Monday, 27 November 2017

C is for... Cooper, Gwen

A former Cardiff police officer who became a Torchwood agent. One evening WPC Cooper was attending a crime scene - the latest victim of a serial killer. The Torchwood team turned up and all the police were ordered to leave the area. Intrigued, Gwen ascended a multi-storey car park to watch them at work. She was shocked to see them apparently bring the victim back to life using a metal gauntlet. Captain Jack Harkness was aware that they were being spied upon. Gwen spotted Jack at the city hospital a day or two later and followed him to a section that was closed off. There she saw one of the savage Weevil creatures which attacked and killed one of the orderlies. Jack and his colleagues captured the creature and bundled it away. Gwen tried to follow them, but lost them at Roald Dahl Plas in the bay area. Back at the police station, Gwen discovered that no orderly had gone missing, and the only Captain Jack Harkness on record went missing back in 1941.

She returned to the bay that night and learned of regular pizza deliveries to Torchwood. She pretended to be a delivery person, and found herself in the Hub, built beneath the plaza. Jack was impressed with the way she had found them. He told her all about Torchwood, but later revealed that she would not recall any of this as he had given her the Retcon drug. However, in the police incident room she recognised the serial killer's weapon as one she had seen at Torchwood and returned to the bay, just in time to confront Suzie Costello - a Torchwood agent who was killing people in order to test the reanimating glove. Suzie killed herself after shooting Jack. Gwen was shocked to see him spring back to life a few moments later. Jack decided to recruit Gwen to his team. He insisted that she maintain her personal life - she had a long-term boyfriend named Rhys - and hoped that she could bring a little empathy and compassion to the organisation.
Torchwood tended to kill or imprison the alien threats it encountered, but Gwen insisted on understanding them and even allowing them to go free if they no longer posed a risk. This trust sometimes put her own life at risk, such as when she helped the reanimated Suzie Costello.
Gwen began a relationship with her colleague Owen Harper, as she found it frustrating that she could not discuss her work with Rhys. This began when Gwen and Owen had to hide in a morgue cabinet when the Hub was attacked by a Cyberwoman - when Gwen was almost converted - and was cemented when Owen saved her life after she was shot whilst investigating mysterious disappearances in the Brecon Beacons. After Owen had become infatuated with the pilot Diane Holmes, who had travelled through the Rift from the 1950's, the relationship ended. At one point Gwen told Rhys about the affair, only to then Retcon him.

Despite being the newest member of the team, Gwen took the lead when Jack disappeared soon after defeating the demonic Abaddon, which had been brought to Cardiff through the Rift by the enigmatic Bilis Manger. On his return Jack discovered that Gwen was engaged to be married.  Rhys finally discovered the truth about his fiancee when his haulage firm became involved in the transportation of alien meat, and he helped the team infiltrate the gang behind this. Once this was over, Jack expected Gwen to Retcon him, but she refused to do so. Rhys became an unofficial member of the team.
On the eve of her wedding, Gwen was bitten by an alien Nostrovite. She woke the next morning to find that she was pregnant with its young. The wedding took place, although the Nostrovite mother infiltrated the wedding party, impersonating her mother-in-law to be and Jack. Rhys used an alien device to destroy the Nostrovite foetus. Jack then arranged for the entire wedding party to be Retconned.

Gwen was later approached by her old colleague Andy, regarding a support group for missing persons. Gwen knew that they were people who had been snatched away by the Rift. She befriended a woman named Nikki Bevan, whose son Jonah had vanished. Jack warned Gwen not to investigate but she failed to take his advice, and followed him to an island out in the bay. This proved to be a hospital of sorts for those who had been returned from the Rift. Gwen reunited Nikki with her son, but he was now much older and horribly scarred - physically and mentally. Nikki told her she would rather not have known what had happened to him, and Gwen realised that Jack had been right.
Some time later, Gwen was heartbroken when Owen and Toshiko Sato were killed.
The Hub then came under attack by the Daleks when the Earth was removed to the Medusa Cascade, as part of Davros' scheme to create the Reality Bomb. Jack went to help the Doctor, whilst Gwen and Ianto Jones were trapped in the Hub. The Doctor and Rose recognised Gwen as looking very like the Cardiff servant girl Gwyneth whom they had met in Victorian times.

The Hub was destroyed by agents attempting to hush up the government's involvement with the aliens known as the 456. Gwen and Rhys had to go on the run and headed for London where the aliens had despatched an emissary. Ianto was killed, leaving only Jack and Gwen of the original team. Forced to sacrifice the life of his grandson to defeat them, Jack went away for a time, and on his return he found that Gwen was pregnant. She gave birth to a daughter - Anwen - and she and Rhys found a quiet cottage to live in on the Welsh coast. Their idyll was shattered when the cottage came under attack by more government agents, this time because of the "Miracle Day" event when people all over the world stopped dying. Gwen and Jack travelled to America, whilst Anwen went to Gwen's mother to be looked after. Rhys became involved in trying to keep her father, Geraint, out of the hands of the government as he had suffered a heart attack and was scheduled to be cremated alive.
technically, as an organisation, Torchwood no longer exists, but should they ever be needed again, Gwen Cooper is sure to return at Jack's side.

Played by: Eve Myles. Appearances: Torchwood Series 1 & 2, Children of Earth, Miracle Day (2006 - 2011), The Stolen Earth / Journey's End (2008).

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