Tuesday, October 2, 2007

What makes Sci-Fi so good?

I watched a very thought-provoking episode last Saturday from the show Torchwood. It's a British show and you can catch it on BBC America. It reminded me of how poignant sci-fi can be. Let me breakdown the characters involved in the story, but if you have a chance watch the show! Major spoiler alert!



Torchwood- The title of the show is the name of the institute whose duty is to investigate alien activity. There is some type of wormhole that leads into Cardiff, England. So alien creatures seep through.



Captain Jack Harkness- He's American, and for some reason he can't die. He's been shot at and eletrocuted and he just springs back to life. He's the leader of Torchwood.



Gwen- She's the newest team member.



The premise of this story is that one of the member's Ianto, has a cyborg stored in the basement of the Insitute. This cyborg was his girlfriend. She was recruited into a project to be turned from a human into a killing machine. She wasn't fully integrated leaving her half-human and half-cyborg. Ianto has been searching for someway to restore her humanity. He finds someone and like all sci-fi stories something goes terribly awry. The girlfriend feels that humans are lesser beings and need to be upgraded into machines. As she tries to upgrade herself from version 1.0 to 2.0 she drains the power from the building. Our fearless team puts the building on lock-down by cutting the entire power to the building. They gather up their weapons and are prepared to terminate the cyborg before she gets them first.



There comes a point in the story where Capt. Jack tells Ianto he needs to show where his loyalties lie. That he must kill his girlfriend for the good of the team. Ianto responds by asking him if he's ever been in love? That he believe she can be fixed and become human again. That because he loves her he's not willing to give up. Jack responds by pointing the gun at Ianto's head and says he will shoot him if he doesn't go out there and shoot the girl.



Later on, Gwen and Capt. Jack have a moment. She asks him if he's ever been in love? And would he ever kill anyone on the team if they didn't follow orders? Would he kill her? Just as you would expect he doesn't answer. This is the part of the story that interests me. I'm figuring Jack hasn't ever been in love. He will probably fall in love during the course of the series and that those questions she asked he will be forced to answer. These are the kind of questions we should ponder about ourselves. If we were in Ianto's position how far would we go for love? How do we deal with our responsibility to the ones we love and the jobs we hold? Do we follow our hearts or do we follow orders?

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