Thursday, July 23, 2009

Children of Earth: Day Four

While episode three gave the audience some humorous bits to balance with all of the serious bits, episode four was all about the serious bits ending, not in a cliffhanger like the other three episodes, but in a massive downer.

There are SO many things one can talk about when thinking about this episode, but for most fans of Torchwood who have been watching since the very beginning of the series, episode four was all about the loss of Ianto Jones. Though I have to confess that Ianto is (was) my favorite character so my bias is probably showing, but still his death DOES play a very important part in "Children of Earth" and in the grand scheme of things.

Ianto (as well as Gwen) act as Jack's heart, his ties to the real world in which he has been outcast as an immortal fixed point in time. Jack is all heroic and noble now, but this was the man who 40 years ago sheperded twelve children to be abducted by aliens and he was specifically chosen by the government because they needed someone who didn't care. Losing Ianto will bring this sort of man closer and it might be this kind of man that can save the world from the 456.

Jack also truly loved Ianto, but Ianto's death was the consequence of Jack's past sins. If meeting Clem put a face on the horrible decision he made 40 years ago, the deaths of both Clem and Ianto were the price. It's brutal and it's ugly, but they are in that kind of situation right now. The final and disheartening words of the episode uttered by a distraught Gwen summed up the episode, "There's nothing we can do."

And in fact it's so very difficult to see what they can do. The 456 has given them no choice. They want 10% of the world's children and all the politicians could do is how to do it in a way that would make them look good. It's a sad commentary when my response to that was uttering "typical politicians" to their inhumane behavior. And yet... and yet even though they handled it to serve their best interest HOW COULD THEY NOT? They are, after all, only human. Just writing this now, I don't know what *I* would've done if I were in their place. It's all heroic and noble to think that I would stand up and fight, but then people start dying because of it and then you're left with nothing.

In real life, nothing is every truly black or white. So Jack is not always heroic and noble. Politicians are sleazy, but they are doing the best they know how. In the grand scheme of things would losing 10% of children to save the entire human race be THAT bad? Again, an impossible question with many complicated answers.

All of the moral and ethical issues addressed in the episode as well as the quick successive deaths of Ianto and Clem really make this episode quite exhausting, mentally and emotionally. Having said all of that, it was yet again another amazing hour for this series. With one more episode to go, it's still a mystery as to how this is all going to end. Will there be any more deaths? Will the 456 get any children? How far is the government willing to go? How will Jack and Gwen handle another lost team member?

Oh and Ianto? You will never be forgotten. Even after a thousand years time.

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