This post contains spoilers, sparkly letters, prescription-drug abuse, vomiting, threats of domestic violence and what I consider a very happy ending. YMMV.
Last exit to Brooklyn. Last chance to turn around.
Seriously guys, I am going to celebrate. There will be sparkly letters and Barbra Streisand. I avoided LJ for a week to make sure I didn’t hear any Squeeeee about something that sickened me. If you’d rather avoid unseemly happy dancing about something that hurts you, please back button this. I’ll understand.
Stalkers-there's a lot of fodder in here for you, but all you really need to know is I'm really, really happy.
I had four days in hell, not to mention the more than six months that preceded it, and I’ve earned a little joy, and so do the folks who see Jack the way do and have never signed onto the canon so-called ship.
I need to make one thing clear, when it comes to Torchwood and Captain Jack, I’m basically a “single issue voter.” I know a lot of things happened in the five episodes. Really, really horrible stuff. But I went into the week with only concern, the Jack/Ianto “relationship” and whether or not there was any hope for real!Jack. (You know, the guy who in his first scene of Dr. Who, told a guy he was shagging that he had an excellent bottom AND also told him he was going to meet a girl.) Every single piece of information about the show was put through that prism. Real!Jack or Pod-person?
When we get the broadcast on BBCA, and I’ve got it on Tivo, I’ll be able to appreciate anything else that happened, but my bottom line was whether the last frame left me stuck with J/I or not.
Yeah, I take this shit too seriously. That’s what being in fandom is about. If it didn’t matter, I’d be like my husband, who watches stuff and enjoys it and lets it go. Me…not so much.
First let me thank everybody who helped get me through the week via Gmail, Twitter, etc. I couldn’t have made it without you. I’m not going to name names because of the stalkers, but you guys rock! Some of you are right with me in the real!Jack/ABI sandbox, others neutral and even some hard-core J/I shippers, but you were all awesome in terms of getting me the information while NOT indulging in any Squeeeeeeee that would have made me miserable, even if you felt it yourself.
Special kudos to my co-worker Steve who had to put up with my frothing at the mouth over something he really had no idea about, despite my Torchwood calendar and incessant Barrowmania talk.
Extreme love to my husband who as you will see may now be the only person who’s happier with how it turned out than I am.
I understand there was nothing happy in the actual story, and that Jack Harkness is in bad, bad shape. But I’ve wanted that thing off my screen pretty much since the first Cyberwoman snivel and every single whinge and whine along the way has been another reason for hatred and revulsion at the notion that Captain Jack FUCKING Harkness was wasting his time on it, and forgoing any other sexual conquests as a result.
To understand the depth of my joy, you have to realize just how long I’ve been unhappy, and that would go back to pretty much the end of Journey’s End, at which point the spoilers started coming in for the new Torchwood series.
I wasn’t crazy about the continued J/I in series two, but virtually all of that was ambiguous enough to see a way that Jack was still Jack. He was getting hand-jobs in the hot house, but still looking at Gwen like something he was dying to have in both Meat and Something Borrowed. Fragments had the initial ass-whoring by Ianto, but also Jack getting very handsy with Owen and even flashing the smile at Tosh. Both Exit Wounds and The Stolen Earth had the threesome shots implying that Jack wanted Gwen and Ianto. Equally. Which to me translates as wanting Gwen more, because he’s already had Ianto.
But then all this crap started coming through about the third series and since they all fed into my paranoia (see subtitle of my LJ) that Russell T. Davies was not only using Ianto (a bookish Welshman of less than gazellelike proportions) as his Mary Sue (or self-insert, or author avatar) to screw the most gorgeous man in the galaxy but would insist on said gorgeous man falling equally IN LOVE and stating it, to the point of what the fandom short-hands as “curtain buying.”
I couldn’t see any way it wasn’t going to happen and it started poisoning the love I’d had for the character and the fandom. The stalkers are wrong, I didn’t hate Jack, but I hated the idea of what was being done to him. Because of that, I reached a point where I couldn’t even watch the great episodes of Torchwood, such as CJH, because this putrid horror was hanging over me. It was even eating into my Barrowmania. I’m not saying this was rational, but it was real. While I was in Birmingham and London having so much fun on the Squeeeeee Odyssey, it was still eating away at me.
I was especially perturbed GDL’s spoiler about a scene where “Jack and Ianto are gagging for it,” but they can’t because someone else is in the room, and Euros Lyn’s quote about (paraphrase) “We’ll find out the truth about Jack and Ianto’s relationship.”
Then came Torch-tanic and all the stuff that Barrowman was apparently spewing about how much the J/I fans were going to love it.
There was also Barrowman’s quote that there would be some Jack-nudity and would be “very cheeky.” I figured this had to be some variation on the hand-job scene, or something along the lines of someone coming to the door, Jack answering in the buff and Ianto somewhere clearly visible in the frame in a state of dishabille.
Worst of all were the puke pictures i.e. the “Harlequin Romance” promo shots, especially the one the most hard-core J/I kool-aid drinkers were happy to flash at me, the one that made it look like Jack was the one clinging to Ianto. *shudder*
Now the funny (HAHA) thing about all this is that I had a life-line thrown out to me as early as Februay. During some wank on Fandom Secrets, some lovely anon commented to me with the following:
Let 'em have their fun. After all, the cat's out of the bag from no less
than four reliable spoiler sources. Check OG if you don't believe it.
Ianto is a dead cert, forgive the pun, and Jack is going to cause his death, and Ianto dies knowing Jack will forget about him during his long life. The next time we will see Jack is in Doctor Who specials, so he will meet the new Doctor and have unrequited love with him without any thought to past holes and you will be one of the only happy people in the fandom.
If I were you I would be sitting back, chillaxin', knowing that legions of fangirls are going to be distraught and canibalizing each other, while you get the last laugh.
Obviously I couldn’t let myself believe this because if I did and it went the other way, I couldn’t stand it, but maybe I did believe it, or at least had it as a possibility.
It was hard to hang on to that when the everybody else seemed to be getting the inside scoop that this series would be all about Jack and Ianto and their wonderful schmoopy-oopy twu-wuv.
I was pretty sure I couldn’t watch this character assassination and castration, so I made the decision to stay away from LJ for a week, because the Chelsea Drugstore welcomes diversity of opinion, within the framework of civility and sanity and there was the fear of inappropriate Squeeeee. No concern about being spoiled, just that they would come true and there would Squeeeee over the CA&C. (Character Assassination and Castration.)
So I posted fic on Sunday night the 5th, set up my Twitter account, so I wouldn’t be completely out of touch and came into work on Monday the 6, ready for the absolute worst.
“Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.”
OK, so maybe doing sugar/caffeine detox while this was going down wasn’t the brightest move, but it was time. I had an awesome Sunday at the Mint with Lowell and his bf Herman and then we all went out to dinner at Il Cantuccio. I might have had some ice cream before bed, but I woke up knowing it was the end of the line. Again. I have complex relationship with sugar and a
twisted one with caffeine.
I walked to work and immediately got my Twitter page up. It was good to see a bunch of nice comments on my Jack/Jackie story in my gmail inbox, but I couldn’t answer them. My rule to myself was going to be a solid week of not going into LJ at all. Not for Secrets. Not for nothing. (I had to go in and fix a html situation on a pimp post, but I didn’t LOOK at anything while I was there.)
It was really frustrating. My normal morning consists of checking email, answering email and LJ comments, then doing my LJ catch-up from the night before. Wouldn’t you know it was dead at work AND was down for most of the day. GRRRRRRR!!!! I’d brought a little fanfic with me to read but it was nowhere near enough distraction. Thank god for Twitter. I still think it mostly inspires banality, but there are some awesome people I was following from the pundit and political world, and they were still in a tizzy about Sarah Palin quitting.
Most people were tweeting about Michael Jackson as well.
As far as TW, I pretty much knew what was coming having read the detailed write-up from someone who’d seen the preview. That person was hard-core J/I, but since I figured everything was going to go that way anyway, it was mostly just the revulsion of confirmation. I was also curious to hear the actual reaction to the “just him” bit, which I still find offensive and was happy to find out later that lots of people, LGBT or not, were troubled.
It bothered me mostly because it seemed to be trying to pretty-up the relationship. I mean why show Ianto doing what we’d all assumed since Cyberwoman, which is whoring his ass to Jack in order to protect Lisa, back in Exit Wounds and then back away from it. Annoying only in that I hated the idea of Jack getting conned by that or finding him sexually appealing enough to let himself be conned, but assuming that, why not own it? Why go out of the way for Ianto to identify himself as Jack-sexual, rather than as gay or bi. (My fanon has always been that Lisa was the anomaly in his life.) I know some people fanwanked that Ianto was saying there was no one else right now, somehow convincing the sister he wasn’t sleeping around. Yeah. Whatever. And condolences to the Ianto/Owen shippers.
Then of course the “please say we’re a couple” crap. Tell me how this isn’t Ianto being as I’ve said for so long, a whiny little bitch? Clearly this isn’t something Jack wants to say for whatever reason. Buy a clue and STFU.
As reports were coming in, I could tell this was playing out pretty much as expected, with the icky-kiss from the trailer still to come. I’d gotten an edited version of the trailer so I didn’t have to look at it but there were those revolting pictures.
Everyone was saying, yeah, the kiss happened but it’s not a big deal. I had no idea what that supposed to mean. (Now I see it as something similar to House saying "Cameron I love you" in Need to Know. Means to an end.)
A friend who loves Ianto and hates the woobie-fication, let me know that at least relative to Jack, that’s exactly what he was being depicted as.
So the general message from my friends, was, bad, but not too bad. Virtually NO SCHMOOP on Jack’s part.
I was relieved, but also suffering from sugar shakes and a caffeine detox headache.
By the time, I got home the headache was really, really bad, and hubby offered me a Percocet. In case you don’t know, I’m about 23 years clean and sober and generally won’t even take Nyquil when I have a cold. However, I was also in a lot of pain. I’m a pain wuss. I need Nitrous to get my teeth cleaned.
So I took a Percocet and settled down to watch Keith and Rachel and damned if I wasn’t really happy and downright giddy pretty soon, even though it seemed almost inevitable that every piece of “real!Jack” evidence would be undermined in some kind of big, schmoopy “Yes, we’re a couple, Yes, I love you,” thing at the end. That I figured, was RTD’s game-plan and several of my real!Jack compadres agreed with me.
We did a cyber-hug and held a pre-wake for real!Jack. Luckily, I was high on the Percocet so I managed to get some sleep that night and not toss and turn over the incipient horror too much.
Walked to work. No headache! YAY.
Picked up some fruit salad at Lee’s.
I think this was the day of Michael Jackson's memorial service. Steve kept me updated on who was performing and there were a bunch of women in the library watching it and crying.
Another dead day of worrying and waiting and wondering. At least TV TROPES was working and I also amused myself reading through lists of sketches on Saturday Night Live on Wiki, but around 11AM, something strange started happening. I felt nauseated. I didn’t want to blame it on the icky-kiss or the pending CA&C, but I’d never had actual puking as a sugar/caffeine detox symptom either. I made a few runs to the bathroom which ending up with only dry heaving, but eventually things did start coming up and I was forced to conclude that Lee’s, where I have been buy fruit salad for nearly 20 years at various locations in downtown San Francisco, had given me food poisoning.
YUCK. I really hate throwing up.
Most of the day was spend either puking or nodding off at my desk. And then at about three O'clock I started feeling better and everything was fine.
Strangely enough, just around this time, I was getting information that episode two had no schmoop, due to the fact that Jack was out of commission for a lot of the episode.
I was very happy to get photographic evidence that Nekkid-Jack had NOTHING to do with Ianto (at least not in terms of sex or emotion) and that when given a chance to cover up in front of Gwen, Jack merely slung his coat over his shoulder, making sure she got another look at what she’s missing. (And later on, it was a treat to hear that J/Iers were fuming that he didn’t even give Ianto a big hug for saving him.)
Walked to work.
No fruit salad, obviously.
No headache, no nausea, but lots of agitation as I saw Torchwood do its trending thing on Twitter and waited for the reports. I figured that after getting killed again, if Jack was going to cuddle his woobie for comfort, this would be the day.
This turned out to be the “gagging for it” day, I’d been dreading for so many months. Fuck you GDL! Sorry. I know some of you love him, even if you’re not necessarily Ianto fans or J/I fans, but I just can’t stand the guy. I don’t find him attractive. I don’t think he’s talented. His attitude and the self-aggrandizement that I’ve noticed in every con report and panel video makes my skin crawl.
I will NEVER forgive him for the Comic Con panel last year. Hey, dude. John didn’t think it was sex, so STFU!
And here’s my revenge. “Gagging for it,” turns out to be (and it ain’t me saying it, it’s some of the the most rabid Ianto fans in the fandom) “cock-blocked by beans.” Ianto wants it and it’s not important enough to Jack to do anything to make it happen. Jack likes sex and will take it when it’s offered on a platter, but apparently no bit of Ianto was quite special enough to go out of his way here. If he needed comfort or wanted to give it, he would have found a way. He didn’t.
But I still couldn’t let go of my suspicions that Jack would pay for any hint of real!Jack with the sacrifice of his balls on the altar of J/I as dictated by RTD.
Walked to work.
I know this is mostly about Torchwood, but it’s also about detox and getting my shit together, so every day I walked to work was a mini-victory against what might have been happening on screen in the UK.
The day started out with an email which basically said I had screwed up by not getting a ticket reissued for a client who was leaving in the morning. One of my problem children clients, who is very prone to letting the travel manager know about his displeasure when we do not live up to his expectations. Did I screw up because I was exchanging emails with my UKers or refreshing my Twitter? Probably.
I had to write a grovel letter and let the regional manager know what was up and that I might have to write an OOPS report and that we’d have to pay the additional cost of him buying the ticket at the airport. That was fun.
Then came the show itself, and me sweating out the possibility of dead!Ianto, but never doubting for a moment that it wouldn’t take. This is my fault for reading discussions of the spoiler by those who couldn’t accept it and insisted that there would be a “reset.” Glove. Kiss of Life. Rift. Doctor. Something. And because I was so convinced of RTD’s investment in the relationship I figured we were in for a Double Whammy of dead!Ianto, possibly with schmoopy death scene and resurrection.
I watched the trending topics of Torchwood and Ianto keep creeping up and up and up. This was the first day I actually clicked on the trending topics, so I got to see all weeping and wailing over the death and the early dispute over whether it was twu-wuv or real!Jack. I’ll put that discussion aside for a second, but all I could feel that afternoon was rage because I honestly thought we would get a resurrection and THEN Jack would be completely castrated as he ran into Ianto’s arms, did a whole Thank god you’re alive, I love you, I’ll never shag anyone else, let’s buy curtains, Doctor? Gwen? John? Estelle? Victorian Wife? Lifetime of Lovers? Never heard of them because you’re the only one I care about.”
I promise you, I was far angrier than ANYBODY on the grieving end. Absolutely insane with fury.
Since I was so engrossed in watching the Twitters and emailing with the UK, I neglected to eat lunch. In retrospect, this might have been a tactical error. My whole family tends toward hypoglycemia, and you never want to let a woman in my family get too hungry.
Between low blood sugar and resurrection-suspecting rage, I was in a very, very bad place when I got home and I needed to rant and rave and bang furniture and unfortunately hubby was around to see and hear it. I was so frothing at the mouth (and yes stalkers) bat-shit insane that I pretty much told him that if we DID watch it and he wasn’t on my side vis a vis J/I, I would re-break his legs.
His answer was that he loves me and he was always on my side, although his first choice was “Can’t I just not care?” For the record, he thinks Gwen is hot, but doesn’t particularly want Gwen/Jack because of the Rhys factor. He identifies with Rhys. The argument “But it’s Jack!” doesn’t go very far with him.
He said I scared him and I was acting like a crazy person. The facts are not in dispute. I was a bit out there, but I will blame a certain amount of it only the low blood sugar, and some on my feelings about Rusty and his Mary Sue Woobie.
Once I got some Vietnamese food into my system (Yay CARBS!), I was able to calm down somewhat and apologize for scaring hubby.
I spent most of the night e-mailing and chatting with people over the details of the death scene and the likelihood of schmoopy resurrection. I bet several people that it would happen, and only one took me up in it, because she’d seen the spoilers that had come through from the premature release of the DVD, so she knew for a fact that Ianto was really most sincerely dead, but I still refused to believe it because I wanted it to be true so badly.
The downside of this is that I upset someone one I love dearly, my closest compadre in the sandbox, and she was even more nauseated by the possibility than I was and I kind of had to talk her down, which was, I understand, fairly hypocritical of me. Sorry I led you astray, honey.
Also sorry to anyone who took my most dire prediction as a sign of hope, and believed it, leading to further pain when it turned out not to be true.
God that was a bad night. And just strange. I had the truth and I refused to believe it, because it was what I wanted and I was afraid that RTD, Moran et al wouldn’t give it to me.
I don’t think I slept very well.
Oh this was hellacious. Basically all I could do was keep updating Twitter. I know I walked to work and I know that A Boy From Nowhere came on my Ipod and I was able to listen to it and feel good, which was my only inkling that I was going to turn out ok, because honestly, if it hadn’t, I'm not sure I’d ever have been able to listen to John again.
Not only was his apparent endorsement of J/I as some kind of love story pissing me off, but I had serious issues about what became Torchtanic back when it was only Ego-fest and I was totally grossed out by the premise and the cost. I’d always had a bad feeling about it, so when John had his injury, I was obviously upset for him, but in some weird way I felt like my bad feelings had been vindicated
I was on tenterhooks the whole time the show was on, waiting for the explosion of Tweets when the resurrection happened.
AND IT DIDN’T!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I know this is going to sound crazy, but the only comparison I have on the sheer, giddy relief scale is election night and the moment when Ohio went for Obama giving him the Electoral College. The weight of the world went off my shoulders. I felt the same sense of elation I had when I was riding high on the Percocet.
Once I knew Ianto was really most sincerely dead, and that I owed someone a Jack/Gwen story for taking the bet and that Miss. I’ve Got A Secret was right, and that no matter what, I’d never have to look at another J/I scene, I started really obsessively watching the Tweets labeled “Ianto” and enjoying the gnashing of teeth and the rending of garments.
Since then I’ve read the melt-downs and the abuse of James Moran. I’ve read some of the day 4 and 5 posts by some of the hardest core J/I fans who honestly believed that they were going to get Jack and Ianto’s “love” story. They’re miserable. They’re furious. They feel betrayed.
Welcome to my world, kiddies. Every hour of every day that I believed Jack would be destroyed in the name of the anti-ship was like that for me.
Woobie!Ianto is dead and real!Jack gets a chance to live.
OK, I realize this appears unseemly to those who feel that as a result of these events Jack is irretrievably broken. I simply refuse to believe this.
We don’t even know if this was the worst thing he’s ever done. He was a soldier. He’s been 100 years on Torchwood, not to mention the Time Agency and whichever of those endeavours saw his Torture Guy phase.
My Secret Pal warns me that I might not like what I see of Jack in the Christmas/New Years specials. Is it going to be a mope-off between Jack and the Doctor? Not terribly appealing, but at least I know, that at some point, whether it’s on a Torchwood 4 or Doctor Who, Jack will be out there somewhere in time and space and he will have his smile and his swagger back.
Obviously my first choice would be Jack spending some time with the Doctor after Moffat takes over.
2nd would be Torchwood S4, which Jack and Gwen, either finally giving in to the UST or just showing us more of what we already know from S3-Gwen is the one Jack really confided in. I’m loving how pissed people are that she knew about Jack’s daughter and Ianto (soulmate?) didn’t.
After all the "promises" and especially those wretched puke-pictures, I think the real!Jack people did better on the whole. There was NO SEX. (YAY BEANS) and No I LOVE YOU. Ianto spent the whole five episodes trying to get Jack to say what Jack wouldn’t or couldn’t and then he died. Fairly close to what I knew all the way back in February and was afraid to hope for.
The schmoopy-oopy curtain buyers got some crumbs. Moldy ones, if you ask me, including the death scene. I’ve read descriptions from both sides and here’s what I’m left with:
Jack would have said the exact same thing if it had been Gwen, except for a change of pronoun. You think he would have woken up, seen dying!Gwen and not responded the same way? REALLY? Jack, with his guilt and abandonment issues watching yet another team-member, or lover-of-convenience die because of him? REALLY?
Ianto died still begging Jack for crumbs of affection and that’s what he and the J/Iers got.
Hang on if makes you happy, but it don’t prove that Ianto was anymore special than any of Jack’s Torchwood shags.
Obviously Ianto was written into that room to die, and I have to thank RTD for that and take back most of the shit I said and thought about him. Dude’s gonna have an interesting Comic
Con, that’ s for sure.
If Jack wanted to say “I love you,” he would have.
He didn’t. Maybe he felt it. Or wanted it to feel it because it would make him feel like a better person.
He didn’t say it. He fed Ianto some malarkey about remembering him for 1000 years because that’s what Ianto was obsessed with, but he couldn’t make himself say I Love You, presumably because that was too important to him.
And as for “dying in Jack’s arms” being proof of anything, then I guess the J/I shippers are now willing to admit that Jack loved Tosh and Owen exactly as much as whatever they think he felt for Ianto because they got that particular privilege as well.
I’ll be able to watch the BBCA broadcast on my TIVO with a quick finger on the FF button, although I’m also counting on BBCA to do a bit of cutting for me.
I know it’s going to be dark and horrible and unbelievably bleak and leave my Jack in a bad, bad way, but he’ll be my Jack again. I can watch Series 1 & 2. I can watch my Jack episodes of Dr. Who. I can listen to John sing. I can hope those concert dates in the US emerge as reality and I can try to get them and. I can feel bad that there won’t be a SQUEEEEE ODYSSEY II to see John in La Cage and I can look forward to Jack in the Dr. Who specials, and please, please, please Torchwood Series 4.
I don’t even have to write any subversion fic to fix things because I got nothing to fix. I had a little drabble of fanon that I cuddled to myself to get through the glimmers of schmoop in the first three episodes but I don’t even need that anymore.
One kiss. Cock-blocked by beans. No ILU. (And lots of Jack/Gwen closeness just to rub it in.)
I’m willing to trade in BUFT for LOC (Lover of Convenience) and I know that real!Jack is out there. Somewhere. And that’s all I need to know.
So sing along with Babs, and thanks again to everyone who rode the roller-coaster with me. I love you guys.