The connections between the 10th Doctor’s hairstyle and the iconic iconoclast singer Morrissey are pretty apparent, but elsewhere in the Doctor Who universe there are even more, maybe not as obvious connections to The Smiths. I’m talking about Torchwood here, and beyond the sexual openness of the majority of the characters, it appears songs by The Smiths might actually describe the plots of specific episodes! Maybe there was some rift activity in Manchester in the 80s and then it switched over to Cardiff later. Either way, the following are undeniable crossovers.
“I Know It’s Over” vs. “Exit Wounds”
In this episode, Captain Jack is infamously buried alive by his insane and vengeful brother Grey. Because Jack is immortal, he stays buried in the same spot for years and years. This of course creates all kinds of timeline crossing shenanigans with at least three versions of Jack present at certain moments in history in the exact same city.
The opening lines of “I Know It’s Over” are Mother, I can feel the soil falling over my head. In what context could someone actually feel the soil falling over their head, unless they were immortal like Captain Jack? Not to mention, Grey forces John Hart to literally bury Jack alive! It might not be over for Jack, but if he’s so very good looking, then why is he alone tonight?
“Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want” vs. “Out of Time”
Owen Harper was pretty much the biggest jerk on the Torchwood team. (And there was some stiff competition there if you stop to think about it.) But he did fall in love once, and of course it was with the beautiful Diane, an aviatrix accidentally deposited into our modern era straight about of 1953. Prior to falling head over sneakers for Diane, Owen pretty much could only have relationships of an entirely physical nature. Later, we learn some of his headache comes from the untimely death of his fiancé at the hands of invasive aliens.
In “Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want” Morrissey croons that he hasn’t had a dream in a long time echoing Owens lack of ability to love. Owen is so desperate to return to his “dream” that he starts screwing with the rift several episodes later in a desperate plea to get Diane back.
“Sweet and Tender Hooligan” vs. “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang”
Though this episode featured a song from Blur, it really should have featured this Smiths track. Nothing describes John Hart better than “Sweet and Tender Hooligan.” He had a variety of rehabs, all of which he failed to really benefit from.
Meaning, just like in the song, He’ll never, never do it again/ Not until the next time. John Hart, though seemingly a bad guy, is somehow through pure moxie sort of forgivable. The weird sexual tension of this song and the relationship between John and Jack couldn’t belong together more.
“Girlfriend in a Coma” vs. “Cyberwoman”
It doesn’t get any more obvious than this. Ianto Jones secretly has a cyberwoman girlfriend stashed away at the Torchwood Hub. He loves her, but we all know how dangerous she is. And she’s unconscious for a good portion of the episode.
The song tells us that There are times when I could have murdered her/ but I’d hate anything to happen to her/ Will you please let me see her? If you had a significant other who was half cyber-person, you’d probably feel the same way. Like Owen’s loss of Diane, this doomed love affair haunts Ianto for a long time. As the last line of the song tells us, I know it’s serious.
“Hand in Glove” vs. ALL the Episodes with the Resurrection Glove(s)
Playing major roles in numerous episodes, including the first episode “Everything Changes,” and later “Dead Man Walking,” the resurrection gloves are one of the more pervasive reoccurring themes in Torchwood.
The song “Hand in Glove” states Everthing depends on near you stand to me, which seems to be a reference Gwen’s life force being drained by Suzie in “They Keep Killing Suzie.” Also, Morrissey sings, Hand in glove I stake my claim / I’ll fight to the last breath. The resurrection glove certainly is used and abused by the Torchwood team in order to get what they want, sometimes at any cost. They probably believe as the song says, that the good life is out there somewhere.
Honorable Mention: “Vicar in A Tutu” references Rose Tyler
This song mentions Rose counting money in a canister. Audiences first met Jack via Rose an the 9th Doctor in “The Empty Child.” Rose in turn made Jack immortal, so I’d say she’s pretty important to Torchwood. Also, Rose worked in a shop, and probably counted money in a cash register, which sort of sounds like canister.
Ryan’s writing has appeared here, Nerve.com, and elsewhere. He once saw Morrissey rescue a fan from falling to her doom. It was very heroic.