“Torchwood”‘s Russell T Davies on Day 4′s shocking plot twist

Warning: This post contains spoilers about Children of Earth including Day 5. Do not read if you have not watched or do not want to know the fate of a main character. 

Last night BBC America aired the fourth episode of Torchwood: Children of Earth which featured the shocking death of Ianto Jones played by Gareth David-Lloyd. Given that Torchwood is a science fiction show, and that more than one character has "returned" to life in one fashion or another, there is one question fans of Ianto are asking: might Ianto come back should the show have a fourth season?

Below is Russell T Davies’, Torchwood‘s creator, unequivocal answer to that question which he gave me during a lengthier interview to be posted later. 

AfterElton.com: If there’s a fourth series is there a chance that Ianto would be
back or are you prepared to say unequivocally that Ianto’s dead and
that’s it?
Russell T Davies
: Yes, he’s absolutely dead. I’m sorry but [bringing him
back] would just cheapen the whole experience, I think. Gareth would be
dismayed. I think John would be dismayed if that happened. It’s a much
more real world in Torchwood. It wouldn’t work to regenerate or go to a
parallel universe.

AE: Why did you decide to kill off Ianto?
RTD: The problem is, if someone hadn’t died you couldn’t have a threat that great and have them seem untouched by it. So on the first day of discussions on the story [for Children of Earth], that was my first decision – that we would have to have a horrible war casualty. And it had to have the greatest effect on Captain Jack because I always sort of knew that Jack would kill his grandchild in the last episode … and in order to do that you got to have a Captain Jack who is badly, badly damaged.

So it [Ianto's dying] was maximum damage to Jack. And it had to be Jack who was damaged because he’s the sort of moral player here. He’s the one that gave away 12 children back in 1965 to these alien gods. So actually he paid the price to damage him, to make this a tale of retribution and perhaps redemption all come around to him, you have to kill his lover.

AE: So Ianto died in order for Jack to make that final decision about his grandson. To be so damaged he could do something so awful?

Yeah, that’s what it took. I know because it’s a great story. What a fantastic story.

AE: I understand Ianto dying in order to push Captain Jack to do what he needed to do. But a lot of fans felt like they never got to see Jack and Ianto as the full-fledged couple that they wanted to see them as. We only began to see that in this miniseries. So how do you respond to viewers who feel cheated that they got the tragic death without seeing the relationship.

: That’s the point actually. Both in fiction and in life. When someone dies you lose all that potential. You grieve over everything they could have been. Everything you hoped for them. Everything they might have achieved with their lives, everyone they could have loved. Every job they could have had. Every joy they could have had. It’s gone.

That’s proper grief. I think what you’re talking about there is people lamenting the fact they never saw what could have been. That’s grief.

I think you’re being polite and part of what you’re saying is that it wasn’t a properly sexualized relationship … that we didn’t show enough details … I think that’s absolute nonsense. [Editor's note: I wasn't referring to their sexual relationship, but their romantic/emotional one.]

I think their relationship was beautiful. And it lasted as long as any relationship you see in Torchwood. It’s funny because I know a lot of those people complain in the same breath that you get to see Gwen and Rhys being happy. But equally in the same breath, those same people say they don’t like Gwen and Rhys. So clearly they don’t like the happy characters. So why do they even want the gay people to be the happy characters? I don’t know because the happy characters aren’t the ones they are latching on to.

It’s a show in which the story always comes first. You had fleeting sex scenes of Tosh and Owen and of Gwen and Rhys and of Jack and Ianto. You know for a show that was supposed to be all about sex all the time, it actually had very very few sex scenes at all.
I think the details of that [Jack and Ianto] relationship were really beautiful and were really lovely and quite unique with one of them being a formerly straight man, the other being an immortal bisexual, the delicacy of the dance between them. I thought it was beautifully written and beautifully performed.

And if you are grieving the lack of more of it — that’s because it was working so well.

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