To the Last Man (Torchwood)

number= 16
serial_name = To the Last Man
caption = Toshiko implores Tommy to use the key in order to repair the time shift.

show = TW
type = episode
cast =
* John BarrowmanCaptain Jack Harkness
* Eve MylesGwen Cooper
* Burn GormanOwen Harper
* Naoko MoriToshiko Sato
* Gareth David-LloydIanto Jones
guests =
* Anthony Lewis – Tommy Brockless
* Roderic Culver – Gerald Carter
* Siobhan Hewlett – Harriet Derbyshire
* Lizzie Rogan – Nurse
* Ricky Fearon – Foreman
writer = Helen Raynor
director = Andy Goddard
production_code = 2.3
producer = Richard Stokes Chris Chibnall (co-producer)
executive_producer = Russell T Davies Julie Gardner
script_editor = Brian Minchin
series = Series 2
length = 50 mins
date = 30 January 2008
preceding = "Sleeper"
following = "Meat"
imdb_id = 1160284
"To the Last Man" is the third episode of the second series of British science fiction television series "Torchwood", which was broadcast by BBC Two on 30 January 2008.



Tommy Brockless, a young World War I soldier, shell-shocked from his experiences in the trenches, is the key to saving the world. He is taken into custody by Torchwood in 1918 - Torchwood having been told to do so by his future self - and held in cryonic storage until the time comes for him to save the world. He is awoken one day each year for a medical check-up and a "day out" as a precautionary measure in case he is needed.

A time shift is set to cause 1918 and the present to bleed together at an unspecified time, and when this happens it is Tommy who will be "stitching" the fragments of 1918 back to their rightful place in time.

It is ninety years before this eventually happens and fragments of 1918 are appearing in an old abandoned hospital. Before the team realise that this is "the" year, Toshiko becomes infatuated with Tommy. Owen, noticing the closeness between them and having experienced something similar (cf. "Out of Time"), warns Tosh about the eventuality of saying goodbye.

When Tommy is told what he must do - actions that will result in him not seeing Toshiko again - Tommy initially refuses to take part. However, with encouragement from Toshiko, he begins to see the bigger picture and agrees. Toshiko is reluctant to do this, as Jack explains that Tommy is destined to be court martialled and shot for cowardice upon being sent back to the trenches. Jack eventually persuades her that it is for the greater good and she relents. During a brief time shift, Tommy tells Torchwood employees from that era that they must take him into custody. Then, with the next time shift, after a tearful goodbye, Tommy goes back to his own time. However, in his own time he reverts back to being shell-shocked and forgets all about Torchwood and why he has the Rift Key therefore the time shift still continues. As the time shifts are forcing the rift open Toshiko is able to be psychically transmitted into Tommy's mind in the past and encourages him to the use the key. Tommy turns the key in his Rift manipulator device, dragging all of 1918 back with him.


*For the dating of this episode, see the Chronology.
*Tosh and Tommy share a brief moment on Penarth Pier - built in 1894, the same year that Tommy was born.
*Tommy remarks on how ridiculous it is that he has to save the world in his pyjamas. The Doctor did just that in the "Doctor Who" episode "The Christmas Invasion", and refers to it as being very "Arthur Dent."

Outside references

The title of - and dialogue within - the episode is a reference to Field Marshal Douglas Haig's Order of the Day on 11 April 1918, in response to the German Spring Offensive: "There is no other course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause each one of us must fight on to the end." [ [ Schools History: Special order of the Day - The First World War - April 1918] ] Reporters at the time recognised that his order echoed that of Général Joffre to the commanders of the French Armies in September, 1914, at the outbreak of the First Battle of the Marne: "The hour has come to advance at all costs, and to die where you stand rather than give way." [ [ Hold Fast and Fight It Out to the Last Man, Our Backs Are to the Wall, Haig Tells His Army; Joffre's Call at the Marne] , New York Times, April 13, 1918, accessed from official archive, 3 February, 2008]

"Tommy" was a common slang term for a British soldier, particularly associated with the First World War.

Jack suggests that the British army executed "more than 300" shell-shocked soldiers for cowardice during the First World War. Executions for all offences numbered 346, of which 40 were for murder or mutiny. The remaining 306 were for desertion (266), cowardice (18), and other offences (22). While some of these can now be attributed to shell shock, most cannot, although all 306 were posthumously pardoned in 2006. [ [,,2-2349172,00.html Time Online - War pardon will clear rogues and innocents] , 9 September 2006] [ [ BBC History: Shot at Dawn - Cowards, Traitors or Victims? - The case against a pardon] ]


The song "One Of These Mornings" by Moby plays towards the start and at the end of this episode. The song "She's Got You High" by Mumm-Ra plays in the pub as Toshiko and Tommy play pool.

News 24 stock footage is used to depict the Iraq War, again with the BBC logo omitted as it has been in "Torchwood", "The Sarah Jane Adventures" episodes and in more recent "Doctor Who" episodes when news reports have been included as part of the story.


On overnight returns, The Guardian reported that the episode achieved a 13% share, 3.2 million viewers, in its first broadcast on January 30, 2008, at 9pm. [ [ Grand Designs towers over rivals] , 31 January, 2008, The Guardian] BARB later listed the episode as BBC2's top audience draw for the week ending February 3, with a certified estimate of 3.51 million viewers including timeshift. [BARB Weekly Viewing Summary, Terrestrial Top 30, BBC2, week ending 3 February, 2008]


External links

*Brief|torch=y|id=2008c|title=To the Last Man
*Doctor Who RG|id=torchwood_16|title=To the Last Man|quotes=y

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