On Captain Jack's Secret

Supposedly, the next two episodes of Doctor Who will reveal a shattering secret about Captain Jack Harkness.

I put my thinking cap on. Because the theories I’ve heard… well, they’re generally stupid. So, let’s go behind a spoiler cut, shall we? So I can rant about theories in peace, yes?

The idea that Jack Harkness is the Face of Boe, which is a theory I keep seeing, is so monumentally stupid that I can’t believe I’m even going to rant about it.

So I’m not. It’s just monumentally stupid.

There’s also theories that Jack is the Doctor’s brother. Often cited as evidence, the Doctor’s statement in “Smith & Jones” that he had a brother once. The Doctor, of course, could just have been saying that. Or maybe Irving Braxiatel really is his brother, and he died in the Time War (obviously). But that wouldn’t make any sense, Jack as a long-lost family member. That’s too Star Trek: The Next Generation, to be honest.

Here’s my monumentally stupid theory.

Jack isn’t the Doctor’s brother.

Jack is the Doctor.

Sort of.

We know that the Doctor has a human mother. He said so, in the 1996 television movie.

What if the Doctor’s father used Chameleon Arch technology on the infant Doctor to extract the “human” parts from the Doctor, thus producing two children–one fully Time Lord, one fully human? We know from “The Deadly Assassin” that humans aren’t allowed on Gallifrey, so the Doctor’s father may have been concerned that his half-human son could have been exiled, even killed for being not fully Gallifreyan.

But what to do with the human infant?

Place it with adoptive parents, to live out its life in peace.

But the flow of time would still be felt in the infant, and that lead the child that grew into Jack Harkness to join the Time Agency.

So, my weird-ass theory. Jack is the Doctor’s human aspect.

Hmm, I criticize the Jack-as-the-Doctor’s-brother theories for being too TNG, and yet I pull out a theory that’s positively Voyager. Go fig’. 😆

Published by Allyn

A writer, editor, journalist, sometimes coder, occasional historian, and all-around scholar, Allyn Gibson is the writer for Diamond Comic Distributors' monthly PREVIEWS catalog, used by comic book shops and throughout the comics industry, and the editor for its monthly order forms. In his over ten years in the industry, Allyn has interviewed comics creators and pop culture celebrities, covered conventions, analyzed industry revenue trends, and written copy for comics, toys, and other pop culture merchandise. Allyn is also known for his short fiction (including the Star Trek story "Make-Believe,"the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity," and the ReDeus story "The Ginger Kid"). Allyn has been blogging regularly with WordPress since 2004.

41 thoughts on “On Captain Jack's Secret

  1. But then that doesn’t explain how McGann was able to open the Eye of Harmony, if he is indeed fully Time Lord.

  2. The Brother line likely refers to the Master. No, it makes little sense, but that’s what the smart money’s on….

    Or Stephen Fry.

  3. Actually, your monumentally stupid theory is the cleverest theory
    I’ve heard of. But it’s not actually true, because, as you all saw,
    Captain Jack is the face of Boe ! Can you believe it?!?! He got all pickled and all his hair’s fallen out! (hehehehe)

  4. No, I never feel monumentally stupid. Well, except for that one time in March, but that had nothing to do with Jack Harkness or the Face of Boe.

    Mind you, I won’t see the episode until Monday at the earliest. So I don’t know what the execution of that twist will be.

    Hopefully it won’t be bog-stupid. It could be something like the Martian Manhunter’s plan across time to defeat Vandal Savage in DC One Million where the Martian Manhunter basically turned himself into a planet.

    Without seeing the execution, though, it just seems random and non-sensical.

    I much prefer my crazy idea. 😉

  5. Whats the crack with THE LAST OF THE TIME LORDS?

    The Face Of Boe is Jack? Is that what Jack becomes then he shoots off to the beginning of Time…or at least the episode THE LONG GAME with the Jagrafess. Didnt the Face Of Boe announce it was pregnant! Oh yeah! And then Jack said hes not doing pregnancy again. Im confused help me out
    im muddled in Who
    BY CAT

  6. Can’t help you, Cat. I’ve not seen it yet. 😉

    It does mean that Jack spends the vast majority of his existence as the Face of Boe, as he’s Boe in the year 200,000, and he’s still Boe in the year five billion.

    Does he use chameleon arch technology to alter his biological form?

    Wait. Does Jack being Boe mean that a few days after “Gridlock” Novice Hame is going to find Boe awake and alive?

  7. welll i just watched the dr who and it seems that cpn jack is the face of boe i ran around the room screeming at the end i was so annoyed my brain wanted to burst! I reaal y couldnt take in that cpn jack had met the doctor rose and martha so many times and we didnt notise plus the fob doesnt act like cpn jack

    i am sooooooooo confussedd

    fave quote frm dr who:
    “wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff”

  8. It actually makes sense that Captain Jack evolves over many years into The Face Of Boe, then in his own way helps The Doctor when he can. He would have already went through everything we’ve seen so far. Rose bringing him back to life, The Master coming back and possibly many other events. We can only assume that through years of evolution that he eventually lost the abilty to come back to life.

  9. it has to be possible that jack is the face od boe – he knows more than he lets on. he subtly helped the doctor in their three meetingws. he somehow ages and survives guiding the doctor on his travels

  10. You agree with us then that it all works out, even if you go back to The Face Of Boes first appearance in the episode, The End Of The World, he knew who The Doctor and Rose were and what had happened with The Master and The Doctors later regeneration and what will happen up to that point. At least it’s good to know that Captain Jack will be around in one form or another for a long time.

  11. Yes what a revelation. But why didn’t Jack react to the mention of The Face of Boe in Utopia, if he knew that this was once his own nickname?

  12. Good point Peter. Maybe he didn’t make the connection because who would think that you were going to become something like The Face Of Boe in the future. Or maybe it’s just another plot point that you’re meant to gloss over to make it work. (Still wouldn’t mind finding out about his missing two years though.)

  13. So jack becomes a giant head in a jar and it does also say in earlier episdoes doctor askes him legend says you billions of years old he replys that would be impossible (this proves why boe is the last of his kind cause from cassandra he is the last human)and doctor says that jack is the impossible thing also jack must become rich from fighting all the aliens in torchwood thats how he hosted the party on platform 1 and not to mention jack askes what will I look like after a millions years? im sure it will exsplain everything cause after all russel did say the face of boes days are not yet numbered I REALLYHOPE JACK IS NOT BOE cause he would recognise the doctor and rose after all those years so whats the deal?

  14. A couple of possibilities…

    1) Jack’s pulling the Doctor’s and Martha’s legs. Not impossible. He’s not really the head in the jar; it’s just a nickname he had in the Time Agency. I mean, Jack’s vain about his appearance and he’s got a libido that doesn’t stop. Meanwhile, the Face of Boe is a head in a jar, and if he’s got a libido it’s of no use to him. So, it could be a bit of mockery on the part Jack’s fellow time agents.

    2) Jack is the Face of Boe, and for some reason he used Chameleon Arch technology to change his physical form, perhaps to hide, perhaps to become more prominent. Perhaps it was a plan to position himself to give the Doctor cryptic hints throughout time.

    3) If Jack is the Face of Boe, I imagine that he’ll “wake up” a few weeks after “Gridlock,” much as he did in “End of Days.” He probably left Novice Hame instructions to that effect.

  15. with the master now ‘dead’ does this mean the end of the doctors nemesis? what is the significance of the masters ring which lucy saxon picked up?
    jacks two missing years i think will be answered in the next series of torchwood. will martha being making an appearance in torchwood as mentioned in the mirror on 28th june?
    why did the doctor take is severed hand from jack – does this have a meaning why did he do this?

  16. Emma, the Master has been in far worse scrapes. 😉

    As for Jack’s missing two years, RTD has said that Steven Moffat gets to handle that, as that was something Moffat created for “The Empty Child”/”The Doctor Dances” beyond the brief he was given of introducing Captain Jack.

    As for Martha on Torchwood, I hope so! Freema’s casting in Who was odd, because it was said she was auditioning for Torchwood at the time. That may have been the long-term plan–run with Martha on Who, introduce her to Jack, darken the character, and then she’d be ready for prime-time on Torchwood. Of course, you have to wonder what would make Martha go to Cardiff, considering her reaction to the TARDIS merely landing in Cardiff in “Utopia.”

    As for the hand? I have no idea.

  17. The end with The Master laughing and I assume his wife Lucy picking up the ring reminded me of the 80’s Flash Gordon film. I wonder if RTD is a fan. The Master can easily come back if they wish, the Daleks always do. Unless RTD was using this story to end The Master character and move on to other enemies. Concerning Jack, I think he was putting himself in a position that he could help The Doctor whenever possible. Similar to the Badwolf clues that Rose spread throughout time and space. He could have known all along that he becomes The Face Of Boe seeing as he has been to the future.

  18. A thought about The Doctors hand. I think he just took it so that nobody would have a Doctor detector to use. Also it does contain Timelord DNA that someone might have tried to use.

  19. I think Jack as the Face Of Boe was a brilliant revelation, completely unexpected (to me, anyway!) as evidenced by the fact I sat there open-mouthed for a full minute!

    As to the points made about his ‘immortality’, and the fact that we’ve seen the Face of Boe die, one thought is that although Jack can’t be killed, he can still have a (albeit elongated) ‘natural’ lifespan and die of natural causes. The Doctor makes the assumption that Jack is immortal, but the fact that he doesn’t know how or why Jack can come back to life indicates that he doesn’t know eveything about the issue.

  20. Will people stop saying Jack is the Face of Boe as if it were somehow gospel. It was suggested in Last of the Timelords, but is by no means certain.

    All we really have to go on is Jack’s old nickname, and when you stop and think that he grew up somewhere called the Boeshane Peninsula, and that the name was given to him because of his pretty face, then calling him the Face of Boe is perfectly logical, ESPECIALLY if a universally famous entity already exists with that name.

    It’s all a red herring guys…

  21. Balls, why be so protective over the identity of TFoB? What is so wrong wi th the idea of Jack becoming Boe? It is perfectly possible, EXCEPT for one thing……

    It is the FoB that tells the doctor he is “not alone” BUT Jack and the Doctor found out at the same point in time that there was another timelord. Infact, if Jack hadn’t jumped on the tardis they would never have found the master at all. So….. How come when TF0B tells the doctor he is not alone does the doctor not already know?

    Unless time is a big circle, in which case i am more confused than i care to explain!

  22. The Doctor hadn’t experienced the events of the last three episodes when The Face Of Boe told him he was not not alone, but TFOB would have experienced it all as Jack.

  23. but jack couldn’t have experienced it without the doctor since he needed the tardis to get to the end of the universe.

  24. The point at which the Face of Boe/Jack tells the Doctor he is not alone is (at the time of these last 3 episodes) Jack’s future but the Doctor’s past. So Jack has already experienced the events around the Master, then lives on for ‘x’ billion years, becomes the Face of Boe, then travels in time/space to meet the Doctor for the ‘third and final time’ to tell him his big secret before the Doctor meets the Master. Simple eh?!

    Or as the Doctor himself would say – it’s just wibbly wobbly, timey wimey stuff.

  25. Well explained Chryse. Yes, The Face Of Boe experienced all we saw when he was still Captain Jack and then later stuff as TFOB.

  26. I love you captain jack!I’m sooooooo sad that you died:cry:and i was really mad:mad:and i was shocked too:shock:but i did not no how he died can someone tell me please:/

  27. captain jack is the face of boe who is actually omega because the antimatter rupture in “the arc of infinity” morphed his anatomy into a neurofexic archi-fluro organism, so the face of boe told the doctor he was not alone to lead him to the master who would kill him because he(omega) could not.:wink::cool::shock:

  28. i do think its possible for Jack as the face of boe already knew that the doctor is not alone…but the doctor havent.

    wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff..remember

  29. If you remember The Doctor had described the good capitan “as a fixed point in time and space”.
    Fact is that he can never die. If he is a “fixed point”, does that also mean that he can never grow old. He is a paradox that exists as a creature that interacts and experiences forward moving time while he in a sense is able to stand still.

  30. Theories aside, the Dr. stated on several occasions how much he doesn’t know about Jack. His statement of him being a “fixed point” is fine in the context but Jack did state that he is getting older. So assuming that he will be the same as he always is and never aging a day cannot hold. Being a fixed point can also be seen as his ability to stay alive as it where. He can never truly vanish from existence hence he becomes a fixed point. And if the Face of Boe theory holds he is still a fixed point… only a big floating head with tentacles version. So while we all push and pull at the theories I see from the limited info available from the series a valid rationale for Jack being the Face of Boe. If it looks like Jack, Smells like Jack, Tastes like Boe then I say we let it grow.

  31. Interesting theories.. but I am convinced that Donna Noble is the Face of Boe. The last episode they were referring to “what are you” “what kind of power” tooo many clues.

  32. Ok I understand what people say about Rose making Jack so he can not die BUT in Torchwood Captain Jacks brother came back? His name is Gray I think but also I think he can not die ?????

  33. Time travel, Jakk. 😉

    Gray isn’t immortal. John Hart found Gray when he was in his early 20s and brought him back to the 21st century to torment Jack.

  34. Hello there, I wanted to enter a theory in response the ‘how could Boe die if Jack is immortal?’ question. In the end of the first season of Torchwood, when the team are facing the giant monster that feeds on life (forgive me, I forget its name), Jack says he is the ultimate meal because he has an ‘excess’ of life. I think rather than Jack being completely immortal, he has vast amounts of life-force in him, which is why he is able to come back from the dead. So, when TFOB uses his life force to generate enough power to free the people on the motorway, it could be that he died because he has already lived for a VERY long time, his stock of life-force is depleted, and he uses all he has left to complete this action.

    So, in the very end, Jack/TFOB is able to die because all of his excess energy has been used up.

    Rose even says, “I give life,” she did not say, “I make immortal.” She only meant to bring Jack back the once, maybe she overshot? That doesn’t mean he has an unlimited supply.

    What do you all think?

  35. I agree with you Vivvie. Jack has an abundance of life force. But he is ageing. As he ages it is not too far fetched to think that his body would evolve. Also, at the very end of gridlock the FOB states that its good to breath the air again. Also, seeing as Cassandra has cosmetically become something other than human, it is understandable why the face of boe is the last of his kind. He is the lst living human. His physical changes being evolutional.It is obvious the FOB is Jack. But nothing is obvious in the whoverse, and reality/truth is always subject to change.

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