—caution: plot spoilers!—
He who was immortal became mortal, and it was his mortal blood that was sacrificed for the salvation of the world. Following the offering of blood in sacrificial death, there came resurrection. The man in question… J.. J… Jack. Captain Jack.
So Torchwood ended last night. Epic story telling from Russell T. Davies that we got used to in Doctor Who and that has been sadly lacking in the bite-size adventures of Stephen Moffat’s Doctor. Davies’ Doctor looked outwards with big stories about humanity, salvation and the power of sacrifice; Moffatt’s looks inwards to saving the Doctor and his friends from their Boy’s Own adventures.
Back to Torchwood. Yes, this series was nothing compared to Children of Men; disappointingly Americanised, way too long, too many pointless plot deviations, not enough emotional depth and as Gwen herself said, contained nothing extra-terrestrial. But the last 2 episodes were much better. And the ending at least restored some faith in the Big Story.
Big Story is important. Some call it meta-narrative. Story that helps us find our place, our meaning, that tells us about Big Things. This Torchwood ended as many of Russell T. Davies’ Doctor Who stories ended: stories of personal sacrifice, of salvation, of resurrection. This ending particularly had so many echoes of the sacrificial death of Jesus. In fact, you can’t help but chuckle at Russell T Davies use of religious metaphor as the first words Gwen spoke after Jack’s blood saved the world: “Jesus Christ Almighty”. Then
Jesus Jack came back to life. Resurrected.
Then there’s Jack’s words spoken to the most unlikely of characters, Bill Pullman‘s creepy paedophile Oswald Danes. Jack, for all his own moral ambiguity, tells Danes, “you’ve made your life so small.” Maybe in this Big Story, that even tries to find redemption for the paradigm of the most hated figure of our time, there’s an encouragement for us to live bigger lives, looking outside of ourselves and the darkness within to look outwards and upwards, to the author and perfector of all things. In sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life.
What would we sacrifice, and for whom? Because we know real life. That begins before death. A bigger life. That is a real Blessing.