Touch Wood: A Fate Worse Than...
a fannish love-in of Torchwood S3 by cupidsbow
I love science fiction. I really really love it. This season of Torchwood is reminding me very strongly of John Wyndam. It's a bit like The Day of the Triffids, which is one of my all-time favourites.
Which should be a good thing...
I'm just not quite sure if I'm ready for The Night of the Triffids. You know?
Today's Episode: "Children of Earth: Day Four," Torchwood, Season 3.
Review: Serious spoilers behind the cut. I REALLY MEAN IT. Knowing the climax of this episode will lessen the series for you. Don't read if you want the series to have the intended impact... [S3 SPOILERS -- scroll down to /SPOILERS]
Oh, god. I've been avoiding the spoilers, but even so I'd heard the rumour -- you know the one I mean. The same rumour has gone the rounds every single season to date. And now it has happened.
One of the things I really admire about Torchwood is that they have limited their use of the reset button. The odd retconning of Rhys or resurrection gauntlet aside, consequences have tended to stick. And that's such a relief compared to most sci-fi franchises, which reverse consequences willy nilly, and to the detriment of both plots and tension. Those shows tend to bore me after a while.
But OMG. The list of the dead for the Torchwood crew and associated characters I had at least partially bonded with is now officially too much for me.
- Suzie Costello (Twice.)
- Lisa Hallet (In defence of the world at Canary Wharf, and then again in the Hub.)
- Owen Harper (Twice, in defence of the world.)
- Toshiko Sato (Also in defence of the world. And awesome 'til the end.)
- Dr Rupesh (I bonded!)
- Myfanwy (OMG! She also helped save the fucking world! Now MIA.)
- Mainframe (Is the mysterious "server" Mainframe or not? Because there was a strong implication that Mainframe had some element of sentience. MIA.)
- Janet (Went on a mission with Owen, so almost counts as team! Now MIA.)
- Ianto Jones (After surviving Canary Wharf, this is how he dies? Shit.)
- Captain Jack Harkness (So many times, I'm now actually a little bit traumatised every time he dies. Just in the last six episodes, he's been buried alive for 2,000 years by his brother; he's blown up taking his home of decades with him, endured the most painful resurrection ever, been concreted alive, then resurrected to give us the most heartbreaking (naked) FACE OF WOE. Then he died again with Ianto lying dead in his arms. The man is CURSED, I get it RTD. Please, please stop now. I actually can't bear it any more.)
ETA: The baby TARDIS coral! It is also gone! :(
That is a long list. And oddly, it's not even Ianto that's the tipping point for me.
Jack has billions more years of this to live through, and what this series seems to be telling us is that it will keep on just like this, without any let-up or respite or happiness for more than a blink at a time. His loneliness and misery will be relentless, and will just keep getting worse, with the stakes rising every time. And he's expected to just keep getting up and taking on whatever comes. :(
That's not consequences. That's not even tragedy. That's just pure, heart-rending misery with a human face.
I don't get off on misery, especially misery unleavened with even a glimpse of relief in the future.
I do get that this upping of the ante is a classic plot structure -- every act has to have more at stake than the one before. But throw Jack's immortality into the mix... and, okay, to be fair, all those deaths on their own are just cheap drama, because there are few consequences for a man who can't die. But cumulatively? Now? It's too horrible.
Seriously, if the final episode ends with "everything changing"? I shall be dutifully impressed by the sheer chutzpah, because series SF tends to shy away from that. But it will be at the price of fannish love, because there will be no team left for me to empathise with. You need at least three to make a team, and awesome though Rhys, PC Andy and Lois are, they aren't enough to fill the hole left by Owen, Tosh and Ianto.
For the most part, this really is brilliant tv: the political satire is so black it's almost not funny, and the tension and sense of peril are so well done. But the screw has been twisted as far as it can go in terms of misery. It all rides on the finale. If it isn't even more brilliant than all that's gone before, the whole thing will fall flat -- the stakes are too high for anything else.
The verdict: It's brilliant drama and clever SF, but whether I like it or not will depend entirely on how the final episode plays out.
Extras: Have some promo pics from seasons one and two: Random Scribblings Gallery: Torchwood Promos. There are many gorgeous shots, including some smoking hot ones of Tosh and Mary. And here's one of Ianto that I particularly adore.
Fannish Stuff: I think we all need something happy to ease the tension a bit. So here's some feel-good fluff.
TW-WHO Various Pairings, 'Affirmation' by butterfly (songvid) (PG-13)
The Doctor, the Companions, and the people they love. Hugging! A lot! \o/
TW Jack/Ianto, 'A Curious Thing' by tavven (songvid) (PG-13)
Is there a Janto cliche that stata doesn't manage to tip her hat to in this sly, funny vid? And yet, despite tongue being firmly in cheek, this is still a happy celebration of Jack and Ianto and how crazy they are about each other.
Cathy Says: I can't believe we only have one day to go! What a rollercoaster. I'm feeling quite wrung out already. Who knew television could be so emotionally draining? I guess this is what happens when you watch it unspoiled along with everyone else. The blogging makes it more intense too -- having to mull the episodes over and put my thoughts into order, instead of just moving on to the next thing.
I shall have to remember that. Maybe I'll try it again some time.
Who knows, maybe it will even be for season 4.