My thoughts on TW: Children of the Earth - The Lyorn's Den
Mon Jul. 13th, 2009
01:24 am - My thoughts on TW: Children of the Earth
Just finished a whole-series-in-one-day marathon with the gang.
1. That was great to look at, very well acted, great director. The first four eps had me on the edge of my seat, gnawing my fingernails.
2. The speed, drama, and build-up of suspense in the first two eps were especially great. Ianto breaking Jack out of prison and concrete had the whole gang howling with joy.
3. Unfortunately, the whole thing was based on an Idiot Plot. While that amount of stupidity in high places might be realistic, if I wanted to see people act like fools, I'd surf the internet.
3a. Nothing of this would have happened if Harriet Jones were still alive and PM. Hell, she might have stopped it as a back bencher. Read the old reports, get competent people together to work on the problems, delay the aliens, get something useful working, kick ass.
3b. Even if, for dramatic reasons, interagency warfare and a CYA mindset might delay or stop research into how to deal with an alien threat, you still i) don't pay danegeld, ii) don't cave in to terrorist's demands, and iii) don't assume that a junkie will leave and stay gone after he got his fix. You especially do not belief that he will leave and stay gone when he's already come back once. Bad, bad strategy.
4. While the Idiot Plot offends me intellectually, killing off Ianto like a Red Shirt really pisses me off. I want important characters to go out accomplishing something useful. Saving the ship, keeping a nuclear reactor from blowing up, hell, I'd settle for keeping vital information from the Dark Lord. But killed to show that stupid junkie aliens are dangerous? That's a job for a one-off character.
5. Very, very good scene with Frobisher and his family. Dark, scary, sad, horrible and inevitable. That's how I like it.
6. I don't buy for a minute that Ianto needed to die for Jack getting desperate enough to sacrifice his own grandson to stop the aliens. Stopping the aliens was highest priority, even if only Torchwood seemed to see it that way and couldn't act on it because of stupid interagency warfare. When they finally could act on it, they went in with no plan, no clue and no backup. Bad, bad tactics, but at least their strategy had something to recommend it.
6a. Interesting play on the Moral Event Horizon trope. We've known since "Small Worlds" that Jack will do whatever necessary to save the world. Now, killing a child is the ultimate in crossing the Moral Event Horizon, but in this set-up all the bigwigs had already crossed that line running and never looked back: They were fine with sacrificing children as long as it weren't their own. So fine, in fact, that they didn't even look very hard for an alternative. Jack crossed the line solving the problem and sacrificing his own. (flederkatz called it a "John Constantine moment".)
6a*. On a general tangent, I hate the objectification of children in such stories. "His [=Jack's] own", I wrote above, but the kid's life isn't Jack's to give away, unless you are living by some Old Testament patriarchy's moral code. If you expect an 18 yo to die for his country, you tell him. You acknowledge his sacrifice. So tell the fuckin' 9 yo. Or, if you do not feel that appropriate because he'll freak, and you have no alternative, tell him fucking something. Tell him you need his help to defeat the monsters and that this will hurt, but that he's a hero for doing it. Tell him Uncle Jack will be there right with him and fight the monsters. Don't just grab him and throw him into the metaphorical volcano.
7. I felt ep 5 was a let-down in matters of pacing and suspense. It had a clean-up pacing, with everything already decided, done and lost. Especially after Ianto's death, pacing and suspense should have picked up to show that it was not over. The way it was done, the solution seemed like an afterthought. I guess it was intentionally done that way, but I did not like it.
8. The whole decision-making was so evil that it had me shuddering on the sofa. I actually liked that. Echoes of VanStetten being replaced by his even more evil personal assistant when the woman who was so ready to find "unworthies" to throw to the aliens (making the whole plan more acceptable to the gathered bigwigs and taking away their personal incentive to look for a better solution) got the blackmail material.
9. I have no idea how they could make a Series 4 starting from where they are.
10. I disliked that Ianto got killed off as soon as his relationship with Jack was becoming comfortable. We already had a star-crossed pairing in Owen and Tosh. Still, had Ianto's death been heroic instead of futile, I'd mind less.
11. In some ways I felt reminded of "Voyage of the Damned". In both, the heroes went in as if riding straight into a Crowning Moment of Awesome, and instead failed so painfully and personally that it made their successful saving the world into a marginal footnote.
11a. There were sufficient amounts of awesome on the first four eps, though.
12. It was weird seeing the places in Cardiff where I've been two months ago on TV again.
ETA: 13. I am now re-reading rm's and kalichan's Harbour because it will make me feel better.