A young man, Eugene Jones, 'awakens' lying on the road, apparently having been struck by a car. He quickly realizes that he is dead and that he's now present only in spirit. No one can see or hear him and he has no memory of what's happened in the recent past. In flashbacks, he recalls an unhappy childhood where his father abandoned his family on the same day he lost a quiz competition at school. On that same day, one of his teachers have him something special that simply fell out of the sky, a glass eye. Before his death he had gotten to know Gwen Cooper and tried to interest her in the eye. She didn't have much time for him when he was alive but in death she takes a genuine interest in him. Eugene tries to help her along. Written by
Filmed concurrently with 1x12 "Captain Jack Harkness". Eve Myles has only a fleeting appearance in that episode as her character plays a very big role in this one. See more »
Eugene says that in the average human lifetime the human heart beats 2 million times. Average lifespan is 70 years, 36817200 minutes. At 70 beats a minute that works out to 2577204000 beats. For comparison your heart beats 3 million times in a month (30 days). See more »
The average life is full of near misses and absolute hits, of great love and small disasters. It's made up of banana milkshakes, loft insulation, and random shoes. It's dead ordinary and truly truly amazing. What you've got to realise is it's all here now. So breathe deep and swallow it whole because take it from me, life just whizzes by.
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Eugene Jones didn't have a rewarding life. Will death provide the answers he seeks?
After a very weak season, Torchwood finally finds footing with a fantastic work of pathos and humanity. The story presents life in a very refreshing way, random and hopeless yet wonderful and inspiring. The plot works well for the most part, but is mostly just a backdrop for the character of Eugene to come to terms with mortality. The non-linear pathway to tell the story greatly assists, however, and presents an otherwise vanilla story with grace. Sidelining many of the main Torchwood characters also greatly helps, bringing out the far more interesting Eugene and the people he interacts with. Some parts make little logical sense (particularly a certain moment at the end), but when presented so effectively, it's difficult to care.
Overall, it's a very rewarding episode to view, and is a lovely subdued moment amidst the chaotic loudness most of Torchwood presents. In my opinion, it is without a doubt the highlight of the first two series, and one of my favorite pieces of television in general.
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