Sunday, July 26, 2009

I believed in you, I trusted you and now I'm asking why

This will be split into two entries. The first deals with my disappointment of Russell T. Davies and the second the plot holes in "Children of Earth."

Spoilers for the Torchwood mini-series “Children of Earth.”

I believed in you. I trusted you. Now I’m asking myself why.

I’m not sure who that statement applies to, Alice or me. There is one thing worse than a writer letting you down, feeling betrayed by that writer. There are writers who have never let me down and I will defend even their mistakes. Joss Whedon tops this list, but Russell T. Davies wasn’t far behind. What he’s done with Doctor Who is nothing short of brilliance and Torchwood was one of my favorite shows, emphasis on “was.”

Series, whether books or television, aren’t just based around characters. They are based around a theme. Star Trek boldly went where no one had before. Not just in terms of space exploration, but an optimistic view of the future . That wasn’t science fiction. Where was the dystopic view? Instead of a gloomy post-apocalyptic society fighting to survive, we got the triumph of the human spirit. It was truly beautiful.

At least it was until Ron Moore got his grubby hands on it and created the Borg. That was the last this avid Trekker watched. I no longer trusted the series to give me an enjoyable experience and wasn’t going to waste the little precious time I had on something depressing.

Few shows celebrate the human spirit like Doctor Who. That is the foundation, marrow and soul of the Whoverse. At least it used to be.

Russell T. Davies in the Torchwood mini-series “Children of Earth” not only turned his back on that, but stomped all over it. Alice believe in her father. If not for this belief, he never would have gotten out of jail. If not for this belief, he never would have believe in himself enough to try to save the children. How was Alice repaid? Her son was murdered. Instead of being rewarded for her faith, she lost more than anyone.

If you are going to kill kids (and you definitely don’t show this torture), there had better be a damn good reason to the story. Jack needed to be willing to sacrifice both his grandson and daughter (he knew this action would cause him to lose his daughter). It is that willingness that makes him a hero. He needed to believe he had murdered his grandson. Those things are integral to Jack’s story.

However, there was no reason his grandson had to actually die. There is an important word there, “actually.” The boy was tough enough to be the transmitter long enough to destroy the 456. If he was just a tad tougher, he would have survived.

Think about the moment this would have caused. Jack is despondent he murdered his own grandson. Alice is holding the son she believes is dead. Then his eyes open or someone notices he’s breathing. Talk about an emotional and beautiful moment. Heaven forbid Jack save everyone and the show end on a happy note.

At the end of “The Doctor Dances” the ninth Doctor celebrates that no one died. One of those saved was Jack. He was willing to sacrifice himself because he was the cause of the danger and there is a beautiful moment of him talking to his ship. Then the Doctor shows up and saves him with the Tardis. This did not negate Jack’s willingness to sacrifice himself. It did not make him any less of a hero. It just gave us a great note to end the episode on and a great way to integrate Jack into the show.

I love Captain Jack. I love his humor and his laugh. I love his smile and the way his eyes sparkle. I love the wounded hero who keeps trying. Where was that Jack? That’s the Jack Russell T. Davies wants to leave me with? (there was no guarantee of a fourth season) He is now on the same list as Ron Moore.

If the ending had thrilled me, I never would have started picking the show apart, but when the show betrayed what it stood for, that is a natural reaction. People across the net have said the ending made it “realistic.” There was very little that was realistic about that mini-series.

(next entry: some of the problems with the show)