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Torchwood: Children of Earth, Day 4

"If we can't identify the lowest-achieving ten percent of this country's children, then what are the school league tables for?"

Holy wow.

I almost can't express how shocked and disturbed I was by that discussion around the conference table. All of those important people condemning other people's children to a living death. Poor kids, orphaned and displaced kids, kids in the worst schools, kids on welfare. A life and death decision based on socio-economic status. It was like watching people turning into Nazis right in front of my eyes.

What made it so effective was that I absolutely believed it. I could hear politicians making those decisions, for real. I know I'd rather die than give up my child to an eternal life of horror, and I kept waiting for one person – just one – to have the courage and moral certainty to say no. No, we will not sacrifice millions of children for any reason, even if it means the death of our race. But no one did.

At least until Lois spoke up for Torchwood. Lois was simply wonderful. Terrified, hesitant at first, knowing she could be executed for treason, but in the end, she had this little smile. How cool, to have the governments of the world under your thumb, and to know you're doing the right thing.

And it was the right thing, even with the deaths of all those people in the MI-5 building. A dozen children in exchange for twenty-five million people. Thirty-five million children for 6.7 billion people. They can't negotiate with these creatures. They can't appease them with ten percent of the world's children. The 456 will come back in another few years and want ten percent more. The only answer is not to play. The only answer is just what Jack and Ianto did: fight back.

Ianto's death upset me as much as what happened in that conference room. I could feel it coming in the previous episode so I wasn't shocked, but I was surprised at how much it hurt. I wasn't much into Jack and Ianto as a couple when it started happening, but I slowly got into it. And now it's over.

Of the five members of Torchwood at the beginning of the series, only two remain. The scene at the end with Jack holding Gwen as they cried over Ianto's body was just heartbreaking. Yes, Torchwood is a dangerous place to work, but this was almost too much.

Bits and pieces:

-- Jack the immortal condemned eleven children to an immortal slavery. Consider the irony. But we still don't know what the 456 were actually doing to the children. It seems to be some sort of symbiotic slavery.

-- I realized this time that the actor playing Clem was playing him as a little boy. Poor Clem. I guess he wasn't the answer after all, was he? Although why did the 456 go out of their way to kill Clem if he wasn't important, somehow?

-- I did get something of an answer to my toddlers and teenagers question: the 456 are only interested in prepubescents.

-- By the end of it, Johnson had started acting like a human being.

-- The heaviness and intensity of this episode reminded me a bit of Battlestar Galactica at its best. It was that good.

-- Gold acting stars for everyone, especially John Barrowman and Peter Capaldi (Frobisher). And the woman who played Riley, the brown-haired woman in the conference room who said all the hard stuff. She was just chilling.

-- Jack died twice in this episode.


Woman (Ellen Hunt?): "Maybe the gods were kind. Maybe they are in paradise."
Jack: "No such thing."

Alice: "If you've angered him, then God help you."
Johnson: "This from the woman who spent her life running away from him."
Alice: "And why do you think I did that? A man who can't die has got nothing to fear."
But he does fear something. The deaths of people he loves. He was ready to take it back to save Ianto.

Clem: "What's happening?"
Gwen: "It's Lois. She's crying."

The 456: "We do not harm the children. They feel no pain. They live long beyond their years."
Gwen: "Well, that's okay, then."

Ianto: "I've only just scraped the surface, haven't I?"
Jack: "Ianto, that's all there is."
Ianto: "No. You pretend that's all there is."

Prime Minister Green: "Rick, Rick, Rick, Rick. What are you suggesting, a cull of ten percent would do us good?"

Yates: "We could do it alphabetically."
Riley: "Oh, yes. Thanks, Mr. Yates."

Ianto: "Don't forget me."
Jack: "Never could."
Ianto: "A thousand years time, you won't remember me."
Jack: "Yes, I will. I promise I will."

I have never been as into Torchwood as I am at this moment. I haven't got a clue as to how they're going to get out of this situation. And that's darned good television,

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. I don't think you were the only person who got Battlestar vibes, Billie. These episodes got intense.

    Rick Yates is played the actor who voices the Daleks and Cybermen on Doctor Who.

    Ianto's death caused absolute fury on the net (then agai, doesn't everything?). I felt it was too soon as Owen and Toshiko but the scenes with him and Jack and then Gwen were powerful.

    It was interesting Johnson becoming unsure of what she was doing but it felt cliched as well.

    Overall, a stunning but very bleak episode.

  2. Wow, that might have been the best episode i've seen in a long time.

    Not one moment without my full attention. The flashbacks, the scene with the camera in the tank, the talks about giving away children calling them units and of course Jack ultimatum and Ianto's death.

    The finale will be either even better ot a bit dissapointing. I'm holding my fingers crossed for a downer ending.


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