Following on from the upbeat Piece of Mind, we have the second story in The Lives of Captain Jack Volume 02, and the mood is decidedly different. Downbeat, if not grim. Welcome to the Guy Adams penned What have I done?
What have I done?
It’s another minimal synopsis on the product page:
On the battlefields of World War I, something is hunting in the trenches. Jack must try and save the life of a wounded soldier.
As I said, it’s a very different style of story and it’s also almost entirely a two-hander between Jack and a badly wounded soldier. It’s also a very different performance from John Barrowman (and lots of credit to Scott Handcock for the three versions of Jack we get on this boxset), with his normal compassion for the wounded mixed with more than a little anger.
As Jack tries to save the soldier’s life, they start to talk. We learn little of Jack but a lot about the wounded man. There are moments when we know Jack must have survived death, but in story they are brushed under the carpet. The story isn’t just about saving a man from the trenches but also dealing with an alien creature on the hunt.
Several times I thought this could have been a Torchwood story, and it’s definitely a Jack with a bigger picture in the background. We don’t learn why he is on the battlefields, and this is fine. Plenty of room for more stories!
Tonally this story works well, and near the end we do get substantial insight into what it means to be Jack and the be reborn each time you die. We learn about fear, compassion and coming to terms with the past.
It’s a really strong story and (in my view) much better than the recent Guy Adams releases we’ve had this year.