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In Children of Earth, Jack Harkness is blown up and we see body parts put in a body bag, but before the next day is done, he has regenerated and is alive again, even when his body was barely there.

In Miracle Day, he becomes mortal and all other humans on Earth become unable to die. The cause for the "Miracle" was the reversing of a morphic field, which switched mortal to immortal and vice versa.

But many humans were Category 1, those that should be dead. While they continue, in many cases, to move around, many are also comatose or barely alive, yet they don't regenerate, like Jack did. In fact, with the field reversed, humans have a totally different reaction than Jack does to death. Humans simply aren't dying, but Jack (before the reversal) dies, then regenerates.

If it's just a field reversal, why does death effect humans so differently than the way it effected Jack before the field reversal?

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Short Answer: The cause of immortality is different

Longer answer:

Jack Harkness was brought back to life by Rose Tyler while she was filled with the power of the Time Vortex that powers the Tardis. While she meant well, she didn't really understand the power she was using, and instead of just bringing him back to life she made his living a fixed point in time and space. The universe itself now requires Jack to be not just alive, but fit and well. This is why he regenerates.

The newly immortal in Miracle Day haven't been made into similar fixed points; the reversal of the morphic field just means they cannot die. They have no more ability to heal and regenerate than they did when mortal.

  • but if the morphic field change didn't affect time, then why would Jack become mortal? Wouldn't the universe be pretty pissed if he died anyway? – Phoshi Aug 10 '12 at 9:09
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    Jack discovers that he's not regenerating, that he's healing at an ordinary rate and comes to the conclusion that he's now mortal. Since he never dies while in that state, we don't know whether he was actually mortal or not. [There's more, but I don't want to get into spoilers for the series end.] – Bevan Aug 10 '12 at 9:41
  • Although Dr Who is a different show, they do tend to share continuity, so I wonder how this answer can accomodate for the Face of Boe mini-plot which seems to imply that Jack can die of old age (albeit at a much much older age). – Megan Walker Aug 10 '12 at 9:47
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    @SamuelWalker, that which can be done can also be undone, or to put it another way "wibbley wobbley, timey wimey" =) AFAIK there's no canon explanation for the question you pose but that's not to say that Torchwood or The Doctor couldn't eventually find a way to "free" Jack from immortality if he eventually grows weary of it... – Rob Aug 10 '12 at 10:34
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    @SamuelWalker: Russel T. Davies has stated that it is never made clear that Jack is actually the Face of Boe, just that it looks that way, but isn't definite. – Tango Aug 10 '12 at 16:28

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