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"Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang" reestablishes the relationships between the Torchwood characters, while taking those relationships a step further.  In the process it highlights some of the mirrors and parallels between the characters.

Jack/Owen

Jack and Owen were an obvious parallel in the first series.  It was pretty clear to me that Owen was meant to be like Jack was before he met the Doctor, and that the reason Jack didn't punish him as many wanted was because he wasn't nearly as bad as Jack had been.  The conversations between Jack and John show that Owen was indeed only a pale copy of the dark and dangerous man that Jack had been.

In KKBB this parallel is carried further.  Owen announces that he's become aware of the diminishing returns associated with his former lifestyle and is looking to settle down with "a proper woman".  (That he tells this to Toshiko, who has a crush on him, is significant.  Settling down is a major theme of this episode.)  Owen appears to be at a point similar to where Jack was at the start of The Empty Child -- aware that his lifestyle is getting him nowhere, aware that he needs to stop, but not sure how.  This is consistant with the impression I got of Jack when he meets the Doctor -- not that Jack is a bad con man as many have speculated, but that he was too tired of the game to want to carry it on past that point.  Jack was already looking for something different at that point, as Owen is at this point.

Jack/John/Jack's younger self

Jack and John are former lovers who must have parted on good terms, otherwise they would have killed each other.  The interesting thing here is how Jack and John are never, ever alone, even when they appear to be.  There is a never-named ghost  whose presence hangs heavy in the room, and that is the man Jack used to be.

John is not aware of this presence until the autopsy room scene, thinking that the Jack in front of him is basically the Jack he knows.   But Jack is always hyper aware that he is no longer the man John remembers.  Jack now loathes the man he used to be,  He may have made his peace with the Doctor, but he clearly hasn't made his peace with his former life.  And with good reason as there are hints that Jack used to be worse than John was then.  "He's a reminder of my past.  I want him gone."

It seems to me that much of the time that Jack is talking to John, he is actually talking to his younger self.  "These people, this planet, [snarl]all the beauty you could never see[/snarl].  That's what I come back for."  Whose blindness is Jack angry with here?  John to a certain extent, but it seems to me that most of his anger is directed at himself.  John is only a convenient (and even better, deserving) substitute.

Jack/John Jack/Gwen Jack/Ianto

These are the three people whose relationships with Jack are addressed in KKBB.  All of them are or have been in love with Jack, but their relationships are very different.  One of the ways they differ is in the levels of loyalty between the characters.  Not fidelity, although that is sometimes a related issue, but loyalty.  How far do they feel they can trust each other to be true to the ground rules of their relationship?

Jack and John were lovers once, and judging from their behavior they once shared a very physical sexual relationship.  It's clear in the opening scene they are still attracted to each other.  But Jack is in no way still attracted to the lifestyle they once shared, as he makes it clear on the rooftop scene.  John doesn't want to acknowledge the difference in Jack until he's forced to when he learns that Jack can't die, and even then he tries to downplay it.

Jack and John shared both an attraction and a physical relationship, but there is clearly no loyalty between them.

Again, this is not fidelity, as John demonstrates with his repeated offers of an orgy and/or attempts to seduce everything that catches his eye, but loyalty.  They simply don't trust each other not to try to destroy each other when their backs are turned.

Jack and Gwen have always had an attraction but they have never had a sexual relationship.  Jack is always concious of Gwen's relationship with her boyfriend Rhys.  He is more respectful of that relationship than Gwen is, between lying to Rhys about things she doesn't have to lie to him about, shagging Owen, and making doe-eyes at Jack.  Gwen asked Jack to show some interest in consumating their relationship when she told him she only accepted Rhys' proposal because "he was the only one who would have me."  But Jack doesn't give her the slightest hint of interest at that point in time.

Jack and Gwen share an attraction but not a physical relationship.  Jack is loyal to Gwen's boyfriend Rhys -- he refuses to be a homewrecker.  (Is this one way that he differentiates the man he is now from his younger self?)  We don't know if Gwen would be loyal to Jack or not, but her track record indicates otherwise.

 Jack and Ianto share an attraction that dates back to the first episode.  They appear to share a sexual relationship starting in the final third of the first series.  Ianto is loyal to the bone with his lovers, as he demonstrated in spectacular fashion in Cyberwoman. Whether he was also faithful to her is a question that keeps fanfic writers up late at night, but he was clearly loyal to ner.   But in the first series Jack denies that Ianto and he have enough of a relationship to be loyal to, both explicitly in Captain Jack Harkness ("There's no one.") and implicitly by running off chasing after another man without warning Ianto ahead of itme.

There's an interesting hint that Ianto has been loyal to the memory of how Jack did things on the extranet, where in an email exchange with Gwen he apologizes for objecting to something she did simply because it was not the way Jack would have done it.

It's no surprise that all of Ianto's non-work related questions for Jack deal explicitly with loyalty.  When Jack says that he's "found his Doctor" Ianto asks, "Are you going back to him?"  Jack looks down (Have we ever seen Jack look down before?), locks eyes with Ianto. and answers, "I came back for you."  The camera pans straight back to Ianto, then straight back to Jack as if they were the only two people in the room.  Only then does Jack remember that there are other people present, takes a breath, and amends it to, "All of you."

That's enough to win back a degree of Ianto's loyalty.  When Jack once again goes haring off after another man, Ianto gives chase.  And when the others slam Jack for being so inconsiderate, it's Ianto who defends Jack.  "It's more fun when he's around though."

When he meets John, Ianto is the last to lower his gun.  Fandom seems convinced this act is out of jealousy, but I'm not sure that there isn't a simpler explanation.  The first series showed that Ianto was better than the others at reading Jack's body language.  It could be that he's the only one who has picked up on Jack's cues that John is a dangerous snake in the grass who should under no circumstances be trusted.

Then Ianto wants to know "In what way" Jack and John used to be partners, although he must suspect, as John confirms, "In every way.  And then some."

And then we have the lovely office scene, where in a typically subtext-laden approach, Ianto asks Jack his intentions.  Here's my interpretation of that scene:

JACK: Oh yeah, I love that office-y feel. I always get excited in these places. To me they're exotic. Office romances... Photocopying your butt, well maybe not your butt, although whilst we're here why don't we photo ...   (You are more exotic to me than John.  Want to pick up where we left off?  Want my ass right now?)

IANTO: The rift was active. These coordinates, approximately 200 feet above ground. That means this floor or the roof.  (Not on your life.  Now let's get back to work.)

Jack: How are you, Ianto? (Okay, let's see if I have a chance with you again.)

Ianto: All the better for having you back, sir. (I'm glad you're back but don't push it.)

Jack: Can we maybe drop the sir now? I mean while I was away I was thinking,  (I spent a year in Hell, chained up, filthy, tortured, repeatedly murdered.  All I wanted was to be between your clean sheets lying in your arms.)

 you know maybe once this is all done, dinner ... movie? (Let's start over and do this properly.)

Ianto: Are you asking me out on a date?  (Are you asking me to be your Official Boyfriend?  Not just the office totty?)

Jack: interested?

Ianto: Well ... as long as it's not in an office. Some fetishes should be kept to yourself. (Okay, you’ve got a shot, but defenses are still at maximum.  None of this 'part-time shag business.  I expect you to do this properly.)

Jack: Looks like we'll have to check every drawer, bin and plant pot. (I'll cross every "t", dot every "i", and work through every step on your "Perfect Official Boyfriend" checklist.)

Ianto: Right.  (Yes!)

Ok, I'll do this floor. Don't want you getting over excited.  (Forget you, I don't want me getting overexcited and tearing your clothes off.)

Why don't you check the roof? You're good on roofs.  (Give me a moment to cool down, okay?)

Jack? Why are we helping him? (Jack, why are you showing him more loyalty than you've ever shown me?  What's he got over me?  Don't  I deserve some loyalty from you?)

Jack: He’s a reminder of my past. I want him gone. (I don't want to be the man I used to be when I'm around you.  I don't even want to remember that I used to be anything like him.  You are so totally different to me I want to segragate the two of you , the two of me, completely.)

By the way, was that a yes?  (Please?, I've never felt this nervous before.)

Ianto: Yes... yeah. (Now get out of here before I set a bad example and start behaving like a less-than-proper boyfriend.)

It's interesting that while John flirts the most with Toshiko, Ianto is the only one he doesn't hurt or try to kill.

A bit later we have the autopsy room scene, where John has to face the fact of Jack's immortality.  Among his other defensive posturings, he offers to have an orgy with Jack and the others.  He's made this offer before, and Ianto has always rolled his eyes at it.  This time Ianto seriously considers it, then takes a long look at Jack.

Fandom seems to think that Ianto is attracted to John and is seriously considering his offer.  I doubt Ianto would seriously consider a fun romp with someone who had just murdered Jack and tried to kill the others.  Ianto's mile-wide protective streak would nix that thought.  I think the difference lies in what happened in the office scene.  Jack has offered Ianto the position of Official Boyfriend of Jack Harkness, and Ianto has conditionally accepted it.  But Ianto hasn't had time to think about what the Official Boyfriend role entails.  Watching Jack flirt with other people?  Watching Jack shag other people?  Taking part in group sex with Jack?  What are the rules of their relationship going to be?  He knows what they are between a turn-of-the-21st Century man and a woman, but how are they going to define being loyal to each other when one of them is a young Welshman and the other an omnisexual immortal from the far future?  This is something Ianto has to consider now.

Finally we get to the most disturbing scene in the episode for Jack/Ianto shippers.  I'm not talking about the Jack/Gwen scene, but the Gwen/Ianto scene.  When she thinks she has to jump into the Rift, Gwen says to Ianto, "Tell Jack.  Tell Jack I...."  Gwen and Ianto are both aware of the other's feelings for Jack.  Ianto now has to consider if Jack and Gwen might ever act on those feelings from the perspective of Jack's Official Boyfriend.  And what does he do?  He tells Gwen, "Remind me never to get on your bad side."  I'm not sure, but it sounds like what he means is, "If you want to shag Jack I won't interfere."

All in all, they did a lot of interesting setup work in this episode.

Part 1:  Review

Part 3:  Themes

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Comments

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haunter_uk
Jan. 18th, 2008 08:50 pm (UTC)
Jack and Gwen share an attraction but not a physical relationship. Jack is loyal to Gwen's boyfriend Rhys -- he refuses to be a homewrecker. (Is this one way that he differentiates the man he is now from his younger self?)

Given the parrallels between pre-Doctor Jack and S1 Owen which you point out, and Owen's comment in... I think it was episode 1.2 that he "destroys people in happy relationships" to relax, I'd say that Jack was, at the very least, a homewrecker way back then.

A bit later we have the autopsy room scene, where John has to face the fact of Jack's immortality. Among his other defensive posturings, he offers to have an orgy with Jack and the others. He's made this offer before, and Ianto has always rolled his eyes at it. This time Ianto seriously considers it, then takes a long look at Jack.

The instant rolling of eyes at the offer ('Yeah right') indicates he doesn't find John attractive. The sideways glance immediately after that ('Hang on, maybe') might suggest loyalty to Torchwood rather than anything todo with John. Based on how much the team seem to have grown together in Jack's absence, this seems to be a possibility (Specifically considering 'Orgy: Torchwood 3 staff only'). I didn't notice Ianto looking at Jack after the offer myself.

Whatever it meant, though, it proves that GDL is both a fantastic actor and has amazing comic timing, being able to pull off a laugh out loud moment with just his eyes.

Also, the stopwatch scene in this episode was interesting subtext wise. Ianto was taunting Jack's ex-lover with the object that Jack and Ianto used in their first session with each other after it Jack made it absolutely clear to John that Jack had chosen Torchwood over John.
crabby_lioness
Jan. 18th, 2008 09:04 pm (UTC)
As far as Ianto taking part in Torchwood 3 orgies, Ianto comes back with a wonderful putdown when Owen suggests that in the trailer at the end of KKBB.
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crabby_lioness
Jan. 18th, 2008 10:43 pm (UTC)
We don't know yet if Ianto has a jealous bone in his body, but we've seen a lot come out of that protective streak he's got.

I don't know if Jack is worried the Team won't accept him if they know, but he doesn't seem prepared to accept for himself the man he used to be. That's a powerful repression in such an unrepressed character.
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dr_is_in
Jan. 18th, 2008 09:18 pm (UTC)
I really liked your take on all of this. The way you explain the whole Ianto/Jack/Gwen dynamic makes me feel a lot more at ease with that scene of her telling Jack about her engagement. Because until know, I felt like it cheapened the office scene between Jack/Ianto.

And you are right.....Owen is very much like Jack, there is a parallel there. I am interested to see where this season takes him.
crabby_lioness
Jan. 18th, 2008 10:46 pm (UTC)
It was annoying, but I can see why they felt they had to do the Jack/Gwen scene first. It was played with in the last series, and many casual viewers expect it. So it had to be addressed and taken care of.
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crabby_lioness
Jan. 18th, 2008 10:48 pm (UTC)
You're welcome. :)
gallifaerie
Jan. 18th, 2008 09:42 pm (UTC)
This by far the best analysis I've read of the episode. Thanks for posting these detailed reviews, because it's quite selfless, really! I always find reading other people's thoughts on the episodes more interesting than trying to organise my own thoughts.

I especially like the way you analysed the office scene...very clever, I never thought about some of the metaphors made there. Ha, this is why I love fandom!

Thanks.
crabby_lioness
Jan. 18th, 2008 10:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
areasontofight
Jan. 18th, 2008 10:02 pm (UTC)
That's put into shame everything I've tried to say about it. I think you have it spot on! I feel the same as you about the Jack/Gwen and Jack/Ianto relationship; I just hope we aren't all building ourselves up for a fall! :)
crabby_lioness
Jan. 18th, 2008 10:59 pm (UTC)
Well, TPTB won't decide anything about S3 until after the S2 has aired.
duskyfoxthefan
Jan. 18th, 2008 10:03 pm (UTC)
I'm not quite sure I read Ianto's flusteration at the end of the office scene so much as a desire to jump Jack's bones as I did a "I cannot do my job and deal with you. In fact, I just can't deal with you, so work now, relationship later. Go away now." This was the first scene of the new series where we see Jack and Ianto alone together, and GDL's awkward, somewhat flustered, vaguely passive agressive performance read to me as someone who had his walls up the whole time, and who's not going to relax until he's at home with a stiff drink.
crabby_lioness
Jan. 18th, 2008 11:01 pm (UTC)
I agree that Ianto wanted to get the job out of the way first, but I saw a powerful attraction to Jack present as well. Ianto wasn't just flustered, he was hyperventilating at one point!
paddy_wolfstar
Jan. 18th, 2008 10:07 pm (UTC)
This is great. I especially love your interpretation of the office subtext. Best I've read yet!
crabby_lioness
Jan. 18th, 2008 11:02 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
twistedlogic_
Jan. 18th, 2008 10:32 pm (UTC)
Oh my, I LOVE how you interpreted everything! You've put this into words far better than I did. In case you're interested ("I've still got that stopwatch." Just kidding.), here's my interpretation of what's being said in the Office scene:


What Jack says: “Ooohh yeah. Loving that officy feel. Always get excited in these places, to me they’re exotic. Office romances… Photocopying your butt. Well, maybe not your butt, although, as we’re here, why don’t we pho-…”
What Jack is really saying: “I’m trying to slip back into our previous routine, but I’m really nervous. I’m just babbling on auto-pilot and hoping you’ll just play along like the old days.”

What Ianto says: “The Rift was active at these coordinates at approximately two hundred feet above ground, that means this floor or the roof.”
What Ianto is really saying: “I haven’t forgiven you just yet. You left, just came back, your ex is a psycho, and you expect me to just start flirting with you again? No way. Also? We have a job to do, so this really isn’t the right time to talk about this.”

What Jack says: “How are you, Ianto?”
What Jack is really saying: “So I hurt you pretty bad, huh?”

What Ianto says: “All the better for having you back, Sir.”
What Ianto is really saying: “Yes, I’m happy you’re back, now please don’t ask me any more questions. Let’s just keep things casual, cause I’m really confused and this is getting way too personal.”

What Jack says: “Can we maybe drop the ‘Sir’ now? I mean, while I was away, I was thinking… Maybe we could… You know, when this is all done… Dinner, a movie…”
What Jack is really saying: “Please, don’t shut me out. I’ve been chained up for a year, I’ve had a LOT of time to think about what’s important to me, and I realized that, now that I’ve got an other chance, I want to do things right. Even though I’ve been practicing this for ages, the words still don’t come out right, because I’ve never done this before and I’m fucking nervous.”

What Ianto says: “Are you asking me out on a date?”
What Ianto is really saying: “I thought this was all just casual sex to you. You know I'll only be with you if we take it seriously, I'm not just the office shag. Do you know what you're getting yourself into?”

What Jack says: “Interested?”
What Jack is really saying: “I’m really trying here, so please dear God, don’t shoot me down.”

What Ianto says: “Well. As… Long as it’s… Not in an office. Some fetishes should be kept to yourself.”
What Ianto is saying: “Holy crap, you are serious. Okay. Don’t freak out. Keep it light, think casual, make a joke. ‘Some fetishes should be kept to yourself’?! What was I THINKING? Get it together!”

What Jack says: “Looks like we have to go through every drawer, bin and plant pot.”
What Jack is really saying: “Thank GOD that is over. Let’s just talk about work to break the tension.”

What Ianto says: “Right, okay. I’ll do this floor, don’t want you getting overexcited. You take the roof. You’re good on roofs.”
What Ianto is really saying: “Yes, yes, let’s please just talk about work! Also, I can't breathe, so I really need you to leave alone for a bit.”

What Ianto says: “Jack? Why are we helping him?”
What Ianto is really saying: “Are you still in love with him? I mean, he’s an asshole, and you just asked me out and I really don’t know what to make of this.”

What Jack says: “He’s a reminder of my past. I want him gone. By the way, was that a yes?”
What Jack is saying: “I hate who I was when I was with him, he still is everything I used to be and I don’t want him around to constantly remind me of that, because I’m really trying to forget about that particular time, so you really have nothing to worry about. And did this just really happen?”

What Ianto says: “Yes! Yes.”
What Ianto is really saying: “YES. I’ve been dying to hear you say this, but I never thought you would, and now it’s actually happening, I have no idea what to do with myself. I can’t even look at you, so PLEASE leave so I can get my act together and mull this over.”
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katiebugs18
Jan. 18th, 2008 10:37 pm (UTC)
This was a wonderful breakdown (do we get these after every episode? Pretty please.) of a fantastic episode that I'm still squeeing over. I have no problem with this episode. I thought it was great and bodes very well for the rest of the season.

Jack and John were lovers once, and judging from their behavior they once shared a very physical sexual relationship. It's clear in the opening scene they are still attracted to each other.

I LOVE this scene. It's quite possibly my favorite scene of the entire episode. It's just so...ugh. Seriously, it's incredibly sexy and awesome and hot and how much does Jack kick ass (we didn't really get to see BadAssJack last season though it was always implied...it's nice to actually see it)! I don't have anything to add beyond I agree with your loyalty assessment, I just needed to FINALLY squee to other fans about this scene (None of my friends watch Torchwood) because it's just so awesome.

Jack and Gwen share an attraction but not a physical relationship. Jack is loyal to Gwen's boyfriend Rhys...

I've actually never thought about Jack being loyal to Rhys but it makes sense. I've always thought that Jack's real attraction to Gwen was her whole "teach us how to be human" thing more than any actual love. He might love her and be more than willing to sleep with her (this is Jack after all) but he's not "in love" with her. Plus, I think he knows that Gwen, for all she's experienced with Torchwood, wouldn't be able to handle Jack's 51st Century relationship norms (ie. flirting with everything, a possible open sexual relationship...etc) which means any kind of romantic relationship has no chance of succeeding. Besides, I don't think Gwen is really in love with Jack but that's an entirely different conversation.

As for Ianto, I have absolutely no problem with what we saw in KKBB. In fact I'd have been very disappointed if Jack and Ianto had jumped right back in bed. If we want a real relationship between these two then it needs to be worked at and have an actual foundation beyond sex and that takes time. But, happily, that looks like what we're going to get and I couldn't be happier about that.

Besides, how can you deny this: Jack...locks eyes with Ianto. and answers, "I came back for you." It's the closest we're going to get to an anvil dropped on our heads.

I also just need to squee about my two favorite Ianto scenes:

1. His utterly adorable yes to Jack asking him out. The double "Yes. Yes" It's so shy and adorable and obvious that he's keeping his glee inside. I love it.

2. The chase scene in the SUV when Ianto asks if they need special weapons and the camera focuses on the gun loading...I don't know it's just...hot (for lack of a better word).

Great episode all around and very much looking forward to next week!
crabby_lioness
Jan. 18th, 2008 11:29 pm (UTC)
There was so much to love in this ep. It's wonderful to see the writers and the director using Ianto's to his full advantage more.

I love the gun loading scene and the "Taxi!" scene for the same reason. It's just so Ianto to focus on the important job in front of him.
onehundredmoons
Jan. 18th, 2008 10:37 pm (UTC)
Interesting, especially the bits about the loyalty.

I personally interpreted Ianto's "Better not get on your bad side" to Gwen at face value. She had just lobbed a giant punch squarely in John's face, and I think Ianto was just giving her "props". :)
crabby_lioness
Jan. 18th, 2008 11:30 pm (UTC)
I hope I'm wrong, I really do.
athousanderrors
Jan. 18th, 2008 10:38 pm (UTC)
Echoing theninth's comment; thank you for expressing far more eloquently than I can what I've been trying to put straight in my head for days. ;)

And like duskyfoxthefan, I read Ianto's flustered frustration as "this is not the bloody time, Jack, put it back in your pants and we can talk about this when we're not helping your exes track down bloody radiation canisters."

I love your Captain Subtext version of the scene, though. ;)
crabby_lioness
Jan. 18th, 2008 11:32 pm (UTC)
I agree that Ianto was flustered, but I saw desire there as well as work priorities.
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freeze883
Jan. 18th, 2008 11:06 pm (UTC)
Thank you

You just touched upon my fears of Ianto/Jack which was Ianto and maybe me and some other "shippers" have to realise that Ianto will have to share Jack because Jack is not going to stop flirting/shagging/even loving other people.

This is the first post where I actually come out of it thinking that Ianto and Jack have a chance, it's is about beeing loyal and caring about each other rather than being "faithful"

In any other show it wouldn't work but in Torchwood and with Jack, Gwen and Ianto it just might. Now I'm kinda hoping for a scene where Ianto and Gwen comfort each other when Jack is missing/hurt similar to the "tell Jack" scene
crabby_lioness
Jan. 18th, 2008 11:11 pm (UTC)
I have no idea how Jack and Ianto are going to work out the ground rules of their relationship, but as long as they are honest and open with each other I'll accept whatever they decide on.
geordie_star
Jan. 18th, 2008 11:18 pm (UTC)
I think this is the best analasys of the show I've read so far. I love how you have shown subtext to the office scene... I was struggling to figure some of it out. I'm not sure about the Jack/Gwen scene and what's going on between the two of them... I mean... Jack was so sincere when he asked Ianto out on a date... so I hope that Gwen doesn't interfere with the relationship between Jack and Ianto and she sticks with Rhys.
crabby_lioness
Jan. 18th, 2008 11:35 pm (UTC)
It will all depend on if Gwen has more respect for the Jack/Ianto relationship than she has for the Gwen/Rhys relationship, won't it?
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duikermeisie
Jan. 18th, 2008 11:52 pm (UTC)
Re: John/Jack
Jack makes his disgust for John and his current lifestyle WAY before the rooftop scene--he makes it when John is chugging hard liquor straight from the bottle. He hides it with a smile and a laugh, but right there the relationship is established. Loved the irony about come see the stars and "we could be gods"--especially after the way Jack was tortured by essentially a mad demigod in DWS3.

Also loved how genuinely terrified John was when he discovered Jack was immortal. Right there that highlighted just how different Jack has become, and is an indication of just how much Jack has changed from what John knew. Impossible to ignore for both of them.

Re: John/Ianto
Of all the Torchwood team, it struck me that Ianto is the only one John took seriously. He toyed with Gwen and didn't bother with Owen or Toshiko, but Ianto? CAREFULLY crafted insults followed by not locking him up, but forcing him to choose between Jack and the team. John rightly guessed that Ianto would do just that...but he was surprised when Ianto confronted him. None of the others did that. At the end, with the stopwatch, none of the others took an opportunity to mock him or call him out, but oh how Ianto did. John and Ianto respect each other. It's the respect that you or I would give a snake when we're out hiking (keep your distance and keep its abilities in mind), but it's respect all the same.

I didn't see Ianto's actions towards John as jealousy, but rather like you said he realized that John was dangerous with a capital D. The Tea Tray of Doom scene showed Ianto ostensibly being the Good Butler, but there was an aura of polite poison that simply radiated around him during the whole scene.

burntcopper
Jan. 19th, 2008 12:15 am (UTC)
Also, did you notice (because they make a point of John giving the behaviour an odd glance) Jack doesn't drink in that scene. He pulls the top off, hands it to John... but no drinking. Nice continuation of Jack only drinking water unless he's very firmly not on the job from S1.
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duikermeisie
Jan. 18th, 2008 11:58 pm (UTC)
Re: Ianto/Jack

Hello, control issues! The one thing that struck me about the office scene is just how much Ianto was in control of the whole situation. Jack got inappropriate, Ianto shot him down. Jack asked him a weird question, Ianto brushed him off. Jack asks him on a date, Ianto makes boundaries. Ianto tells him to hit the roof, and Jack *obeys without hesitation*. Contrast that to Gwen in the boardroom, where they had a power struggle. Here, he deferred to Ianto without even blinking his eyes.

Jack, who is always in everybody's personal space, respects Ianto's personal space during the entire scene. He only approaches Ianto when Ianto gives him a cue that it's okay (standing up, facing Jack, hands on hips BUT with relaxed posture and his entire torso is open). Otherwise, he stays behind office furniture. Ianto is dictating the encounter, and Jack is listening.

Now the really important bit of that: when Ianto asked him why they were helping John, Jack told him the truth. I'll say that again: Jack told him the truth. When you compare how he dodges Owen's and Tosh's questions and gives Gwen a careful non-answer, that sticks out like a sore thumb. He tells Ianto the truth through the entire episode...about the Doctor (would you go back to him?) and about John. The only other person in the episode who gets that same level of openness is, ironically, John! Gwen, supposedly the confidante, doesn't even come close.

Crabbylioness, I think you nailed it in your fic about military training.
crabby_lioness
Jan. 19th, 2008 12:10 am (UTC)
The thing that Jack knows about Ianto and that John probably suspects is that Ianto is another con artist. If he weren't he would not have been able to hide Lisa all those months or hide his initial affair with Jack.

Never, ever, ever bullshit another bullshitter. Not if you want them to respect you.
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exuberantself
Jan. 19th, 2008 12:24 am (UTC)
I figure that the reason John didn't actually hurt Ianto was because of his connection with Jack. Somewhere between not wanting to hurt Jack (except for when he kills him) and not wanting Jack to destroy him for harming something special to him.

And I haven't seen anything about this, so it's either incredibly obvious or incredibly stupid: John is Jack's babydaddy. Which?
crabby_lioness
Jan. 19th, 2008 12:34 am (UTC)
John does have a code of ethics. He doesn't kill the muggee or anyone in the bar. He carefully gives Team Torchwood a chance to survive, although he clearly doesn't expect them to make it.

And I haven't seen anything about this, so it's either incredibly obvious or incredibly stupid: John is Jack's babydaddy. Which?

Apparently Grey is Jack's little brother, not his child.
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haunter_uk
Jan. 19th, 2008 01:20 am (UTC)
Something that I forgot to mention earlier that you only seemed to skirt on:

The scene between Tosh and Owen when they're on the scavenger hunt together was a fascinating one due to the way both were clearly trying to convince the other to ask them on a date, while steadfastly refusing to ask the question themselves. And it seemed that they each knew the other wanted them to ask the other on a date as well. If they keep it up for more than a few episodes, I suspect it will turn into a two-person dance of heartbreak caused by fear of rejection.
crabby_lioness
Jan. 19th, 2008 02:09 am (UTC)
I started to go into how "coming home and settling down" is a major theme in KKBB, then decided that really needed a seperate post.
yellowvalley
Jan. 19th, 2008 04:55 am (UTC)
I've written and erased so many times trying to put down on paper (or, er.. computer word processing document) what I was trying to say, came across this, and closed the document. This was fascinating, and both exactly what I wanted to say only more clearly and a few things I hadn't thought of.

You mind terribly if I friend you? I'd love to be able to read your thoughts through the season.
crabby_lioness
Jan. 19th, 2008 05:23 am (UTC)
Thanks, no problem! :)
love_jackianto
Jan. 19th, 2008 06:26 am (UTC)
Great Post, the whole thing is brilliant :D I love your take on the orgy line (the boys are really going to have to set some ground rules) and the Jack/Ianto scene.

I think you nailed the subtext of the Jack/Gwen scene. I have always found it very telling on Jack's part that (in series 1) if he really wanted to sleep with Gwen he could have (she does seem very taken with him, and also seems to have very little respect for Rhys; she did cheat on him with Owen) but he didn't, because (I think) as you said he has too respect for her 'normal' relationship with Rhys.

'If you want to shag Jack I won't interfere.' I think the real question is: would Jack *want* to shag her?

The Jack/Gwen scene is series 2 just solidified their platonic relationship for me; when she said 'because who else would have me' she's basically saying 'if you say you want me I'm yours' and he does not say anything of the sort. As for him flirting with her, I think that is just the way Jack feels the most comfortable interacting with people (he did also try and flirt with Ianto even when he kept a physical distance).

Now I have some questions: How did this fandom get so smart? Why couldn't they write the show this wonderfully in series 1? How is it possible for GDL to say so much without saying anything at all :D


crabby_lioness
Jan. 19th, 2008 02:21 pm (UTC)
Now I have some questions: How did this fandom get so smart?

LOL I don't know. Torchwood is the only show that offers me a combination of substance and optimism to play with. I'm not a fan of dystopias. I like my futures Technicolor, dang it. :)

But I've been doing this since Sex in Day One and Cyberwoman as Oedipus Rex. Just click on the "commentary" tag.

Why couldn't they write the show this wonderfully in series 1?

According to their most recent interviews, they got too nervous, tried too hard, and blew it. They seem more relaxed and sure of their game this round.

How is it possible for GDL to say so much without saying anything at all :D

Part of it's practice. He's been acting in youth theatre since he was 10, so he's had 16 years experience already, almost as much as Barrowman and Marsters. Most of it is because he's a thinking actor. Like Marsters and Gorman, he puts a lot of thought into what his character would do in a certain situation, and it shows.
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mallochai
Jan. 19th, 2008 08:36 am (UTC)
You are BRILLIANT! That all makes perfect sense.

I have to admit, when I saw the Jack/Gwen scene, the big Jack/Ianto shipper in me had a heart attack. The scene seemed too intense and awkward at the same time, mostly because of the timing of when he reached for her hand. Upon further reflection though, I have to agree with your musings on it. Not just because it makes me "feel better" about the situation, but because it adds up.

I love your analytical posts, by the way, they are a rare treat, almost like a defensive thesis. I keep looking for the footnotes.
crabby_lioness
Jan. 19th, 2008 02:38 pm (UTC)
As much as the Jack/Gwen scene annoyed me, they really needed some sort of closure for those two before Jack/Ianto could really get serious, if only because the more casual watchers would expect Jack/Gwen over Jack/Ianto.

I love your analytical posts, by the way, they are a rare treat, almost like a defensive thesis. I keep looking for the footnotes.</>

LOL I have been tempted to add video clips. Or at least screencaps.

ESPECIALLY when people say that "Ianto didn't do anything in that story." Did you not see this scene?
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savage2003
Jan. 19th, 2008 05:11 pm (UTC)
I've always thought you cared more for and thought more about this show than some of the writers last season, thank you for giving me proof.

Please do something like this for every episode.
crabby_lioness
Jan. 19th, 2008 11:53 pm (UTC)
I'll try. They certainly gave me enough to play with this time. Yay!
hannurdock
Jan. 19th, 2008 08:04 pm (UTC)
I love this thread!
Okay, I came here to write fic's, but this thread has really captured my imagination! I love the initial post with all the detailed and carefully thought out plot points and interpretations. Most of them are pretty spot on, although I want to tell you what I was thinking during the office scene as those two flirted like crazy.



JACK: Oh yeah, I love that office-y feel. I always get excited in these places. To me they're exotic. Office romances... Photocopying your butt, well maybe not your butt, although whilst we're here why don't we photo ... (What's wrong with Ianto's butt, btw? I think it looks pretty cute. I wish he'd finished that sentance, but appropriate Ianto cuts him off before Jack's vast imagination can have a 'hardening' effect on him - best to stick to the 'job in hand', eh?)

IANTO: The rift was active. These coordinates, approximately 200 feet above ground. That means this floor or the roof. (Let's have a bit of exposition quick before Ianto get's too caught up in Jack's flights of fantasy and forgets why they are at the offices in the first place!)

Jack: How are you, Ianto? (Considering that Ianto used to come back at him in an equally flirtacious fashion, Jack now get's serious.)

Ianto: All the better for having you back, sir. (Ianto just wants to get on with the job - it's awfully distracting having an inbound Jack Harkness breathing heavily on your rear.)

Jack: Can we maybe drop the sir now? I mean while I was away I was thinking, you know maybe once this is all done, dinner ... movie? (Serious Jack asking a very serious question, must have been terrifying to a guy who doesn't really do the whole 'date' scene.)

Ianto: Are you asking me out on a date? (Ianto wasn't the only one who was amazed - I could hear the squee's for miles carried on the breeze from Janto fans all over the UK. Mine was the loudest, btw!!)

Jack: Interested? (He's definitely using his Serious Face here, although I would be alarmed too if I were Ianto. What exactly does a date with Jack involve? Dinner and a movie sounds innocent enough, but knowing Jack's sexual appetite, dinner might turn into quite a spectacle.)

Ianto: Well ... as long as it's not in an office. Some fetishes should be kept to yourself. (blabber, blabber, blabber. What did Ianto just say? I didn't catch the last line because he was mumbling too much to himself. It must be the shock of the request for a date. I think Ianto has a very low self-esteem, and the shock is also the fact that someone wants a date with him of all people.)

Jack: Looks like we'll have to check every drawer, bin and plant pot. (Get back to work boys. The sex can wait until the job's done.)

Ianto: Right. (I don't think Ianto knows what to say, he's all flustered and a date was the furthest thing from his mind when he accompanied Jack to the office block.)

Jack: Ok, I'll do this floor. Don't want you getting over excited. (Back to trademark Ianto humour, well, a little of it. It seems to me that Ianto is holding a lot in - always on the job, never give him time to think kindathing.)

Ianto: Why don't you check the roof? You're good on roofs. (We know what Ianto does in his spare time. He watches Jack on CCTV standing like an action figure on high roofs. The boy has it bad.)

Ianto: Jack? Why are we helping him? (A genuine curiousity from the man who tries not to ask questions of people's lives. Ianto is very professional, but his interest of Jack is definitely getting the better of him.)

Jack: He’s a reminder of my past. I want him gone. (An honest answer to an honest question. Jack can tell when someone genuinely needs to know something.)

Jack By the way, was that a yes? (Oops, in all that serious momentness, Jack forgot he'd asked Ianto out on a date that might make them significant others.)

Ianto: Yes... yeah. (I really think that Ianto was feeling really vulnerable during that whole exchange. He told Jack to go to the roof to get space to think about his work.)
crabby_lioness
Jan. 19th, 2008 11:57 pm (UTC)
Re: I love this thread!
What's wrong with Ianto's butt, btw?

I don't think that was implied. I got the impression Jack was leading up to other ideas. ;)
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little_miss_tin
Jan. 20th, 2008 01:41 am (UTC)
Ooohhh...Tres Interessant
Hmm, you know I never before saw a paralell between Owen and Jack. I always felt that Owen and Jack had a father son relationship which is why Jack was always quick to forgive him. In what other ways do you see the Owen being a younger version of Jack?
crabby_lioness
Jan. 20th, 2008 04:43 pm (UTC)
Re: Ooohhh...Tres Interessant
When we first meet Jack in The Empty Child he is good at his job but self-centered and not thinking things through, which gets him into trouble. He didn't mean to unleash a gas mask plague, he just didn't fully think out the consequences of his action.

When we first meet Owen in Everything Changes he is good at his job but self-centered and not thinking things through, which gets him into trouble. He didn't mean to breach Hub security or to commit rape, he just didn't fully think out the consequences of either action.
karaokegal
Jan. 21st, 2008 05:32 am (UTC)
I still find the timing of Jack's date-asking verrrrrryyyyy interesting. As in not till after he found out about Gwen's engagement. And even if only want to hear/see the "I came back for you," part of the first time he said it, then you also have to acknowledge that he said the same thing to Gwen.

I know the spoilers and where canon is going, but I have to hold the line against the J/I shippers who want to believe there is NO connection between Jack & Gwen.

I'd love to do a fic where Ianto figures out the timing in the middle of the date.
crabby_lioness
Jan. 21st, 2008 07:02 am (UTC)
The fact that he spoke to Gwen first has less to do with preference and more to do with personality. Gwen is pushy. Ianto is not. Gwen is always going to jump in first given anything remotely like a chance.

But if you read me piece you know that I don't believe there is NO connection between Jack & Gwen.
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