Timeless Child Can Give Doctor Who Season 13 The Emotional Arc It Needs


Doctor Who’s Timeless Child retcon was divisive, however it may give Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor a robust emotional arc for her closing season.

The Timeless Child twist may give Doctor Who season 13 the emotional arc it wants. Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall had promised season 12 would redefine the sequence, and he wasn’t exaggerating. The closing episode of season 12 ended with the Doctor studying she is in truth the Timeless Child, an historical being who predates Time Lord society and who grew to become the bottom genetic code for your complete Time Lord race. Everything she knew about her personal origin was revealed to be a lie.

Continuity has by no means precisely been Doctor Who‘s robust go well with, however that is simply the most important change within the present’s established order for the reason that Time Lords have been launched in 1969. Oddly sufficient, it suits somewhat higher with basic Doctor Who than with the fashionable relaunch, blunting the thematic fringe of the rediscovery of Gallifrey within the Matt Smith period. The worst downside is with Matt Smith’s regeneration story, “The Name of the Doctor,” which noticed him come to the tip of his regeneration cycle and require a lift from the Time Lords; suffice to say this makes completely no sense. Many viewers have consequently rejected the Timeless Child, hoping it would all be revealed to be a lie.

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Related: Doctor Who’s Timeless Child Reveal Breaks Matt Smith’s Name & Regeneration

That can be an totally unsatisfactory strategy. Rather than abandon the Timeless Child, Doctor Who season 13 must construct upon this retcon to be able to give Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor the character arc she so desperately wants.

The Thirteenth Doctor Doesn’t Have A Character Arc


The basic sequence of Doctor Who typically handled its enigmatic time traveler extra as a drive of nature than as a personality in his personal proper. The numerous incarnations of the Doctor blundered into disaster after disaster, however they have been usually left unchanged by what that they had skilled; only some tales actually affected them on an emotional degree and resulted in a way of character arc. But when Russell T. Davies relaunched Doctor Who in 2005, he handled the Doctor as a personality, and he insisted on giving every one in all his Doctors their very own distinct arc. Take Christopher Eccleston, struggling to cope with survivor’s guilt and carrying the load of double genocide upon his shoulders; or David Tennant, whose Doctor finally got here to think about himself the “Time Lord Victorious,” and was pressured to confront his personal monumental ego. When Steven Moffat took over as showrunner, he continued the identical strategy with Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi’s incarnations of the Doctor; each have robust emotional journeys, altering as characters over the course of their runs.

Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor basically lacks this sense of narrative arc. It’s inconceivable to say what the Whittaker period is definitely about, as a result of this Doctor nonetheless would not really feel like a personality in her personal proper, and there is been no actual sense of non-public development to her. Chibnall appears to have tried to set an arc up in Doctor Who season 12, with the Doctor studying Gallifrey had been destroyed by the Master and making an attempt to research, however it was sabotaged by inconsistent writing and poor signposting. Sadly, this implies Whittaker – a top-rate actor in her personal proper – nonetheless hasn’t actually had the prospect to indicate audiences what she brings to Doctor Who.

The Timeless Child Can Give Whittaker’s Doctor A Character Arc

Doctor Who Time Lords Timeless Child

The finest plot twists aren’t about rewriting continuity and overturning many years of canon, however somewhat are character-focused. So far, the Timeless Child retcon has modified every part and nothing. The lore has been modified, however the Doctor escaped the Matrix in a scene that appeared designed to reassure viewers the Doctor herself was unchanged; she obtained a imaginative and prescient of Jo Martin’s mysterious Forgotten Doctor through which she was inspired to simply shrug her shoulders and transfer on from the Master’s revelation. “Have you ever been limited by who you were before,” Martin’s Doctor challenged Whittaker’s, who concluded she was proper. In different phrases, the Doctor Who season 12 finale really led to a scene that advised viewers it would not matter the place the Doctor has come from, all that issues is who she chooses to be now. It’s somewhat odd to basically inform everybody your complete season’s main twist is irrelevant.

Related: Doctor Who Theory: River Song’s Regenerations Explain The Timeless Child

The Timeless Child retcon may be redeemed not by ignoring it, or erasing it, however somewhat by constructing upon it. It’s simple to see the story potential; if the Doctor just isn’t a Time Lord, then what’s she? This quest of non-public discovery must be one which turns into nearly an obsession for her, producing battle between the Doctor and her companions. There have been really constructive indicators of this within the Doctor Who Holiday Special, “Revolution of the Daleks,” through which Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor appeared shaken to the core by the Timeless Child revelation, and it is notable she advised Ryan a little bit about it – however not Yaz, the one companion who stayed along with her within the TARDIS. That units up the potential for such battle, if the episodes are written nicely.

There have been studies Jodie Whittaker is leaving Doctor Who after season 13, and the BBC is refusing to touch upon them. Assuming that is certainly the case, season 13 is actually the final likelihood showrunner Chris Chibnall has to present Whittaker a personality arc. He can accomplish that solely by constructing on the muse he has established in season 12. The Timeless Child has rewritten the Doctor’s origin story, and it is time for the Doctor – and viewers – to study what she actually is, and the place she actually comes from. Unfortunately, this will probably be a troublesome activity, as a result of season 13 is a brief one because of the coronavirus pandemic, that means Chibnall might want to work carefully with all his writers to make sure the overarching narrative is tight and constant, way more so than season 12’s. But if he has the precise crew on board, the duty just isn’t an inconceivable one.

This does, nonetheless, imply quite a bit is driving on Doctor Who season 13. The Timeless Child retcon has divided the fanbase, and season 13 should persuade cautious and skeptical viewers that this twist is price it. What’s extra, it should additionally give Jodie Whittaker the emotional send-off she really deserves. It sadly stays to be seen, nonetheless, whether or not Chris Chibnall’s Doctor Who can pull this off.

More: Why The Timeless Child Retcon Can Be Good For Doctor Who’s Future

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