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Feb. 23rd, 2011

A question for the TW watchers - has anyone ever managed to successfully date Jack' wedding picture from Something Borrowed? Clicking around on google a bit suggests a date around 1900, 1910-ish, but that's as far as I got.

The thing is... Jack died the first time in 1892. At some unspecified date later, but definitely before 1901, he came to Cardiff, got drunk a lot, got himself killed another 14 times in the space of six months, and was finally picked up by Torchwood. Now granted, Jack is a law unto himself, but it was clearly not a happy time for him, and I find it hard to believe that between coming to terms with his immortality, trying to find the Doctor, and being forced to work for Torchwood he'd have thought getting married was a good idea. What would make more sense to me is to date the wedding before 1892, but I'm not sure the style of the dress supports this theory.

Or am I overthinking this?


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 23rd, 2011 09:25 pm (UTC)
The photo is, I believe, a promotional still from a play JB was in some time ago. Which is to say, it was convenient, not accurate to Jack's timeline.

Jack, being Jack and having a weird sense of personal responsibility and self-punishment, could probably come up with a lot of reasons that are outside of the "good idea for his own personal fulfillment" category for getting married. Conversely, I can see him clutching onto a relationship in an attempt at normalcy that he then can't actually execute on.

The tie-in novels have him owning all sorts of random property around Cardiff in and around that period, which suggests a life somewhere other than under an office, possibly with another person.
Feb. 23rd, 2011 09:57 pm (UTC)
Ah, thank you, I wasn't aware. I knew that one of the picture in the pile was from Anything Goes, but I didn't know the wedding photo was another promo picture.

I can see Jack clutching onto a relationship, definitely, but actually marry? He'd have to tell her, and Jack is still terrible at talking about it a century later. Or maybe it's the fact the marriage didn't work out, for the same reasons that his relationship with Alice's mother didn't work out, that made him decide that Rhys, rather than he, was who Gwen needed to be happy?

Maybe if she was a Torchwood employee who already knew about his immortality, I could sort of see that.
Feb. 23rd, 2011 10:03 pm (UTC)
Maybe she was pregnant. Maybe she was a riftugee with no one else to take of her. Maybe Jack had somehow caused her first husband's death. I can see a lot of reasons for Jack to go there.

I can also totally see him lying about the immortality thing, if he was presumably also lying about his job.

But I definitely think the reason he wasn't more aggressive with the Gwen thing is in part his crap track record with his relationships. And I suspect he feels more tortured about the ones with women because of sexism (both that he internalized on earth and just impacting those women in general in a way Jack didn't know how to deal with) and because of the way they got extra complicated due to stuff like pregnancies.

I think Jack can convince himself not to feel guilty CONSTANTLY if he's fucking someone he can force himself to see only as a fellow soldier. And I think he was able to tell himself Gwen was not a fellow soldier. And I think he tried to tell himself that about Ianto, but then Lisa happened _and_ Ianto was good in the field and then that happened.
Feb. 23rd, 2011 11:00 pm (UTC)
I can also totally see him lying about the immortality thing, if he was presumably also lying about his job.

Lying about a job would be easy though, especially for a man at that time. But how would he explain not ageing? He'd have to leave her, like he had to leave Estelle. And already planning that, even while standing in front of the altar and promising to stay with her 'till death do us part'... I don't know.

I think the thing with Ianto only happened because Ianto took so many of the decisions out of Jack's hands without Jack really noticing. Ianto observes, and makes a move only when he thinks he can be more or less certain of the outcome, and most of the time he gets it right. TKKS is a perfect example of that, and his only mistake in Fragments was not knowing that Jack hated Torchwood. Gwen, OTOH, is much more straightforward and confrontational; when she wants something, she asks a direct question and expects a direct answer, and that approach just doesn't work very well with Jack.
Feb. 23rd, 2011 11:04 pm (UTC)
For me, Jack, especially early 20th-century Jack, is sort of a procrastinator on solving interpersonal shit. I can see him marrying this woman and thinking he'll come up with an answer later, or assuming she'll die as Torchwood collateral damage or that he'll not have a choice to abandon her when the crown orders him somewhere or other. I think he thinks he can get away with it and blame the tragedy of it on other people.
Feb. 23rd, 2011 11:44 pm (UTC)
I guess it's possible. Although I must admit I have some difficulties reconciling this with what we've seen of Jack in TW so far, because there he usually is concerned about the people he loves and their happiness, even when he's only with them for a brief moment, like the original Captain Harkness, whom he wanted to be happy with his girlfriend. He pushes the boundaries occasionally, with Estelle and the promise they made, even with Gwen in S1, but never even remotely as as far as marrying someone under false pretences. But then again, that might be because he learned from painful experience... Obviously there still is a lot of leeway when it comes to Jack's characterisation from the 1860ies to at least the early 20th century.

(I absolutely agree about the procrastinating part, though.)
Feb. 24th, 2011 12:50 am (UTC)

Presuming that working for Torchwood gives him a purpose and a solid base, I can see him falling in love and deciding to do some actual living. And then if it all ends very tragically it'd explain why he lets the war separate him from Estelle, why he lets Lucy's mother go into hiding and have very little contact, why he never makes a move where Gwen is concerned - he's lived through one nightmare, and won't allow himself another.

ETA: When I say nightmare, I don't mean something *horrible* happened per se - maybe it was just her ageing and him not (he is smiling when he looks at the photo after all). But he is an optimist and I could see a Highlander scenario maybe? And he won't allow himself to get that close anymore, to share someone's life to that degree, because of the pain?

Edited at 2011-02-24 08:46 am (UTC)
Feb. 24th, 2011 08:21 pm (UTC)
Could be. In the end I guess we simply don't have enough canon characterisation for Jack in this era to say anything with any certainty. Like I said to rm, I just can't quite see Jack actually being willing to walk up to the altar and consciously make a promise based on a lie, especially not if he loved her. For me that's too much cognitive dissonance even for Jack. On the other hand, if she was a Torchwood employee and knew about him, and for whatever reason (maybe it was a practical thing, not a big love thing) they decided to go ahead anyway, and were making jokes about the whole 'till death do us part' thing... that I could definitely see.

In any case what I think stands out is that the wedding picture is the last in the pile, clearly the oldest one. After that it's only ever Jack alone. The link/contrast between the wedding picture and the way Jack steps back and lets Gwen marry Rhys is probably deliberate.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


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