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The Empty Child/Doctor Dances two-parter of Torchwood, particularly Children of Earth. It occurred to me that Jack in CoE or Torchwood is somewhat parallel to Nancy, the girl who looks after the children in the Empty Child two parter.

(“It’s all my fault”, Nancy says at one point.)

And the solution is the reverse of the solution in CoE. The young blond male child to whom Nancy has been lying to about their biological relationship has to be saved to save the world. In CoE, Jack murders the child to save the world.

I remember, the first time I watched the Empty Child two-parter, how interesting it is that Jack is so upset about having lost two years of memories in the Doctor Dances, and then in Torchwood is administering Retcon left and right. It’s also interesting in that Jamie’s story is a metaphor for keeping secret from children…if anything slips out, just shut the door, hang up the phone, try to shut it in, don’t let the child know, but this only makes things worse. To make things better, you have to be honest, to tell them the truth. This is interesting in light of how secretive Torchwood is, and how much they hide things.


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May. 4th, 2014 05:04 pm (UTC)
re: Jack being upset about his own lost memories but administering Retcon left, right and center - partly I think due to the century he's older since then, with the experience of immortality which does distance him from others, but it may also be that Jack (like a great many people) has two different standards, one for himself and one for the rest of the world. He also (understandably) is upset about being left by the Doctor sans explanation yet leaves his team (one of whom he's in a relationship with) the moment he hears the TARDIS without explanation, and whether at that point he ever intends to go back is up to debate. Then again: in the showdown with Adam mid season 2 when Jack defeats Adam not just by retconning everyone else but by giving up some of his own memories, the later is definitely presented as a sacrifice on Jack's part (one he didn't plan on - Adam inserted himself into some happy childhood memories and then tried to use this as leverage, i.e. Jack could only remove him along with the original memories - but made).

Of course you can also go the Doylist route - The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances were both written by Stephen Moffat (who was the only writer whom Russell T. Davies didn't edit and rewrite during his tenure as DW headwriter), after all, whereas Children of Earth is a RTD brainchild, and Torchwood S1-2 had Chris Chibnall as headwriter; these three writers have at times quite different sensibilities. The Moff once quoted RTD saying that the main difference between them was that Moffat writers the Whoverse as a father, and I think I know what he means. Not just, but definitely that Moffat would have never killed off a child the way, let alone the way Rusty did. But also the perspective, and the type of family issues. I've written about this before but RTD-Whoverse (both Torchwood and Doctor Who itself) has an abundance of relationships between adults and their parents, and adults and their siblings. (Non-Whoverse RTD tv has as well; he's plainly interested in how adults interact with their parents.) Moffat-Whoverse doesn't (and even noticably avoids having it when it's almost inevitable, i.e. River Song, Rory and Amy after the reveal that River is their daughter have hardly any scenes together - three or so in totem), but what it does have are plenty of children and their parents, with Nancy and Jamie only the first example.
May. 4th, 2014 06:09 pm (UTC)
That's an interesting point about Jack and Adam. I hadn't made the connection between Jack using retcon all the time and being willing to give up his own memories to stop Adam. But yes, Jack can be quite the hypocrite sometimes.

I really enjoyed Moffat's individual episodes during RTD's run, but wasn't able to get into his own run, and haven't seen much of it. I'm not really aware of what his patterns as a writer are, except what I've heard about second hand (I get the impression that he's not a very popular show runner). That's an interesting observation about avoiding interactions between adults and their parents.
May. 5th, 2014 06:25 am (UTC)
I'm not really aware of what his patterns as a writer are, except what I've heard about second hand (I get the impression that he's not a very popular show runner).

Not right now in the internet world, though he IS a showrunner who keeps out making incredibly popular tv, which is why the lj ire won't have much effect in terms of his employment prospects, I imagine. (There is a reason why Moffat inherited New Who from RTD, and that's not just his DW episodes being reliable award winners; his earlier shows like Coupling or Jekyll were great favourites with both the critics and the tv audiences.) Mind you, NO current Doctor Who show runner is ever popular beyond his first year. Back when RTD was in charge, after the Eccleston season he was as reviled as Moffat is now, whle the Moff of course was held up as the genius who could do no wrong. And during his first season as showrunner, he was cast as the avenger of fannish wrongs, before he started to get his own hate-dom, which is in full flourish right now. I'm in the odd position with Moffat where I'm not really a fan of him as a showrunner - I have the dvds for the first four New Who seasons, but none for the Moffat seasons, because while I loved individual eps of same, as a whole I never really emotionally connected and have arc problems, plus I think he's a little too enamored with creating puzzles that increasingly aren't really puzzles but a melange of "wouldn't it be cool if...?" thrown together circumstances - but the by now completely over the top hysteria that looks behind every Moffat-penned dialogue to check whether it isn't OMG the most sexist ever awakens my inner "hold on, that's just not true" defender. (Take the "Moffat can't write woman" assertion. Not remotely true. Mind you, I also think the opposite extremes which you hear from the hardcore Moff fans - i.e. for example "River Song is the best female character ever and any criticism of how she's written just shows the person who is critisizing is the true sexist! Probably for shipper reasons! Also, *insert RTD hate detour despite the fact that whatever Rusty wrote doesn't have anything to do with whether or not Moffat's writing of a particular storyline is critique worthy* - is silly. Anyway, if you want to get an impression of Moffat as a writer that's not filtered through fannish eyes, and relates to the point we were talking about re: him and kids - here is a thoroughly charming interview of him by his son about the Whoverse and Sherlock:

BTW, I looked up the Moffat-RTD quote I was vaguely remembering and the exact version is: "Russell reckons it’s all about parenthood with me. It’s his view that every writer has one story that they go on re-telling and that being a father is mine." Back during meta month, I wrote an essay about RTD's adult kids and children with Rose and Jackie Tyler as examples, which Moffat made some v. admiring and interesting in regards to his own writing comments about I'm also quoting,here.

Edited at 2014-05-05 06:34 am (UTC)
May. 5th, 2014 12:54 pm (UTC)
I guess you can't please the fandom.

That is a cute interview. I like his point about children making up their own stories about Doctor Who. I wasn't into Doctor Who as a child--occasionally watched the old school series with my dad, but wasn't much interested--so I never experienced that.
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