It’s early 19th century Cardiff. A prostitute named Mary and an English officer go off into the woods for a little slap and tickle. With a newfound sense of propriety, the officer slaps Mary. She scratches his face in response and runs away, the officer giving chase. She runs toward a glowing light ahead. The officer catches up to her and pulls his pistol on her. She smiles. A shot is fired.
It’s present day Cardiff, the Torchwood team is at a building site which has turned into a bit of an archaeological dig. Inside a tent that has been erected, the team look over a rusty alien artifact next to a skeleton. Owen says the bones are that of a woman. Looking at the shattered ribs, he surmises that she was shot. Tosh believes that the body and artifact have been there almost two centuries. Gwen flirts with Owen; Tosh feels like an outcast seeing this.
They take the artifact and body back to the lab. Gwen and Owen are again flirting with each other, horsing around. They inadvertently knock the power to Tosh’s computer, Tosh goes into a fit because she was running an intricate program. Pissed at the two, Tosh goes to the local pub for a drink. Mary (the same Mary from the 1800s and not a day older than she once was) sidles up to Tosh and chats with her. She tells Tosh she knows all about her and Torchwood. When Tosh asks how she knows all this info, Mary tells her she’s a scavenger, one who collects alien objects.
Mary hands Tosh a pendant and tells her to put it on. She does and is suddenly bombarded by the thoughts of all the people in the pub. It’s almost unbearable. Mary tells Tosh to focus on her voice. Soon, the other voices subside. Tosh tells Mary she has to show it to the others at Torchwood. Mary’s pretty sure she won’t.
Tosh wears the pendant back to work. She's about to tell Owen and Gwen about it, but she starts to hear their thoughts – thoughts about their affair and what they really think of Tosh.
Upset, Tosh goes home to find Mary waiting for her. She hears Mary’s thoughts of her attraction to Tosh. She hesitates, but then Tosh gives in and grabs Mary to kiss her.
We later find Tosh in bed, feeling a little awkward at her new (?) lesbian status. Tosh asks Mary who she really is and Mary tells her she goes by another name – Philoctetes.
Tosh wears the pendant out in public, at Mary’s urging. Among the inane thoughts, she hears a man thinking about killing his ex-wife and son. Tosh follows him and is able to save the day by knocking the guy out with a golf club. She’s now a local hero.
Back at work, Tosh returns to find the rest making fun of Owen. Turns out his calculated guess that the skeleton was a woman was wrong. It belonged to a man and the supposed gunshot wound is actually some sort of trauma.
Tosh finds Jack in his office and asks him about Philoctetes. All he knows is that it is a character from Greek mythology who was exiled to the Isle of Lemnos. When he asks Tosh why she asks about such an odd thing, Tosh claims it came up in a pub quiz.
Tosh meets up with Mary, who is curious about the artifact the team found earlier. She says Jack is working on it and Mary accuses her of keeping info from her. Back at the Hub, Tosh tries to read Jack’s mind and comes up against a blank wall. Jack senses something but he says nothing.
At home, Mary reveals her true self – which is that of an alien. Mary tells Tosh that she was exiled from her world and the artifact they found is her transporter. Tosh wants to tell Torchwood and have them help her, but Mary refuses. Instead she tells Tosh to get her into Torchwood.
Owen does some Internet research and finds similar murders with smashed rib cages and hearts removed dating backs years and years. Jack has the artifact and Tosh tries to explain Mary’s presence. Jack tells her the artifact is a two-man transporter – for a prisoner and his guard. We see in flashback that the real Mary came across the alien in her attempt to escape from the English officer. The alien enters her body and has been killing to feed and preserve her human body ever since.
Trapped, Mary grabs a knife and puts it to Tosh’s throat. Mary offers Tosh in exchange for her ship and Jack agrees. She lets Tosh go and Jack puts the artifact down, activating it, absorbing Mary into it. He tells the team that he reprogrammed it so it would send the inhabitant to the center of the Sun, effectively killing her.
Jack sits with Tosh and asks her what she wants to do with the pendant. She crushes it under her heel and asks Jack why she was unable to hear his thoughts. Jack doesn’t know but he was able to feel her trying to find his thoughts. Tosh says it was like trying to read a dead man and Jack says nothing.
Do you think the writers read David Eddings? Ce’Nedra, the character in The Belgariad Series is given an amulet which allows her to hear the voices of people near and far.
I know Jack is a multi-universe character, but how did he know how to reprogram the artifact?
What did you think?