Like a lot of people, I thought of Captain John Hart as being like Spike, what with the whole same-actor thing. And watching Angel S2, I realized that there is definitely some truth to the whole Jack-is-Angel thing I’ve heard other fans talk about that. Except, by that metaphor, John Hart ain’t Spike. He’s Darla—the ex who wants the morally murky protagonist to become his/her partner again and return to the dark side.
Except…then I re-watched the Buffy Season 2 episode. “Dark Age”. And I realized, John Hart isn’t Spike, and he isn’t Darla.
He’s Ethan Rayne.
Ethan even has the line (which is Jack’s, not John’s, on “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”, but still, it’s about their relationship), “We go back.” There’s a scene where he’s alone with Buffy and being all skeptical of her when she’s saying positive things about Giles, and I’m thinking, “This is like ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’, isn’t it? He knocks her out?” And he totally does! He gestures for her to go in front of him, and then knocks her out! It is so very MUCH like “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”—well, without the kissing, but you know. Not every show is Torchwood.
I already have a Giles-is-Jack-Harkness thing going after watching “The Gift”, because of his opinion on the whole kill-Dawn-to-save-the-world thing (I am one of those unusual people who saw “The Gift” after I saw Torchwood: Children of Earth). Naturally, Giles and Buffy’s respective stances on the whole killing-Dawn-to-save-the-world thing led to comparisons to CoE. I realized that Giles and Jack have something in common: They don’t die. They send others to their deaths. It’s made very clear in S5 that that is what a Watcher does. They send Slayers into battle, and the slayers die. Young. And the watchers truly care about the Slayers. In Jack’s case, he sends his fellow Torchwood people into battle, and they, too, die young. And Jack truly cares about them.
Buffy is Ianto and Gwen in this metaphor—the ones who protect those they love, who would rather die than choose to save the world by destroying a loved one. Ianto was quite clear on th whole “you’re not getting one solitary, single child” thing when he confronted with the 456, and even though she didn’t blame Jack for killing Steven, I don’t think Gwen would have done the same thing herself. Giles and Jack make pragmatic decisions because they survive. Buffy, Gwen, and Ianto are idealists because they don’t.