03 January 2007

saving those pence

I watched the finale of Torchwood last night, but only after observing the torrent with much frustration for several hours. It was certainly worth the wait.

First of all, BBC Three aired the final episodes (12 and 13) of Torchwood on Monday night. I waited and watched mininova and similar sites, on the lookout for an update and available torrents. A little while before I was getting ready to go to bed, they were suddenly there, so I started them; and, in spite of there being purportedly dozens of seeds, the torrents were downloading very slowly. I huffed and sobbed and eventually went to bed, with the old aphorism of pots boiling running through my brain.

When I awoke the next morning, they were barely half-done downloading. I huffed some more, and went to watch episodes of Arrested Development and Robin Hood and continued to check on my torrents restlessly.

Episode 12, "Captain Jack Harkness" finished at around 7:30 PM, and I eagerly dropped everything else and was fairly hypnotised by my media player for the next fifty minutes. Brief plot: the Jack we know and Toshiko walk through a rift in time in an old abandoned Ritz, and they end up in 1940s Cardiff just before the blitz--where they meet ... Captain Jack Harkness.

First off, the other Captain Jack Harkness is very pretty; this episode was asking for a Jack/Jack snog the moment the audience (and our Captain Jack) was introduced to the other one. Suffice to say, the episode doesn't disappoint in that way at all. It almost makes you believe it's going to disappoint you, but then it doesn't.

Eventually, the rest of the team bring Jack and Tosh back through the rift (with their machine and an incomplete equation). Actually, that's much easier said than done on-screen. Ianto and Owen get into a serious brawl over whether they should or shouldn't use the rift machine without the complete equation (Owen for, and Ianto against). Owen manages to activate the machine, bringing their teammates back through, but Owen doesn't get through that act unscathed. Ianto shoots him in the back, and only barely misses his heart.

"End of Days" is the thirteenth and final episode of this season. The aftershocks of Owen's opening the rift continue to have ill effect on Cardiff and the world. Aliens, Roman soldiers, and peasants carrying the Black Death are coming through the rift and wreaking havoc. Jack blames Owen, and after too much insubordination from Owen, Jack fires him. I also get the feeling that perhaps Jack would've been happier to stay in the 1940s in the previous episode, and is angry that Owen has brought them back at such an expense to humanity.

Throughout the episode the team members see dead loved ones urging them to open the rift--that if they only open the rift entirely, everything will go back to normal. Gwen ends up being the catalyst; her boyfriend Rhys is stabbed to death by the strange Ritz manager from the previous episode, stabbed while Rhys is locked in the Hub (and supposedly safe from harm). Gwen, convinced that she can turn back time and bring her beau back to life, insists upon opening the rift. Jack knows better, but Owen shows up again (after a haunting visit from his lost Dianne) and they all turn on Captain Jack in mutiny. And Owen shoots Jack in the head when the Captain tries to forcibly stop them from turning on the machine.

No, turning on the rift machine was a bad idea. As it turns out, a giant demonic creature lives under the rift, and the team has inadvertently released it and brought on the destruction of man; because any human being standing in the shadow of the monster falls down dead. Well, as he has done in previous episodes, Captain Jack comes back to the land of the living after being shot in the head repeatedly, determined to sacrifice himself for the greater good again.

The final minutes of the episode are fairly biblical. Jack has Gwen drive him out to the hills to meet the demon and tells her to run away. Jack and the giant have a battle of will--the creature's ability to fell anything in its path versus Jack's apparent immortality. There's light and rumbling, and Jack's neverending life-force seems to react with the monster's shadow like a meeting of matter and anti-matter. The creature is consumed in light and disappears, leaving Jack (looking much worse for wear) lying on the hill-top.

Gwen brings his body back to the Hub, and everyone besides her believes Jack is (at last) dead. After assuring herself that Rhys is back and alive, Gwen returns to Jack and sits with him for days. When she seems ready to give up, she kisses him, and starts to walk away. We hear Jack say, "Thank you." And, like Jesus out of the tomb, he's back!

It's a good way to end the season and a real tear-jerker. Everyone's crying and hugging and apologising, and Jack forgives a crying Owen and snogs Ianto. It's just a happy ending.

And then Jack seems to see something that the audience isn't allowed to see, there's a sound--very Tardis-like--and Jack disappears without a trace. Again, like Jesus being collected to Heaven.

Jack is a total Christ figure.


Continuing my need for Torchwood, I went to Amazon.co.uk, and ordered the first two books based on the series: Another Life and Slow Decay, priced at £5.59 each. I also purchased Maddigan's Quest, because I've been meaning to watch it since last January.

However, when I went back to Amazon.co.uk this morning, the books were priced down to £4.89 each; so I cancelled them on the previous order, and re-ordered all three at the new and lower price. Because I value that £2.10--that's $US 4 or so. I can get three cups of coffee out of that at Dunkin' Donuts.

Yes, I'm cheap--but it's Amazon's fault for allowing me to be so. You can cancel anything up until they actually ship it to you; and since they hadn't shipped them yet, I was allowed to cancel and get the discount. And I like getting a discount, especially when I'm paying nearly £10 for shipping and handling (because there's no super saver shipping to the States from the UK).


And a final note to self: Slip the rent check under the landlord's door. While she's a nice lady and won't come to murder you in your sleep, you shouldn't take advantage of that. Stop being forgetful. The End.

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