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Captain Jack Forever

I usually use MySpace for rambling about Doctor Who. This place is for fripperies and fanfiction and such like. I've had some stuff on my mind the last few days, though, and I need to get it down somewhere. Then, hopefully, I can move on. Frankly, it's all getting a bit silly now. Russell T. Davies makes one silly joke at the end of the most recent series of Who, and I feel like I've had my heart cut out. It doesn't help that the homophobic types have been in full Taunt Mode ever since, loving the suggestion that the one thing they seem to hate most of all about New Who would no longer be a threat to them if "the joke" were true. Anyway, I've been all out of sorts since Saturday, and I've come to a decision. The world can believe what it likes, but I know what I believe. So I'm going to set down my reasons for thinking that there's no way Captain Jack is ever going to become The Face Of Boe. Everybody else can embrace them or dismiss them, and I don't care. Because my Jack will always be just that. Jack.

Boe has his own mythology. I've always been rather fond of Boe. We've learnt quite a lot about him since he made his first appearance in "The End Of The World". Partly this has come from throwaway comments on the show, and partly it's come from the various tie-in books; but at any rate Boe is a rich and wonderful character in his own right. In "Bad Wolf" we learn that he's from the Isop Galaxy, and elsewhere this is narrowed down to a place called The Silver Devastation. He's from a species that only lives for forty years. All the rest of his race is short-lived, including his children (he's given birth himself several times), but for some reason he just carries on living. Boe is the last survivor of his race, as he tells the Doctor: "I'm the last of my kind, as you're the last of yours." He's a poignant character, and all the more interesting for that, really. But if it were to turn out that Jack one day becomes The Face Of Boe, then all of that gets written out of existence. There is no other species, there is no rich history, no race; and the Whoniverse is immediately made smaller. Reminds me of those strange stories that the fans used to write when the show was off air, trying to tie every tiny detail of the show's history up into little knots, connecting every adventure, every character, into a big web of fanboy dreaming. Why would anybody want to make the universe so small?

Secondly there's the Doctor. In "Utopia" he tells Jack that he's a fact. That he's "a fixed point in time and space"; something so abhorrent to the Doctor's viewpoint that in "The Parting Of The Ways" he ran off straight away, abandoning Jack. He didn't need to be with Jack to know about this, or even to see him. He just knew. And yet he didn't know anything about that when he was with Boe. Boe was clearly not abhorrent to him. Boe didn't set off his Time Lord "timey-wimey detectors". This is where it all gets oddest for me, really. I'd be happy to throw the line about Boe out of the window as a daft joke, if it hadn't been for that scene in "Utopia". It's a long scene, and a wonderful scene. But two weeks after the episode where Jack is declared a fixed point in time, RTD has him claim that he's ageing. How, RTD? It's easy to throw that aside, too, as Jack being Jack, and spinning one of his tales, but it bugs me, because it has all the appearance of a major, major continuity error. And I care too much about this show - and particularly about Jack - to be able to let that go without analysising it to death. I suppose I should be embarrassed about that. *Shrug* Maybe I am. I'm not making any apologies for it, though. Jack is just about the best thing that's ever happened to my television, and I'll be damned if I'll just let that stuff be washed over. And what a character he is. Heroic, grand, charismatic; and ready to kiss whoever is on his arm, be it man, woman, or sentient insect. He's unique on our TV screens, and now he's immortal. Now he's here forever, striding through the stars, being Jack. Or is he? Why tell us that he is one week, and then try to say two weeks later that he isn't? Was it all just for the fun of a throwaway joke, RTD? "You're a fixed point, Jack! Except that maybe you're not, and actually you turned into that bloke who died a few episodes back..." If the Doctor is really going to be that shaken to the core by all that Jack is - and we've already seen that the Doctor is just that shaken - then Jack can't be just another long-lived character. He has to be that fixed point. Nothing else would make sense, and I don't want to believe that you'd make such a crass error, Russell. I really don't...

Then there's Jack himself. We know that Boe is already old in 200,100, as Rose is asked a question about him in "Bad Wolf", by the Anne Droid. And Boe is still around when the Earth is destroyed by the sun, five billion years in Rose's future. So why would Jack spend several thousand years ageing, and turning into Boe - and then remain static for the next five billion years? How does that make sense? It doesn't, is the simple answer. None of it does. On the one hand we have Boe, a member of a completely different species - and on the other we have Jack, an immortal human. I don't want to stop anybody from believing that Jack is Boe if it pleases them, but I can't and won't believe it myself, hence this entry. Not only does the idea of Jack winding up as a head in a jar for five billion years leave me feeling physically sick, but it's also such a damned shame. Why create such a wonderful character, and then take away everything that makes him who he is? Jack is a hero - a square-jawed, action man hero in the old style. He's also a massive geek, a massive flirt, and fabulously, flamboyantly omnisexual. He's the first TV character with an approach to sexuality that I can relate to, certainly. And all that could wind up as a head in a jar? A completely different personality? For five billion years?! Screw that.

Jack is Jack and Boe is Boe, and so it will always be. They have their own personalities, their own lives, their own histories, and their own ultimate fates. What Jack's will be, I don't know. All I know is, that my Jack is an ageless, immortal hero; and that's the way he'll stay. Traversing time and space, saving the universe, picking its pockets and seducing its inhabitants all the way. That's Jack. The rest of you can believe what you like. :)

Which reminds me. Thanks for all the feedback for the last Torchwood story. Finally got around to starting a second. I'm setting it post-"Last Of The Time Lords", mostly just so that I can flaunt my own beliefs at the world again, by pointing out that Jack is ageless, and will always be thus. ;) That's not what the story is about, though. It's a proper adventure thingy, as always. I thought I'd put the first bit up here, to make sure that I behave, and get it written, rather than forgetting about it for ages like I did with the last one (sorry) and the Remington Steele one (sorry Vic!). I'll stick the first bit up later tonight, probably. I want to proof-read it again, and anyway, this entry is quite long enough!

Meantime... *Sticks tongue out at BBC Wales* You gave me Jack. I get to do what I want with him now. He's not yours anymore...

*Raises glass to Captain Jack*

Hooray! :)

Comments

( 20 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )
therandomgirlie
Jul. 6th, 2007 09:30 pm (UTC)
*Raises glass too*
Great argument! Screw you RTD!
There is no way Jack can be Boe. It just doesn't work - this is definately the best evidence I've heard so far.
larielromeniel
Jul. 6th, 2007 10:01 pm (UTC)
**Saluting**

Very well said!
travels_in_time
Jul. 6th, 2007 10:50 pm (UTC)
YES. Everything you said.
eandh99
Jul. 6th, 2007 11:48 pm (UTC)
Thank you for articulating all my irritations with the episode -- like the total logical disconnect between episode 11's "you're wrong because you're constant" and episode 13's "you're aging and you're somehow going to turn into an alien head in a jar"

But most of all thank you for putting your finger on what bothers me the most -- the underlying homophobic stereotype of taking the out, happy non-heterosexual character and essentially de-sexualizing him and imprisoning him for 5 BILLION YEARS!
It doesn't help that the homophobic types have been in full Taunt Mode ever since, loving the suggestion that the one thing they seem to hate most of all about New Who would no longer be a threat to them if "the joke" were true.

What bugs me perhaps the most about this is that 2 gay men and a woman (RTD, Phil Collinson and Julie Gardner) all thought this was a great idea. Did they just not notice what they were doing to the most successful stereotype-busting character I can think of? Or was it more pragmatic? Julie in particular is on record as thinking people like John "maybe too much" and the three of them decided that David Tennant couldn't establish himself as the Doctor if he had to compete with John, so John was written out of Season 2. I noticed not only that Jack's storyline in Season 3 didn't hang together, it was only minimally important to the plot (why didn't he escape with Martha instead of staying behind to be captured and tortured and essentially accomplish nothing in all of ep 13?) In my universe, Jack flirts and swash-buckles and saves the world and dances forever.
lyore
Jul. 7th, 2007 12:47 am (UTC)
I agree completely.
clancy_s
Jul. 7th, 2007 01:21 am (UTC)
I agree wholeheartedly.

Besides the damage to Jack as a character I particularly dislike the way it makes a nonsense of the reason the Doctor abandoned Jack on Satellite 5.

Timelords having an innate aversion to time anomalies seems likely and the Doctor running away from a friend who'd suddenly become one was IMO a good way of explaining the Doctor's actions.

If Jack's merely a slow(ish) point in time the Doctor behaved like an utter bastard for no good reason.

I am therefore ignoring the 'Face of Boe theory': I've expunged it from my copy of the ep and my own Whoverse. :p
nightbeast
Jul. 7th, 2007 09:56 am (UTC)
Jack at the Game Station
Shameless self promotion, but I wrote a fic before season three aired that dealt with the issues surrounding the Game Station/Bad Wolf, including Jack's fate -here (it's in seven parts, you read chapter zero first).
donutsweeper
Jul. 7th, 2007 01:52 am (UTC)
Jack=Boe has so many problems it isn't even funny. RTD didn't think this one through and immediately began backpeddling (listen to the commentary on the episode on the BBC website, the last 10 min or so)
How can Jack evolve into a head in 200,000 years and then quit evolving? How can a HUMAN HEAD get pregnant and have kids? Hww can.... oh never mind. I'll join you in sticking my tongue out at the BBC
daisyrainwater
Jul. 7th, 2007 08:24 am (UTC)
Thanks for this. I immediately tossed this bit out the second after I heard it. Honestly, I thought it was a stab at Outpost Gallifrey or something.

The continuity issue between eps 11 & 13, well....it's not new. Can anyone really explain Jack's timeline on Earth? He's got the chance to meet with himself at least three times (I think) during World War II.
swordznsorcery
Jul. 7th, 2007 12:37 pm (UTC)
His timeline on Earth is complicated, but not a continuity problem. It's just all part of the fun of time travel. :D
laligin
Jul. 7th, 2007 02:02 pm (UTC)
Bravo. :) You already know I agree with you wholeheartedly.

*raises glass as well* To Jack!
rustydog
Jul. 7th, 2007 02:18 pm (UTC)
Thank you for writing this! It articulates my feelings perfectly and adds logical evidence for which I'm very grateful.
alysscarlet
Jul. 8th, 2007 01:06 pm (UTC)
Well said. I totally agree!
besanamo
Jul. 11th, 2007 09:10 pm (UTC)
I completely agree with you on all this!
mickeyk
Jul. 19th, 2007 10:24 pm (UTC)
::Raises glass, too:: To Jack!

Love your post, and I wish you'd write more, here, on lj, or at least link to your myspace stuff (I'm not on it but I'd go and look at your stuff if I had links).

I totally agree with this:

Russell T. Davies makes one silly joke at the end of the most recent series of Who, and I feel like I've had my heart cut out.

Maybe the last episode could never have lived up to my expectations after the first two... but blech! I just absolutely loathe it (see my journal for why: http://mickeyk.livejournal.com/8297.html

I still can't believe that TW, which lord knows has tons of problems, had me bouncing in anticipation for DW with Jack and then the 2nd series of TW... and DW has left me with wanting nothing to do with anything more from DW or TW. ARGH!

Totally with you on this too:

Everybody else can embrace them or dismiss them, and I don't care. Because my Jack will always be just that. Jack.

Flirting his way across the universe, and bringing joy in his own unique way (and no, he doesn't have to shag, to bring joy, just being around a person who can be so vibrant could bring up a person's spirits and affect them for the better).

Secondly there's the Doctor. In "Utopia" he tells Jack that he's a fact. That he's "a fixed point in time and space"; something so abhorrent to the Doctor's viewpoint that in "The Parting Of The Ways" he ran off straight away, abandoning Jack. He didn't need to be with Jack to know about this, or even to see him. He just knew. And yet he didn't know anything about that when he was with Boe. Boe was clearly not abhorrent to him. Boe didn't set off his Time Lord "timey-wimey detectors".

The Doctor's never been infallible, who's to say that at some point in the future, he couldn't figure out a way to help Jack (without Jack becoming a giant head in a jar)? And even if 10 doesn't know how to help, maybe 11, or 12 or 13 would figure out a way. Another thing that bugged the hell out of me, if TLOTTL existed (which it doesn't), then the Doctor asking Jack if he wants to die (and I thought at the time that if Jack said yes, the Doctor would find a way to help Jack die, as a good thing for Jack, not because he hates Jack or anything bad)... if Jack said "Yes", then WTF was the Doctor going to say... "Oops, sorry."?

Jack is just about the best thing that's ever happened to my television, and I'll be damned if I'll just let that stuff be washed over. And what a character he is. Heroic, grand, charismatic; and ready to kiss whoever is on his arm, be it man, woman, or sentient insect. He's unique on our TV screens, and now he's immortal. Now he's here forever, striding through the stars, being Jack.

I totally agree with this, too. Jack's my fave DW character, ever, and that's including all of the Doctors and companions who have been on TV. Jack can swash my buckle any time. ;) Even on TW, I enjoyed watching him, even though he was so different, and I thought his bitterness and joy in "Utopia" worked, and I loved seeing more happy, flirty Jack.

. I don't want to stop anybody from believing that Jack is Boe if it pleases them, but I can't and won't believe it myself, hence this entry. Not only does the idea of Jack winding up as a head in a jar for five billion years leave me feeling physically sick, but it's also such a damned shame. Why create such a wonderful character, and then take away everything that makes him who he is? Jack is a hero - a square-jawed, action man hero in the old style. He's also a massive geek, a massive flirt, and fabulously, flamboyantly omnisexual. He's the first TV character with an approach to sexuality that I can relate to, certainly. And all that could wind up as a head in a jar? A completely different personality? For five billion years?! Screw that.

Exactly. I couldn't have said it better myself.
swordznsorcery
Jul. 19th, 2007 10:52 pm (UTC)
if Jack said "Yes", then WTF was the Doctor going to say... "Oops, sorry."?

Quite likely. That sounded like a test. If Jack had said yes, he'd have failed the test. Instead he gave the answer that the Doctor wanted to hear.
mickeyk
Jul. 19th, 2007 10:57 pm (UTC)
Yet another reason I want to smack the Doctor, and I hope that Donna Noble will smack him, throughout the next series (haven't decided yet when/if I'll be watching them... I'll be asking a friend who likes Donna, if I should watch).

Btw, do you want people to post to your lj and ask you to write more of your fics? Because, if so, I'd be happy to do so. *grin*

If you want to read/respond to my own DW rant, feel free (link in my first comment). If you don't want to, that's also fine.
angelfireeast
Sep. 26th, 2007 10:33 pm (UTC)
I"m a new Doctor Who fan, only seen season three. Jack's line about being ageing and being called the Face of Boe had me asking questions. You post has made the best argument and makes the most sense to me. I can't see how Jack can become Bow, I'm glad I know more about Boe now and it doesn't make sense that he would become a huge head in jar with a fake alien history then remain static for the next five billion years. I feel so much better about Jack words now, I think he was just messing with the Doctor and Martha or something. Thank you:) I can go back to imaging Jack being Jack for the rest of his life:D That is true The Doctor was staken by Jack becuase he was fact
swordznsorcery
Sep. 27th, 2007 12:51 am (UTC)
Hi. :) For what it's worth, it does seem to have been a daft joke on RTD's part. He's since said that he'll never confirm it one way or another.

If you've not read it yet, read this. It's a really lovely short story by dune_drd, which might help your imagining. :)
angelfireeast
Sep. 29th, 2007 05:22 am (UTC)
Hi :) Yeah it does seem to be a daft joke to get debates going between fans specially if he's never ging to confirm it.

Thanks for the link, I'll read it:D
( 20 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )

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