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Something Borrowed

Something Borrowed was the ninth episode in the second series of Torchwood. It saw Gwen Cooper marry Rhys Williams and confirm her feelings for Captain Jack Harkness. This episode also marked the first appearance of Gwen’s parents, Mary and Geraint Cooper, along with Rhys’s own parents, Brenda and Barry Williams. Additionally, it’s the only appearance of Rhys’s parents.

The episode also makes refer-backs to Owen and Tosh’s own relationship, and what could have been if he was alive.


Gwen is late for her hen night, due to being sent after an alien with a carnivorous appetite. Wounding it, she learns that it’s a shape-shifter; she follows the trail of blood, calling Jack in as backup. Losing sight of the creature, Gwen is suddenly attacked by it. It pushes her down as she attempts to fend it off; it bites her arm in the struggle. A gunshot rings, and the creature falls the ground, dead. Jack helps her up, taking notice of the bite wound. Jack insists on having Owen have a look at her wound.

Once her arm is bandaged, Gwen takes off for her hen night; she explains that work kept her late. Gwen finds some of the comments her friends say about Rhys to be quite offensive.

Gwen wakes up in her apartment the next day, feeling drowsy. She then notices her wedding dress hung up and smiles. She gets up to get out of bed, but then notices something that makes her look in the mirror; apparently, she’s pregnant. Despite the extreme shock, all Gwen can say is “Oh.”

Calling Jack for help, Gwen is soon examined by Owen. Once he tells Gwen that she’s actually pregnant, Gwen is dismissive of the idea and asks Jack for a second opinion. He says Owen is right about her being pregnant, prompting Gwen to ask what with. Jack explains some aliens keep their bloodline going by passing eggs onto a host; inside, they mature until ready to be born. He then makes a joke about how “Darwin would have a field day if he got to space”. Jack also explains that there is a procedure for this; the public know it as imasculate conception.

Jack tries to persuade Gwen to cancel the wedding, but she declines the idea. He then tells Gwen that she is not thinking straight, earning an angry reply in return; he thinks her hormones are causing her rash decisions. Owen mentions that if she were going to die, it would have happened already, so Gwen goes ahead. However, she decides to call Rhys and inform him of what happened; he heads straight home and begins ranting.

He also tries to postpone the wedding but Gwen insists. He agrees to have the wedding anyway. The alien fertilization is explained to their families as Gwen’s pregnancy by Rhys, kept secret as a surprise. However, Gwen realizes this lie won’t work; their parents will be planning for their grandchild. And telling them that she lost the child would be devastating.

Tosh arrives at the wedding venue, sent by Jack to guard Gwen. After being propositioned by Rhys’ best man, “Banana Boat”, Tosh delivers Gwen’s new wedding dress. They discuss the possibility of a relationship between Tosh and Owen. Tosh notes that the wedding vows would seem like a bad joke, since Owen is undead.

Back at the hub, Owen’s autopsy determines the creature is a Nostrovite, a carnivorous shape-shifter who mates for life and hunt in pairs. After fertilization, the female transfers eggs to the male, who transfers them to a host to incubate until the correct time. The female then kills the host, releasing the offspring in a “midwife from hell” fashion. The mate of the dead Nostrovite will be hunting Gwen.

The Nostrovite infiltrates the wedding and murders the DJ, eating most of him. Her presence is detected by Tosh and Banana Boat; however, Banana’s blunder costs Tosh the chance to shoot the creature. They’re knocked out and trapped on a bed in a black, web-like construct.

Gwen and Rhys are at the altar when Jack demands the wedding be stopped. Owen and Ianto rescue Tosh and Banana Boat. They also find Mervyn’s mangled corpse. A bridesmaid, Megan, enters the room. Seeing Mervin’s body, she flees. Jack orders Ianto to go after her, but he fails to stop her before she screams murder to the entire wedding party. Ianto jams the phone lines via the Torchwood SUV to prevent the guests summoning the police and Jack reveals his Torchwood affiliation, much to the surprise of Gwen’s father. Before he can press the issue, Tosh notices the alien and alerts Jack. The Nostrovite reveals its true appearance and attempts to attack them, but flees out the window under a hail of bullets. Tosh and Jack give chase but lose its track, though Tosh surmises that it won’t have gone far.

Jack questions Owen about Gwen, who says that Rhys’ mother Brenda is with the couple. Tosh notices Brenda with Gwen’s mother in the garden, however, and they come to the conclusion that the alien has assumed Brenda’s form to get close to Gwen. Tosh and Jack reach the couple’s room, where Jack calls Brenda an “ugly bitch”. After being punched by Rhys, Jack is told that the woman actually is really Rhys’ mother; the alien can’t copy smells and Brenda always wears awful perfume. They reach the garden to find the Nostrovite still with Gwen’s mother. They confront her and the Nostrovite holds Gwen’s mother hostage, demanding her child. Gwen walks towards them, but just as the Nostrovite releases Gwen’s mother and charges, Gwen shoots it several times in the stomach with a gun hidden in her bouquet, though it manages to flee.

Owen has brought the singularity scalpel to destroy the egg. He sends Gwen to her room, but asks Rhys to wait while he tells Rhys about the scalpel and teaches him how to use it. Jack enters Gwen’s room whilst Owen and Rhys are outside. He and Gwen share an emotional conversation. They nearly kiss, just as Jack transforms into the Nostrovite. Owen enters and shoots the Nostrovite while Gwen exits with Rhys. After realizing Owen is dead, the Nostrovite pursues Gwen.

The rest of the team met up with Own, who explains that he and Gwen emptied clips into the alien, but “some mother instinct or something” is making it unstoppable. Since ordinary firearms are ineffective, Jack decides that they need a bigger gun and begins to assemble one taken from the SUV’s boot compartment.

Rhys and Gwen reach the stable and Rhys explains Owen’s plan to remove the egg. As the Nostrovite tries to enter, Rhys removes the egg. Just as the egg is vaporized, the Nostrovite enters, impersonating Rhys’ mother again. She moves towards Rhys, who picks up a nearby chainsaw. Furious at all that the creature has done to ruin his wedding day and threaten his bride and family, he lunges at the Nostrovite with the chainsaw. However, the chainsaw stops working, causing Rhys to swear profusely. The Nostrovite calls him a bad boy ( “And you what bad boys get?!” ) and raises its hand to attack him. Before it can do so, it is blown to bits from behind, spattering Rhys with its gory remains and black blood, revealing Jack at the door with a large laser gun. Jack helps Gwen up. Putting her hand in Rhys’, Jack proclaims, “The hero always gets the girl”.

Rhys and Gwen’s ceremony resumes and the couple are wed. At the reception, Rhys and Gwen notice everyone falling asleep. Jack has retconned the wedding party and guests so they will not remember the bizarre events. Jack offers the couple pills, but Gwen declines. She insists there will “be no secrets in this marriage”. They exit, thanking the team for everything. Jack and the others clean up. Ianto notes the irony of fighting aliens by day and being “Wedding Fairies” by night.

Later, Jack enters the Hub alone, blowing some confetti in the air. He retrieves an old tin box holding old pictures. He looks through them, reminiscing, but picks one up and stops. This picture shows Jack and his bride at their wedding.


Captain Jack Harkness
Gwen Cooper
Owen Harper
Toshiko Sato
Ianto Jones
Rhys Williams