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Jul. 27th, 2009

A bit to my own surprise I found that a TW S4 actually makes me more happy than not.

Now I've no idea how that would even look like - location, cast, everything - or how one could bring Jack back to a place that has manifestly never been good for him and make sense of it; I'd definitely expect some changes, in the way TW works (a bit less of that hush-hush, retcon-happy, outside & beyond secrecy maybe?) as well as in Jack (maybe at least the realisation that while he wouldn't have been able to prevent Ianto's death, he could have made whatever time they did have better for him by being less wrapped up in his own issues) but on the balance I think I'd be happier with a changed TW, even a radically changed TW, than no TW at all. I'll reserve judgement until I see it.

I wasn't crying when Ianto died, just disbelieving and shocked and numb. Like I said before, I don't cry easily over tv. The tears started when the credits were rolling after the last episode, and I felt I'd lost not only Ianto, but Jack, the show, everything.

I didn't quite realise it before, but yesterday it occurred to me that there is a part of me needs to see this fixed - canonically, on screen - at least to a certain extent. Sadly I'm a 1) a canon whore and 2) a person with no imagination whatsoever, so fanfiction doesn't do it for me; which is why the Face of Boe twist made me so happy, because it gave me canonical proof that Jack would eventually find peace. And there has to be some fixing done in S4, because even RTD should be incapable to top the level of sheer misery and all-encompassing depression of S3. So things are bound to finally get a bit better, right? Right?! Or am I already setting myself up for more pain?

I guess it helps a bit that I was never that much of a Ianto (or GDL, at that) fan; I loved the show for the stories and ideas, and I have a probably not quite healthy fascination with relationships that can survive and forgive betrayal and gun pointing and be the stronger for it. Angel and Wesley. For a while Dylan and Tyr on Andromeda. I don't think I would have been more than just mildly interested in Jack/Ianto if not for Cyberwoman and Ianto's backstory.

But the character that kept intriguing me, even when I felt ambivalent about him and occasionally even disliked him, was Jack. 'Identified with' is clearly laughable, but one of the things where I connect to Jack as a character is his constant struggle to find some meaning and joy in a life he can't escape.

Part of me needs to see Jack come back from what happened in CoE.

Sad & pathetic, TMI, and I should learn to keep my fanish ramblings apart from my personal issues in my lj-entries? I guess so.


A TW completely without Jack? I can see even less how that'd work, especially with Gwen busy with a baby, and the thought already makes me unhappy all over again, after I'd just started to feel a bit easier about it all after the news about S4 yesterday. But honestly? I'm still going to watch it. Even if it has Martha in it. (Obligatory disclaimer: I always liked her on DW, but she's simply too sensible and wholesome for TW. Donna is the only New Who companion who just might fit in.)

I want to see how Gwen and Rhys and the baby work out. I want at least someone to be moderately happy on that damned show. No one will kill the baby, right? Right?!



( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 27th, 2009 10:05 am (UTC)
It's good to hear that you're OK with a S4, and although my initial reaction was 'oh, smeg' I certainly understand what you mean about wanting to see how the situation with Jack plays out -- quite by coincidence, UK TV played the episode where the Face of Boe died just before CoE aired, and after the initial grief over Ianto was past, it gave me an odd sort of comfort.

Myself, I suspect it'll be an entirely new TW, set in the US, and we won't see Jack or any of the old crew. But we shall see.
Jul. 27th, 2009 10:17 am (UTC)
I'm clinging to the fact that it apparently still does remain a BBC thing? The one thing I'm not sure I'd watch is the equivalent of QaF:US, that'd mess with the fourth wall so much it'd make my brain hurt.
Jul. 27th, 2009 10:48 am (UTC)
I'd say it's a BBC thing but whether it's a BBC Wales or a BBC-A remains to be seen.

Unless I've missed anything (ended up taking an involuntary nana-nap this afternoon) there's been an announcement from Comic-con, but not an official one. And there's been no word as to who will be in it or where it'll be made.

We shall see.
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 27th, 2009 10:31 am (UTC)
I can totally understand that that reaction. *hugs* What makes me so sad and angry about this whole mess is not even so much Ianto's death as such, but that it hurt so many people so badly. There's so much pain and anger and hatred everywhere now, I really have a hard time dealing with that, especially as I seem to saying and thinking all the wrong things once again.

I've already said that that to rivier in a comment today, if you'd rather not have any TW posts by me on your friendlist, I'd understand if you'd want defriend me. The last thing I want is make things worse for anyone.
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 27th, 2009 12:02 pm (UTC)
No need to apologise - really. :) No bludgeoning was happening, and I'm always interested in others' opinions on my posts, no matter what they are. (Oh, all right - unless it's the fpb style of having an argument. It kind of stops there.)

And my comment wasn't supposed to be some kind of passive-aggressive flounce in reverse, I've just been feeling so genuinely uneasy about the whole situation for most of last week, mostly since I'm horrible with dealing with conflict of any kind, that I wanted to clarify that.

Edited at 2009-07-27 12:05 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 27th, 2009 12:41 pm (UTC)
Again, not a problem - emotions are running high now with everyone; I'd just hate losing people over a difference in fanish opinions, and for the last week I've been increasingly afraid that would happen.

And 'like' might already be overstating the case, especially after S1, where I'll admit I did harbour a tiny bit of a crush. *sigh* It's complicated. I know Jack is a very ambiguous character, and I completely understand people disliking him. In fact I suspect I've already spent way too much time rationalising his darker sides...
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 27th, 2009 08:11 pm (UTC)
Oh, definitely. I would expect to see some change/impact.

And, god, I'm sitting on my fingers not to get into a wanky discussion with someone I don't know at all who just compared Jack/Ianto to a stereotypical yaoi relationship. I thought we finally got of the emo!Ianto stereotype in S2, but apparently not. *facepalm*
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 27th, 2009 10:16 pm (UTC)
Hm, I really have to rewatch it now, but I didn't think so at the time.

I think The Dead Line established how scary actually talking about his feelings and this thing they were having still was for Ianto compared to simply sleeping with Jack, so I thought that he felt finally secure enough in himself and their relationship to start asking questions, talking about his expectations, and generally pushing a little, was a good thing and actually counted as progress. Brave, too. And they couldn't have gone on for much longer like they did for the past one and a half season, navigating the whole non-relationship with sex, snark, and stoicism, never once talking about anything. I thought that was the cruellest part - that they'd actually laid the foundations for finally turning it into a genuine relationship, the masks coming off a bit, actually confronting the issue of Jack's immortality and deciding to make the most of what they had regardless, since they couldn't change it, when it was so brutally cut off.

It didn't seem out of character to me, just a necessary development, if this was going to be something more - and Jack was willing to try.

Edited at 2009-07-27 10:35 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 28th, 2009 06:43 pm (UTC)
[Sorry this got so long; sadly I have the unfortunate habit to become incredibly rambly where TW is concerned. Please feel free to ignore and/or discontinue this whenever you feel like it. :) ]

I think it was a whole different game last season. Not to say it was all about sex, but maybe rather that officially it was all about sex? Or maybe more precisely Torchwood/work and sex, at least mostly, and the other part was carefully not addressed or even acknowledged for as long as humanly possible. And that was so much easier for Ianto to handle; so much easier to be assertive about, because he could be reasonably sure that Jack was both sexually attracted to him and appreciated his help in keeping Torchwood running. He only ever asks if Jack is going to leave again, and if he'd rather be somewhere else, because these are things he needs to know, and in both instances those questions are carefully asked in a way that isn't risking outright, personal rejection. It seems straightforward, but it's a bit of the same probing and dancing around the real issue as with the 'couple' thing in 3.01.

In CoE it's officially becoming more than just that, and they both know it; even Jack, who still thinks it's a bad idea. And the stakes are suddenly a lot higher, the risks are greater. The emotions are scary, and actually talking about them is even scarier for Ianto. This really does seem to be a thing of perception, because tencrush posted something very much like what you're saying yesterday, so I fully admit that I may be wrong here, but personally I understand being insecure and scared, and I don't think it makes him weak.

And I didn't understand why he was so upset over Jack handing the children over either - it's not as though he hasn't lived through Jack doing worse things and taken it in stride.

For me this was the only time in three seasons of TW where I thought it was unambiguously canonically acknowledged that what Jack had done there, or had helped doing, was wrong. No shades of grey, no qualifications, no unresolveable moral dilemmas, no unlucky circumstances. Just wrong. Ianto called him on it, and Jack actually listened and tried to make it right this time.

And I do think it was the worst thing that we've seen Jack do so far. I pretty much sat there, mouth open, and thought, wow, that's a whole new level of fucked up. And what does it say about him that he was the first choice for this task - because they knew he wouldn't care? Dear God. Correct me if I'm wrong, but everyone else who got on the bad side of Jack was - or turned out to be - a genuine threat. And the girl in Small Worlds at least more or less knew what was going to happen and wanted to go.

He just seemed so much more hero worshiping this time, rather than someone who has been willing and capable in the past to manipulate and play Jack for his own ends.

I think that's the point, though - that now it's about emotional honesty, about being able to address things directly - like telling Jack to his face that he'd fucked up badly. IMO it's like with Gwen and Rhys, when she finally made the decision not to retcon and continue lying to him in Meat, because she knew that their marriage would be a sham otherwise. I would hope that a partner in a romantic relationship wouldn't be willing to manipulate me, even if they were capable of it and had done it before - especially if they've done it before.
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 29th, 2009 09:44 pm (UTC)
I'll really have to rewatch it all now before I reply again, because I have to admit I didn't see any of that, or maybe more precisely, I didn't interpret it this way. IMO after the big explosion in Cyberwoman both of them were always holding back so much that sometimes it didn't look like a real relationship at all. All that control seemed almost unnatural sometimes. What I liked in S3 was that it suddenly became just that - real. Slowly, painfully, messily real. Talking to family about it. Actually talking about it all to each other. Fighting. Being emotional about it. More close up and personal, without the distance that was always there in the first two seasons.

And they had as far as I saw it, already come a very long way from it all being about sex.

They always were a better couple than either of them wanted to admit.

he's doing it in order to save the millions of lives that would otherwise have been lost to the flu virus.

The thing is though - that's entirely uncertain. It might have been an empty threat. It might have been testing the waters. I'm not sure I remember correctly, but they never even put it to the test, they just complied. I believe that as far as authorial intent goes, the moral of CoE was that there are some compromises you don't make, some lines that you don't cross - like handing over helpless children who have no choice in the matter for aliens to do God knows what with them; that the price of appeasement policy sometimes is too high. That sometimes morals are more important than hypothetical numbers. Or else Ianto's '[You could have] stood up to them,' makes no sense whatsoever and his death is really kind of meaningless. I think that point is driven home by the 456's insistence that the people of Earth would give in again, because they'd given in before.

In fact it's exactly the same decision he makes at the end of this one - to sacrifice Stephen to save the other children.

There is a difference IMO. The first time it was children that now one would miss, no one would care about or fight for; the weakest of the weak. When Jack decided to kill Stephen, he knew exactly what it'd cost him, every bit of it. Not just his grandson's life, but whatever relationship he might have had with his daughter, and quite possibly Gwen's (and Martha's) friendship. And he did it knowing that the situation only got this bad because he'd helped to bring it about and that now it was his responsibility that no more children would die. The first time he had a choice, the second time he had an obligation. And from a narrative POV there was no other child he could have sacrificed to accomplish that.
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 2nd, 2009 08:23 am (UTC)
Their worth resides within themselves, not within their relationships.

That's what I completely agree with, which is why IMO it somewhat... 'redeems' is maybe already too strong and positive a word, considering the complete fucked-up-ness of the situation and the monstrosity of what he does, but in a way saves Jack as a fictional character and makes him more tragic in the end than flat out evil, because he at least doesn't make that kind of value judgement the second time, like all those other people sitting around the table, immediately and without much of an apparent conflict of conscience offering up first refugee children and then the under-privileged, socially disadvantaged, 'useless' children. And I think we can make an educated guess that in many countries a lot of racial profiling would have gone into these decisions, too. The paradox of course is that as utterly morally despicable as this is, their instinctive wish to do everything to protect their own children also makes them, in a way, more human, whereas the fact that Jack was actually able to kill his grandson, even if he knew what it'd cost him and that once again there would be no easy way out for him and he'd have to, somehow, go on living with that; even it was for all the right reasons - maybe because it was for all the right reasons - once again emphasised that there's something that sets him apart from humanity. Like Gwen said in 1.02, 'You've lost what it means to be human.' Gwen has been ridiculed for her 'humanity' so often in fandom, but I think there's a core of truth in that. It's not so much a question/statement of morality, but the recognition of some fundamental detachment in Jack.

At that moment I remember thinking that even if Ianto wasn't dead, if they brought him back in the last five minutes or so, there was no way their relationship would survive that, because how could you go on sleeping with someone who's able to do something like that? If I think rationally about it now, I'm maybe not so sure, because if Ianto could forgive what happened to Lisa and still fall/remain in love with Jack, maybe he would have been able to recognise the necessity and forgive that, too, but the thought was there...

Edited at 2009-08-02 08:29 am (UTC)
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )


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