NOTE: This post does contain spoilers for Torchwood: Season One, Two, and Three.
I don’t know why I thought about this the other day, but I think it was the conversation I had with a friend about the relationships in Torchwood.
The predictable romance/sexual tension between Gwen & her two beaus was a very eye-opening experience for me. It shows that I’ve possibly learned a lot as I’ve traversed the rocky ground that is love, romance and longing.
At the beginning of the series, I sincerely hoped Rhys would kick the bucket and Jack and Gwen would go tromping off into the sunset together. After all, who couldn’t deny the looks Jack gave Gwen, or that memorable shooting instruction scene? I kept getting impatient, figuring I’d have to wait as long as I did for Mulder and Scully to finally admit their love, which pissed me off. To my surprise, my wish almost came true. Almost. Rhys gets stabbed by some crazy man hell bent on destroying the world, and then is somehow brought back through a reset of the rift in time. (If life was always that easy.) Watching his crumpled form on the dungeon floor, I had mixed emotions. I was sad and yet I cheered for an instant as Rhys’ body lay broken and bleeding, his head cradled against Gwen’s heaving chest. She was free! Jack could finally have her!
Then I pulled my head out of my ass.
Granted, I know I’m talking about a fictional piece of entertainment, but Gwen is lucky to have Rhys! Looking back, I dislike her all the more for sleeping with Owen and wanting the unattainable relationship with Jack. Rhys stood by her at every turn, and sure, they had their problems, but ultimately, they kept finding their way back to one another as Torchwood dragged Gwen even deeper through the mud.
I’m glad Gwen seemed to get her own head out of her nether regions as well, and demanded to marry her longtime boyfriend despite wedding day complications. Yet, even as she was about to walk down the aisle, there was still an ever present longing for Jack. Old habits die hard I guess.
Despite everything they’ve been through, Rhys and Gwen(for the most part) have stayed committed to one another, which is more than what I could say for Jack, who disappears when the world goes to shit. I’m surprised John Barrowman isn’t demanding that his script writers be burned at the stake for making Jack a coward when it comes to introspection. Perhaps if Captain Jack Harkness stuck around and faced his internal demons, it wouldn’t be so hard to forge acceptable and real relationships with people, instead of letting his 51st century hormones do all the talking.
I guess my change of heart comes from changing my romantic ideals. Ten years ago, I would have wanted to be rescued by Jack. Who doesn’t like handsome and charming at first glance? Yet, when you scrape away the facade, inside are only demons and guilt and ultimately, Jack wants no part in helping himself.
Rhys, however, is the ultra loyal partner who will tell you how it is, and hope that Gwen lives up to her side of the bargain. Yet, he’s also shown time and time again, that even when she can’t, he’s more than willing to cut her some slack and help her. He’s dependable, he’s her rock, and he loves her. He’s the smoldering spark that refuses to die.
Jack, I hate to say it would be lighter fluid over paper. A brilliant, white hot flame that lasts for seconds. Hell, milliseconds to a person who supposedly lives forever.
I have had my share of Jacks in my life.
Give me a Rhys.