Spoilery, Thinky Thoughts

I really shouldn’t speculate, but these big DW finales become an intricate puzzle, don’t they, and none more so than this. You start putting together all the little tidbits you’ve come across in interviews and spoilers and finding a theory that fits it all. So here is mine – if you are avoiding the trailers for next week or, of course, Part One, read ahead at your own risk:

The human race has become the Master race. The Doctor has nobody to confide in other than Wilf and the bastard Time Lords are back big-time. And that’s before we start on what’s become of Jack after CoE. But I keep coming back to what Julie G said on the S2 sleeve notes back in 2006, that RTD hasn’t a cynical bone in his body. And he’s a showman, so whatever he does it’s going to be (or at least attempt to be) something nobody on TV has ever managed to pull off before. 

What have we got? We know he’s very cagey about whether we actually get to witness a regeneration. That he still regards the Doctor and Rose as the defining relationship of his era, but it can’t go anywhere until the difference in life expectancy gets tackled. We knew that the Doctor knows his number’s up at least ten minutes before the end. We know that at some point he goes back to the Powell Estate to see Rose before she even met him. And we know from A Writer’s Tale that (a) RTD always intended, at least until he wrote himself into a corner on JE, that Ten should go to Rose when he regenerated and (b) he never really felt the JE solution worked.

What would be more natural than for him to turn the whole thing on its head and give us a happy ending after all? I think he just might.

Okay, back to a little canon now. And the rumours that the woman in white is the Doctor’s mother, who is called Penelope Gate by the way. I think both those names are significant. Gate is obvious, and Penelope has mythic connections with the Odyssey, the greatest of all tales of the age-old conflict between a man’s need to wander and a woman’s to commit.

It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Wilf turned out to be the Doctor’s father, or at least a figure in a good place to plead for clemency on his behalf.

And then there’s the suggestions that we’re heading for a reset. I think it’s very possible (particularly given the Blogtor Who trailer, the one that appears to show us the final Council of the Time War or something very similar) that all this time the Doctor has been living in an unsustainable timeline. I can’t predict all the details, but my hunch is that he only had to do one or two dodgy things (maybe the first was Pompeii, when he changed history a little at Donna’s request) and the dam holding back the alternative timeline will start to fracture.

I really hope that the Doctor is given the chance to lay down his terrible burden of survivor’s guilt, either by rejecting his people’s values in favour of humanity once and far all, or reversing the genocide he committed. And I think he will be allowed a concession, as an act of grace and mercy, in return. That will be to return to Rose and have the one adventure he’s never had, and the one he so clearly desires.

Of course, if the Time Lords return, it will be possible to travel between universes again. There’s no reason why he couldn’t return to Bad Wolf Bay in the TARDIS right after the sentence he didn’t finish in Doomsday. Heck, they could have filmed the reunion four years ago. I wouldn’t put it past RTD. He could then complete a human lifespan with Rose and then return to his role as general Big Damn Saviour of the Universe. He could even have a family.

I’m leaving 10.5 out of this, because presumably in the scenario I’ve just outlined, he wouldn’t exist. Some people think the two of them will swap, which might be a good way to save Donna, among other things. Personally I still think Donna will be unlikely to survive, but we’ll see about that. I hope I’m wrong there.

It may be that the regeneration doesn’t happen until after Rose dies and Ten returns to the parent universe. And what unfinished business would he have there? Well, he might want to see Rose before she even met him, to ease the pain of their separation in her future by telling her that he loves her, and he will return to her. So he goes back to the Powell Estate and does just that, and she doesn’t realise who he is until Nine regenerates into Ten.

It’s even possible that Ten doesn’t regenerate, even then. We still haven’t addressed something that I have a feeling RTD would want to address, to protect the future of the franchise. How many regenerations has the Doctor got left, and has he used up a spare one? I’m probably speculating too far now, but  just suppose Matt Smith wasn’t the Doctor at all, but his son with Rose – bequeathed the TARDIS, his name and the best possible start in life – two parents that loved each other beyond reason, one human and one alien – as, if some versions of canon are to be believed, the Doctor had himself.

And if I’m wrong? Then I’ll just have to write it myself.

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11 thoughts on “Spoilery, Thinky Thoughts

  1. Oooh. Lots of good thinky thoughts here: a few of which I was already thinking, more of which are good, new grist for my mill.
    I do think Wilf may be his father. Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking because I like Wilf so much. (To repeat what’s been said by so many, last night’s cafe scene was far and away the best thing in that TEOT1, and quite possibly the best Ten moment ever.)
    If Wilf isn’t a Time Lord, I find myself wondering if Dalek Caan is somehow involved, manipulating Wilf’s timeline as he did Donna’s, to draw Ten and Wilf together. Yeah, I know he probably died on the Crucible, but it wouldn’t be the first time he escaped the inescapable–and there was something in the language Ten used in the cafe scene that seemed to parallel some of the earlier language about Donna.
    And I’m with you about laying down the survivor’s guilt. It’s been a powerful part of Nine and Ten’s characters, something I think has given him a great depth in a great many scenes and stories–but if we had a reset (to prolong the franchise) I wouldn’t be sad to see it go at this point. I think that territory has been well and fully tread.

  2. Random points…
    We know he’s very cagey about whether we actually get to witness a regeneration.
    Over the summer I was absolutely convinced we would not see the regeneration from Tennant to Smith. The movie rumors were growing too loud, and I couldn’t see any reason for Davies to write a definitive ending to Tennant’s Doctor if there was a possibility of a Tennant film. Closure, yes, but an outright ending, no. Then I saw the set photos of Smith in Tennant’s tattered costume, and I began to think that, yes, we would get a regeneration. I am back to the “not so sure” (and I’ve not seen the first part yet), but for different reasons.
    I keep thinking about Lance Parkin’s The Gallifrey Chronicles. (And the mention of Penelope Gate makes me do a little fist pump.) Specifically, the three ninth Doctors that the Castellan Marnal sees — Atkinson, Grant, and Eccleston. Parkin explains in Ahistory where Grant comes from; he’s the regeneration of the eighth Doctor from the novels post-The Ancestor Cell. And Eccleston is the regeneration of the Grandfather Paradox eighth Doctor from The Ancestor Cell.
    What if the tenth Doctor has to alter an event in his own past? And in so doing, he causes his earlier (and now alternate) self to regenerate into Matt Smith? Meanwhile, the tenth Doctor continues to live, because the regeneration didn’t happen in his own immediate past. RTD gets his ending, brings closure to his period, presses the reset button (because now a number of events didn’t happen), leaves the slate clean for Moffat, and still gets to have the freedom to write a tenth Doctor movie that doesn’t have to position itself as a “missing” adventure.
    I can’t predict all the details, but my hunch is that he only had to do one or two dodgy things (maybe the first was Pompeii, when he changed history a little at Donna’s request) and the dam holding back the alternative timeline will start to fracture.
    The hints that the timeline is wrong begin in the first season, with all the stuff around the GameStation and the Great and Bounteous Fourth Human Empire. The Doctor himself takes his first steps at sending history off the rails by aborting Harriet Jones’ “golden age” in “The Christmas Invasion.” Dalek-Caan breaking the lock on the Time War put a giant hole in the dam. (This puts Parkin’s The Eyeless in a different light, by the way, with the Fortress leaking through from the pre-Time War universe because of Caan’s actions.)
    I’m leaving 10.5 out of this, because presumably in the scenario I’ve just outlined, he wouldn’t exist.
    This is the problem with the reset idea, and it’s one I’m struggling with. Some things that happened would unhappen. And how far back does that go, and how much does that affect not just Who but the spin-offs? If some things of the RTD-era unhappen, then will Jack become immortal? Torchwood would be seriously thrown into chaos, Sarah Jane less so. Maybe RTD’s recent backpedaling on reports that Torchwood season four is a go is telling. Maybe there can’t be a fourth season after “The End of Time” because there won’t have been a Torchwood Institute and Jack Harkness won’t be an immortal anymore.
    It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Wilf turned out to be the Doctor’s father
    Wilf as Ulysses? That’s an interesting thought.
    We know that at some point he goes back to the Powell Estate to see Rose before she even met him.
    The theory I’ve been entertaining on this? Assuming a reset (which is currently where I am), the Doctor is traveling backward through his timeline, basically to say goodbye to people that, ultimately, he will never know. (I am not sure how the bookstore fits into this, however, unless it’s that his past has now become fiction.) So the Doctor gets closure before his timeline collapses on itself and history reboots to its pre-Time War state.

  3. Hmm. I don’t think Wilf is the Doctor’s father; I’m not even sure about the Time Lord rumours flying about. I very much doubt RTD would write him as the Doctor’s father, anyway; no matter how they handwaved it, appearances would still suggest that Sylvia was his sister – *shudder* – and Donna his niece. Given Donna kissed him… not happening 🙂
    As for Rose, I also very much doubt we’ll see her other than in the scene before she meets Nine (though I do wonder how that will be written to ensure that she shouldn’t have recognised Ten after Nine’s regeneration). I haven’t read RTD’s book yet – waiting for the second edition – but even if he is dissatisfied with what he did in JE (which is understandable) I’m not convinced he’d try to undo it. Could be wrong, of course, but still…
    I agree that the Doctor needs to let go of his survivor’s guilt, and how better to do that if the Time Lords are revealed to be evil? I do find Dalton’s narrative comment that ‘past things are happening now’, or whatever the precise wording is, very interesting indeed. So, if the last days of the Time War are happening again now, is the Doctor going to have to make the decision to destroy Gallifrey a second time? Or will the Master – or Wilf, perhaps? – do it for him?
    I’m also very anxious to know what role Jack plays. I really hope it’s not just a ‘turn up and run around with guns a bit’ thing 😦 He deserves his goodbye to the Doctor as much as anyone else.

  4. I so hope at least some of this is right – I would so love to see RTD fix what he and everyone else on the project clearly knew wasn’t working at the end of JE. I dare not get my hopes up.
    But yes, if he doesn’t fix it (or even if he does), you write it. Many of your Ten/Rose AU fics have wormed their way so thoroughly into my Whoverse that when the Resident Geek, another Whosessive friend and I were pulling last night’s ep to bits afterwards, I kept trying to throw in bits of speculation/analysis and then thinking “no, hang on, that’s not RTD-verse at all, that’s …”

  5. I’ve heard one interesting spec about Jack, based on the appearance of the Doctor with a gun in one trailer. It goes like this – the Time Lords are baddies, wanting to lock themselves into a pattern that destroys everyone except themselves, and the only way to stop them is to play on their antipathy to a fixed point in time – by killing Jack.
    Maybe the Doctor wouldn’t be able to do it, and Wilf would step in?

  6. The essay was pretty good, too. But I loved your suggestion from the word go, because it has something for everybody – the romantics get closure and the Classic types don’t have to watch while it happens.

  7. The bookshop scene fascinates me, too – I wrote about it at some length earlier this year http://sensiblecat.livejournal.com/73990.html#cutid1
    And Torchwood? Well, what could possibly follow CofE? I’m not sure RTD thoroughly thought through the implications of so many spin-offs. He seems like a very instinctive writer to me – he thinks of something, throws it in for the hell of it and doesn’t get enough concrit. Reading his book about writing S4 makes it clear how chaotic his life can be – but what did intrigue me was that he went on so much about his dissatisfaction with JE and he really will look an absolute prat if he doesn’t address some of those issues.
    You totally pwn me at spin-off canon – I think we have to assume it’s all fair game until we are informed otherwise by the POTB.

  8. The Readiness Is All
    I am enough of an egotist to wish I’d been a fly on the wall for that particular conversation!
    You know, some day we really must arrange to be in Stratford at the same time and maybe even see a play. Apparently I have now been to at least two RSC productions where DT was in the audience – more than enough to be counted a major plot teaser in the RTD universe!
    I am not a great fan of my first multichapter fic “Boxing Day” but I looked at this chapter today and felt it was strangely prophetic:
    http://catsfiction.livejournal.com/8308.html

  9. You know, I’ve been thinking thoughts about your “Wilf is his father” idea…and it could work if Wilf decided to live out his life as a human with the woman he loved…if he was Fob Watched into amnesia. It could be that a number of Time Lords did that and we just don’t know about them. Then the woman in white could be another one of those people, even. But I feel she is Rose…and that fits in just fine with the idea of a lifetime in the final ten minutes.
    He could go to Rose on the beach…and be with her when she builds the Dimension Canon…and finally…be with that woman in white as she dies. So we get the full lifespan without too much extra cameo work from Billie.
    I would love Matt Smith to be the son…but I feel the best we can hope for is that he is the Doctor/Donna…Ten with the energy in Donna…plus the rest of the Doctor’s regenerative energy…makes a complete duplicate Doctor. This would sort of explain the Sarah Jane/Luke clip where Luke asks, “Was that him?” apparently. Because surely Luke knows the Doctor now…since he’s met him. And I think the new Ten might still go see Rose…and give her a message of hope.
    I think that the woman in white must mean something since she told Wilf not to mention her…that mentioning her could mean the Doctor’s life would not be saved. I would imagine that Donna was able to fill the Doctor in on a few more details re: popping in Rose…from Turn Left…once the Doctor knew it WAS Rose. I’m sure there was some hot and heavy questioning as they headed back to Earth.
    Rae
    still thinking the Time Lords are going to be kicked back into the past…probably by Jack’s “Bad Wolf” connection.

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