Adalia Zandra (adaliafic) wrote,
Adalia Zandra

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zomg... Torchwood... AGAIN!

Just watched 'Adrift' and 'Fragments'... can't remember much of 'Adrift' at the moment, even though I think I liked it, because 'Fragments' made my brain exploooooooode.

It is clear that somebody has been reading fanfic, because Jack's fanon 100 years just became canon.

He's wandering Earth's past, lost, abandoned, bitter, and confused. Haunting Cardiff in the hopes of bumping into the Doctor so he can kiss him hello and then kill him for being such a bastard. And, of course, Torchwood finds him. Treats him like they would any other alien threat, and when they realize he's actually harmless they offer him a job. And despite feeling like shit about it, Jack works for them because he has nothing else to do, nowhere else to go. And he stays with them for the next century, an 'uncontracted field agent'... doing their dirty work, allowed his relative freedom in return. If we wondered why Jack seemed to be such a cold, unfeeling bastard all of a sudden when TWS1 started, this is probably why. He'd been forced back into the kind of morally lacking and soul draining life the Doctor had rescued him from, after being abandoned by his rescuer and left to find his own way again. He could have run, he's competent and he can take care of himself. But he needs to be in Cardiff, and he needs something to do. This is work he's good at, and it's easier to knuckle under than it is to fight against Torchwood. So he swallows his pride and boxes away the little voice in his head that sometimes sounds like Nine and sometimes like Rose, telling him that he ought to be bigger on the inside.

And then, in an only vaguely explained Y2K murder-suicide, the 1999 TW team takes itself out. Jack is left suddenly in charge after 100 years of being what I can only assume was an unwilling and yet compliant contract killer. Freed from that arrangement and probably in no small amount of shock and grief over the team he just lost, he sets out to rebuild Torchwood in the Doctor's honor, and goes out recruiting.

Enter Tosh, Ianto, and Owen. (And presumably Suzie, though she's not actually in this episode except in one brief offscreen mention.) Each of them is broken in some way, each of them at the end of their rope. Jack swoops in, sees potential that no one else is willing to work hard enough to see, and saves each of them from themselves.

Tosh (whose past I still can't quite reconcile with the Tosh we saw in DWS1, but anyway...) was apparently a brilliant research scientist who wound up in over her head, blackmailed into committing industrial espionage and using her genius for various and sundry nefarious purposes. UNIT accordingly takes a strong dislike to her, locks her up, and throws away the key. If we wondered why Tosh is so quiet, always tries to be unnoticeable, and has an almost hero worship like trust in Jack, this is probably why. Jack rescues her from languishing in the UNIT lockup, and gives her another chance at life.

Ianto, who we must remember at this point was sitting on the biggest secret of his life: his half cyberized girlfriend, actually stalks Jack like a hopeful puppy in search of a new home in the wake of the destruction of Torchwood London. And here is where (after I stopped squeeing over actually seeing Jack's backstory) I really decided that I loved this episode unconditionally. In Ianto's flashback, not once is the half cyberized girlfriend issue mentioned or dealt with. When Jack does his rundown on Ianto and mentions Lisa, Ianto points out, "Deceased!" and sounds almost chirpy about it. He flirts outrageously with Jack, goes out of his way to make himself useful to Jack, and gets himself hired. "Hey! Report tomorrow morning for work," says Jack as Ianto walks away, and for a moment Ianto looks equal parts relieved and terrified and like he's about to cry. If we wondered why Ianto seemed withdrawn and clinical before Jack found out about Lisa, or why Jack seemed to feel so bitterly betrayed when he did find out about Lisa, this is probably why. In that one split second before the flashback ends, just after Jack takes a chance, gives in, and brings Ianto into his sacred mission to rebuild Torchwood, Ianto has such a revealing look on his face. He's succeeded, got himself back in on Torchwood's resources, got himself access to the technology he needs to keep Lisa alive. He's really going to do this, he's going to keep it all together and he's going to save her. It's going to work, because it just has to.

All of that is actually in the episode, unless I'm seeing more vivid hallucinations than usual, without ever mentioning the fact that she's even still alive at that point. I just... gah. So well acted.

And finally, Owen is a young doctor with idealistic hopes and a fiance who is showing the symptoms of very early onset Alzheimer's. Owen refuses to give up on her, vows to marry her and stay with her and fight for her. And fight for her, he does, insisting on just one more scan... only to find that what she really seems to have is a brain tumor. He waits outside as they operate... only to find that what she really actually has is an alien brain parasite that subsequently kills everyone in the operating theater, including her. Jack waltzes in, tells him oops, sorry, that was an alien in her head, she's sorta dead now, and no, you can't do anything about it, and then he drugs him (though not with Retcon) and leaves him to the tender mercies of the psych ward. But sill Owen refuses to stop fighting. He keeps asking questions, keeps telling his mad sounding story about aliens, keeps looking for that American man... until it all seems hopeless and he's half convinced himself that he really has gone mad. And then Jack reappears, seeming honestly sorry for his loss and rather impressed at his tenacity. Jack listens as Owen talks about losing his faith (in himself, in his chances of making a better world), his idealistic hopes as dead as his lover. And then Jack offers him a job, a chance to try making a difference like he'd always really wanted to. If we wondered why Owen was such an emotionally closed off jerk, and seemed to waffle between hating Jack and looking up to him, this is probably why.

And then if that much well thought out, amazingly acted, no holds barred, openly displayed character background wasn't enough sheer awesome for this one little episode, the very last scene sets us up for a rousing round of Jack angst and hurt/comfort all around.

I swear, not even naked mud wrestling could have made me happier with this ep. And we all know Jack is always up for the naked mud wrestling. :-) 

I don't care that...
all of Torchwood is really just the DW writers writing fanfic about their own show, with Jack as the Marty Stu junior Time Lord replacement Doctor, and Captain John as the possibly dangerously insane best enemy worst friend replacement Master. I mean... come on, John. "Oh, Doc--- 'Jack', why don't you like me any more? Maybe if I destroy everything you love and ruin your life, then you'll want to spend time with me! Ha ha ha, I'm an evil emo Time Lo-- Agent. And by the way, there's only a few of us left, it's kinda like we're almost extinct. How much do you want to bet that you're the one who destroyed Galli--- the Time Agency, probably in those two years you can't remember, you poor, traumatized thing, you? I know! Let's rampage around the Universe and have lots of sex. Wouldn't that be good? Hmmm? Wouldn't it?"

Tags: torchwood
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