Monday, April 7, 2008

"ADRIFT" IN THE RIFT

In the 'Torchwood' episode "Adrift", Gwen investigated the rift disappearance of a fifteen year old boy named Jonah Bevan, despite Captain Jack's orders for her to drop the case. Eventually she found out that he, along with about sixteen others "abducted" by the Rift, was being held in an underground facility on an island in Bristol Channel.

Only Jonah was no longer a fifteen year old boy. Although he disappeared only seven months before, he was now about 57 years of age in appearance. And he was scarred and his lung tissue seared by the "ravages of the Rift" - Jonah had been dumped onto a planet burning itself away and would have died there, had it not been for the intervention of his own personal savior.

We don't learn the identity of the man who rescued Jonah, but he must have been human in appearance. Despite the disorientation and pain he must have been feeling, Jonah seems to have been cogent enough at the time to remember what was happening to him. The man brought him to what Jonah thought was a building, but as it turned out it proved to be some kind of spaceship.

So what if Jonah had been rescued by the Doctor, and that "building" was the TARDIS? By the time the Doctor got him to the TARDIS, Jonah was probably on the edge of consciousness and he may have only seen the entrance; so he could have mistaken it for a porch-like entrance into the building. Surely he would have had the standard reaction upon entry - "It's so much bigger on the inside!" - and so would have assumed he was in a building.

Now the question is.... if the Doctor did rescue him, which Doctor?

We've got ten incarnations to choose from, but I'm staking my quatloos on the Eighth Doctor as played by Paul McGann. McGann's Doctor only appeared on TV (and thus in Toobworld) only once: in the 1996 FOX TV movie. McGann has had the opportunity to reprise the role several times in Big Finish audioplays, and there are also novels based on his version of the character. But for Toobworld, there's just the one performance. (Although a sketch of him does appear in the Tenth Doctor adventure "Human Nature"/"Family of Blood".)

That means that of all the Doctors, he's got the most leeway into which other adventures can be added in. For instance, Janis Joplin gave the Doctor the greatcoat which the Tenth Doctor wears in "Gridlock". We can make the claim that it was the Eighth Doctor who received that boon. So the Eighth Doctor would be the best option for the Gallifreyan Time Lord to have made the rescue of Jonah Bevan.
And there's another reason why McGann's Doctor works best - his traveling Companion was Dr. Grace Holloway, a trained physician. She would have done all that she could to treat Jonah's wounds and bring him back to health. And depending at what stage in her travels with the Doctor that this happened, she may have been the one to suggest that Jonah stay with them as another companion while he recuperated.

See, by the end of that TV movie, the Doctor had fallen in love with Dr. Holloway. But she was still a mortal Earthling and prone to aging. Grace would have realized that she was going to eventually die and leave the Doctor behind, alone. She may have thought adding a new Companion early on would make that transition in her own relationship with him - okay, okay her death! - easier for the Doctor to handle.

We have nothing established in the "New Who" as to how long the Doctor was in his Eighth incarnation; it could have been decades, even centuries. (Toobworld believes that the Doctor lies when he now says he is only 904 years old.) So it's Toobworld theory that Grace Holloway and the Doctor were together until she died; she never would have voluntarily left him, nor he her. And Jonah was there at the end and beyond, perhaps even decades himself. And through all that time, he shared in the Doctor's adventures - until he finally had the misfortune of gazing into the heart of a dark star.
(I'm not about to write it up myself, but I do have a suggestion for such a story - Jonah could have infiltrated a Sontaran squadron.....)

That experience drove him mad. And even though the Doctor was able to bring him mostly back from the realm of insanity (thanks to the mind-meld techniques he learned in his Second Incarnation while on the planet Vulcan), Jonah was never truly cured. The madness would consume him for hours on end so that he was reduced to a primal, unnerving howl. Eventually that phase of madness would keep growing until it totally possessed him, and that's when the Doctor did the only thing he could think of - he returned Jonah back home to Earth. (Gallifrey wouldn't have accepted him, concerned as they would probably have been by then with the Time War.) Because of the vagaries of the TARDIS controls, they returned seven months after he had vanished... but forty years or more might have passed in Jonah's personal timeline.

The Eighth Doctor wouldn't have previously known Captain Jack; the rogue Time Agent first met Doctor #9. And if Jack did encounter the Doctor in any of his other incarnations before he was scheduled to encounter him, he would have kept his identity a secret. The Doctor might have known about this secret installation run by Torchwood, but had no clue who Jack was nor what Torchwood's true objective was. All he knew was that they were able to care for victims of the Rift, so that's why he brought Jonah back to Cardiff. The other returnees may have been brought back by the Rift itself, but Jonah Bevan had to be returned by the man who had saved him.

All of that is pure speculation, but if it did happen, it was more than Gwen Cooper needed to know about Jonah's case. So Jack just said that he, like the other sixteen returnees, had been brought back by the Rift.

It's too late to make a long story short, but what it comes down to is this:

For the question of Who rescued Jonah from that burning planet, the answer is "Yes."

BCnU!
Toby OB

1 comment:

NYMarkie said...

That was awesome!!! And I agree on the timeline and Grace - brilliant!