Torchwood Children of the Earth – a critic and a fan’s review

children of earthOk I have two different opinions of this show as it really separated me as a critic and as a fan. So there will be two quite different reviews the first one as a critic that end with a bit BUT as the fan girl in me has her say.

If you take this drama on its own as a piece of event television then it’s absolutely brilliant. I was in all a great mini series and I did love it. It had a great story, it was well acted, great action, suspense and tension, and it was well paced, edited and scored. Every episode had me glued to the screen and every cliff-hanger had me wishing the next day away so I could see what happened. It was a much more mature take on the Torchwood universe with a much stronger, more developed and intense story to tell. The acting was great from all the cast and the range of emotion within it were brilliant. From the first episode that showed us how our team have grown together how there relationships have changed and evolved. It was great to see Jack and Ianto out and open about their relationship and the most amazing moment to have Ianto say, “its not men it’s just him”. This is a view I love when it comes to love, the idea that its not what sex a person is, its not about being gay or straight its just about love and Ianto was in love with Jack, jack the person he is now. It was a great big leap forward for a mainstream highly successful and publicised show to have that wonderful moment about love transcending gender issues. I am very pleased with the evolution of Gwen she has matured a lot and has truly rooted her heart, she loves Rhys and Jack is her best friend. I was surprised with some of Jacks death scenes they really found new ways to give him some of the most painful and horrific deaths, not to mention amazing makeup when bringing him back from the belly bomb, that was amazingly done. I loved seeing Jacks dark side but inner sadness being explored and then finally coming to terms with what he has to do to save the world. I though Ianto’s death scene was beautiful and so heart breaking, he loves Jack with everything he’s got and although jack didn’t say it back I think that makes sense for Jack character. However Jacks desperate please, his begging to have everything taken back so Ianto will survive, to the very last minute before his own death begging Ianto not to leave him was so powerful. How can you doubt Jacks feelings for Ianto when he himself can’t believe Ianto will leave him?

Torchwood

I was also pleased that we never really fully saw the 456 they where clouded in mystery which was good you don’t want to see a big Doctor Who villain you want to keep the fear going a little longer. The scene were our government sells us it was brilliant the idea that they would go to war with their own people to save them. Discussing how to achieve the 10% really addressing the issue with the seriousness and focus of government. It was well played out and although you hated them for their choices I like the fact that they really did try and think about the choices and what was best for the country in terms of continuing the human race. It was an intelligent and harsh truth and they all acted it so well. When finally the revelation about what the children were being used for came it was one of the biggest and best shocks. They didn’t go with any of the obvious like they need them to survive no the truth of the matter was so horrific in light of the sacrifices the government where going to make to get them the children. I loved the idea that the aliens were simply junkies, there was no intelligent thought behind there actions, this was not a desperate act to continue to survive they just liked the high they got off feeding off the children. The vomiting and thrashing about was all because they were on a huge come down and needed another fix and their drug of choice was earth’s children. What a brilliant and harsh topic just a wonderful plot twist. By the final episode Jack has been so crushed that he has become a cold and distant man, in that light without Ianto’s death he wouldn’t have been the cold and desperate person he needed to be to sacrifice his own grandchild. That was another great twist but it was very painful and you could see Jacks last bit of humanity as well as any love he had left for humanity and Earth die alone with his Grandson. It was a big move to kill a child and something only Jack could have done now that he has started to distance himself from humanity. Poor jack was left so hurt and broken by the end that it makes sense for him to want to escape this planet. He has lost everything after Ianto his grandson was his last link to this world and what it meant to be human, as he said himself about Gwen “I cant look at her anymore” so it make sense that he cant stay for her she has her own life and cannot offer him anything to make him stay. It was a heart breaking ending to a very well done series, and here it comes the BUT….

I am and I am very proud to be a fan girl which is why this series has confused me greatly. My head tells me I loved it but my Heart tells me I hated it. It is very strange to love and hate something at the same time but Torchwood has done just that. CoE doesn’t seem to fit so well with the rest of the Torchwood universe there’s a lot left unresolved and I think it went too far with the death and darkness and destruction of our hero’s soul. I am not sure how another series can be made after all there’s no SUV, Hub, Gwen’s having a baby (she cant really return to Torchwood with a kid at home), Ianto is dead and Jack is so destroyed he’s run away from the Earth. Does that mean an entire new cast if the show returns it wont be the same without Jack and Ianto or in fact the wonderful word of Janto. There are all these little plot holes I cant seem to fill, if the Hub is destroyed so is the rift machine so why isn’t it spitting out aliens by the truck load. Cardiff should being going crazy no the rift is unprotected and free to do as it pleases. Also how much of the Hub got destroyed, what about the archives and the morgue is it safe to assume that Gray is dead or will he wake up now that the power keeping him in status is gone and be after revenge, if not a bit confused, on Jack. What about other characters isn’t Sarah Jane still about with her super computer wouldn’t they have tried to get in touch with Jack and also Captain John Hart is still roaming about the Earth somewhere, what does he make of all this does he know Jacks left. I have two other big problems with the series and I’m saving the obvious for last. The other problem is what I always thought was the plot of Torchwood. “The 21st century is when everything changes and Torchwood is ready” um is it me or did CoE forget this. I mean for a start it wasn’t said at the beginning of any episodes so are we meant to believe this threat, the 456 are what’s responsible for changing everything. If so how come Jack didn’t know this, he keeps saying it will all change and their ready but they certainly were ready for the 456. So let’s assume Jack doesn’t know what the actual event that changes everything is, how would he know that Torchwood is ready. In fragments we get Jack coming back to the Hub after new years to dead colleges and the man responsible for there deaths telling us he’s seen what’s coming and its so horrific he kills everyone and himself. So did he see the 456, I know they were awful but really would you kill yourself because aliens are coming for your children or would you use that information to tell someone. Maybe before he died he could have said “jack you know when you gave 12 children away in 1965, well its going to come back and bite you in the arse so maybe we should try and find away to not repeat that mistake”. I mean if he knew what was going to happen maybe inform UNIT, the government, Jack and well started working on detecting their arrival or prevention or something it didn’t quite fit.

Now the final big hit in the face is of course the death of Ianto, I mean did they really have to come on talk about a punch in the gut to all us Janto fans. I was rather mad about this part of the story the fan girl in me has been angry ever since. This really is the biggest mistake in TV history I’m so angry with my fandom I have to shout to as many people as will listen. How could they kill Ianto, him and Jack being together was my favourite thing about the show and this has just broke my heart but worse than that I am full of hate and anger. I loved watching their relationship develop and having it be there for all to see. I am just so angry, does RTD understand what he’s done, and does he realize how much the fans are going to hate him. They have ruined Torchwood without Ianto and Jack/Ianto it’s just not the same show I fell in love with. For the first time ever we had a hero in a gay relationship saving the world a first and a landmark for slash fandom and they repay us fans by ruining our biggest love. I don’t want a season 4 not without Janto. I hate RTD and I feel they have betrayed slash fans as well as gay fans and killed a great fandom. I was so full of hope for having a gay couple not stuck in stereotypes, it was about love plain and simple and it meant a lot to us fans for once it wasn’t us reading what we wanted into the scenes we had real proof that a relationship was growing and then it was there for us all to see and it was amazing. But as soon as it was given it was taken away. I feel like slash fans have just moved back 10 paces and gay fans have been put back into the closet. I’m not sure another show will be brave enough to have this kind of relationship in it and it’s a great loss. I loved Ianto’s character and a show without him seems impossible. I don’t think I could watch a series 4 without him even if they did somehow manage to get Jack back. By the end of the series Jack was left so heart broken and desolate and that’s not what I wanted to see, I think as a fan from the beginning in went too far and was no longer the show I loved. I liked it better when it was 13 episodes and it was fun and free. I will surly miss this fandom and as a long term fan I just wish there had been some consideration to how we would have felt about what they ended up doing to characters we loved so much.

Links:

Official BBC site http://www.bbc.co.uk/torchwood/

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3 Comments

  1. Hi Zoe

    Its like your article said exactly what I was thinking – if it had been a different show it would have been amzing and I’d have loved it. But the fact that it was Torchwood has really spoiled the show for me. No rift, no cardiff, no pterandon, no Ianto – everything that characterised the show as Torchwood (with the exception of Captain Jack, and even he was gone by the end) was absent from it. Even without Ianto’s death it still would have been a radical departure.

    There’s whole community of sad ianto and janto fans out there – you should check out http://www.saveiantojones.com if you haven’t already!

  2. [...] http://www.lzsy.co.uk/2009/10/torchwood-children-of-the-earth-a-critic-and-a-fans-review/ Now back then I had no intentions of re-joining the fandom but I couldn’t help myself!!! You see COE was a turning point making a new show out of the ashes of the old. Miracle Day has all the epic qualities of COE with the one on-going and intense plot line. With this new style of an epic plot comes far more dramatic tension and the writing has become another level. From the first ep we have a new Torchwood a show where the intelligence of the plot, dramatics and harsh reality become such a driving force that I’m hooked. I’m so intrigued and invested that I don’t miss the slash. TW has become a show like Fringe where my interest isn’t just focused on gay storylines and moments of slashability but truly interested in what’s gonna happen to these characters. Now being TW and having read spoilers and JB interviews I also know that we will still be getting the gay and I am very much looking forward to a bit of naked Jack and sexy times. Though I do wish Ianto had lived to this point but I have my knowledge of that no matter how much sex and boyfriends Jack has in life its Ianto he will return to and is waiting to see after his death. After all it’s not fair to ask Captain Jack Harkness, immortal 51st century omisexual time traveller to stay celibate for the next 6million years. [...]

  3. [...] after reviewing Children of Earth I was so torn on whether I could handle more Torchwood. http://www.lzsy.co.uk/2009/10/torchwood-children-of-the-earth-a-critic-and-a-fans-review/ Then I did in fact watch the new series and ended up loving the first ep. [...]

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