I really do not like this Timeless Child idea that Chibnall is foisting on us. While I'm loving the Season 13 episodes about The Flux, and find them to be excellent Doctor Who episodes, it's clear that the story is leading directly to some more nonsense about The Timeless Child. In this weeks Doctor Who Podcast, one of the commenters had a kooky theory of the week that what Chibnall has in mind is a Great Reset of Doctor Who.
What I mean by The Great Reset is the fear story that the anti-COVID-vaccine people are passing around. Namely, a futurist who runs the World Economic Forum wrote a book about The Great Reset, suggesting that COVID was giving The Big Powers a chance to completely rewrite human society, and to enslave us all. The Great Reset, in other words, aims to completely reset how everything is run and owned.
If you think about it, that would be a typical Doctor Who story. How many places has The Doctor landed, found a society under a threat like this, under the thumb of an authoritarian, and destroyed the power of that authority? Where is The Doctor now to fix this COVID thing?
Now, while I'm concerned about what The Big Powers are doing in response to COVID-19, I don't believe this Great Reset theory, and I surely hope it's just just another delusional paranoia story. So, let's instead talk about the kooky theory of the week from The Doctor Who Podcast episode. Link is below.
Is Chris Chibnall hoping to completely reset Doctor Who to a blank slate?
The theory - I'm sorry, but I did not catch the name of the DWP host who spoke this - is interesting.
The first is the observation, and I agree with this, that Doctor Who is being weighed down by the nearly sixty years of history, lore, and Canon. I imagine that the Doctor Who show runners really dislike the negative response from Fandom to everything they put on. They might develop an episode, put in some interesting timey-wimey something or other, that develops the characters, and is a very interesting thing, but Fandom blasts it to kingdom come because it violated a bit of Canon from forty years ago.
My personal reaction to The Timeless Child is a case in point. This is a set of articles I wrote last year, and the article titles might convey my feelings at the time.
- BBC's tale of The Timeless Child was a bad idea, deeply undermines The Doctor
- 2MTL gets it backwards about Doctor becoming Everyman
- Betrayed by the myth of the timeless child
- Did the Ruth-Doctor guard The Timeless Child in a memory-wiped regeneration?
- Did The Master lie about The Doctor being The Timeless Child?
- The disgusting over-hyping of The Doctor's role in the universe
- Who is The Doctor? An everyman who travels and rescues people? Or a demigod from another universe?
- The torture of The Timeless Child in Doctor Who and what the story could have been
Chibnall put a lot of thought into this Timeless Child and Division story line. Currently it's heading into an interesting direction. But, last year, I felt completely betrayed by the story.
In other words - The BBC put on something which Chibnall (the show runner) felt was a legitimate Doctor Who story line. Giving it some charity, it opens a whole new avenue for exploring Doctor Who lore, that we might see them visiting pre-Hartnell issues for example.
But, with the sort of reaction I aimed at the BBC - can the BBC do ANYTHING without violating a bit of Canon from 40 years ago?
My reaction to The Timeless Child is that it violates a premise going to the very first episode. That The Doctor is a regular person from his culture, namely s/he is a Time Lord from Gallifrey, one of zillions of Time Lords. In other words, we the audience are asked to put ourselves in The Doctor's shoes. But, The Timeless Child instead portrayed The Doctor as this distilled gift from the Universe, a totally unique person, whose existence personally created The Time Lords of Gallifrey, and so on. This seems to be an utter and complete betrayal of the original premise of Doctor Who.
But, there is an excellent point to be made, that the weight of 58 years of Doctor Who lore is preventing the BBC from doing interesting things with Doctor Who.
The Flux is erasing the universe?
What we've seen in these episodes - The Flux is some kind of force in the war between Time and Space, and it was created because of The Doctor. Doctor Who Season 13 - The Fairy Tale of 'Once upon a Time'
In other words - The Flux is some kind of giant universe-sized eraser that is going everywhere and wiping everything clean.
By the time Chris Chibnall ends this story line at the end of 2022, and hands over the reins to Russell T Davies starting with the 60th anniversary special, will there be anything left of the universe that The Doctor has been working to save?
I know we're accustomed to The Doctor being able to fix everything by the end of the episode. But, The Doctor just got turned into a Weeping Angel. That's the most serious cliff hanger I remember from all Doctor Who episodes. The Doctor has gotten out of some tough spots in the past, so maybe there's some kind of escape hatch that The Doctor can use. But, do we see what that could possibly be?
Can the BBC actually erase all of Doctor Who Canon?
It doesn't make sense, maybe, for everything to be erased. They have a fan base some of whom are steeped in Doctor Who lore in a big way. What fan would appreciate the erasure of 60 years of the villains and heros?
More practically speaking, that's 60 years of trademark's and merchandise and on and on that the BBC would be erasing. Does the BBC want to erase the cash cow of royalties from all that merchandise? I don't think so.
Sometimes Doctor Who takes modern issues, presenting them in the show
For example Orphan 55 is the latest Doctor Who to feature environmental justice, but its the most blatant -- Featured The Doctor going to a planet named Orphan 55 which turned out to be our planet, Earth, after it had been destroyed by environmental badness. The episode was rather heavy handed on the lectures to us all about the damage we're collectively doing to our beautiful planet. But, really, if the changing climate keeps going the way it's going, what will happen, and will this planet remain habitable?
The First Doctor had an episode - I forget the name - where they ended up miniaturized in the courtyard of a house in 1960's London, where there was a murder mystery. Turns out that a scientist living in that house had been developing a chemical that could be sprayed on crops to kill weeds and bugs, increasing food production, but the chemical is actually poisonous.
This is a real issue in modern life. Big Agriculture has been spraying poisons on crop lands, supposedly in the name of increasing food supply to meet rising population levels. But it's killing the topsoil, destroying the nutritional quality of the food we're eating, the food is probably full of poisons, and so on. And, Doctor Who covered this issue nearly 60 years ago.
There's an aspect of The Flux story which feels like they're presenting the ravages of COVID-19 through Doctor Who episodes.
It's possible the BBC has in mind some kind of big reset for Doctor Who, and to erase a bunch of things from the Doctor Who universe. With Bel's adventures flying through the universe, we're certainly being shown massive wide-spread destruction of lots of planets, stars, cultures, and more.
As I said, we're accustomed to The Doctor somehow fixing everything by the end of the episode. As it stands there are two episodes remaining in The Flux. If Chibnall wants to have The Doctor fix everything and restore the universe to pre-Flux, he's got a lot of work to do in the remaining two episodes. Or maybe it's five episodes, because there are three more in 2022.
But, as it stands, we're being definitively shown a universe that has been ravaged in a huge way. What that means will be revealed, I'm sure.