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A Day in the Death

A Day in the Death was the eighth episode in the second series of Torchwood. The story mainly centered on Owen’s adjustment to “life after death”, following his murder in Reset. It also brought to a close the trilogy of stories featuring Martha Jones.


Owen Harper sits on a rooftop ledge, talking to a woman who is on the verge of committing suicide, whose name is later revealed as Maggie Hopley. He tells her about his recent ordeal with being dead and resurrected.

As his memories begin, we see Jack let him off, but he has to stay at the Hub so that Martha can run some tests on him. Martha has been assigned the position of Torchwood Three medical doctor. As he talks to her, he cuts his hand on a scalpel. Martha has to stitch it back together, saying that it will have to be stitched every week because of his inability to heal. The team has a meeting about a man they’ve been keeping an eye on named Henry Parker, who hasn’t left his house since the 1980s.

Later that day Owen is in his flat, where he decides to get rid of some things (food, shaving foam, etc.) since he no longer needs them. After he has finished clearing up, Toshiko comes round and begins talking to him. He does not really listen. After a few minutes Owen demands to know why Tosh has come and why she is still in love with him when he has nothing to give her. He yells at Toshiko that he is broken and breaks one of his fingers to prove it. Leaving Toshiko distraught and alone in his flat he runs outside and then to the Cardiff canal, where he jumps in and spends thirty-six minutes under water before giving up trying to drown himself. After realizing he has no breath and returning to the surface, he finds Jack watching.

The Torchwood team has another briefing and decide they want to obtain the alien device that Henry Parker has. Owen agrees to go get it, using his death to pass heat sensors and multiple guards. Owen comes to a room where there is a bed hidden by veils, in which Henry is lying. He tells Owen that he needs the device to live; Owen tells him that the device has no life-sustaining properties. Henry and Owen have a conversation about the nature of life and death, which convinces Henry to give up the machine. Almost immediately, he goes into cardiac arrest; Owen attempts to perform CPR on him, but has no breath since he’s dead, and Henry Parker dies. Later, the Torchwood team bid farewell to Martha as she leaves to return to UNIT.

Later that night, Owen sees Maggie on the top of a building, and goes up to the roof to talk to her, completing the flashback that started the episode. Owen finishes his story to Maggie. He talks her out of suicide by revealing that the Pulse is more than just a random artifact — it is a reply to humanity’s search for extraterrestrial life, proof that they are not alone.


Captain Jack Harkness
Gwen Cooper
Owen Harper
Toshiko Sato
Ianto Jones
Martha Jones