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Children of Earth: Day Four
by jadesfire2808 (jadesfire)
at July 10th, 2009 (09:10 am)

[For torchwood_three because you guys must be overwhelmed right now: < lj user="torchwood_meta" > < a href=" http://community.livejournal.com/torchwood_meta/21200.html ">discussion of Day Four</a>]

Anything I put here will be spoilery, so

I may add more flesh to this later when I can, you know, think coherently. In the meantime, we're back on the bullet points. You know the drill. Also, I'm going to start at the end, which is not where I would like to start, but it's going to be the elephant in the corner until I say something, isn't it?

~ Alice remains awesome, but she was wrong. Jack did have something to lose. He doesn't any more. Although God help anyone who threatens Gwen right now.

~ I have not ventured out into other communities to see the reaction to Ianto's death, but I gather the word 'melt-down' could be suitably applied. My reaction is much like my feelings about Donna in 'Journey's End'. I hate what they did to the character, but damn they made me care. Ianto has always been a mystery to me, but in this series, I've grown to like him. He's grown, he's standing up to Jack, he's making demands for what he wants. Some of that may have made me raise an eyebrow, but I liked that he was doing it, that he wasn't just the silent figure in the background. And his family were awesome. So I love that the writers made me care about him enough that I cried when he died*. My main concern is that RTD seems to be running through cast members like they're going out of fashion. But I'm also interested narratively in what this does to Jack. Where does he go from here? What's his reaction going to be? Personally? I suggest any bad guys in a 10 mile radius stand well back, but maybe that's just me.

~ Getting back to the plot (there was plot, right?), the cabinet discussions about the children were somewhere beyond chilling, partly for content and partly because they sounded so realistic. Seriously, the writing of this series just keeps getting better, just when I think it can't. The terror of that conversation wasn't that it shouldn't be happening, but that you could imagine how it *could* happen.

~ Frobisher remains a sympathetic bad guy, at least to me. What he's doing is abhorrent, and yet this is what he feels he has to do, and he can't not do it efficiently. The phone call to his wife, the reminder that he has children of his own, it all combines to make him a fully-rounded character.

~ Actually, that's what's so striking about this series. All the characters are characters. Yes, they fit the tropes, but there's more to them than that. Even Johnson, the Woman in Black, isn't doing this "because she's evil", it's because she has a job to do, and she's not actually unsympathetic to Alice, and her face when Gwen shows her what's going on is priceless. In some ways, she reminds me of Jack, with that ruthlessness/compassion mixture that's so compelling.

~ Poor Clem. Inevitable, but I don't really feel the character had a fighting chance. The actor was superb, and I would have liked to have seen more of him, but he still felt like a plot device to me, and he'd outlived his usefulness. Ouch.

~ Oh Lois. You are awesome. I want you to be Torchwood, but I like you and don't want you to die. This is something of a quandry for me. But the way she raised her hand when she wanted to speak! Her obvious terror that morphs into confidence. Every emotion that goes across her face while she's being Torchwood's 'eyes'. Just wonderful.

~ I am currently crossing my fingers that they can pull off the ending. In the trailer [blacked out for spoilers] Gwen's "I'm recording this to show you how it ends" reminds me of Rose's "My name is Rose Tyler, and this is how I died". Except she didn't. So I've learned not to trust anything we're shown in those trailers The series has built incredible momentum, now I want my pay off.

~ I've missed so VERY MUCH out, but I must just mention one more thing. When Bad Guys+ break into the warehouse, was I the only one expecting Gwen and Clem not to be there? Then when Clem turned around, I thought the dark haired figure in the chair was going to be a dummy, so I was genuinely suprised when it turned out to be Gwen. Awesome bait and switch for those of us who've watched too many spy shows.

*It should be noted at this point that this isn't necessarily hard to manage and that I've been known to cry at the BT adverts on TV, so make of that what you will
+And are we ever doing to find out who they are? This is starting to bug me...

So what was your stand-out moment? What am I missing that I absolutely should have referenced? Please blame omissions on lack of sleep and coffee rather than deliberate intent.

Not long to go now, folks. Then we'll have all the time in the world to take it apart.


Posted by: When all else fails crowbar the fucker. (caersmane)
Posted at: July 10th, 2009 08:43 am (UTC)
Raccoon City

Just saying, one of the MPs I follow on Twitter said the cabinet meeting was surprisingly realistic. AND YES I'M READING SPOILERS. \o/ I haven't seen the episode yet. But oh, poor Ianto!

Edited at 2009-07-10 08:44 am (UTC)

Posted by: jadesfire2808 (jadesfire)
Posted at: July 10th, 2009 08:51 am (UTC)
Fandom - TW - Gwen wine

*grin* That's what they always used to say about Yes, Minister. And apparently hospital life is more like Scrubs than House, sadly ;) I can well believe that it was realistic. The content was shocking, but I wasn't actually shocked if you see what I mean.

Definitely poor Ianto. They're really putting us through the wringer on this one.

Posted by: I'm a walking doodle (mad_jaks)
Posted at: July 10th, 2009 09:08 am (UTC)

He doesn't any more
The writers had force fed us too much of Jack and Ianto's 'loving' relationship in the course of last series for me I'm afraid (and I shipped them like crazy in season 1). tbh I cried more for Clem's parting than I did for Ianto's.

And Ianto's coming to terms with his sexuality should have been at least alluded to in Season 2 - Jack asked him on a date in KKBB for crying out loud. Instead we had to wait for more than a year for it to be covered by by canon and by then, it had been more than dealt with in fandom.

Edited at 2009-07-10 09:08 am (UTC)

Posted by: jadesfire2808 (jadesfire)
Posted at: July 10th, 2009 09:16 am (UTC)

Hmmm...I feel I've been fed Jack/Ianto by fanfic rather than canon, if I'm honest. In terms of the emotional resonances, I didn't really start getting them until the beginning of this series, which if I'm honest, should have tipped me off that something was going to happen to Ianto.

All Jack's got left to lose at this point is his daughter and grandson (and how much did I love how he announced that to Ianto and just walked off? Awesome moment) and they're safely locked up somewhere, so what I really want is all-guns-blazing, no holds barred Jack on Day Five. I have this sinking feeling that I'm going to get that from Gwen, and emo-Jack, but a girl can hope, right?

S2 Jack/Ianto always felt squiffy to me. Off-balance somehow, too forced. So I guess I was waiting for something like this. Since I haven't been too stuck into fandom, this has been the first time I've really seen it, so I'm probably less thrown by it.

Posted by: I'm a walking doodle (mad_jaks)
Posted at: July 10th, 2009 10:45 am (UTC)

S2 Jack/Ianto always felt squiffy to me. Off-balance somehow, too forced
Me too, because all we were seeing was the shell, if we'd been getting the insight into the dynamic of their relationship instead of the banter then that might have helped it feel more real. Yes?

Posted by: donutsweeper (donutsweeper)
Posted at: July 10th, 2009 01:02 pm (UTC)

True, but there's a difference between coming to terms with it yourself and admitting it to your older sister. I kind of bought that. Sort of.

Posted by: I'm a walking doodle (mad_jaks)
Posted at: July 10th, 2009 01:45 pm (UTC)

There is, and if Part One had convinced me Ianto had come to terms with it himself I'd maybe have been happier about those scenes with his sister - but it hadn't. So they failed for me in a very major way.

Posted by: donutsweeper (donutsweeper)
Posted at: July 10th, 2009 01:47 pm (UTC)

Ah yes, good point. It definitely could have been done better.

Posted by: Smitty (aeshna_uk)
Posted at: July 10th, 2009 09:26 am (UTC)
TW: team 2009

I've always seen - and written - team!Torchwood as a continuum, constantly changing over time with Jack as a fixed point at its centre. So killing off main cast members doesn't phase me at all - I'd actually be a lot more annoyed if we still had all the 2006 cast around because that's just unrealistic given the life they lead! People go, others come in - that's just the nature of the game, and Lois or whoever will be just as much a part of the team as, say, Tosh was, or Gerald, or Emily, or Alex, etc.

So I actually quite like seeing that evolution in action. It's painful but it's necessary and it brings a harsh reality to Jack's long life that I love.

I never really took to Ianto as a character. He was always background on the show and I had to actively avoid him in fanfic because the fanon version swiftly adopted all the tropes I most hate. I couldn't write him to save my life but worked around him as I've got no interest in bashing. All that said, I found myself warming to him here (I think the introduction of his family really helped to give him some depth) and his death was genuinely touching, though no tears were shed. Looks like his demise will be used to spur the survivors into action from here on out and I wouldn't want to be the one to get in Jack's way....

Fandom will be upset for a while - we'll lose some and gain others - but as most of the non-fannish folks I know who like the show could barely remember his name, I don't see this causing any great outcry.

The Cabinet meeting - brilliantly written and utterly chilling. Of course that's what the school league tables are for! Though as someone who used to work in an Inner City sink school, I'm not sure I'd bet much on the soldiers winning a fight there....

I'm definitely warming to Johnson, who is very much girl!Jack. Too bad the TW slot for semi-psychotic heavily-armed bastard is already filled. ;)

And Lois! I adored that scene when she faces down the Cabinet, the nervous little hand raised, the slow gathering of confidence. And then the look of relief when she's asked "you and whose army?" because she has an answer for that, and from there on out there's no stopping her. Brilliant.

It's the little things that I love - Jack still thinking that twelve lives was acceptable (and Rhys agreeing with him!) but that the current situation is just going waaaay too far. The complete coincidence with the current 'flu outbreak. The echoing of "Uncle Jack", which could turn out to be unfortunate....

And just the fact that the ratings are excellent and people are talking about it, and not just in dedicated bits of the internet!

Man, I'm looking forward to the last part! :D

Posted by: jadesfire2808 (jadesfire)
Posted at: July 10th, 2009 01:17 pm (UTC)
Text - !!!!!! Sqeeeee

his death was genuinely touching, though no tears were shed.
Heh, see the footnote. I've been known to well up 5 minutes into programmes I've never seen before, so I tend not to take it too seriously any more ;)

Though as someone who used to work in an Inner City sink school, I'm not sure I'd bet much on the soldiers winning a fight there....
Like the spies on the estate? I loved that Rhiannon's first reaction was to grab the kids and run. Because you just know that the estate kids are going to be at one of those schools. Maybe they'll use the SUV for a safe getaway.

Lois' little speech was like a masterclass in character-transformation. The move from sheer terror to complete confidence was utterly believable, and she sold every second of that scene. As much as I adore Martha as a character, this woman is acting her socks off and doing such a superb job that I'm finding it hard to regret the loss.

The wide-spread coverage has been awesome, although not all positive and some of it has been startling unobservant (leaving the description of Jack's "trenchcoat" aside, there was one that had Rhys writing "Hub2" in florescent lights. I'm assuming the journalist was taking notes at that point...) it's at least *out there*. And I'm finally not embarrassed to tell people to watch a whole series because it's just that good.

6 3/4 hours to go. I'm going to have no nails left at this rate...

Posted by: Smitty (aeshna_uk)
Posted at: July 10th, 2009 02:54 pm (UTC)
Jack: gun

That SUV is still a dangling plot thread, isn't it? I'd like for them to pick that one back up (especially if the estate kids are now in the firing line) but it wouldn't much surprise me if the poor thing is burnt out on bricks somewhere....

I'm not convinced that Freema would have had the raw ability to pull off a scene like that one, much as I love her as Martha. Cush Jumbo as Lois... you could just see the moment the adrenaline kicked in and carried her through that speech, the confidence she gains as that one word just destroys the whole house of cards and suddenly they're all taking the temp seriously. She'll be a fantastic recruit if she can just survive to the end of the series!

Critics are rarely all that observant. ;) But the show has made a real impact with the wider public and is actually gaining viewers as the week goes on, which is pretty amazing (lost some on Tuesday to the Jacko stuff, but they were caught up and back by Wednesday!). Terrific stuff.

Posted by: donutsweeper (donutsweeper)
Posted at: July 10th, 2009 01:08 pm (UTC)

When Bad Guys+ break into the warehouse, was I the only one expecting Gwen and Clem not to be there?

*raises hand*

NOPE! (I was dithering back and forth as to if it were a set up by Torchwood and just what kind of set up, so I wasn't surprised they were though)

+And are we ever doing to find out who they are? This is starting to bug me...

ME TOO! It's on my list of unanswered questions that I'll be annoyed if there are no answer to. (Like where is the damn SUV)

There's a major meta in there somewhere about immortals and children. I know some shows deal with it by them not being able to have kids (Angel, Highlander, Forever Knight come to mind) but others have dealt with it (like New Amsterdam, which I doubt ever made it across the pond) and the fact Stephen knows him as Uncle Jack and why/why not Johnson, the gun toting chick commander woman, was surprised by that.

As for Ianto's death? I'm saddened by it, but not surprised. This is RTD after all and he loves building up characters and then throwing them away.

Posted by: jadesfire2808 (jadesfire)
Posted at: July 10th, 2009 01:22 pm (UTC)

*grin* You and me, eh? We clearly watch too much television.

I was all willing to believe Johnson's team were government sekkrit troops of some kind, then they talked about "our government source" which doesn't ring right. At the moment, I'm going for UNIT black ops, but I know I'm wrong on that front. Personally, I'm betting we're never told.

Ianto's death didn't feel like a throw-away to me. Maybe I'm more masochistic than I realise, but...there's a part of me that...I don't like them, but I really, really appreciate them, especially when we've been made to care about the character. Like the nice doctor whose name I keep forgetting (Rupesh?) As a writer, I like to look at it and go 'huh, neatly done', I think. You *have* to build up the character, so that their deaths matter. And this one SERIOUSLY mattered, even to someone who didn't really click with the character.

I always say that I'm not interested in happy endings, just the right endings, and this absolutely felt right for the story. Still intrigued to see where they go with it though. Which is probably the point ;)

Posted by: donutsweeper (donutsweeper)
Posted at: July 10th, 2009 01:26 pm (UTC)

Yeah, clarification over Johnson's troops would be nice. They can't be UNIT black ops, not if they carry out a kill order (the 'blank page') for the UK. (and remember the UNIT commander person still didn't know anything about the 1965 event until the aliens brought it up)

By throwing away characters I meant, RTD uses them and then shoves them off screen without so much as a by-your-leave. Martha, Donna, Owen and Tosh were all given dramatic exits, but exits nonetheless, so I wasn't as surprised as I could have been by Ianto's death.

Posted by: I'm a walking doodle (mad_jaks)
Posted at: July 10th, 2009 01:56 pm (UTC)

Rewatching Part One with eldest child this morning 2 things struck me about Jouhnson's team:

1) Rupesh had been building his back story as an 'in' for 'months' raising doubts that they were not actually there originally/directly because of the 456. (backed up by his 'what's made the plan change?' query before he gets shot).

But then I was sent back to my state of total bafflement when

2) Ianto's search for Timothy West/Clement put up a 'flag' on their system before the Blank Page order had even been issued.

Posted by: unfeathered (unfeathered)
Posted at: July 10th, 2009 08:04 pm (UTC)

When Bad Guys+ break into the warehouse, was I the only one expecting Gwen and Clem not to be there?

Oooh, I'd forgotten that, but yeah, I totally expected them to be in the wrong warehouse!

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