From Out of the Rain
From Out of the Rain was the tenth episode in the second series of Torchwood. It was Julian Bleach’s first appearance within the Doctor Who mythos, portraying the primary villain, a man known as the Ghostmaker. He would go on to appear in the main series and its other spin-off, the Sarah Jane Adventures. The episode was relatively less violent compared to the graphic nature of Torchwood Three’s operations, in favor of a dark and foreboding atmosphere cast by the villains of the serial, who would suddenly appear in the cover of stormy, shadowy nights, similar to the wanton attacks of Jack the Ripper.
Local Cardiff residents transform an old cinema, the “Electro”, into a local history museum airing old celluloid movies as part of its exhibits. The volunteer management discovers that a black-and-white film of a travelling company seems to take on a life of its own, restarting itself in the film projector and preventing the projector from being turned off for a period of time. Unknown to them two figures from the film, the troupe’s leader and its “Mermaid Woman”, step out of the projection screen and become real, disappearing into the streets of Cardiff. On the same night Ianto, who has convinced Gwen and Owen to join him for the evening at the museum, claims to see Jack in the footage. As the team review the film back at the Hub, Ianto notices the absence of the two characters, and the team recognizes Jack. Jack admits that he was once part of such as show as the “man who could not die”. and describes one troupe, known as the “Night Travelers”, who would perform only at night, appearing by “coming out of the rain” and disappearing as mysteriously but usually resulting in some of the local residents going missing.
Meanwhile, the troupe’s leader, known as the Ghostmaker, and the Mermaid Woman prey on innocent victims, drawing their “last breath” into a silver flask and leaving them with no saliva or tears, and close to death in a near vegetative state. Torchwood investigate and discover multiple stories and old superstitions relating to the Night Travelers, but a chance mention to a hospital nurse leads them to a still living eyewitness — an old woman in a nursing home. She explains to the team how her family was taken from her by the Night Travelers, and relates an old nursery tale that children should hold their breath as the travelling show came into town to prevent themselves from being taken.
As the team investigates, the Ghostmaker decides to release more of his companions from the film to regain their audience and begin travelling again like the old days. Jack surmises that if they were released from the film, they could be captured by it as well using a home movie camera. The team rushes back to the theatre as the Ghostmaker is releasing the others from the film and is able to use a camera to confine all the Night Travellers save for the Ghostmaker; Jack then rips open the camera and exposes the film to sunlight, effectively exorcising the ghosts. They are able to capture the Ghostmaker, who in a last fit of revenge, opens the silver flask and throws it into the air. Ianto catches and closes it quickly, but too late to save all but one victim; the other victims, with the loss of their breath, quickly pass away. Torchwood restores the breath to the last victim, a young boy, and the silver flask is stowed away back at Torchwood.
Though the rest of the team believe the threat is over, Jack surmises there may be more reels of the Night Travelers. Someone buys such a reel at a car boot sale. It has the emblem of the Night Travelers troupe carved on the canister. A man is inclined to pick it up, but drops it on the ground, dislodging the lid and exposing a piece of the film. He picks up the canister and closes the lid tight, but for a brief moment, the sound of familiar calliope music drifts into the air. The sound reaches all the way to Jack’s ears, but vanishes almost immediately. Jack wonders for a moment if his suspicions are true. He dismisses it as hearing things that aren’t there and resumes his duties, putting the case of the Night Travellers to rest… if time will allow.