FIXING CONTINUITY GLITCHES:
QUICK FIXES - 2
Another installment of "Quick Fixes". An essay that tackles a few of the minor continuity issues that aren't big enough to merit a full posting. Here's my take on a few smaller problems in Doctor Who canon...
HOW DID DAVROS GET SO SMART?
Davros may be one of the Doctor's greatest foes but there is a problem with the huge leap of knowledge he has in Resurrection of the Daleks.
In his first story, he is a brilliant scientist from the planet Skaro who comes to grips with the facts that a strange time traveller named "the Doctor" is interfering with his Mark III Travel Machine project. In his second appearance, the Daleks come back for him many years later to aquire his help with the Movellans. The annoying time travelling Doctor shows up again and causes more problems. At the end of Destiny of the Daleks, Davros is cryogenically frozen so he can be brought to the appropriate intergalactic government and made to answer for his crimes against humanity. But Davros still doesn't know who this Doctor fellow is. He has no idea where he came from or what he's about. He's just someone who keeps creating problems for him.
But when Davros is freed from his cryogenic prison in his next televised adventure - we run into a little situation. Almost immediately, he identifies the Doctor as a Time Lord. Later, when the Doctor is holding him at gunpoint, the Skarosian Mutant displays all kinds of knowledge about Time Lord culture, in general.
The big question, of course, is where did Davros get the oppurtunity to learn this? He doesn't appear to know any of this stuff during Genesis or Destinty of the Daleks. We're guessing that, for the most part, he was frozen in a block of ice til he was released in Resurrection of the Daleks (he may have been thawed out to receive his sentence at his trial but that wouldn't have been for long and he would've been under heavy guard the whole time). So how did he learn about the Doctor being a Time Lord and what Time Lords are like when there are a whole bunch of civilizations out there who never became advanced enough to even know of their existence?
A snippet of dialogue in Part Two gives us a clue:
DAVROS: Ninety years! Ninety years of mind-numbing boredom!
LYTTON: You were conscious the whole time?
This bit of dialogue almost creates a problem of its own. How can someone sit in suspended animation for so long and not be allowed to sleep but come out of it with any kind of sanity intact? Even someone as strong-willed as Davros would be a drooling mass of incomprehensensible madness under those sort of conditions.
To find an answer, we've got to look ahead to The Wedding of River Song.
Poor old Dorium gets his head chopped off in A Good Man Goes To War, but we learn that his affluence gets him some preferential treatment. Somehow, his severed head is kept alive. It also had a Wi-Fi chip implanted into it so that he could have the intergalactic equivalent of the internet beamed into his brain to keep him entertained. My guess is that Davros was given a similar chip before his sentence was carried out. Being the genius that he is, he was able to eventually hack his way into certain hidden files that contain information concerning the Doctor and the Time Lords. When Commander Lytton and his taskforce, at last, release him - he is quick to show off his new-found knowledge.
Of course, another big question arises about Davros in this particular story. Where did he get that weird injector thingy that turns people into his slave? My guess would be that he's always had it. Even though there have been previous occasions where it may have served him well, he never sees fit to use it til that fateful moment on the prison ship.
WHAT ABOUT ALL THOSE ZYGONS?
The Zygon Invasion/The Zygon Inversion was a magnificient story with one of the best monologues in the history of the whole series. But there is a plot point that it mentions but never clearly explains. Steven Moffat even offered a bit of an elaboration in a recent issue of Doctor Who Magazine - but he seemed only so serious in his answer.
The problem that exists with this story is that it explicitly stated that 20 million Zygons are now living secretly among us. We know that the Zygons have developed shape-shifting technology that allow them to duplicate the image of other beings and impersonate them. So it's entirely possible for them to do that. The Big Question is: How are they doing it?
According to what we've learnt about Zygons, the people they duplicate need to be incarcerated in some way. They tuck them into a weird alcove or place weird blobby bits on them. In this particular story, we see them trapped in pods. So did the Zygons do this to 20 million people and take over their lives? How would UNIT allow this? If they didn't and both the human and their Zygon duplicate are living independent lives, how do you deal with that many people being copied? It would get pretty complicated with just a few people being doubled - but 20 million? It's just a little too logistical of a mess.
I think the key word to focus in on is the fact that Zygons are commonly referred to as shapeshifters. Not "doubles" or "duplicators" or something like that. A shapeshifter indicates to me that they can copy someone, but they can also create forms of their own. I'm inclined to believe that the identities the Zygons took on were images they made up on their own. They took the basic template of a human body and came up with random appearances. The people they impersonate have not properly existed.
The fact that we see examples of shapeshifting technology that we've not seen them accomplish in previous stories and even get dialogue claiming they have improved this ability gets me to believe this idea even more. Yes, Zygons can still duplicate other peoples' image - but they can also just make up entirely new human appearances. It's still a pretty tall order to create 20 million false identities for people that have never existed - but it's considerably easier than trying to get 20 million copies of people to exist on the same planet.
TRAVEL ABOARD THE TARDIS
A question that has persisted through both eras of the show: what is travel aboard the TARDIS really like?
We've seen exterior shots of the TARDIS where the Doctor and companion(s) enter at the end of the adventure and the time capsule vanishes within seconds of them embarking. But we've also seen shots of the interior of the TARDIS after the crew have entered from outside and they spend several minutes chatting (or, during the 80s, arguing) before the Doctor finally sets the time rotor in motion and gets the TARDIS dematerialising.
Equally so, we've seen exterior shots of the TARDIS leaving Point A and going to Point B instaneously. Other times, when we see that sort of trip being done - but with interior shots - it seems to take several minutes.
So what, exactly, is going on? Does the TARDIS have good days where it can dematerialize and rematerialize quickly? And then rough days where it doesn't go so well?
My guess would be that time runs a little bit faster inside the TARDIS. So you can enter it and fart around for a few minutes before taking off - but, in the Outside World, she leaves immediately. Being one of the most sophisticated time vessels in the Universe, it would probably be easy to have that sort of trick in place.
Why would you have it, though? Well, my guess would be that when the Doctor is travelling alone - he frequently shuts that feature off. But if he has companions aboard, he keeps it running. Humans (or Trakenites or Alzarians and so on...) are accustomed to a bit of travel time when they're in a vehicle. To suddenly deprive them of that might be a little disconcerting. So a "fast time" optional feature is built into a TARDIS just in case you want a little lag between destinations. Just so it feels a little bit more like a legitimate trip.
Here's the first installment of Quick Fixes, by the way: