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Is Doctor Who’s new Doctor genius or a big mistake?

January 30th, 2020 by Marc Comments

Soooooo… let’s talk about last week’s episode of Doctor Who, Fugitive of the Judoon.

Two big things happened in the episode – oh, and clearly there’ll be spoilers in here – the first was that the great Captain Jack Harkness returned in the form of John Barrowman.

Jack hasn’t been seen in Doctor Who since Torchwood: The Blood Line in 2011, so his return was a fun one and, sure, the immortal Captain Jack looks a bit older (don’t we all?), but we can just say he’s a looooooooong way in the future since the last time we met him. Despite him wearing the same clothes.

But his performance, while a little over the top and clearly added in at the last minute, was a fun return to the Tennant era and, overall, the episode had a classic Moffat feel to it. And yes, we all thought he was in a TARDIS too.

But, the other big news/reveal in the episode was that the character of Rose, played by actress Jo Martin, was actually… da, da, daaaaaa… The Doctor!

Wait, two Doctors?! We’ll get to that.

But the thing of note here is that Martin isn’t the first female Doctor – but she’s the first black actor in the role.

Curiously, I read an article in a pretty big entertainment site earlier saying they didn’t think Chibnall’s run of Doctor Who was diverse enough and to prove this they counted how many black people had died compared to white people this season and how they were beginning to think the show didn’t like black people… I kid you not. This is where some people’s heads are these days. And they wonder why fandoms are falling apart as writers and articles now focus on division, not diversity.

But anyway, in the end they forgave him because he cast a black woman as the Doctor. Good lord.

Anyway, where was I?

Oh, yes, so in the episode it is revealed that Rose, the character on the run from the Judoon is, in fact, a Time Lord (didn’t they use to be called Time Ladies? Is that sexist now? I don’t know) from Gallifrey and is… The Doctor.

She is being chased by others from Gallifrey too, a Gallifrey that still exists in her time – Gallifrey in the current timeline has been destroyed by The Master as revealed in this season’s two-part opener – which means that this Doctor isn’t from the future but more likely the far past.

This is further proven when she doesn’t recognise the sonic screwdriver that Whittaker’s Doctor uses and by the fact that her TARDIS is clearly a nod to first Doctor William Hartnell’s:

Also, fans of Who will know that Patrick Troughton’s Doctor – the second incarnation – was the first to have a sonic screwdriver. They will also know that the Police Box TARDIS was because Hartnell’s first Doctor crashed the ship on earth and its chameleon circuit has been stuck ever since as a blue call box.

We saw Hartnell steal the TARDIS re-enacted in 2013’s The Impossible Girl:

So we know this is absolutely canon to the storyline and can’t be altered at this stage.

Now, we also know that we never saw the regeneration between the second and third (Jon Pertwee) Doctors so there is the possibility that the new Doctor – who clearly is an early regeneration of the character – could fit in there.

It would explain the old TARDIS, the costume and the fact that she has no idea who Whittaker’s Doctor is… but it wouldn’t explain why she doesn’t recognise the sonic screwdriver.

Of course one of the obvious things to say would be she’s an alternate timeline Doctor or alternate reality/universe, but showrunner Chibnall said: “The important thing to say is she is definitively The Doctor. There’s not a sort of parallel universe going on, there’s no tricks. Jo Martin is The Doctor.”

He also noted the fact that Martin was credited – just as John Hurt’s War Doctor was –  as The Doctor: “That’s why we gave her the credit at the end which all new Doctors have the first time you see them. John Hurt got that credit”

So, who – or Who – is she? Where does she fit in the story? Well, it sounds like Chibnall may not be entirely forthcoming with the answer: “There will be answers to some of these mysteries this series. But as ever with Doctor Who, answers often reveal new questions. It’s all very deliberate,” he says.

We do know that Gallifrey has black Time Lords – T’Nia Miller played The General in 2015’s episode Hell Bent – but is this character really the Doctor? Apparently, the casting was made after Lenny Henry – who was really good in the season opener episodes by the way – said the BBC would rather “have a dog do Doctor Who than a black person” on London’s Colourful Radio some time back.

But here’s the thing: Firstly, if this new Doctor IS part of the now canon Timeline, this will mean that the show’s fundamental mythology has been destroyed – which, with the show already on thin ice regarding ratings and fan backlash, could be a bad move and may drive even more fans away.

Secondly, while many had issues with The Doctor being a woman when Whittaker was cast, this will undoubtedly create a strain of fans claiming The Doctor should also be white. And look, while I don’t buy into either idea, I do feel the writing since Whittaker and Chibnall stepped in has been absolutely horrendous and hasn’t enamoured too many classic – or new – fans.

I also feel that, while I really liked Martin in the role (I actually felt she filled the role better than Whittaker has in her first series and a half) I can’t help feeling that this decision was made to deliberately fly in the face of the old guard of fans.

And if Chibnall doesn’t satisfactorily wrap up the who and what of this character and her place in the timeline, I predict this could be another bad decision in the Doctor’s latest adventures.

The fans loved Missy (The Master), played by Michelle Gomez in the Capaldi years, and I can’t help feeling having Martin playing another character from the mythology would have been a safer move,

As it is, this could fundamentally change The Doctor’s history and story and, depending on how it’s handled, it’s possible this will be a devastating blow to Who and its audience.

Let’s hope it isn’t just being done for the sake of diversity and rather for the sake of good storytelling because that should always be at the core of any good tale. Something that so far, I don’t believe Chibnall and co have done well. Which is a real shame.

Source: Dailymail

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Marc is a self-confessed nerd. Ever since seeing Star Wars for the first time around 1979 he’s been an unapologetic fan of the Wars and still believes, with Clone Wars and now Underworld, we are yet to see the best Star Wars. He’s a dad of two who now doesn’t have the time (or money) to collect the amount of toys, comics, movies and books he once did, much to the relief of his long-suffering wife. In the real world he’s a graphic designer. He started Following the Nerd because he was tired of searching a million sites every day for all the best news that he loves and decided to create one place where you can go to get the whole lot. Secretly he longs to be sitting in the cockpit of his YT-1300 Corellian Transport ship with his co-pilot Chewie, roaming the universe, waiting for his next big adventure, but feels just at home watching cartoons with his kids….