Consequences. At last we have consequences.
First up, I should confess to my mistake. I had assumed Ianto's working-class clan would end up irritating me with some last minute implausible heroism, like usual, but in actual fact organising a riot against oncoming troops worked really well (plus, hooray for Andy). In fact, generally speaking the (for want of a better term) "heroic moments" went very well. Sure, Deadly Killer Evil Assassin Lady seemed to get persuaded of Jack's awesome stupidly quickly, but since she was being incredibly dumb for the whole serial, it's at least in character.
Besides, that's small potatoes. For once, Torchwood didn't attempt to shy away from the difficulty of decisions, and the consequences of actions. Using a child to reverse the polarity and kill the 456 might have been unbelievably stupid narratively, but the cost of it made it intensely thematically satisfying. In order to stop the world sacrificing it's children to save themselves, Jack sacrificed his child to save all the others. He weighed the options, and he made the choice. Big G pointed out after I'd gotten around to watching Day 4 that Jack's plan to essentially shout at the 456 Ambassador Plan was grade A fucking stupid, but that, I think, was the point. If anything was the overall theme of Children of Earth, it was Jack finally realising that playing adventurer was getting everyone else killed. And having realised that, and been devastated by it, he tries to face up to the responsibility he's been given, and all that does is upgrade the problem from accidental deaths to deliberate sacrifice.
Did Jack make the right choice? Is one dead child better than millions alive but apparently paralysed. Almost certainly. But then millions alive but apparently paralysed is better than a barren world, and hoping Torchwood can save your arse at the eleventh hour isn't exactly the best plan in the world. My point, I guess, is that Green's decision was right as well, from a certain perspective. And Idiot Killer-Savante Woman was right too in a way, I suppose, or at least she had valid motivation for what she was doing. In fact, if RTD had gone all the way and given the 456 a sympathetic motivation for wanting the children, it could have been perfect, everyone would have had understandable motivations for horrific actions. Well, Green was far to cavalier about the whole thing, but then that ties into the "banality of evil" idea I hinted at last time, which is even more easy to understand in a situation like this, in which there is a compelling case that we're talking about the "banality of the lesser evil." Maybe he crowed about being lucky because he's a twat (Davies really has something against PMs, doesn't he?) or maybe it was simply a coping mechanism.
Ultimately, though, the show followed through. Lesser evils, and sacrifice, and recognising what you can change, and what you have to accept. Jack didn't learn to accept, only to run. The same is true of Frobisher (poor, poor Frobisher, who I think deserved better). Gwen, though, worked it out. Accepted what she couldn't change. So did Rhys, I guess, judging by the precipitous drop in childish whingeing. For all the complaints lighting up the interweb right now about not explicitly outlining the effect the five days of the 456 had on the world, Gwen and Rhys demonstrated everything you really needed. Life, you suspect, goes on. It always does.