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Torchwood: Children of Earth: Day Four (U.S.)

by Mike Moody, posted Jul 24th 2009 3:31AM
torchwood, ianto, jack, day four, bbc

OK folks, let's pull ourselves together now. Yes, this was Torchwood's darkest hour, but tonight is ass-kicking time, right? Right?

Honestly, I'm not really sure how it's all gonna end, but that's what I'm loving about Children of Earth. The miniseries has kept me guessing from the start, and it's kept me on the edge of my seat all week with damn fine storytelling and some great performances. (Please, Internet, tell me a full season order is in the can for next year!)

Day four mostly centered on negotiations with The 456 and the British government's extremely shocking lack of moral integrity. We also learned that our own Captain Jack is no saint. Jack's confession about feeding the children to The 456 in 1964 only made me wonder about the other possible skeletons in his closet.

Like Jack said himself, he's been around for a long time and he's done a lot of things. Judging by the flashbacks, it's easy to believe that his condition once made him feel so disconnected from humanity that he started to forget the value of human life. That's why the government turned to him to deliver the children. I love that Torchwood has the guts to cast its hero in such a dark light. I'm curious to find out exactly what kept him from falling to the dark side completely. (The birth of his daughter? His time with The Doctor?)

I'm not sure who I found more disgusting: the vomit-spewing aliens or the spineless government officials. How could they just give up without a fight and then quickly move on to sacrificing the "least talented" of the state's youth to save themselves and the rich and privileged? It's too bad The 456 doesn't feed on (or drain, recharge with, or whatever they're doing with those kids) the bodies of aging and corrupt politicians. The government scenes were hard to watch for sure, but it made for some very bold television.

The hardest scene to watch, of course, came at the end. Ianto Jones, we barely knew you. The character always seemed to be buzzing in the background and overshadowed by Jack, Owen and Gwen in seasons one and two, and that's what made last night's death scene so heartbreaking. He had only just made the transition from office boy to front-lines fighter, and his relationship with Jack was finally getting interesting. But, like Buffy and Angel before them, Jack and Ianto's love was doomed from the start. I didn't want to see this happen, but I won't deny that it probably couldn't have ended any other way. Tragic can't start to describe Ianto's death, but at least he went out a hero in the arms of the man he loved.

Tonight, all hell breaks loose with more helpless people running and screaming in terror as The 456 go to war with Earth. I can't wait to see how it ends.

Remember -- No spoilers in the comments please! If you must give something away, please mark your post with a nice big "Spoiler Warning."

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Jack's time with the Doctor can't have been what made him turn around since all his time with Torchwood was post-Doctor. He was waiting for the Doctor to come back and Torchwood was just how he killed time.

September 17 2009 at 10:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"I'm curious to find out exactly what kept him from falling to the dark side completely."

At the very beginning of the show, back in season 1, Jack, for all his heroic qualities, is a pretty reprehensible character. He finds dead people to test the resurrection glove and has no intention of finding the killer, because, as he puts it, it's not Torchwood's job. When the show starts, he is still the same disconnected, callous person he was in 1965.

The reason Gwen is the second most important character in the show after Jack is because she's the one who manages to bring Jack back from the brink of the dark side, as you put it, and remind him that, despite his "condition," he is still human.

I thought this was a great piece of continuity on the show's part, to go back to the way Jack used to be before Gwen came into the picture.

July 24 2009 at 2:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

At first, I was upset at the mini series thing. But now I am SO grateful. To wait a week between these episodes would have driven me mad. Ianto. I too, cried and cried. The female government person shocked me so much. I thought she was ok, but then threw those kids under the bus. Oh, THEIR kids were safe. And that creep that said the population going down would be good...grrrr

July 24 2009 at 11:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I too knew Ianto would die. But that doesn't make it any harder to swallow. So soon after Owen and Tosh. I was just hoping that Jack and Ianto would have more time. They were one of my favorite couples. Clem's death was sad too. That poor man's whole life was misery and pain.

July 24 2009 at 11:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ianto is dead. I am sad.

That's pretty much what I got from the episode.

(I'm half-kidding... but DAMN.)

July 24 2009 at 9:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am heartbroken that Ianto is dead..I cried my eyes out even though I know it was bound to happen that someone died. Poor Jack, it was so sad. I am loving this mini-series, I can't wait to see part 5. I love Torchwood, I hope to see more with some new great characters but I will miss Ianto.

July 24 2009 at 8:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I hated that one female official - she went from initially sounding like the voice of maternal reason to "let's throw the disadvantaged under the bus because they'll obviously never amount to anything". I don't blame her for wanting to save her own, that's basic human instinct - it's the blatant -ism she exhibited that did it.

I wasn't particularly surprised when it turned out Jack was involved in 1965. Even since having grown a conscience, he's been known to bow to pragmatism. (Ex: Small Worlds)

Oh, Ianto - that was the one thing that slipped through my efforts to avoid spoilers before the series started. Even knowing it was coming, I was sobbing like a baby when it happened. Still, I suppose it's like Ms. Johnson said when referring to Alice's mother - "Died of natural causes...that's unusual for Torchwood."

July 24 2009 at 8:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well, the supposed reasoning for it only being a 5 episode season was because it needed to prove itself on it's new BBC1 home. And being that it absolutely kicked ass in ratings on BBC1 that week, it will be an absolute farce if it doesn't get picked up for a full season.

I have seen the whole series, and each episode individually was spectacular, and as a whole, this is damn memorable tv.

Oh and to comment on what kept him from not going to the dark side, The Doctor was probably the one that pushed him closer to it than he ever was. He's a gift and a curse being that like everybody that gets close to The Doctor seems to suffer. Remember that Jack became this way because of The Doctor and Rose. Meeting The Doctor was the worst and the best thing that had ever happened to him.

July 24 2009 at 4:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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