I’m sure I’m not the only person who’s been combing this week’s Radio Times in search of clues (and muttering through clenched teeth, ‘Enough with the monsters already.’ ). No photographs of DT or any character other that the big enemy, but there are some remarks from Catherine Tate about the general tone of the piece.
The remarks below are principally meta on TSE. There aren’t any actual spoilers, though I do talk about the tone of the finale and things certain people have said about it. No plot points are mentioned for JE, either known or speculative, that couldn’t be inferred from what we’ve seen up to the end of E12.
(Also RTD reiterates that it’s very much David and Catherine’s piece, though he might have diplomatic reasons for saying that, of course.)
Ominous words indeed, although one glimmer of hope is that it would be very difficult to write something so Doctor and Donna centred if Donna was having to adjust to Eleven – she isn’t even familiar with the concept of regeneration as far as we know, and it’s impossible, for me at least, to see how a regeneration at this point could do anything but push the Rose/Doctor relationship into the foreground, which seems to be the precise opposite of what RTD is doing. RTD says, “This series belongs to the Doctor and Donna. For all the spectacle, it’s about character in the end. It’s been an honour to write dialogue for David and Catherine – whether I’ll ever get that chance again depends on what happens in the final episode.”
If Ten regenerates now, I don’t see how it can avoid being an episode about the Doctor regenerating, and it’s very difficult to see how that could be done without compromising other themes.
Back to Davros. As a shipper, I tend to dismiss the Big Baddies as being eye candy fir the hardcore SF fans, but it’s true that in New Who plot drives character, particularly in RTD episodes. Davros matters because of what he can do to the Doctor, and what he’d be motivated to do.
So what are Davros’s motivations? Hatred and power. He’d love to make the Doctor suffer but I don’t think he’d be interested in doing so just to make the Doctor scream, as the Master was. No, Davros clearly wants to rewrite history and change the outcome of the Time War, which after all, nobody won. Davros wants the Daleks to win this time around. How’s he gonna do that? Rewind time, bring back Gallifrey somehow (that’s been set up in TSE) and tell the Doctor that if he wants to stop it he’s going to have to destroy Gallifrey all over again.
That’s real cruelty. Compared to that, killing Rose before the Doctor’s eyes is small potatoes.
And could the Doctor do it? Probably he’d fail. He couldn’t go through that all over again. In POTW, Nine couldn’t even use the Delta Wave to destroy life on Earth. That’s why Davros taunted the Doctor that Dalek Caan had succeeded where Emperors and Time Lords failed. Because the Doctor is crippled by guilt. The Daleks don’t have that limitation.
Now to the prophecy that the Doctor will lose his most constant companion. Surely, throughout New Who, that has been guilt. That transcends all his other losses, even the huge one of Rose. So, how could this be resolved?
The Shadow Proclamation recognised a very special destiny for Donna, who was present at the Pompeii incident and saw first-hand and up close what this sort of thing does to the Doctor. She rose to that occasion. And Harriet Jones has commented that the Daleks know nothing about humans, so it seems likely that this will be part of the solution.
So I wonder if Donna will volunteer to correct the timeline, destroying Gallifrey a second time over, and out of compassion for her and recalling his own torment after the Time War, the Doctor will erase the incident from her memory?
Certainly, there’s plenty of heartbreak there. But it does also mean, in a cryptic way, that the Doctor loses his most constant companion. Not Rose or Donna, not the TARDIS, but survivor guilt.