I think that was just about the most riveting 48 minutes of TV I’ve ever seen. And d’you know what? I trust Rusty. Maybe I’ll be crying into my beer this time next week but I think we’re safe.
Because of that story just before Christmas when CT supposedly dropped DT in it and said he was leaving. That reeked “set-up” to me. They all have to sign confidentiality clauses galore. And she’s not some star-struck kid on her first big role. She’s been in showbiz for years. I just never believed, for one minute, that she’d be stupid enough to leak something like that.
She’s also as tough as old boots, IMHO, so kudos to her for taking the rap for that one.
But here’s what I do think.
Every little thing we’ve seen fits in somewhere. That’s the beauty of the whole thing. The stethoscope, check. The “super temp” thing, check. Stay with me. It’s all coming together, people. I don’t know exactly how but I’m pretty sure I know what’s going on with Donna.
Donna’s going to get the ultimate supertemp gig. She’s going to become the locum Doctor. No way, after the anvils of the last few weeks, could anybody think she’s just an ordinary person. And did anyone notice how little she did this week? She was almost entirely passive, but a wonderful enabler when she needed to be. The one thing that was established beyond doubt was her determination to get The Doctor and Rose to that happy ending we all so much want.
He’s going to wake up with one heart. She may get no choice in the matter, but I’ve a feeling she will and she’ll choose gladly. That woman at the Shadow Proclamation sensed it. Maybe Jack being in there with his extra life force wlll take a hand in it (excuse the pun). Maybe it’ll be something to do with the Medusa Cascade and that second’s time skip. I don’t know, but I think she’ll discover she knows his name and she’s ready to take over.
Because Donna’s seen the one thing about the Doctor that hardly anybody else wants to see (with the exception of Rose). That deep down, the only thing he wants is to be with the person he loves and not have to lose her too soon. She doesn’t buy any of that shit about fire, ice and rage, or snapping the fingers, or being a man who can quell armies with a look. Yeah, he can be those things but it’s guilt and duty driving him and he’d quit tomorrow if he could, but he knows what the Universe would be like if he did.
I’ve puzzled long and hard over where the Moff’s rhetoric fits into RTD’s overall vision and I’m pretty sure he’s describing the Doctor most people want, rather than the one he wants to be. And I think, eventually, restored and renewed, he’ll become that man again, but by then he won’t be alone. He can’t let anybody die. The only way anyone can release him is by their own free will, and that’s what Donna will do. Her very name means “A gift” as well as “A noble woman.”
Maybe, as some claim convincingly enough, she is Rose and Ten’s daughter and he doesn’t know it yet. It would tie right back to Harriet Jones’s question way back on the Sycorax ship, “Or is it a hereditary title?” I’d squee mightily if that happened, and personally I think it’s more probable than another Time Lady showing up – that fobwatch gag is a bit old now and I think the stage is crowded enough without introducing the old Time Lords. Moff might in his own time, but RTD? I suspect not.
But what RTD glories in doing is setting up expectations, confounding them, then sneaking them in again even more subversively than people feared. He did it with the Chameleon Arch in the last series, and even with the idea of Rose dying in S2. He left it until the last possible moment of S1 to turn the Bad Wolf on its head and get us embracing rather than fearing her. (Incidentally, there’s an identical shift in Lyra’s perception of Dust at the end of “The Golden Compass/Northern Lights”, which stands squarely in the tradition of British humanist fantasy, as indeed does DW itself.)
Remember the nervousness as old-timers waited for TDD – would the ultimate sacrilege be committed and Jenny turn out to be the product of the Doctor’s sexual activity? That was scotched in the first two minutes and everyone breathed a sigh of relief, or disappointment as the case might be. But what a glorious irony if it turned out that the Doctor’s genetic daughter was beside him all the way through that, watching him weep for Jenny, working through his dad issues? How utterly typical of RTD, the old rascal.
Ultimately, though, whether Donna’s a daughter or they handwave it some other way, I’ve a feeling that the Doctor is about to be incarnated in both rude and ginger form. The more I think back to “TCI” the more parallels I spot, right down to a regeneration scene and the fallout involved, but this time with the healing presence of Jack, who should have been right there the first time around. It’s my fervent hope that Donna the human might die, but she’ll assume the Doctor’s name and identity and carry his torch for a while. And if so, I think she will be a temp – possibly for a Special or two, or maybe just for the hour of need. She’ll release the Doctor by giving him what he needs more than anything else – a respite with the love of his life.
As River sang:
“When you run with the Doctor, it feels like it will never end. But however hard you try, you can’t run for ever. Everybody knows that everybody dies, and nobody knows it like the Doctor. But I do think that all the skies of all the worlds might just turn dark, if he ever, for one moment accepts it.”
The next chapter is this way. Come on….