Monday, May 20, 2013

Thoughts on the Doctor - 2

This gets spoilery. Adding line breaks for hand-held readers (if such exist) then deprecated font tags to obscure text in browsers, 'cause I don't know how else to consistently hide text behind a layer.

You were warned:

So there's much speculation as to who this "not-Doctor" incarnation is. From what I can gather from various websites, the main theory is that this incarnation of the Time Lord known as "The Doctor" is actually the one who fought in the Time War and wound up obliterating Gallifrey and the Daleks.

If that's the case, the entire "mystery" of this incarnation gets weirdly hollow and feels like a cheat. We already know from the angst of the PTSD 9th Doctor (played by the brilliant Christopher Eccleston) that the Doctor wiped out both Gallifrey and the Daleks (or tried to in the latter case). The 9th Doctor and 10th Doctor both own up to this, so it seems to me that the Doctor is willing to accept that he (in whatever incarnation) is responsible for that act.

I suppose this comes down to the question of sequence. Is this "not-Doctor" the first incarnation (as I think fits best) or is he between the 8th Doctor (played by Paul McGann) and the 9th Doctor (played by Christopher Eccleston) - which could work, but is kind of a cop-out, or is he a future incarnation? If he's a post-11th incarnation, how would the 11th Doctor have recognized him and speak of him in past-tense?

No, for this to work, the "not-Doctor" has to be an incarnation that precedes Smith's 11th Doctor.

So where does the "not-Doctor" lie in the sequence?

Well, I expect that will be the plot of the 50th anniversary episode in November. I'm kind of hoping they go with having John Hurt's "not-Doctor" be the original. I kind of like the concept of the original Time Lord being a misguided soul who commits such a terrible crime that he becomes "the Doctor" (the one who "makes people better", as John Simm's version of the Master sneered) to try to atone for his crimes.

Actually, what I think would make things utterly-brilliant would be something like this: the original incarnation of the Time Lord later known as "the Doctor" sets out to accomplish some sort of great good. He follows that road of intentions that invariably leads to a hot place and becomes a monster. His family tries to stop him. His wife and children attempt to bring him back from the brink. They fail and all die, either at his hands or due to some inattention on his part. The only family left behind is his grand-daughter (and, if you want to believe "The Woman" from the "End of Time" was the Doctor's mother, then she survives too...). The Time Lord who will become the Doctor is overcome by this and stops whatever it is that he's doing. This causes him to regenerate. He returns to Gallifrey and is somehow able to get back into the fold as the First Doctor. He retrieves his grand-daughter and they steal a TARDIS from a maintenance area or museum (depending on how the story is told). They journey across time-and-space until arriving at Earth where she takes the name Susan and a legend is born.

Thematically, this works. It gives a great motivation for the Doctor's actions and it colors his origins with darkness, which has been a recurring theme since even the McCoy era.

I doubt this is what Moffatt has in mind, but I can dream the dream.

Now I wonder if there are plans to bring Susan back into the story. She's been gone for a long, long time. As far as any indications lie in the series, she was presumably a Time Lady when she ran off with a mere-mortal human in "The Dalek Invasion of the Earth", so she should still be alive. Even if she underwent a Chameleon Arch transformation, she could have always had a way to restore herself and regenerate when old age got to be too much. It's not unreasonable to bring her back into the story at some point.

Okay, at this point, I'm just spinning.

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