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.