Children of Earth
By DJ Forrest
I could give a blow by blow account of Children of Earth but then I have already covered this in the five months of Episode Breakdowns. It’s my feelings about the series that I’m going to share here. I felt prompted towards the near end of the fifth episode. COE has been the most powerful of storylines in ever such a long time. It broke hearts, and in some ways broke trusts and faith in writers of the series, especially of the creator. For me however, it destroyed any hope that we’d ever see any further stories coming out of Torchwood Cardiff, and that the destruction of the Hub signified the end of Torchwood.
John Barrowman had said in an interview or a comment to a fan that Torchwood wasn’t just Cardiff, Torchwood could be anywhere, and it’s certainly true of the following series: Miracle Day. We also learnt with James Goss’ First Born novel, that while Gwen and Rhys were on the run, trouble follows them like a rash, and Torchwood never really leaves you. You’re never at ease. We saw that evidence in the first episode of Miracle Day, again with Gwen and her family.
But back to Children of Earth. I enjoyed the series, and the more I watch it, the more I discover things I’d either forgotten about or new things altogether. Sometimes in my recordings the series comments weren’t clear, so transcripts have helped put the words back and some scenes make a little more sense now.
I did feel that the large Karma bus seemed to constantly be gunning for Captain Jack, as wherever he goes, whatever planet, or even plain old Earth, whatever happens, anywhere, is his fault. So I feel he has a hell of a burden to carry upon his shoulders, and no matter how broad his shoulders may be at times, THIS particular burden would crush him.
Children of Earth like the previous two series of the show, had a story arc, and it to me wasn’t so much the alien predator wanting 10% of the children of the world. In the previous series, we were introduced into the Hub by Gwen, and the first series was very much about her growth in the show and obviously the death of Suzie Costello. The second saw the two other crew members Owen and Toshiko develop and sadly die at the very end.
‘Death follows us. Follows me.’ Jack Harkness had said to Dr. Martha Jones during a quiet moment in ‘Lost Souls’ audio written by Joseph Lidster.
And it’s certainly true of Children of Earth.
From the get go, you knew, that Ianto featured a little too heavily, and it was with this, you knew that at some point, you were going to need a box of hankies and a shoulder to cry on, and perhaps a week off work while you mourned the loss of a great character that you’d taken into your hearts.
You learnt a lot more about him, about his family, his sister and her family, and the truth about his Dad, the ‘master tailor’.
You felt Jack’s pain at once again storming into a building with Torchwood credentials, putting yet another member of the team in danger, only this time, he couldn’t escape. But in some ways I wonder if he could have, if he’d just set his pride aside. The old Vortex Manipulator has seen some work since the Doctor deactivated it, but Jack would surely still know the teleportation code from the device that Martha had in ‘Journey’s End.’ And surely, given hindsight, going in fully prepared for anything the 456 were likely to throw at them, a ‘gasmask’ would have been a bloody godsend for Ianto.
But then Jack is a little ‘in like Flynn’ when it comes to dealing with an alien creature, so I guess, showing that he was a force to be reckoned with, was probably all he needed to bring the creature to its knees and surrender?
To many fans, the death scene between Jack and Ianto was the last straw, and none of them could face watching the rest of the series, nor read beyond Day Three of the Episode Breakdowns I’d posted up each month. Could I blame them?
To me, Children of Earth was of so many more heartaches, that Ianto’s death scene paled by comparison. Don’t get me wrong, Ianto at the time, wasn’t my favourite character, but throughout the novels which worked in and around Series 1 and 2 that I began to read much later I found a new respect for the guy, and so after many more stories where Ianto came into his own and became less of a coffee boy and more of a team player, I held a higher respect for him. So when I went back to watch COE once more, I felt the sadness that the fans felt for the loss of the young Welshman.
It's odd however, how nobody shed many tears for Toshiko and Owen, when they’d given more for the series.
While I wrote out the Episode Breakdown for this final episode, I felt a tug at the heartstrings for John Frobisher. Now putting aside how wrongly he was at removing Torchwood and those involved in the 1965 first meeting with the 456, and how much of a brown nose he was at the start for the Prime Minister, you can’t help but feel for him, for the struggle he has of keeping his wife and children out of the loop, of wanting to go home but feeling he’s doing the right thing. He was following orders by a higher authority, and we’ve all done it. If it’s not our own, there’s less of a sacrifice to make. It isn’t our children going to ‘paradise’. But it was that moment when he discovered Green had sold him out. Green the man who had left him to deal with the 456, who didn’t want to know about how he got rid of Torchwood. Who after all the meetings with COBRA had finally crapped on his doorstep, telling John his own daughters would also be going to ‘paradise’ as an act of showing the world that it even happens at the top. Good old Green. All children grown up. No risk to him either way.
When Frobisher requested Requisition 31, I had an inkling before the box had been handed over, that that’s what it was. That whole scene involving his family reminded me of an old Biblical mini-series back in the 80’s called Masada starring Peter O’Toole. A young family man was faced with the prospect of losing his family to the Romans and so cut the throat of his children and his wife, before finally turning the knife on himself. Now there was a lot of other stuff going on in that series, but that’s the only part that I truly remember. He entered the room of his family, stroking the face of his youngest son, and behind his back, he held the curved knife that would do the deed.
To feel that helpless in a situation, when the world is going to hell at any minute, you can’t help but feel his pain. You can’t help but put yourself in his shoes and ask yourself, what would you have done?
I love Captain Jack Harkness. There’s no denying it. There’s something about the man that I can’t help liking. He came into Who as a conman, he came out as a hero. But now…
‘One child to save billions.’
What would you do in Jack’s position? Your daughter knows that against all odds, you’re the only one who can save the day. You’re sheltering from the 456’s intentions in a warehouse with your only son. One child in a warehouse of grownups. The machine needs to resonate an echo back through the airwaves, to latch on to every kid in the world and play back the sound that killed Clem McDonald and that will ultimately kill the 456, but how can you do it, when the only child you have at your disposal is your only grandson?
Think about it?
What would you do?
It must be one of the hardest things to ever do – sacrifice your only grandson to save the world, and at what cost? The immortal man is alone, and the world is like a massive graveyard. No wonder he ran. I think I would too.