LadyGhosts of TV Past

Retro Recap: Torchwood, Episode 2.09 “Something Borrowed”

So, after the angst, heartbreak and heavy themes of the last three episodes, the series does a complete 180 and delivers an episode that can only be described as silly. As the title suggests, it deal with a wedding: Gwen and Rhys’, to be exact. Though it’s rather a jarring about face after the story arc of Owen’s death and life after death, it’s nice to have some levity every once and awhile in the series. What’s also great about this episode is it contains my all-time favorite line in the entire series (uttered by my favorite Ianto of course). Onwards!

We get a brief flashback of the season opener of Gwen telling Jack about her engagement to Rhys, before the scene changes to a club in Cardiff on a Friday night. Two women are dancing as part of a bachelorette party and waiting for the bride-to-be to arrive. Normally, this is the set-up for someone to have a nasty encounter with an extraterrestrial, but turns out, it’s Gwen’s bachelorette. She’s late because she got hung up at work; work involving chasing an alien that eats people through the streets of Cardiff. She follows him into a subway bathroom where the guy gets red-eyed and sharp-toothed. He’s a shape-shifter, but she and Jack can follow the trail of black blood. She gets to a park where she’s jumped by the alien, who manages to bite her arm before Jack guns the creature down.

The wedding day dawns and everything seems to be rosy, until Gwen throws back the covers and discovers she’s pregnant. Very pregnant; like can’t fit into her wedding dress pregnant. Owen confirms the obvious, she’s pregnant by exo-biological insemination. As Jack explains, some creatures impregnate by bite. Basically immaculate conception (aka, all of the work, none of the fun of getting knocked up). Owen says she’ll be fine, he’ll get the egg out and she just needs to be off her feet for a couple of days. Gwen has other ideas, she is getting married today, alien baby or not. Since Owen believes she’s in no danger, he gives her the go ahead and Gwen makes a very awkward call to Rhys. He shows up in a panic only to find Gwen with a very big belly.

Ianto picking out a wedding dress, holding it up to look in the mirror
Gotta love a man with excellent tastes in wedding attire.

Back at the hub, Jack orders Owen to perform an autopsy on the alien, just to make sure the baby won’t burst out Alien-style and eat the wedding guests. Tosh is to look after Gwen and Ianto is sent to find a “bigger” wedding dress and the salesperson assuming Ianto is buying for himself. Rhys is blaming Torchwood and specifically Jack for this whole mess. Rhys assumes that they’re going to postpone the wedding, but Gwen insists on going ahead with the wedding. It’s not about the wedding, she tells him crying, she simply wants to marry him. Today.

Owen’s about to perform the autopsy when Tosh arrives to the lab, looking gorgeous and encourages Owen to come to the wedding, but it’s NOT A DATE! In more awkwardness, Gwen and Rhys decide to pull the, “surprise, I’ve been pregnant for months,” con on Gwen’s parents. They seem happy that they’ll be grandparents sooner than they thought (and it’s cute that Gwen’s father calls her duckling). They get Gwen to the wedding site, Rhys’ parents show up and there’s the standard catty mother exchange. Gwen meanwhile, finds Rhys and is beginning to have second thoughts about their plan. Her parents think they’re getting a grandbaby and telling them the truth isn’t an option. Jack chooses that time to call, wherein Rhys tells him to piss off.

Gwen’s mates arrive, along with the Melvyn, the sound guy. We get introduced to Bananas, the best man and stereotypical doofus Welshman, who tries to hit on Tosh, who’s just arrived with the new wedding dress. She’s having none of it; making a couple clever quips about his nickname and making a hasty exit. Bananas joins Melvyn at the bar where Melvyn starts badly hitting on a woman sitting alone. Tosh brings Gwen the dress and they have a brief heart to heart wherein Tosh admits her jealousy of Gwen getting married and Gwen assuming Tosh and Owen will one day get married. It’s a little hard though with the whole “Till death do you part” bit when one of you is already dead.

A very pregnant Gwen in her new wedding dress looks at herself in a full-length mirror
This would be awesome if she wasn’t carrying a demon alien spawn.

Ianto’s showing Jack a picture of the dress he picked out and there is cute innuendo about Ianto’s genetic gifts of sizing men up when Owen comes in with bad news. Turns out, the alien is a Nostrovite and that spells trouble. At the hotel, Melvyn is pinning a corsage to sexy lady’s dress when he accidentally stabs her. Instead of being pissed, she suggests the two of them, “get a bite” and they leave. Tosh goes to the bar and notices there is black blood on the napkin the woman left behind. The pair are in Melvyn’s room, about to get it on and Tosh is searching for them when she runs into Bananas. He is like every lad I’ve ever met and won’t take fucking no for an answer. Tosh is fed up and slams him against a wall and tells him to lay off. The woman has work to do, mate. As she’s dealing with Bananas, sexy lady starts eating Melvyn alive, literally. Tosh follows the screams and finds the shape-shifter reapplying her lipstick with Melvyn on the floor. Tosh has her at gunpoint when Bananas interrupts and scary lady grabs him for a snack later.

Jack is explaining to Owen and Ianto that a Nostrovite is a shape-shifting carnivore that really likes human flesh. They killed a male, but Nostrovites mate for life. The male implants an egg in a host through a bite; the female finds the host and rips the baby out, literally. Apparently childbirth is messy for all species. Gwen is now a host and the female Nostrovite is tracking her. Gwen’s wandering around the hotel when she passes the female on the stairs and feels the “baby” kick. Mama Nostrovite is very pleased with this. Jack and Ianto are heading to the wedding with Owen insisting on coming along with the Singularity Scalpel. Jack’s reluctant (don’t blame him) but Owen insists he’s had practice.

Gwen’s bridesmaids figure they must have been really drunk last night to not realize Gwen was preggers and Gwen is having a guilt attack over her alien pregnancy. She breaks down to her dad and admits the baby isn’t Rhys’ child. Her dad thinks she’s involved with another man, but Gwen tells him everything about Torchwood. Her dad takes it in stride. Rhys is getting grief from his dad and they can’t find Bananas. He’s actually stuck inside a kind of black web with Tosh whose not amused with being stuck with a guy who has consent issues. He starts screaming for help and Tosh shuts him up by threatening his most prized “asset.”

Tosh and Bananas in black web
Tosh is unfortunately stuck, literally, with a guy who thinks he’s God’s gift to women. We’ve all been there, metaphorically at least.

Gwen is walking down the aisle, shocking everyone, including future mom-in-law with her pregnancy with alien mama looking on. Jack bursts into the wedding hall just as the officiant gets to the part about objections and such. Rhys is understandably pissed, but Jack has to stop the wedding for Gwen’s safety. Owen and Ianto find and free Tosh and Jack gives Gwen and Rhys the rundown of what’s going on. Wedding guests are speculating about Gwen’s relationship with Jack and Gwen is still insisting on going through with the wedding. Rhys is the only one who has stood by her side, she tells Jack, and Jack looks like his heart is breaking a bit when they hear a scream. One of the bridesmaids, Megan, has found Melvyn’s body and she races out of the room. Jack sends Ianto after her as Tosh tells them she knows the Nostrovite’s current form. Megan runs screaming into the hall, interrupting the mother’s bickering, telling them there’s been a murder. Ianto jams the phone lines so no one can call out and Jack tells Gwen that Owen needs to operate with Rhys insisting he stay with her.

Tosh and Jack find the Nostrovite in the wedding hall, but she jumps out a window and escapes before they can kill her. Gwen’s less than impressed with Owen’s plan to use the scalpel. Rhys’ mom Brenda barges in, freaking out about everything and Owen leaves to call Jack, informing him that Brenda is with the couple. Except there’s another Brenda outside. They assume the fake Brenda is with Gwen and Jack bursts into the suite and threatens her, but Gwen reassures him it’s the real Brenda cause she’s wearing her awful perfume. Rhys decks Jack for calling his mom names before they all race outside. The shape-shifter turns and holds Gwen’s mom hostage. Before she can do anything, Gwen shoots her from behind her bouquet (bad ass) and the alien takes off.

Shapeshifter as Rhys' mom with very sharp nasty teeth
Pretty sure this is how many of us secretly picture our mother-in-laws.

They need to get the alien spawn out of Gwen now, but Owen needs Rhys’ help. His hands aren’t as good anymore and Rhys will have to work the scalpel. Jack enters the suite and Gwen’s having a meltdown. She says she’d be married long ago if she hadn’t met Jack. Gwen seems close to admitting she has feelings for Jack and they almost kiss when Jack is revealed to be the Nostrovite. Gwen head butts the alien when Rhys and Owen bust in. The couple flee while Owen puts several bullets in the creature. (Barrowman’s dramatic turn in this moment deserves an Emmy.) After a moment, however; it gets back up and goes to make a meal out of Owen. Owen offers his neck, saying it’s doing him a favor, but the creature seems to sense Owen’s dead status and apparently likes its meat fresh and takes off after the pair.

Rhys wielding a chainsaw
I agree with Jack, the “Evil Dead” look is good on Rhys.

When the real Jack and co. find Owen, he informs them that bullets won’t stop the mother now that it’s close to birthing time. Jack quips they just need a bigger gun and heads to the SUV. Gwen and Rhys have fled to a barn while Gwen’s experiencing contractions. Rhys bolts the door, but the alien is trying to break it down. Rhys has the Singularity Scalpel and attempts to use it, but his first try blows up a crate. Gwen trusts Rhys and tells him that she really, really loves him. Rhys tries again and after a brief second where he thinks he killed her, they find the alien spawn gone and Gwen back to normal. The Nostrovite busts in at that moment, seriously pissed off. Rhys goes all Evil Dead on the bitch and grabs a chainsaw. It’s kick-ass until the chainsaw dies and the alien’s about to eat Gwen. That is until it’s blasted in half by Jack, who’s got a really big gun. Jack picks up Gwen, like she’s his bride, but hands her over to Rhys.

Rhys and Gwen at the altar, smiling
Married at last.

They proceed with the ceremony, alien guts and all and the reception seems like a great party. Ianto’s playing DJ, Owen asks Tosh to dance and Jack and Gwen take a spin around the dance floor. It’s a bit melancholy and despite the fact that Gwen really does love Rhys, I think there’s a part of her that will always love Jack. Ianto chooses that moment to cut in, though it takes a moment for Jack and Gwen to acknowledge his presence. The big issue of how they’re going to keep a lid on the whole alien thing is solved by Jack using level six retcon on everyone. Jack offers it to the newlyweds, but Gwen wants no more secrets between her and Rhys. They bid everyone goodbye and leave for the honeymoon while the rest of the team are left to clean-up. Ianto’s quip about doing the mopping up is probably my favorite in the whole series:

Ianto: That’s what I love about Torchwood. By day, chasing the scum of the universe; come midnight, you’re the wedding fairy.

The episode ends the next morning with Jack blowing confetti and looking over his own wedding album from years and years ago. Seems Jack has more experience with matrimony than he’s let on.

By Stephens

Florida girl, would-be world traveler and semi-permanent expat. Her main strategy of life is to throw out the nets and hope something useful comes back, but many times it's just an old shoe. She also really, really hates winter and people who are consistently late.

4 replies on “Retro Recap: Torchwood, Episode 2.09 “Something Borrowed””

I never like Gwen all that much, and in this episode she really bugged me. People want her to postpone the wedding, but no, it has to be TODAY even if her sudden huge pregnancy embarrasses Rhys and freaks out her guests. And because she doesn’t have any damn sense, she winds up putting people in danger.

And I don’t care about her feelings for Jack. Jack is for Ianto!

I remembered that line of Ianto’s right away!

I go back and forth in my opinion of Gwen and yeah, it would have made much more sense for her to postpone the wedding and everything. And yeah, at the end of the day, Jack/Ianto are my favorite ever.

Then again, without the wedding, we wouldn’t have had Ianto delivering that line. :)

It kind of felt like the writers had a cool idea to have the wedding be chaotic and alien-infested and who doesn’t love a good monster mother-in-law joke, and so they had to make Gwen be irrational about the whole thing. It took her forever to figure out that the parents would be expecting a grandbaby from the whole affair, when that was pretty much my first thought. And then she finally got her wedding and no one will remember a damn bit of it and she’ll have no pictures or anything. It was totally illogical, but I still liked the episode.

Also, I loved their explanation of how Ianto picked the right size dress. And demon Jack is still somehow sexy. Barrowman is magic.

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