Ok, so I know the only person that is probably going to read this that is a Torchwood fan hasnâ€™t seen season3, so shouldnâ€™t read this because its full of spoilers. The other people that read my journal probably donâ€™t have the faintest clue about the show and couldnâ€™t care less. So really Iâ€™m only rambling for my own sake, but hey I suppose thatâ€™s what a journal is for.
Ok one last time: There are HUGE Torchwood 3 SPOILERS ahead. If you donâ€™t want to know do not read.
Season 3 of Torchwood, Children of Earth was dark, horrendously gut wrenching, full of contradictions and consequences. Jack was a complete self bastard and people died because of him and there was no simple happy ending. Basically everything I love about that show. It was, in my humble opinion as just one fan among many the best season ever.
Season 1 was, well, disjointed at best. There were some brilliant episodes and some suck awful ones. I gave it a bit of leeway at the time, it was a new show, a branch off of a pre-watershed show, so different time slot, different audience, it was feeling its way. It didnâ€™t stop me bitching at some of the episodes. Iâ€™m a fan, its what we do.
Which leads me nicely to my first topic, what I have deemed fanwankery. I donâ€™t deny anyone has the right to express their opinion about the shows they love, or the shows they hate. And I know from experience online fan communities can be, well fanatical. Now for the record, I read fanfiction, I write fanfiction, I am a geeky fan that gets obsessed about the shows I love, hell I am writing an entry (edit: a long entry) about one now. So I accept a level of hypocrisy here.
I, against my better judgement went and read a lot of the reviews of Children of Earth, especially after Iantoâ€™s death. I wasnâ€™t at all surprised with what I read. Ianto Jones, like Rose Tyler before him, were raised in the fandom to god-like standards. To me this has done both characters a major injustice. They were meant to be, or at least how I saw them were as the common man, the average person swept up in events beyond their imaginings. Now I know average has become some sort of insult to a lot of people, but to me it doesnâ€™t mean that. To me, well most people are average, they fit in that biggest part of the bell curve, they are you and me and my neighbour. That is what makes them fascinating to me, they do not have super intelligence or abilities beyond the norm, they are also not dullards or imbeciles. They face such horrifying experiences but they come back, they donâ€™t run away, ok they might be sick to their stomach, question their place in the world, but they donâ€™t throw it all in and bury their heads in the sand. They are inspirational because they are the average person.
Ok before I continue let me just take moment. I would like it read that everything I write comes with the disclaimer that these things are just my opinion. Everything I write unless I quote from somewhere else, reference someone else is simply my opinion. I am entitled to them, as is everyone else. I donâ€™t expect anyone to change their views to match mine. I would like to hope that sometime something I write might inspire someone to think differently, but I doubt it, and especially about this topic because it is only Torchwood after all. So for t he record all of t his is just my opinion, and although I may not agree with other peopleâ€™s opinions they still have a right to voice them, even the people written that Ianto isnâ€™t really dead because all this time heâ€™s been a secret TimeLordâ€¦ hmmâ€¦ anywayâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦
ok back to my ramblings. When they killed off Ianto there were cries to lynch RTD, creation of online petitions, which I have to say is even less effective than paper petitions. People said they would never watch the show again. Which of course is their right, but for me, for my interpretation and love of the show, overlooked an integral part of what made the show so damn good.
(points to the above disclaimer)
I have two shows at this moment in time I am obsessed about. Torchwood because season3 has just been on and I got a 5 day run of it, and Spooks, which is an ongoing show on NZ tv right now. Both shows have something in common for me, even though they are different types of shows, one a fantasy, the other a spy drama. Both have a hard edge to them, a feeling of realism, even in fantasy. With both shows nothing is sacred, nothing is beyond tragedy. A lot of shows I watch the main characters you fall in love with you will know no matter how much jeopardy they are in, they will be there in the end. The sacred still stands, you donâ€™t kill off loved characters. I donâ€™t believe the world works like that, I donâ€™t believe the good always win and there is no price to pay for that. I understand television is about entertainment, not about reality, but I like a touch of reality in my entertainment. And yes I know Iâ€™m talking about Torchwood here, itâ€™s not exactly a documentary, but still.
Torchwood has always made it known that people that work for the organisation do not have long life spans. There are sacrifices, and sometimes thatâ€™s your life. Of course you would do everything to prevent it, but unless you have your head deep in the sand you wouldnâ€™t sign onto Torchwood without realising an old age pension isnâ€™t in your future. When Owen and Tosh died last season it ripped me apart, I think that had most to do with one line, spoken with such class and emotion from Tosh. It shocked me and I swore at the tv. Sidenote: the fandom didnâ€™t do the public outcry over that, but that I believe had more to do with the super!Ianto fixation and Iâ€™m trying (believe it or not) to avoid that discussion.
Iantoâ€™s death in CoE was sad, it didnâ€™t though have the same emotional resonance as the other two for me. There was this sweet moment, the death scene and I moved on. I feared the dreaded use of the reset button, but thankfully it never came. I will miss Ianto, the rather dry asides he sent Jackâ€™s way, Iâ€™ll even miss him emo-ing all over the place. At the end of Day4 I thought, they needed it, they needed that loss, the price. And unfortunately it had to be Ianto to pay the price, the cost of Jackâ€™s previous deeds. Jack Harkness is central to Torchwood, events play around him, his decisions, good, bad or indifferent are what drive the show. Iantoâ€™s death was the cost he had to pay for his decision to send those children off in the past, to believe it was a â€œsmall price to payâ€ at the time. Unfortunately for Ianto, those 12 children were just the first instalment of a much larger price.
I know for a lot of my fellow Torchwood friends, Day4 was the height of the pain of Torchwood. The death of Ianto was what they focused on. For me Day5 was the day when the real hurt came. When I struggled with the choices and decisions. I know it is only a tv show, and I know I have a habit of getting far too deep into such things. But thatâ€™s me, people tell me Iâ€™m too serious, that I think too much and too deeply on things. Iâ€™m trying to learn that isnâ€™t necessarily a bad thing, it may be different, it may even be odd, but its me.
So now some of the things that got to me about Day5. The fact that the kids were being used to get high, that they were being used to harvest chemicals that the 456 were using as some sort of drugs was an important issue in the story. It was quickly glossed over in the show but it hit me. I think if they had been a necessary biological need, if without the children the 456 couldnâ€™t have survived as a race, or couldnâ€™t reproduce, or something significant, there would have been an out. Yes this is a terrible thing they are asking us, to sacrifice our children, but we did it not only to save the population of earth, but even the 456 didnâ€™t have a choice. But it wasnâ€™t that. We are choosing to sacrifice our children not for some higher cause, we are giving them over to junkies so they can continue to get high. I am not saying that the childrenâ€™s lives would have been less important if they were given to endure the lives of another race, that the horror wouldnâ€™t have been the same. But I do believe it underscored the selfishness, the â€œturning a blind eyeâ€ of the actions of those in power.
In the beginning of Day5, Gwen says something on camera, about the Doctor, how she often wondered why there were so many times when he didnâ€™t intervene, when he didnâ€™t come to rescue them, and now she knew why (a really bad paraphrase there). Part of that was answered in the Fires of Pompeii story, about fixed points in time. But I also think there is another part, for me, the thing Gwen was talking about. The Doctor isnâ€™t from Earth, heâ€™s not human. He has an affinity to the place, an affection. But heâ€™s also judgemental, almost arrogant about his view of the planet. About halfway through Season3 I wondered where the Doctor was. Ok he wouldnâ€™t come into the show, it wasnâ€™t a crossover, but the crisis seemed so big, seemed like something the Doctor would have noticed.
My personal opinion is we, the people of Earth were responsible for the return of the 456. We tried to pay them off once upon a time. As Gwen (I think it was her) pointed out, we gave into extortion once, why wouldnâ€™t they come back for more. We, ok the UK government, once said, hey take this small group of children, we wonâ€™t fight you, we will cover it up and no one will care. And now, no one else cares. So like Ianto was the price Jack had to pay, I see the return of the 456 and their demand for 10% the price of past actions. We showed ourselves to have no honour, why would they expect anything different now.
So hereâ€™s the thing. I hurt to one is a hurt to allâ€¦ one life to save millions. Which one stands true, which one has more weight? Sacrifice 10% of the children of the planet to save all of the people of the planet. Sacrifice one boy to save millions of children. Can we really praise Jackâ€™s action for saving all the children but at the same time condemn the politicians for sacrificing the 10%. In many ways they were doing the same thing. Jack wasnâ€™t the hero in this piece. He made the choice in the 60â€™s to agree to lead the children off to a future that was unknown, but no one would have believed was an unending paradise. He kept that secret all those years. As families all over the world fought to save their children he made a choice, reluctant that it was, to sacrifice his own grandson.
Again this is part of my love of this show, the tarnished hero. He doesnâ€™t ever come out of things smelling perfect, often he comes out smattered with the shit he was fighting. He made the choice to kill his grandson. It wasnâ€™t a shock, it was hinted at when he first went to visit them, he was willing to experiment on the boy but his daughter forbid it. His daughter knew the type of man Jack was, she knew the good he could do, but at the same time new the danger that he would bring. In many ways there is a mirror to the Doctor, or perhaps its simply because both are written by the same people. You can not fight the evil without being touched by it. When you look into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you â€“ Nietzsche
Did Jack leave because he lost Ianto? Perhaps, at least a part of it was. But he said the names of all he had lost, well, not all, just going back in cannon knowledge, hmm, now I think of it there were even many left off that list. Jackâ€™s life has been one of loss, living forever is not a blessing, itâ€™s an unending curse of watching those you love or care for die and leave, or having to leave them. I think Jack ended up losing himself. He started Torchwood Three in a way to do some good but all he could see was unending despair in his wake. In some ways Jack got broody and went off to sulk and I donâ€™t feel sorry for him. As I have said I donâ€™t see Jack as a hero, a good guy. I see him as someone that does the tough shit without the moral conscious most of us will have, and sometimes that ends up biting him in the arse.
Ok this as I warned is a major rambling rant about something that is simply a television programme meant to entertain and amuse. Jack has left, Torchwood no longer exists. Do I hope thereâ€™s another season, fuck yes. Davies is quoted as sayingâ€¦that although a fourth series is “ready to go”, its airing is entirely dependent on the performance of the third series. And since it is reported that season3 got very good ratings I remain hopeful that I will have another season to get all obsessed over.