Greeks Bearing Gifts

Posted in Episode by - June 07, 2018
Greeks Bearing Gifts

Aired 26 November 2006

With varying degrees of success and finesse, each of the Torchwood Three team members except Toshiko Sato has prominently featured in one or more of the early run of episodes. ‘Greeks Bearing Gifts’ rectifies that situation and tells the tale of Tosh giving in to temptation and using a mysterious pendant to listen to other peoples’ thoughts while her team tries to uncover the truth behind a centuries-old skeleton and she questions how committed to Torchwood she actually is.

Beginning with a flashback to 1812 Cardiff where a soldier hunts down and murders a young prostitute named Mary in the woods, ‘Greeks Bearing Gifts’ doesn’t hesitate at all in shifting to the present where that same woman looks in on Torchwood as the team investigates a construction site in that same fateful location. Finding a nineteenth-century corpse, the team returns to the Hub for further investigation, and after a particularly tedious day in which a surprisingly unaware and playful duo of Gwen and Owen wrecks her computer, Tosh heads to a rather classy establishment to destress and recover. It’s here that Tosh first meets Mary who claims to be part of a geeky group who is all too aware of aliens and Torchwood, and Mary all too quickly hands over a strange pendant that allows her to hear others’ thoughts, instantly bringing Tosh’s strong sense of morality into question as she states that she will have to hand it over to Torchwood.

Mary certainly goes to great lengths to play upon Tosh’s insecurities to ensure she holds onto the pendant and uses it herself, but their intimate encounter seems to go against the unrequited love or lust she is so clearly holding for Owen at this time without any real explanation. Indeed, while the pendant makes it quite clear that Gwen and Owen have themselves hooked up and are considering just how far to take it, the series has yet to do anything meaningful with this pseudo relationship except to drive a secretive wedge between Tosh and the other two while also portraying Gwen and Owen in a less than flattering light given their actions towards others both on the team and not. Still, Tosh quickly learns just how complicated humans are when trying to reconcile thoughts with words and actions, and Ianto unknowingly reveals himself to be in a very dark place following the death of Lisa. Of course, Tosh further uses the pendant’s abilities to read random strangers’ minds, and her ability to prevent a family’s murder leads to a wonderful game of cat and mouse between Jack and her as she finds that Jack’s mind cannot be read.

There is a tenuous link among past corpses that Owen is able to uncover, but this is ultimately Mary’s story while she claims she wants to return home, and Torchwood’s Hub once more proves to be quite easy to get into as Tosh relents to Mary’s requests. Danielle Denby Ashe gives a suitably strong performance as the villain who is much more layered than what she initially seems, and Mary’s sudden turn against Toshiko as she tries to convince her that her colleagues do not care about her is expertly realised. This allows for a great bit of development between Jack and Toshiko in a pressure-filled moment even if there was a missed opportunity for Mary to expound upon her 200 years on Earth with Jack a man in a similar situation, and that leads to a powerful scene at the end where Jack shows true compassion for Toshiko while wondering what it really means to be a boss. Toshiko gave in to a temptation that almost nobody could resist in what amounts to a clever twist on the Trojan Horse story even if the end result is more of a superficial character study than might be expected, but Naoko Mori acquits herself well as Tosh learns what it truly means to be human and how integral she is to this team even with all of the drama surrounding and engulfing it.

  • Release Date: 11/26/2006
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