cupidsbow (cupidsbow) wrote,

Touch Wood: Shadow Play (Part 5)

Touch Wood: Shadow Play

a fannish love-in of Torchwood S3 by cupidsbow

One day to go! OMG. I'm ridiculously keen. How are you all holding up? Excited? Bored? Sick to death of the whole thing?

Not that I care if you are sick of it. I don't revel often, so I'm making the most of it.

*revels in fannish glee*

Today's Episode: In the Shadows (Audio Original), by Joseph Lidster, read by Eve Myles. Available from the Beeb.

Review: One of the things I like about the Whoniverse is that it deploys a lot of different media to tell stories. The audio books are a lovely idea. I'm cheating with this one, actually, as I don't have time to listen to a whole new audio book tonight. So I went back and re-listened to my favourite bits of In the Shadows... [SPOILERS for In the Shadows and The Dead Line -- scroll down to /SPOILERS]

I love the set up -- the premise is creepy-good genre, and it's unclear at first whether it's SF or horror, and it flirts in that middle ground all the way through.

Joseph Lidster writes some lovely character sketches, and most of them had me snickering or recognising them from my own life.

It's lovely to have a flashback to the full team, too, with Tosh and Owen. I miss them.

Eve Myles mostly does a good job of reading, with good pacing and tension, although her accent for Jack is terrible!

The biggest problem I had with this story is actually pretty much the same issue I had with The Dead Line. Which is that the climax hinges on Jack's realisation about Ianto, and it comes across as kind of twee. [At least it isn't a terrible emo monologue -- yes, still bitter.]

I like the idea of the climax involving both the horror plot and the romance plot, I've just been spoiled by slash which does it so much better on a regular basis. And it's made even more problematic by being a variation on the "mental battle" idea which really doesn't work very satisfyingly in most storytelling mediums -- you don't get much sense that there's a lot riding on the outcome.

Not to mention the religious imagery does nothing for me.

Anyway, apart from that cavil, this was an enjoyable way to spend a few hours.


The verdict: A slightly weak ending, but with some nice atmospherics. If you're a Torchwood (or Janto) fan, or having trouble finding SF audio books, it's an enjoyable enough way to spend your time, but it's not special.

Extras: Get the official word from the Beeb's Torchwood Site. Alternatively, there are several fan sites with good news coverage. Check out:

Fannish Stuff: Unless you are undead, like Owen, today's songvids will make your heart ache and soar, respectively.

MULTI No Pairing, 'Care to Stay?' by tearful_eye (PG-15)
tearful_eye is one of my favourite vidders. Her work is so elegant, and so full of subtle emotion. This one is an essay on death, and it's heartbreaking but so worth it. Oh, Jack. Oh, Owen.

MULTI No Pairing, 'Glorious' by such_heights (PG-15)
And as a counterpoint to the previous vid, this one is a celebration of life and of the women of SF being glorious, including Tosh, Gwen, Martha, Donna and Rose. The whole vid is wonderful, but the final shot chokes me up, every time.

Cathy Says: Now that I've girded my loins with those vids, I'm ready to talk about that scene in The Dead Line, which really bugged me. After some heavy thinking, I've come up with a theory that fixes it for me...

[general SPOILERS for The Dead Line]

That speech Ianto gives at Jack's bedside in The Dead Line just rubs me the wrong way. Mostly this was, I think, just awkward writing. I could have bought the sentiment if it was less horrifically emo -- a monologue is a terrible, unsubtle way to reveal a character's inner life; it's all tell and no show. That said, a lot of canon handles romance very badly, especially gay romance. Stories which do it well are the exceptions that prove the rule.

Having thought about the scene a bit more, I can just about explain it so that it fits my take on Ianto. [If I ignore the fact that Ianto is by Jack's side and not out catching the bad guys in the first place. And also that Jack has a reset button, so killing him would likely solve the problem. BUT ANYWAY.]

It's like this: Ianto knows he gets blind when he's in love, which is why Cyber-Lisa fooled him. Ever since her death, he's been cautious about love, hence most of his character arc in S2. He doesn't take anything at face value and, in fact, actively doubts everything to do with emotions, which is part of why he was so wigged out by Jack asking him on the date.

Further, Ianto doesn't trust any of the hints Jack drops about it being more than sex, because that's just Jack being Jack -- an incorrigible flirt. Everyone knows this about Jack: all he wants is sex. Owen told Ianto so ("just a teaboy" and a "part-time shag"), and while Ianto didn't take Owen's vitriol seriously, in this particular case, it was one of those things that has just enough truth in it to eat away at Ianto's confidence. Especially after Jack left with the Doctor, which pretty much confirmed the idea that Jack would just up and leave if something better came along.

"Was I wrong? Am I just a part-time shag?" Ianto has been asking himself ever since. And, "Owen was probably right after all. Fucking typical, that git."

But most importantly of all, after Lisa, Ianto refuses to be conned by his own wishful thinking again. So it's safer, easier, to just assume that the relationship with Jack is lopsided -- that he feels more than Jack does. The immortality probably doesn't help with that either; it's really sunk in now for Ianto, and what some of the consequences will be.

So basically, Ianto is kind of tied up in knots and is trying so hard not to be fooled that he's actually overshot "reality" and landed in denial. He's admitted to himself that he loves Jack, but doesn't believe that Jack loves him back. But he also, in his secret heart, is a die-hard romantic, and wants Jack to love him. So there he is, by Jack's bedside, with the perfect excuse/opportunity to finally say something, and with a really low risk of it biting him in the ass afterwards. Of course, he takes it. And of course it's totally awkward, because that's exactly how Ianto feels about it -- like a fool.

Right? Right. Thank goodness that's sorted. :)
Tags: commentary, recommendations, recs, torchwood, touch wood
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