What Would The Doctor Do?

Couldn’t sleep last night. Nothing to do with Torchwood (though it were well scary, as they say here in Lancashire). I was having nightmares about poor Mr Tennant being squashed by the vast bulk of a space whale Beth Ditto and impaled on the stiletto heels of Kylie as a chorus of Cyberdancers looked on. The Brit Awards do have that effect on me.

Why does my daughter think Sharon Osbourne wouldn’t be an embarrassing mother but I am? It must be that cool leather jacket she wears.

A huge opportunity was missed with the Mika set. It was lovely to see Beth accompany him with that huge big bow on her bottom, and made me feel a lot better about my last weigh-in, but why didn’t they go the whole hog and do “Big Girl, You are Beautiful?”

I never did like the Arctic Monkeys and I like them even less now. Call me old-fashioned but I can’t help feeling that if people are nice enough to give you an award two years running the least  you can do is stay sober enough to accept it coherently and not slag off the Brit School so much that they have to cut your speech.

Award ceremonies are a bit like boxes of choccies. There are really only one or two you like (David Tennant presenting, anyone, for all of 30 seconds?) but you take a perverse pleasure in scoffing the whole box anyway and actually enjoy the fact they’re bad for you.

And so, on to Dead Men Walking:

Every now and then you get an episode, in both DW and TW, where they don’t seem to know quite what to do with all the interesting ideas they’re having, so they chuck them in the pot and see what fandom makes of it. This was one such episode. Either that or they’re doing a huge amount of clever, subtle set-up for the finale, and possibly the next DW finale as well. Or they’re just making so much noise that the Press will be going around saying WTF instead of hanging around where the real action is, ie whatever David and Billie are presently filming at The Upper Boat.

First up, people say the Doctor in S3 was fucked up, but ZOMG – Jack? If this is the sunny Jack with his issues resolved, then I’d hate to have had anything to do with him before. Let’s get this straight – Jack is not unfamiliar with the way it feels to lose a valued colleague in service. When it happened before his eyes with Suzie Costello he hardly batted an eyelid, and they didn’t revive her until she had something they needed to know.

But when Owen takes a bullet, he freaks out. For starters, Martha is twenty-four kinds of awesome as we all know, and you have so say that or you’re a racist Rose lover, but she doesn’t officially work for TW, so wouldn’t it have been a good idea for the boss to have actually been there while she performed an autopsy? Or at the very least, not scream at her to stop when she picks up the saw, and then run out for an unspecified length of time and tell her to hold it right there?

Yeah, I know paperwork isn’t dramatic, but it did seem a little unprofessional. And then, next thing you know, Jack’s off doing some kind of deal with the Devil, completely unilaterally and without his team’s knowledge/consent, and putting the entire fucking population of Cardiff at risk because he can’t handle Owen being dead? What happened to all that “It ends now” stuff?

Funnily enough, I felt a bit sorry for Ianto. Makes you wonder, if he’d do all that for the guy he’s not even sleeping with right now, would he break apart two universes if Ianto copped it?

It makes Ten look like the model of quiet restraint, doesn’t it? We need a bumper sticker for Jack saying “WWTDDD?”

Anyway, back he comes with the Glove that is All U Need, and we get Bad Wolf Bay happening right there in the autopsy room. Owen’s as good as dead, is Tosh ever gonna see him again (She Can’t), then she gets two minutes, manages to blurt out that she loves him and he doesn’t say it back. Okay, maybe I’m reading too much into it, but I wonder? Tosh’s musical cues have been virtually identical to Rose’s Theme lately.

And then things get really freaky. Gratuitous projectile vomiting in a prison cell. Zombie flesh-eating Owen looking much too like the werewolf in Tooth And Claw to be coincidental – or are the cash-strapped BBC just reusing prosthetics? The SF/horror tropes come thick and fast and basically we get the idea – trying to bring people back from the dead is a Bad Move. Why do the two gloves work so differently? Was the creepy church really necessary? And if Suzie was kept alive at Gwen’s expense, by draining her life force, would Jack, with his particular little abnormality, be able to keep an infinite number of people alive for an infinite length of time? You can’t help wondering. But, as Mr Copper said on Christmas Day, that would turn him into a monster, someone with the power to decide who lived and died.

Jack is seriously screwed up.

Anyway, there are all kinds of ways this could go. Any number of things could be significant but may well turn out not to be. Martha knows a thing or two about faith and walking the earth. Owen keeps going like the Werewolf of Torchwood House – could things be going full circle here? There’s all kinds of unspecified energy swilling about, possibly from another universe, which could be really handy if Rose plans on dropping in anytime soon. And the kid with cancer gets to live, that was cute wasn’t it?

But the big question remains – when is Cardiff going to wake up to the fact that Jack is a dangerous person to have around and call the right sort of doctor to take him away for rehab? If I’d been running that hospital, I’d want answers.

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6 thoughts on “What Would The Doctor Do?

  1. Didn’t read the last bit as I still haven’t seen TW yet, but I agree with the award shows. We had albeit a week later, the BAFTA awards shown on BBCA and wouldn’t you know I spent the two hours waiting for one twenty second blurb of a particular individual. /facepalm.
    It was worth it 🙂
    Thanks for sharing and please, no more of those dreams!!! You’ll give me nightmares.

  2. If I’d been running that hospital, I’d want answers.
    You got that right; if I were running that place, I’d want to know why they evacuated the place on the say-so of one woman saying “This is Torchwood”, especially since Torchwood is supposed to be, well, secret?

  3. I thought so much of DMW was eyerollingly ridiculous. For a start, John Barrowman just cannot do angry or anguished without coming across as over-acting badly, and that’s a real shame. The stuff in the church was a waste of five minutes of screen-time: it was filmed in such poor light that I actually couldn’t see what was happening. I hate that. Likewise, the intermittent snippets of Owen in the dark irritated me for the same reason: I couldn’t see anything.
    Other things I could have done without: Psychedelic-Owen, the projectile vomiting and farting, Martha aged (and did she look 80 to you? Not to me). Things that could have been done a lot better: Death (a cloud of soot? Please!), Owen’s fight with said cloud of soot. Though I did love the music playing then.
    On the other hand, I loved Jack and Owen’s conversation in the cell. And talk about homoerotic… I think it’s pretty clear why Jack brought Owen back, and Ianto may well need to be jealous. And, going back to your points about Jack, Owen was exactly right at the end of the episode to blame what happened on Jack (and on himself, but to be fair it was all Jack’s fault).
    And, yes, indeed: what has Jack condemned Owen to? And will that be confronted? (Mind you, even if TW doesn’t confront it, I have a suspicion that you will in Life in Cardiff. And I’ll look forward to it!)

  4. Did you get the feeling RTD reworked this particular script, with his usual subtlety?
    As for LIC, I’m wrapping it up in the next chapter (honestly!) but not conclusively. I don’t feel I can write an AU TWS2 until it’s finished airing because I haven’t the foggiest how some of this stuff will play out. Every episode seems to throw up enough for a ten-parter fic in itself.
    I just discovered there’s a Captain’s Blog on the BBC America website – it’s a lot better written than Martha’s was last year. I thought this comment on Sleepers was quite intriguing:
    Staff: I got stabbed through the chest. Just missed my heart, but injured me enough so that I slowly died on the drive back to the Hub. It’s never pleasant dying and coming back, but the slow deaths are the worst. Maybe I deserved it for what I put Beth through – what if I’d been wrong about her? I was so focused on keeping the planet safe, I let some of the old Jack through.

  5. Oh, that’s a fascinating snippet from Jack! Too bad we’ll never see anything like that acknowledged on-screen.
    Finishing LIC in the next chapter? I’m guessing you posted this after you put chapter 12 up. Having read it, I’m quite dreading how you’ll end it 😉 I think I can trust you to put things right in the next story in the series, but on the other hand you’ve got such talent for throwing the completely unexpected at your readers, so there’s still that nagging doubt in my mind. Whatever, I know I’ll be looking forward to it. And to whatever your eventual take is on the events of Reset/DMW/the rest of TW S2.

  6. I really like the idea of doing something on Reset, but I think Jack needs to be in a bad place to resort to what he did. And the problem I had with Chapter 12, which I revised numerous times, was that I tried to get Jack to accept Beth, just like that, so we could all have a neat happy ending.
    But he wouldn’t. He still has too many issues. And yesterday I just sat down and wrote the whole last scene, where they have that big row, in less than an hour, and it just leapt to life.
    They won’t resolve this quickly. They’ll leave without him, once at least, because Jack has to hit rock bottom, like the Doctor did after the Bryn incident.
    I wrote Doctor’s Diary last year very like this – almost completely unplotted. It’s like a dialogue between me and the characters, in fact a few years ago I was very into doing Artist’s Way morning pages for a while, and it developed from there.
    Jack has incredibly dysfunctional relationships with his team. He latches on to Gwen’s normality, through her relationship with Rhys, but continually undermines it. And he has at least two warped father/son relationships going on, with Ianto and Owen. Plus, if we assume he’s intimate with Martha, at one stage he’s simultaneously involved with four people who lost someone they loved at Canary Wharf. There’s enough there to keep any writer busy for a while, isn’t there?

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