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Wherein solitary_summer still has too much free time and no life whatsoever.

1.03 Ghost Machine

# The thing with the spray in ep.1 was (although apparently unintentionally?) a bit nasty and gave Owen something of a bad start, but it's significant that Owen is the only one totally disinterested in the technobabble and the wonderfulness of the quantumwhatsit thingy, but immediately obsessed with finding the murderer. And in the end rushes to perform CPR on a person he wanted to kill only moments ago, because that's his duty as a doctor.

# Teaching Gwen to shoot.

I admit I still kind of love that scene; it's fun, it's erotic, they have great chemistry and are so clearly enjoying themselves (and Gwen? still adorable), and as much as I ship Jack/Ianto, they could have totally made me love Jack/Gwen, if they'd taken another route than the overused unrequited love one. But OTOH... Now, even from a viewer's perspective it's easy to get seduced by Jack, because he's Jack and has a way of doing this kind of thing without coming off as sleazy, but if you stop to think about it -- what kind of a game is he playing there, with himself, and with her? Is he actually trying to seduce Gwen? Testing her reaction? Just having fun? But when Gwen gives him a perfect opening with "Doesn't it get lonely at night?", his face freezes and his eyes grow very distant, and nothing, until she says she'd better be going home to her boyfriend. Sadness, and "Good night".

# "We're surrounded by 'em. We can't see 'em, we can't touch 'em ... but they're there, all right. A million shadows of human emotion. We've just got to learn to live with them."

That's a bit grisly considering how chock full of ghosts TW must be for Jack.

# I'm aware that this is more speculation and fanfic writing without the actual fanfic than analysis, but between Fragments and this episode I was kind of wondering what might have happened if Jack had pushed the borders with Ianto like he did with Gwen in the shooting range. And he would probably have done something like that, not the least because there was a sexual spark to begin with and Ianto had given him much more reason to try, and perhaps also with a little more intent, because he'd have been curious about how much of what Ianto had said and done to get into TW was an act, and what was behind the facade.

Of course Ianto might very well have found a way to tactfully smack him down, sexual relations in the workplace are really not appropriate, Sir. On the other hand, it must have taken time for him to move Lisa into TW, and he can't have felt his position was a very secure one before he found ways to make himself indispensable. That he took the sexual approach from the start suggests to me that he'd have taken into account that he might have to do more than flirt; what he hadn't calculated on and what must have made things a lot more difficult was that this might turn out to be something he'd actually want to do. I'm not arguing they had anything like a regular sexual relationship before CW, but if, say, Jack caught Ianto in the right/wrong moment and if Ianto wanted to justify this to himself, thinking he was doing it to protect Lisa and it didn't really mean anything would have been a better reason than any I can come up with post-CW.

I know I'm already well between canon and personal fanon here in ways I'm not entirely comfortable with, but psychologically it just makes more sense to me than Ianto suddenly deciding he wanted to sleep with Jack after Lisa's death. Or, more precisely, I could maybe see that, but not Jack wanting someone in his bed who it must look like was being driven there by a mixture of guilt, grief and a bunch of other issues.

# Gratuitous picture spam, because I've finally figured out how to screencap playing the DVD on the actual DVD player rather than the VLC player that doesn't have a frame-by-frame option. :)

Throughout that scene Ianto is the only one standing on Jack's side of the desk. At first on Jack's left, pouring drinks for himself and Owen, then, passing Owen his drink crosses the room and returns to Jack's side.Takes a sip, puts his glass down on the desk, and when Jack passes him the device, finishes his drink and puts the glass on the desk again before putting it away. Very comfortable, very much at home.

Not actually trying to prove anything here, but fingers touching! :)

1.04 Cyberwoman

# Ianto and Lisa after she killed Dr. Tanizaki

At first there is of course shock ("What have you done?! You've killed an innocent man!"), but it's fascinating and even a bit chilling how fast he snaps out of it and starts looking at the situation form the perspective of the consequences for them, the fear of being discovered ("It's not all right! They're gonna come looking for me in a minute. If they see the body, if they find out what we've been doing ...").

But when Lisa says, "I can deal with them", he yells at her, angrily, perhaps also frightened, "Don't you go near them!". He's clearly not unaware of the danger she poses, as well as protective of the people he used and deceived.

Then he tries to rationalise what she did ("You didn't mean to do this."), but ends up getting angry with her again, shouting, "You've ruined everything now!", and physically shoving her away. Not horror, not guilt, but genuine anger for bringing down everything he worked so hard for ("How hard have we had to work to keep you alive? And now you do this.").

"This can't happen again. if you harm anyone else, I'll--" And of course it's an empty threat, because he loves her and can't imagine hurting or killing her, and that's essentially what it would come down to, because what else can he do with her, or to her, at this point? And of course Lisa calls his bluff and he has no answer for her, but the scene clearly shows that on some level he's aware that she is not safe and not quite his Lisa, and that his loyalties are not as undivided as it looks like for the rest of the episode. Then he pushes those thoughts and doubts aside again ("I'll hide the body. Everything's going to be okay") even if part of him must know that things are never going to be okay again.

(This goes beyond canon, and I doubt either the writers or producers have given it a thought, but what I think would be interesting to speculate about is how much indication Lisa has given Ianto before that she wasn't altogether human anymore on a more than physical level. She told him how to transform the cyberconversion unit, which I think proves that her brain had been changed too, and not only her body, or she wouldn't have been familiar with the technology; how often did she slip and say something that he put down to medication, pain, stress, or trauma?)

I think part of Ianto knew that this was a lost cause, and maybe that's why he fought so hard, because if he ever admitted this to himself, he'd lose everything he'd salvaged of his life after the fall of TW London and be left with nothing at all.

And when confronted with Jack, whether Jack is threatening him or trying to reason, he can't allow himself to admit any of those doubts, but instead lashes out, blaming Jack for being heartless, for not caring enough, and doesn't budge a fraction of an inch even with a gun pointed at his head. Love for Lisa, certainly, but I think what also plays into it is that the last person to whom he can admit having doubts about her or the rightness of what he's doing is the man who almost from the moment they met triggered all kinds of conflicting emotions in him he couldn't permit himself to feel and who probably most threatened his undivided loyalty to his suffering girlfriend, and that makes it a question of duty and honour, and impossible for him to back down at any point.

# Jack and Ianto.

In both confrontations Ianto isn't afraid to get personal at all, bringing up his dissatisfaction with his relationship with Jack, whatever that might have been, complete with the implication that he'd have wanted things to be different between them, which I think would have been news to Jack; the question about whether Jack ever loved anyone, his insults. He knows how to hit Jack where it really hurts, and how to get under his skin, and that he does this purely by instinct I think shows how well he got to know him by then. Even his constant insistence that Jack could have saved Lisa, but wouldn't -- rationally Jack would have known that it was impossible, and irresponsible to even risk trying, but after S2 I wonder if that hadn't struck a chord, too.

By contrast, Jack, who in the end loses control more completely than we've seen him lose it before or since, and there's a moment at the end of "I'm giving you ten minutes. Then we're coming in." where his voice hitches and I think he's not very far away from tears of rage himself, does not once admit a personal hurt or betrayal verbally. It's 'we', 'us', 'the team', except for the revealing "See, you disobey me now ... I really will shoot you", when he doesn't even acknowledge Gwen trying to hold him back, and snarls "I don't need your opinion" at Toshiko with barely suppressed in rage. It's only Jack's "You hid yourself from us", which perhaps hints at his hurt, and also maybe lets slip the fact that he wasn't entirely disinterested in the person he'd thought he'd known. And I think that's remarkable considering how personal the conflict between them is and how much Jack does care. He wants Ianto to see reason, he wants Ianto on his side, he wants Ianto to decide, even if by the end it's become so much a battle of wills that he uses a gun to force this decision, willing to settle for obedience if he can't have loyalty, and goes from dangerous and coldly threatening to completely losing it with each further refusal. It's 'her or us', but I think it wouldn't be going too far saying that there's a strong undercurrent of 'her or me', and in the end part of what makes him so furious is that Ianto chooses Lisa every time while throwing it into Jack's face that he wants to see him dead.

But despite all that, the interesting thing is that there are moments that reveal Ianto's underlying almost irrational faith in Jack. "Jack, help her." "Go and help her. You can do that. " "Have some fucking mercy!" "You could have saved her."

"You'll kill her," and that's almost disbelieving, like it only now strikes home. Essentially Ianto still trusts Jack to be able to solve the problem, to be able to fix things, which I think is saying a lot about his general opinion of Jack. Jack doesn't go about self-advertising himself as a hero. He certainly wants to be one, but with his history and the guilt he carries around I think he's self-aware enough of his failings. I think it's Ianto who during the time he spent in TW had started to think of Jack as a hero, and there's a lot of his personal disappointment behind the 'biggest monster of all' insult.

# The Kiss.

I finally gave in and bought the DVD set with the commentary, and what completely baffles me is the Jack/Ianto kiss is throughout referred to as a kiss/snogging, not some weird ersatz CPR energy transference thing sort of like with Carys, which I always thought was pretty much the only reasonable explanation for it being there at all, especially assuming that there had been nothing going on between them before.

And Fragments makes this only more complicated. I must admit I'm going back and forth a bit on how much of the back-story revealed there was already present in CW; after watching Fr. I was pretty sure it was, after rewatching CW not so much. Because if there's been this unspoken attraction between them for half a year or more, this is the moment where Jack suddenly decided to act upon it? That's weird, and a bit iffy, and even more uncomfortable if he'd tried before, and I think he would have, and Ianto had brushed him off all that time. It'd make a whole lot more sense to me if they'd at least have kissed before.

But even if we assume it's a - very odd - first kiss, for Jack even wanting to kiss Ianto at this moment (rather than, say, slap him a little harder, pour water over his face, or perform actually CPR if that was what was warranted), in the midst of this whole disaster, and it's not a mutual, adrenaline fueled thing like Gwen and Owen either, he must have been pretty fond of him before. And even Gwen asks, "What the hell was that?", and she was at least conscious and kissing back, whereas Ianto is still relatively comfortable in Jack's arms some 40 seconds later when Owen stabs Lisa and only then scrambles up.

Then again, maybe someone just thought it was a good idea to have a kiss there, never mind whether it makes a lot of sense or not.

Or maybe I'm stupid and have missed something crucial?

# It's not that Ianto doesn't apologise.

"This is my fault. I'm responsible for this." and "I'm sorry." to Dr. Tanizaki's dead body.
"I'm sorry. I'm really sorry", to Gwen, and clearly addressed to her, not Jack. Not even said in the general direction of both of them.
Again, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry", in the end when he thinks he's going to shoot what's left of Lisa; sorry for her, for the pizza girl, for himself, for the whole horrible situation.

It's Jack (who actually does apologise for killing Lisa, or trying to) who still get a defiant, accusatory glare two episodes later.

# "But you didn't", I never really noticed before, but the way Jack emphasises that the second time -- Is that simply stating a fact, praise for Gwen's loyalty, or at least partly also admiration for Ianto's stubbornness (with the possible implication that if she'd thought that was the right thing to do, she should have done it and taken the risk, rather than what-if-ing about it later), considering that Ianto is both still alive and still working for TW?

# Obligatory picture spam.

"Haven't you ever loved anyone?"


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 27th, 2008 01:51 am (UTC)
Very good analysis. I really enjoy reading these and I hope you keep it up. I just recently bought Season 1 myself, and I've just gone through all the extras and the episodes with the commentary. I'm gonna start to watch the whole season again, without the commentary so hopefully I can catch up to where you are and we can discuss the whatever ep you're on.
Have you watched the episodes with the commentary? I don't usually like to do that, but I find I'm just fascinated by whoever's doing the talking on that particular episode. I would think I wouldn't be interested unless it was that actors speaking but I love hearing what Richard Stokes and Chris Chibnall particularly, had in mind for each episode. And even just hearing their voices, you can tell how much they all enjoy working with one another. Sorry for the rambling post.
Apr. 27th, 2008 12:30 pm (UTC)
Thank you, glad you like it! :)

I haven't really watched the episodes with the commentaries on yet, mostly because I want to write down my impression first and then compare it to the official version, but in this case I was really interested.

And even just hearing their voices, you can tell how much they all enjoy working with one another.

That's what I thought today when I read a couple of reports from The Rift. They really seem to be ridiculously nice and fond of each other, which probably shouldn't please me as much as it does...
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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