Our Revels Now Are Ended?

A new look to reflect a new phase in my life. At first, I thought that since I’m now an important, serious postgraduate student I would purge my journal of all obvious associations with the fandom that once obsessed me. Then I thought again. If it wasn’t for the Doctor, I probably wouldn’t be a postgraduate studying in Stratford-upon-Avon. I’m not just into Shakespeare. I’m into Doctor Who, and I don’t see why I should be ashamed of that.

I’m spending time writing academic essays now. They have a particular tone and make certain demands on me. But here on my journal it’s playtime – a thoughtful playtime, but a place, nevertheless, where I can relax among like-minded friends. Rather than fiction, which has a home elsewhere, I’ll be sharing some of my thoughts, analyses and impressions here. Often a development in DW fandom will lead me into a train of thought and result in a critical piece, and it would be nice to have a home for such things. They probably reveal more of myself than the dryer stuff I have to write to deadlines.

Last week I saw The Tempest and it’s taken me a while to process it. As has happened before, the stimulus to write about it came from DW fandom. I’m modestly satisfied with the essay that resulted – in fact I may even pluck up the courage to send it to David Tennant as a birthday gift and a thank-you for his inspiration. Here it is – comments invited, but if you’re avoiding spoilers to the extent of not looking at any on-set pictures or other speculation concerning the Specials, I’d advise you to stop here.

Last week, about to board a train for Stratford and immerse myself in Shakespeare for three days, I decided to take a break from the Bard, picked up the first “Darksmith Legacy” story at the bookstall – and came face to face with a chapter called, “The Way to Dusty Death.”

My mind is super-primed to see connections between Doctor Who and Shakespeare and most of my LJ scribblings chart that journey, but that seemed a particularly pointed coincidence. The Doctor and the Bard tower over British culture like two twin Collosus figures – one officially high culture, the other low, a distinction that would have baffled people in Shakespeare’s time, when his works were so popular that printers rushed out shoddy pirated editions of them. It was also a period when audiences were prepared to listen carefully and pick up references to the classics, admire rhetorical flourishes and spot contemporary parallels. Oh, the Elizabethans had their mindless entertainments. Theatres were used for bear-baiting as well as challenging drama, and at the beginning of his career the Bard was called an “upstart crow” by one jealous contemporary because Shakespeare lacked a university education.

I once heard someone at a panel say that while Trek encourages people to study the sciences, DW draws scholars of the humanities. The Doctor has sometimes been compared to a Renaissance man and he has clear affinities with Shakespeare. In TSC he collaborated with Will to change the world through words. It’s something they’d both understand, a point made more poignant by the brevity of the human lifespan compared with our intelligence as a species – that what guarantees our lasting influence on future generations is the record that we leave behind. Possibly our own, possibly other people’s stories about us – both susceptible to distortion. The most dangerous practice of all is to reconstruct a biography of someone by claiming to infer the truth from his published works. Academics work constantly to challenge the perception that the products of such a process are established truth (unless they’re postmodernists, in which case there’s no such thing as the accepted truth – it’s different for everybody).

“The Tempest” is a good example of this. It’s about an old man who can do just about anything on the little island where he’s ended up. He was a failure, an outcast in his home world, usurped as the Duke of Milan by his brother because he couldn’t get his head out of his books to do his job as ruler. But here on the island, free to pursue his magic and assisted by the local spirits, one enslaved and one reluctantly bound to him by obligation and an uneasy truce, he can influence the wind and the waves to create a storm – just like a mini-Time Lord. Eventually his machinations bring about the outcome he’d hoped – he’s in a position to exact revenge on the brother who wronged him. But, in a significant dramatic moment, he realises that such a course of action is less potent than forgiveness, reconciliation and the voluntary surrender of power.

I’ve never seen this performed better than in the recent Baxter Theatre/RSC production, where Anthony Sher moved me to tears as the reality hit him that he’s no demigod, but a frail old man dressed in the trappings of a power that will damage him if he does not surrender it. It’s the moment when he has to stand back and let someone else tell his story:

We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep

Act IV scene 1 Ll87-99

 
Anthony Sher as Prospero – picture by Tristram Kenton

It is the speech of an old man, one who recognises that his power is an illusion and yet the ability to create illusions is in itself powerful, and people often link this aspect of The Tempest to its status as Shakespeare’s last play (give or take a few collaborations). From such words, all kinds of things are inferred about Shakespeare’s state of mind and his circumstances, widely accepted as fact when in fact they are as much a fiction as the play itself. All we can say for sure is that the reality of Shakespeare’s last years and the world created by the play are self-reinforcing.

To return to the Doctor, the Tenth Doctor is now something of a Prospero figure himself, still powerful and forbidding, still with the ability to be a control-freak if it suits him, still someone who seems more powerful  in his adopted society than he ever was back home. He’s also haunted by his coming death and rebirth, prophesied by the Ood back in POTO (RTD’s claim, not mine – see the latest SFX magazine interview). He’s had a rough ride, not always been a nice person, and back in the “Human Nature/FOB” story many of us despaired of him and thought we’d lost the man we loved for ever, just as Joan Redfern did. We’d had the comedy of his love for Rose, followed by more tragedy than he deserved. Will he be allowed a final chapter marked by the movement to reconciliation that distinguishes Shakespeare’s strangely magical last plays?

Well, I think he might. The evidence is here:

 

He’s in a bookshop talking to a lady called Verity Newman, played by Jessica Hynes. There’s a very clear connection: the shop is promoting a book she’s written, “The Journal of Impossible Things.” Speculation’s rife, as usual in fandom, regarding the precise identity of Verity, but it’s clear from the picture that there’s a strong connection to the two material objects the Doctor left behind from his brief time as a human being – his journal and his fob watch.

That’s an irony in itself. Most of the time the Doctor moves on and isn’t brought back into contact with the things he’s changed. Like Prospero, his general modus operandi is to “leave not a rack behind.” But this is an exception – out of a combination of guilt, fond remembrance and possibly an urgent desire to move on he has left behind something that has persisted through a couple of generations to change the future that has now become the present.

When we first met him as Nine the Doctor was trying very hard to be a man without a history. “What matters is here and now!” he snapped when Rose asked him quite reasonably who he was. He dismissed humans as “little apes,” just animals who lacked the ability to make a lasting difference, bound in a nutshell by their butterfly-like life expectancy. Most of this was a strategy to protect himself from the unbearable pain of his own history, of course. As his love for Rose grew he appeared to get happier, boasted in fact that he was a “brand new man”, but as far as we know he never really shared his story with her. Martha got closer to that – in “Gridlock” he told her about the Time War, in “Utopia” he confessed the truth about his feelings for Rose to Jack, and we even saw flashbacks of Gallifrey as he discussed the background to his feud with The Master. He’d become a man with a context, a history that explained at least some of his behaviour, though most of that was still mysterious to Rose unless she found it out by other means.

But the thing about stories is that if we aren’t prepared to tell our own, the chances are that some creative person will make it up out of the bits and pieces we leave behind. That happened with Shakespeare, of course – people write all kinds of things about his marriage, his possible Catholicism, the way the death of his son made him write “Hamlet”, and we can’t possibly know whether they’re true or not. Now that is starting to happen to the Doctor. He’s left things behind and Verity has been making up stories about them.

Even if someone knows us really well, their account of our life will be biased and partial and it may do a great deal of harm. In JE, the story that Davros told the Doctor damaged him more than an army of Daleks. It broke him and made him turn away from all the people who cared for him. He robbed Donna of the most important story in her life, arguably with her best interests at heart, but still raising the question of how much of our life story shapes our identity. He gave Rose a blank sheet, a sort-of new man to have a second attempt at a happy ending, but he couldn’t unravel his own story from hers, so the source of his greatest grief remained unaddressed. (It didn’t help that he fobbed her off with a highly subjective story about 10.5, one that applied to him rather than the new man, and one she probably saw right through). Nevertheless, he knew Rose well enough to know that her natural emotional reaction to that story of a man who needed her, born in war and blood, would give him the time to do a runner.

Shortly afterwards he met Jackson Lake, whose whole life was a story based on incomplete information about the Doctor, a distraction from the pain he wasn’t able to face directly. Our Doctor healed him, made him functional again and repaired some of the damage by reuniting Jackson with his son. That’s the story so far.

****

The Doctor has always been able to do the impossible, at least in the eyes of his human admirers. But RTD’s Doctor, and the Tenth Doctor particularly, has also defined “the impossible” – not always correctly. It’s become a truism in fandom that everything he says is impossible in the last series will surely come to pass in the next. It’s a very postmodern approach to the concept.

Shakespeare made the impossible happen on stage all the time – absurd things like statues coming to life after sixteen years, strangers turning out to be long-lost relatives and wild bears being too busy pursuing shepherds offstage to notice a newborn baby left lying around. He was the writer and he could do whatever he liked. After the fashion of his time, he was even confident enough to draw the audience’s attention to the fact that they weren’t seeing anything for real. In “Henry V” the Chorus comes on at the beginning to apologise for the limitations of the theatre. “Hamlet” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” are both cheeky enough to include an entire play-within-a-play, and he never forgot that the verb “to act” means not only to pretend to be someone else, but also to make things happen:

    “A kingdom for a stage, princes to act
    And monarchs to behold the swelling scene.
    Then shall the warlike Harry, like himself,
    Assume the port of Mars…”

    (Chorus, Henry V ll 3-6)

In Shakespeare’s fictional universe, the powerful people are the most constrained, the greatest pretenders. How many happy, contented kings are there in the First Folio? Kingship is coveted by all, but once attained it condemns the hero to living a lie. The last thing he can be any more is “like himself”.


 
Like himself? Kenneth Branagh as Henry V
Image Renaissance Films/www.branaghcompendium.com

I recently watched Branagh’s film of “Henry V”. There were moments that screamed Tenth Doctor to me. The way his shoulders sagged in relief when the French surrendered and he didn’t have to do all the horrible rape and pillage stuff he’d threatened to enact on Harfleur. The resigned inner conflict and loneliness on his face as he watched his old mate Bardolph hang. He could have pardoned him but military discipline had to be maintained and the old rascal had been looting. I don’t know whether David Tennant ever saw the movie, though it seems likely. But certainly I saw signs that he and Branagh were borrowing from the same concept of Lonely God-style heroism, the same vocabulary of gesture.

So when could the Tenth Doctor be “like himself”? With Rose? Not really. With the only other Time Lord left? Who knows? Alone in the TARDIS, his shirt wet through, gutted by the loss of Donna? That came just after old Wilf had recognised him as a fellow soldier, not someone able to emote.

Back to the “Journal of Impossible Things,” and the ironies in that title. Maybe the only time the Doctor really felt he could be himself, acting naturally and unselfconsciously, was when he was John Smith – yet that was exactly when he was pretending to be someone else. All the impossible things he wrote about had really happened. We knew that but of course the people around him at the school did not.

So the narrative of the Doctor’s life that has survived and come down to future generations is a false one from the viewpoint of the person writing it at the time, but in fact it’s much truer than most of the stories he’s told about himself. The writer’s name is significant. As well as being a tribute to the spiritual parents of Doctor Who as a show, the name Verity is a synonym for truth. Newman points both backwards to TCI and the Doctor’s giddy claim that he was a completely new man and forwards to the new person he will shortly become through his next regeneration.

Why did Joan preserve John Smith’s journal? Almost certainly it was an act of love in memory of the man she lost. She could have become his companion but perhaps, at a deeper level, when she told him “I can hardly bear to look at you,” she was recognising the hollowness of his assumed authority and seeing beyond it to John Smith who had, unknowingly, revealed so much about the Doctor’s unacknowledged dreams. By a quirk of fate and a certain dedication, that account has survived, elaborated no doubt in ways beyond even the Doctor’s control. Similarly, it was the decision of two people in the early 17th Century, Hemmings and Condell, that helped shape Western culture by preserving Shakespeare’s works for posterity.

I’m not going to speculate on the plot of the final Specials here. Personally, I’m very much looking forward to hearing how that conversation between Verity and the Doctor turns out. The publication of the Journal will raise all kinds of important issues for him, not least the potential danger to Donna should she come across a copy of it. He may go all Oncoming Storm and pulp the lot, or he may invite Verity onto the TARDIS and discover she’s Jenny in disguise. That would be fun! But one thing seems inevitable – that the discovery of her book (with its cover so reminiscent of that other contemporary fantasy written by an athiest steeped in the Western Christian worldview, Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials”, a work that draws on Milton as deeply as DW references Shakespeare), the Doctor will be jolted into some unwelcome self-reflection. I rather hope that he discovers, once he’s got over his annoyance, that some of the fruits of his interactions with his companions are benign and that Davros was not a completely reliable narrator.

Our little lives are indeed bounded by a sleep. Prospero articulates a Time Lord’s perspective there. But even Time Lords will ultimately be remembered by the stories told about them. People will always love stories, whether they’re told on telly or on the stage of the Globe Theatre. The narrator will always have more power than the hero of the story. RTD could decide that everything we’ve seen since the Time War has been a dream, a timeline that never was. Then the Ninth and Tenth Doctors would disappear in a puff of postmodernist smoke and Matt Smith would be born directly from Paul McGann. But even that won’t be able to change the reality of our emotional investment in the story we’ve been told. It could be outed and its very existence denied, except in our hearts and the fruits of changed lives. The Doctor has changed lives. He changed mine. I wouldn’t be studying at the Shakespeare Institute now if it wasn’t for the inspiration of David Tennant’s performance. Stories make up our reality and even the Doctor can’t change that. He’s as subject to that universal law as any superhero, all the way back to Hercules and beyond.
 

Advertisements

27 thoughts on “Our Revels Now Are Ended?

  1. Of course, and I are getting optimistic. RTD said the last three specials would be linked, and you know our interest in how fob watches can be used to right the wrongs of Journey’s End. The Master’s fob watch should still be on the TARDIS from season 3, but I suspect that Latimer married/was adopted into Redfern’s family so there are two fob watches from canon to play with.

  2. Indeed my thoughts exactly. It could be a solution to the Donna problem, couldn’t it? I’m dying to know what Rae makes of all this.
    The music from the HN two-parter has cropped up very consistently in episodes since. We played out JE on the “Dream of a normal death” theme, suggesting that hadn’t really gone away. Its counterpoint is “The Doctor Forever”. Both tunes sum up opposite parts of the Doctor’s personality.

  3. At first, I thought that since I’m now an important, serious postgraduate student I would purge my journal of all obvious associations with the fandom that once obsessed me. Then I thought again.
    Well, thank goodness for that! I love the connections you make between Shakespeare and Who – and indeed between either/both of those and other literature and artforms – and I’d really miss all that cultural crossover if it went away.
    (Though if you ever did feel up to posting any of the MA essays online I’d love to read those as well, because I love people giving me new ideas and perspectives on Shakespeare and I can’t imagine any writing of yours being dry…)

  4. I lack the technical know-how to make my own website but I do rather like the idea of putting together a collection of my Shakespeare and DW writings more formally. It probably couldn’t be published but I’m trying to think of a more permanent online home for them. Of course, there may be nobody out there who’d want to read them!
    Not sure about posting my MA essays…I’m already rather nervous about their reception and if I got comments that made matters worse after they’re submitted, that may not be such a clever idea! Anyway, I’ve just finished one on the first Chorus in Henry V and my next one is going to be on the pros and cons of updating Shakespeare productions, with particular ref to “The Taming of the Shrew” and “The Tempest”.
    And in July I’m in Stratford for two whole weeks – for a summer school on Shakespeare’s Craftsmanship. Whee!

  5. You speak deeply, my friend. And you rather remind me of myself in some of my early Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Joss Whedon essays. I turned out to have had much more faith in JW’s insight and genius than he deserved. However, I would put more money on RTD having the depths his critics give to him than any other television writer. You make a point here…. She could have become his companion but perhaps, at a deeper level, when she told him “I can hardly bear to look at you,” she was recognising the hollowness of his assumed authority and seeing beyond it to John Smith who had, unknowingly, revealed so much about the Doctor’s unacknowledged dreams.
    That is a direct reference also to Rose. Because what RTD asks the audience to believe is that Rose would settle for a man she did not love who looked exactly like the man she loved and was “capable of everything he was capable of”…and that is absurd. Are we to give more faith to Joan Redfern, whom we barely know than we give to the always loyal and true Rose Tyler? Of course, we must allow that a huge and vocal segment of the fanbase do give more credit to characters we know very little of…passing Madonna/Whore figures created by Moffat for example. I can’t tell you how many of the Rose Haters go on about how the Doctor should love Reinette or River or Sally Sparrow or Joan Redfern…despite the sure evidence of the canon that none of those women were suited to him.
    It is this determination to ignore a story that is right in front of their noses that amazes me…and to imbue virtues and passions into people that did not have those attributes in the story. Reinette was a courtesan…the Doctor would never have approved of that, though he would not have condemned her…he would have been trying to save her, help her. River’s life with him is already clearly defined…from beginning to end in the canon…and it amounted to nothing but a few passing moments, joyous ones, yes…like Sarah Jane has enjoyed. We still don’t know what the significance of his name is…though Moffat has indicated it is not marriage.
    My point is not that stories with any of these characters are not fun to imagine…of course they are…and we can well imagine what life would have been like if the Doctor had indeed been trapped in France for 300 years. Or if Joan had come with him into space…would he have learned to love her, as he said he might? Do we admire her turning him down? Did she later regret that choice? I feel that there is no way seeing the book and the watch…and someone who looks so like Joan, the Doctor can fail to be touched by the idea of what might have been. And that either leads to what can still happen..OR…it leads to a gathering of all his children AGAIN…to show that his life hasn’t been such a waste and he is tied to all of these people. So he dies happy.
    We all know what I want him to do, of course. 😀
    Rae

  6. Well, I’m delighted by the bookshop scene. I think it brings together a lot of the important themes in RTD’s writing. We come back to another blonde lady, don’t we? There have been so many and they’ve all had some of Rose’s attributes – Astrid, Reinette, Joan, Lucy (she was fascinating, a kind of mirror image of how Rose would have been if she’d given her heart to someone evil). Verity’s book suggests that although she was deeply hurt by the Doctor, Joan did recover. Probably she went on to have a family with someone else, and she preserved her story as something valuable.
    That two-parter never felt finished to me and I think it may turn out to be the crux of the RTD era. It showed that the Doctor does have choices, but he can’t run away from what he truly is. One thing I would love to know is whether there was anything in the Journal that hadn’t happened to the Doctor at that point, such as the return of Davros. That opens up some fascinating ideas about predestination.
    I’ve noticed a shift in the tone of a lot of post-JE fic. At first there was a big outpouring of relief, that at last we could do some canonical Ten/Rose happy. Now, though, it’s a lot more diverse. People are exploring some of the aspects of the relationship that weren’t ideal, and that’s very interesting.

  7. Another point of contention with me is the idea that the Doctor never told Rose about his people or his planet because we never see him tell her. In Dalek, a lot of what he later expresses to Martha is there and there is the open expressions of “Oh, she knows!” and “Does it need saying?” and “He needs you, that’s very me.” and “You made me better.” I believe the thing he didn’t say to Rose was that he loved her. The thing that is openly expressed.
    Now, a lot can still be explored about why he didn’t say that. But the very fact that he expresses all he does to Martha…is almost a sign to us that she is not as close to him as Rose was. And we see him with Donna who openly says that he talks a lot but never says anything. Donna again, is expected to know. I think this is possibly because of the deeper connections shared by Time Lords than anything else. With Rose and with Donna, the Doctor had a deeper sharing than sitting them down for a chat. It was pretty obvious that Martha wasn’t “getting him” in their first TARDIS scene together.
    That things were spoken of that we never saw on screen was also obvious in the canon…because Martha obviously heard far too much about Rose…and so did Donna…but we see very little of that. I think we should really assume that Rose does know about Gallifrey and his people and his family and such. The things they didn’t discuss were things he felt she would know instinctively…like his feelings for her and for other people. Basically, Rose, and frankly, the audience, doesn’t grasp the full extend of HER worth to him…because he never expressed it in words.
    Rae
    who does think that it is interesting that people are finally exploring the less than ideal circumstances…to me the Doctor and Rose make it…because they are both willing to make it and because they are capable of loving one another completely.

  8. Not coinidentally…
    to me the Doctor and Rose make it…because they are both willing to make it and because they are capable of loving one another completely.
    …this is exactly why I could never hop on the Ten 2 and Rose band wagon…they are not capable of loving one another completely and I believe that will make both of them unwilling to make it.
    A friend of mine who is not a fan of the show, but knows the circumstances of the characters expressed it like this…”It is as if you got a second chance at love…knowing all the things you know about the person that grew over time…and there he is…the man you first met, but YOU are not the same person you were when you fell in love. Even if you didn’t know that the person you truly love is out there somewhere…how could you recreate all of those little moments that let you love in the first place?”
    Rae

  9. Re: Not coinidentally…
    That’s a very interesting comment. People would argue, of course, that 10.5 has the same memories so he’s the same man – but I think one of the hardest things for them both would be that every new experience 10.5 has takes him further away from 10. In fact that’s already happened because 10 heard Davros and made decisions based on that – so even if they are arguably the same person, they’re going to diverge.
    It puts Rose in a terrible bind because she’d feel responsible for 10.5, yet the reason for that is the very thing that makes it hard for her to really love him – that she was told to do it by 10. It’s really hard to love anybody to order but she’d be attached to 10.5 strongly enough to care terribly about what happened to him.
    I think the only resolution you could have, other than a swap, or 10.5 dying, would be for them to share a mind, and share Rose. Hence the popularity of 10/10.5/R fic. It’s interesting that nobody ever adds Jack in to the mix, because if 10.5 stays in the same universe, in a way he takes Jack’s place.

  10. Re: did Rose know?
    Here I think we run up against the differences between the fanfic universe and the TV one. If we’re doing meta on the series, then our only evidence is what we’ve seen – everything else is interpretation at best. It’s similar to the argument over whether Ten and Rose were sexually active or not pre-Doomsday. I personally have no problem believing that they were – I mean, just look at them in “Fear Hear”! However what is implied for adult viewers to pick up on is different from what is said officially. RTD loves to play with this and he sets up things like the “You’re not?” question to explore it. I can also imagine RTD rubbing his hands in delight at the thought of everyone writing 10.5/R and thinking he’s done fandom an enormous favour, and then pulling back and shipping her with 10. I think that’s much more IC for RTD than leaving the story in the mess it’s in at the moment.
    One thing nobody’s suggested, but it would be amazing if it was set up well, would be if when push comes to shove, it’s actually 10.5 that regenerates into 11 – leaving the “left-over” Ten to become human and go back to Rose. That would evolve far more naturally into the character Moff seems to like writing about.

  11. I know people argue that…
    10.5 is the same man…but if that were true…there would be no reason to lock him away with Rose to make better. He would already BE better. No, the canon clearly supports that 10.5 has knowledge about Donna that 10 did not have…and makes decisions 10 would not make…therefore…he is NOT the same man.
    I add Jack to the mix in Gum. I rather think that Jack is the one to stabilize 10.5 as 11…as John Barrowman says…the Doctor will always have Jack. Of course, Torchwood may disprove that…but I personally think Jack would be a better teacher for 10.5 than Rose. Rose is reckless and wild…too much like 10.
    I feel Rose would definitely feel responsible for 10.5…and that is exactly how 10 approaches it. It is other people who go with the idea of it all being a happy present. I don’t even see that much enthusiasm from 10.5…only and understanding of what it means for Rose to have the Doctor with her. Even after 10.5 offers her the “grow old with you”…line…she still insists that 10.5 is not 10. I don’t think we see happy from 10 or from Rose. I think Rose is still testing 10.5 when she kisses him. I think 10 is hurt by the kiss…we get a definite reaction shot of him swallowing hard…and then he bolts…and he says something to the effect that people find “someone else”…at Christmas.
    Rae

  12. Right…that’s the idea
    I think the idea is that 10.5 is 11…that he’s been left with Rose…separated from Donna…whatever…because he’s not ready yet. He did the wrong thing blowing up the Daleks…I don’t see it…but basically…it’s not what 10 would have done. So…10 is not comfortable with him taking over…but I do think that a regular old Gallifreyan 10 is not a Time Lord…and will age and die…just like Susan and Leela’s Husband. So if there is a way to do whatever the Master did…to move his memories…his thoughts…his essential self…to a new body…while his old body dies…then…why can’t 10 do that, too?
    Rae

  13. See? Yes, I think that you could…
    …tie this all together with Last of the Time Lords…and with Old School canon…and with The Doctor’s Daughter. Jenny is Gallifreyan…but she’s not a Time Lord. Susan was, presumably…Gallifreyan…but not a Time Lord. And we know Leela’s husband was Gallifreyan.
    It is possible that the Master that died in Ten’s arms…was a discarded body. That the Master had already lopped off a hand and created his own Metacrisis…and transferred his Time Lord essence to another body. That THAT is why he doesn’t regenerate. And again…Ten could do the same thing…the mechanism is the only question then.
    Rae

  14. Re: Right…that’s the idea
    I’m a bit confused now. Are you saying 10 stopped being a Time Lord when he aborted that regeneration? Because clearly he hasn’t been ‘a regular old Gallifreyan’ most of the time because he has regenerated in the past.

  15. That’s what I’m saying…
    …one of the many ways to solve this is to have had Ten expect that a regeneration was coming and to have taken steps to do what the Master had already done…die instead of regenerating. So…he was planning all along to pass his torch to the hand. However, he wasn’t planning on Donna being involved in any of it…or Rose coming back. So…yes, I’m saying that as far as we know right now…maybe Ten isn’t a Time Lord anymore.
    Now, there is the idea that he was expecting the Next Doctor to be a Doctor…a future him. But that still does address the concept that he would expect 10.5 as 11 to recognize him. I am still rather intrigued by him saying, “Or the next Doctor but one.”
    It is possible that he still believes he’s capable of regeneration…but maybe he’s not. Or it is possible he just expects to go on in some capacity. Certainly, in the Next Doctor he expresses the desire to die…saying he has nothing to live for…again. This situation is very fluid in my mind…there are many ways to make 10.5 be 11…either because the regenerative line went to him…or because he and 10 switch consciousnesses. It is possible that 10 interfered with the Metacrisis by removing Donna’s connection to him via 10.5.
    Rae

  16. Re: That’s what I’m saying…
    I can see that the ground for that was prepared back in the New York two-parter where he did seem suicidal, and you could certainly argue that Nine planned to go up along with Henriks. The arguments against it, though, are whether he’d feel too much responsibility, knowing what the universe without him would be like, or why he hasn’t done it before, so he doesn’t have to outlive Rose?
    I suppose he might have had all that planned out but then Donna got in the way and he knew he’d have to get 10.5 into another universe because otherwise Donna would die…that would make his behaviour credible in JE, wouldn’t it? There’s something terribly resigned about the way he looks at Donna and speaks to her when she starts babbling on – he definitely knows what’s going to happen to her.
    The main problem I have with this theory of yours is it does get quite complicated, maybe too much so for your average viewer?

  17. Re: That’s what I’m saying…

    Certainly, in the Next Doctor he expresses the desire to die…saying he has nothing to live for…again.

    But then at the end of Doctor’s Daughter he tells Martha, or is it Donna, “Oh, there’s always something worth living for.”
    He does seem terribly fatalistic in TND. I don’t see how they can sustain that for a whole year. It looks like he’s going to be very much the Avengers-style action hero in POTD, and then they’ll go into the Xmas three-parter, which will hopefully be about resolving things.

  18. Yes, I think given what RTD said in SFX
    He realized that the continuing depression was a real downer for people. I find it interesting that he moves the episodes. Perhaps that is because he can’t sustain the upbeat. Perhaps it is only to accommodate all he has to do in the finale.
    You mention how the idea of giving up the Time Lord essence is complicated…but it is part and parcel of the fanbase love of the Master. And so, the idea of John Simm’s possible return does lend itself to an idea of Donna being part of something.
    I’m not saying this is happening…but…what if the Doctor was toting his hand around because he figured it was possible to create a biological metacrisis.

  19. Whoops…pressed the send button too soon
    …where was I?
    Okay…so the Doctor figures…at some point he’s going to die and leave the universe unprotected. Enter Jack stage left with the handy spare hand. Let’s say, loping parts off and making more, as Donna put…is exactly how you get Time Lords. This fits in with the book canon exactly. But there is probably more to it than that…so…what?
    In the Doctor’s Daughter…the Doctor points out that Jenny isn’t a Time Lord because being a Time Lord is a shared history…a shared pain. And Jenny is just a biological accident. She’s genetically Gallifreyan, two hearts. And we know from Old School…that you can be genetically Gallifreyan and not be a Time Lord. Beyond that…we know you can marry a human if you are genetically Gallifreyan. Now, you may not be able to have children…but you do age…Susan aged…the Doctor aged when the Master took his body forward 100 years.
    But if you are a Time Lord…you don’t age…you regenerate. And you possibly can’t have children either.
    We also know from Human Nature (and from The Christmas Invasion) that whatever makes a Time Lord a Time Lord…can be taken out of him (and used as an energy source). So, what I’m purposing here…is that the sharing…is of this essence. Two Time Lords…or more…share history, memories, pain and you get another Time Lord.
    How does the Master fit into all this? Well…the Master is a Time Lord who has been through this process. At least…somehow…he got new regenerations and a new body. And he had previously…taken over a host body and rejuvenated it via some energy source. At the end of Last of the Time Lords…the Master fails to regenerate…after Lucy shoots him. Then, we see a red nailed hand pick up his ring…and we hear the Master’s laugh. And all the fandom accepts that the Master will be back…because he always comes back.
    But his body was burned…so…how’s he going to come back? Via the ring? Or Lucy? Or a biological metacrisis he’s already arranged for himself? The beauty of having John Simm back is that he can gloat a lot and explain all this to the audience. He can be drawn to Donna via Time Lord connection…and find that the Doctor has done the unthinkable, too. Only, of course, the Doctor did not do it on purpose.
    You use your Master episode…to convince people that he’s still the Master…even though he gobbled up poor Lucy Saxon in the process of building his fancy new body…and voila…they are already half-way to the proper conclusion. Then, you have Donna triggered…she’s burning…the Master is, of course, at fault. The only way to save her…is to get her other half back…Ten 2…hope he’s ready…maybe the Doctor can save Donna by giving his Time Lord energy to the mix…ala Jack…and voila…the Doctor is reborn…leaving a Gallifreyan Ten behind for Rose.
    Rae
    knowing this is probably NOT what RTD is doing…but just knowing it would be easy to do it this way…and so very much tied together from all of RTD’s stories.

  20. How about
    … this for a scenario.
    For this, I’m assuming human bio-metacrisis “can’t be” because humans can’t shield themselves from mental backfire that kill them. But the Master would suck the life out of Lucy anyway, because life is wasted on the living and he wants to have all life. The Master, for using a human, is mortal. Thus, he seeks out the Doctor to steal his regenerations. Only, the Doctor he ends up capturing is Ten 2! Or, if the swap between Doctors has already happened… either way, he gets the mortal Doctor. I think that would be a cool foiling of a Master plan.
    Lisa

  21. I lack the technical know-how to make my own website
    I’m increasingly hearing people say that they’re using WordPress as not just a blog but to build sites, and that it’s quite easy and very attractive. Haven’t tried it out myself yet, but might be worth a look if you did want a separate home for your WS/DW fic (or of course I guess you could always go for another LJ account!)

  22. My brain aches
    We don’t know the kind of man this Ten 2 is, beyond being essentially the Doctor with added Donna. We know he can see inside Donna’s mind, too. It stands to my reasoning (for what that is worth) that he would have noticed Donna’s mental demise. If he didn’t care about Donna’s life and individuality, and wanted to absorb her to complete his metacrisis, that makes him the Master in my eyes, not the Doctor… his life at everyone else’s cost. I personally wouldn’t leave him alone with Rose, because he can manipulate her emotionally to get her life force from her…
    Rose: “What are you building?”
    Ten 2:”This? Oh, dimensional canon.”
    Rose: *beams*
    Ten 2: *hides plans of life sucker in drawer*
    But, if Ten 2 knew that saving Donna involved being in a parallel and was prepared to do that to save Donna (or maybe Rose made his attitude “better”), it undermines the Humperdinck somewhat. If either Ten 2 or Rose break the walls down, Donna will fall apart again. Rose will hate Ten 2 if he thwarts her attempts to poke holes. If he explains why the walls have to stay closed, she’ll either stay put (unlikely) or demonstrate that her love for the Doctor is more important than the lives of innocent people. How would the Doctor react to that?
    I can’t get my head around an existing mechanism of Ten 2 sucking the life out of Donna. It keeps things as they are, rather than allowing for an epic resolve.
    Lisa
    Wondering what part of the puzzle I’m missing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s