Remembering The Doctor's past lives in Fugitive of the Judoon

; Date: January 27, 2020

Tags: Doctor Who »»»» Doctor Who Season 12

In Fugitive of the Judoon, The Doctor (both of them) said multiple times they remember who they were. Does any of us remember who we were? Who we are is made up of all the moments of our live(s). Even the bits of our life that we don't remember has an impact on who we become. Just as the show runners invented The War Doctor as a Doctor Regeneration that The Doctor forgot about, there could surely be another Regeneration that the show runners want us to believe The Doctor Forgot. But going by what's presented in the show, we the fans have a conundrum to solve, _Who is Who_? And, _When is Which_?
Source - BBC

In Fugitive of the Judoon there are references back to several past episodes, but let's ignore the obvious reference to Capt. Jack and focus on Ruth-Doctor and The Doctor. It's going to be difficult here with names, so let's just use those names - Ruth-Doctor is the one who started by calling herself Ruth, and The Doctor is the one played by Jodi Whittaker.

Oh - and - I cannot proceed without spoilers. If you haven't seen the episode, then go watch it, and then come back.

The synopsis is that - Ruth is a tour guide living in Gloucester and is offering historical tours with lots of trivia of Gloucester. But then the Judoon show up looking for a fugitive. Her husband starts acting nervous and obviously hiding something. But it turns out that was all a ruse. During a confrontation with The Judoon, another person teleports themselves into the scene. That person later turns out to be a Time Lord working for some kind of battle-oriented agency of the Time Lords that we might as well call The Celestial Intervention Agency of Big Finish. But before that The Ruth-Doctor and The Doctor head to an abandoned light house. At the light house, The Doctor discovers The TARDIS buried next to the road, and inside the house The Ruth-Doctor breaks the glass causing some Time Lord magic mumbo-jumbo to happen and she remembers who she was. She has a new outfit, with clothes slightly reminiscent of Tom Baker or Sylvester McCoy outfits.

In other words - The Ruth Doctor at some point knew she and her partner had to escape and hide. They put a memory block thing on her - JUST AS WAS DONE IN THE TENTH DOCTOR STORY Human Nature. In that story, The Doctor and Martha were evading detection by a group of baddies. The Doctor put himself into a forgetfulness state, hiding himself as a human, with Martha Jones knowing the truth, and under strict orders to keep him safe and to cause him to remember as soon as he needed to remember.

The technology is called The Chameleon Arch and involves rewriting the genetics of a Time Lord body, installing a perception filter, and instituting a memory block. The purpose is to not be detectable. The use of the Chameleon Arch also requires having a device through which the affected Time Lord will have their memories and genetics restored. While most of the Chameleon Arch uses that have been seen involved a fob watch, this is Time Lord technology and surely it can look like anything. In this case it looked like a fire alarm on the light house wall.

But the conundrum is - We have seen multi-Doctor stories in the past, and The Doctor always recognized him/herself. In this case both The Ruth-Doctor and The Doctor did not recognize the other as being in their past. Therefore, who is who, who came first, and who was when?

Either The Ruth-Doctor predates The Doctor, or vice versa. But neither remembers the other.

Ruth said she remembered moving to Gloucester in mid-December 1999. That's an important time period for The Doctor - as it corresponds to when The 8th Doctor regenerated in San Francisco to battle The Master on new-years-eve 1999. Maybe oh maybe the show runners want us to pin the Ruth-Doctor as being associated with The 8th Doctor?

Except, that we know The Ruth-Doctor cannot be squeezed between The 7th & 8th Doctors. We saw that regeneration. Neither can we squeeze The Ruth-Doctor between the 8th and War Doctor's because we saw that regeneration. Further, during that regeneration (in The Night of the Doctor) The 8th Doctor named off companions he'd traveled with during Big Finish episodes, and it's clear that he regenerated into The War Doctor.

Maybe - oh maybe - they are parallel instances of The Doctor. That perhaps both were possible 13th Doctor's - since it's been suggested that when Time Lords regenerate there are lots of potentials that play out at once, with one of them stepping into the shoes. Maybe.

This idea that The Doctor remembers his/her entire line of previous regenerations and entire timeline, doesn't that strike you as odd? In Twice Upon A Time we saw The 1st Doctor and The 12th Doctor go through a most excellent adventure, but which The 1st Doctor completely forgot about. Likewise, in The Time of The Doctor we saw The War Doctor, The 10th Doctor, and The 11th Doctor go through another excellent adventure, and then at the end The War Doctor recognized that he would not remember this, and THe 11th Doctor recognizing that they were on some kind of alternate timeline.

For The Doctor, time is all wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff. So.. why is it surprising that all of a sudden do we have two incarnations of The Doctor who don't remember each other?

Oh if only Jodi-Doctor had thought to ask The Ruth0-Doctor "who do you remember as your predecessor?" That would have helped us considerably.

But there's another line of thinking, that The Ruth-Doctor could be yet another Doctor regeneration where the memories has been suppressed. We had that idea thrust upon us by the existence of The War Doctor. It's known that The 8th Doctor immediately preceded The War Doctor (we've seen that regeneration on screen), just as The 7th Doctor immediately preceded the 8th, since that regeneration was seen on screen. However, while we saw the regeneration of The War Doctor we did not see who he became. During the time of The War Doctor, he was deeply involved with The Time War and all kinds of crazy things happened at that time.

Maybe The Ruth-Doctor fits between The War Doctor and The 9th Doctor?

But ...

Source: BBC

This is the interior of The TARDIS as it existed for The Ruth-Doctor. Which TARDIS does it most represent, and does the interior tell us anything about where The Ruth-Doctor appears in the timeline?

On first blush, this most resembles The First Doctor's TARDIS. That's because the interior at that time was mostly about the roundels, but also had some doo-dads and frufru along the walls.

Source: BBC

This is the scene from when The War Doctor regenerates. We do not see who he regenerated into. But we also see the decor was not like The Ruth-Doctor's TARDIS.

But upon reviewing Twice Upon a Time we see the interior of the 1st Doctor's TARDIS we don't see a lot.

Source: BBC

The design of the console and the time rotor does match, but the background does not match.

This may be a blind alley of an idea but it does seem that since the two TARDIS consoles resemble each other, then The Ruth-Doctor is intended to predate The First Doctor.

About the Author(s)

David Herron : David Herron is a writer and software engineer focusing on the wise use of technology. He is especially interested in clean energy technologies like solar power, wind power, and electric cars. David worked for nearly 30 years in Silicon Valley on software ranging from electronic mail systems, to video streaming, to the Java programming language, and has published several books on Node.js programming and electric vehicles.