Life Blood started out as an idea for killing Garrett off. There had been a couple of criticisms that Jack’s relationship with him was getting in the way of more serious storylines and I thought it might be an idea to write him out. It was going to be an angst ridden story in which Jack brings Garrett back to life using another of those gauntlets, and finds himself and Garrett permanently feeding off each other’s life forces until Garrett kills himself to free Jack of the burden.
Then I decided, why should I get rid of a character just because one or two people don’t like him. Plenty of others do. And I like him. And I’m the one doing the writing, not them. And having set Jack up with a happy family home at last, it would be cruel to destroy it.
But the idea of Garrett dying and being brought back to life still had mileage. I also had some thoughts about a story in which Garrett’s world of espionage encroaches on Jack’s life instead of Torchwood encroaching on Garrett’s life. An assassination attempt on the Deputy Director of MI5 Cardiff by shadowy figures with connections to Arab terrorism is believable enough. And since they turn out to have an inside man, it is no great surprise that they hit him at home.
Jack and Garrett being both the same blood group, AB+ is taking liberties a little. The explanation about AB+ being the most common blood type in the 51st century is straining credibility a tiny little bit. But it makes for a colourful anecdote from Jack.
Jack knowing Garrett’s blood type because he has an old blood donor card in his jacket pocket is slightly symbolic of their domestic relationship. Jack has sorted the laundry at some point. The fact that Garrett has had to stop giving blood now he is a practicing homosexual is a deliberate political point from me. I believe it is discriminatory to say that a man in Garrett’s position, with one monogamous sexual partner, and both of them free of infection, is ineligible as a blood donor. A quick Google will show just what a can of worms that issue is, and it is an ongoing argument.
In actual fact, Garrett may be ineligible to give blood for other reasons even before his relationship with Jack began. I have mentioned that he suffered injuries on active service abroad. He most likely received a blood transfusion. Anyone who has been given blood cannot subsequently be a blood donor for reasons I’m not entirely sure about. But it was an opportunity for a political point that would be near to the hearts of men like Jack and Garrett.
The interrogation scene was probably not as nasty as I could have made it. I am quite sure both Jack and Garrett are capable of being extremely cruel to a traitor. Alun and Ianto could put the boot in, too. But scaring the wits out of him by having a dead man appear in front of him was much more science fiction. This is Torchwood, not Spooks or Ultimate Force. It doesn’t need the really gruesome social realism. Anyway, as Garrett pointed out ‘not with our boy asleep upstairs’.