On the Torchwood Trailer and Assorted Thoughts

A Freema Ageyman website posted the Torchwood Season 2 trailer. I watched that this morning, and what can I say? I’m majorly excited. 🙂

There’s very little of Martha Jones in the trailer, but that’s understandable. The trailer was cut for BBC America, and BBC America has yet to show the third season of Doctor Who. It’s possible — remote though it may seem — that a BBC America viewer of Torchwood is wholly unfamiliar with Martha Jones, yet the possibility remains so why expend the frametime on an actress and character who might have no attachment to the audience?

Two scenes in the trailer started me thinking.

One, Jack enters a room. The Torchwood team turns around. Jack says, “Miss me?”

Two, Gwen says, “You left us Jack.”

Implication? Captain Jack Harkness has been gone. Perhaps a long while. When Captain Jack left the Doctor and Martha, gave them the little salute, and talked about how his nickname growing up was “the Face of Boe,” how long had that been since he’d sprinted across the Roald Dahl Plass to throw himself at the departing TARDIS?

I had to check my copy of Lance Parkin’s massive chronology, Ahistory. The second edition, which just came out from Mad Norwegian, covers up through the end of Torchwood season 1 and Doctor Who season 3.

Torchwood‘s first season finale, “End of Days,” took place in early 2008. Parkin argues on page 225 of Ahistory that it is, more than likely, in February. The TARDIS lands in Cardiff at the end of “End of Days,” leading us into Doctor Who‘s “Utopia.” Interestingly, this is, as Parkin explains, roughly four months in Martha Jones’ past. How do we know this? Parkin, on page 226:

The “contemporary” stories in Doctor Who Series 3 (Smith and Jones, The Lazarus Experiment, a sequence in 42, The Sound of Drums) all take place in the same week, with a General Election the day before The Sound of Drums. We’re told it’s eighteen months since The Christmas Invasion in The Sound of Drums (so it’s June 2008).

Assuming that after “Last of the Time Lords” the Doctor doesn’t jump Jack backward four months, then it’s at least four months before Jack returns to his Torchwood 3 team in Cardiff.

But there’s something else to notice in “Last of the Time Lords.” When the episode ends it’s autumn.

Which means that while the events surrounding the fall of Prime Minister Harold Saxon occur in June, it’s a few months later before Martha Jones leaves the TARDIS. Which means there may be more time between the defeat of the Master and the Toclafane and Jack’s return to Cardiff than just four months. Even Parkin notes, on page 227 of Ahistory that “the ‘accident and emergency’ board behind Thomas Mulligan says it’s October.” That’s four more months. Could it just be wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff with the TARDIS?

Except! There’s no indication that the Doctor, Martha, and Jack returned to Cardiff via the TARDIS. Nor is there any indication that Martha visits the professor via the TARDIS. It’s entirely possible that both trips were done by ground transportation.

Why might that be?

The Master cannibalized the TARDIS for parts for his Paradox Machine. Then Jack shot up the inside the console room. Then, likely with UNIT’s help, the Doctor would have had to extract the TARDIS from the Valiant. And the Doctor might have used UNIT’s resources, in the four months between the Master’s death and the Doctor’s departure, to get the TARDIS up and running again. While Martha spent the time trying to help her family recover from the Year That Never Was.

The final scene of “Last of the Time Lords,” then, might be the Doctor, with his TARDIS halfway working again, stopping by to pick up Martha. Given the way the scene plays out, this interpretation makes a lot of sense. The Doctor’s been in and out of her life for four months, while she’s trying to help her family get put back together. Then, the Doctor gets his fecal matter together, assumes that Martha still wants to go along on the ride, but she’s come to realize that she has responsibilities. To her family. But most of all, to herself.

The only thing working against this interpretation is Martha calling Thomas Mulligan at that moment. Why hadn’t she done that at any time previous?

Yet, there’s no denying that Martha leaves the Doctor in autumn (just look at the falling leaves), and the rest of the season happened much earlier in the year.

If this is true — and there’s no reason to think it’s not — then Jack didn’t return to Cardiff for anywhere between four and eight months — he probably could have returned at any point after the Master’s death — leaving Owen, Gwen, Tosh, and Ianto to fend for themselves.

It’s maybe not elegant, but it works to explain how long Jack Harkness has been away from his Torchwood team.

And all because I watched the Torchwood trailer and had a good think. :vogon:

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.

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