He persuaded his best friend to join up on the grounds that it was an adventure and he hadn't lived. The two were captured crossing enemy lines. His friend was tortured because he was weaker. The enemy made Jack watch his friend die, and then let him go. He describes the enemy as “the worst possible creatures you can imagine”.
Q.v. Mister Saxon, The Sound of Drums
The Bottom Line: Sick of us welsh already? And we're back to the workmanlike nature of the mid-season. This story works, but isn't exactly good. The conflict between Owen and Ianto feels somewhat forced, partly because Ianto has had so little screen time over the series.