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rabid1st

THIS JUST IN: I STILL TEST PONY-POSITIVE

By now, the overseas crowd has reacted to Torchwood: Children of Earth and decided where they stand on it and what it means for the future of the Whoverse. I had a few things to say in my post-as-we-go reviews, on the subject of philosophy and happy endings. For more from me and RTD...let's go under a cut...

****WARNING****Doctor Who Finale Casting Spoilers & Plot Spoilers for Torchwood: CoE

Oh...and LORDY! This is long!



Here's a few quotes from RTD on the ending of Torchwood. Though these might actually be older quotes about the end of S2, judging by context, I think they are still relevent.

"We did it to break people's hearts," Davies says of the "Torchwood" finale. "I always say this about drama: It's not there just to make you smile. When you're upset, when you're grieving for someone, I think, then, drama is doing a very good job."

Davies says it would have been easy to kill off a bunch of extras, but that wasn't something he or the BBC ever considered doing. He talks about the death of Owen and Tosh.

"We loved working with Naoko," he says. "We loved the character, and there was a lot more we could have done with her. But that's the point of death. It hurts."


And we already know that in his book, RTD said that he hoped to break people with what he did to Donna Noble. He wanted us to suffer those real feelings of grief. So...mission accomplished, then!

It might surprise my readers to know that I agree with RTD on his point here. Drama is not just there to make you smile. Conversely, drama isn't just there to make you weep, either. Drama should press every button, open every emotional door and twang every heart-string. You should laugh, cry, smile, sigh and be uplifted. You should have all of these experience in addition to being thrown into spasms of grief. I would say drama is at its best, not when it upsets you, but when it surprises you, especially when you are left feeling complete satisfaction.

I feel that the ending of Torchwood fails to satisfy, not because it upset me, but because it wasn't very surprising. It presented a single-note of drama admirably. It was tragic. The basic note was pain...grief, remorse and despair. Yes, there was a seasoning of uplift as the children are saved and we see Gwen has kept her baby. And yes, we have a few funny moments. But, as RTD points out, those children were "extras"...sparing their lives lacks impact. The main thrust of the piece was the humiliation and loss suffered by our hero, Jack Harkness.

Was there some sort of point to it all, or does RTD simply view pain as an end unto itself? It is hard for me to say at this moment. On the one hand we have Parting of the Ways...an amazing bit of dramatic surprise. On the other hand we have this blanket statement that drama works if the audience is upset? Is RTD a one-trick wonder? That is the question for us to ponder between now and Christmas.

If there is a point to the pain, other than dramatic effect, if the pain is part of a multicolored tapestry of emotions...then we can remain hopeful for the holidays. Let me illustrate why I think this could still be part of a whole...rather than an end unto itself...

1) Geek Street-Cred! Davies has gots it!

When you place Children of Earth in context, this relentless downer ending for Torchwood, lines up with the last episode of the main series where we lost Tosh and Owen and the final few minutes of Journey's End which saw the Doctor betray Donna and Rose...and you have a tremendous amount of unrelenting angst in a big old depressing pile. No geek boy with an ounce of sense is going to stand up at this point and accuse RTD of "selling out" when he offers a happy ending.

Therefore, RTD now has the license he needs to go schmoopy and still hold his head up at Geek Conventions. He has paid his dues in the angst department and can say, "Hey! I killed everyone on Torchwood. You can't have unrelenting death, all the time, guys!"

2) The Torchwood ending did suit the show.

Torchwood was never on the side of good in the Whoverse. This is why the Doctor is so angry at Jack in The Sound of Drums. Jack tries to defend going to work for Torchwood by claiming that he's changed it, made it something the Doctor could be proud of...but we learn in CoE...that is a lie. Jack gave up for a time and he was part of the Torchwood that allowed Rose to be taken from the Doctor. A lot of people haven't really processed that part of the story, I think. But if Jack was with Torchwood in 1965...then he was with them when Rose was taken, too.

He wanted to speak to the Doctor. For all we know, the order to capture the Doctor was his order. I believe he claims that he had nothing to do with that...but then...plausible deniability was always part of Torchwood. Torchwood acted outside the government, beyond the police and they were definitely not pacifists. Given the grim events in episodes like, They Keep Killing Suzie...and Captain Jack Harkness...maybe scorched earth was the only way to go with this team. Certainly, we move beyond Jack's hypocritical opening statements in Children of Earth and get down to the fact that he's sold out as a rebel hero.

3) There's still the rift problem.

The rift is one of the easiest ways for the Doctor to connect with other dimensions. It seems to be directly linked to the events of the Time War and there has been more than one attempt to destabilize it. It is used for communications purposes on two occasions. Now, all rift protection has been blown to bits. And the rift is mentioned repeatedly in CoE. So, right there, we have a pony possibility we have not considered. The alternative universes could merge if the rift goes all wonky. Gallifrey AND Rose could come back. Jack has all that power inside of him...maybe repairing the rift is the "reason" he was brought into exisitence.

I never really bought the Doctor's theory of "She just couldn't control it." Bad Wolf Rose seems very capable to me. Though, I admit, creating life is a tad more complicated than atomizing life.

4) Captain Jack is now an authority on grief and loss.

Yes, we all understand, on some level, that the Doctor is grief stricken because he killed his entire family and his entire home world was lost to him. But that didn't happen on screen, so we are a little divorced from the negative connotations.

But, now, we have lived through the same experiences with Jack...we have seen how ugly it is first hand in a way that we could never did see it on Doctor Who. Jack killed his grandson...as the Doctor must have killed Susan (or the rest of his family). The Hub, Jack's home and the place where his brother Gray was being held in stasis is blown away...just as the Doctor's home world and his relatives are blown away. Jack not only loses his friends and loved ones...but also betrays them...just as the Doctor feels he betrays those who care for him. Jack has outlived his loved ones many times over...and we see that being close to him is dangerous. But as of Torchwood: CoE...Jack was still reaching out to people. Still willing to love Ianto and spend time with his grandson and daughter.

At this point in the story, it seems as if Jack might follow the Doctor's example and simply run away from any deeper involvement with people. This is what made me angry at the end of CoE...because it seems like more of the same thing we had at Journey's End...the lonely hero runs away from further/deeper commitment.

It is that repeating note of angst and cowardice that is beginning to bore me in this narrative.

However, it is possible that Jack would have something to say about running BEFORE you've lost everything. He does agree to stand and fight in CoE. His mourning is AFTER a loss rather then in anticipation of one. Which is the choice that the Doctor makes at the end of Journey's End, he anticipates pain and avoids it. It is also possible Jack might feel that sacrifice can be meaningful. He might not view Stephen's death as pointless...just as we might not view Donna's death as pointless if it allows her to remember her life, again.

I think our hope for the Pony does lie with Jack and Wilf...because both of them have insight to offer the Doctor on what it is like to face death without flinching. Jack understands the Doctor's pain...what it is like to be destined to bury your loved ones, time and time again. He has actually watched a woman he loved wither and die. But I imagine, Jack, given the chance to have 80 more years with Ianto, would jump all over that. I imagine, Jack, regrets every minute of time he lost with his grandchild and daughter, now that he can no longer see them. If he can express this to the Doctor, he stands a chance of being heard...by the audience as well as the Doctor. Jack is the perfect person to tell the Doctor he's being a fool about Rose and Donna, because Jack knows of what he speaks.

5) Everybody is coming back.

Casting spoilers have told us that we are going to have Wilf and Donna and Jack and Rose and Jackie back on set. The conventional wisdom is that everyone is there to say goodbye to Ten, in brief montage or something. And it could be that RTD is simply being self-indulgent all over again and allowing us one more look at the old gang. Or it could be that he wants to make it clear that the Doctor did have a positive impact on Rose and Donna and Wilf and Jackie...so he plans to show that everyone is happy with the way their lives turned out...Donna remembers she's special, even if she doesn't remember why...and Rose and 10.5 live happily in bottle-world.

But, the interesting part for me is that Wilf is the companion for the final two episodes.

If all we are supposed to see is happy people leading happy little lives...then why is Wilf the companion? It seems to me that Wilf would be putting Donna at constant risk for no good reason. Unless Donna is ALREADY at risk...which seems likely only if she's NOT living the happy life without her memories.

Also, Wilf is a very old dude. He's withered. This speaks to one of the things that Ianto says in Torchwood..."So, one day you will see me die...of old age." This is part of what the Doctor (and RTD and the geek boyz) tend to be pointing to with fearful fingers of doom. Old age is coming...we don't want to see some old companion. We don't want to think about being old.

But the fact is...people don't generally wither, except at the very end of their lives. Fit, old people can kick ass. Look at Clint Eastwood. Better yet, let's look at Bernard Cribbens. I bet he enjoyed being part of a show that said the hero couldn't face watching someone get old. And what about Lindsey Duncan (35 years older than Rose) as the companion in Waters of Mars. If those two can keep up with the Doctor...then maybe 58 or 70 year old Rose could keep up with him, too. Maybe he wouldn't be tied down by her dotage. Rose could just as readily be healthy and vital into her eighties. Which means, they could have more than 50 years of happiness before the Doctor must suffer this loss he fears so much.

And...also...Ianto and Stephen show us that young people die, too. So there's a chance anyone he loved could die on him. Anyone but Jack. Maybe he should just switch teams and accept the inevitable, hey? I know that the Jack/Doctor folks are still clinging to the hope. LOL

6) There is an inborn poignancy to the Ten/Rose love story

It has limits. In the last post, I linked you all to an essay I wrote on happy endings a long, long time ago...and in that essay I talked about Charlotte's Web and the tragedy of it. It is a proper tragedy because Charlotte is a spider and quite naturally dies before Wilbur...but she has a profound impact on Wilbur's life. If the Doctor goes to Rose...he goes knowing that she will die and he will go on alone. And we, the audience, should know it, too. We should feel that sweet pang that comes from his surrendering to that inevitable loss. We should know he is seizing on a limited happiness for himself, taking the joy life offers him instead of rejecting joy. The curse of the Time Lords will follow him as he goes to Rose. He will return from this journey...alone. But by going, he will be accepting the reality of his existence rather than running from it and that could have a profound impact on him.

I think this is one of the most vital points that can be made to all the people who sneer at the happy-for-her-lifetime ending. Far from being a denial of reality, it would be an acceptance of reality. It would be the Doctor facing that he is the only one of his kind, an admission that there is no avoiding pain if he means to interact with people in a meaningful way. Friends will die on the Doctor. Running away from your loved ones doesn't stop them from dying...it just means you weren't there for them...and you missed out on all you might have shared.

And that is the absolute truth about relationships, too. If you run away from the pain, you aren't really protected from heartbreak...you just never have any good stuff in your life. Pleasure and pain are two sides of the same coin. To love is to suffer. That's what that phrase means. Too many stories take it to mean that your loved ones MAKE you suffer...and so if you are suffering you must be in love. But no...no...it goes far deeper than that...opening up to love means exposing yourself to the pain of loss that will one day come. Every love story ends in loss, even if it is only the loss at the end of life. And in this case, we know, that loss will be borne by the Doctor. That's the courageous beauty of him opening his heart to an ephemeral creature like Rose. That's the beautiful tragedy in this story, in my less than humble opinion.

This is why I say that RTD could have a philosophy that differs from my own. He may feel it is better not to care too deeply.

But...can we respect that attitude in the Doctor? It was not lost on me that in the 1965 flashback when Jack asks why they wanted HIM for the mission...the woman says they needed someone who "didn't care." I think the dissatisfaction people feel with the end of S4...shows that nobody is really happy with an uncaring Doctor.

7) The Doctor Needs To Heal

As I've said, Doctor Who isn't a show about suffering and loneliness. It is a show about adventure and hope and saving the day against impossible odds. A heartbroken Doctor isn't going to be inspiring generations to come. And kids are very sensitive to the idea of broken homes and hearts these days. I don't think they are going to buy into the funeral atmosphere of angst that we are having in the Whoverse. At this point, RTD needs to trot out a big, old pony with a bright bow on it, just to keep his core audience.

And lest, the geeks and goths forget who that audience is, it is school age children and their mums and dads. The people fairytale endings were written for in the first place. I believe those people are recoiling from the entire prospect of Doctor Who at this point, given what just happened on Torchwood. So...it just makes sense for RTD to do something spectacular to woo those people back into the Who-Fold. Delaying the regeneration so that the Doctor can live out a happy lifetime with Rose...would be the resounding note in the drama that has...so far...been missing. The last minute save! The uplifting of the heart. That fairy tale note that tells us...no matter how scary the monster is...no matter how many people have died...no matter how overwhelmingly impossible the odds...when the Doctor arrives, things will get sorted for the better!


I truly want this pony. After CoE...I could use a whole carousel full of pretty ponies with bows and glitter and stuff.

This is, I think, our best hope now for the Pony. It is time for it. It is sorely needed to reconnect with the audience. You simply cannot present one note of tragedy in such unrelenting fashion and expect to keep people interested in what you are presenting. Even more so when you are working with a family-hour show like Doctor Who. As I've said before...the Doctor can have set backs...and adult things can happen to him OFF-SCREEN...but for the Doctor to continue to have the same appeal he has always had...he cannot be seen to be cowardly or selfish or whiny or unable to pull of the impossible save.

The Doctor does the impossible...he just does! So to say that he can't be with Rose...is to say that he can't save the day for anyone. And we don't want to say that...on screen...or the show just won't go on for the next 45 years. To put it another way...James Bond can lose the girl...but he can't be a traitor to his country and still be Bond. The Doctor can't let Rose down, after she's come back for him like that...and still be the Doctor.

Rae

I completely agree with you and I hope that this happens to be the case come the end of the year. But, having been in the Buffy fandom and dealing with Joss and his issues, it seems to me like Rusty takes a lot of his pages from Joss' book and, while I am hopeful that good things could come and the Doctor can, once again, be the magnificent being that we all love, there is a part of me that cringes because I expect the "other shoe to drop" so to speak.

I would love to be at Comic Con to see what they have to say about the whole thing. Since I can't be, I'll just wish for that glittery carousel full of pretty ponies. :)

Actually, I hope RTD gets just what he wants at Comic Con...a load of really upset fans. Then, he can stand on his genius like Joss used to do and hope it keeps his head above water.

While I make a case above for hope and I really am a fan of the darkness gathering before the dawn...I think this was an awful thing to do to the Torchwood faithful. Equally as bad as what was done to fans the fans of Rose and Donna in JE...and with the addition of Owen and Tosh to that mix...and people like me who really loved and respected the Doctor...well...that's a lot of fans to alienate.

Genius only gets you out of so much crap...in my opinion...after that you better prove you can deliver some feel good television.

Rae

I believe the critical acclaim RTD gets will sooth him and his own sense of pride might carry him along...and there is the fact that some people truly enjoyed the spectacle of CoE. But, still, to go into a room filled with Torchwood fans, as he is intending to do, that takes some nerve. And I say this when I am not even much of a Torchwood fan. I never truly committed to the show because it never really reached its dramatic potential until this season.

And here was drama...and here was tragedy...and here was a bit of sloppy writing, as well. So, while I can see some beauty in this burning down of the universe...I can't see it pleasing the fans very much.

Rae

I am so glad my Pollyanna musing got you going back toward the pony stable. Ponies for everyone, damnit!

(and way to give credence to my crack theorizing about CoE's place in the Whoniverse and Ten's overall arc. Yay!)

Ponies for Everyone!

rabid1st

2009-07-15 03:40 am (UTC)

And I definitely think that your crack theorizing has a place in the grand scheme of things. In fact, it makes the most sense at this point to present us with a pony at Christmas.

I'm just not sure RTD understands that. We have to reach all the way back to the end of S1 and even then he killed off Nine and a host of other people. It could well be that he doesn't have an off switch on his angst and doesn't realize that he's overdone it at this point...never mind whatever happens in Waters of Mars (which I imagine is going to go very dark).

But...the way to go...at this point..is to drive us straight toward the cliff of regeneration and absolute destruction, and then...turn left and give us a sweet pony with a glittery bow or two. I think that is the only chance Matt and Moff have of keeping this show alive.

Rae

Hm, I'll take a pony, but I really want a unicorn. o.0

...now seems as elusive and miraculous as a unicorn.

Rae
still so hollowed out by the end of Torchwood that I feel like Pandora's Box, with nothing but that forlorn hope echoing around inside me.

Jack tries to defend going to work for Torchwood by claiming that he's changed it, made it something the Doctor could be proud of

Fragments showed us that Jack wasn't in charge of Torchwood until the Millennium, with the murder/suicide of his boss and team. I think Jack - free of a boss to keep him in line - then segregated Torchwood 3 from the rest of the Torchwood Institutes in their ethos. Thus, he wasn't a part of Canary Wharf.

Running away from your loved ones doesn't stop them from dying...it just means you weren't there for them...and you missed out on all you might have shared

I came across a blog about cancer recently. One of the entries was a man who ran away when his partner was diagnosed with cancer. Apparently at her funeral, he returned and lamented that someone else got her last years when it could have been him. If Jack had said that to Nine, he would have growled and never let Rose go. Because this is the first time the Doctor has experienced romantic love, I hope he figures it out rather than realising after she's dead.

I imagine, Jack, regrets every minute of time he lost with his grandchild and daughter, now that he can no longer see them

I've got the Torchwood DVD and it has a confidential. RTD says Jack has had lots of children over the century, some of them still living. It's not just Alice and Steven. Steven happened to be the right age. (Part of me smirks at the idea that humans survive to the end of the universe because Jack's propagating the species.) He's outlived his children lots of times. So, the message he takes to the Doctor is that even outliving loved ones is no excuse to avoid them. Jack is willing to spend time with his family, but its his family that keeps him at bay.

The confidential was interesting, if only for the differing opinions. RTD said Ianto's death broke Jack, which is why he could go through with killing Steven. Two minutes later, John Barrowman reiterated that if it was sacrificing one to save many, his character would always do it.

And, if the audience wasn't interested enough to figure out the subtext, Eve Myles literally said Jack was running away from his fears at the end.

Lisa

I do think it is a little hopeful for our side...

rabid1st

2009-07-15 12:56 pm (UTC)

And, if the audience wasn't interested enough to figure out the subtext, Eve Myles literally said Jack was running away from his fears at the end.

That they are AWARE of the subtext. Because I wasn't sure that they were until Gwen actually stated it. But being aware of things doesn't necessarily mean that you do the right thing. RTD likes to go on about his "broken" heroes. And that line of subtext has also been very consistent. He uses the Ood concept of "your song is coming to an end" to explain why the Doctor gives up on everyone.

I wasn't thinking that Jack hadn't ever had other children. But I would think that he's more of a serial father...so we would have a situation where a lot of people are related to him. And this is what I meant when people would go on about the Doctor never being able to leave if he and Rose were together because of their children. Children don't just stay at home...especially if mom and dad lead secret lives. Now, RTD seems to definitely have that fierce loyalty to family idea running through his work, but several times he's also shown he realizes that "everybody leaves home sometime." Children grow up, get married and move away to the big city and if they are keeping secrets like, "Dad's an alien," then they won't be telling their kids about it.

As for the idea of sacrificing the one for the many, that has also permeated RTD's work. We see though in Parting of the Ways that the Doctor wasn't able to pull the trigger a second time. More importantly, he doesn't pull the trigger in DALEK...where the one Dalek was definitely going to kill many...though, of course, it wasn't because Rose had worked her magic on it.

To give Jack his due...the Doctor might have been able to sacrifice a single life to save other's though.

But...I think Jack is used as a foil for the Doctor...he does what the Doctor cannot be seen to do. He has sex. He kills his own on air. He uses a gun. He betrays people. That stated, however, I find it interesting that more than one Torchwood fan reacted in disgust that Jack is now, "Just like the Doctor." <<--making it clear that they don't consider the Doctor heroic.

I was thinking of watching the confidential on this one. I don't usually care about what the people behind a program have to say about it...because I think the work should speak for itself. But I did want to hear them explain themselves on this one.

The one thing, reading over the Torchwood faithful threads, that I think is wrong about my essay above...is that RTD has no cred with some people. The slashers are beyond betrayed just now...and I must admit, they are the one group of people who have more disappointment than those of us who like a good, coherent storyline. The slashers sort of deserved to have their couple still standing at the end of this. Even if devestated and not speaking to one another...which is how I would have done it. I think Ianto's death was the death too far. I can't agree with RTD about losing someone from the team...because they sort of lose Jack from the team...and they have already lost Owen and Tosh.

Rae

Re: I do think it is a little hopeful for our side...

soophelia

2009-07-18 07:43 pm (UTC)

The slashers sort of deserved to have their couple still standing at the end of this. Even if devestated and not speaking to one another...which is how I would have done it. I think Ianto's death was the death too far. I can't agree with RTD about losing someone from the team...because they sort of lose Jack from the team...and they have already lost Owen and Tosh.


I admit I ship Jack/Ianto as well as Doctor/Rose and it would have been nice to see Jack and Ianto still together in the end. I hope that RTD at least gives the Doctor and Rose a happy ending and maybe he can have the Doctor give Jack a present or something (Ianto) somehow.

I'm not opposed to angst, I'm a longtime member of Joss Whedon fandom so I can put up with and even love angst, but I think RTD needs to stop worshipping at Whedon's altar. Killing Owen and Tosh was bad enough, but CoE was just bleak. I just hope that if they have another season, Jack and Ianto will be reunited somehow.


After this I'm mildly hopeful for a pony which is more then I've been for a few weeks now. So thank you, let's just hope RTD sees it as clearly as you do. ;)

I'm back home for a day or two and still catching up with all the comments.

First, Ianto's death and the fans' reaction is reminding me a lot of the end of DW S3 when RTD was accused of racism because Martha left. Never mind that she's done better than any of the other NuWho companions. Some people seem to be unable to see narrative in anything other than political terms.

Ianto's death was unnecessary and achieved nothing other than proving the conventional heroic approach doesn't always work. I'd even go so far as to see it as a sideways dig at the Bush "shock and awe" approach that British people sometimes identify with American foreign policy. It was stupid - going in all guns blazing, firing into that tank - as if the aliens wouldn't have made it bullet-proof! And we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that it led to hundreds of innocent people's deaths. If the Doctor had anything to lecture Jack about, that would be it. He'd understand the loss of Steven, but the preventable massacre at Thames House would sum up everything about Torchwood that disgusts him.

It seems to me that Torchwood is what happens when humans try to do the Doctor's job without his hands-on involvement. In a sense, therefore, the Doctor creates Torchwood. Now, I may be seeing a bit too much in all this, but it does occur to me that UNIT represented an old-school British post-colonial approach, whilst TW is more the action-hero undercover set-up that looks modern and, dare we say it, American?

Torchwood glamourises violence - the guns, the gadgets, the costumes, the Hub. That sits very uneasily with the Doctor's refusal to use a gun, even. CoE relentlessly tears down that entire mythos. The heroic character, I felt, was Frobisher, whose fear and horror, though repressed, were quite genuine.

And a culture that fantasises violence is actually running from it, relegating it to a leisure activity, a game. It's not. I am so glad they took us right into the morgue this time.

I honestly have no idea what RTD will do but I think, thematically, Torchwood has to be destroyed and that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Torchwood is the product of the Doctor's own addiction to running away. They can't just leave the Rift sitting there (and what happens when the Weevils overrun Cardiff?) But TW is not the way to deal with it.

As for Jack running at the end of the story, I do feel that one influence on his actions might well be the belief that he can't redeem himself but he can save Gwen. There's absolutely no way you could combine Torchwood with family life and Jack knows it. One day it would be Gwen's baby in Steven's position, if she lived that long. Plus Jack's presence without Ianto would destroy her marriage. Jack leaves to give Gwen and Rhys the chance of the ordinary life he can never have. If you see some similarity to JE there, I'm sure that's no coincidence. But I do hope we aren't just going to be left with two lonely, broken Gods chasing through time and space while the human race struggles in a dangerous universe.

I wish I had the brain...

rabid1st

2009-07-18 01:24 pm (UTC)

...to give your comment some immediate attention, but I'm a little spacey just now. Damned PA gives me the comes and goes mind. But...

As for Jack running at the end of the story, I do feel that one influence on his actions might well be the belief that he can't redeem himself but he can save Gwen. There's absolutely no way you could combine Torchwood with family life and Jack knows it. One day it would be Gwen's baby in Steven's position, if she lived that long. Plus Jack's presence without Ianto would destroy her marriage. Jack leaves to give Gwen and Rhys the chance of the ordinary life he can never have. If you see some similarity to JE there, I'm sure that's no coincidence. But I do hope we aren't just going to be left with two lonely, broken Gods chasing through time and space while the human race struggles in a dangerous universe.

As you surmise, I do see a strong similarity to JE here. I see RTD basically saying in several points that the Doctor's life is no life for a person to lead. The logical thing then is to become a "lonely god" if you truly care about people. You know in your gut that you are bad for your loved ones and if they are going to have the life that you long for so desparately they will need you to leave.

This does fit in with RTD's own life. I was surprised to learn that he feels his loved ones can't live with him because his lifestyle is so draining that it would harm them. Perhaps this is nothing more than a convenient excuse he's made up to explain his own lonliness, I don't know. But the fact that always struck me with Torchwood...is the thing you mention above...about the guns.

Rose is the Jack Harkness of Pete's World, as well as its Doctor. She is the one running the show. Or so it appears in Turn Left and The Stolen Earth. We are following HER agenda to build a dimension cannon and UNIT is taking orders they don't fully understand from her. And she's carrying that big old gun...and using it much as Jack later uses HIS weapon on the Dalek that shoots the Doctor. And yet, Rose is expected to handle not only all of that...but an infant Time Lord as well...and make it all better...instead of making a mess like Jack does.

Rose...is not leading a normal life, just because the Doctor runs away. It is hard to imagine, with the rift still active in Torchwood, that Gwen will now be living a normal life either...any more than Sarah Jane anyway. But it is completely off the books for Rose Tyler and that cut scene where the Doctor tosses her the piece of coral would make it even MORE unlikely that she would settle into domestic bliss. So...the Doctor is simply denying himself...punishing himself...on the flimsy excuse that Human!Ten is mortal and can die. I would think that we could then put him in the same leaky boat as poor Ianto. Only I suppose we can assume that he is more like Rhys in the smarts department and wouldn't actually shoot at a tank full of poison gas.

Rae

Now, I may be seeing a bit too much in all this, but it does occur to me that UNIT represented an old-school British post-colonial approach, whilst TW is more the action-hero undercover set-up that looks modern and, dare we say it, American?

I noticed that as well. Also I thought I heard rumors at least two months ago about the Beeb (Moffat?) creating a show about UNIT.