This is the second part of my reaction to the Torchwood mini-series "Children of Earth"
Spoilers for "Children of Earth"
If the ending of "Children of Earth" 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.
First, it is science fiction. Yes, it is fiction, but all sci-fi requires some sort of grounding in science that allows the audience to suspend disbelief and keeps them in the story. The characters of CoE were TSTL, To Stupid To Live. Any plot that requires that doesn’t hold up, especially in science fiction.
The premise of CoE was that powerful aliens, the 456, wanted 10% of Earth’s children because the children were like ecstasy for them. Interesting premise, but Russell T. Davis forgot the root of all science fiction, “what if?” What if powerful aliens wanted 10% of Earth’s children because the children were like ecstasy for them? Interesting question. Too bad his answer had no basis in reality.
When asked what the aliens want the children for, they show one of the children. That is no answer. It isn’t until Day 5, when plans are already in motion to gather the children, that we find out why the aliens want the children. We need this answer for one reason, to find an alternative. If what the kids produce gets them high, we find another way to provide the 456 with that. It’s that simple. What if powerful aliens wanted 10% of Earth’s children because the children were like ecstasy for them? We provide the 456 with whatever it is that gets them high without harming a single child. End of story. If I can figure this out, so can the scientists and government officials.
Captain Jack has dealt with hostile aliens before. Did he really think for half a moment Ianto and he would confront the 456 and they would just back down? Did he think it was safe to bring Ianto with him to confront a hostile alien? While we are on safety, what were all those people doing at Thames House? Aliens show up and the place is down to essential personnel only. TSTL
Second the chain of events required an unrealistic portrayal of parents, the military and the government.
I’ll do parents first, since I am one. If my children froze and started saying “We are coming,” when they returned to normal, I wouldn’t go back to life as usual. Especially if it happened again, I would be demanding answers from my government. The riots would have started after the first transmission. There is no way the government can convince me aliens who control my children like this are here for good reasons. Parents would have been storming Thames House.
There are parents who won’t get their children inoculated for various reasons, chiefly the connection between early vaccination and autism. I believe in immunization and there is no way I’m going to let my child play guinea pig with an untried vaccine, unless my child is on the verge of death.
The government starts rounding up children. I see my children being taken away in a school bus. Remember Tiananmen Square? Remember the guy standing in front of the tank? I can’t think of a single parent who wouldn’t throw themselves in front of a school bus to save their child or they would get their car and block the bus’s way.
Parents aren’t dumb. We aren’t going to just rush armed soldiers. We are going to get our firearms. If we don’t have guns, we will get them anyway necessary. Gun shop owners, who tend to believe the worst in the government, would probably be handing them out. Neighbors would share. Even if the UK isn't as gun happy as the USA, there are still guns there, but you don't need guns.
There are tons of ways to make explosives. Molotov cocktails are easy to make. I’m not going to rush an armed blockade, at least not with my body. I’ll get in my car and run over anyone between me and my child. We will fight for our children and we will do so with our brains.
Next up, the military. I live on a military base and we have a school on base. I see our soldiers with not only their children, but others’. There is no way in hell soldiers will calmly round up children. Not under orders. Not under threats. They won’t do it. To show soldiers coldly carrying screaming and kicking children is an insult.
The threats would only make them more resistant. If the threat is against their family, then what is happening to these children they are rounding up? Anyone who gave the order to round children up would be shot.
On a similar note, this is supposedly happening all over the world. With their history, in Germany would any soldier agree to round up anyone, let alone children? Would the citizens allow this? What about Poland? France? The Netherlands? Anywhere Nazis rounded up people? What about in Russia or the former Soviet or Iron Curtain nations? What about in Israel? Think about that one. Russell T. Davies said “Don’t think it can’t happen here. It happens in other places.” It has happened here. The Naziis and the Soviets used to do it and that created a history that is a scar on Europe’s psyche. That’s just Europe. No soldier is going to repeat the mistakes of the past.
Now the government. Despite what some people would like to think, the government is neither stupid nor evil. Not only would they find an alternative, they wouldn’t be stupid enough to think that their immunization plan would have any effect.
Nor could they calmly sit there and agree to give up millions of children, especially when the aliens have done nothing to us. The government agreed to this before Thames House was poisoned, before we have been attacked in any way. Committing troops, grow men and women who agree to risk their lives, is not an easy decision. The government isn’t going to coldly hand over children.
The general population would already be in hysterics. Aliens show up. No one is going to sit around to be lunch. There would be looting and mass hysteria. Dogs and cats living together. The military would be too busy trying to maintain order to round up anyone. The government would be too preoccupied with trying to restore peace.
Any show that requires people be TSTL doesn’t deserve to consider itself science fiction. Any show that has plot holes big enough to drive a school bus through isn’t realistic. Any show that violates the themes it was built on betrays the audience.
And is not something I can watch any longer.
(but it makes a great show to examine what not to do)