lesbiassparrow: (Rose)
[personal profile] lesbiassparrow
I will be buying this DVD but I am not sure I can ever watch it again. And I can't imagine what watching it would be like if you had children.

I think what most impressed me is that the show never backed off. It just got darker and darker and darker. And while aliens may not be your thing this was essentially a show that was more about how people will happily throw others under the bus without a second thought. And will throw other people's children under a bus and sleep at night by saying that they wouldn't have been productive members of society.

In the last episode there were four things that really gripped me:

1. The revelation that the 456 are using the children as a drug. All the people in charge have already decided who should be called upon to sacrifice for the greater good (without telling them, of course) and are very good at making that sound reasonable to themselves. But you still think that when this revelation is made that someone will say something. Because no only are you shipping off your children to be used for hundreds of years but you know that the 456 will eventually be back for more. And more.

2. Captain Jack's decision to use his grandson as the conduit, knowing he would kill him. This is just the choice of the higher ups on a smaller scale. And you can say 'well, it's one child for millions' but it's still the same choice and it's made for someone else. Jack sacrifices something he has no right to, knowing it's wrong and knowing he is partially responsible for it all in the first place. I should say here that I've always hated the 'greater good' argument, because in the end it's never really about the greater good, is it? It's about your good. Or that of people like you. And if people can't make an honest choice about whether they want to die for the greater good then it's not such a 'good' is it? And I think that this mini-series did a brilliant job of stripping away the clap trap that surrounds the pious presentations of this argument. And Jack has a lot of experience with both ends of that now.

3. Gwen's policeman friend taking off his uniform and fighting the army to save the kids along with everyone else from the estate. And it not making a blind bit of difference.

4. The Frobisher resolution. It could have been too much, but I don't think so. Because in the end although he thought he'd been promoted to the first rank, he was just cannon fodder.

Altogether I thought this entire mini-series did an amazing job of (excuse the cliché) of looking at how banal evil really is. And how quickly people not just do horrible things but come up with justifications for them so easily. And how that never changes: the sort of people who want to be in charge are always the same. I've heard people talk about Harriet Jones and how things might have been different if she were still in charge, but I don't think so. There was not one protest around that table apart from Lois' (and I would watch a Torchwood with her, Gwen, policeman guy, and Rhys) and I think it just rammed it home that essentially they're all the same.

The second thing I really like was how thoroughly it deconstructed the whole hero love affair SciFi often has. Because the only person that is the traditional hero type is Jack - and he can't sacrifice himself, but does others. And that just runs against what we are told heroes do in a very profound way. And at the end he's destroyed by it - as he should be. I really hated Jack in this, though I am now much more interested in the character than I ever was before. So I'd really like to see him come back, but maybe to a Torchwood that had no space - physical, emotional, or moral - for someone like him.

Er, that got way longer than I intended.

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August 2011

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