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The Laughing Academy
A Life of Noisy Desperation
My grandpa travels in time and space, and all I got was... 
13th-Jul-2009 02:56 pm
TW - Torchwood
I had a painful thought after yesterday’s marathon viewing of Torchwood: Children of Earth.

Okay, a lot of people have pointed out the parallels between Jack and the Doctor: both are would-be heroes, immortal, and doomed to lose everyone they love. In Children of Earth, with the introduction of Jack’s daughter Alice Carter and her son, Steven, another similarity was established: both are, or were, grandfathers.

(For any TW and NuWho fans who don’t know: the Doctor’s first Companion was his teen-aged granddaughter, who attended school in 1960s London under the name Susan Foreman. They eventually landed in a Dalek-conquered London in the year 2164, where Susan fell in love with a human freedom fighter. The Doctor left her there, promising, "One day, I shall come back...Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine." She appeared in the twentieth anniversary special The Five Doctors, apparently coming from and returning to 22nd-century Earth. To the best of my knowledge Susan has never been mentioned in NuWho, and presumably she died in the Time War.)

A question: why did the writers give Jack a grandchild? They could just have easily made Steven Jack’s son, and Alice an ex-lover instead of Jack’s daughter. I believe that RTD & Co. intended Steven’s death to be another twist of the knife for viewers familiar with Classic Who — once again, Jack falls short in comparison to the Doctor. While the Doctor cut his ties to Susan in the hope that she would live a full life, marry, and rebuild a shattered Earth, the fact that Jack stayed in touch with Alice and Steven is why they were taken into government custody, and why Steven was on hand when Jack realized that he had to sacrifice one child to save the millions who were being collected for the 456. Susan lived to see adulthood; Steven, still a child, died horribly, at his grandfather’s hands.

Note: x-posted to torch_wood.

ETA: In a comment to my post on torch_wood, eandh99 pointed out a striking similarity between CoE and the 1979 Quartermass serial. Coincidence? Hommage to another Verity Lambert production? Rip-off?
Comments 
13th-Jul-2009 07:08 pm (UTC)
This is going to sound like a sarcastic question but it isn't: Is Jack supposed to the be Doctor with the serial numbers filed off, or a dark mirror of the Doctor, or a satirical commentary on the Doctor's own arc, or just a punching bag that fucks up wherever the Doctor wouldn't in the continually failed efforts to emulate him (I'm still wincing over "I remade Torchwood in YOUR IMAGE!"), or what? I seriously don't get it.
14th-Jul-2009 12:04 am (UTC)
All I know is that I want RTD to please stop systematically stripping every vestige of joy from Jack. Please? Can we have a little healing and not just so you can then flay him in inch-wide strips, a little hope, pretty please?
14th-Jul-2009 01:48 am (UTC)
I get the feeling it's a bit late in the day to hope for that, honestly...
14th-Jul-2009 03:04 am (UTC)
It looks like JB may be appearing in the upcoming Doctor Who specials, if IMDb is to be trusted, so perhaps he’ll do some world-saving (maybe even without dying, for a change) and get his morale back up.
14th-Jul-2009 05:39 am (UTC)
To give you an answer that's more to the point (and less distraught), Jack was introduced as a rival and foil to the Doctor — sensual, selfish, more violent. During his time on the TARDIS he became more like the Doctor, and thus a better and happier person. But then came the Game Station, and he went from redeemed rogue to...I dunno, Prometheus? Sisyphus? Christ? Well, from Happy-Go-Lucky Bastard to Poor Bastard. And goddammit, he is waaaay overdue for some fucking slack.

Edited at 2009-07-14 05:39 am (UTC)
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