In an effort to brace myself for the departure of Doctor Twelve, I cracked open the DVDs I have from his era. I even purposely re-watched Time of the Doctor just to observe his first few seconds of life at the end of the story.
At the time of writing this, I just wrapped up Series 8. I couldn't help but notice a couple of plotholes that end up presenting themselves' over the course of the twelve episodes. I thought I'd take a shot at trying to explain some of them.
WHAT HAPPENED TO ORSON?
This is probably the biggest one of the season. Listen is all about travelling up and down the timeline of Danny Pink to discover things about his past and future. As we get to the latter part of the episode, it's heavily implied that Danny and Clara will get together and have kids. Those kids will, in turn, have kids of their own. After a few more generations, one of those descendants will be Orson Pink -an astronaut in a time travel experiment that the Doctor and Clara will rescue when he's caught in the far-flung future.
All this is quite pretty until we get to the end of Series 8 and discover that Danny Pink dies. A season later, Clara also passes on (sort of). So how can they have descendants when both are dead without actually procreating before they went?
The simplest answer would be that this is another branch of the Pink family. That Danny and Clara never have kids but some other people with the last name Pink, do. This theory only holds together so well, though. Orson definitely looks to be related to Danny but Danny grew up an orphan. There seemed no indication that he had siblings or any sort of immediate family that he knew about. The heirloom that Orson has kept shoots down the idea even more. Why would he have it unless he was directly descended from Danny Pink?
Another theory might be that we have not seen the full story of Clara and Danny. Clara has been extracted from just before her death and is now travelling around with Me in a stolen TARDIS. Perhaps she finds some way to finally get Danny back and they have a family. Again, the idea only works so well. It is difficult to believe that a woman who no longer has a pulse would still be capable of becoming pregnant.
The most likely explanation is that Orson Pink is now an aborted timeline. The Doctor did say he'd shut off the TARDIS' safeguards. Perhaps this enabled the ship to explore possible futures rather than true ones. Particularly since she was being steered through the telepathic circuits. When Clara plugged herself into the console, she was going to marry Danny and have kids. So the TARDIS followed that eventuality. But as her and Danny's timelines actually progressed, things took a more tragic turn. There would be no Orson Pink, after all. Another astronaut would be recruited for the mission because the Pink family line was cut off when Danny died.
So the future Clara saw during Listen only existed during that particular moment. The TARDIS doesn't usually travel through time in such a manner. But with safeguards off and telepathic circuits in control, these things can happen.
I will be the first to admit, In the Forest of the Night is far from being one of my favorite Doctor Who stories. Most of fandom seems to agree with the sentiment. One of its biggest problems, of course, is the sudden re-appearance of Maebh's sister, Annabel, at the end of the episode. Annabel had gone missing but is, suddenly, returned to Maebh and her mother. Apparently, she'd been hiding behind some bushes the whole time!
How does this happen?
Much of In the Forest of the Night is highly subjective and not a lot of clear answers are given about anything. The bit with Annabel, however, is a bit too unexplained. So let's see if we can come up with something.
The story seems to imply that there has been an ancient race or energy or intelligence that has existed on the Earth since the dawn of its creation. This race protects the Earth from certain natural disasters from time-to-time. In the case of extreme solar flares, it can cause trees to rapidly grow and use the oxygen those trees produce to deflect the harmful rays of the sun. My guess is that the race can control energy to such an extent that they can use it to re-form matter. Hence, their ability to produce and remove forests at a moment's notice.
Since Maebh helped out significantly during the whole crisis, the ancient race decides to reward her. They see that her greatest desire is to get her sister back. So they re-create Annabel. The original was probably abducted and met some kind of untimely end. The body was never found. But the copy is probably instilled with the memories Annabel had up to the moment where she was taken. She re-joins her family and they pick up where they left off.
And everyone lives happily ever after....
WHAT CAME FIRST? THE GIANT SPACE CHICKEN OR THE MOON EGG?
This one seemed to almost outrage fans. They seemed convinced in Kill the Moon that it was an impossibility of physics and/or biology that a giant alien can suddenly leave behind a new egg in its place immediately after it has just hatched from its own egg.
I'm not entirely sure why this is so upsetting as it doesn't seem particularly impossible to me. This is an alien we're talking about so its life-cycle can be very different from ours. I do see the explanation given in the episode as a bit of an over-simplification. I've come up with something a bit more specific. My science might still be just as wonky - so I apologize in advance if it still offends you.
I'd like to think that, as the creature was nearing its hatching, a sort of mitosis occurred. A second much younger creature was formed from it and started gestating in the egg with it. When it was time for the older space-chicken to finally emerge into the Universe, it broke through its shell but then quickly re-wove it around the younger embryo so it could continue to gestate (Erato was seen to do something similar in Creature from the Pit to create a spaceship for himself).
Of course, as this younger embryo in the re-sealed egg nears maturity, it will go through a similar process. The mitosis will happen inside the egg again and the mature creature will hastily re-assemble the shell after it hatches to keep the younger embryo alive. This just how the species survives in this particular alien race.
That's how I see it, at least. It seems slightly more plausible, this way.
That's my take on some of the bigger problems of Series 8. It would like to emphasize that, even with the plotholes, I think the season is particularly brilliant. I've been very happy with the Twelfth Doctor era and I will be very upset to see him go. I'm also quite sad that Moff is leaving, too. Chris Chibnall has some big shoes to fill...
Enjoying "Quick Fixes"? Here's another one: The original, you might say!