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October 8th, 2007


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03:14 pm - Doctor Who--I just saw "Utopia"
And I have a question, which I would prefer answered without spoilers, if it can be answered at all. All opinions welcome.


This is about the Doctor and Jack Harkness.

So, okay, the whole thing where Jack blames the Doctor for leaving him behind on Platform One.... I can see how it would seem like that to Jack. And I can even understand what the Doctor says about Jack being a fixed point in time and space (and if Jack wasn't an established character whom I like, I'd be yelling "Marty Stu" after that statement), and thus being really off-putting to a Time Lord.

That explains why he didn't open the door for him when he saw him at Cardiff (and even explains why Jack went so long NEVER finding any of the Doctor's incarnations--he'd be avoided just by instinct).

Doesn't explain why the Doctor seems to take the blame for leaving Jack in the first place. How'd he even know Jack was alive? Does this come up again? Because it's not making sense to me, and it really makes the Doctor look like a jackass.

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Comments:


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From:honorh
Date:October 9th, 2007 01:01 am (UTC)
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I don't know how he knew, but his "Ever since I ran away from you" seems to apply not to trying to get away from him in Cardiff, but Satellite Five. During their talk through the door, Jack's talking about how he found out he was immortal and the deaths he'd suffered. Then he says, "And all that time, you knew." Which the Doctor doesn't deny, implying that he'd known ever since Satellite Five. So yes, the Doctor did purposely leave him behind.

I'm thinking Jack was of two minds about it through most of his 100+ years on Earth. He might easily have waffled between believing the Doctor deliberately left him and believing that the Doctor didn't realize he was alive. Given that he was alive when he'd been dead, though, he probably very rightly came to the conclusion that whatever had happened, the Doctor had something to do with it or knew why he was alive. When the Doctor tried to leave him in Cardiff--and remember, Jack had traveled with the Doctor for months, so he knew the Doctor could monitor what was going on outside the TARDIS--and, further, when he didn't awaken to the Doctor saying, "Jack! Old friend! You're alive!" there was only one conclusion Jack could come to: the Doctor abandoned him.

As for why, well, the Doctor's never been good at facing things that disturb him on an emotional level. He knew Jack had a transporter, and he also knew that as an experienced Time Agent and conman, Jack could make his way in the universe, so it wasn't as cruel as if the Doctor had abandoned, say, Rose. Nonetheless, I don't think we're supposed to like what he did. It came out of a personality flaw, and Jack suffered because of it.
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From:dawnebeth
Date:October 10th, 2007 04:26 pm (UTC)
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Don't get me wrong here, I adore the Doctor and Jack, but the whole explanation during Utopia just made my head go 'plody. First--doesn't Jack say he found out he couldn't die after he was abandoned and when he went back to the 1880s? Because that doesn't jibe at all with the fact that he already knew that in the WWII episode where he met Rose and the Doctor. At least, when he's taking the bomb up in his ship, he talks about his 'other executioners'. Or is it that since the Doctor can move in and out of time, he moved into Jack's (immortal) life in WWII, and then somehow came to the end of his (first) life when Jack 'died' at the end of the gameshow episode? What a paradox--since Jack was with the Doctor continuously in those eps.

I do like the explanation that the other incarnations of the Doctor stayed away from Jack during that 100 years because of his being that fixed person in time and therefore, he's the only person who would remember that the Doctor is more than one person--well, other than Sarah Jane.

I've always assumed that the Doctor abandoned Jack because the Doctor was dealing with an awful lot--knowing he was going to die/regenerate and getting Rose back to London beforehand. He didn't have time or strength to deal with Jack, whom he knew could fend for himself with his time jump watch.

My biggest question has always been--how did Jack know that was the Doctor's hand? I got the impression that he was in Cardiff during the Christmas invasion. The Doctor was in London, on a cliff, when his hand was chopped off. How did Jack get his hands on it? And since he uses that as his Doctor tracker--how did he figure out that it was the Doctor's in the first place? (I do love Martha's astonishment when she finds out about that--and the Doctor's sweet 'It's still me' when he wiggles his fingers at her).

It's all a puzzlement. Time travel and immortality add up to pardoxical conundrums, all right.

Dawn
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From:kerravonsen
Date:October 10th, 2007 09:53 pm (UTC)
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Because that doesn't jibe at all with the fact that he already knew that in the WWII episode where he met Rose and the Doctor.

Huh? No, the Jack in "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances" is the original Jack, he wasn't immortal at all. I assume that the immortal Jack who was living through time since the 1880s took great care not to meet his old self in WWII.

how did Jack know that was the Doctor's hand?

Well this delightful story is one possible way it might have happened...
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From:scionofgrace
Date:October 11th, 2007 01:03 am (UTC)
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...therefore, he's the only person who would remember that the Doctor is more than one person--well, other than Sarah Jane.

Actually, quite a number of the Doctor's companions are aware of regeneration. Susan, Ben, Polly, the Brig, Romana, Adric, Nyssa, Tegan, Peri, Mel, & Grace all either witnessed a regeneration or more than one incarnation of the Doctor, or in Susan & Romana's cases, were Time Lords themselves.

The Doctor's plethora of companions always makes me wonder whether they run into each other...
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From:izhilzha
Date:October 10th, 2007 06:01 pm (UTC)
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I don't know how he knew, but his "Ever since I ran away from you" seems to apply not to trying to get away from him in Cardiff, but Satellite Five. During their talk through the door, Jack's talking about how he found out he was immortal and the deaths he'd suffered. Then he says, "And all that time, you knew." Which the Doctor doesn't deny, implying that he'd known ever since Satellite Five. So yes, the Doctor did purposely leave him behind.

Yes. Which, to me, is a massive plot-hole, because I just don't buy that the Doctor (with Bad Wolf Rose, the Time Vortex, piloting the TARDIS, andregenerating) knew. I could buy that he guessed, maybe, but this feels like a big fat writer's retcon to me. *le sigh*
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From:ladybrick
Date:October 9th, 2007 01:51 am (UTC)
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There was a brief Children in Need special between Series 1 and 2 that did establish that the Doctor knew Jack was still alive and that he lied to Rose about leaving him behind (he told her that Jack couldn't come along because he was busy rebuilding the human race.) So him avoiding Jack isn't completely out of the blue.
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From:kerravonsen
Date:October 9th, 2007 02:28 am (UTC)
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that did establish that the Doctor knew Jack was still alive and that he lied to Rose about leaving him behind (he told her that Jack couldn't come along because he was busy rebuilding the human race.)

I'd always assumed that it was a lie in the opposite way -- that the Doctor thought that Jack was dead, and told Rose that Jack was alive in order not to upset her.
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From:izhilzha
Date:October 10th, 2007 06:02 pm (UTC)
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Likewise. I suppose maybe, maybe, maybe taking in the Time Vortex gave him the knowledge of the stuff that Rose did...but it still feels rather a stretch to me.
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From:scionofgrace
Date:October 11th, 2007 01:05 am (UTC)
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I wonder, though, if the Doctor, who was also briefly possessed by the Time Vortex, might not have been aware of what Rose had done with it.
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From:kerravonsen
Date:October 9th, 2007 02:26 am (UTC)
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How'd he even know Jack was alive?

I agree that it's a bit of a plot hole, the kind that people miss because they forget that the reader/viewer knows things that the characters don't know.

Yes, Utopia does imply that the Doctor abandoned Jack on Sattelite 5, rather than simply not knowing that he was dead. My original theory, before Utopia, was simply that the Doctor was behaving so erraticly with his regeneration, that expecting him to be sensible was stupid. But the counter-argument to that is that the Doctor could have gone back for Jack when he was less loopy. But only if he knew that Jack was alive.

I'd have to see "Parting of the Ways" again, in order to double-check whether the TARDIS vanished in front of Jack or whether he hadn't gotten up there in time, or whether he was easily within view of the TARDIS -- though Jack wouldn't know that the Doctor had regenerated and wasn't looking on the scanner before he dematerialized.

Another possible way of patching the plot-hole would be that the Doctor knew that Jack was alive because of how he took the Time Vortex from Rose, but that seems a bit iffy to me.
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From:kerravonsen
Date:October 9th, 2007 02:29 am (UTC)
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s/rather than simply not knowing that he was dead/rather than simply not knowing that he was alive/
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From:honorh
Date:October 9th, 2007 04:49 am (UTC)
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I'm chalking it up to "Time Lord thing." The Doctor sensed that Jack was wrong somehow--a fixed point. He senses time in a different way than humans do; thus, he must've felt that "fixed point" and understood what it meant. Absorbing the Time Vortex from Rose, he might've also sensed what it had done while in her.

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