As you might imagine, this week has been a bit of a drain on my trivia supplies, so instead, here is a delightful medieval drawing of an elephant. If you're curious to know what the heck is meant to be happening in the picture, it's explained over here, but I think its charm speaks for itself even if you don't know the backstory.
And now Torchwood. Here are my thoughts on Children of Earth: Day Five:
- Regular readers may remember that I posted a poll a couple of weeks ago, asking people to predict what Children Of Earth would be like. Of the available options, it is notable that a very popular choice was "pretty good until the ending, which will make me want to chuck the TV through the window".
Tonight, my desire to chuck the TV through the window was tempered only by the weight of my telly, the modest size of the living room window, and the fact that there was a repeat of Heroes on the Sci-Fi Channel. So instead, I simply heaved a deep sigh and rolled my eyes as theatrically as possible, while repeating the mantra: "Is that the best you can do, Russell? Is that the best you can do?"
He really never has been any good at endings, has he.
- As far as the portrayal of Jack in this episode is concerned, I think a picture may be worth a thousand words.
Blatant Freudian symbolism never lies, viewers. Jack really is a huge dick.
Was the whole point of this episode to have everyone hate Jack's guts so much that they never want to see him again? What riled me most is that Jack is meant to be a Hero (TM), yet he didn't bloody DO anything. He just stood there passively, while the world made horrible decisions around him. I thought he might jump in and somehow channel the wave himself or something, but no. He just stood there with tears in his eyes, waiting for the script to offer him another option, one that would stop him from looking like an enormous tool, and it never came.
The Doctor somehow would have found another solution, because that's the nature of his show. But as Gwen's speech to camera pointed out so blatantly, this ain't Doctor Who. Torchwood is supposed to be different, darker, with no happy endings. But an ending can be dark and unhappy and but still satisfying. This was not. And although the death of a child is Obviously Terrible, Stephen wasn't even a proper character, not one we really got to know or care about: he was just a sort of cypher -- for innocence, for family, for everything Jack fucks up whenever he has a chance. It was a form of insta-angst. Just add nosebleed.
I thought the idea was supposed to be that Captain Jack was once a jerk, but the Doctor made him a better man. But over the years, he just keeps swinging back towards jerkdom with such tedious regularity that you wonder if he ever learned anything, or if every magical resurrection wipes his character development back to square one every time. This doesn't make for great drama. Your hero can learn a lesson, or fail to learn it, but Jack never WILL learn it, because the plot keeps requiring utter jerkdom. Is the Doctor meant to keep popping back every century or so to give him a lecture and keep him on the path of righteousness? Will Jack ever be any fun again? Has almost every iota of what made Jack an appealing character in the first place now been drained from him? Will we ever find out? And where did I put the gin bottle?
- So no, Ianto did not reappear, influence anybody or anything (other than make his still-lovely sister sad). The only development was that Ianto had been lying about himself all along to hide his very ordinary background, which makes him sound even more ineptly lonely than he was before. Great. Now I'm even LESS cheerful.
- The end of the Frobisher family? Good grief, that was the grimmest thing in an episode full of grim.
- Kudos for the episode goes to Bridget, who really stepped up the mark when it counted. Shame that Evil Prime Minister is apparently about to be replaced by Evil Classist Cabinet Lady (© sabra_n), who is just as bad as him, if not worse.
- Sad that the admirable Lois mostly vanished from the plot because Bridget took on her spying role. It would have been nice to hear a hint about what happened to her. Maybe she and Gwen can set up a Heroic Intergalactic Ladies Detective Agency -- H.I.L.D.A. for short. Their first case: track down Myfanwy the pterodactyl while Rhys minds the baby. It could run and run...
- I noted some potential for Plainly Evil Assassin Lady/Alice shipping, if anyone cares at this stage.
- A small yay for PC Andy and his belated attempt to throw off the shackles of the oppressive state and fight the power. You go, man.
- Rhys and Gwen remained sterling to the end, the sole note of constancy in a show that's otherwise been shaken to shreds. Bless 'em.
- So the wrist-strap survives! And now it's been reloaded with a Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy app of its very own.
- And so, it would seem that this is goodbye to Torchwood. I've been up, I've been down, I've been all points in between, and that's all in one week. I'm a bit peeved and disgruntled now, but in time I'll look back and remember the good bits. And the sexy bits. And the funny bits, even if they weren't all intentional.
In the multifaceted words of that great Welsh philosopher Vinnie Jones, it's been emotional.