Touch Wood: Yes, we can haz bananas
a fannish love-in of Torchwood S3 by cupidsbow
So, it's been an action-packed twenty four hours in Torchwood fandom! Forget about those radio play thingies and all that canon malarky. Dudes! ask_captainjack and the rest of the Askverse have unmasked!
That is so classy. I've had so many laughs from the good captain's advice column, which totally shot my problems in the face, and I didn't think it could rise to crackier heights, really. But Ianto stole my heart with the wedding post, and then further seduced me with the LOL-off with the Master. God, go read them both! I'm laughing again just thinking about them. And then, as if that wasn't enough, Janet appeared! Writing poetry! You've never experienced poetry until you've tried weevil verse. Hahaha.
If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you can catch up on most of the highlights of the Askverse by clicking on Ianto's weekly log tag.
I am going to miss them all so much. The Askverse has been one of the most joyful fannish moments it's ever been my pleasure to share. Thank goodness there is new canon, or I would be distraught.
*is a little distraught anyway*
And now, on with the canon blogging!
Today's Episode: The radio play Golden Age by the awesome James Goss, which you can download here until the 8th July.
Review: I'm going to blog my reactions as I listen... [S3 SPOILERS -- scroll down to /SPOILERS]
Ianto's in position! And isn't fond of people watching. :)
Ahahaha. There's an ion trace. What would SF do without those pesky ions?
Gwen gets to use her policing skillz. And Ianto has to disrupt a clothing factory. I love this author. He does these lovely hat tips to fandom without spoiling the story he's spinning.
Nice sound effects. Oh, nice. The timey wimey and Jack's past are beautifully introduced, and the author is making good use of the fact that it costs nothing to set an audio play outside of Cardiff.
Hahaha! A gorgeous woman shooting at Jack. Feisty. What a great intro for an OC. Also, Gwen and Ianto having BFF aside moments pleases me.
Oh, bitchy zingers from the Duchess. I like this OC. I have a feeling she's a bad'un, but I like her. Also, she's out-condescending Gwen, dear.
"Yes, we have no bananas." LOL. That is just the kind of record Jack would leave behind. Also, a shout out to Doctor Who. It's not the Whoniverse without bananas.
Is "lots to catch up on" a euphemism? Also, I rather like Captain H as a pet name. It has flair.
Oh, they literally put the alien artefacts on ice -- that will prove Important, mark my words. Gwen and Ianto being competent is one of my fave things, especially in the face of Evil Badguy Misogyny. *happy sigh*
Methinks the Duchess protests too much. She's brilliantly cast. Jack's weird uncomfortable nostalgic flirting is rather delightful.
Oh, Gwen. Go go go! Channel your inner bitch. It can conquer all... Onions. LOL.
"Well-thumbed Kipling." Awesome. I love this writer's dialogue. Oh, Jack, you sap. Sometimes Jack is unexpectedly charming about things he should long since Be Over.
Cunning and misdirection. Topping! I love a bit of cunning misdirection. And also the ragamuffin Welsh. They make me very fond indeed. :)
Oh, Jack is in character. That is so lovely. And what a lovely commentary this plot is making on Jack's nature.
Gotta eliminate that cross-polarity rejection! Hahahah. Ohhh. Actual action that arises from the plot and isn't just because someone left the keys in the car. Yep, still bitter about that. Also, chloroform is both wonderfully old fashioned and kind of sexy. These bad guys are kick-arse. It's just as well Gwen and Ianto are actually competent in this ep, I have a feeling they will need some ingenuity before the plot is done. But will they be "put on ice"? Dun dun DUUUUN.
*unpauses and goes back to listening*
Can I pick it, or can I pick it! The bad guys put themselves on ice!
Banter. I love banter. Especially doomy banter in Welsh accents.
A maxim to live by: A bad gal is never a real bad gal unless she is a mass murderer.
Oh, Ianto. He always gets the best lines.
The baddies lose points here for having made the mistake of threatening the sidekicks. That's where they always go wrong. Why do they do that? It just pisses off the hero. Also, feeding an immortal to a life-eating machine seems like, you know, either a really great idea or a really machine-explodey idea. I know which option I'm leaning towards.
SCORE! The Indian OC gets to save the day with his wife's birthday. Nice twist, and not what I was expecting. So much more satisfying than Andy's sudden heroic turn in the last ep.
Oh, yeah, I liked this one a lot: in character, sharp dialogue, a solid plot that riffs on Torchwood themes in an interesting way, a dose of crackaliciousness, and most importantly of all, a sly sense of humour. That's the Torchwood I fell in love with.
[/SPOILERS] The verdict: James Goss really groks Torchwood. What a romp! This one is worth a listen.
Extras: Today's extras are some quotes from James Goss's first Torchwood novel, Almost Perfect, which is hilarious and well worth buying. Spoilers ahead.
Ianto is more important than static cling
'OK, team!' said Jack. 'It's a busy day. Lots to cover. Ianto's a woman, a ferry nearly sank and static electricity is up by twenty-three per cent.'
'What's top priority?' asked Gwen.
'Ianto,' boomed Jack. 'Unless you're wearing nylon.'
Captain Jack is feeling buoyant
'What about Iantoya?' asked Gwen. 'Sure we don't need him?'
'Oh, he's best off at the Hub. Until he feels... you know... himself.'
'Jack Harkness, you are terrible. The poor lamb's got nothing to look forward to apart from filing, making the coffee and sexual harassment.'
'I know,' said Jack. 'I just want to surround him with familiar things.'
Dorice is her usual red
Ianto shrugged. 'It's... strange. Actually, being a woman is a lot like being a man. Just unsettling. I'm like... You know when your mobile breaks and they give you a replacement that looks OK but isn't quite right? I'm that wrong phone.'
Jack placed a hand on Ianto's, and Ianto suddenly realised how small his hands were now. Jack's touch felt suddenly strange, and he drew back a little.
'Ianto Jones, I wouldn't know. Whenever my mobile breaks, you always get me a replacement that's exactly the same. That's what I love about you.'
'Yes, because you can't stand change. And don't use that word.' Ianto looked away. Jack had put the tiniest pause around the word 'love'. Beneath all that casual Jackness, he was trying to talk about feelings. Ianto had long suspected that Jack didn't really have feelings -- just a succession of sugar rushes.
Fannish Stuff: I feel like dancing today, so it's songvid time! *puts on boogie shoes*
WHO-TW Doctor/Companions, 'OMG!' by obsessive24 (songvid) (PG-13)
This is a celebration of the Doctor's Companions. He has awesome taste, you gotta give him that!
TW-WHO Jack/Everyone, 'This Is Everything' by sol-se (songvid) (PG-13)
I've only just recently found this songvid, and ouch. It's a great character study of Jack, but it's also kind of a gut-punch. Awesome though, and it makes me want to write Jack fic really a lot.
Cathy Says: I said I was going to do haiku today, but actually I want to talk about Jack instead. I've been grappling with his character, trying to get inside his head so I can write him. All joking about woobie!Ianto aside, I can really see why so many people choose Ianto as their access character in preference to Jack. Jack is... hard. *snerk*
The thing about Jack is that he seems to be all surface, WYSIWYG even -- what you see is what you get. He loves sex, makes no bones about it, and has a hundred tall tales he's willing to tell you about the sex he's had. He's just plain bad at secrets! Under Jack's management, the secret of Torchwood is the worst kept secret ever. "Bloody Torchwood," indeed.
One of the things I do as a writer is try to figure out what drives a character, what they want. So I've been trying to figure Jack out behind the WYSIWYG surface -- assuming there's something else there to find. "What do you want, Jack?" I ask, as I mull over story ideas late at night. "Tell me what you want."
And my half-formed story!Jack winks, drapes himself over something and says, "Baby, I want to show you things you can't even imagine."
Which, you know, is all very nice etc, but does not, in fact, answer the question. Because that answer? Is a conman's answer. It makes it all about me and not about him. That is actually very Jack, and quite telling, I think, but it doesn't make me know him the way I need to.
So then I switched tactics and looked at the facts:
- He lost his brother and father as a child.
- He lost his best friend in a war when they were both young.
- He lost two years of memory due to the Time Agency.
- He was abandoned by the Doctor.
- He was betrayed by his hand-picked team.
I know I'm not the first to point this out, but there's this pattern to Jack's life, in which he loses the people he loves, usually with a huge serving of guilt or betrayal on the side.
In light of that, the conman glibness doesn't look quite so much like it's hiding a shallow soul. It's protective colouration, and Jack needs a lot of it, because there's a lot of hurt to hide.
This is kind of awesome (well, not for Jack, of course), because it means I can write pretty much any kind of Jack hiding beneath that surface and make it work. But it also means that there isn't really a shared language of Jackness in the same way there's a shared expectation of Iantoness. I was wondering why I hadn't really picked up on the hivemind's take, on fanon Jack. Other than the obvious, that is -- Jack as the little black dress of fandom, who can be paired/moresomed with anybody. (Okay, there is also the all too popular meeeen!Jack, who preys on woobie!Ianto, which bugs me a lot. Let's pretend that Jack doesn't exist, okay? I don't want to write him.)
I mean, there are still a lot of variations you can choose for Ianto, even given the fanon take on him (eg. his background is open to speculation: his dad died when Ianto was young, his dad's still alive; they were well-off, they were poor; etc), but unless you're writing Sekrit Time Lord Ianto, then he had a twentieth-century childhood, lived in an industrialised country, got standardised education, and so on. Easy.
But none of that can be taken for granted with Jack. We don't even know for sure that Jack's "dad" was his biological father (he could be the one who bore him, or part of a poly relationship, or who knows!), or if he was related to Grey genetically. We can't apply our quaint twenty-first-century notions to his life.
That's totally awesome in terms of opening up the options for writing his backstory and being able to speculate about all sorts of wiggy science-fictional stuff. Awesome, but bloody daunting. It's hard to do that in 1,000 words! We're talking epics here, which, yeah, not happening for me at the moment.
Anyway, all that thinking has led me in interesting directions, but I still really don't know what Jack wants, other than sex. I'm starting to think that he's even more enigmatic than John Sheppard in that regard -- I never did satisfactorily answer the question of what John wanted, other than Rodney. I'm rather startled, though, that Jack of all people -- Jack "let me show you my cock" Harkness -- would be the character to supplant John and take the title of Hardest Character to Write.
Bloody Torchwood! :)