Captain Jack, it seems, used to belong to various traveling freak shows. He was the Man Who Could Not Die. As a result, sometimes he hears pipe organ music.
And that’s never a good thing.
So, here’s the deal: Jack starts hearing music on a rainy night, the same night that Ianto takes Owen and Gwen to the local cinema to watch a compilation of old celluloid of Cardiff and the surrounding areas. There’s a lot of stuff there involving what looks like a circus. The footage isn’t all that interesting as it seems to repeat itself, but Ianto spots Jack at one point while the other two get up to leave.
But the real problem is…the Night Travelers!
Dum dum DUM!
Taking the form of a Ringmaster (or Ghostmaster as he’s called) and a “Mermaid Girl”, these two weirdos step out of the rain and confront various strangers, starting with a girl at a bus stop, another woman later at a diner, and then a family of four in a car. All these folks end up at a hospital, nonresponsive, looking very dehydrated, and barely alive. See, the Night Travelers are, well, stealing their last breaths into some kind of vial that, if Torchwood can recover it, would allow them to bring the comatose back to normal.
That seems pretty straightforward. Two weirdos that are, I guess, some kind of alien, are running around and need to be dealt with. A chance encounter with the kid who put the reel together reveals they feel like plastic…or, you know, celluloid. That actually leads to some more investigation, an elderly survivor of the group’s first attack is found, and Jack and Ianto conclude that you can take pictures of these freaks with an old movie camera and then expose the film to light to destroy them. It’s silly, but this is the Doctor Who universe, so everything is at least a little silly.
By the by, that plan works as the Mermaid Girl is pulling more of their friends out of the film to steal more “last breaths”. But this is Torchwood, so something I am sure the Doctor could have figured out on his own and managed to save all the victims means that won’t work here and that jackass Ghostmaster with the funky teeth tosses his vial into the air before he ceases to exist and most of the breaths escape. Sure, it’s supposed to be a good thing that the team manages to save the youngest victim, but that kid had an older sister and is now an orphan, so…
And then I kept wondering…shouldn’t these people recognize Jack? Or vice versa?
Eh, it doesn’t matter. Someone let a flip strip hit the light and Jack heard the music again at the end of the episode.