Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

some Ianto thoughts (the best kind)

I've been thinking a lot about Fragments (2.12), in particular Ianto's scenes.

Someone else (can't remember who, sorry) once described Ianto as a "roleplayer", saying that he was happiest when he had someone he was supposed to be. I'm taking a slightly different tack here, in that I think Ianto is used to playing a role, is very good at playing a role, but that it's not necessarily his default state.

1. Sexy and mysterious. This persona is obvious from the Bond reference to the tight jeans and dark jacket. He tells Jack he knows what a Weevil is, but doesn't offer any more information. When he reaches out for Jack's face, and later when he says he loves the coat, he's definitely trying to use sexuality to interest Jack. Interestingly enough, in this scene he's confident enough to take a little jab at Jack, replying "you think so?" when Jack says he'd had the Weevil under control by himself.

2. Young and emotionally open (only seemingly, of course). His attempt to impress Jack with the coffee, the college-kid necklace, and his insistence that there must be a place for him at Torchwood Three all give the impression of someone who is young and trying to please. His palpable desperation, his mention of Lisa being dead, and his attempt at appealing to Jack's sense of sympathy make him seem emotionally open. It's interesting that he continues with the flirting and touching; it makes me wonder what he'd heard about Jack that he thought someone more innocent would appeal to the older man. Again, he mentions the coat, saying "I really do like that coat!". The "really" in that sentence is another indication that he's going for the impression of honesty.

Again, he takes a little jab at Jack. When Jack says he didn't want the equipment from Torchwood London to get into the wrong hands, Ianto says, "and you're the right hands, are you?" These small remarks are really interesting to me, because they don't seem to fit with what Ianto would think Jack would want in an employee. It seems that these lines are the only indication of the snarky Ianto we all know and love peeking through the personas he has built for himself.

3. And.. this one's harder to define. In part, I think, because the scene was played for laughs, not for character insight. And also, I believe, because this scene was to show Ianto's "true" character, which is certainly much more complex than either of the stereotypes mentioned above. So, to help, a series of observations:
  • When he first stops Jack's car, he looks pretty resigned to the fact that he's not going to be getting a job. I'm thinking that he probably actually gave up after the last time, and found Jack because he knew something would have to be done about the pterodactyl and he couldn't catch her/care for her all by himself. Thinking about this now, I'm actually wondering if this gave Ianto a way to judge how Jack might react to Lisa. I don't think he planned it that way, but once he saw that Jack was going to capture, not kill, Myfanwy he might have decided it was worth it to try begging for a job again. It would explain why he went from seeming willing to stop his attempts (in front of the car) to his diatribe about being a butler.
  • He stops actively trying to flirt with and touch Jack. This could be seen two ways: either he's trying a different tack since his previous attempts to use his sexuality to get hired have failed, or it's another way of showing that he's stopped actively trying to get the job. Both are valid arguments, but I'm going with the latter.
  • He's critical of Torchwood Three's supplies and Jack's methods. This time, his criticisms seem more prevalent (not just throwaway lines) and vocal. Again, another indication that Ianto's given up on getting into Torchwood Three, since he doesn't seem to feel the need to censor himself in front of a potential employer.
  • He's wearing the suit. I have theories about this, but they're more suited to fic than canon.One doesn't dress up for a pterodactyl hunt. One does, however, dress up for a funeral. I'll leave it at that. In any case, it's far more reserved than either of his previous outfits were. The fact that Jack likes the suit (and, by inference, a more reserved person in general) might have influenced Ianto to adopt the butler persona in the first season.
So, this Ianto seems to be a sort of amalgamation of the first two. Confident enough to criticize Jack, but desperate enough to offer to be a butler.

The most interesting part of this whole discussion, though, is if you compare the Ianto described above to the Ianto we're given through the rest of Torchwood, particularly in season 1. It's been commented on a lot that Ianto seems to have taken the idea of being a butler to heart, and I have to agree. He starts calling Jack "sir", he continues to wear the suit, and he has that Alfred-esque way of standing quietly and attentively. He jokes around with Jack a little, but he acts quite differently than he did in Fragments. Once again, he's adopted a persona, and this time it sticks.

But over time, and as his relationship with Jack progresses, we've seen more of the Ianto that was first revealed in Fragments. He's become more confident, more involved, more willing to take action, more humourous, more relaxed, though he's lost most of the awkwardness that was evident in his little "mmm, chocolate" speech to Myfanwy. In any case, I'm curious as to where the writers will go with his character from here.

If you have any thoughts, feel free to comment! I'm pretty new around here, so I don't have much yet, but fic and a vid will be up soon! I hope.

ETA: Um, if there's anything weird about the layout, try to ignore it for now. It's a work in progress.


Mar. 29th, 2008 01:09 am (UTC)
There is no such thing as intruding on LJ. :)

Of course, the argument against that is that if Ianto was retconned (I don't believe Jack would really kill him, despite what he said) he wouldn't be a part team anymore and thus Jack wouldn't have to take care of him.

I actually agree with you, though. I know some people have said that Jack is more of a follower than a leader, and I think I agree with that. He tries the best he can, but he has problems with distancing himself from his team. In the first season, as can be seen with Ianto and Suzie, he's too far from them. And then in the second he's too close, as can be seen by his actions with regards to Owen. Now I'm wondering what he'll do in the third season.
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 29th, 2008 01:48 am (UTC)
I'm not sure if it's that most people in fandom actually think retcon is used like that in canon, or that it just makes for better fanfiction. I'm one of the latter. It's not very realistic to have to retcon anybody who ever wants to retire, but then again, Torchwood as a show is not exactly the epitome of realism.

As for Ianto being retconned after Torchwood One, it's possible that he left rather suddenly (that and there were only 27 people left, and possibly injured at that, to organize everything). After all, he had to smuggle Lisa out before someone else discovered her. I really wish the writers would give us more information on how exactly Ianto got Lisa transported and kept her alive and somesuch, but I'm not counting on it at such a late date.
Mar. 29th, 2008 02:43 am (UTC)
I feel like retcon is a sort of free for all device for both the show's writers and fic writers. I'd sort of taken Gwen's mention of retcon in "Meat" to believe Torchwood's early retirement plan basically meant Retcon.

You'd think Torchwood would be more diplomatic about using it or at least more careful about it. And yet it's the same world where a secret organization runs around with their name etched into the outside of their SUV.
Mar. 29th, 2008 02:57 am (UTC)
Makes me wonder what sort of theories people from Cardiff come up with about Torchwood.

Now I'm thinking someone should set up a website or blog from the point of view random people who've run into Torchwood. They could have long discussions on what the organization's true motives are, that Captain man's unnaturally white teeth, and what was that purple-orange thing someone caught a glimpse of the team chasing?

I'm actually sort of wondering if the retcon thing is a Jack's-team-only thing. Have we ever gotten a hint that Torchwood One even knew retcon existed? I'm pretty sure I remember Jack saying in the first episode that the amnesia pill was of his own devising...
Mar. 29th, 2008 03:03 am (UTC)
Now I'm thinking someone should set up a website or blog from the point of view random people who've run into Torchwood. They could have long discussions on what the organization's true motives are

It can totally be LINDA for the Torchwood crowd.

Is retcon selective for Torchwood Three? I can't remember far back enough to the first episode.
Mar. 29th, 2008 03:19 am (UTC)
I looked up a transcript and I was right. Jack says, "It's an amnesia pill. My own recipe, with a touch of denial and a dash of retcon".

Though I suppose for the sake of fic, you could say that Jack gave the recipe to Torchwood One. For the one I'm planning, I'm certainly going to have to. :P
Mar. 30th, 2008 06:21 pm (UTC)
Or the 'my own recipe' could just mean that Jack was using a different version of whatever amnesia pill that Torchwood 1 used.