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I can't sleep.

See, the thing is, I really thought Torchwood had already had their massive screw-up regarding death. I want to be perfectly clear: I really hated that Owen and Tosh died. In fact, I still hate it. I thought it was stupid, overly manipulative writing, a narrative that relied on the fact that we loved these people, and now they were - oh, what a tweeeeest! -- both shockingly annihilated in the space of 50 minutes. It wasn't organic; it didn't tell us any truths, besides "Torchwood is dangerous, and your lives are in peril", which I think we already knew. What it really said was "I care more about shock value than I do about nuance, and by the way, fuck you, you're still gonna cry. Suckers."

But Ianto's death... it wasn't like that. He was always going to die, and it was always going to be this way. It was dumb, and pointless, and bleak, and heartbreaking, and we weren't ready, Jack wasn't ready, he wasn't ready - and we were never going to be ready. People don't not die just because we love them.

Someone probably loved those people struggling to get out of Thames House.

So in a way, I felt that Ianto's death had an emotional honesty that Owen's and Tosh's lacked. It came from the story.

"You get what everyone gets. You get a lifetime."

I honestly don't blame La Barrowman or RTD or James Moran or anyone for thinking that people would love it. Because great, classic, love stories tend to end in either marriage or death. And Torchwood, while possessing a sense of humour about itself, is not a comedy.

For me, the problem wasn't that he died. I always saw Jack and Ianto -- and all of Jack's loves, really -- as, well... Jack/mortal beings was always going to end in anguish, wasn't it? And they delivered on that, they really did. Three hankies, consolation at the bottom of a bottle time. (Gwen straightening his tie, that moment in Jack's eyes when he comes back and you can see the memory come back to him... oh, god...)

The problem was I wanted more life first.

"Everything only happens a certain number of times."

Ianto and Jack never got to that last "making the most of it." Nope, 'cause Rhys was making fucking beans. And really, who cares... because we almost never know we were doing something for the last time, when we're doing it. And when we do get to have "goodbye things" (goodbye fucks, farewell glances), we're almost always thinking more about the goodbye than the thing.

And it was an amazing episode -- the stunning misdirection the music gives you, our little band-of-buggered blackmailing the halls of power, the women, the chilling behind-closed-doors social darwinisim, what we do to each other, the sacrifice of innocents...But that's the thing. How can I remember these things, when one of those innocents -- and he was that, in this, for once, our little Torchwood traitor: the only non parent in our main cast, the only one who hadn't, and now will never make the leap into the next generation -- was Ianto Jones? One of the worst sadnesses in this for me is... of this whole thing -- god, it was going so well! -- all I can really see is the goodbye in it.

But...

"It was good, yeah?"

Yeah, it was. It was bloody gorgeous. Exquisite.

What we got from him: a man stands up. You grew up there, Ianto Jones, perfectly at peace with your place in the world. It's not 1965, and you had your Captain, and your gun, and your job to do. I salute you.

So even though it was remarkably stupid of him to be in that room, that's Torchwood, and a man stands up. I don't quibble with the death itself. I believe it. And I know death's a part of life, but it's not only about how you die, it's about the life you lived before that. And Rusty, I wanted a show about life, not about death. You kill things beautifully, you know how to twist a knife. I get it.

These are not the only stories there are. There is more.

Remember, all times are now.

That means: there are still stories to tell. Elseworlds, and fix-its, and what ifs and what happened after. Jack in the future, Jack in the past. Time travel and blue police boxes and vortex manipulators. Alien tech. Gloves come in pairs, but only if worn by two-handed humans. So many stories.

Let's tell them.
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kali

August 2009

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