Dana's TW4 Blog - Barrowman Day
6 days left and we're continuing on my countdown to Miracle Day, Torchwood re-watch! I'll be watching an episode a day and blogging bits and thoughts. With any luck this is going to read like an episode guide and commentary. Let's dive right in!

Episode: Day One (Series 3 Episode 1) 

Written By: Russell T Davies

Original Air Date: 6 July 2009

Sentence Sum-Up: The children of earth start behaving weird and Torchwood investigates.

Notable New Characters

Dr. Rupesh Patanjali (Rik Makarem) - A Doctor who was working for the government and planning to infiltrate Torchwood 3. It didn't go quite to plan.

Agent Johnson (Liz May Brice) - Government agent leading the investigation of Torchwood 3. She becomes a real issue in later episodes.

Lois Habiba (Cush Jumbo) - New employee for the Home Office. Finds herself caught up in a fight with Torchwood and uncovering the mystery of the 456. 

Bridget Spears (Susan Brown) - Works for the Home Office. Lois' boss and secretary to John Frobisher.

John Frobisher (Peter Capaldi) - Home Office Secretary. He becomes a key player in the crisis with the 456. 

Colonel Augustus Oduya (Charles Abomeli) The face of UNIT in this series and throughout the crisis.

Clement MacDonald aka "Timothy White" (Paul Copley) - Mental patient with unique abilities. He seems to be involved in the crisis with the 456 but his exact role is unclear. So far.

The 456 - The villains of this story. That's all I'll say, since it's all we know so far. Aliens, duh.

Brian Green (Nicholas Farrell) - Prime Minister. He know's the situation as well as the details of a past encounter with the 456. He places all the responsibility on Frobisher so he can keep his hands clean

Alice Carter aka "Melissa Moretti" aka "Alice Sangster" (Lucy Cohu) - Technically Melissa Moretti is her real name, but she's had it changed twice and currently goes by Alice Carter. She's Jack's daughter with former Torchwood operative Lucia Moretti. I don't remember if that's covered in this episode or later, just something I know. She's estranged from Jack. She holds a grudge against him for not aging and thinks he's a danger to her son Steven.

Steven Carter (Bear McCausland) - Alices' son, Jack's Grandson. 

Rhiannon Davies, maiden name Jones (Katy Wix) - Ianto's sister, who he rarely sees. My favorite character to come out of Children of Earth. She's marvelous.

Mica Davies (Aimee Davies) - Rhiannon's daughter, Ianto's niece. Maybe not so notable but I love this little girl so I'm mentioning her.

David Davies (Luke Perry) - Just realized how cruel that character name is and how hilarious his real name is, well to some. Rhiannon's son, Ianto's nephew.

Johnny Davies (Rhodri Lewis) - Rhiannon's husband, Ianto's brother-in-law.

Favorite Quote

Ianto: "He thought we were together. Like a couple. He said, "You two." The way he said it, huh. "You two.""
 Jack: "Well, we are. Does it matter?"

Never Noticed

Didn't pick up anything new this viewing.

WTF Moments:

Jack has a stick up his ass this episode and for the rest of the series. He spends the majority of his encounters with Ianto being irritable and mean to him. Ianto his struggling with there relationship, trying to figure out where they stand and what it means that he's in love with his boss who is also a man. Ianto is having normal human emotions and Jack is just stomping on him instead of being supportive or discussing it. He's a total AssHat for the majority of the series and it's an issue. Not to say that it's not a realistic reaction someone, or even Jack, might have to some of these tests of a relationship, but it's upsetting. 

A lot of fans list this amongst their chief issues with Children of Earth not just because they are defensive of Ianto but because it seems sudden and out of character for Jack. I have mixed feelings about the out of character bit but it's definitely out of nowhere. This as well as other perceived and actual character flaws I really think could have been resolved if we got more stories and less things happening off screen. Ianto and Jack were not at this point at the end of the last series and it seems to have been a rather crucial developmental period for their relationship. It's just jarring for the most part. We're used to Jack from series 1 and 2 and this is not that Jack. I've started a tag on Twitter for the live-tweets. Each time jack displays this behavior I will complain and mark the tweet with #CaptainAssHat.

Day One is pick on Ianto day! In addition to #CaptainAssHat Ianto deals with Gwen brushing him off when he's trying to tell her about the car and his sister digging into him for never being around. Although the later is justified I had to feel bad for Ianto, at every turn people are expecting things of him and not considering his feelings. I think the idea is that Ianto is still a bit under appreciated and those closest to him are used to getting help from him without him wanting anything in return. As a result and a result of their close relationships, people are mistreating him. I also think maybe RTD planned to have people be mean to Ianto so that they can later regret it. If you know what I mean.                                                                                   

                                         A Note About Spoilers

***Speaking of Ianto, we all know there is a major character development with Ianto come Day Four. Until my blog for Day Four and for the foreseeable future on twitter I don't want to spoil anyone. So if you'd like to comment on it and if I need to allude to it I am going to say "Ianto eats that pizza". Why? Because it's the first thing I thought of when I was trying to be discreet on twitter. So that's the big Day Four spoiler Ianto eats that pizza and gets food poisoning, it's not a pleasant day for him really. Note the code, I may need it in future blogs.*** 

Do you all wonder how Lois ended up at that job? Day One is her first day and she doesn't seem to know anything that's going on or about the day to day work in the office. And she really doesn't do much, she answers one or two phone calls that she just transfers because she doesn't know the answer to any questions. She doesn't even know who Torchwood are. It's not that I think she incapable or unqualified just that she hasn't been taught and seems a bit green to the scene. I love Lois, I think she's brilliant but maybe someone should train her. I guess the crisis may take priority.

I can't stand how Jack's family and lovers constantly hold his immortality against him. It's stupid. First of all it's stupid because who cares what he looks like. Alice and her Mum are really so petty and vain that they would resent Jack, their family for not aging and looking better than them? That seems so absurd to me. Apparently this happens to Jack a lot and I just don't get it, I would not push away someone I love because of something so trivial as appearances and I certainly wouldn't hold it against him. After all it's not his fault and he can't change it. Plus most of the people knew about Jack's situation before they got close to him, seems ridiculous that they would hold it against him after the fact. 

I don't doubt that there are people who would react like this but it makes me angry, I wouldn't. Conditional love, especially conditional on something as silly as physical appearances, and something out of anyone's control, is unfair and I cannot even begin to relate to it.I really don't understand the TIm thing. Even in later episodes when we find out his connection to the 456 I do not understand why he's psychic and can smell pregnancy and is effected as the other children. It doesn't make sense. It seems to me it was probably a really good explanation that is a bit complicated and they just didn't give us enough information to connect the dots. I just don't understand it. Tell me if you do.

Random Rants:

One thing I really liked about Children of Earth and particularly about this episode, as they introduce the crisis is how scary it is. I don't mean scary in the blood and gore, monsters jumping out at you way either. I mean truly bone-chilling in nature. If you think about a world where this scenario really happened it would be seriously horrifying.  It's something that a lot of people fear and can imagine. Not the 456 or the talking through children but fear of the unknown, fear of our children being used and fear of alien invasion. They really made it terrifying. 

I loved learning more about Jack and Ianto. Learning about their families and seeing them interact as well as learning how their relationship is developing. I love the families and I have mixed feelings about Jack and Ianto's relationship. I touched on it before with the #CaptainAssHat moment but I really am conflicted. On the one hand I liked that they gave their relationship more screen time and it was started to develop to the point where it is becoming meaningful and the questions normal couples ask are being asked. It seemed honest in that sense and I kept waiting to see where it would go. On the other hand there really are a lot of missing plot points, there is a jump between the last series and this as well as missing scene in their entire relationship. 

I found myself this series more than the others peeved and being out of the loop and feeling blindsided but the progress we didn't see. And then in Day Four Ianto eats that terrible pizza and the tension building comes to a very unsatisfying end for me. I think I'll talk more about this as the series goes on but it's an issue. I am hoping to resolve my feelings about this as well as all of my troubles with Children of Earth on this watching. I am hoping that with the reflection of these blogs and with consideration I can decide what issues really stand up, how much of it is really good and why that pizza upsets me as much as it does, aside from the obvious.

MVC (Most Valuable Character):

This is always a funny category. I keep flip-flopping about what this means. Sometimes I award it to the character who was most important to saving the day, sometime to the character who was the focus of the episode and sometimes to the character who just stands out to me. Today is the last sort and I'm sure a lot of you will have a different MVC.  This episode I am giving MVC to Rhiannon 'Rhi' Davies. Why? Because I love her. She's a brilliant character and easily the best thing, for me, to come out of Children of Earth. We saw her on screen for maybe 10 minutes in this episode and already I was a huge fan. She's also the character I mist relate to in all of Torchwood. I. Love. Her. I could try to explain why, maybe I will sometime but, she's the MVC in my book. Well, in my blog.

MVA (Most Valuable Actor):

This is a tough one. I don't know. First I think maybe John for being such a convincing AssHat then I think maybe Gareth for making us feel the emotional slip-and-slide Ianto is going through. One very successfully makes us angry and the other one makes us feel very conflicted and unsure like the character. But both come down to feelings of fondness towards Ianto and caring for the character and that's because of Gareth. So I will give it to Gareth by a small margin. I could tell how great I think Gareth is but you've all heard it before. I am just going to say, for me, Ianto's struggle was very relatable and touching. Not because I have ever been in that situation per se but because he plays the character in a way that makes you feel for the character. To the point where you feel like the emotions he's feeling are your own and anyone harming him is a harm to you. That is so intense and I don't quite know how he does it. It certainly helps that the character is wonderfully written throughout each series but Gareth makes Ianto the loved character he is. In my opinion. Which this is. My blog. I love him.

Episode Grade:

As a stand-alone episode I really don't dislike it. In fact I was surprised by how much i enjoyed it. My overall issues with Children of Earth do not effect my enjoyment of this episode for the most part. It was well paced and clever and really emotionally effective. I can't give it a perfect score just because of it's involvement in the the #CaptainAssHat mess but it's very well done. I suspect later episodes will not have such positive reviews. Unless my opinion changes. 

Tomorrow's EpisodeDay Two (Series 3, Episode 2). Remember I'll be live tweeting my re-watch on the @BarrowmanDay twitter at 12:00am PST (US - West coast) and 8:00am GMT (UK). Hope you all can watch with me and chat.

That's it for today! Hope you enjoyed my run down of this episode. What did you all think of this episode? Did you notice anything new? What grade would you give it? xx


All "Countdown" Blogs

7/2/2011 17:45:03

Just a note re Lois: I've been a temp (like Donna Noble, just not as good) and I could totally identify with Lois' experience - a) it's her first day, she is in a new environment and b) as you say, the crisis comes first, c) all offices work in a similar way but it appears she's only there for that database Bridget refers to before being co-opted to the phones ... so she wasn't actually required to know what is going on in the department - you can answer the phone and take messages without that (I once did a day temping exactly that - taking messages etc without knowing what the guy I was working for actually did)


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