The 456 had previously used an audio signal to kill Clement – the former child abductee who was helping the Torchwood team battle the alien threat. This prompts government scientist Mr Dekker to state that a child can be used to send the signal back to the aliens with interest – through connecting to all the other children in the country. "That child is going to fry," quips Dekker, much to Jack's disappointment as he desperately scours his mind for another solution. Jack's daughter Alice, who previously rejected his father's desire to take more interest in his family, looks on in horror as she realises that her son Steven is the most likely contender for the job.
"No dad, tell them no!" pleads Alice. "One child or millions?" interjects government operative Agent Johnson, reminding Jack that time is of the essence. Jack regretfully nods his approval and Alice runs off screaming her son's name. At the same time, soldiers around the country are rounding up kids to deliver to the 456 under the government's instructions to supply the extraterrestrials with their 'fix'. Alice can't prevent troops from taking Steven, who emotively screams "mummy" into the lab in which Jack, Dekker and Johnson are lurking. A haunting score serves to prime those tear ducts for the inevitable.
"What's happening?" asks a confused Steven, as a tearful Jack struggles to make eye contact while he fiddles with the computers. Stood in the middle of the lab, Steven emits a piercing shriek that harks back to the noise made by the children when the 456 first announced its presence. Alice can only stare from behind a window as she watches her son start to shake violently and bleed from his nostrils. Around the country, all the children now start shrieking in unison as the strength of the audio signal starts to overwhelm the 456 in its chamber in Thames House. The alien thrashes around, much like Steven, and explodes in a bloody mess before whatever remains flees the planet. Steven falls to the floor like a ragdoll, dead.
Alice is allowed into the room and screams for help, but it is too late. "Why?" she wails repeatedly as she cradles her dead son. Her father is speechless. He later encounters Alice in the corridor, although she does nothing apart from stare at him before departing. Six months later, Jack is unable to get over the deaths of Steven and Ianto and heads away from Earth. He soon finds something to take his mind off the emotional bereavement – a spot of rumpy pumpy with Alonso Frame courtesy of a certain Time Lord matchmaker.
> Click here for our review of Torchwood: Children Of Earth