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Recap / Torchwood S 2 E 5 Adam

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Jack: Adam, I know how much you love audits. It's gotta be done. If you could...
Adam: Go through the reports, find out when they came through the rift.
Jack: OK with that?
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The team has an uneventful day as Gwen, Ianto, Jack, Owen, Toshiko, and Adam pass their time in the Hub.

Wait, who's Adam?

There's a new guy in the opening sequence, and his name is Adam. This handsome villain's main power is to make everyone around him Remember the New Guy?. He can also change their personalities, and turns Torchwood into a self-insert fanfic: Jack becomes his new best friend, Toshiko his sexy, snarky girlfriend, and Owen becomes a nervous, mousey office dork with a crush on Tosh. (Ianto just sort of hangs back.) Gwen arrives for work, sees the stranger, and asks, "Who the hell is this?" But then Adam touches her and feeds himself into her memories, covering the remark by making it an in-joke about what Adam said on Gwen's first day.

By implanting new memories, Adam sometimes also buries old ones as a side-effect, and Gwen forgets ever having met Rhys. This instantly backfires on Adam, because, you know, Gwen lives with Rhys. The team quickly figure out that something's very wrong when Gwen calls to say there's a half-naked burglar in her house and they arrive to find her holding her fiancé at gunpoint. Gwen thinks Rhys is a crazy stalker who's put up fake photos of them together. Rhys accuses Jack of retconning Gwen because he wants her all to himself, and Jack promises to find out what's going on.

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Adam convinces Jack to share his deepest trauma after making him remember that Adam is his Confidant. It turns out that Jack has one memory deliberately hidden away: that of accidentally losing track of his little brother Gray during an air raid on his planet by "the worst possible creatures you can imagine". His memories of his home, the coast of the Boeshane Peninsula, are too painful for him.

While Gwen tries to fall in love with Rhys all over again and re-trigger her memories of him (and happily succeeds!), Ianto reads through his Torchwood diary and realizes Adam isn't in it. Also, his blood sample isn't in the Hub database. Adam knows that he's been rumbled, so he undoes Ianto's recollection of the discovery and tries to eliminate him as a threat by filling his memories with gruesome murders (and kisses him, because that's just how things are in Torchwood), so Ianto becomes convinced that he's an insane Serial Killer and confesses to Jack. Jack, of course, doesn't believe that his boyfriend would suddenly go insane, and he completely thwarts Adam's plans by...

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... wait for it...

... just checking the security cameras and seeing him do it to Ianto. Seriously. Least prepared villain ever.

Adam's locked in the vault while Tosh has a breakdown over losing her boyfriend like that. Jack holds an improvised hynotherapy session to make everyone remember their true selves. Tosh's true self likes maths and didn't have a flat-warming because there was no one to invite. Owen's true self had a cold, distant mom. Ianto's true self just wants to be loved by his co-workers. Gwen's true self loves Rhys... but not in the way she loves Jack. With that out of the way, they all take amnesia pills and fall asleep and the files and footage from the past two days are purged so that Adam will be erased.

Jack confronts Adam in the cells. Adam admits that he's a being who escaped from the Void and exists by inserting himself into others' memories, and that he was drawn to Torchwood because they had the most interesting memories. He argues that he didn't harm the Torchwood gang: he made them better, he claims, echoing every fanfiction writer out there. He gets Jack's permission to help him recall more about Gray, but infiltrates the happy memories of their childhood on the coast of the Boeshane Peninsula so that they include child!Adam. To erase Adam, Jack will have to lose the memories of Gray as well. Jack decides that it's worth it and swallows his amnesia pill and loses consciousness, erasing Adam from existence.

The next day, no one remembers a thing, although they're a bit miffed at having lost two whole days somehow. Jack manages to open a box that the crew had been fiddling around with for a while, and it contains... sand, presumably from Jack's home.

Examples

  • Abusive Parents: Owen's mum is apparently a huge bitch:
    Owen: It's my birthday. I'm ten. Mum spends the whole day screaming. “I love you because you're my son, but that doesn't mean I have to like you." I turn 16. She packs my bags. That is the nicest thing you've done for me in years, Mother.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Jack's past is shown. He lost his dad in an unseen alien attack on his homeworld where they enacted a massacre, and his brother Gray was captured because Jack accidentally let go of his hand while they were running from them.
  • Backstory Invader: Nice to see you Adam. How are you?
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Adam inserted himself not only in the team's memories, but in the opening montage sequence as well.
  • Canon Sue: An Invoked Trope. Adam writes himself into the Torchwood Three team's memories and computer files as one. This backfires on him when Jack realizes he has zero emotional attachment to Adam despite the memories and Ianto has no records of him in his handwritten personal diary.
  • Continuity Nod: Adam escaped from the Void, presumably the same one between universes from "Army of Ghosts"/"Doomsday".
  • The Dreaded: The only description Jack gives of the aliens who attacked the Boeshane Peninsula is "the worst possible creatures you can imagine".
  • Evil Feels Good: Adam tells Ianto that he'd forgotten what a rush implanting memories of bad things was. Under his influence, Ianto also tells Jack that murdering those people had felt "so good". Fortunately, no one was actually murdered since these were just Fake Memories.
  • Fake Memories: Which can accidentally cause a few real memories to be buried as a side-effect, as with Gwen's memories of Rhys.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Tosh, as reinterpreted by Adam, is more self-possessed, brasher, and dresses less conservatively.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Adam looks human but can only exist by feeding himself into people's memories, otherwise he fades out of reality.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Jack uses this on everyone (himself included). Adam can only survive by putting memories of himself in other people, so he has everyone take amnesia pills to erase the guy from everyone's memories.
  • Mind Rape: Adam does this to Ianto by implanting a false memory of him killing three women. He even kisses him on the lips afterwards, remarking what a rush implanting "the bad stuff" gives him!
  • Missing Time: By the end of the episode the team realizes they've lost two days and there is no record of them, which is necessary because otherwise they would remember Adam, who survives by people remembering him.
  • Rape as Drama: Although she was brainwashed into thinking she and Adam were in a consensual relationship at the time, this is basically what happens to Toshiko during their Sex Scene.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: While Adam can insert himself into the team's memories and write a profile for himself in the computer (the team's memories gave him the access codes), he has no physical presence from before he arrived. Ianto realizes something is amiss when he sees Adam is completely absent in the paperwork and the private diary he writes by hand, and Jack finally sees through the façade when he sees Adam Mind Rape Ianto in the security tapes.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Owen, as reinterpreted by Adam, is a much nicer, meeker, dorkier guy.
  • Undying Loyalty: Jack absolutely refuses to believe Ianto's confession about being a Serial Killer, even after Ianto passes a polygraph test, and doesn't stop digging until he uncovers the truth about Adam.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Adam almost eliminates this between Jack and Gwen, with Gwen behaving in a way that's much more openly flirtatious towards Jack now that she doesn't remember Rhys. This provides the first clue to Jack something is seriously wrong.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: While by the end of the episode, Gwen doesn't remember forgetting Rhys and freaking out, Rhys himself never took an amnesia pill and presumably still remembers the incident, as well as briefly seeing Adam in their apartment with the rest of the Torchwood team.
  • Whole Plot Reference: To the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Superstar", which also dealt with a Reality Warper mysteriously inserted into the opening credits of the episode, doing all sorts of badass things like he's been an integral part of the show all along.

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