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So, I did watch it, and I don't feel blah about it. (Thank God.) On the plus side, I love the premise of the story; it's absolutely fascinating and I have no doubt at all that the eventual pay-off will be worth it. (Also, it's always nice to get a little validation, especially since so much of the time I feel completely out of place in TW fandom, to the point where I'm occasionally wondering if I'm delusional and reading the stories entirely wrong, since so much of this fandom is about sex first and foremost. Being a mostly asexual TW fan can be a bit weird. But looking at the premise of MD I think it's impossible to deny that there is a red thread running from Suzie and her resurrection glove in Everything Changes to the 456 and the children that 'live forever' to MD.)

On the other hand, what IMO didn't work so well (yet) was the transition/synthesis between the UK parts and US parts of the story; there's an old school TW quirkiness and humour in Gwen's story that is almost entirely missing from the rather more generic American storylines and characters. I guess we'll have to see how that develops. There's also a bit too much exposition for my taste, but that was to be expected under these circumstances. It's probably unfair to compare the episode to CoE's Day One, since The New World is clearly laying the groundwork for a more complicated story and has to introduce the old characters to a new audience, as well as combine the old setting with the new, but IMO the writing in Day One is definitely superior.

On the whole I've always been in the camp of 'better American TW than no TW at all', but I've got to say, the UK parts of the story made me really miss British TW. Everything with Gwen and Rhys and the baby, Gwen telling her stories about aliens while she feeds her, the pink ear-muffs, Gwen's parents... I just love it, and there are so many little touches, shades of emotions and humour that are missing almost entirely from the American characters. I can't say I feel much of a connection to them yet, which is unusual for a story written by RTD, and what I chiefly noticed were those ridiculously impractical high heels that Esther and the doctor wore. Maybe the American writers are going to make a difference when it comes to the characterisation of the American characters?

A lot of Jack's characterisation in this episode was also a bit too much exposition/repetition, but on the whole I thought it wasn't handled too badly; Jack climbing the fire ladder, living in that abandoned apartment, the sense of loneliness and isolation the scene created, especially right after we saw Gwen and her family in the hospital... Also, Jack borrowing yet another dead man's name, in this case Owen's. That was touching and haunting and very... Jack.


The interesting question of course is, what will happen to Jack when 'miracle day' is finally going to be finally reversed. I may be wrong, but I don't think RTD is going to permanently make Jack mortal, because there's just too much potential in the immortality storyline; too much of what TW is is tied up in Jack's immortality. It'd mean taking away what gives Jack depth as a character, it would sever the connection with the Who-verse... I may be wrong, but I don't think that's going to happen. (And JB is already talking about filming the next season if MD does well, so Jack isn't going to die either.)

CoE explored the tragedy of Jack's immortality, and in the end left him in an uncharacteristically introspective mood, ready for change, but his only solution and attempt to achieve that was to physically leave this world and his old life behind. MD will offer him a different kind of opportunity, giving him time to think about what it means to be 'normal' and human again, and if I'm going to speculate, I think in the end there's going to be, at least on some level, a choice for him, the choice Rose never gave him, and one way or the other he's going to chose the immortality this time. Seeing as this is TW, it'd probably still be tragic and depressing, but there'd be a measure of choice and acceptance, whether it's Jack realising that he really can help humanity that way, or realising that there is also beauty in life, and that, whatever the downsides, there are also advantages, like the doctor telling Rex that he should consider himself lucky, since without 'miracle day' he'd already be dead. In TW Jack's heroism has always been to live, not to die, and I think the end of MD might be along these lines as well.


Or not, obviously. Maybe Jack is going to be turned immortal again against his will in the end, or it'll come down to either Jack becoming immortal again or the entire world remaining undead, and Jack will of course sacrifice himself, and the whole thing will be a full-scale tragedy all over again. But CoE broke Jack so thoroughly that it's impossible to top that and pointless to repeat; I'd love to see a different story, a little character growth, and for Jack to find at least a certain amount of peace.


Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
tigercheetah
Jul. 10th, 2011 11:06 am (UTC)
If there's one thing I'd love to see in MD, it's Jack contemplating whether to die perminantly whilst he's got the chance, to end millions of years worth of losing friends and lovers and millions of years worth of physical pain from constantly dying and coming back to life again. It would take Jack into dark territory indeed.

Of course, Jack might not be able to die perminantly even if he chose to but I'd still like to see the subject come up, even though I'm sure Jack will be more at peace with himself by the end of the story.
solitary_summer
Jul. 10th, 2011 01:31 pm (UTC)
I agree, and I think it'll come up. Even in Utopia Jack sort of admitted that he'd wanted to die, and after CoE... I don't see how they can not address this, if Jack is really mortal now, and not just undying like everyone else. It'd be the first time since his resurrection that he'd finally have a choice in this, so I think it's bound to be some sort of plot-point.

even though I'm sure Jack will be more at peace with himself by the end of the story

I can't say I'm sure, this being RTD and everything, but I certainly do hope that will happen.
topaz_eyes
Jul. 10th, 2011 06:00 pm (UTC)
Maybe the American writers are going to make a difference when it comes to the characterisation of the American characters?

RTD snagged some impressive writers for MD. Jane Espenson, Doris Egan and John Shiban are all brilliant. (I know Doris Egan's work from House--she's "St. Doris" to House/Wilson shippers. She's tightropegirl on LJ.) And John Fay's back from CoE.

looking at the premise of MD I think it's impossible to deny that there is a red thread running from Suzie and her resurrection glove in Everything Changes to the 456 and the children that 'live forever' to MD.)

I think of your sublime essay on mortality in Torchwood and Doctor Who, and good heavens, Miracle Day is a veritable feast on the topic. Thematically it's seamless, too. It's like what happened to Owen has happened on a worldwide scale, but melded with Jack's immortality. It seems like there's even shades of the Nanytes from "The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances."

(TBH I can't help but wonder if Jack's involved in the miracle. He sounded surprised, but possibly a little relieved, too, when he told Gwen he was mortal. Now that would be interesting, if he found a way to cast off his immortality but it backfired...)

I don't know why reviewers called the first episode slow. I was riveted to the screen. There's definitely the disconnect in the American vs. Welsh styles. I'd love to see them meld into a hybrid over the series. I love how MD's working on 2 levels, for the old and the new fans.
(Deleted comment)
tigercheetah
Jul. 14th, 2011 09:14 am (UTC)
I don't know whether you listen to the Torchwood radio plays or not on Radio 4 but yesterdays play 'House of the Dead' was like a second-goodbye to Ianto and Jack/Ianto, with Gwen being kept firmly in the background and several twisty/shocky moments that made even non-Jack/Ianto fans emotional.

It's caused many fans to feel slightly better about Jack moving on in MD, as it feels like they were given the ending that COE didn't give them.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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