Recap / Torchwood S1 E5 "Small Worlds"
Were you expecting Tinkerbell? 'Cos she would sure be a sight for sore eyes right about now...

Gwen: Are we talking alien?
Jack: Worse.
Gwen: How come?
Jack: Because they're part of us. Part of our world, yet we know nothing about them. So we pretend to know what they look like. We see them as happy, we imagine they have tiny little wings and are bathed in moonlight.
Gwen: But they're not?
Jack: No. Think dangerous. Think something you can only half-see, like a glimpse, like something out of the corner of your eye. With a touch of myth, a touch of the spirit world, a touch of reality all jumbled together, old moments and memories that are frozen in amongst it. Like debris, spinning around a ring planet, tossing, turning, whirling... backwards and forwards through time.
Jack explains to Gwen how humans have painted a pretty picture about creatures that are nothing of the sort.

The Torchwood team finds itself against its first fantasy-based alien threat yet!... Faeries.

The episode opens with nice old lady Estelle finding a hidden grove and taking some snapshots of what very much appear to be faeries. It's only after she walks away does their true monstrous form become apparent, but only to the audience.

Cut to a young schoolgirl named Jasmine waiting after class. When her stepfather is late picking her up, she decides to walk and is rather conspicuously tailed by an unsavory character. His advances are derailed by the girl's little faerie friends. While he makes his escape, he finds himself continually tailed by these friends, and begins to cough up rose petals. He eventually turns himself in to the police, but to no avail, as he's later found dead inside his cell. Also, Jack is lying on his bed shirtless, thinking about his time in the war. Since he's previously established that he doesn't sleep, one has to assume it's a hobby.

Torchwood is called in on the unusual death. Jack recognizes the culprit and contacts Estelle. The two reminisce about Estelle's history with "Jack's father" and discuss her fascination with faeries and the photographing of them. Gwen dismisses the idea that real faeries could be involved. Jack is more concerned with the fact that Estelle seems to think they're benevolent. Jack's suspicions are confirmed when Estelle is later found dead drowned by a severely localized rainstorm. It is, of course, revealed that the one who loved Estelle all those years ago was Jack himself.

Meanwhile, Jasmine's mother and stepfather are continually concerned over her antisocial behavior and not having any friends, hobbies, or interests outside of playing in the garden with her imaginary friends. An altercation with school bullies causes a severe windstorm that Torchwood picks up on and gets Jasmine's name. Jasmine's stepfather, taking a heavy dose of "jerk", decides to fence up the garden that Jasmine plays in, and even slaps her around when she protests. Naturally, the faeries take umbrage at this and their attack begins just as Torchwood arrives on the scene. The stepfather is killed by the faeries and Jasmine escapes into the garden.

Jack explains that Jasmine is a "Chosen One" to the Faeries, a human child to be taken by them and made one of them. The Faeries are ancient creatures that have considerable power over time and reality. In Jack's past, his entire company of soldiers under his command was killed after accidentally killing a "Chosen One", and the Faeries promise much worse should Jasmine be denied to them. Jack allows Jasmine to be taken, claiming he had no choice in the matter.

Thus, the Faeries get off scot-free, three people are dead, one woman is now without a boyfriend and daughter, and everyone gives Jack a proper glare for doing, well... jack-all. Torchwood literally did nothing to influence the episode's events in any way. Oh, and there's a little bit at the end where Gwen expands one of the Cottingley Fairy photos and notes that Jasmine appears in it as a Faerie.


  • Adult Fear: Choose: Your daughter never laughing, not seeming to have anyone at school but talking about her 'friends' who can be anywhere, anytime, even in this room, right now, or losing her forever to a timeless, evil supernatural race so that she isn't even human anymore, or the paedophile in a car outside school?
  • Affably Evil: The Fair Folk, or at least the one that "speaks" through Jasmine, are remarkably polite and soft-spoken.
  • Asshole Victim: Mark Goodson, the paedophile. Roy the stepfather was a little ambivalent at first, but all bets are off once he smacks Jasmine and calls her a "little bitch".
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The Faeries get Jasmine, murder several people, and Torchwood can't do jack about it.
  • Blatant Lies: Jack finds a photo of "his dad". No one really buys this.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: The tenth Doctor's "I'm so sorry" is picked up by Jack at the end. No one seems to be buying it.
  • The Chosen One: Jasmine is directly referred to as this for the Faeries.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: The Faeries make you choke to death on rose petals. After torturing you for a while, it seems.
  • Creepy Child: The Fair Folk seem to have turned Jasmine into this.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Jack. Who else?
  • Decoy Antagonist: The creepy man in a car outside school in the first five minutes of the episode turns out to be nothing to do with the eventual supernatural threat.
  • Downer Ending: The Faeries get exactly what they want. Poor Lynn is out one boyfriend and one daughter, and everyone's pissed off with Jack.
  • Endless Winter: The Fair Folk threatened this if they didn't get the child they wanted.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: The Faeries implicitly threaten this if they don't get what they want.
  • The Fair Folk: The antagonist for this episode. Jack describes them as "part myth, part spirit world and part reality jumbled together, mixed with old moments and memories". The most interesting bit seems to be that they are, in fact, not alien. They've been living alongside humanity since the beginning.
  • For the Evulz: Jack claims this as the Faeries' motivation. Still, the only deaths we see are those protecting their Chosen One and a possible case of He Knows Too Much.
    • However, they can be reasoned with and appear to have a sense of morality (e.g. they did not attack Jack when his unit ran over a Chosen One, knowing that he had no part in the events). They do also reassure Jack that they will not harm Jasmine.
  • He Knows Too Much: Seems to be the only reason the Faeries killed Estelle, since she didn't present a direct threat against Jasmine.
    • Or because she was connected to Jack, whom they couldn't kill but could torment.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Essentially Jack's reasoning for giving up Jasmine to the Faeries.
  • Imaginary Friend: What Jasmine's mum and stepfather think the Faeries are.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: The first victim is a convicted paedophile and potential kidnapper. He kind of had it coming.
  • My Grandson Myself: Because Jack doesn't age anymore, he passes himself off as his own son.
  • Our Fairies Are Different: The whole premise of the episode. Jack spends most of the episode trying to convince everyone around him that this is the case, and it's the reason Estelle's Wrong Genre Savvy ends up getting her killed. Our fairies are... goblin-esque, vaguely demonic immortal time-benders who don't appear on any kind of surveillance equipment, weaponize weather and enjoy murder by flower petal. Fun.
  • Personal Raincloud: A tragically literal example. Estelle gets directly rained on and drowned by the Faeries while the weather all around her house is completely clear.
  • Pinball Protagonists: The faeries drive the plot. Torchwood don't manage to stop them, slow them down, or make much difference to events at all.
  • Poisonous Friend: The Faeries seem to be this for any one they take interest in.
  • Shaky P.O.V. Cam: Most of the Faerie attacks are of this nature.
  • Weather Dissonance: The Faeries can cause this and it's ultimately how Torchwood tracks them down.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: A lot of this is implied in Jack's reaction to the Faeries' last attack. They look on as Roy is killed and seem to be powerless to stop Jasmine's abduction.
    • While not said out loud, both Jasmine's mother and the team's expression simply imply this when Jack lets the Faeries have Jasmine.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Estelle thinks she is in a fairy story. Too bad she's in actually a gritty Darker and Edgier alien monster-fighting series which kills off an average of three random bystanders per episode.