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 02:43 am (UTC)
How much does TW London know about TW Cardiff? How much research can Ianto have done in advance?

These are exactly the sort of questions I wish we had more answers to. However, I'm pretty sure he must have known something about Jack being interested in men, at the very least. Otherwise, his first instinct wouldn't have been to use flirting to convince Jack to hire him. Especially if he wasn't aware he had bi tendencies, it wouldn't be his first instinct to assume that Jack was gay or bi.

Based on the information that he does have regarding Jack's sexuality, I'm guessing that most of what he's heard of Jack has come from rumours and gossip. A person's sexuality isn't exactly the first thing to come up on personnel forms, after all. :) And Ianto may or may not have had access to any files at all; I think it's more likely that he just remembered what he'd heard around the office.

I did find the chocolate thing a bit odd. And I suppose transporting a pterodactyl can't be too much harder than transporting a cyberwoman. So it's definitely possible; I'm just not sure if it's likely.

Jack probably gave Ianto all the demeaning jobs because that's exactly what Ianto asked for. He offered to become a butler - a servant - which is pretty bad. At that point, Ianto would do anything to help Lisa.
Mar. 29th, 2008 04:05 am (UTC)
I have to jump in and say that there's room for argument about whether Jack gave Ianto just the "demeaning" jobs. Just because Owen perceived Ianto's job to be "just the teaboy," doesn't mean that Jack looked at it the same way. Yes, some of Ianto's duties includes "menial" jobs like making coffee and serving the food. But one of the things Jack said about Ianto when he introduced him to Gwen in the first episode is he "gets us everywhere on time." And maybe I'm biased because I started watching S2 first before getting hold of S1, but that impressed me as a hell of a hard job to do, considering the nature of the Torchwood gang. In my mind, that makes Ianto the office manager, rather than a servant or low-level assistant. Also, at the end of 1x03, Jack thrusts the "ghost machine" at Ianto, who takes it and asks, "Secure archives?" and Jack nods. Which means Ianto has access to and responsibility for securing the most dangerous artifacts that Torchwood holds. Again, that's a key job, and open to much abuse in the wrong hands -- and I suppose Ianto did abuse his position by keeping Lisa in the basement. But somehow, in the space of at most about six months between the Ianto flashbacks in Fragments and Everything Changes, Jack's come to trust Ianto enough to have him managing the *secure archives*. And while it's not until Sleeper that Ianto says he knows everything about Torchwood, I bet he knew that already by the time of Everything Changes.

Also, while watching Fragments, I thought Ianto offered to be the butler, not just because he was desperate for any position at Torchwood Three, but because he it was something he actualy wanted to do -- I mean, who the hell notices egg on someone's collar? The very fact that Ianto noticed *and* thought it was something that should be taken care of -- he's truly a butler by nature, I say! *snerk*
Mar. 29th, 2008 04:31 am (UTC)
Yes, you're right. I should've watched my wording. The impression of him having the crap jobs comes mostly from his line about "cleaning up [the team's] shit" in Cyberwoman. As well, a ton of fics appropriate Ianto with the job of cleaning up bodies and messes left behind by the team (which, in fact, is done by Tosh in one of the books I think), and the fanon tends to seep in over time.

And I can definitely see how watching season 2 first would have influenced you. I went into season 1 with no knowledge of future events, and truthfully didn't even notice Ianto until Cyberwoman, and didn't start to like him until Countrycide. As a result, my impressions of him up until then are fairly vague.

And while it's true that Ianto seems to be the functional core of the team, I'm not sure the team even realizes it (excepting Jack). And because they didn't realize it, we didn't realize it either until later episodes, where the meaning behind little things like his knowledge of the secure archives becomes apparent.

Ianto's an excellent butler, and I agree that he probably enjoyed that job much more than he would have if he'd been a field agent in the first season. But, I wonder if he'd realized this yet. His first scene with Jack in the park seemed to be him selling himself as a field agent, as opposed to someone who would stay inside the Hub. And one would think he'd choose to use the persona he wants to become most, first. I wonder if Ianto got a little bit romantically caught up in the idea of being a big action hero, or something, because it seems to incongruent with what we've seen he thinks about field work.
Mar. 29th, 2008 03:37 pm (UTC)
You know, you are right about him trying the "field agent" persona first! Then I think the second time, he tried to argue for a position similar to the one he used to hold at Torchwood One. Then, in the warehouse, he just started throwing out ideas left and right, and butler slipped out, LOL. I'm now thinking that at first he tried to play a role he *thought* that Jack/TW3 wanted, but when that didn't work he kept trying on different roles, until he ran out of roles and slipped back into his default personality -- or one that's close to it, and that's when Jack offered him the job. Though it's also funny how Jack's immediate reaction to Ianto's suggestion he can be a butler is they don't need one, yet he *really* seems to enjoy having Ianto as a butler.
Mar. 29th, 2008 04:26 pm (UTC)
Well, need and want *cough* are two different things. :)

I'm just wondering who the heck they had running the tourist office before Ianto came. Unless there wasn't a tourist office? I don't remember there being any signs or anything outside during that scene on the pier. Hmmm.

I have mixed feelings about whether or not Ianto was necessary to the team (at that point, anyway). Coffee is very important, yes, but from what we saw in Reset when he's "working" in the tourist office he's really not doing much. And I'm pretty sure it's fanon that Ianto spends a ton of his time organizing the archives. So I wouldn't be surprised if he was kind of superfluous at first (I can just imagine him hiding out with the pterodactyl to make it seem he was working when he didn't actually have much to do). But as he got more comfortable in his position, I can see him taking on not only the role of butler, but the role of kindergarten teacher to the team's absentminded children (as the line "he gets us everywhere on time" implies). And then in my own personal canon/fanon he takes over some of Suzie's duties when she dies. It's also my personal canon/fanon that in his time at Torchwood Three he spent a lot of his time teaching himself about the technology and the base in general, thus allowing him to do things like hook up the phone to the watertower and somesuch.
Mar. 29th, 2008 05:30 pm (UTC)
need and want *cough* are two different things.

LOL, so true!

I also agree with you about Ianto probably being superfluous at first, but fairly quickly finding ways to be useful in seemingly small but significant ways, until Jack wakes up one day and can't imagine how he ever got on without Ianto. *g* And yes, I also wondered who if anyone was manning the tourist office before Ianto -- I did notice an "i" sign next to the door when Jack came out, which I assumed stood for "information." As for Ianto and the phone-watertower hookup, one of the jobs he threw out in the warehouse scene was "maintenace." In fact, I believe all the things Ianto says in the warehouse are things that have been shown or assumed to be part of Ianto's actual duties at Torchwood -- I snickered at "dry cleaning," because we've never actually *seen* Ianto handling the dry cleaning, though in fanon it's often assumed that's one of the things he does.
Mar. 29th, 2008 09:45 pm (UTC)
I didn't see the "i" sign at all! With advertising like that, they probably don't get many tourists coming around. Which suits their purposes, I suppose.

Do you mind if I friend you? I'm pretty new around here so I'm looking for people to chat with, and this has been such an interesting discussion!
Mar. 29th, 2008 10:07 pm (UTC)
No, I certainly don't mind anyone friending me -- I figure it's just a glorified way of bookmarking the pages. ;)

But I mainly use my LJ to post my fics, vids and screencaps, and tend to do most of my chatting on other people's LJ, so friending me may not be the best way to find people to chat with. In any case, whatever you decide is fine with me! I'll certainly be keeping an eye out for any other Torchwood discussions you might start, I've enjoyed this chat immensely, as well. :)
Mar. 30th, 2008 04:02 am (UTC)
because we've never actually *seen* Ianto handling the dry cleaning

Oh, but we have! In... er... well, at some point in Season 1 we see him on the ladder of Jack's sleeping quarters with handful of clothes in drycleaning bags.

Sorry for butting in. As you were. ;-)
Mar. 30th, 2008 04:09 am (UTC)
Huh, really? I must have missed that one! I guess I need to watch all the episodes without skipping around, lol! Oh, the things I'll do for an Ianto sighting! :p

But thanks for the info, and do butt back in if you find out which episode. ;)
Mar. 30th, 2008 06:29 pm (UTC)
Oh, but we have! In... er... well, at some point in Season 1 we see him on the ladder of Jack's sleeping quarters with handful of clothes in drycleaning bags.

That was I thnk a deleted scene from Out of Time. Jack and the others are discussing new passports/identities for the 3 that came through the Rift and Ianto comes up from Jack's quarters and carrying a shirt on a coathanger. Seemed a bit odd to me though, I mean if it was a clean shirt why would he be taking it from Jack's wardrobe, and if a dirty shirt, why bother having it on a hanger - and why do I think so much about these things, lol!
Mar. 30th, 2008 06:53 pm (UTC)
LOL! You are right, it doesn't make sense, maybe that's why it was cut? Although if anyone put a dirty shirt on a hanger just to take it to the cleaners, it would be Ianto...
Mar. 29th, 2008 12:18 pm (UTC)
uh, I thought that butlers had a pretty powerful position, as opposed to any manservants/valets. Isn't "butler" the title the head servant of the house has? The guy with all the keys etc who more or less is the boss of the other servants, manages and coordinates them around the house when needed, and makes sure the dinners are properly served, etc.
Mar. 29th, 2008 03:43 pm (UTC)
You're right that butler is a powerful / important position in a large household with multiple servants, but in TW, Ianto doesn't have anyone else working under him. But I do think he basically runs TW, under Jack's direction.