Doctor Who season 9 has been packing in the thrills, delivering enjoyable episodes with intriguing cliffhangers. The new format of two episode arcs seems to be working well so far, and the storytelling is much tighter with plenty of plot hints and foreshadowing for future episodes. In The Woman Who Dies, Maisie Williams' character got a lot of development and will definitely play a large role when she returns later in the season. But could we see another character's eagerly anticipated return?
Captain Jack's Back!
Steven Moffat has been very careful with his hints in Doctor Who season 9, and he's clearly got a series long plot arc planned. With this in mind, anything casually mentioned could be a clue... or it could be a sneaky reference to plots passed.
In their final conversation, the Doctor and Lady Me established a tenuous friendship, with Lady Me taking it upon herself to be the "patron saint of the Doctor's leftovers". The Doctor fondly remembered other immortals he'd travelled with and even mentioned one by name: Captain Jack Harkness, saying "he'll get around to you eventually."
Captain Jack was introduced way back in season 1, when Russell T Davies ran Doctor Who. Though he only appeared in a few episodes, Captain Jack lead the spinoff show Torchwood, and is one of the most popular companions. Bringing him back would please many fans, especially as much of his plot has yet to be explained.
Although much of his life was explored in Torchwood, the mystery of how Captain Jack became the Face of Boe has yet to be solved. But there are a lot of pitfalls in bringing Jack back, mostly due to the fact that his character is tied inexorably to a lot of Davies era plots that have been dropped during Moffat's reign. The Face of Boe himself, a legendary figure in Davies era, hasn't made an appearance since Moffat became showrunner. In this way, Jack's reappearance might be jarring. So could his mention in season 9 episode 6 be simply a passing reference?
Season 9 has been peppered with foreshadowing hints, but plenty of cheeky references too. We've already had several callbacks to Clara's Impossible Girl plot: her time inside the Dalek armour at the beginning of the season was especially poignant, and in S09E08 Lady Me also inadvertently reminded the Doctor of how many times Clara has died...
"How many have you lost? How many Claras?"
So it's entirely possible that the Captain Jack mention might be nothing more than a callback, though one which has many fans delighted about the idea of Lady Me and Captain Jack having adventures together. And yet, the possibility of Jack's return might not be as unlikely as you'd think...
Moffat Confirms Returns
The question of Captain Jack's return was actually addressed to Moffat before season 9 even began, and his reply, although cryptic, did confirm that it's something the showrunners are seriously considering.
"It’s never, ever closed of. It’s all about do you have a story that’s worth it? Unless you’ve got a story that is absolutely informed and invigorated by their presence. Just bringing a character back in an ordinary story won’t do."
This makes a lot of sense: randomly throwing in a character like Captain Jack wouldn't do the character, or the fans, justice. But if he does return, Moffat hinted that Jack may team up with another time travelling badass...
"Both River Song and Jack Harkness are massive characters in Doctor Who mythology. Their returns would have to be seismic, not routine."
Since he said this, River Song's return has actually been confirmed for the Christmas episode at the end of this year. So could Captain Jack join her in this episode? It's certainly possible. If nothing else Moffat's statements prove that bringing Jack back is never off the table.
Now all we need is a spinoff show featuring Jack Harkness, River Song, and Lady Me...
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