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Feb. 25th, 2008

Surprisingly the episode worked almost better for me on the second viewing; the discrepancy between the serious and the humorous elements (starting right in the beginning with Jack blundering around in the church, tripping over cans) which seemed a bit off the first time, works better when the shock about Owen's resurrection isn't so acute any more. And I realised that it probably wasn't the glove's fault that the second half rather failed to move me; it's more that everything we've seen earlier - Jack's incapability of dealing with losing Owen, Owen's anger and regret at his life being cut short, and his bravery in face of that, Toshiko's grief, Gwen sobbing into the phone, or even the kid with leukemia... all this illustrates so much more poignantly what death is about than a CGI skeleton wreathed in CGI smoke.

Jack, though...

He's really giving me whiplash this season -- when I'm not a bit in love with him myself, I keep thinking that this man should never be in a position with access to as much power and possibilities as Torchwood has. Except that anyone else would probably do just as badly, if not worse.

It's touching, no doubt about that. The scenes between Owen and Jack are all brilliant and extremely moving; even, or especially, the one in the cell. Admittedly Owen getting rid of the beer he'd drunk was is a bit gross (although him being so clinical about it really minimises that), but it's a logical consequence and really drives home the point about what happened to him, and what kind of existence Jack condemned him to in his hope for miracles; and the mood slips effortless into the darker and more personal. And Jack ruffling Owen's hair is just awfully cute.

And I guess it's a good thing that after all those years Jack hasn't become so jaded that he takes the violent death of one of his team in a stride...

But on the other hand... what he did here goes beyond irrational, heading towards the not so good kind of crazy.

Granted, in EoD everybody else had messed up because of love and the people they'd loved and lost, and before that, Ianto with Lisa ('Can you understand that, Jack? Haven't you ever loved anyone?'), but still, it's Jack. Who's supposed to be the boss; who's got about two lifetimes of experience on any of them. He should know better than trying to play Jesus (*) because he can't deal with someone dying on him. And it's nice that he wants to comfort Owen while he's dying, but bringing him back and making him die a second time for that purpose (and on the extreme off-chance that an unexpected something might happen) obviously makes it not so much about Owen, but very much about Jack. It really is it a lot more shocking when he does that kind of thing than people in their twenties or early thirties, who haven't been dealing with the alien, or the supernatural, for so long, or, on a purely human level, haven't had that much experience with life and loss.

After Meat and the Gwen/Rhys situation I speculated how it might become problematic for Jack to be in a relationship with someone he has to send into potentially life-threatening situations every day; 'problematic' was kind of an understatement, apparently.

The only way I can even remotely explain Jack's action is with the guilt of standing by while Owen gets shot, unable to save him almost immediately after he'd promised him he would, on top of the deep-seated and recently stirred up childhood trauma about losing his brother. Jack might have forgotten again on a conscious level, but the the whole thing is obviously very much alive in his subconsciousness.

What I'd have liked to see is more of an acknowledgment from Jack about how badly he'd fucked up here; because while Owen is aware of the consequences, even feeling guilty for something he has no reason to feel guilty about, because he's a victim here as much as anybody (and it's not he who should apologise to Martha, either), Jack, I think, right to the the end is stubbornly hoping for a miracle, and doesn't regret anything, not the people that died, not the kind of existence he condemned Owen to, as long as Owen's still there, walking and talking, and as long as there's still the tiniest chance for that miracle to happen.

More random thoughts...

* TW being TW I won't even hazard a guess as to what they're going to do with Owen. Is he going to be TW's Angel or Spike now, only with less immortality? The undead team-member is certainly an interesting development, but horribly unfair on Toshiko. If Owen had died, she'd at least have been able to eventually move on after having grieved; as it is, she'll probably be afraid and guilty that her feelings might change.

* Jack certainly isn't shy with the name-dropping this season; Isherwood, now Proust...

(*) And one of these days I'm going to put together a post about religious themes in DW and TW...

On an unrelated note, something that stuck me about the team's memories in Adam: they're all in chronological order, except Ianto's: he only really lost Lisa some time after he'd come to TW Cardiff, after all. The easy and probably likeliest explanation is that in this case they sacrificed or ignored the strict sequence in order to make the point about him overcoming his grief, and his feelings for Jack, but if it's not that, if it's to be taken literally, then 'losing Lisa' would mean the day she was half-turned during the battle of Canary Wharf, and it also would, despite all the grief and drama in Cyberwoman, throw a bit of a different light on Ianto's time in TW, because it would imply that it wasn't all about putting on an act only in order to save her.

Anyway, there must be a Ianto episode coming soon; so far there've been two episodes dealing mainly with Jack and his past, Sleeper, which seems to establish the enemy of the season that's probably going to come back for the finale, and one episode for Toshiko, Gwen and Owen each...


solitary summer

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