Jack (John Barrowman) awakens from a nightmare of dead soldiers with rose petals spilling out of their mouths, and he finds a rose petal on his desk. Ianto (Gareth David-Lloyd) mentions the strange weather patterns. The next day, Jack takes Gwen (Eve Myles) to visit his old friend Estelle (Eve Pearce) who is lecturing on fairies. She displays the Cottingley Fairies Photographs and compares them to her own photos as proof that fairies exist.
Afterwards, Gwen asks Estelle and Jack about an old photo of him. They say it is Jack’s father, who had a relationship with Estelle during World War II. On the way back to Torchwood, Jack explains to Gwen that fairies are from the dawn of time and can be very dangerous. He asks Toshiro (Naoko Mori) to watch for strange weather patterns.
A young girl named Jasmine Pierce (Lara Philippart) decides to walk home from school alone. A man named Goodson (Roger Barclay) tries to grab her. A strong wind chases him away and Jasmine skips off to play with the fairies in the woods. Goodson, in the Cardiff Market, is attacked by something unseen and coughs up rose petals. He gets himself arrested for safety, but it doesn’t work, and he is found dead by asphyxiation the next day. Torchwood finds his mouth full of rose petals, and Jack decides he was killed by fairies to protect a Chosen One.
That night, Estelle hears voices and calls Jack, but after Torchwood gets there, they find she had drowned without water. He admits to Gwen that it was he who had the relationship with Estelle. He has seen the rose petals too. On a train in Lahore in 1909, after some of his troops accidentally ran over a little girl, they all died with petals in their mouths. Gwen returns home to find her house in disarray.
At school the next day, Jasmine is bullied by two girls and a powerful gale sweeps the area. Only Jasmine is unaffected by it. At a home BBQ, Jasmine helps with the food and gives strange answers to her mother’s questions. When her mother’s boyfriend disciplines her, the fairies visibly appear and kill him. Torchwood arrives, but Jasmine and the fairies disappear into the woods. Jack demands they leave the girl alone. They refuse and threaten many more people. Jack requests the fairies to promise they will not harm her, and they say she will live forever, though this is little comfort to the girl’s mother. Later, Gwen sees Jasmine’s face in a photograph from 1917.
Fairy laughter is heard in the closing music. It is said that Harry Houdini endorsed the Cottingley Fairy Hoax, but he did not. In fact, he disagreed strongly with Arthur Conan Doyle over the story. Jack, who seemed cold and heartless in the last episode, is quite touching here. The fairies are both haunting and scary. Some have wondered what fairies have to do with Torchwood, but I think, aside from providing a different sort of story, they are right in Torchwood’s bailiwick. They are not from another world, but they are otherworldly. They are not aliens, but they are alien. They travel in time and threaten humanity. The Doctor battled mystical and supernatural forces often enough, so why not Captain Jack, who had already encountered them?