Is there any in-universe and in-canon explanation of how Captain Jack found the Doctor's hand after it got cut off by the Sycorax leader, and how he knew it was the Doctor's?

I mean, did he just happen to take a walk underneath the Sycorax spaceship, and he saw the hand falling, and he thought, oh look, a hand, and hey, it looks remarkably like the Doctor's, even though it's from a different regeneration, so let's keep it, just in case?

Or is there a better story to it?


3 Answers 3


From "The Empty Child":

Jack: Well, maybe we should go find him.
Rose: And how you gonna do that?
Jack: Easy. I'll just scan for alien tech.
Rose: Finally, a professional.

Presumably, Jack still has some sort of scanning equipment via Torchwood. Doom and gloom on TV, Harriet Jones calling for The Doctor over the airwaves, huge starship in the sky that suddenly takes off while everyone's back to normal. Sounds a lot like Doctor saving the day. I'm sure Jack would at some point at least try to scan for alien life form, and tracked down the left-overs.

  • Also, IIRC, Harriet Jones calls for Torchwood to fire on the Sycorax ship as it leaves. Presumably she would also have briefed them that the Doctor is helping, or briefed them afterward. Since Torchwood mainly seem to be scavengers of alien tech, as you say, Jack would probably have been out there with a scanner faster than a whippet.
    – user25730
    May 19, 2021 at 22:10

Plus, presumably, it was all full of timey-wimey Doctor / TARDIS / Regeneration energy (which the Doctor had been exuding like crazy all episode, post-Regen), which means it would have set off all sorts of possibly waiting sensors on the way down and been easy to find with a cunning Plot Device that Captain Jack just happened to have.


While the sudden proof of the existence of aliens to the general population would have caused all sorts of pandemonium, I'm guessing that there weren't many severed hands found in London (or was that one of the Cardiff episodes?) that day. His connections to government/police would easily allow him to be nearly certain that it was the Doctor's hand. Once he had it, a simple DNA test would reveal it as non-human.

This is not to say that it might never have been discovered. There are probably plenty of nooks and crannies it could have fallen into where it would either never be discovered or only long after it had skeletonized, but clearly that did not happen.

  • 2
    London. What with Harriet Jones, Rose's boyfriend Mickey, and mother Jackie involved (not to mention regenerating Doctor recuperating in Jackie's flat), could it be anywhere else?
    – Anthony X
    Sep 1, 2014 at 14:51

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