Woke up oddly early this morning, so I finished watching Torchwood: Children of Earth. Here are my immediate, unconsidered reactions:
I have to say that it was a riveting, tightly-paced, superbly plotted bit of science fiction television. I'll admit that I thought the single-story-over-5-consecutive-days format was going to be a gimmick, and it wasn't. It was one hell of story.
I'm not really sure what I think about the death of Ianto. I do think that fans who judge a show only on the basis of what happens to their favorite character or 'ship are taking a narrow view, and I think that a death of a major character can serve a dramatic purpose. But with the deaths of Owen and Tosh being so recent, and with so many other wrenching deaths in Episode 5 of CoE, Ianto's death feels almost superfluous. It's almost like it's there just so that Jack won't have a reason to stick around at the end.
Which brings me to the other thing I'm wondering about: where does this leave season 4, assuming that Torchwood gets a season 4? (It seems increasingly likely, based on the success of season 3.) Because, you know, we already had a plotline where Jack abandoned the Torchwood team, travelled around, and sorted out his issues and came back with a supposedly new commitment to his team. So, if season 4 opens with Jack sauntering back in and saying, "Hey, kids, did you miss me?", the only rational response at this point is an "Oh, no, I'm not falling for that again," from Gwen.
And yet, while I'd probably happily watch a series in which Gwen, Lois Habiba, Rhys and PC Andy save the world from aliens (perhaps with occasional assistance from Martha Jones), I think I'm probably in a minority there. I can't see them doing a Torchwood series without Captain Jack.
It's a bit of a dilemma, really. The writers gave us a superb story, at the expense of virtually guaranteeing that the only way the series can continue is in a substantially different form from what it was before. I admire both their skill and their guts, but if I really considered myself a hardcore Torchwood fan, rather than someone who basically watches Torchwood because it's part of the Whoniverse and is kinda fun, I think I'd feel a bit adrift now.