Tuesday, 9 October 2018


A little over a year ago, I took it upon myself to voice my opinion on the casting of a woman in the role of the Doctor (you can see it here:http://robtymec.blogspot.com/2017/07/unadulterated-boorish-opinion-female.html). For those of you who are just too damned lazy and/or occupied to go back and read it, the basic gist of the essay was that I would need to see her in action before I could express any real opinion on the matter. 

So, I've seen her in action, now. What do I think of her? Well, let's take up an entire essay discussing it....


Jodie, pretty much, follows the pattern both Paul McGann and Chris Eccleston used. She hits the ground running. Someone else said it best in a review I watched on YouTube: from the moment she falls through the ceiling of the train, she is the Doctor. I totally agree with that sentiment.

In some ways, she almost had no choice but to have this sort of attack on the role. Frequently, new Doctors are given a bit of time to settle into the part. But, like McGann and Eccleston, she was part of a crucial moment in the series. She needed to establish herself firmly to give the show, itself, a proper foothold with its audience. She does all that quite admirably. I'm very impressed with the presence she shows. I'd go so far to say that her performance was one of the most solid ones I've seen in a New Doctor Story.

Purely from a performance standpoint, the Thirteenth Doctor is awesome. She might be a woman, now - but she is still the Doctor. I look forward to seeing more of her. Wherever she takes the character, I think I will enjoy it.


It's always a good choice to keep the first story of a new Doctor (or, as I like to call them, a New Doctor Story) fairly simple. We're trying to get used to a change of the lead in the show and it's good for the writer to use up a lot of screentime familiarizing us with them. They need to devote some time to just letting us see what sort of quirks the latest incarnation might have. As much as some fans might revile Twin Dilemma, making its central thrust the fact that Peri is having a hell time accepting the Doctor's change was a good move. And this rings true with so many other New Doctor Stories that make this same choice. I'm glad that The Woman Who Fell to Earth uses thar format too.

There are a few things that particularly stand out in the episode. Probably the strongest is the wonderful speech that the Thirteenth Doctor delivers about settling into a new incarnation. Not only does it have a gorgeous poetic quality to it, but it offers some great insights into the character. It's one of those speeches that will probably make it into the Great Monologues of Doctor Who Hall of Fame. Along with the "Homo Sapiens!" speech in Ark In Space or "Hello Stone Henge!" in The Pandorica Opens.

I really like the stakes of Woman Who Fell. She's not stopping an invasion of Earth or saving the Universe. She's just trying to stop a Stenza from killing one person (well, placing one person in eternal torment - if you want to get technical). This might not even stop the alien species from using the Earth as a hunting ground, but it will make a difference to that one person. It's a great way to show where the Doctor stands. She will tolerate no injustice on any level. No matter how slight.

I also quite like the monster in this story. We learn a lot about him with the little dialogue he's provided. He has a sort of warped warrior's code and can kill people the way Kane did in Dragonfire. I also love that he has a ball of floaty electric eels to help him! He was really quite cool.

Yes, he does bear just the vaguest resemblance to The Predator. Both in terms of appearance (he has an ugly face beneath his space helmet) and habit (he uses Earth as a hunting ground). But, really, the similarities end there. So can we stop with the "he's a total rip-off of The Predator!" comments I'm already starting to see. People that are doing this may want to refer to another UNADULTERATED BOORISH OPINION essay that I've written (http://robtymec.blogspot.com/2017/07/unadulterated-boorish-opinion-silliness.html).

Oh yes, the Doctor jumping from one crane to another was brilliant. 


While I have praised Woman Who Fell to Earth for keeping its plot simple, it does still mean that the episode can still only inspire so much wonder. This is always the great paradox of any New Doctor Story. It can't be complicated. But its lack of complication means it will, usually, be mediocre.

It's not to say that it didn't have the potential to be great. I consider, at least, three New Doctor Stories to be outstanding (Power of the Daleks, Spearhead from Space and Castrovalva). It also had the potential to be awful, too, of course. One New Doctor Story achieves this in my Book (not Twin Dilemma or Time and the Rani - but rather, Robot). Woman Who Fell sits in the middle with so many other New Doctor Stories. A nice foundation is built as we get to know this latest incarnation. But it doesn't achieve much beyond that. Since that is the real point of the whole episode - we're satisfied. But there is that lingering feeling of: "this could have been better".

We're also seeing a bit of that "Exposition is Evil" mentality that writers for Doctor Who all seem to have. From what I gather, the Doctor survives her fall from the TARDIS because she's still within the first 13 hours of her regeneration and can heal her wounds (which is what the whole nap on the couch was about). It would be nice if she had been given a line to explain that, though.

Otherwise, there's not much else I can say that I find bad about the first impression a female Doctor has made on me. Both, in terms of performance and story, she's doing quite well. 


There is but one more thing that I wish to take up before I click on the "Publish" prompt and let you guys endure my latest bloated opinion. We saw just a hint of it in this episode and I'm hoping we don't see too much more of it. A bit more would be okay - but I hope they don't abuse it.

A female Doctor is certainly empowering. It's a great message that's being sent to women of all ages: Gender does not define heroism. Women can be anything - even the Doctor. I'm all for this. But I do hope these feminist undertones remain undertones and don't start getting crammed down our throat.

Rescuing Karl on the crane was a full reversal of the classic "damsel in distress" trope. More times than I can count, the Classic Series gave us this scenario. Each time that they did, I found it fairly nauseating. A woman being completely useless unless a man can save her was something I found a bit distasteful. It marred the reputation of many female companions from the 60s because it made them look like they could do nothing without a man nearby to look after them.

A female Doctor saving a completely useless male victim was a cute moment that almost seems to acknowledge all that horribly sexist writing from yesteryear and make up for a it a bit. But I hope we don't push this particular agenda too hard. I'm nervous that the show will keep giving us male characters that are near-superfluous and women who are getting everything accomplished. It didn't help that neither Graham nor Ryan contribute much to the plot either. Whereas Grace and Yas do take a lot more initiative and solve more problems. Again, if this only happens now and again - I'm perfectly cool with it. But, if every episode has a sort of "Girls rule. Boys Drool." undertone to it, it could get tiresome fast. 

We may see this some more. I don't mind if it only happens now and again. In fact, it should be something we occasionally witness. It is a sort of re-dressing of the balance. But I hope it's not continuous. At this point though, we can't tell how much more this will occur. We'll have to wait and see what the rest of the season gives us....

Okay, so that's the second installment on this particular series. There will be one more at the end of the season. Normally, I wouldn't be writing anything so opinion-based like this at regular intervals. I would just let the fans enjoy the new season without having to hear my reviews about it. But so much opinion is going to get thrown around this season because of the decision Chibnall made with the casting that I feel I should "throw in" a bit, myself. I just have the advantage of a well-read blog to use as my platform.  

Saturday, 29 September 2018


I was thinking of doing an ANALYTICAL essay since it had been a while. I even had a couple of cool ideas for some recurring concepts in the show that I'd like to explore. But then I looked at this blog's stats and saw that you guys have been obsessed with CHRONOLOGIES AND TIMELINES, lately. Particularly the one I did for River Song (which is nice to see - I really put a lot of work into that one!  Just in case you haven't looked at it, yet:   http://robtymec.blogspot.com/2017/03/chronologies-and-timelines-complex.html). So I thought to myself:  "Give the people what they want!" and decided to set myself to work on figuring out the linear history of a character we've seen several times throughout the series. 

If you'll recall the last time I wrote in this style, I pointed out how I was running out of material. That there just weren't that many returning characters and/or monsters who still needed their timelines sorted. But, upon reflection, I realized there were a lot more than I had originally believed.    

I was almost embarrassed to have forgotten about the Great Intelligence. He spans both the Classic and New Series and his story is definitely told out of order. I'm almost ashamed I haven't covered him sooner. 


If you read my History of Weeping Angels essay, you'll note that I was complaining about how little we truly know about this particular species. Well, I'm about to complain even more! 

We have, at best, slight "teases" about where the Great Intelligence may have come from or even what he truly he is. For the most part, we have only seen his activities on Earth. I believe he has caused all kinds of trouble on other planets before he visited humanity.That, like so many other Who Monsters, he probably has a long history of invading and absorbing worlds. But, because the Doctor defends the Earth as well as he does, he ended up becoming stranded here for far longer than he expected.

But this still tells us very little about him. What exactly is the Great Intelligence? 

While various forms of spin-off fiction have come up with different types of origin stories for him, little is said about where he came from in the actual TV Show. The Second Doctor speaks of him as being a sort of formless mist hanging in Space that has an evil sentience to it. My guess is that this mist can look over great distances and pick out planets that it sees as worthy of occupation.

Beyond that, however, we really don't know what he is. I do like the idea the New and Missing Adventures by Virgin Books put forward. That he is part of a race of "Ancients" that existed in the Universe before us that managed to slip into our own as theirs died. But this is far from canonical. As always, I go with what is said in transmitted episodes only (for the most part). Since the show does seem to be done telling his story, we will probably never truly learn his origins.


The Great Intelligence looks for planets that are populated by intelligent creatures that show great potential. They must be using a decent level of technology - but it doesn't need to be that advanced. Victorian-era Earth was suitable enough. When he finds an acceptable culture to invade, he concentrates himself into crystal form and projects himself towards that planet.

It is when he first arrives on a new planet that he is at his weakest. No doubt, the long journey he has taken from wherever he was sitting in the Universe as a mist has rendered him frail. He barely has an identity of his own and must "mirror" the emotions of the beings on the world he has arrived on for a time before he can re-constitute himself.

The Intelligence will find one being in specific to form a telepathic bond with. It searches out someone who is largely anti-social. This way, the potential host will be eager to connect with him. The two of them will then go about to find a way to hybridize the local population so that the Intelligence's crystalline form can merge with the DNA of the dominant species of that world.


When the Great Intelligence arrives on Earth in 1842, he adopts his usual strategy by bonding with a young boy named Walter Simeon. He then assists the boy in rising to prominence so that he can amass the appropriate resources for the Great Intelligence to actualize himself and invade the Earth.

In his crystalline form, the Intelligence is quite similar to snow (which makes sense, he has to withstand the extreme cold of outer space as he travels through it). Earth's warm climate makes it a difficult place to establish a foothold in. But, after a good fifty years, Simeon and his benefactor devise a way to overcome this limitation. Fortunately, the Doctor comes out of his funk over losing Rory and Amy and thwarts their plans.

It is, more so, by luck that the Doctor wins this battle. In fact, he makes a tactical mistake by using a memory worm on Simeon. Up until that moment, the Great Intelligence was never able to take over his host's mind. But, now that Simeon has been emptied of all memories, he can completely possess him. This seems to even open the door for the Great Intelligence to completely control the minds of other humans, too. As we will see more examples of him doing this in the future.

The Intelligence has made mistakes of his own, however. He'd left too great of a critical mass of himself around the home of Captain Latimer. When Clara dies (or, more accurately, one of her splinters dies) the grief her death causes overwhelms the Intelligence's psychic receptors and causes him to disperse. More than likely, he reverts back to gaseous form and is hovering somewhere just outside of Earth's atmosphere for quite some time.

SPECIAL NOTE: It is uncertain if the Doctor willingly helps the Great Intelligence by letting him see a map of the London Underground in 1967 or if it's done by accident. As he stands at Clara's grave with the Paternoster Gang, he seems to only vaguely remember his old enemy (which makes sense - it's been centuries in his own timeline since he last fought him). But he also acts very intentionally in the way he presents the tin with the map on it. As if he knows he's helping to cement certain things that will happen in the Great Intelligence's future. So it's difficult to tell what he's up to, here. Does he know who he's dealing with and is purposely giving him a clue to his own future? Or was that all by accident? If there was a greater amount of things to expound upon, I could almost make this a POINT OF DEBATE essay! 


The Intelligence floats in space just beyond our world - trying to find a way back in. Again, he needs to form a psychic bond with someone isolated to assist him in re-actualizing himself. His brief moment of possessing Simeon's mind has benefited him greatly, though. He is now able to completely take over the minds of his hosts if he needs to.

He finds the partnership he's looking for, this time, from a monk in Tibet named Padmasambhava (who wins the "Doctor Who Character with the Longest Name" contest). Through various meditation techniques, Padmasambhava has learnt to extend his consciousness and even his lifespan. During astral projection, he makes contact with the Great Intelligence and becomes mentally enslaved to him. Although, we should note that the Intelligence's ability to control minds is not perfect, yet. Padmasambhava does manage to re-assert his identity from time-to-time.

This time, the Intelligence focuses heavily on technology to assist him in his invasion plans. He has Padmasambhava build robots to work for him and construct a specific relay point to draw his consciousness to Earth. Rather than crystal, he will manifest himself as a sort of a fungus. His plans are about to reach fruition sometime in the 1930s when the Doctor arrives at the Detsen monastery and puts a stop to it. Ultimately, he gets Jamie to smash the relay point (in the form of a small pyramid) and cut the Intelligence's connection to our world. With that bond severed, his Yetis and even Padmasambhava become lifeless.

SPECIAL NOTE 1: The Great Intelligence has met the Doctor previous to this tale. There is no specific "So Doctor, we meet again..." speech to make this readily apparent. But the Intelligence does seem to understand who he is quite quickly. Which could, if you're willing to make the stretch, indicate prior experience with him. Yes, the Doctor's appearance is different but the Intelligence probably knows about Time Lords and is aware they can regenerate. Like Time Lords, he probably uses telepathic recognition, anyway. Physical appearance has little bearing in this process. The Doctor is identified by his mind pattern.

SPECIAL NOTE 2: The Abominable Snowmen seems to heavily insinuate that the plans of Padmasambhava and the Great Intelligence take some 300 years. This would, of course, make the timeline of The Snowmen rather complicated. Was the Great Intelligence working two plans at once to manifest himself?

I'm more inclined to believe that the Intelligence makes contact with Padmasambhava shortly after his failure with Simeon. That Padmasambhava works away for a good fifty years under the Intelligence's dominion. His extended lifespan is due more to the ways in which he expanded his consciousnsess before he makes mental contact with the Intelligence (there have been real-life examples of Tibetan monks living abnormally long lives so this isn't too huge of a stretch). The Intelligence continues sustaining him artificially after he takes him over until the relay point is finally broken.


While his plans in Tibet may have been ruined, this doesn't stop the Great Intelligence from trying to establish another bridgehead to Earth. This time, we don't see how he does it.  But he definitely manages to manifest himself as a fungus on the planet's surface. He re-builds some of his technology that he first used in Tibet. Shortly thereafter, the events of Web of Fear ensue.

Thanks to a clue given to him during his first encounter with the Doctor, he uses the London Underground as a tactical point in his invasion plans. He will probably establish a foothold in Britain's capitol city and then sweep out across the rest of the world.

This time, however, he also wishes to gain mastery over all of time and space by absorbing the Doctor's knowledge into him. He has fought the Time Lord several times, now, and sees how taking all his memories from him could be of enormous benefit. Now an expert at mind control, he gets his slaves to construct special machinery to do this. The Doctor manages to secretly fiddle with the device so that it will destroy the Intelligence rather than absorb his mind. However, the Time Lord keeps his meddling a secret from his friends. They smash the machine before it can accomplish this. Which, again, sends the Great Intelligence back into space in his gaseous form.

I do believe that, at this point, the Great Intelligence has given up on conquering Earth. He wishes to go elsewhere in the Universe. However, he has been greatly weakened by all his defeats and projecting himself over great distances is too heavy of a task for him. He must find ways to build back up his strength.


The Great Intelligence almost appears to have a "soft spot" for the host he first used when coming to Earth and starts his using his image, again. He doesn't actually re-create his body, yet. But when he appears to his hosts as a mental image, he uses his form.

Over the next few decades, the Intelligence finds various means to simply absorb the minds of other sentient beings into himself. This enables him to build up his strength so that he can, eventually, project himself to another world more suitable for occupation (ie: a planet the Doctor is less likely to visit). He will, however, always remember his various defeats at the Doctor's hand. Though he claims in Web of Fear that he isn't motivated by revenge - he was fibbing just a tad. Someday, he would like to well and truly crush the Time Lord.

With the creation of Wi-Fi in the 21st Century, the Intelligence sees an excellent means of taking in vast amounts of human minds all at once. This can finally give him all the power he needs to leave Earth. Using a host who he has been completely controlling since the earliest days of her childhood, the Intelligence sets up a special "dummy company" that will enable him undertake his mass absorption.

The Bells of Saint John takes place, here.

Though he is defeated, once more, by the Eleventh Doctor - the Intelligence has gained the strength he needs to leave Earth. But he does seriously hate the Doctor, now. He will go out into the Universe and wreak havoc for quite some time. But, someday, he will get his revenge.... 


It's my personal belief that, sometime after Bells of Saint John, the Great Intelligence achieves escape velocity and leaves the Earth. He conquers many more worlds and plunders their technology. This, in turn, enables him to move through our Universe in a smoother fashion. Eventually, he reaches a point where he can travel anywhere in Time and Space. He also creates a special vessel in which he can pour his consciousness into. He then makes copies of that body so that if one is destroyed, he can easily transfer himself into another. He dubs these special bodies: The Whisper Men.

For over 2 000 years, a desire to exact revenge on the Doctor still burns in his heart. Eventually, the Great Intelligence learns of the Doctor's final death on Trenzalore. Understanding the sort of rupture in reality that a time traveler's death would cause, he uses this to his advantage to create a scenario of ultimate vengeance. 

Re-adopting the shape of Dr. Simeon, the Great Intelligence goes back in time to kidnap the Paternoster Gang. He knows this will lure the Doctor into any kind of trap of his devising. The "scar" the Doctor's death will leave in time is inside the TARDIS. Even though it is also dying, the Intelligence cannot enter the TARDIS without the Doctor's help. So he takes the Paternoster Gang to Trenzalore and forces the Doctor to open the TARDIS doors for him (well, technically, the ghost of River Song does it - but that's a complicated story in itself!).

Entering the time fissure of the Doctor's death, the Great Intelligence alters the Doctor's past so that he loses to the Great Intelligence over and over. This very act erases him from existence. From this point onward, he is lost within the Doctor's timeline.But he is content with this. He has achieved his revenge.

Until, of course, Clara also enters the Wound in Time and undoes everything the Great Intelligence has accomplished. Re-setting the Doctor's timeline to the way it was meant to be. The action also turns her into The Impossible Girl and creates a mystery in the Doctor's life that he spends the better part of a season trying to solve! 

It seems that the Great Intelligence has reached his end, here. Not only did he fail to achieve his revenge. But that lust for vengeance destroyed him in the process.

The Universe has rid itself of one of its worst menaces.

One of the rare occasions during a CHRONOLOGY AND TIMELINES essay where we actually see a definite ending to the being we are chronicling. This wasn't one of the more difficult timelines to set up, but I do hope I managed to reconcile a few of its inconsistencies effectively. Particularly the idea of getting The Snowmen and The Abominable Snowmen to work a bit better within each others' contexts.   

As I mentioned in the intro, there are a few more timelines for me to sort out. I'll probably do another one of these soon... 

Monday, 3 September 2018


Not quite a new type of essay, but a new series that I'll be featuring in my UNADULTERATED BOORISH OPINION style of essays. 

This will be similar to the "Unsung Classics" that I, sometimes, like to write about but it will have its own slant. While an Unsung Classic is a great story that should have gotten more props than it deserves, "Was It Really So Bad?!" is about stories with legitimate problems to them that I feel have been blown out of proportion. They're not quite Guilty Pleasures (we've written about those in a BOOK OF LISTS series. Here's the first of the five - just keep clicking to the next entry if you want to keep going:  http://robtymec.blogspot.com/2016/05/book-of-lists-top-five-guilty-pleasures.html). Guilty Pleasures are legitimately bad but I still like them, somehow. A "Was It Really So Bad?" story may have misfired on a few fronts but I still wouldn't call it a legitimate "clunker". It's still actually quite decent most of the time. But, because of a few rough patches, Fandom has decided that it absolutely sucks. My point in this particular type of essay is to try to build a bit of a case in the tale's defense. 

If you think the story I'm defending stinks then I probably won't change your opinion. But I'll still enjoy the cathartic value of stating what I think about the whole thing and how much it irritates me that fans crap on something that was actually half-decent. 


It's the mid-80s. We've all just settled down from a really fun anniversary celebration that wasn't big on plot but still hit all the right notes with nostalgia. Season 21 comes along a short while later and we're all anxious to see what it holds. "Hooray!" We rejoice, "The Silurians and Sea Devils are coming back!"

What ends up hitting our screens, however, doesn't make us rejoice so much. There are a few glaring problems with Warriors of the Deep that let Fandom down so much that they turned on the whole thing rather quickly. So much so, that it tends to make it on to a lot of peoples' Worst of Lists.

This can happen when an old monster is brought back and the story is a bit lacking in places. Even in the New Series, we've seen this occur. Sontaran Strategem/Poison Sky, for instance, was a passable tale. But, because it had Sontarans attached to it, our disappointment becomes magnified. An okay story becomes more heavily reviled because it failed to re-introduce an old foe effectively.

I suggest that Poor 'Ole Warriors of the Deep got hit that way, too. If we can look past a few things and get over that it's not the best story featuring Silurians and/or Sea Devils (though, it's not the worst, either) then we actually find that there's still a fair amount of decent things about it.


There's an interesting behind-the-scenes story that many fans feel contributes quite strongly to the detriment of Warriors of the Deep. Johnny Byrne, the author of the story, specified in the script that Seabase 4 should be very dark and gloomy and appear very worn down. It was meant to symbolize how the Cold War, itself, had gone on way more than it should and was causing everything to decay. The production team, for whatever reason, chose to go another way with it. Which is, ultimately, how things go in the Biz. What you write on the page doesn't always make it to the screen. Johnny Byrne, however, ended up having so many problems with this that he never contributed again.

But, as much as Byrne's specifications might have helped contribute to the atmosphere of the adventure, I don't think that going against his wishes did any actual real damage (though some fans would like to think otherwise). The truth of the matter is, the sets to Warriors of the Deep look great. Aside from a wobble here and there during action sequences and some very obvious 80s digital images on display screens, they hold up quite well. Everything looks pretty slick, really. So we shouldn't complain too hard that Byrne's vision wasn't accomplished. Cause what we did get was still quite impressive. So let's brush aside that Popular Fan Objection here and now. Sea Base 4 might not have looked the way it was intended to be - but it still looked pretty good. Some might even say awesome. 

Another great strength to this story is pacing. Earthshock set this interesting precedent in the Peter Davison Era. If a famous monster from the past was coming back, then the whole plot needed to feel like things were moving very quickly. There was a stronger emphasis on action and there might even, perhaps, be a bit of grittiness to the whole thing. Warriors of the Deep accomplishes this quite well. It doesn't quite "hit the ground running" like Earthshock or Resurrection of the Daleks did. We do get some establishing scenes that move a little more lazily. But that sense of pace does start kicking in fairly early in the game. Once the TARDIS confronts the defense satellite, a very nice sense of urgency ensues. The scenes are stacked against each other quite effectively for Parts 1 and 2 as things propel at a very good speed. That idea of the TARDIS crew always being in peril is well-established in the first half of the story. We really are whisked along quite nicely in the adventure. But things feel more tense than normal. Which, again, is the way things seem to work when Doctor Five is dealing with a returning monster. Honestly, those first 2 parts of Warriors of the Deep are pretty damned solid.

Some folks get upset that the Silurians have shells, now. That it's a blatant attempt to cash in on the Ninja Turtle Fever that was going on at the time. I'm not sure how valid of an issue that is. The costumes for both species actually look quite good. There's a bit of a problem with the heads here and there - a Silurian mask was not put on properly at one point. And the heads of the Sea Devils are actually hats that hang off the artistes poorly, sometimes. But these sort of problems happen quite often in Classic Who. I find it hard to get too caught up in it. But I do think that the updates that were done to both creatures were very strong.


For me, Part Three is where some real problems start to arise. The cliffhanger to Part One was great. That was actually a really good fight sequence. But Part Two's ending signposts a big issue on the horizon. The sequence of events is well-written. We are genuinely concerned for the Doctor and Tegan as they get trapped on the wrong side of the bulkhead. But the execution of that scene falls very flat. And much of the direction in Part Three continues suffering.

The real problem here, of course, is the Myrka. Even by Classic Who standards, the visual is just too embarrassing to handle. Again, as a concept, it works well. It's nice to see a very different kind of monster trying to be created. But what we actually get is laughable. It's just difficult to handle a pantomime horse with any degree of seriousness. It doesn't help that several cringe-worthy visuals happen around the thing, too. Our first sight of it through airlock doors that are blatantly not made of metal is pretty ludicrous. As is the "fight" that Ingrid Pitt is meant to have with it before she perishes. It's all pretty awful. This is a legitimate Fan Objection that I can't really dismiss. The Myrka really does ruin things for a bit.

What Fandom doesn't seem to notice is that the writing is also only doing so well in this episode. Warriors of the Deep, I feel, would have worked so much better if they had started doing those three-parters in the McCoy era right here. Byrne is really trying to sustain the episode when there isn't quite enough plot. There's some structural issues, too. The most blatant being just how long it takes for Commander Vorshak to get from the bulkhead to the Bridge. Watch it for yourself. Everyone else displaces themselves quite quickly after the Myrka and the Sea Devils break through. Vorshak just seems to stroll along during all the peril. Did he stop for a bowel movement or something?  

There's another really silly writing choice that gets made that I feel needs to be highlighted. When Nilson is uncovered as the traitor - no one thinks to disarm him. Wouldn't that be the first thing one would do in a military operation when someone is suspected of treason?!  Instead, Nilson makes his escape and leads us to a very weak cliffhanger.

Really, for my money, Part Three is where things go off the rails for a bit. Most complaints that are leveled against it cannot be disputed. This is where Warriors of the Deep becomes legitimately bad.

Does it stay bad, though?

I don't think so....


It's almost like Part Four brushes the third part's dust off of itself and gets back on its feet. Quite mercifully, both Nilson and the Myrka are dead. The issues they created die with them and we can get back to the real plot.

The pace really starts to pick up again. Some quick captures and escapes happen to pad things out a bit but not too much. As is often the case with Doctor Five Returning Monster Stories, there is a nice moment where the Doctor abandons his gentle disposition and "lets rip" for a few minutes with unadulterated outrage. This time, though, his target is humanity, itself. He is truly disgusted by Preston's desire to wipe out the enemy with hexachromite (which, admittedly, could have been introduced more subtly in Part One!). It's quite the speech that sits almost as strongly as the verbal attack against the Cyber Leader in Earthshock. I'm very impressed by it.

The tension that ensues once the hexachromite is released into the ventilation system is extremely well-performed. Those last few minutes of Tegan and Turlough running around trying to save the Silurians while the Doctor attempts to stop the missile run really are frantic. Our three leads sell the moment very well and we're even holding our breath a bit.

Again, we can make a bit of an Earthshock comparison, here. This final scene is extra effective because it actually works against itself a bit. There are two well-placed contradictory elements going on. Which makes the peril of the moment all-the-more effective. In Earthshock, they're trying to save Adric. But, at the same time, they can't. If they do, established history could be corrupted. In Warriors of the Deep, they want to preserve what remains of the Silurian Triad - but also can't. Because, no doubt, Icthar will try some other way to wipe out humanity if he survives. This is actually some pretty solid writing. It tears us in two different directions and makes the climax of the story that bit more exciting.

The ending of Warriors of the Deep does take a pretty big risk. Some feel it didn't work. I, however, am of the "This is a Super-Cool Ending" Camp. But then, I also liked the broken math badge in Earthshock. So maybe I'm just a sucker for when the show tries to stray from its regular "well, we saved the day lets go back to the TARDIS" formula. Because the Doctor looking over the devastation and pronouncing: "There should have been another way." is absolutely spectacular. It really rams home what the whole story is trying to say about War. The Cold War, in particular. That, basically, we need to find a better way.

A bit corny, perhaps? Probably. But, sometimes, corny is nice...


Okay, I've made my case. Aside from some bad stuff in Part Three, I think this story does half-decently. A lot of the Popular Fan Objections have, by my definition, been cut down to size (you may think otherwise, of course - and you're perfectly welcome to your opinion!).

But there is one last complaint to deal with. It doesn't refer so much to the specific story, itself. But rather, how the story affects the larger scale of continuity.

We seem to be under the impression that the Doctor, in this point in his timeline, has met the Silurians and Sea Devils on three occasions. Those incidents were all shown onscreen in Doctor Who and the Silurians, The Sea Devils and Warriors of the Deep. Some confusion ensues, however, when references are made in Warriors of the Deep to Silurians and Sea Devils that don't seen to make sense. The Doctor claims to have knowledge of Myrkas, Triads and has even met Icthtar. But we never saw any of this happen in those two previous tales. Fans are angered that Warriors seems to have gotten its continuity wrong.

The answer is simple, really. I go into this in far greater detail in my the CHRONOLOGIES AND TIMELINES that I do about Silurian History (I'll post links at the bottom of the essay), but Warriors of the Deep is referencing untelevised encounter(s) that the Doctor has had with the Silurians. It's entirely possible, in fact, that the Silurians and Sea Devils that we see in this story have absolutely no knowledge of the onscreen adventures the Doctor had with them. In the same way that the Silurians we've been seeing in New Who don't seem to know about the groups of Homo Reptilia he's met in the Classic Series. These are creatures that have been living in hibernation chambers scattered throughout the planet. It's likely that there's not a whole lot of communication going on between them. So the Doctor's encounters with them can be very isolated. 


Now we have, officially, dealt with all the problems and strengths of Warriors of the Deep. I'd like to think that my analysis has shown there are far more positive points to the tale than negative. Not sure if you see that, yourself. But, as I said earlier, if I didn't change your mind on the matter - the cathartic process of it all was still nice! 

Nonetheless, I hope I've helped you to re-evaluate things a bit.

That's all for now for this new series. Hope you've enjoyed it. From time to time, we will look at other stories that I feel have always gotten more flack than they deserve (you can bet that both Twin Dilemma and Time and the Rani will show up here, someday). I look forward to ranting further on such matters....   

Want a bit more elaboration on those unseen Silurian/Sea Devil stories?  Here are links to my Comprehensive Homo Reptilia History:  

Part 1:   

Part 2: 

Tuesday, 21 August 2018


I can't help but notice that I'm running out of material for two of my five styles of essays. There aren't too many Continuity Glitches left for me to fix nor are there a lot of Chronologies and Timelines that I still need to work out. 

It's time to come up with a few new styles. 

I did start doing Unadulterated Boorish Opinions this year but I don't want to indulge too deeply in this one (as I've said many times before, fan blogs that are just opinion pieces are a dime a dozen) so I need to dream up another new type of essay. After some thought, I invented POINTS OF DEBATE.

This new category vaguely resembles FIXING CONTINUITY GLITCHES but works quite differently. When I'm repairing those continuity glitches, I'm trying to correct the mistakes made by various production teams over the years. POINTS OF DEBATE will look at issues that production teams have left intentionally ambiguous. We'll examine various arguments surrounding these issues and try to present a logical conclusion of some sort.

Will the conclusions I reach truly be the right ones? I'd like to think so! But, truthfully, if your opinion completely contradicts mine - it's just as valid. 

Always hurts when I say that.     


While I do wish, sometimes, that New Who wouldn't concentrate so hard on season-long arcs, I did greatly enjoy what they did in Series 10. Building up the "what's inside the box?" mystery during the first half of the season was great fun. But then the mystery evolved into something far more complex and interesting during the latter half. For a brief time, it looked like the Doctor's greatest enemy was going to turn into something far more benevolent. She might even become a positive force in the Universe.

But did she? Was any of this desire that she expressed to be a better person sincere in the slightest? The entire process she goes through is presented in a way that leaves us wondering. There are several signs that seem to indicate she does "convert" briefly by the end of the season. But there are other ideas to consider that could lead us to believe that all of this was a bit of a facade. Something to get the Doctor to believe that his worst adversary was becoming his best friend again. When, in truth, she was still rotten to the core. Let's examine both sides of the argument and see which one holds stronger. 


Probably the thing that most strongly supports the idea that Missy was putting on an act the whole time is the fact that she only makes this decision when she's about to be killed. She sees that her situation is inescapable. It's either get killed or take advantage of her rival's idealistic views. Missy knows the Doctor believes there is good in everyone. Her back's against the wall so she might as well try to exploit his romantic nature and see if that will get her out of the fix that she's in.

While the Doctor does save her from her execution, he doesn't set her free. She's still imprisoned in the Vault where she must work out her redemption. Missy does claim, at one point, that she could break out of her prison if she really wanted to - but it's entirely possible that this is all just a bluff. That the Vault really is escape-proof but saying she could get out if she really wanted will help to make it look like she really is trying to change. If this is truly the case, then it shows just how clever she is. Boasting of an ability to break out of something you can't really leave to convince your sentimental jailer that you are improving is a good strategy.

We see Missy fighting the process on several occasions. Most of these moments take place in Lie of the Land and are subject to varied interpretations. Since we are focusing on the negative side of things, let's look at them through those lenses first. Missy asking for rewards for her help is, quite simply, her revealing her true nature. She's still selfish and will only do things that will bring her gain. Her "I'm engaging in the process" claim is to be ignored. This is the real Missy we're seeing.

When she later berates the Doctor for his more arrogant form of morality in the same episode, she is attempting to divert him from the idea that she is still bad. She's trying to say that she'll find her own sense of good and that he should let her. But what's really going on is quite different. The Doctor's ideas on morality are the true sense of good. To try to wander outside of his values is to participate in various levels of corruption or even evil. But, if she can get him to believe that his truth is not absolute, then maybe he'll let her go when she's not exhibiting all the right traits that he wants to see. Essentially, she's trying to get the Doctor to doubt himself a bit and so that he might set her free even if she isn't behaving quite the way he wants her to.

There are a few occurrences that happen next that really work against Missy's facade. She starts actually crying over the people she's killed. The Doctor actually vocalizes that these could be just "crocodile tears" and Missy responds with a sort of "if only it were so..." statement. More than likely, the Doctor is entirely right and Missy is just trying to double-bluff him.

Missy helping Nardole get back to Mars is a harder one to dispute. My guess would be that Missy recognizes that there's more to Nardole than meets the eye. That he may appear goofy and harmless on the surface but he can be a force to be reckoned with when he needs to be. She could try to steal the TARDIS away at this point but Nardole might actually be able to put up a fight. Better to just play along for a bit longer til she gets a better opportunity. 

For the next little while, Missy is allowed some freedom - but with heavy restrictions. Naturally enough, she's going to behave fairly nicely, here. There's going to be no attempts to display any of her true nature because she is so close to convincing the Doctor that she's made the changes he wants to see. The truth is, of course, that she's nowhere near to converting.

When, at last, she's joined by her previous incarnation - the real Missy comes out. The Doctor is heavily beaten and restrained. She does knock out her earlier self at one point - but this is because she needs to get some of the Doctor's trust back. He is, after all, an expert at beating Cybermen and an army of them is coming for her. Look how, moments later, she's urging Nardole to leave the Doctor behind now that they've found a means of escape.

Both incarnations "play nice" for a bit after that. Until they've figured out a way to escape. Once more, Missy doesn't seem to care about helping the Doctor to save the colonists on the solar farm. She and her last incarnation have the dematerialisation circuit for their TARDIS and can go. 

But for a final twist, it really does seem like Missy was putting up a front the whole time and had no intention of changing. There's plenty of evidence to support this. However, that last choice she makes just before she's shot by himself would lead us to believe she really has converted. But I have a theory that backs up the idea that Missy never changed. I'll go into it after I present the case for Missy's Defense. 


Thank you, Pessimist Rob Tymec, for refusing to believe that people can change. Let's try to re-examine these points with a more optimistic spin.

Yes, Missy had to have a near-death experience before trying to change her heart(s) - but isn't that what gets really rotten people to adopt a new attitude?! Something traumatic or even life-threatening causes them to re-evaluate their existence. Isn't it possible that this happened to Missy as she knelt on the execution platform?

Maybe she was trying to just tell the Doctor what he wanted to hear when she was about to get killed, but it seemed there was some sincerity in her pleading too. This is best evidenced by the time she spent in the Vault. She wasn't bluffing when she said she could break out of her cell if she really wanted to (has there ever been a prison that can truly hold her?). She was staying in there because she was tired of living her lives the way she had been and she wanted to turn over a new leaf (one that she wouldn't use to make a gun!). She had been in that Vault for something like 50 years. Surely, after all that time, she could've found a means of egress. Unless she really did want to change. Keeping herself restrained in a place where she could do no harm would be a good way to work on herself. And, for someone as evil as her, such a process could take several decades. 

As I said earlier, those moments in Lie of the Land are subject to a lot of interpretation. We've taken the negative slant, now let's try to color things differently.

Missy, quite simply, is being honest in both incidents. Yes, she's asking for rewards for her benevolence- but she is engaging in the process. She's trying to change. She's just not at the point of being good for the sheer sake of it so she still wants something back for her kindness.

Pointing out that there are various types of morality is, in fact, very realistic. Developing actual values can take on many different hues. She's very much right in her voice-over speech.. The Doctor shouldn't be so convinced that his brand of goodness is the only true one. She must find her own path, her own version of The Right Way. And that's what she's genuinely trying to do.

Rescuing the Doctor and Bill from Mars is some pretty strong evidence that she has changed. Nardole might put up a good fight, but an evil Missy would still try to betray them with such an opportunity placed in front of her. Unless, of course, she was trying to be nicer to everyone.

Yes, security precautions are being taken with her during such stories as Eaters of Light and World Enough and Time - but they were hardly necessary. Those tears Missy are shedding are real. Guilt truly is sinking in and she wants to stop being so destructive.

As with all people trying to make a better way for themselves, there are relapses. When her previous incarnation joins her, Missy starts feeling conflicted. Part of her still yearns to be good. Another part wants to join in the revelry of her past. She admits as much during the brief moment where she's knocked himself out (I do wish I'd quit switching around personal pronouns!).

If we need any final proof that Missy has turned good, we see it in her last moments. With an escape path clearly established before her - she chooses, instead, to initiate the regeneration that will create her and then return to the Doctor's side to aid him in his moment of need. Had it not been for the vengeful madness of the incarnation before her, she would have accomplished just that. She would have done the right thing.

Sadly, she is cut down just as she is about to become good. But the intention, at least, was there....


To all intents and purposes, the solution to this debate seems quite straightforward. Some of you may even be wondering why I'm considering this ambiguous. It's pretty clear-cut. In the end, Missy decides to be good. Possibly at the expense of her own life.

But here is where my own personal goofy fan theory clouds the issue. 

I've been discussing Missy's means of escape from her latest peril in The Doctor Falls in some other entries. Here's the one that deals with it the most directly (scroll to the last subsection entitled: One Last Bit of Speculation. Although, if you want to read the whole entry I won't stop you!): http://robtymec.blogspot.com/2017/07/chronlogies-and-timeline-history-of.html.

The basic gist of what I'm saying in that particular post is that Missy's claims to not remembering what happened when she met her previous incarnation because the timelines are too tangled was a lie. That she had to pretend that she didn't remember because the Master would have been more thorough in his dispatch if she didn't. Because she remembered everything, she knew she would be shot. So she put on some sort of protective gear that absorbed enough of the blast to not kill her but would still cause her to regenerate (yes, I recognize that summarizing what I said in that entry here might make you less motivated to read the link but I really can't continue with my point if you don't know this information).

So here's my real point: Missy knew her ultimate fate would be death by the hand of her last incarnation (by my reckoning, at least). Since she was aware of her final destiny, did she feign her redemption even to her own self? She had dipped into her future. She knew she would be shot by her previous incarnation. He did it and she remembered it all happening. As a Time Lord, she knows cycles such as these must be completed (she is, in fact, more responsible of a Time Lord than the Doctor. He managed to re-write his timeline on Trenzalore during Time of the Doctor even though he'd visited his own grave during Name of the Doctor). So she suffered the attack knowing that she had to. She'd seen it all happen before.

Death by your own hand is a horrible future to have waiting for you, yes. But Missy knew it would also free her from the Vault. That if she just faked her whole conversion process it would, ultimately, lead her to the Mondasian colony ship where the Doctor would become too busy with saving the solar farmers and allow her to slip away. Yes, she still had to go through the pain of being shot by her own laser screwdriver but knowledge of this fate meant she could take the necessary precautions and survive the attack. At the end of it all, she would have her freedom. So maybe she was faking her conversion the whole time. All so she could face this horrid fate but also escape the Vault and terrorize the Universe again.

Alternatively, she may still have chosen to become good. She knew that this decision would outrage her earlier self and precipitate the violent actions that he would take to stop her. Nonetheless, she would be ready for it and protect herself. After surviving the attack, she could go on to do good things in the Universe. 

If you look at this way, you can see there are still quite a few grey areas. 


Ultimately, we may only get our answer to this debate when we see the Master/Missy next. She will probably be in a new incarnation. Possibly, a man again. Time Lords might gender swap a bit but they tend to favor one sex over the other, for the most part. There are some rumors that Michelle Gomez might want to take on the role one more time but, more than likely, it will be a new incarnation (or we get Michelle for a few minutes in the episode and then she regenerates into someone new). If that new Master/Missy seems to be rotten to the core again, then there's a good chance that the whole arc of Series 10 was just one big sham. Missy never truly changed her stripes.

Or did she? Could it be that she was trying to improve for a bit but then went back to her old ways? It's always possible. Especially if it is a new incarnation. Regeneration does tend to trigger personality changes. So perhaps Missy was trying to be good at the end of her life. But then the regeneration changed her back into the monster she once was.

The World may never know the truth....

Hope you enjoyed this new topic. If you have opinions of your own on the matter, feel free to express them in the Comments. By no means is this Point of Debate over. Argue away if you so desire!!!  

Wednesday, 18 July 2018


Okay, here we go: just a few more QUICK FIXES that I'd like to do regarding the Time Lords. I think, once I tackle this, there really will be nothing left. Unless, of course, some new episodes come out that flatly contradict things that were said about Time Lords in previous episodes. Is it wrong that I'm hoping something like this happens so that I can have more stuff to write about?! 


My main reason for the third installment. Might as well get right to it:

I'll try to summarize the problem as quickly as possible: Trial of a Time Lord took place on a space station that was meant to be outside of Time, itself. Cases were presented on a screen that projected images from the Matrix. These circumstances enabled people involved in the trial to see into the past, present and future. During his defense, the Doctor accesses an adventure that takes place in his future. We learn that he will meet a woman named Melanie Bush who will travel with him for a time. They will, eventually, respond to a distress beacon from a ship called The Hyperion Three and have an adventure on it that will introduce them to a new species of killer plants called Vervoids. They will have to completely wipe out the species using vionesium. It's very sad as the Vervoids wither away...

Here's where things start to get really messy: Some time after her adventure in Terror of the Vervoids, the Master takes Mel out of time and drops her at the space station to help defend the Doctor. Things go a bit crazy when we find out the Valeyard is the Doctor and there's a big fight in the Matrix. At the end of the story, Mel just decides to depart with the Doctor in the TARDIS and they begin their adventures anew.

Let's stop and think about that for a second. Mel is from the Doctor's future. She goes into his past to help him and then leaves in the TARDIS with him. Even though, from the Doctor's perspective, they haven't actually met, yet.  How exactly does that work?! 


There are several solutions that fans have come up with: 

1) The Memory Cheats: The end of Trial of a Time Lord becomes the point where Mel and the Doctor start travelling together. The Doctor, however, erases both of their memories regarding their adventure on Hyperion Three. This way, the events of Terror of the Vervoids can take place the way they were meant to.

2) Abort! Abort! Abort!: The Doctor and Mel leave the Time Lord space station and set up a whole new timeline for themselves. Terror of the Vervoids and all the other events that led up to it never happen. This theory is backed up by the fact that, in Time and the Rani, the Doctor is still in the outfit he was wearing during The Ultimate Foe. So it's entirely possible that the Rani diverted the TARDIS to Lakertya only moments after the Doctor complained three times about carrot juice (Mel had time to change her clothes but he didn't).  

3) "Time will tell. It always does":  Either things re-set themselves naturally after the Doctor and Mel leave the space station or the Doctor goes to the trouble of re-setting them, himself.

3-a) The Space station was outside of time, so it's entirely possible that just leaving it and returning to your proper place in the continuum causes Mel to be transported back to where she should be and the Doctor to lose his memory of the sneak preview he got of Terror of the Vervoids until after it happens.

3-b) Or the Doctor takes care of the problem, himself. He's gotten rather good at steering the TARDIS so he gets Mel back to her proper place in his timeline and then erases his own memory of  the Terror of the Vervoids preview.


Before divulging which theory I subscribe to, I'll dismiss the ones I don't like:

1)  This one is too big of a temporal mess. There still should be a proper meeting point where the Doctor picks Mel up from 20th Century Earth. It doesn't quite make sense if the end of Ultimate Foe becomes their starting point. Yes, we can just say "wibbly wobbly, timey wimey" but I'd rather we didn't. Not, so much, because I dislike the term (I do, however, take issue with "humany wumany" - that was just bad dialogue!). Moreso, because I would prefer a better explanation than that.

2)  I would hate to think that everything that happens after the Sixth Doctor leaves his trial is now an aborted timeline. In fact, the Popular Fan Theory is that he traveled for a good 50 years after Ultimate Foe and then regenerated into Seven. No, he wasn't in his Terror of the Vervoids outfit at the point of regeneration. But it's entirely possible that he switched outfits back and forth throughout his adventures. He might have even had more vests and cravats that we never saw (or, perhaps, even an all-blue outfit).

3-b) Yes, he could probably pilot the TARDIS to the proper point in his timeline and drop Mel off, there (more than likely, he might miss a few times or not quite be perfectly accurate when he finally does get her there). But I have to wonder if the Doctor would purposely re-edit his own memory under these circumstances. The fact that he could save lives and protect an entire species with all his foreknowledge might be too great of a temptation. If it was left up to him to fix this conundrum, I think he would still try to re-write history. Particularly by this point in his life(ves). Doctor One might rant on about not re-writing history ("not one line"!), but 'Ole Sixie would be a bit more confident, at this stage, about what he can and can't mess with. And I think he would try to mess with how things play out on Hyperion Three


Which means, of course, that Theory 3-a) is our lucky winner! To me, it just makes the best sense.

The Target novelization of The Ultimate Foe does this cute little thing in its epilogue where Mel climbs back into one of those coffin thingies and it takes her back to where she's meant to be in the future. It's a nice idea but I think the process happens in an even more natural way. As the Doctor leaves the space station, Mel fades out of existence and he just forgets about her. It's just the way these things work in this sort of situation. Time fixes itself.

It helps that we see the Doctor having memory issues when he first arrives at his trial. This indicates that, in general, being taken in and out of time can have that effect on a Time Lord. More than likely, he had a hard time remembering much about his trial for the first little while after he left it. Most of his recollections were restored after a bit but there was a huge gap regarding how he defended himself. The Doctor probably accepted that, for whatever reason, he was meant not to recall these events. He probably even vaguely knows that the defense case was something that took place in his future so he should just let things happen the way they're meant to.

He eventually meets Mel on 20th Century Earth and she joins him in the TARDIS. Again, he might have some stray memories of Mel floating around in his head and knows she's meant to travel with him. He doesn't mention this to her, of course. It's never a good idea to give humans too much foreknowledge. The Doctor and Mel have many adventures together. Mel decides she's going to get the Doctor to lose some of that extra weight he's put on.

At last, they get that fateful distress beacon from Hyperion Three and the murder mystery/attempted hi-jacking/act of genocide ensues. Moments after they re-board the TARDIS, the Doctor recalls the full events of his trial. He was probably still singing On With the Motely as they came flooding back (hopefully, it gets him to stop!).

Him getting his memory back in such a way works in a similar manner to the way he learns that he saved Gallifrey in Day of the Doctor. Yes, the War Doctor was around when the decision was made not to use the Moment - but the timelines were also very tangled by having so many incarnations together, at once. So he won't remember these events until Ten and Eleven have also experienced them. Mel coming back from the future and the both of them being taken in and out of time is also a pretty big tangle of timelines. So, just like Eleven after Day of the Doctor, the Sixth Doctor's memory won't fully kick in til everything and everyone are truly current.

Even after he remembers everything, the Doctor mentions none of this to Mel. He knows she's going to join the trial shortly. But, when he sees her at the trial, she looks surprised to be there. This indicates that she was given no foreknowledge of her involvement in the proceedings. So he can't let her know what's to come.

More than likely, Mel gets scooped up the next time the TARDIS lands after Vervoids. She and the Doctor begin a new adventure and, somehow, get separated (it has been known to happen). The Master is waiting for them when they arrive. Perhaps he diverted the Doctor's TARDIS like he did in Mark of the Rani or he was able to read the Doctor's mind like he did in Logopolis or it might be some new tactic, altogether. Whatever the case, he intercepts Mel when she's alone. He probably uses a bit of hypnosis to get her to climb into the coffin thingy (there's a probably a more sci-fiesque term that I could come up with for this but I prefer "coffin thingy") and sends her to the space station.

From this point, The Ultimate Foe ensues. At the end, Mel leaves with the Doctor and immediately disappears after they depart. Only to re-appear back in the adventure she was having with the Doctor just after Terror of the Vervoids. The Master has left the scene rather than stay around to cause more problems. He's reluctant to mess around too much with this sort of cause-and-effect. Technically, he broke the Laws of Gallifreyan Mean Time to retrieve Mel. He went forward in the Doctor's timeline rather than staying adjacent to it. So he doesn't want to leave more of a temporal footprint than he should.

When Mel re-joins the Doctor, she has quite the story to tell him. But the Doctor is smiling knowingly as she tells it. His memories were fully restored even before the Master snatched her away. He knew she would be safe leaving her in his greatest enemy's hands because he saw her arrive safely on the space station. He was also pretty certain she would return to the future safely. His arch-nemesis wouldn't be hanging about when she came back because of the Time Law he was breaking.

It's my guess that the Doctor and Mel have many more adventures together. Until, one day, the Rani uses a navigational distorter to draw the TARDIS down to Lakertya. The Doctor is on his exercise bike at the time and has a nasty spill.

With great sadness (and a silly wig), the greatest Doctor of them all passes far sooner than he was meant to. 

(Did I really just call him "the greatest Doctor of them all"?!  Read more about my Sixth Doctor love here: http://robtymec.blogspot.com/2016/12/book-of-lists-doctors-from-worst-to_31.html)

You know what? Mel's Temporal Mess took far longer to delve into than expected. Looks like I'll stop here and do a fourth entry in the series before the month is out. There are just a few little details in New Who regarding Time Lords that I'd like to tackle. 

Stay tuned....  

Since this is all about Trial of a Time Lord. Here's some stuff I wrote about concerning the Valyeyard:

Who is the Valeyard? 

Part 1: 

Part 2: 

Sunday, 15 July 2018


Looks like July will be the month we spend looking at continuity problems with Time Lords. We're going to try to handle things in some sort of chronological order by tackling the issues as they happened within the context of the show (or, at least, within the context of the Doctor's timeline - we already did a slight "cheat" with Clara's appearance on Gallifrey during Name of the Doctor). This time, it will be inconsistencies involving Time Lords that occurred during the 70s and early 80s. 


This was actually a pretty big issue for fans back when it, initially, happened. No one has really addressed it properly (from what I've seen, at least) but many people griped about it when it first transpired.  

In The War Games, the Time Lords seem ridiculously powerful. With their mere will, they were throwing up forcefields all over the place. They also gave people tortuous migraines when they refused to speak by just staring at them intently. They could even wish people out of existence! Essentially, they appeared to be gods.

As the show goes on, this image continued to ring true. Admittedly, characters such as the Master, the War Chief, the Monk and the Doctor, himself, seem much more mortal. We, sort of, presume that when a Time Lord goes renegade they lose many of their powers. But Time Lords still living on Gallifrey are quite omnipotent. One of them materializes out of nowhere without the assistance of a TARDIS in Terror of the Autons. He's even able to defy gravity. A small council of Time Lords decide to re-activate the Doctor's TARDIS to stop the Master from seizing the Doomsday Weapon. It almost seems like their very decision to render the time vessel operational is all that's required of them. In The Three Doctors, the Time Lords are more vulnerable. But this is only because Omega is draining all their energy from them. Even in their weakened state, they're still able to do quite a bit of time bending . When we see a Time Lord again in Genesis of the Daleks, he fades in and out of existence like a wizard. All of these incidents seem to indicate that a Time Lord that does not step out from their society seems to have access to amazing powers and abilities.

And then, The Deadly Assassin reaches our screens (a happy thing for me - it's my favorite story, ever  http://robtymec.blogspot.com/2016/01/book-of-lists-top-ten-who-stories-1.html). This is where the controversy seems to start. Certain fans got very upset about how the Time Lords suddenly seemed to act very differently from how we saw them before. The scene that seems to incense them the most is the old Time Lord at the Doctor's trial who seems to suffer from hearing loss and a bad leg. A being able to erase people out of existence with a mere thought can still suffer from such common physical ailments? It doesn't make sense!

By the end of Deadly Assassin, our perception of the Time Lords has been radically altered. But it's one that, very much, persists for the rest of the Classic and New Series. The Time Lords are more like intergalactic elder statesmen. They still try to act like they wield tremendous power but they're more like well-decorated bureaucrats. Impressive-looking with their high-necked collars and regal attitude - but not really capable of much in a tight situation. We see instances where some can prove a bit useful (both Borusa and the Castellan do a few neat tricks in The Invasion of Time). But, for the most part, the Time Lords seem almost frivolous, now.

The Big Question is: how did this happen? How did they go from god-like beings to near-useless politicians?

I propose that they were always like this. It just the way they were presented. Some of their briefer scenes that I mentioned earlier can be easily explained away. The emissaries in Terror of the Autons and Genesis of the Daleks did their vanishing tricks with a time scoop or something of that nature. The three councilmen in Colony In Space issue an order to an on-duty technician to re-activate the Doctor's TARDIS through some sort of remote process. It just occurs after the scene is over and we've cut elsewhere. Much of what is done in The Tree Doctors, of course, doesn't seem magical or god-like. The time manipulation is done through purely technical means by a Gallifreyan working at a console.

The War Games can be a bit trickier. But I think I've worked it out. The Time Lords were anxious that they would be allowing a savage, war-like species onto their planet in order to put them on trial. They set up a sort of reception center for them and created a special defense system that was keyed in to the specific brain patterns of the three Time Lords that made up the tribunal. Within the reception area, these Time Lords could trigger any number of strategically-placed forcefields or even certain weapons with mere mental commands. Sure, they could have positioned various guards in the area or had control panels to activate the features of the defense system but they wanted maximum safety as they dealt with the War Lords. You can't get more efficient than force fields and weaponry that responds to the very will of its users.

It turns out, of course, that the Time Lords made a good call. The War Lords did make an attempt to free their leader and, thanks to the special abilities granted to the Tribunal, no one was harmed. Once the trial was truly over, however, the defense system built into the reception area was shut back down. The tribunal (one of whom, we're pretty sure, was Chancellor Goth) went back to just being normal Time Lords. They were no longer capable of imprisoning people in force fields, or giving them migraines or d-matting them by mere concentration of will. It was a series of special powers granted to them due to the exceptional circumstances.

Our extra feeble witness at the trial in Deadly Assassin can also be explained. He was probably near the end of a regeneration and was trying to hold on to his current incarnation for as long as possible. When a Time Lord does this, his body will start developing minor problems such as hearing loss or a bad leg. He can seek normal medical help but it won't do him much good. These problems will continue to persist or even worsen if they don't trigger a regeneration soon. Time of the Doctor re-enforces the idea. As the Eleventh Doctor gets nearer to his regeneration - he becomes more dependent on the use of a cane. 


This is a similar issue to the one we just discussed but merits a sub-section of its own. From a purely aesthetic standpoint, the Time Lords have gone through some fairly radical changes that seem a bit inconsistent, too.

Most notable is the interior architecture of the Panopticon. When we first see Time Lords on Gallifrey, there's a definite 60s/70s sensibility going on. Lots of bright molded plastic makes up the bulk of their furnishings (obviously, this is not meant to just be plastic but some advanced "plastic-like" material). Admittedly though, their rooms also seem quite sparse and somewhat gloomy. Lots of black curtains hanging in the background (that are probably not meant to truly be curtains but advanced "curtain-like" substance). Deadly Assassin, once again, re-writes things a bit. A greater emphasis is placed on the gloominess. Sets are almost difficult to see cause they're so poorly-lit. This look continues with Invasion of Time. Bluish-green support columns seem to become quite the rage during this period, too.

But then we get to Arc of Infinity. It almost seems like we're not on the same planet anymore. Everything is so well-lit that shadows don't seem to exist. Sets are viciously ornate and over-elaborate. Time Lords seem to have gotten into art deco. This bold new style continues with The Five Doctors a short while, later. They turn the lights down slightly and give a bit of atmosphere to the space station in Trial of a Time Lord but it's still very different from the architecture we'd been seeing in earlier days.

The simplest answer to this harsh change during the 80s stories would be that the Time Lords like to redecorate once and again. Especially when you start considering the Doctor's personal timeline and the "age gaps" that we don't actually see on the show (for more information go to this entry: http://robtymec.blogspot.com/2016/03/fixing-continuity-glitches-doctors-age.html). Quite a few centuries may have gone by between Invasion of Time and Arc of Infinity, Giving the Time Lords plenty of time to change things up.

The problem, however, is that the Time Lords are known from their sense of stagnancy. Nothing ever seems to change on Gallifrey. This is part of what drove the Doctor away in the first place.. He was bored because everything stays the same. He needed a change of scenery. So it becomes hard to believe that such radical alterations to architecture could happen for a species so steeped in tradition.

I actually like to think that there's a sort symbiotic connection between the Lord President and the Panopticon. That the decor is a reflection of what is going on in the career of the leader of the Time Lords. If we take some of the dialogue from Deadly Assassin and extrapolate a bit, it makes a sort of sense. Sets for The War Games and The Three Doctors are a bit on the gloomy side because the current Lord President would have been in the twilight of his career, at the time. The growing darkness is symbolic of the impending end of his term. Sets are at their darkest during Assassin because the Lord President's term is over. Things still remain relatively gloomy in Invasion because a new proper Lord President hadn't been found, yet. The Doctor filling the office for so short a time did not enable the decor to start shifting in a new direction. Yes, specific craftsmen were set with the task of creating his office. But the overall structure of the building would've adapted to the mood the Lord President creates had the Doctor maintained his political position a bit longer.

When Borusa decides to just stand in for the Doctor, change can truly start to set in. We're now at the beginning of a Lord President's term: things become hopeful, again. To reflect that hope, everything becomes bright and shiny. The art deco motif would have even been reflective of Borusa's personality. He's a man of complexity so things become ornate with lots of extra frilly bits.

For some reason, this makes better sense to me.  I'd prefer to think that the Time Lords are so advanced that their actual architecture has a sort of sentience to it that reflects what is going on in the politics of the creatures that inhabit it. It just seems like a way cooler explanation than: "Oh my God! Everything looks so drab! It's time to re-decorate!'. I just don't see the Time Lords having that sort of attitude towards the environment they live in. The buildings would need to re-set themselves from time-to-time because the Time Lords would never get around to doing it of their own volition. They might make minor alterations to a single room here and again. Particularly if it was someone else's office that they have now taken over. But I can't see them trying to make bigger changes than that. So the architecture changes itself.

A similar problem presents itself with fashion. From War Games to Genesis of the Daleks, it's fairly simple robes that use a black and white pattern (or, in the case of the Time Lord on Skaro - all black). But in Deadly Assassin, we get these more elaborate and colorful robes with their high-necked collars. In every appearance after this story, this becomes the official outfit of the Time Lords.

A piece of dialogue said by Runcible in Assassin makes this a fairly easy fix. He does point out that the Time Lords are in full ceremonial garb. So the clothing of the Time Lords that we've been seeing before this was something a bit less formal. I'm guessing that this might also have something to do with the Lord President. The one that retires and gets assassinated was into Casual Fridays and allowed the Time Lords to enjoy much more leisure wear most of the time. Again, this might have something to do with him being so near to the end of his career. He's more lenient because he's on his way out. But the Lord Presidents that come in after him stand on a greater sense of occasion and require their subjects to always be in full ceremonial costume. Had Borusa or whoever follows him that gets deposed in Trial of a Time Lord gotten more time in office, we might have seen them become more lax in dress code. But newer Lord Presidents tend to make the populace dress up better.


Surprisingly enough, Time Lord fashion and architecture in New Who strongly resemble how they looked when we last saw them in the Classic Series. There's a bit less 80s sensibilities going on, but the same basic patterns remain. We're seeing a lot of art deco and colorful robes and high collars are also prominent.

The only thing that has changed all that radically are the military uniforms. This makes sense, though. Soldiers would need a totally different set of gear from what they wore prior to the Time Wars. Those uniforms were far more ceremonial. Now they would need something practical for combat.

Sets do appear a bit darker and gloomier. We see a fair amount of black curtains again. If we're going with my whole "sentient decor" theory then the heavy shadows might be symbolizing the somber qualities of the Time Wars. Whereas the ornate furnishings are a reflection of Rassilon's tastes. Like many other Lord Presidents, he likes things complicated.

So that's a few more continuity issues addressed. I think we'll get a third installment in this series as we keep moving through July. If nothing else, I'd like to look at the temporal mess that happened with Mel at the end of Trial of a Time Lord. But I'm sure I'll find a few other things to pick apart if I look hard enough....

Some more stuff I've written about Time Lords: 

History of Gallifrey - 

Part 1

Part 2: 

Part 3:

Sunday, 8 July 2018


I was sensing an imbalance in the Universe and realized it had been some time since I had done a FIXING CONTINUITY GLITCHES essay. I realize it was because I had tackled the bulk of the major continuity problems that we've seen in the show (except UNIT dating - I'm still scared of that one!). Fortunately, there's always QUICK FIXES. I'll be busy with minor continuity problems til the end of time! 

I just did a complimentary QUICK FIX for my History of the Weeping Angels essay. But it didn't feel like enough. The imbalance still seems present. So here's another one. 

This latest installment has another theme to it. This time we're looking at some of the stuff that's gone on with Time Lords (or, more specifically, the Doctor's relationship with them) over the years that doesn't seem to make total sense. Hopefully, you'll enjoy the explanations I offer. If not, feel free to post your own theories in the comments. 


One of the things that has fascinated me most about Doctor Who is the fact that it takes a good six years before we truly start learning any real concrete facts about his origins. I can't think of any other show that would be willing to keep its main character that mysterious for that long. It's really quite impressive.

One would think that, with all the time they had to dream up his background, that they would present something pretty solid when the reveal was finally made. This doesn't appear to be the case, however. From a few vague pieces of dialogue in Unearthly Child to that fateful trial at the end of the Second Doctor's Era, a few inconsistencies present themselves.

We'll try to fix them.


This one is a bit of a cheat. It doesn't truly to take place within those first six seasons but, rather, occurs a good 50 years later. As a treat to fans, Moff decides to show the moment where the First Doctor is escaping his homeworld to go off on his adventures in Time and Space. He, very nearly, picks the "wrong" TARDIS. One of Clara's "splinters" directs him to the appropriate one. The one with the faulty navigation system and chamelion circuit that will eventually break down and freeze the ship in the shape of a Police Box. It's quite the scene. 

The problem that this wonderful moment creates is that it does mean he's met Clara, now. When he, at last, encounters her in The Snowmen shouldn't this trigger a memory of some sort? Especially since this is a very pivotal situation in his life. We're more likely to remember people during such significant periods where we make huge decisions. So why doesn't he recognize her?

At the very least, 800 years has elapsed in the Doctor's timeline since he fled Gallifrey and met the Clara Splinter on 18th Century Earth (possibly more if you factor in the theory that he's lying about his age - check out this entry for further clarification: http://robtymec.blogspot.com/2016/03/fixing-continuity-glitches-doctors-age_9.html). While a Time Lord memory can hold way more than a human mind can, that's still just a bit too much time for anyone. Particularly since it was a very brief encounter. Sure, it was at a crucial time in his life, but it was still a very quick appearance while he was busy running off with Susan. She only left so much of an impression during such a hasty scenario.

It helps that Clara does seem to stay out of the Doctor's life until Asylum of the Daleks. She is always watching him through his various incarnations, but he never sees her. So there's a very strong chance that he will have forgotten her after all that time and it will feel like he's meeting her for the very first time when he sees her in The Snowmen.


Right in the first few minutes of the very first episode, a somewhat whopping inconsistency presents itself. We don't realize it til many years later, of course. But it's still there...

Deciding the Doctor shouldn't be completely and utterly mysterious, the production team involved with making An Unearthly Child give the Doctor the barest bones of an origin story. The Doctor explains to the schoolteachers who have just boarded his ship that he and Susan are exiles, cut off from their own people. But, someday, they will return...

A beautiful little speech that gives us just enough of an idea of where the Doctor came from that we're willing to wait six years til we get a fuller explanation. But when those six years pass and the Doctor, at last, explains the full extent of his past to Jamie and Zoe during his trial on Gallifrey - there's some serious confusion.

The Doctor provides his origins in a way that has been considered proper canon ever since. He stole a TARDIS and went off into the Universe to get involved with the lives of less advanced beings - a huge violation of Time Lord Law. This origin story is so concrete that it affects the Doctor in a serious way for the next three seasons. He is actually exiled to 20th Century Earth for disobeying his peoples' most important rule.

There is a world of difference between someone who has been kicked off his homeworld and someone who snuck off of it to become a criminal. So what's with this huge discrepancy? Is he an exile or is he a thief?

The answer, I feel, is one we've been hearing quite a bit lately: "The Doctor lies". Our grandfatherly First Incarnation does not wish to share the truth with Ian and Barbara. It could be as simple as the fact that he's embarrassed to be a thief and doesn't want to admit to it. Or it could be something far more complex. Perhaps he's not sure if the Time Lords are actually chasing him so he doesn't want his real past to circulate. Just in case his people catch up with Susan's teachers and question them. He does know there are other renegades out there so if Ian and Barbara offer up an incorrect origin story under interrogation then this may confuse his pursuers and make them think they're after the wrong person. Whatever the reason, the Doctor just decides he doesn't want to share real facts with these strangers. Whereas, in The War Games, he's built up a fair amount of trust with his two companions and decides to unveil his true past.


A lot of people tend to under-rate the value The Time Meddler contributes to established continuity. Up until this story, we assume the Doctor is the only person in the universe with a TARDIS. It's even vaguely hinted at that he may have built the ship, himself. But when he clashes against the Monk, the horizons of the show expand. Turns out there's a whole civilization that uses TARDISes that we will learn more about in future stories. That's a pretty big step for the series and no one seems to really take stock of the fact that it's this particular adventure that first develops this idea.

Okay, that last paragraph doesn't really relate to what I'm going to talk about - it just needed to be stated (in defense of Fandom, they may miss the importance of The Time Meddler because they were distracted by the horrendously slow-moving plot). What I do want to address is the way the Monk does an 80s Master Trick long before we ever get to the 80s!

At the end of the tale, the Doctor removes the dimensional stablizer in the Monk's TARDIS. Causing its console room to shrink to a point where it is now impossible for anyone to enter it. And yet, when we see the Monk next time in The Dalek Masterplan, he is piloting a fully-functioning TARDIS again. He appears to give no proper account of how he repaired the ship. He might as well have just proclaimed: "I'm indestructable! The whole Universe knows that!"

So, let's come up with an explanation of our own:

We did see that the Monk has removed some modern technology from his TARDIS and was using it in the monastery. I suggest that there were other items floating around that we didn't see that were more than just record players and bazookas. There were just enough bits and bobs lying about that he could craft something similar to the "2-dis" that the Doctor makes in Flatline. He applies the device to his console room. It creates a zone of dimensional stability that makes it possible for him to enter his TARDIS and effect the necessary repairs. He's back in business and can clash with the Doctor again on Tigus and Ancient Egypt. Whereupon the Doctor does more serious damage to his TARDIS.

Does the new damage ever get fixed? Who knows?! And since we haven't seen the Monk since - I feel no need to try to render a solution!

I know that business with the Monk only relates so well to the main theme of this entry but I've just always wanted to address this particular continuity glitch and this seemed the best place for it! 

As you can see, this is only Part 1 of this particular series. We'll be looking at more Time Lord stuff shortly...

Want to see some other continuity glitches I've dealt with concerning Time Lords? Check these entries out:

What's Going On With Gallifrey These Days - Part 1

What's Going On With Gallifrey These Days - Part 2

Saturday, 23 June 2018


Since we just finished up with a Probable History of Weeping Angels (http://robtymec.blogspot.com/2018/06/chronologies-and-timelines-brief.html), I figured we should stay in this thematic vein and look at a few problems that have occurred in the stories I just arranged in chronological order. Let's see if we can sort a few things out: 


As we reach the latter part of Flesh and Stone, Amy finds herself in a serious predicament. The energy of the Crack in Time that was found aboard the Byzantium is expanding. She must run from it or it will engulf her and she'll be erased from time. Unfortunately, because of something the Angels did to her, she cannot open her eyes. The Doctor manages to jury-rig a homing device for her and she stumbles through the Byzantium's Infrastructure Forest trying to get back to the Doctor and River. 

It's a moment of great tension that then goes a bit weird. To heighten the suspense, Amy runs into a group of Weeping Angels. They think that she's looking at her even though her eyes are closed and they become quantum locked. She must get past them without letting them know her eyes are closed. 

Since when do Angels work this way? Shouldn't they be able to tell that Amy's eyes are closed? 

"They're scared." is the cryptic explanation that the Doctor offers. Really?! That's all you can tell us?! There's got to be more to it than that.

And I'm going to try to come up with something: 

Weeping Angels, more than likely, have a very different perception threshold than we do. They probably still see on a regular visual spectrum but they can also see time energy in some way. After all, they do feast on it so they would need a way to detect it. More than likely, they sense it telepathically. But it might also register visually for them, too. 

So, with all kinds of extra time energy surging out of the Crack, it's confusing their senses. They can't actually see properly. Panic and fear are dominating their instincts as they try to make their way to safety. So the Doctor claiming they're scared is accurate.

Partially blind, they still sense Amy in their midst as they come upon her. They can't truly tell if she's looking at them because they can't see well so they make a hasty assumption. They just decide she's staring at them and go into quantum lock mode. As Amy starts behaving in a way that seems to insinuate that she isn't looking at them, they start to disengage their protective stance. Again, they still can't see all that well because the Crack in Time is messing with their senses. So they don't disengage from stone mode completely. They're hesitant. 

Hesitant enough that River can get the teleporter working and pull Amy out in the nick of time.


This is one that even Moff doesn't bother to offer an answer for. In The Angels Take Manhattan, we discover that the Statue of Liberty, herself, is a Weeping Angel of sorts. She visits Winter Quay on a fairly regular basis to help trap newcomers in vicious time loops to build up potential energy in their battery farm.

The Big Question, of course, is: how does a statue of that size travel from Liberty Island to Winter Quay without being seen? Surely, someone would notice Lady Liberty moving along through the streets of Manhattan. Something that big can't be missed! And if someone is seeing the Statue of Liberty then she should become quantum locked. She should never get anywhere near to her destination because people would be noticing her all the time and keeping her locked.

The answer, I think, lies in the ability certain Angels have with building up power. I think one of the principal reasons we see the one Weeping Angel displaying hitherto unseen abilities (coming through the video screen to attack Amy, causing Amy to turn into an Angel by making eye contact) in The Time of Angels is because she built up a lot of energy to accomplish the feats that she did. She's only able to snap necks for a bit afterwards cause she used up so much power to accomplish those tricks.

So the more energy an Angel stores up, the more abilities she can develop. I'm guessing a huge Angel like the Statue of Liberty has saved up all kinds of power. This is probably why she has grown to such enormous size. Which means, of course, that she has extra skills that regular Angels don't have.

One of those skills might be a temporary cloaking ability of some sort. I'm more inclined to believe that she can exhibit huge bursts of speed (even regular Angels move quite fast) for limited periods of time that can enable her to move past people without being noticed. We still hear the occasional loud footstep but we don't actually perceive her. Only when she wants to legitimately attack someone does she need to slow down and/or de-cloak. At that point, the regular rules apply. If someone sees her, she quantum locks. But when she's not in attack mode, Lady Liberty can move unseen for short periods of time.

Even when she's actually on Liberty Island, she needs only a nano-second of not being noticed to slip into stealth mode and head out to Winter Quay. Once at the Battery Farm, she stops and can be seen by anyone looking in her direction. Again, if she can just get a split second of being unnoticed, she can return to Liberty Island.

It would have been nice if we had gotten such an explanation right in the episode. But, alas, sometimes we fans must just work this out for ourselves. 


Many fans felt the tragic ending of Angels Take Manhattan wasn't really so tragic. They were sure that they had found a simple solution for the Doctor to be able to see Amy and Rory again. He just needed to arrange to meet them at some place outside of New York. Then all the time distortion and suchlike that was making Manhattan so impenetrable during the 1930s wouldn't be in the way, anymore. 

I suggest that this problem isn't something geographical. But, more specifically, temporal. Rory and Amy created a huge paradox within the temporal mess the Angels had made of Manhattan Island in the 30s. They had only just managed to escape it by returning to the TARDIS in 2012. If they got sent back to that period then the paradox they had made during their last visit would cause a sort of time field around them that would make it impossible for the TARDIS to penetrate. Or even someone as time sensitive as the Doctor to approach. He would just be repelled by the time field. Or might become deathly ill from it. Or something like that.

So, no matter where Amy and Rory go, this time field follows them and makes them unapproachable for time travelers. It's almost like a time lock of some sort that stays with them til the end of their lives. That's why the Doctor can never see them again.

Hope my explanations are satisfactory. I know some of the mis-steps Angels Take Manhattan made irritate fans to this day. Maybe this will help make sense of things....

A few other Quick Fixes: 




I did specify "a few" so I won't bother listing all of them. If you want to read them all, they're out there. Have a look around....