This is the way the world ends:
(As told in 3 parts - the pre-viewing, the during-viewing with extra notes added after the fact, and the post-viewing)
4:00 PM: Still in an official period of mourning. Not sure how to explain it; I'm not really upset that he's gone, and I'm not upset in the manner of people who think this wasn't the right time to kill him, and I was more upset about the Doctor losing Rose to Pete's World than I am right now for Jack losing Ianto permanently...but his death keeps replaying behind my eyes. I can't seem to shake the mental pictures of his last minutes.
Or of him lying there...pale and still and peaceful-looking...apparently asleep beneath the dark
In much the same way, I'm not even interested in the remainder of the miniseries. At the moment it feels superfluous and/or like it could and should be condensed into about ten minutes tacked onto the end. But fine, let's go wrap up boring stuff like sending the aliens home and dealing with the families and maybe having a funeral*, if we're lucky. [*or not, and substituting in a quasi-epilogue. w/ev.]
Bring it on, RTD. And thank your lucky stars you inked that awesome guest star on SJA to use as your ace-in-the-hole defense when fandom tries to rip you apart. [in retrospect, dude, not entirely sure that's gonna be enough anymore...]
By the way, in what I feel is another example of my Windows Media Player being sentient, I've got Sarah McLachlan's CD set to randomize tracks and it just started "Fear." I firmly believe I can make these lyrics relevant, if only because her voice is so high and pure and haunting:
But I fear I have nothing to give
And I have so much to lose
Here in this lonely place
Tangled up in our embrace
There's nothing I'd like better than to fall
Or maybe I'll just skip right to the violent imagery. Wind in time / rapes the flower trembling on the vine...
7:00 PM: *takes a deep breath, closes eyes, and opens video* And go.
1. Doctor reference right off the bat, and a depressing one since I still haven't dealt with my grief over Martha furiously defending against his gun-disapproval by reminding him that they're the ones left behind. "I wanted to know about that Doctor of his. The man who appears out of nowhere and saves the world, except sometimes he doesn't." [The second sentence, incidentally, NEEDS to exist as the epigraph for a post-ep Doctor Who fic, possibly an AU one. I absolutely need to visualize the Doctor reacting to this world of horrors. Though I suppose you could stick it into the Sarah Jane Adventures missing scene/post-ep I want, too.]
Intercut with horrible footage of soldiers dragging screaming children out of their homes, and GOD. I think I liked it better when Torchwood's adult-oriented concepts were about uncomfortably graphic sex. [You know how you can really tell I'm upset? They started off in media res and I did not even notice until just now]
2. OK, no offense, but I don't rightly know that innoculations would be how I lured people in. Brand-new innoculations are not always things to be trusted in the best of circumstances, never mind the potential for something intentionally nasty to be in them. And why only for children? That would raise my suspicions right quick. Frankly if you were smart you would offer free tickets to see, I don't know, various singers/celebrities kids would recognize and love. THAT would bring the crowds!
3. Drug-addicted aliens. Well, that's just peachy.
4. Ohhhh, Andy. I cannot lie, the sight of his familiar goofy face beaming at her, waiting with a car, kind of thrilled me almost as much as Amita and Charlie being reunited on Numb3rs. Father of Gwen's baby who?
Rhys: Hey! She's pregnant.
Andy: Bloody hellfire. Who's the father?
Rhys: Oh, I'm slappin' you...
6. "You wanna have kids in a world like this, Rhys?"
"You're not gettin' rid of it."
"Is that right."
COLD, GWEN. And dark. Let's just claim the homorones o' crazy are kicking in early, yeah?
7. Told you John Frobisher was a good man. I can call 'em, I can call 'em!
8. ...and then he's going to shoot his family. Yeah. No. FAIL. I think the aliens probably at least have painkillers. God, this is worse than Ianto. Sweet Lord, he's really going to do it, too. [And then I just stared dumbly at the screen, unable to move or blink, numb with horror as I watched the inevitable play out before my eyes, even though I couldn't make myself believe it until the shots actually rang out.]
Is it okay if I go throw up now? Good.
9. Frobisher's story is officially the second most tragic thing in this miniseries. If my heart hadn't already been ripped out & torn to bits yesterday, it would be gone now.
10. So, what, the bitchy commander suddenly grew a heart? Your character development, I disbelieve in it.
11. THAT'S IT, ANDY! Join the mob of raging fathers taking on the army with their bare hands and a few airborne bricks! Just try not to die in the process, mmkay? ...the blood is worrying me.
11. New favorite background character: the redheaded lady in charge of babysitting King Stephen. I feel like she's got a good soul, despite her notable lack of lines.
12. That's better, Gwen, and let's have no more crazy talk of abortions. "I wouldn't do that to you, sweetheart." Fine, their stupid marriage & pending baby got to me a little when I saw the tears hinting in Rhys's eyes. I'd make a snarky comment about the girl being squished on Gwen's lap in the middle of their hug and some vague-but-probably-still-confusing-for-s
[Although, would you look at that. My brain has already, without my consent, nabbed this scene, trucked the plot over to a parallel universe and rewritten it for Ten II/Rose. *shakes head at brain's incorrigible nature, which is in no way reflective of her own*]
13. Idiots (said in Dwight voice), stop acting shocked that you can't round up 100% of your 10%. Obviously you should have cast your net wider to make up for the ones you couldn't get; did you really expect to nab every single marked target? I'm speaking purely in terms of logic here.
[long break between thoughts]
14. That's it, Jack. You have officially lost every chance I've tried to give you. This is unacceptable. Short of saving Rose or Ten II's life in the future, this is a point of no return. There will be no way you can undo the damage you're about to do here. If you sacrifice your own (highly terrified!) grandson....in front of his mother... God, I am so spoiled from Primeval where adorable children don't die, not even nameless unidentified ones in the path of vicious predators, but I can't make myself believe Stephen* is really going to die. He's not, right?
[*Just realized total irony of this sentence, in light of Primeval reference]
15. He just did.
Whatever, THE DOCTOR WOULD HAVE FOUND A BETTER WAY. HE WOULD HAVE STOPPED THIS BULLSHIT WITHOUT KILLING AN INNOCENT KID. *ignores the fact that the Doctor couldn't stop the Daleks either, and needed a more ruthless Doctor to finish the job*
16. Yeah, I didn't really need that to happen. My Harper's Island-style bloodbath demands were met quite sufficiently yesterday, thank you. Gross overkill, pardon the pun.
17. Oh, God. For a second there I really thought Stephen was still alive and just looking at his mum in state of dazed shock. Way to twist the knife. You're lucky Ianto died, Jack, or he would have dumpd your ass and left Torchwood the second he found out about this. At least I like to pretend he would have. Because I don't care how much Jack cries or how distraught and/or self-loathing he looks right here, I have no sympathy. Or feelings at all. I'm done with him.
[Are you listening, Rusty? It's not even the spitting, vitriolic hatred of yesteryear - it's a deadened feeling of pure...nothingness. It's not even intense enough to be called disgust. Disappointment comes close, but it doesn't mean much since I never held him in high esteem to begin with. All I can say is that this? Worse character disservice than killing Ianto. I can't wait to see how fandom defends/forgives his actions, as I'm sure they will, because it will be like watching people support Hitler. Yes. Like Hitler. That is how far beyond the point of no return we are.]
18. On what might vaguely be called the bright side, now all the other kids are safe, alive, whole and hale - every single other one. And THAT is why you never pre-emptively move to spare someone with a quick death, JOHN FROBISHER, even out of love.
19. Shit, six months later? (I swear, my immediate thought was: there goes miscarriage off the table!) Are you kidding me? Aliens just all left the world alone for six months, did they?
20. "It wasn't your fault." Oh, no, it definitely was, Gwen! Everything was his fault! Even he knows it! He draws in death worse than the Doctor at this point!
21. Oh yes, yes Jack can run away. Gwen and Rhys have a baby to get to, and I think at this point I advocate her retiring back to the police force so as to have the time to raise it properly. I'd like to see Torchwood try and run for a mythical 10 seasons on a totally new team.
But whether they bring back one or both or neither for a hypothetical season 4, it doesn't matter. Now I swear the show really is dead to me. Not even PC Andy can bring me back this time. It will require the combined forces of him, Gwen, Martha, and Mickey to pull off that miracle. Good luck fulfilling that impossible demand! Are you sure it's not over?
Conclusion: Have changed my tune from previous days, and no longer think this miniseries is amazing, but rather the most nauseating thing I have ever seen in my life. Have feeling that Nazi/concentration camp films exist that are more positive than this. Honestly, "made me sick to my stomach" seems like the only phrase sufficient to explain how this experiment in madness and all its casualties turned out. There's nothing salvageable about this wreck like there arguably was from Doomsday, and certainly was from Journey's End. It's just a brutal, dismal clobbering of all that is good and hopeful until you're too beaten down to care anymore. It's not a mark of quality writing. It's merely a disappointing waste of promise.
Relevant title lyric is relevant, and thus bears repeating: There's no more coming back this way, the path is overgrown and strewn with thorns.
How do they plan to come back from this?
(Note: I would not be at all opposed to the BBC pulling an ITV-screws-over-Primeval and randomly canceling it out of the blue right now. But if not, I'm just going to sit back and take notes on whether Torchwood or Robin Hood can ultimately get farthest off their respective rockers. We will call it The War Between The Crackrabbits, or if you prefer, The War on Sanity.)
P.S. This is a succinct and much cleverer take on it all. If I hadn't already written 90% of the above, I would have been tempted to scrap and just point you in its direction.
12:35 AM: It took a long time to get this polished enough for posting, including breaks.
Okay. Harper's Island finale, and then I will be done. God. I can has next week and total freedom from all TV? I checked out Mansfield Park with the intention of reading it and subsequently rewarding myself with the Billie Piper version and everything.
2014 Edit: OH MAN CHECK OUT MY COMMENT REPLY BELOW. It clearly foretells my inevitable falling for Klaine 2-3 years later.