Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Torchwood: Children of Earth. Day Three.

Day Three.

Blimey - overnights for last night's second episode: 5.6 million. The first day was 5.9 million, and you'd normally expect a big drop after the first episode, every new season is the same, but this is incredible. Thank you all for staying with it, I'm so excited.

Hello! Today's nuggets: to those who have asked about the shared credit, me and Russell are both credited tonight - I did five drafts of the script while he did episode 1, and then he took ep3 from there for the final draft. I'll talk more about the writing process once it's all over, if people have more questions. There's also an interview with me here at Den of Geek, in which I explain a bit more about the writing process.

Bonus nuggets: This episode was also the first time ever I'd written a specific kind of thing - it disappeared later, as the subplot changed location, but it was still a first for me. I'll say what it was in the comments after the episode. Also, the team are forced to do something they've never done before. And I come up with a creative solution for a clothing difficulty. Oh, and watch out for the chopping board, in one of my favourite scenes.

One last nugget, which I'll leave you to ponder, it's not spoilery because I refuse to explain it: "The Hub 2". And no, it's not what you think.

But for now - something is coming...

Don't forget, there'll be spoilers in the comments, so if you haven't seen the episode, don't read the comments. And remember, the Americans and Canadians don't get the show until the 20th, so please don't drop massive spoiler bombs where they can't avoid seeing them (like in your public Twitter feed). Be considerate!


Anonymous said...

Ohh intriguing. After last night's I can't wait, it just keeps getting better. Clothing solutions... I hope that comes before the chopping board scene. That could turn nasty.

Harriettaa said...

Chopping Board??

And you seriously shoulda just left the clothes off!

Best of luck on everything tonight, im sure it will be as good (hopefully even better) than 1 & 2

we'll only kill you if its bad, and not with bombs in your stomache!

No but realy, cant wait until tonight.

At least tonight is a 12 so it wont have me throwing up again. Or im blaming you for the carpet mess.

Gwen Cooper said...

-is still worrying about the potential unicycle idea-

Scaryduck said...

Also, the team are forced to do something they've never done before.

What? NOT have loads of sex?

Anonymous said...

Hints!! Argggg so frustrating that its not on till 9!! Can' see!!! Uwaaah!

And lol yh, the chopping board scene sounds ominous. Ofc Jack can grow it back, so it would only hurt for a bit.

Christian-Mark Cawley said...

Loving it so far, reckon this is the hardest ep of the lot, plumped in the middle of the run, the middle of the week of an ongoing story.

Book Maven said...

Clothing solution? Has to be Jack's coat.

Loved last night's just as much.

Chopping board sounds as if it could be nasty; oh no, don't say the King Edwards have followed Gwen and Rhys from the lorry?

No way will the audience figures drop.

TallulahBelle said...

"And I come up with a creative solution for a clothing difficulty."

Mr Sir James Moran Esquire, if it's that The Coat is somehow resurrected, then dibs on starting the petition to have you OBE'd.

LOVING the show thus far (we've just had ep 2 air in Australia) and I've been using my mad google skillz to check the ratings are holding steady because damnit, there needs to be more of Ianto driving a forklifty thing in the world; therefore TW needs a season 4, 5 and 6. (Ha! 456. See what I did there?)

Dan said...

Enjoyed ep1, found ep2 a little tedious (never thought I'd be thinking MORE John Barrowman was required...), so I'm hoping ep3 pushes things to the next level.

I think we need some big development now, as the spooky kids tableaux has run its course. I'm hopeful, mainly because TV's James Moran has written for TV's Spooks (which is definitely a style COE needs to be replicating.)

Anonymous said...

Wait, does that mean they're going to Glasgow then? Hadn't thought of that :)

Anonymous said...

Something about clothing?

Do you answer the mysterious question of how Jack gets his coat back?

I think Ianto should come to the rescue with his tailoring skills <3

Antonia said...

Oodles of luck for tonight. Waiting with bated breath. That's how good it is.

Anonymous said...

Don't tell us a second Captain Jack has recycled himself out of the bits which didn't end up in the body bag and run away with the greatcoat.

Hands up, who else thought "Gunther von Hagen was here" when they opened the zip?

Anonymous said...

I am jizzing in my pants in anticipation!

Anonymous said...

The Hub 2... now that was a fun time.
...I'm hoping for more Rippy!

rmiriam12 said...

I was wondering about the Coat based on the preview for tonight. Looking forward to the explanation that you came up with!

EG said...

Chopping board? Rhys saved some of those spuds for later didn't he! ;)

And I was just wondering how Jack gets his coat back. Ianto doesn't make him a new one does he?

Very excited about tonight's episode, not to put any pressure on you, I'm confident that it'll be brilliant!

wandering_gyrl said...

WOW! Loved the first two eps. But, I don't really understand why Ianto's "couple" issues emerging NOW after his cutting in to dance with Jack at Gwen's wedding and his gossipping with Martha about Jack's "dabbling" techniques. Oh and especially after that beautiful "blip in time" moment in the radio drama The Dead Line... Hopefully this will be cleared up.

Also Jack's coat is a character in itself much like Manhattan was the "fifth lady" in SaTC. I'm glad the coat returns but WHAT ABOUT JACK's WRIST STRAP!?!?!?!? How could he ever manage w/o it?

I'm sure tonight will be great. "Sleeper" was my fav ep in series two so my expectations for tonight are very high. I'm confident you'll deliver.

Antonia said...

You wrote a blimmin blinder!

Anonymous said...

Loved it!

So... when are you launching your NuBSG style reimagining of Yes Minister?

Anonymous said...

I must say I was dissapointed - that was the perfect opportunity for more naked Jack at the start of the episode, and you put him in tracky bottoms instead!


Very tense episode. I did see Jack's involvement coming (why else would Frobisher need to kill him?) but really loved how John played that last scene, and his realisation. Also, Alice rocks.

I really hope we don't see much more of the 456 than that - imagination always scarier than reality. Nice to see the return of the contact lenses. Thought Ianto's reaction to 'queer' was telling - he's really not comfortable with it, is he? Jack would have just laughed.

Anonymous said...

Excellent, excellent work. I won't subject you to all my thoughts because it's quite a long list, but Jack reclaiming his coat was glorious!

Anonymous said...

Bravo James, totally amazing episode. To the max and all that!!

The only slightly critical comment I would make is why does Jack have to constantly be such a douche to Ianto this series? It's been right since episode one with the whole "couple" thing. I'd just love a scene where it's made crystal clear that Jack loves and is in love with Ianto!


Dim said...

Just seen a friend of mine appealing on Facebook for friends not to mention what's happened on TW as he has to catch up on iPlayer. I've pointed out what a fortunate bastard he is to have that luxury.

Anonymous said...

Wow. That was terrific. Fantastic. Need to rewatch it. Again. Can't even comment sensibly right now...

James Moran said...

Thank you everyone for the comments and support, you're all brilliant. And I'm very proud to have invented my own stopwatch-style sex thing for the show. You'll all have to imagine how the contact lenses are used for "fun".

TallulahBelle: I hereby claim my OBE.

wandering gyrl: Probably just that now it's becoming A Thing, whereas before it was just happening. Anyone can freak out a bit when a thing becomes A Thing.

walrus456: There was more naked Jack originally, with some jokes, but it undermined the seriousness a bit, so I pulled it.

ekbatana: I don't think he is, is he? Ianto seems to be the one who's feeling a bit awkward about it. Anyway, keep watching. And read my story in Torchwood: Consequences when it's out in October!

Nicole said...


Brilliantly creepy episode. I screamed once or twice.

Loved the bit about the contact lenses. And them getting new clothes and all the stealing and stuff. Fantastic.

Anonymous said...

Oh, my GOD! That was SO effin' awesome! Kudos to you for writing such a fantastic episode. Nice move with the copping board, btw. It was sheer brilliance. I must admit, I really jumped a few times when those creatures spewed out that gunk. It was a bit unsettling.

It's gotten so suspenseful, I shudder to think what's going to happen next! I look forward to tomorrow! I hope the 456 are as scary as they seem to be...

Btw, I also have to give supreme kudos to composer Ben Foster for putting that little snippet of Captain Jack's theme in there when he shows up in his new greatcoat. And just so you know, I actually cheered out loud when Jack said "I'm back". I do wish Jack could get his wrist strap back, though. It would complete him. Then again, Captain John Hart could always give his to Jack... ;)

C.A. Young said...

Brilliant, amazing episode! There may have been excited shouting at Alice's flight, and the cutting board in particular was a great moment. Also, the phone call between Jack and Frobisher. Chilling, and Barrowman sold the hell out of it as the Jack who will effing cut you if you piss him off.

One thing a couple of my friends and I have been really impressed with is how cohesive S3 is, which from what you've said about the process, is a real advantage of the way things happened this time around.

Also, beans as a cockblock? Really? I salute you.

R Strong said...

I thought this episode was brilliant. I genuinely wanted some Cthulhu-esque tentacled monster instead of some poor man-in-suit deal.

I know we haven't fully seen it yet but who came up with the idea for that sort of creature? It really adds to the creepiness of the entire episode.

Also: Where is the Doctor when all this is going on?! A world-wide event and he's absent. He's probably redecorating the TARDIS for the new series I bet.

Sasha said...

I must admit that the writing wasn’t something I was totally focused on when watching but still…To me it was the best episode so far. While the conversation with the 456 did drag on a bit, I’m glad to say that I stopped worrying about Torchwood changing too much to attract the audience. While the first two episodes didn’t feel quite right, this one somehow screamed Torchwood at me. I think it was partly the humour, as the previous two episodes seemed to lack it compared to this one; while Torchwood is still in a hopeless situation that is getting worse they seem to pick them selves up and start doing things.
I can’t pick the best bit of dialogue as all of it is amazing, I think Alice and the ending particularly stood out. I hope you’ll continue writing for Torchwood and hopefully with even more frequency than at the moment.

(Oh, the scenes with stealing need to be mentioned. That was a real gem.)

Anonymous said...

James to ekbatana: I don't think he is, is he? Ianto seems to be the one who's feeling a bit awkward about it. Anyway, keep watching.

I think Jack is definitely being a douche, specially in Day 3 with that odd little talk that would have made more sense post End of Days.

Ianto is obviously awkward and insecure, but who wouldn't when Jack isn't showing that he cares at all?

I mean no offence, but I thought the "smells queer" was rude and I don't see the sudden need to put labels on Ianto on each episode. Like the old Torchwood Jack would have said: quaint categories!

Peter Capaldi was awesome and I hate his character.

James Moran said...

Would have done this comment earlier, but... the beans were ready. COCKBLOCKED.

R Strong: We wanted to do something different, and started throwing ideas at each other while Russell did a rough sketch. Descriptions got passed to the amazing design team, who sent us a concept drawing which got the seal of approval. As for the Doctor: he is mentioned later...

myleftsock: Perhaps a bit of a douche. Although the vibe I get is of someone who has spent thousands of years watching people close to him die of old age, and feeling awful about it, and trying not to get too serious again. Still, though - give Ianto a cuddle, Harkness! And no offence taken - it was meant to be rude, and show how Clem is still basically a child, with a 1965 mentality. Wasn't intended to label Ianto, just to demonstrate how damaged and stuck in the past Clem's mind is. It was a horrible thing to say, but not Clem's fault - as Ianto showed when he immediately stopped himself from continuing to shout at him. Capaldi is SUPERB, and you haven't even seen the best of him yet...

Shannon said...

myleftsock, the "smells queer" thing didn't seem like that big a deal to me, even if it wasn't a particularly nice thing to say. For one thing, Ianto IS still living in the current time, where being gay isn't always an acceptable thing to everyone (and regardless of what we and anyone else know about Ianto, or how he thinks of himself, a random person will see him and Jack and think 'gay'). However, having said that I didn't sense any real malice in Clem; he was just calling it as he saw (smelt?) it. And he's not the most stable and level headed dude around, anyway.

For what it's worth, I don't think Jack has been that douchey at all. Perhaps just a smidge insensitive but honestly he's going along as ever before. It's Ianto who is suddenly twitchy and Jack seems a bit confused about that, which seems natural enough. They're both in tough circumstances, relationship wise.

Day Three was a tremendous episode; maybe not so fast paced as the previous two episodes but every bit as suspenseful, with the added benefit of some humor and more great character moments. I love it. My only tiny quibble was that I wish it had been Ianto or Jack who'd thought of stealing stuff. Ianto's the one who had a police record in his youth, and Jack was once a con man for crying out loud. Gwen's been consistently awesome in these new episodes, which is a nice change from previous seasons (IMO), but she's not Superwoman.

wandering_gyrl said...

BRAVO! "Day Three" was nailbiting fun. Well Done James!

- If I know TW fandom at all the info about "contact lens fun" will take on a naughty on a life of its own that would make even John Barrowman blush! LOL! (If you ever go to the conventions get ready for LOTS of questions about this. Poor Gareth still gets asked about what Ianto and Jack get up to with that stopwatch)

- Loved the "fixed point in space and time" quote from Doctor Who however I would have liked a comment from one of hte UNIT or military folks about former Prime Minister Saxon and his betrayal as The Master.

- Lois is very clever. I hope should Torchwood live on she'll be part of it.

- Oh and THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL THE DETAILS ABOUT ALICE AND HER MOTHER. I especially loved that Lucia taught Alice and Stephen how to try and protect themselves. The cutting board bit was GREAT BTW.

If people (Ianto, Gwen and the FANS) are going to be shocked about what Jack did well they shouldn't be. We've seen him do it before! After all Jack gave the little girl to the faeries back in series one "Small Worlds"

James Moran said...

By the way, the thing I've never written before?? Mankissing. Sadly, the subplot changed slightly, and it didn't fit anymore, because the scene no longer existed. But still. It happened in a parallel universe.

Oh, and it may have looked like I was randomly pimping the Consequences book for no reason - it was meant as a partial response to the general "when can we have stuff where Jack and Ianto care about each other". There is Stuff in my story, which is why I mentioned it...

wandering gyrl: Oh, I'm sure it will, and people are already asking me how the contact lens thing "works", exactly... And that whole Alice sequence was possibly my favourite bit to write, she kicks ass.

SK said...

'United Kingdom and Northern Ireland' ?!?!

Was that a deliberate mistake to show the character's nervousness?

wandering_gyrl said...

James replied And that whole Alice sequence was possibly my favourite bit to write, she kicks ass. ,

She'd have to be kick ass with Jack as a father and an italian torchwood operative as a mother! OH! I have an additional question about that. I noticed in the shot of Alice's file on the special ops guy's computer screen that Lucia's request to have Alice go into deep cover was approved on 14/02/77. Jack lost his daughter on Valentines day?!?! Was that something y'all discussed as writers or was it put in post-productions by the visuals people?

Anonymous said...

So sad to hear that the Mankissing scene got cut! Especially with it being your first time and all. I think a good Janto snog is the ONLY thing that could have made your episode any more awesome than it was. You did a fantastic job.

Hopefully we'll still be getting another kiss before the end of the series, though. That three second kiss in Day One was beautiful, but nowhere near enough to appease us rabid fans. 8D

Whoops, used a smiley. Gwen would hate that. (The smiley banter was hilarious, by the way. Almost as funny as the twenty/thirty minutes exchange.)

tazza_di_jo said...

I don't really get why people are so shocked at what Jack had to do. He was basically a slave to Torchwood back then, he was obviously obeying orders. Had he refused, he would have been "cementified" and someone else would have gone ahead with it anyway. Besides, what else could have been done? Torchwood wasn't advanced enough to deal with an alien invasion, and did UNIT even exist in 1965? No one had the Doctor on speed-dial. The world hadn't yet had any overt contact with aliens and no experience in alien attacks. We always argue that "some lines should not be crossed", but 12 kids against the rest of the world? Terrible, horrible choice, but someone had to carry it out. And I wouldn't put it past Jack to choose to do it himself so that no one else would have had to, and he's been living with the guilt ever since. Poor Jack. I hope either Gwen or Ianto get to say some of this out loud tonight.

Oh gosh, I'm turning into a Jack!apologist. What next?

I loved this episode, truly. So many great scenes, from the team reverting to petty thievery to the cutting board to the sexy times with the contact lenses. And great choice in not showing us the 456. Less is definitely more. Although I'm not fully convinced what's in the tank is actually the 456... projectile vomiting and banging against the glass doesn't exactly match with a species advanced enough to control millions of children and fly spaceships and have the power to annihilate the human race. I guess we'll see!

Alice kicks ass, and I love how strong the women always are in the Whoniverse. On a completely shallow note, as an Italian, I was very excited to hear of Alice's mum. An Italian Torchwood operative! And Lucia Moretti, great name. I'd like to know more about her story with Jack... maybe a book or a radio drama?

I was a bit sad at the lack of mankissing. Any chance you could share with us that scene that got scrapped? Just to hold us over until tonight. It could be your very own piece of fanfiction. :)

Thank you.

Antiqueight said...

Looking forward to your story in October. Thanks for letting us know.

glee said...

brilliant work as always :) somewhat disappointed to hear that mankissing was cut, but there was plenty of awesome already, so possibly just being greedy now ;P chopping board was also awesome, making note to add one to the arsenal now

inner IT nerd is wondering: their server is obviously still up - did they have the foresight to have the server located remotely/offsite or is it a DR server? and if that was the case, why does the rest of their business continuity plan appear to consist of "find + break into empty warehouse, then steal things". or is it just luck that server was offsite/not around hub, and in typical torchwood fashion/tradition of [lack of] organisation of course they don’t have a documented/tested DR plan? …. am i reading too much into this? i should be concentrating on the alien spewing green slime and making scary demands for “gifts” instead shouldn't i? :(

thank you for such a excellent, scary, terrifying, wonderful episode :) hanging out to see how it ends now!

Anonymous said...

From reading this blog, and your comments...I heart you, James Moran. I don't know how you guys are keeping the pace up. And Jack's last line? Creepiest thing he's ever said, so kudos.

Just one thing, and I know you can't say anything in the positive or negative about it: I am horribly worried Ianto is going to be killed off. There seem to be a lot of subtle signs in this series that point toward that. Is anyone else biting their nails over this?

Gizensha said...

Yeah, I think I commented over on Galifrey Base (Are you lurking there like you did with DWF or OG or whatever it was going by when you did it for your last Torchwood episode, incidentally?) that the Jack/Ianto awkwardness at the moment is the standard sort of awkwardness you get when going from caring about someone to dating. I think, if anything, it's more awkward going from having a thing to A Thing if the thing involved sex. "OK, we've had sex a few times... Umm... Shall we start dating properly?"

I can't imagine that getting any easier just because you're... Umm... 38 + 100 + 2 + 2000... About 2,140...

walrus456: There was more naked Jack originally, with some jokes, but it undermined the seriousness a bit, so I pulled it.

...I wish I could pull a naked Jack.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to add a comment about the Jack/Ianto scene, which I thought was brilliant, both in the writing and acting:

First, it's important, isn't it, that Ianto asks first what it felt like, being blown up? All through this series, he's juggling his own worries with his desire to be adequate to what Jack needs. And he's clearly telling Jack here that he's made a choice. And Jack isn't sugar-coating anything -- he has enough respect for Ianto not to -- but at the same time he's so grateful that Ianto gets it. Especially after the bitterness of that first exchange with Alice.

This isn't a Ianto-is-insecure and Jack-is-a-douche moment, imo. It's a moment of recognizing what's impossible to change, and trying to work within that. And it's, wow. I'm sold. Well done, all.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps a bit of a douche. Although the vibe I get is of someone who has spent thousands of years watching people close to him die of old age, and feeling awful about it, and trying not to get too serious again. Still, though - give Ianto a cuddle, Harkness!

But we've seen several occasions in which, in spite of all that, he keeps getting closer to people. We've seen in on previous seasons, even with Ianto, I'm not sure if (considering their tiny, tiny talk in Day 3) we should even taken things like Jack actually offering Ianto a real relationship in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang or the vague but still clear admission of feelings in To the Last Man, as connected with CoE, because what I saw there was as if Ianto didn't know, hadn't seen already Jack died many times, as if he hadn't known is horrible, as if even as far as in CoE: Day One, he hadn't worried that Jack died again and tried to comfort him. I understand RTD had to clean and clear it all up for the massive BBC One audience, but I can't just erased 26 previous episodes just like that!
You probably won't have time or care to read this, and I got sidetracked again, but I want to say that Jack knows Ianto, knows how alone he is (in spite of the wonderful family that's been conjured up for him this series), knows how much he (Jack) means to Ianto, knows that Ianto gives everything (Lisa?) out of love and loyalty, and most importantly knows he'll die very very soon, for Jack to offer Ianto a relationship and did give nothing emotionally because "Oh I'm Immortal!" It's just selfish and cruel, and it's clear Jack can't be both, but I don't understand Jack being so selfish and cruel and ungrateful to Ianto.

Read another comment and I'm so not surprise that it was a kiss between Jack/Ianto that had to be cut to make space for a bit more of green goo and people walking up and down corridors. That sounded bitter and, you know, what's funny? I don't really ship Jack/Ianto, I just like them and the concept on a show, I thought it was brave and fresh and I was happy to read Torchwood was going to keep the pair and bring it more to the front centre, so yes, I'm bitter it really hasn't.

And no offence taken - it was meant to be rude, and show how Clem is still basically a child, with a 1965 mentality. Wasn't intended to label Ianto, just to demonstrate how damaged and stuck in the past Clem's mind is. It was a horrible thing to say, but not Clem's fault - as Ianto showed when he immediately stopped himself from continuing to shout at him.
His mind is in the past, when he was a little boy, wasn't it?
I know I'm an odd one, I think it was wrong, uncomfortable and hurtful, and I also known that gave a bunch of very homophobic guys on the web a fit of the LULz, they really loved it.

Capaldi is SUPERB, and you haven't even seen the best of him yet...
Wow! The man is really amazing, the fear and anxiety on the encounter with the 456 was played incredibly well, there was a moment, in the first talk, I thought he was going to piss his pants from the horror.
I truly hate Frobisher but the acting and the way he's written, I can't help feeling I'm not sure what would I do in his place. Scary.

Apologies for my not-cheery comments and congratulations on being part of a huge success, even if it doesn't sound that way, I'm very happy with Torchwood ratings :)

James Moran said...

SK: Er... yes! Yes it was.

wandering gyrl: I didn't even notice that, must have been a RTD request or a design team thing.

glee: It's an offsite, secure server backup. Tosh set it up so that it's backed up in about 500 different places, she was very cautious.

myleftsock: I don't think he's being selfish or ungrateful, I think they're both just feeling a bit awkward now because things are developing. And the kiss wasn't cut to make space for anything - as I said, the subplots all change as the drafts develop, that one changed, and it was no longer the same scene. Clem's comment was also clearly presented as an unacceptable thing to say - and homophobes will twist anything to their advantage, because they're frightened little bullies who are scared of everything that doesn't fit into their view of the world.

I M Jinxed said...

Love the series!

I have only one tiny issue with the contact lenses. As a wearer I was told that once they are in my eyes to not share them with anyone ever. The eyes hold tons of bacteria and can cause infections if shared. Honestly, I just shuddered at the thought that Gwen took them out, put them in a regular saline solution (yeah, no, that stuff does not disinfect no matter what they claim) & expected Lois to put them in her eyes.

But then I realized they are Torchwood lenses. I assume they disinfect themselves between wearers.

Otherwise, did I mention how much I am so loving this series and am rather glad we don't have to wait a whole week between episodes.

Journey said...

This could possibly have been the perfect episode of Torchwood. I've been impressed by others and less than impressed by some, but CoE Day 3 did absolutely everything right.

Since I'm sure there are folks freaking out about the series right now, I just wanted to take the time to say that. I'm glad to see the twitters about doing what's best for show and story. It's one of those things so many people don't understand about being a writer . . .

Keith Telly Topping said...

Dude, just in case you didn't know, your episode got an AI score of 90.

Handsome, talented AND popular. I hate you!


wandering_gyrl said...

Two things:

1)I had to laugh through my tears when I saw that the first of the contact-lens naughtiness is already posted online. (and I thought the fangirls had fun with your "bad manners in bed" comment from Sleeper. LOL. This is gonna be epic.)

2)You know I gotta say....the last time I cried like this OVER A FRAKKING TV SHOW was when Laura climbed the mountain so God would take her instead of her little brother on Little House on the Prairie...and yeah, I was like 8 years old a the time. I'm a grown woman now. RTD et al all made us FEEL which I guess is the biggest compliment you can pay a writer. *hugs*

PG said...

Loved the episode! Just wanted to ask one thing - if the contact lenses can transmit video, then why not spare a little bandwidth for audio as well?? Just thought it would have improved the pace of the 456 conversation. Although, perhaps the pace was meant to provide more tension.