I said yesterday how much this guy has ruined Who for me, and now Torchwood as well, and the thing is, I'm sure he didn't MEAN TO. But he did. How did he do that, though? Well, I've been thinking about that, and the thing is, that Russell and I just don't see eye to eye on relationships, and here's why.
There's two relationships that Russell has touted or described using the words "love" and/or "romance" and they are Doctor/Rose and Jack/Ianto. The thing about Jack/Ianto is that Russell didn't really have a very firm hand in the development and depiction of that relationship in Series One and Two of Torchwood, which makes it very interesting to see what happens to that relationship the moment that Russell DOES start to stir that particular pot in Series Three, and it's a very telling thing that happens. The relationship that we so desperately tried to fanwank away as having something
of an equal footing about it, as being something of a partnership
in S1 and 2 immediately, in Day One of S3, is very clearly depicted as a relationship between a STRONG and a WEAK partner. Ianto suddenly becomes Rose in S2 of Who, unsure of their position in the affections of the other, not even sure enough and confident enough to OUTRIGHT ASK what their position is, and reduced to slightly underhanded nagging about mortgages or the word "couple" in order to try and gauge what the other partner is thinking and how the other partner sees them. The dominant partner is dismissive, cold even, and the questioning party is left to shrug off that coldness and accept what's on offer because this is pretty much it, so take it or leave it. And they take it. Like a bitch.
We know how both of those relationships ended because they ended in exactly the same way, with tears and an unrequited "I love you" on the side of the weaker party. Now the thing about both of these relationships is, and I think that's what many people fail to understand, that Russell really - genuinely - finds this type of interaction romantic
. This interaction between the doting, devoted (we as an audience might say "foolish") underdog and an uncommunicative, closed off stronger half, Russell really digs that shit
. And when we, as an audience, say to Russell that we find what we see on screen unsatisfying, maybe because we like our romances to be between equals and not so weirdly skewed, Russell really doesn't get why
. And so when we say we were missing something in Jack/Ianto, Russell assumes, because he
thinks it was fucking romantic, that we
think they didn't have enough sex, when that's precisely the opposite of what we were missing. He's not being dismissive, he just doesn't understand our point of view. At all. And he never will. This is IT for him, this is the epitome of romance. Look at Doctor/Jack, the exact mirror of Jack/Ianto, the relationship where Jack is the foolish devoted one and the Doctor is the one being cold and unappreciative and closed. We feel for Jack in that relationship and we hate the Doctor in that moment for brushing his devotion off so casually. (Not as much as I hate Jack for brushing off Ianto, but that's only because the Doctor at least has the decency not to fuck those he keeps at arm's length.) Hell, look at Gwen/Rhys even, again, a relationship where we side with the underdog Rhys and really, when we look at the relationship objectively, think Rhys deserves better than what Gwen gives him (her superhuman rewrite in S3 notwithstanding). I won't go so far as to psychoanalyse RTD, dudes, but let's face it, the lovestruck puppy and the strong silent type, that really is Rusty's bag, baby. It ain't mine. Unfortunately.
Yes, I am angry at RTD for what he gave us in S3 of Torchwood, but mostly, I'm angry at myself for getting my hopes up that Russell would ever be able to step away from this default relationship template and give me something that would satisfy me
. He can't. This is the formula that Russell writes to and it's a formula that I, personally, don't like, because I like my romance with a smidgeon of equality. And so, inevitably, I will never like anything that Russell writes. It's never going to work between me and Russell and I've now resigned myself to that. So, yeah. That's me and Russell done. Forever.
On a side note, I believe the reason RTD is so adamant
that Ianto is DEAD DEAD DEAD NEVER COMING BACK NO WAY NO HOW, and not toeing the standard keep-em-hooked sci-fi line of "anything can happen, folks!" is twofold. First, I think these are the protests of a man who has been defending this decision for a while now. This isn't the first time it's been questioned, I reckon it's been questioned internally, probably reasonably vehemently, because these are the words of a man who has been digging his big gay heels in for quite some time now, shouting his way out of a corner he's been pushed into once too often. And secondly, he's so adamant about this BECAUSE JACK IS NOT COMING BACK. Jack will exit the narrative in Who, and John's not telling us this because he's still contractually obligated to toe a party line, but mark my words, Jack will leave the story or turn into the face of Boe in Who, leaving us with ABSOLUTELY NO REASON to bring Ianto back. Because Ianto's function in the narrative has only ever been to be Jack's lover and tell us as an audience more about Jack as a person. Ianto's never really been upgraded to his-own-man status in Rusty's eyes, and with the exit of Jack, Ianto will cease to have a purpose in the story, whatever it may be. Those are my thoughts on that Ianto is dead as a doornail thing. Yeah, of course, Rusty's also saying it because he loves to piss off the fanbase, that's like a masochistic thing he's really into, but apart from that, those are my reasonings as to why he's saying that.
I wish I could stop thinking about fucking Torchwood already.