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Captain Jack Harkness (TV story)

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Captain Jack Harkness
Jack harkness tv main
Main character(s): Jack, Gwen, Tosh, Owen, Ianto
Main enemy: Bilis Manger
Main setting: Cardiff, 2008 and 1941
Key crew
Writer: Catherine Tregenna
Director: Ashley Way
Producer: Richard Stokes
Release details
Season/series: Series 1
Premiere broadcast: 1 January 2007
Premiere network: BBC Three
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You may wish to consult Captain Jack Harkness (disambiguation) for other, similarly-named pages.

Captain Jack Harkness was the twelfth episode in the first series of Torchwood. By returning Jack Harkness to The Blitz during World War II, it allowed for a story that explored the origins of the "Jack Harkness" alias. However, in so doing, it left Jack's teammates with even less understanding of who he really was.

Harkness introduced the character of Bilis Manger, someone who would play an important role in the series 1 finalé, but who remained a mystery that was never fully unpacked.

It was also one of the episodes that decidedly established Torchwood was indeed in the same universe as Doctor Who, since prominent set decoration established the Harold Saxon political campaign was still ongoing or only recently concluded.

This episode marked the breaking point for Owen Harper after letting Diane Holmes return to her era. Driven wild with pangs to see her again by opening the Cardiff Rift, he instinctively tried to set off Torchwood Three's rift manipulator, which led to a falling out with Ianto Jones at gunpoint. Owen's ultimate actions would be to shoot Ianto and set off the manipulator. Although his choice rescued his fellow teammates, it set off a chain of chaotic events leading directly into the next episode.

Synopsis Edit

Investigating reports of ghostly music, Jack and Toshiko find themselves stranded in a packed dance hall — in 1941. As Gwen, Owen and Ianto work to rescue their colleagues, Jack and Toshiko meet a handsome young American squadron leader by the name of Captain Jack Harkness.

Plot Edit

Captain Jack Harkness and Toshiko Sato investigate a report that music from the 1940s has been drifting out of a derelict dance hall called "the Ritz". They enter the dance hall and are transported back to 20 January 1941 through a temporal shift. The hall is full of people dancing to live music. They go downstairs to return to the present, but cannot resist going back to 1941 once more. When they go downstairs for the second time they do not go back to the present, and they realise they are trapped.

Jack encounters an American captain by the name of Captain Jack Harkness. Torchwood's Jack quickly invents the name "Captain James Harper". When Toshiko asks him, "James Harper" admits he used to be a con-man. He took Jack Harkness's name as a disguise. The real Captain Jack will die the next day in a routine training exercise.

"James Harper" and Toshiko devise a plan to leave the second half of an equation on something that will last through time so back in the present day, Torchwood can find it and combine it with the half they have already. The full equation will let them bring Toshiko and "James Harper" back to the present. Toshiko finds the manager, Bilis Manger, has a Polaroid camera, which has not yet been invented. While taking the photo, Toshiko misses the first part of the equation. When Bilis gets the camera, she must find another way to get this part back to present. She decides to use her own blood and writes the missing bit of the equation on a card. She puts the card inside a can for the Torchwood team. Back in the present day, Ianto and Owen find they cannot get through to Toshiko when they try to call her. They order Gwen to investigate. Just as Gwen hears music drifting from 1941, "James Harper" and Tosiko hear Gwen's calls drifting the other way. Back at the Hub, Ianto and Owen argue over the best way to bring them back. Ianto realises the real reason why Owen wants to open the rift is to bring back Diane Holmes.

Meanwhile, at the Ritz, Gwen encounters the caretaker called "Bilis Manger." He opens the hall for her to look around. After Ianto checks with the records, he realises the Bilis Manger of now is the Bilis Manger from 1941 and orders her to withdraw. Outside, Gwen finds the photograph left by Toshiko and notices part is missing. She continues searching.

At the Hub, Owen ignores Ianto's protests and tries to open the rift with the rift manipulator. Owen finds there is a piece missing and decides to look for it in Bilis's office.

At the Ritz, Owen finds the missing piece in a grandfather clock. Gwen also finds the card left by Toshiko in 1941 and informs Ianto. She also tells them three of the numbers have been scraped out by someone (most likely Bilis) and reads the message that Toshiko has written below the equation: "Tell my family, I love them."

Jack and james war stories
Jack and "James" exchange war stories.
MemnarcAdded by Memnarc

While all this is happening, "James Harper" gets to know the real Captain Jack and slowly begins to fall in love with him. "James" and Jack are joined by Jack's girlfriend, who wishes to be with him. She makes to leave hoping he will follow. When he does not, "James " insists that Jack kiss her goodbye, hinting at his death tomorrow. Jack takes "James'" advice, but thinks it has made things worse; now she thinks she loves him. On the stairs, Jack and "James" recount their worst war stories. Jack tells how he saw a young boy shot through the eyes. He yelled for his mother as he died. "James" tells how he had to watch his best friend, whom he had persuaded to enlist, tortured by the enemy and killed in front of him.

Later, during a bomb raid, Jack confesses he is scared. They sit down at a table for a private talk. Jack slowly realises "James" knows something bad is going to happen and goes to his girlfriend.

Jack returns later, however, to find "James" on his own and joins him. They hold hands for a few seconds but are interrupted by a couple who want the "lover's corner". Jack tells the couple he and "James" were just discussing strategies. Jack turns down "James's" offer to go somewhere else.

Disheartened, "James" returns to the edge of the dance floor where he is joined by Toshiko. He says tomorrow Jack will lead his men in a routine training exercise to be surprised by the Messerschmitts. Jack kills three of them before dying when his plane bursts into flames. His men all make it back to safety.

Ianto threatens Owen
Ianto tries to stop Owen from opening the Rift.
MemnarcAdded by Memnarc

Back in the present day and at the Hub, Owen and Ianto are still arguing about the rift. When Owen goes into Jack's safe to retrieve the rift manipulator's blueprints, Ianto tries to snatch the blueprints. Owen overpowers Ianto and kicks him to the ground before heading towards the rift manipulator. Ianto orders him to stop. He is now pointing a gun at him. After Owen taunts Ianto about his relationship with Jack, Ianto shoots Owen in the shoulder to stop him. He is too late. The manipulator activates. Owen falls unconscious while Ianto screams at him.

Back in 1941, "James" and Toshiko sit at a table. "James" explains someone brought him back to life one day and hints he has not been able to die ever since. "James" apologises to Toshiko for "dragging" her into "James's" business. Toshiko replies it was her choice to get involved. "James" promises her he will look after her but breaks down when he realises that there is nothing that can be done to save Jack.

During the next song, Jack stands at the other side of the dance floor, thinking about what "James" has told him. He takes "James's" hand and they begin to dance to the slow music. They start to kiss, but are interrupted by the rift bursting open in the doorway. Toshiko rushes to it and pleads with "James" to follow her. James" explains to Jack that it is his duty, unwillingly lets go and heads towards the rift. At the last minute, "James" turns back to kiss Jack passionately before letting him go again. In the rift, "James" turns around to face the real Jack who salutes him before he vanishes.

Back in the present day, Gwen gleefully greets Jack and Toshiko as they leave the Ritz. Jack takes one last look at the dance hall before returning to the Hub.

Jack toasts real jack
Jack and Tosh toast his namesake.
MemnarcAdded by Memnarc

At the Hub, Owen is performing self-aid on the bullet wound courtesy of Ianto. Ianto says he never meant to kill Owen. He meant to hit his shoulder. He also says there is no sign of Bilis. Toshiko, who is helping Owen, explains what she and Jack saw in 1941, while Owen taunts Ianto about opening the rift not having any immediate side-effects. Owen and Toshiko flirt mildly. Jack walks past them looking down as he enters his office. Toshiko joins him. They toast to the real Captain Jack Harkness.

Cast Edit


Crew Edit

General production staff

Script department

Camera and lighting department

Art department

Costume department

Make-up and prosthetics

Casting

General post-production staff

Special and visual effects

Sound







Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.


References Edit

Story notes Edit

to be added

Ratings Edit

  • 1.2 million viewers

Filming locations Edit

  • Old Town Hall (Newcastle Street) - Jack and Toshiko investigate a report of ghosts
  • Baltica - The Ritz dance hall
  • Hensol Castle - Ground floor of the Ritz

Production errors Edit

to be added

Continuity Edit

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
  • Jack references the events that take place at the end of TV: The Parting of the Ways.
  • The words Bad Wolf are graffitied on the wall of the Ritz in present day Cardiff. (TV: Bad Wolf)
  • This episode marks the first of the continuous arc (the end of one episode immediately leading into another) that later switches over to Doctor Who in Utopia and ends in Voyage of the Damned.
  • If the events of Torchwood and Doctor Who are taken into account there are four Jack Harknesses in this time period. One is the one from this episode that goes back through the rift with Toshiko, the second is the Jack who first appeared in TV: The Empty Child. It was revealed in TV: Utopia that after The Parting of the Ways, Jack attempted to return to the 21st century using his vortex manipulator, but accidentally ended up in 1869 and had to wait until the present day as his vortex manipulator broke. This would mean that he lived through World War II and would be the third Jack in this era. In TV: Exit Wounds, Jack is buried in 27 AD only to be dug up in 1901 by Torchwood and put in a cryo-chamber to be awakened in 2009 meaning that a fourth Jack is in this time period, only frozen.
  • Outside the present day dance hall, there are posters with the text "Vote Saxon". (TV: The Sound of Drums)

Home video releases Edit

TWS1Part3
Series one, part three DVD cover
Mini-mitchAdded by Mini-mitch
  • Captain Jack Harkness was first released on DVD with three other episodes in Torchwood: Series 1, part 3 on 26 March 2007. It was later included in Torchwood: The Complete First Series on 19 November 2007.

External links Edit


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