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Tear Jerker / Torchwood: Children of Earth

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  • The moment when Jack realizes the consequences of the 456's response to his ultimatium and blurts, "Then I take it back, all right? I take it all back, but not him!"
    Ianto: Don't forget me.
    Jack: Never could.
    Ianto: In a thousand years time, you won't remember me.
    Jack: Yes I will. I promise, I will.
    Ianto's eyes close
    Jack: Ianto? Ianto? Don't leave me, please. Please.
    • What makes it even more tragic is that Jack has the ability to revive the recently deceased. We've seen him do it before — on Ianto. But this time, as he leans down to try to breathe life into Ianto's body, he's already dying himself and just doesn't have the energy, and collapses. God.
    • And in three seasons of Torchwood and several of Doctor Who, after being buried alive, tortured by the Master for a year, having the little brother he lost return only to cause destruction and the deaths of two of his friends, this is the only time we've ever seen Jack beg — to not lose Ianto. Sniff.
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    • Then there's the moment when Gwen pulls down the sheet covering Ianto's body and adjusts his tie, just slightly. Apparently this was the moment which set the cast members off, too.
  • The realization that Jack was once partially responsible for the sacrifice of twelve innocent children.
  • Gwen's monologue at the top of Day Five broaches a question most viewers would have by this point — where is The Doctor during this unfolding, planet-spanning, catastrophe? She has an explanation:
    All those times in history where there was no sign of him...I wanted to know why not. But I don't need to ask anymore. I know the answer now: Sometimes the Doctor must look at this planet and turn away in shame.
  • The entire sequence depicting John Frobisher's fate. After realizing that his daughters will be handed over to the 456, by order of the corrupt government he served so faithfully, he returns home and kills his family with a handgun before turning it on himself. The sequence is intercut with Bridget Spears's monologue begging Torchwood to remember him as "a good man" who should not be the scapegoat for what's happened, it's horrifying and heartbreaking. Made even worse in retrospect by the fact that the 456 are stopped, so Frobisher kills them all for nothing...
    • This is also extremely poignant in hindsight because of a meta twist regarding Peter Capaldi's other roles in the Whoniverse. Word of God confirms Frobisher to be the identical-looking descendant of a man the Tenth Doctor saved in Pompeii centuries before. The bloodline ending with Frobisher's Pater Familicide was Time compensating for "meddling". But upon a later regeneration, the Doctor subconsciously chose a face that would remind him of his vow to protect and save whomever he can, however he can, even if the fates object. This is why the Twelfth Doctor — a man who frequently doubts his own goodness — has the same face as Frobisher.
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  • The climax: Jack destroys the 456 by killing his own grandson in front of his screaming daughter. And he makes himself watch..
  • The end: absolutely heartbroken, Jack leaves Earth, ostensibly forever.
  • The scene where the government discuss which children to give to the 456.
  • The scenes with Ianto's sister and the children, and when Gwen and Rhys are trying to escape with them.
  • Any scene where civilians fight the soldiers—when the soldiers start taking the children from their homes, when Steven is taken from Alice, when the neighborhood men, led by Ianto's brother-in-law, storm the riot police with rocks and clubs, when PC Andy takes off his vest and jumps into the fray. The series gets darker and sadder with each episode, but the final half-hour of episode 5 is surely some of the most heartwrenching TV every produced.
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  • Every single scene where Gwen was involved in anything remotely emotional, especially when she implies that she's going to get an abortion.
    Rhys: You're not gettin' rid of it!
    Gwen: Is that right?
  • "You are in every nightmare I've ever had."