Journey’s End, the RTD masterplan, and Jack

Thinking a little bit more about RTD’s original plan for resolving the D/R ship, I’ve been considering Jack’s part in it.

I mentioned a couple of days ago that originally, RTD planned to use the Hand to grow a duplicate of Ten at his regeneration, a duplicate that could return to Rose.

There is something very beautiful about this concept, and it involves the role of Jack. I often feel that DW is at its best when it deals with the operation of grace and forgiveness, which are, after all, the purest forms of goodness known to humankind.

Nobody has more right to hate the Doctor than Jack. But he doesn’t only forgive him – maybe even a bit too much, for there are people who see him as the Doctor’s bitch. He goes through a year on the Valiant for the Doctor when he could easily have sided with the Master. Dying, horribly, over and over, with no sure hope of being saved.

But there’s more, isn’t there? Who was instrumental in getting the Hand back into the TARDIS? The answer, of course, is Jack. Through Jack’s continued love for the Doctor and his need to find him again, the means by which the D/R relationship is resolved is protected until its time has come. Jack has nothing to gain from this, other than the satisfaction of knowing he achieved it.

I still believe, for all his posturing and lying and ranting, that RTD is an idealist, a romantic. His best writing taps into that. POTW is about an act of pure and utter love – extravagant grace – on both Rose’s part and Nine’s. And let’s not forget Jack, who knowingly goes to his death fighting a hopeless battle against impossible odds, and does so with a kiss and a very beautiful scene of farewell. "You were worth fighting for," he tells Rose. And, to Nine, "I was much happier as a coward."

Jack has the reputation of being sexually amoral, but in fact his love is the purest and most unselfish in the DW universe. He quite literally asks for nothing in return. (Arguably, in Exit Wounds, for example, this sacrifical side is taken much too far). The Doctor is arrogant, sometimes dishonest, even cruel. Rose can be immature and selfish. They are both flawed characters, and Jack is their moral touchstone in matters of the heart.

We get a window into RTD’s view of the relationships with Jack in "Utopia". Jack makes barbed remarks about the Doctor’s behaviour, but once that’s out in the open, it’s over with. He’s there for him, 100%. He can see what will happen to Martha, and he wishes he could do something about it, but he knows how to choose his battles. He’s under no illusions about the Doctor, which is more than you can say for Rose or, for that matter, Ten himself. And what unites Ten and Jack, as much as their love for one another, is their love for Rose. Think of that hug, that cry of joy – "She’s alive!"

The way RTD developed the Radiation Room scene by workshopping it with JB and DT shows how much respect he has for both actors and characters. It’s sad that, for whatever reason – time pressure, maybe – that doesn’t seem to have happened with Journey’s End. Jack is sidelined, maybe because he’s another character who just wouldn’t have let that ending happen. I think he’d have almost pulled a gun on Ten first, if it would have done any good. What a shame that RTD didn’t feel able to open up the Bad Wolf Bay scene to David and Billie.

I keep thinking about Billie having to film that straight after getting married to the man she clearly regards as the love of her life. And it makes me feel very sad.


5 thoughts on “Journey’s End, the RTD masterplan, and Jack

  1. Not only that…but when you tie this to Jack…you tie this directly to the reason Rose is the epic love. She’s not the BEST person in all of that. Maybe, you are right, and Jack is the best person. But Rose brought the Doctor back to us as viewers and she is responsible for making Jack the man that he is…she is responsible for TORCHWOOD being significant at all. That makes her the major player in the Doctor’s life.
    And yes, Jack would have seriously objected to this plan of the Doctor’s. I think actually…that’s one of the main reason I felt this was all a plan to fool us into thinking this was THE end when it wasn’t.
    See? Everyone leaves FIRST. Everyone who would have protested this horrible plan of the Doctor’s…leaves. I can’t see Martha not going WTF? Nor Mickey. Nor Sarah Jane. Even Donna is completely changed from the person she was…she no longer seems to care that the Doctor will suffer without Rose. In fact, RTD has her being completely selfish and self-centered in the cut scene where she goes on about how SHE (and therefore NOT ROSE) is the Doctor’s equal now. And as I said in response to that info coming out…it makes the whole scene on the beach even more of a farce if you include that bit. Because there is poor deluded Donna thinking SHE is special…when, in fact, nobody is special to him.
    Poor Billie…and poor Catherine…and poor JG…and poor Doctor and audience, too. I do wonder though…if they DO mean to fix it. Because from my reading of what you’ve posted…they were all unhappy and didn’t think it was working or left in the right way. And there are rumors that Billie and Catherine and John Simms will be back…which I find very interesting…since the Master is the one who can show you the way to fix this. He has been reborn into a new body…had regenerations restored to him…and physically loved a human woman. He is, interestingly, dealing with the end of his people in a more direct way than the Doctor.

  2. He is, interestingly, dealing with the end of his people in a more direct way than the Doctor.
    That should read WAS not IS. I don’t know what has happened to my grammar lately…sheesh! Anyway, I think being the villian it is easier for the Master to deal with things…because he is supposed to be selfish.
    David may be romanticizing the Doctor’s purity of heart. Russell might be doing that, too. But having a pure love for Rose would be so much better than having this self-mutilating martyrdom. What kind of hero can’t love? Or worse…what kind of hero tells us that they only pure love is one that leaves everyone miserable and alone? There’s your hero boys and girls. There’s the future of your geek existence. You are smart and you love truly…so you will always be alone. Try to make that look heroic, okay?

  3. I think that by the end of JE we can almost prefer the Master to the Doctor, and that’s not how it should be. The Master’s actions, though undeniably wicked, have an honesty and consistency to them. We see him devoted to his wife, we see him refusing to compromise on his values and the person that he is. His end seems heroic and has a sense of completion to it, whereas the Doctor’s character is so compromised by the end of S4 (and some would argue, a lot earlier, maybe as far back as HN/FoB) that there is nothing left of him.
    And I am left wondering, why is DT signing up for more of this? I watched him in Hamlet a few months ago. He takes Hamlet on a real emotional journey which ends up at a place of acceptance, a beautiful thing to see, regardless of the tragedy of the narrative.
    I sympathised with Claudius more in that production than I did with the Doctor by the end of JE. There’s something amiss there.

  4. I mentioned a couple of days ago that originally, RTD planned to use the Hand to grow a duplicate of Ten at his regeneration, a duplicate that could return to Rose.
    Wait… isn’t that what happened in the show?

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