Sunday, 22 November 2015

CHRONOLOGIES AND TIME LINES: HISTORY OF THE DALEKS CONTINUES...

CHRONOLOGIES AND TIME LINES:
HISTORY OF THE DALEKS CONTINUES....

After I completely compile a long, rambling saga on the chronology of all past Dalek stories, what does Moffat do? Produce another Dalek story!

It's not hard to find a place for the, frankly, magnificient Magician's Apprentice/Witch's Familiar to fit. It can, easilly, take place sometime after Into The Dalek with little or no effort. In fact, I'm hoping it takes place after Into The Dalek and that Rusty The Good Dalek eventually finds his way onto Skaro to create all kinds of trouble.

Speaking of Skaro, this is - quite naturally - the New Skaro that gets created as the Daleks make their way into the 40th Century (Part 3 of my Tymecian Dalek History essay - The Escape From Skaro and The Mastery of Time). Davros is given a nice line of dialogue that supports this. He claims the Daleks "rebuilt" Skaro. This quote, of course, is also meant to compensate for the fact that the Doctor destroyed Skaro in Remembrance of the Daleks. How one actually rebuilds a planet that was completely and utterly destroyed in a super nova is difficult to conceive. But these are the Daleks - they are an incredibly advanced race. If anyone can pull it off, they can.

I'm still more inclined to believe, however, that they just found a planet similiar to Skaro and renamed it. Davros' dialogue is subjective enough to support this idea. We know from dialogue in Dalek Masterplan that there is an active Dalek colony on a planet they refer to as Skaro. In my mind, it's actually the first reference made to New Skaro. The Daleks, however, are far too vain to admit their greatest enemy wiped out their original homeworld and simply call it Skaro.

Whether or not the Daleks continue operating from their homeworld as the Time Wars begin seems unlikely. It's largely insinuated in various post-Time War episodes that, as the battle against the Time Lords commences, New Skaro has been vacated and the Daleks are spacefaring again. When the Doctor briefly stops on their planet of origin at the beginning of Asylum of the Daleks, he is looking down at an abandonned colony from the giant Dalek monument. Skaro is lifeless. I think the Daleks went back into their own timeline to set this trap. That the Doctor is on Skaro somewhere between Masterplan and before the Daleks start causing trouble again in New Who. Since the Daleks were no longer on Skaro for the Time Wars, it probably wouldn't be Time Locked. But, because New Skaro was abandonned, the planet has fallen into obscurity. Dialogue in Magician's Apprentice/Witch's Familiar seems to support this idea. Everyone is shocked to be on Skaro again. It's been vacant so long that no one actually noticed it when it was rendered invisible.

This latest installment in the Dalek storyline, however, does cause me to speculate that we are witnessing factions again in their society. The Daleks we saw from Victory of the Daleks to Into the Dalek have been one group (that we shall dub: "Spacefaring Daleks"). Whereas what we saw on Skaro is a totally seperate society. One that the Spacefaring Daleks might not even be aware of.

Quite obviously, Davros escaped his fate in Stolen Earth/Journey's End and found his way back to New Skaro (perhaps, like the Cult of Skaro, he's capable of making an emergency temporal shift). Dedicated mad scientist that he is, he starts trying to re-build a Dalek empire. While he prefers the bronze-liveried Time War model, he's got to work with what he has. He finds empty husks of various partially-destroyed models scattered all over Skaro and re-builds them, first. With these Old School Daleks now working for him, he's able to pool some better rescources and construct Time War Daleks and even a Supreme Dalek. But the older model Daleks are also maintained.

Davros anticipates that his plans will eventually attract attention. Old enemies of the Daleks or even the Spacefaring Daleks, themselves', could be very upset about what he's up to. So he gets to work on a massive cloaking device - leaving only one building visible that can be easilly mistaken as a mere space station (maybe he's done this so Colony Sarff can find him when he's out travelling in space!).
So we have Skarosian Daleks whose empire is being built up by Davros. Knowing his Daleks are prone to disobeying him, he remembers his encounters with the Doctor as a young boy and makes some alterations to their genetic conditionning so that they have just the smallest compensation for mercy. The Daleks may never allow Davros to run them - but they will, at least, be nice to him for what he did.

At the same time, we have the Spacefaring Daleks. When last we got a good look at their power structure, they appeared to be run by a Dalek Prime Minister. They have been expanding their empire into the Universe and may even be winning against humanity, these days. Into the Dalek certainly seems to insinuate this.

Davros knows that, eventually, these two factions will clash (experiences he had in Resurrection and Remembrance have not been forgotten) and that he's likely to lose in that battle. His Daleks still can't really measure up to the sheer power of the Spacefarers. He needs to perform an upgrade. On top of that, he needs to find a way to save his own dwindling lifeforce.

And so, the events of Magician's Apprentice/Witch's Familiar take place.

How the Skarosian Daleks will survive with such revolting sewers is anyone's guess. Perhaps they've been wiped out. Perhaps some survive but the Spacefaring Daleks might sweep in and absorb them into their own empire. Or perhaps enough of them survive to still represent a formidable force and we get another awesome Dalek Civil War (I always love it when they have one!). We'll have to wait and see....

*A QUICK FOOTNOTE:

The idea of a Skarosian Faction helps to explain why there are no "Teletubby Daleks" in Magician's Apprentice/Witch's Familiar. If Davros has been secretly building up an empire on Skaro then he might not even be aware of their existence. Or, at best, he only vaguely knows about them. So he wouldn't really be bothered to work on such a model and would just stick to the bronze guys.

Whereas if the story was meant to be yet another Spacefaring Daleks' Return to the Ancestral Seat, there should probably be some Paradigm Daleks in the mix.

Well, that's our most recent edition of (or, more accurately, addition to) Dalek History. There's a good chance that we might see the Skarosian Natives one more time before Series 9 is over. But I thought it would be fun to post this now and see if any of my wild speculations prove to be accurate. If they do show up again in Episode 11 or 12, I can have a good brag if they confirm any of the ridiculous theories I've expressed, here. More than likely, of course, they'll disprove a bunch of stuff I've just said. 

Haven't read my Dalek History posts? There's quite a few of them. Here are the links:

Episode 1 - The Early Days On Skaro - 
http://robtymec.blogspot.ca/2015/06/chronologies-and-timelines-tymecian.html  

Episode 2 - The Wars Against Earth and the Return of Davros - http://robtymec.blogspot.ca/2015/06/chronologies-and-timelines-part-2-of.html

Episode 3 - The Escape from Skaro and the Mastery of Time
http://robtymec.blogspot.ca/2015/07/chronologies-and-timelines-episode.html

Episode 4 - The Time Wars!
http://robtymec.blogspot.ca/2015/07/chronologies-and-timelines-episode-4-of.html

Episode 5 - A Possible Altered Timeline and the New Dalek Paradigm
http://robtymec.blogspot.ca/2015/07/chronologies-and-timelines-episode-5-of.html

Sunday, 15 November 2015

CHRONOLOGIES AND TIMELINES: THE HISTORY OF GALLIFREY - EPISODE 2

CHRONOLOGIES AND TIMELINES

THE HISTORY OF GALLIFREY

The saga requested by Brian Stewart continues. As mentioned in my First Episode, this was going to be a three-parter. But assembling together the events of Ancient Gallifrey took more work than expected. We'll finish up the exploits of Rassilon, here. In future installments, we'll talk about the Doctor's involvement with Gallifrey both before and after the Time Wars....

EPISODE 2: RASSILON FORGES ON ALONE....

With the raw energy provided by Omega's Sacrifice now in place, the Time Lords can truly begin to explore the nature of time. They build more sophisticated and reliable forms of time travel technology. Technology that works symbiotically with its user. Rassilon was as much a scientist as a politician so it is possible that he was responsible for the creation of this form of time travel. Or it could be that the scientists working on the project wanted to pay him tribute. Whatever the case, a process known as the Rassilon Imprimature is required to get this technology to work.  From these experiments we see Time Rings and the earliest, fully-functionning TARDISes. At this stage, they resemble the Kartz-Reimer model that we see in The Two Doctors.

With vallidium no longer in the heavens to protect the homeworld, a substitute defense system is needed. It is for this reason that time energy starts being employed to create forms of weaponry. Among these weapons we see things like the D-Mat gun and the Moment. The Time Lords, being wise enough to see that weapons such as these are just far too dangerous, seal away these devices in a special vault that they name after the stellar engineer whose sacrifice made it possible to create them. Public knowledge about the D-Mat gun and how to build it became too widespread, however, and Rassilon takes extra precautions to ensure it cannot be re-built.

Rassilon, at this point in his career, is at something of a crisis point .With Omega gone (and, quite possibly, the Doctor not around to guide him), he no longer has a confidant to bounce his ideas off of. He must forge on and try to mold Time Lord society based on his judgments, alone. The people of Gallifrey, however, do truly look up to him and see him as their leader. It is at this point that Rassilon creates a new post of office. Up until that time, Time Lords were governed by various committees and councils that all, ultimately, answered to a High Council.  Rassilon decides that the populace needs a central figure to invest its faith in. Again, we see that weird fusion of feudalism and democracy at work, as Rassilon becomes the first Lord President of Gallifrey. This gesture causes the Time Lords to become more and more obsessed with titles of importance. All kinds of new offices come into existence with very officious-sounding administrators put in place to run them. More and more, the Time Lords are becoming a race of elder statesmen.

THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF RASSILON

During his term of office, Lord President Rassilon makes his most significant contributions to Time Lord society. His first priority becomes a proper way to protect his planet. With research into weapons technology seeming to take the same course over and over, he looks into something more defensive than aggressive. He conceives the concept of a Transduction Barrier. An ultimate force field that has all kinds of special properties to it (which will merit further discussion in a later section). The Gift of Omega is no longer sufficient energy for such a defense system, however. Rassilon needs to find still more power.

Delving further into the Omega's research, Gallifrey's First Lord President realizes that the black hole a supernovae leaves behind can be an energy source in itself. With great caution (he doesn't want a repeat of what happened to the great stellar engineer), Rassilon finds a way to transplant a black hole to his homeworld and lock it into a sort of stasis so that it won't actually harm the planet. He then devises a method that enables him to harness the endless supply of energy that it unleashes. The Eye of Harmony is born.

With this new, near-infinite supply of raw power, the Time Lords can advance themselves' in all sorts of ways. The Transduction Shield is constructed a short while later and Gallifrey is now properly protected. The prototype TARDISes are also all linked to the Eye of Harmony and their capabilities expand massively. They even become dimensionally-transcendental and are given an outer-plasmic shell that can take on any form.

As these advances occur, Rassilon institutes clever ways to ensure that the Lord President never becomes a mere figurehead. That the greatest power and responsibility stays vested in him. He creates the Symbols of Office. There is the Rod of Rassilon - which also doubles as a device that allows one full access to the Eye of Harmony to make any adjustments to its method of energy distribution. With the Rod, comes the Sash of Rassilon - a device that will protect its wearer as it makes those adjustments to the Eye. He also creates the Key of Rassilon - a symbol that is used to ensure that the D-Mat Gun never falls into the wrong hands. Historians believe that the creation of the Symbols of Office may have marked the beginning of what would become the corruption of Rassilon.  

OTHER THINGS THAT WERE PROBABLY ALSO THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF RASSILON:

Most of what I've stated, so far, is directly referenced from dialogue that has been spoken about Rassilon in various episodes. But now we must start to hypothesize. Various other important contributions to Time Lord Society probably occured around this time. More than likely, Rassilon was also at the heart of these discoveries. It's not explicitly stated anywhere - but we'll assume it was him.

Time Lord knowledge was growing to an enormous extent, Rassilon knew that all this wisdom needed to be preserved. So he created a central repository of information that he christened the Matrix. So dedicated did the Time Lords become to keeping the Matrix updated, that they would actually allow it to absorb all that they knew just before they died. It was such a complex computer that it created its own micro-universe in order to function properly. With the creation of the Matrix, another Symbol of Office came into existence - the Coronet of Rassilon (there would be some confusion regarding the name of this artifact - we'll come to that later). This artifact would grant its wearer full access to the information the Matrix kept. Naturally enough, it was one more artifact that only the Lord President was allowed to use.

Rassilon also became interested in the longevity of the Time Lords. Science had advanced so that a Time Lord's aging process could be slowed to a point where they could live for several centuries - but he felt that still wasn't enough. Geneticists were set with the task of finding a way to increase a Time Lords lifespan indefinitely. Eventually, a unique energy was harnessed from the Untempered Schism, itself, that enabled a Time Lord to cheat death (again, we don't know just how diverse of a scientist Rassilon was - he may have actually made this discovery, himself). The miracle of regeneration was born. When a Time Lord reached the end of his days, he could use this special energy to call a new body into existence and live a whole new lifespan. Until, again, that body grew too old or damaged and another regeneration could be induced.

Rassilon was concerned, however, about allowing the Time Lords to become truly immortal. No one should have that privilege. So he set a limit to the amount of regeneration energy a Time Lord was allotted. The process could only be induced twelve times. Meaning that a Time Lord was only allowed a maximum of the thirteen bodies. Near the end of the thirteenth incarnation, a Time Lord would give his knowledge to the Matrix and then pass on.

Time Lord society was now complete. They had become a race of near-immortal beings that were fully capable of crossing the boundaries of Time and Space. They were protected from all their enemies and possessed the most powerful computer in the entire the cosmos to store all the data they acquired.

It was a perfect society.

TROUBLE WITH THE REST OF THE UNIVERSE

With all the basic building blocks of his vision of utopia now in place, Rassilon set out to explore the Universe, again. Since the loss of Omega, the Time Lords' concentration had been directed completely inward. It was time, once more, to reach out into the Beyond.

Overall, things did not go well for them. At first, the Time Lords were very encouraged by the results of their explorations. They became acquainted with other races that were also at a highly-advanced stage. Races like the Eternals or the Guardians of Time. They benefitted greatly from those relationships. They re-acquainted themselves' with the Sisterhood of Karn and set up a trade agreement with them so that they could use their Elixir in cases of acute regeneration crisis (the process has always been fairly unpredictable at the best of times).

But then, the Great Vampires began plaguing the Universe.  A race of huge parasites that were said to be able to drain the life-force of a whole planet at once. The Time Lords, themselves', were under no threat from them. Their Transduction Barrier protected them.  But they saw the danger the Great Vampires posed to lesser civilizations that couldn't repel them. A war was waged where Rassilon invented the mighty bowships: a weapon that could slay a Great Vampire. With the exception of the Great Vampires' Leader, the entire race was slain. The Universe was saved.

But the Time Lords of Gallifrey were greatly sickened by the violence they had witnessed during that war. They petitioned that Gallifrey no longer partake in any acts of attrition that posed no direct threat to them. Rassilon felt they should continue to involve themselves' in such affairs but bowed to the will of his people.

These explorations into the beyond grew even more catastrophic as the Time Lords encounter the Minyans. Rassilon, still campaigning to help the lesser races, sets up a cultural exchange with the people of Minyos. The deal goes totally bad. Advanced technology gets offered to the Minyans at a rate that they are not yet ready to handle. They virtually wipe themselves' out. The few remaining survivors were said to have practically marched the Time Lords out at gunpoint.

Again, there was a great outcry from the Gallifreyan populace. The Time Lords were doing just fine as mere observers of Time and Space. They were protected from all threats - so why not just keep observing and do nothing more? Reluctantly, Rassilon accepted the policy of non-intervention that was being put forward by various committees and councils. The Time Lords consciously choose to isolate themselves' from the rest of the Universe.

THE END OF RASSILON'S REIGN

Details about Rassilon's career begin to become sketchy, at this point. His desire to continue influencing the Universe while the rest of Gallifrey just wants to be safe behind its force field probably causes him to grow restless. Some believe that his restlessness eventually grew into full-blown corruption. That, towards the end of his era as Lord President, Rassilon turned into a despot.

It is at about this time that the Death Zone comes into use. As a means of adjusting to their isolationism, the Time Lords create a special area on their planet where they can use a time scoop to bring in aliens and watch them fight each other. In much the same way as the Romans enjoyed their gladiator fights. Rumors regarding the use of this atrocity are wildly self-contradictory. Some claim it was Rassilon, himself, who started the Death Zone. Others claim that he was outraged that such a place existed and demanded it be shut down. No one knows for sure where the truth lies. It has been lost in the shadows of the past.

Whatever the case, it is shortly after the Death Zone comes into use that Rassilon chooses to end his career as Lord President. Again, there are any number of stories regarding how this plays out. Many speak of the fact that Rassilon had somehow cheated with the imposed regeneration cycle and was actually immortal. But that he went into a sort of long-term suspended animation so that new blood could come into office. In some tales, he voluntarily seals himself up in a sort of "tomb" at the heart of the Death Zone. In other tales, the Time Lords force him to do this. Again, no one truly knows what happens. But Rassilon leaves Gallifrey to its own devices and goes off into a seemingly-eternal sleep. To return again only when he is needed most.

Whether he was forced into retirement or chose to go off into hibernation, the First Lord President took a few precautions to ensure his successors did not get drunk with power. The Symbols of Office embue the Lord President with too much power, so Rassilon secretly gave the Key to his Chancellor and claimed it was lost. This way, the D-Mat gun could never be used again. It was enough that the Lord President had access to the greatest power source and greatest computer on Gallifrey. He didn't need its greatest weapon, too. He also set up a "trick" at his tomb. He allowed a rumour to spread that he was able to grant immortality to anyone else who sought it. In truth, however, if anyone did come to his tomb for such a gift - Rassilon imprisoned them.


SPECIAL FOOTNOTE:
CONFUSION OVER THE ARTIFACTS

These events, of course, happened so long ago that it's almost inevitable that information regarding them becomes corrupted. Facts get confused. This is best evidenced in the history of the various artifacts that Rassilon left behind. The names of these items have frequently blurred together. Multiple artifacts will have the same title.

The Coronet of Rassilon is a great example of this. The true Coronet is the one the Lord President wears that allows him/her access to the Matrix. But another relic has also received that title. Apparently, in order to properly protect themselves', the operators of the time scoop for the Death Zone would wear a special piece of head gear that amplified their will. More than likely, they sometimes dealt directly with some of the aliens that they sent into the Game of Rassilon (as it was, sometimes, called) and they needed to ensure that these creatures wouldn't try to harm them. So they could will their gladiators into passive obedience should they suddenly prove unruly. This particular device, however, also garnered the title of the Coronet of Rassilon.

The Key of Rassilon is an even better example of this. The Rod of Rassilon sometimes takes on this name since it is used to unlock the Eye of Harmony. There is also a special key that Matrix engineers can use to effect repairs and access specialized knowledge that is also given that name. Finally, of course, there is the proper Key, itself. Which was lost to the Lord President for many years but has secretly been held by the Chancellor of the High Council of the Time Lords.


One would think, however, that when you have the most powerful computer in the Universe storing this kind of knowledge that mistakes like these wouldn't happen. That the information would stay accurate. It's entirely possible, of course, that no computer can truly combat the effects of passing time - but I say it's something else.

I believe Rassilon purposely spread disinformation towards the end of his reign. He was up to various secret operations during his final days that he didn't want his people to ever know about. So he, somehow, engineered various self-contradictory rumors to circulate during this period of his life so that the truth could never be discovered.

What was he up to? Who can say, for sure. But I do believe that one thing he did was form a secret organization that worked against the Non-Intervention Policy that was established after the Catastrophe of Minyos. This group of Time Lords would still go out on missions that would interfere in the affairs of the rest of Universe. They would only undertake these missions when deemed absolutely necessary, of course, But they kept fairly active throughout all of Time Lord history.

They came to be known as the Celestial Intervention Agency. Or the CIA, for short.

For the sake of posterity, Rassilon did record what truly happened during the twilight of his career. He left none of this data on computers, however. Instead, he wrote it all down on a series of parchments that were entropy-resistant. These parchments came to be known as the Black Scrolls of Rassilon.


And so endeth Episode 2 of the History of Gallifrey saga. More to come....

Did you miss the first part? Here it is: 

http://robtymec.blogspot.ca/2015/11/chronologies-and-timelines-history-of.html



Monday, 2 November 2015

ANALYTICAL

THE QUALITY OF MERCY

An honest look at the Doctor's sense of compassion

EPISODE 2: A New Man



It seems the Pacifist has been laid to rest once and for all….


….In truth, however, the Doctor tries one more time to be Him.

 Although we see little of Doctor Eight, he does seem to have re-adopted many of the policies and mannerisms of his Fifth Self. He is, once more, intensely sensitive and vulnerable. The scale of his mercy seems to have reached another peak, too.   He does wield a gun briefly. But rather than threaten someone with it, he points the gun at himself to get the results he wants. Near the end of the story, we see that ethos even more blatantly. The Master seems to whip him about like a ragdoll during their battle at the edge of the Eye Of Harmony. He is capable of laying such an easy beating on him because it looks like the Doctor is refusing to fight back. In the end, it's a deft twist of a mirror rather than a punch or a kick that saves the Doctor’s life.  

More significantly, as the Master plunges into the Eye of Harmony, the Doctor offers his hand to pull him back out. Such a gesture would've probably never happened with his last two bodies - they would just watched him sink to his doom. Not so for Doctor Eight, though.  He has returned to the morals he is most famous for and is attempting, one last time, to get them to work. From the brief glimpses we get in The 96 Telemovie, it does almost seem like he is trying to renounce his ways and become that pacifist, again. That, perhaps, the darkness of his last incarnation has legitimately scared him and he is actively trying to get back to the man he once was. But this will only last so much longer.     
            
             While we don't actually witness much of this particular era of his life, we did get a regeneration sequence as a nice gift during the 50th anniversary. That strong sense of mercy that we saw in his first tale seems to have persisted. The Doctor is refusing to participate in the Time Wars. He remains at its fringes, helping those who are being impacted by it. This definitely seems to be the same sort of ethos we saw from a man who once attempted to save the life of an arch rival who was trying kill him. No matter what, this version of the Doctor will not stoop to the level of his foes. His abstaining from the Time Wars is a great example of this. He is a man of peace who will never try to take another’s life. He clings to this ideology for the entire incarnation.
            
             But then, he regenerates into the War Doctor.

            “Doctor no more...” are the War Doctor’s first ominous words. The very pronouncing of them seems to indicate that whatever ideologies the Doctor held about preserving life at any cost have been chucked out the window. He has actively chosen to become a Warrior in order to solve the huge problem that is currently affecting the Universe. He seems more than ready to meet violence with violence.

          But does he? Take a good look at that bandolier of his. It should be loaded with ammo clips, right? The only thing he ever seems to carry in it is the sonic screwdriver. And this is a war against the Daleks (for the most part, at least). As was mentioned in Episode One of this essay: acts of violence against them don't really count. You're killing the walking dead when you destroy one of them. So, maybe, a lot of his core values still remain. There might still be a lot of the Doctor in there. 

           And yet, there's a considerable amount of evidence that suggests otherwise. The most disturbing being that moment early on in Day of the Doctor where he asks for the Gallifreyan soldier's rifle. It's a simple gesture - but it says so much. The Doctor does not seem at all uncomfortable with taking the gun. Nor does the soldier seem reluctant to give it to him. This all seems to insinuate that the Doctor has been using weapons a lot, lately. Which very much goes against his usual ethics. It's not that the Doctor has never used a gun before, but it's certainly not something he's done frequently. This little moment seems to indicate a huge change in his values. Being a man who is now comfortable with a gun says a lot about what he may have become. 

          And what about the other creatures that fought in the Time Wars that weren't Daleks? We hear about a few of them in various snippets of dialogue. The Nightmare Child and The-Could-Have-Been-King and other beings like them. How did the Doctor treat them in battle? We can only assume he was equally violent. We don't know. In Stolen Earth, we learn the Doctor may still have been retaining some sense of mercy, though. He did try to save Davros from certain death during the Time Wars. That desire to preserve the life of an enemy who has tried to kill you is one of the most impressive feats of compassion. The Eighth Doctor, a far more benevolent incarnation, was seen to commit a similar act with the Master. So, again, we can speculate that the Doctor's love for life wasn't completely eradicated during this era. 

          Ultimately, though, the War Doctor did use the Moment to wipe out Gallifreyans and Daleks, alike. Yes, we would learn later that things didn't quite play out the way he thought they did. But the fact that the Doctor believed for multiple incarnations that he did commit double-genocide speaks volumes about the depths he reached as the War Doctor. We can see why he tries to hide that incarnation from himself and everyone else. This version of him went as far away from his code of honor as he possibly could. It does seem like he didn't abandon all vestiges of his pacifist nature - but he came pretty close. 

          But the eighth incarnation is still the last time the Doctor truly tries to adhere to his "all life is sacred" philosophy. When he crashlands on Karn, that sense of extreme pacifism seems to die with him. Perhaps the resurrection that the Sisterhood performs on him does something to his very soul. From that point onward, he is a colder man who re-adopts the ideologies of Doctors Six and Seven and even takes them one step further. 

          While the War Doctor is the Time Lord at his absolute darkest point, the Ninth Doctor only warms up, marginally. You would think that the remorse he feels over what he did in the Time Wars would've tempered him to crave peace. But that's not the case. As wounded as he is by his survivor guilt, he still sees moments where the monsters must die. Where violence is necessary. 

       Right in his very first story, he does attempt diplomacy with the Nestene Consciousness as it attempts to invade Earth again - but he's also not afraid to bring some anti-plastic along with him should that fail. In the end, it's not the Doctor who tips the anti-plastic into the vat, but he did attempt to before the Autons grab him. Which means he is more-than-ready to kill when the Nestene refuses to "shunt off".

           This seems to be the core philosophy of the Doctor throughout the early days of New Who. He still believes in giving the baddie one last chance to repent. He often does it in the cockiest of manners - almost as if he's hoping his arrogance will spur on his opponent to fight him. But the option is still given. When the monster/villain chooses to still pursue its evil aims, only then does he let loose the hounds of hell. We see this scenario with the Nestene over and over throughout the first few seasons. The Tenth Doctor presents similar utlimatums to the Krillitanes, the Rachnos and the Sontarons (to name a few). Somehow, he feels vindicated about wiping them all out if he offers them one last chance, first. 

           But it is in the Ninth Doctor's second adventure that we truly see just how cold he has become.    The Lady Cassandra is in much the same situation as the Master was during the battle at the edge of the Eye of Harmony.   She's perishing, but the Doctor could easily rescue her.   This time, however, the Time Lord simply stands there and does nothing.    "Everything has it's time and place" he pronounces and lets Cassandra die in a most excruciating manner. Would even Doctors Six and Seven be this cruel? Probably not. But in New Who, the Doctor is a much harsher man. 

          We do see something significant occur towards the end of the Ninth Doctor's reign that shows he has some sense of mercy to him in regards to how he deals with his enemies. In Parting of the Ways, he is given the same choice he just had to face at the end of the Time Wars. He can save the Universe from a terrible evil - but he must kill innocents at the same time. This time, he makes the better choice. "Coward. Every time." he declares. And, in so doing, he shows that he's gotten his soul back. He can still be a cold man - but he'll never be the man he was during the Time Wars. Those days are behind him, now. He is the Doctor again. 

             The Tenth Doctor seems a much "lighter" character than his predecessor. Nine was brooding and full of angst with only the occasional dose of humor. Ten is a chatterbox and a bit of a fanboy who will only indulge in his "lonely god" personality now and again. But the mean streak that is openly displayed right in the first few stories of Series One still persists in this new incarnation. 

             It seems that the first story for every new incarnation must have a moment where we see just how harsh of a man this latest Doctor can be when pushed to his absolute limits. In The Christmas Invasion, it's the "No second chances" sequence. The Sycorax Leader, after being defeated, attempts to sneak up on the Doctor and cut him down. The Time Lord could've easily stopped him in his charge with another sword fight. He could've even called on the Sycoraxan's own warriors to restrain him since he was acting in a dishonorable manner. And incarnations from earlier days might have done something like that. But that's not how the Doctor acts now. One chance is all the bad guy gets. After that, he's treated with same brutality he is trying to administer. The Sycorax Leader is killed outright. And we see only a cold, regret-free look on the Doctor's face as he does so. 

              The "no second chances" mentality continues to be the crux of this Doctor's whole outlook on dealing with his foes. Everyone gets one warning and then our hero feels no need to show any further mercy for his adversary. We can see that he's not accustomed to being so ruthless, though. It's still difficult for him to indulge in bloodbaths. They tend to consume him when he does throw away his pacifist tactics. Again, he needs humans to tame him. Just as he did way back in the earliest stories of his first incarnation. Humans may not stop him, anymore, from plunging the knife into the caveman. But they do stop him from stabbing the corpse over and over.

             The Runaway Bride and Turn Left exemplify this idea quite clearly. Donna states in her first story that the Doctor "needs someone to tell him when to stop". The alternative reality presented in Turn Left re-enforces this concept. Without Donna underneath the Thames with him while he's delivering the Rachnos Queen the fate she deserves, the Doctor ends up drowning. Amy Pond echoes a similar sentiment in A Town Called Mercy. We can even see why Ace was so precious to the Seventh Doctor during Seasons 25 and 26. The stories during the last two seasons of the Classic Series featured a hero who was at his all-time cruelest. His need for human companionship was probably crucial to keeping him from diving completely off the deep end.

       Just a few stories into Doctor Ten's era, we witness a beautiful summary of his attitude towards violence that truly encompasses the journey our protagonist has taken throughout the course of the whole show's history. "I used to have so much mercy." he proclaims as he faces down the leader of the Krillitanes during School Reunion. The general gist of the speech explains how much time has hardened him. That he can no longer tolerate the villains the way he did in his earlier days. If they cross a line with him and refuse to turn back - he loses all patience with them. He'll take their lives if he needs to. He'll try to go about it in the most antiseptic way possible. If he can avoid pulling triggers or directly spilling blood, he'll use that method. But he'll do what needs to be done. 

       And that's what we continue to see throughout the Tenth Doctor's period of existence. While not quite as devious as the Seventh - it's still his methodology we see at the core of his actions. Oftentimes tricking the alien menace into destroying itself with its own power. Or, more often, getting others to do the darker deeds for him. In many ways, Davros is right when he claims that the Doctor fashions people as weapons. Since the days of the Doctor and Ace, he's found people to commit violence on his behalf. Doctor Eight may have gone back to a softer approach and the War Doctor may have actually gotten real blood on his hands. But, otherwise, the Doctor has been using people to perform the tasks that he hasn't the heart(s) to do, himself. Which is why so many companions come forward in Journey's End to try and destroy the Dalek Crucible for him. It's as Rory claims in Vampires of Venice - he makes people want to do these sort of things. 

        The Eleventh Doctor maintains this tradition. Which only makes sense as the two characters are quite similar to each other. He, too, is a chatterbox and a fanboy but with his own unique brand of over-enthusiasm. And, he too, has his darker side and acts along the same guidelines first laid down by his Seventh Self. Only he seems to be even more merciless than he was in his tenth body. 

             Once again, the first story of the new incarnation has a specific moment that shows just how dangerous this version of the Doctor can be. While the Tenth Doctor employs a "no second chances" policy, this new version goes even more aggressive. "I'm the Doctor. Basically, run." This is the new level of viciousness that he's reached. Chances at redemption are no longer given. If you're up to no good and the Doctor crosses your path - expect to be taken down with maximum prejudice. 

         His confrontation with the Silence at the end of Day of the Moon is an excellent example of how he works in this incarnation. Out from the TARDIS he strides with a television in hand - full of confidence and bluster. River Song is with him, armed and ready (she will be the one who does the dirty work he doesn't want to do - and plays that role on several occasions). As he stares down these strange memory-altering creatures, is there any sort of ultimatum being offered? Any sort of: "Get off my planet, now, or there will be trouble?" No. The Doctor just assumes they won't take the offer and goes ahead with dealing the punishment. The way he uses the Silence's own powers of post-hypnotic suggestion against them is brilliant, of course. And the slaughter that ensues as they retreat back to the TARDIS is a very fun action sequence to watch. But it only manages to distract us so much from the fundamental truths being presented in the whole sequence. The Doctor doesn't even offer a first chance, anymore. If you're doing something he deems wrong - you're toast.  

              More and more, the Doctor finds himself questioning whether what he does is even good. It's been quite some time since those sort of questions have started getting asked. Even way back in Boomtown, Margeret Slitheen is pointing out his character defects to him and he can't really argue with her. But in A Good Man Goes To War, the Doctor makes some pretty heavy insinuations to Madame Kovarian that he is far from being good, anymore. This idea would tug at him even more after his next regeneration. 

          The main arc of the Eleventh Doctor's character is the avoidance of a fate that awaits him at the end of his life. A battle on Trenzalore that will, apparently, send him even deeper into a state mercilessness. Both Lorna from Demon's Run and the Great Intelligence talk of the man the Doctor will become. A warrior among warriors. A military leader who will send thousands to their deaths. This doesn't sound like the Doctor at all. Even the Doctor, himself, is disturbed by this. The faking of his death and the erasing of all information about him seem like steps he's taking to avoid this fate. He could, of course, just try to make better choices when he arrives on Trenzalore - but he doesn't seem to have the confidence that he can do this. He knows he's not the man he once was. 

           This seems to get affirmed as we watch the Doctor transition from Amy and Rory to Clara. His desire to preserve life at any cost seems to become weaker and weaker. Amy must even confront him on it as he is prepared to simply sacrifice Kahler Jex to the monster he has created in the ironically-named Town Called Mercy. The impassioned speech the Time Lord delivers about showing "mercy to the victims" seems to indicate that he is rationalizing his darker motives more and more. 

          It is also at this point that we see the Doctor commit his most merciless act in the New Series. Seething with venom, the Doctor sends Solomon to his death at the end of Dinosaurs on a Spaceship. This isn't the Doctor tricking the villain into undoing himself like he does in stories like Remembrance of the Daleks or Day of the Moon (a ruse that, somehow, makes him seem less cruel since the enemy is still bringing his doom upon himself). This is the Doctor very intentionally setting up the destruction of his enemy with murderous precision. He has never seemed more cold-blooded.

         Actions and attitudes like these make us truly start to believe that the predictions we are hearing about him once he reaches Trenzalore might actually be true.    

         It is relieving to see, however, that as Time of the Doctor does finally roll around, the descriptions of what the Doctor becomes during the siege seem to be exaggerated. Yes, he leads a massive war effort against the various invaders of Trenzalore, but he doesn't seem half as bloodthirsty as the legends were saying. Especially when you consider that the whole war is waged to protect a small village of innocent people who have become caught in the cross-fire. The Time Lord at the end of his regeneration cycle speaks of the importance of saving lives and the difference he can make by standing as the village of Christmas' protector (and toy repairer!). This hardly seems the attitude of the warmonger the Great Intelligence tries to make him out to be only a few episodes earlier in Name of the Doctor. Just like the War Doctor, signs of a merciful hero still remain - even when he must fight a protracted battle that he can't run away from. We are, for the most part, impressed with how the Doctor handles things on Trenzalore rather than dismayed. There still seems hope for the pacifist he has buried. 

          As the Twelfth Doctor arrives, however, we must become even more concerned. Those endless debates he's had throughout the New Series regarding the true nature of his morality seem to have definitely taken their toll. He's no longer certain if he even is a good man. It doesn't help that Clara isn't so sure, either. By this point, she's gone up and down his timeline quite a bit. Her memories of what he was like in his earlier days might be sketchy, at best. But is it possible that she has watched the gradual withering of his sense of compassion and can no longer be certain about the character of the man she travels with? She might know better than most that the Doctor's ethics have become murky. The season ending with Doctor finally coming to terms with who he is does not seem too encouraging, either. He doesn't proclaim: "Yes! I am good! Look at what I do to combat the evil of the Universe" or something to that effect. Nor does anyone else deliver a speech of that nature about him (which would seem a bit more humble). Instead, the Doctor happily realizes that he's an idiot with a box who makes a difference now and again. A more honest appraisal of what he does, perhaps. But it also seems to indicate that his morals are sliding more and more. He no longer seems to acknowledge that he champions causes or fights for certain truths as he did in his earlier days. Could this change in personal ethics affect what kind of mercy he shows?

            There are some things that we see this latest Doctor doing that certainly seem to support this. Right in his very first story, some very heavy aspersions are cast on the quality of his mercy. Does the cyborg jump from the "escape pod" at the end of the story or does the Doctor push him out? We'll never know, of course. But the fact that we no longer see the Doctor as not being capable of such an act speaks volumes about how far the character has gone from the pacifist he once was. 

              An even more disturbing example of his even-deeper ruthlessness occurs during the season finale. Clara has Missy (and/or the Master) at point-blank range and is ready to exact vengeance upon her for what she has done to Danny Pink and humanity, in general. The Doctor takes the weapon from her and is willing to save her from becoming a murderer by killing Missy, himself. But for the intervention of the Cyber-Brigadier, the Doctor seems ready to pull the trigger. We can't say for sure, of course. He may have stopped himself. But it really does seem like the Doctor was more-than-ready to directly kill someone in cold blood. 

            We should also point out, however, how he handles the Boneless in Flatline. He does give them every opportunity to prove that the deaths they are causing are accidents. The result of misunderstanding how three-dimensional beings work. Only when he definitely sees that the Two-D creatures are up to no good does he really take measures to beat them back and cause them genuine harm. Again, we still see vestiges of the more gentle and understanding man that he once was. He's not quite as vicious as he may seem. 

         Like the First and Sixth Doctors, the Twelfth Doctor seems to be softening as he progresses. He doesn't even seem to mind hugging anymore! From what we've seen of the latest season (and, perhaps, I should be waiting until the season is done to be writing this but that's just the sort of spur-of-the-moment guy that I am!), a stronger sense of mercy seems to be prevailing as he becomes a warmer personality. He embarrasses the Mire rather than just wiping them out. He's refusing to let UNIT use the Zygon virus even though they pose such a serious threat to humanity. This really does feel like the Sixth Doctor going from Season 22 to Trial of a Time Lord all over again: a more approachable personality who commits less violence. 

            Is Doctor Twelve taking a similar course? After multiple incarnations of feeling too old to have any mercy left, could the Pacifist Within be re-awakening? 

             We'll have to wait and see....



         
Missed the first part? Here it is: 

http://robtymec.blogspot.ca/2015/10/analytical-quality-of-mercy.html