Season 2 Episode 5


Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Feb 13, 2008 on BBC Two
out of 10
User Rating
304 votes

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Episode Summary

Torchwood encounter an alien called Adam who can change memories. Things take a turn for the worse as Jack is haunted by memories of his brother, Gwen struggles to remember Rhys, Owen professes his love for Toshiko, Toshiko becomes convinced that she loved Adam, and Ianto believes that he killed three girls. But Jack has his suspicions, and with the help of Ianto, they work out that Adam isn't all that he seems.moreless

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  • Much needed change of pace

    On the last episode I noted that a lot of the characters were getting stale, and this episode perfectly subverted a downhill spiral. We know these characters well enough now that it was wonderful to see a what-if for them. I love hearing more about Jack because his character is so complex and his backstory seems to be well thought-out. It was also interesting to get some real insight into Rhys and Gwen's relationship, because I always thought it was a little off or lacking chemistry. What's this about Gwen loving Jack?!?! That might throw a wrench into things in the future! Hopefully this doesn't just end up as an interesting bump in a lack-luster season. Regardless I can say I was on the edge of my seat and I can't wait to see more.moreless
  • Davies needs new ideas...which, hopefully, dont envolve buffy the vampire slayer

    Adam is a good example of Alternate Reality, but one cant help but think that Russell T. Davies is running out of ideas...and fast in this weeks episode a young male was added into the group, changing relationships. This, to me is very much like an epsiode of Buffy the vampire slayer, 'Superstar' series 4 episode 17. Russell t. Davies is running out of ideas, he used James Marsters (Spike from Buffy) in Kiss, Kiss, Band,Bang. In epsiode Meat, he used Aliens as a cheap source of meat. Buffy the Vampir Slayer DoubleMeat Palace -Anya says about using Demon as a cheap source of meatmoreless
  • This episode epitomizes what I like best about Torchwood-the nuanced complexity of the characters. As Adam, an alien from the "Void" alters the memories of the Torchwood crew, we get to see parts of them that they have hidden even from themselves.moreless

    This episode epitomizes what I like best about Torchwood-the nuanced complexity of the characters. The world these characters inhabit is not the simple happily-ever-after world of Hollywood. It is a sometimes dark world inhabited by complex human beings in rich, complicated relationships. Each character in this episode faces their own dark side-the side of themselves they have hidden from the outside world. Jack is the most obvious example of this, having walled off horrific memories for 150 years. But the hiding of parts of ourselves goes even deeper than "forgetting" memories. We all tuck away parts of ourselves that we have "learned" from our early life experiences are unacceptable. Perhaps when Adam removed the memories of life events that led to the walling off of parts of themselves, those parts were free to come out and play. So Tosh displays her confident sexual side. Owen reverts to the geekiness he has worked so hard to cover up with bravado. I like that this episode allowed us to see these parts of the characters. They may have taken their amnesia pills "forgotten" those parts of themselves, but we, the viewers, will not forget. The writers have been criticized for playing with a Jack/Gwen love relationship. "Don't go there," some have pleaded. I don't think the writers have in mind a traditional plot turn here. Instead, Gwen is facing the complexity of human relationships in a way she was unable to before she met the Torchwood crew. I would imagine the character of Gwen had a rather simplistic, traditional view of love relationships. You meet the man of your dreams (or at least a close approximation) and you marry. This is your one true love for life. She is now grappling with the reality that there are different kinds of love in life. She loves Rhys. He is her life partner. At the same time, she loves Jack. But, the kind of love she feels for Jack is different-a deep, passionate connection that defies easy categorization. I enjoy watching Gwen learn and grow from her experiences with Torchwood. Her world view is being challenged. She is being stretched, and we can come along with her. While Jack, a man of the future, may not be completely comfortable with his feelings for Gwen (i.e. his jealousy of Rhys), he is more comfortable with the array of loves he has for people in his life. He loves Gwen and he loves Ianto. He does not even feel the need to confine his love relationships to one gender, as most 21st century people would.

    We continue to get little bits of information about Jack's past. I like that the process is slow-keeps the mystery intact. The information revealed in this episode helps us understand a bit more who Jack really is. All in all, I loved this episode.moreless
  • A stranger is in the midst of the Torchwood except they aren't finding anything out of the ordinary. This is an example of an interesting plot idea executed rather poorly.

    The previews for this episode had me really excited but I was left rather unsatisfied. Thank goodness Reset was there, right afterward, to counteract the Adam effect. This was a fine idea, in fact, I loved the idea. Someone infiltrates Torchwood and plays with their memories so they think he has always been there. Some of the plot directions, character 'developments', and character insights were just painful to watch at times and left the episode feeling poorly executed. Plotwise I had a number of issues. First one being how Adam was discovered. Ianto apparently has a diary and as amusing as that is, the fact that it saves the day is a little distressing. You'd think with all that Adam had been able to do he would have clued in on destroying all the evidence just a bit better. Adam knew of the diary and then just left it lying around? He also knew that they had CCTV and could obviously hack the computer system so his inability to delete CCTV footage is mindboggling.

    I also hated that one scene when they are in the boardroom trying to get rid of Adam by remembering things that make them who they are. Not only was that set-up odd and forced but some of the revelations were lackluster. I loved the insight on Owen's past with his mother. Loved it, that alone made me not completely hate this episode. What we found out about Tosh was rather obvious. She has always been smart and has never been able to have a real or healthy relationship. Ianto's personality is only formed by people he has sex with. Lisa was wonderful until she was cyberman-atised and afterward Ianto became a bit like a robot. Once he started shacking up with Jack - he got a sense of humour. Gwen is similarly defined by people she sleeps with and she loves Jack. Once again, nothing new. When Jack was going to each, giving them retcon, it felt just a little too awkward and forced not to mention cheesy (especially some of those one-liners).

    There were only two other things (after an already extensive list I realise) that truly annoyed me. Apparently baseball exists even in the 51st century. Considering almost all of the major sports we play now have only existed for the past 150 years (with a few exceptions) this seems highly improbable. Jack is from another time. It should have been more obvious from that flashback. It wasn't nearly as progressive as I thought it would be. There was such potential there and in the end it felt more like a jump back in our own time then a leap forward into the future. I wanted Jack to have like 3 parents or something like that or a part alien sibling. Instead he lives in a desert with the typical nuclear family. Finally, Owen's geekiness, while amusing, was a little cliched(i.e. glasses) though I do understand the need for the contrast with this episode and Reset for the Tosh/Owen dating-dance, which was a nice touch. The sum it up, great potential - poorly realised.moreless
  • a lien that lives off people's memories messes with the memories of the torchwood team.

    This was a pretty good episodes, we find out quite a bit about jack's past, that he was lived on a planet as a child which was attacked by an unknown alien enemy. and he lost his brother in the chaos. I felt a bit sorry for whys when he's fiancée, Gwen didn't remember him. we also see Owen confess his love for Tosh although by the end of the episode both their memories were wiped who it wasn't of much consequence, but we do know he ahs feelings for her now, So has jack really lost the memory for his family now in order to get rid of the alien. One of the better episodes so far this season.moreless
Bryan Dick

Bryan Dick


Guest Star

Demetri Goritsas

Demetri Goritsas

Jack's Father

Guest Star

Lauren Ward

Lauren Ward

Jack's Mother

Guest Star

Kai Owen

Kai Owen

Rhys Williams

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • Like many Torchwood episodes, the plot of "Adam" bears a striking resemblance to an episode taken from Joss Whedon's Buffyverse (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel). In this case, it is from the Buffy episode "Superstar", in which a character alters the reality and memories of those around him to insert himself into their lives. Like in this episode, doing this leads to fundamental changes in the characters personalities.

    • The song playing when Adam and Tosh are together at her apartment and he asks her if she would die for him is "Christiansands" by Tricky.

  • QUOTES (12)

    • Tosh: What's that.
      Owen: It's a screen cleaner. I thought you might like it. Do you like it?
      Tosh: Just what I need. A small rodent looking at me as I work. Think I'll call it Owen.

    • Ianto: I'll have a look in the diary. I like to log the interesting stuff.
      Tosh: You write about artefacts in your diary?
      Ianto: Among other things.

    • Gwen: I love him. But not in the way I love you.
      Jack: Take this.
      Tosh: Knowing there has to be more to life than this. Knowing I'm special. Waiting for someone to see it.
      Jack: I saw it.
      Owen: You save one life, 100 lives, but it's never enough. Who'll save me?
      Jack: I will.
      Ianto: Coming here, it gave me meaning again. You. (Jack kisses him)

    • Jack: Found your diary.
      Ianto: Yep, been looking for that.
      Jack: And for the record, measuring tapes never lie.

    • (Ianto is sitting on a couch in the hub frantic flicking though his diary, a confused look on his face. Adam appears next to him.)
      Adam: What's wrong?
      (Ianto jumps up in shock.)
      Ianto: My diary. You're not in it. Everybody else is. Why would I leave you out when you've been here so long? Like I'm remembering a man who doesn't exist.
      (Adam's hand phases in and out.)
      Ianto: What are you?
      (Adam pushes Ianto into a wall.)
      Adam: Cross me and I will fill you full of fake memories until your head is on fire, because that's how I exist.
      Ianto: Gwen? What did you do to her?
      Adam: Memory's a very delicate thing. Feeding myself in, wiped other memories out. It's a side effect of what I have to do in order to survive.
      Ianto: Jack has to know.
      Adam: (Feeding Ianto memories of him killing woman) Remember this! I know you didn't mean to kill her, you just couldn't stop yourself. Remember this.
      Ianto: I didn't do that.
      Adam: Oh yes you did. And she wasn't the first. Good old Ianto, loyal Ianto. Roaming the streets at night for bait.
      Ianto: My diary.
      Adam: All human record is a lie. You twist it into what you want to believe. But we know the rot in your heart. You crave flesh.
      Ianto: No! Please!
      Adam: Remember it! Remember it! Remember it! Remember it! Remember it! I helped you dump the bodies. It's me you call. You know, I forgot what a rush it is feeding in the bad stuff.
      (Adam walks out leaving Ianto rocking back and forth crying)

    • Captain Jack: (To the team) Our memories define us, Adam changed those memories, he changed who we are. Now I have to help you all go back. Find a memory that defines you, rediscover who you are. If I'm wrong, he'll still be here when we've done this.
      (Turns screen off)
      Let me take you back to before we all met.
      (Dims lights)
      Feel around for anything that makes you what you are. The hidden and the forgotten. Tell me where you are.

    • Owen: Because I love you.
      Toshiko: What?
      Owen: Oh yeah, there we are, I've said it. I love you! Yes, I always have, actually, ever since we started working together and, in fact, um, actually, I ache for you. Physically, when you're in the room, I just want to reach out and touch you...
      Toshiko: Owen.
      Owen: No, no, I can't keep the secret any more. My mum said to me "Seize the day", so I am seizing it and, you know, I've got so much love to give you, Tosh, and you know, you won't know that unless I tell you. So here I am, telling you that I love you!

    • Toshiko: Just what I need – a small rodent staring at me while I'm working. I think I'll call him Owen.

    • Jack: (Holds up Ianto's diary) I found your diary.
      Ianto: Yeah, I've been looking for that.
      (Jack hands Ianto his diary)
      Jack: And for the record, measuring tapes never lie.

    • Adam: (To Ianto) You know, I forgot what a rush it is feeding in the bad stuff.

    • Adam: It's not your fault.
      Captain Jack: (Regarding Grey disappearing) I let go of his hand. It was the worst day of my life. That's the last thing I'd want to remember.

    • Adam: A year ago.
      Toshiko: First kiss.
      Adam: You remembered?

  • NOTES (2)

    • International air dates:
      United States: February 23, 2008
      Sweden: August 3, 2008 on TV4+
      Canada: August 29, 2008

    • The Torchwood introduction that opens every episode explaining the premise, has two scenes within it altered to appear to insert Adam into the continuity of the series. Though actor Bryan Dick does not appear in the opening credits, only the Torchwood regulars are credited.