; Date: Mon Apr 06 2020
Tags: Doctor Who
In the finale of Doctor Who (2005) Season 12, The Timeless Children, we were told a story about the origin of The Time Lords that is not only enraging the fans, but is silly nonsense. That episode would have us believe that what made The Time Lords so powerful was their ability to regenerate. Actually, what made the Time Lords so powerful was the energy source available to them, and their abilities to fiddle with time streams. Without access to nearly limitless energy, The Time Lords would have simply been a curious race of people on an obscure planet who happened to be able to regenerate upon death. Which gets us to a little scene in the Seventh Doctor story The Remembrance of the Daleks.
I think that the story told in The Timeless Children cannot be correct. The Time Lord's power was not sourced from their ability to regenerate. That power was sourced, as repeatedly stated in Doctor Who episodes, from having created immense power through manipulating stars. That power enabled Gallifreyans to experiment with time travel, and become powerful beings who could shape the destiny of the Universe.
The Seventh Doctor story The Remembrance of the Daleks reveals key information about this.
The false story that Regeneration made Time Lords so powerful
In The Timeless Children we are told that an explorer/scientist named Tecteun lived among the Shobogans. That, we were told, is the name of the original race of the planet that is now known as Gallifrey. Tecteun explored the universe until she came upon a planet with a portal to infinity. At the base of that portal she found a child, and eventually discovered that child could regenerate upon death.
Tecteun then set about killing that child repeatedly, to observe how the body changed, and decoding the secret of regeneration. Having achieved the secret to immortality by dint of torturing a child, Tecteun passed that secret on to the Shobogan race.
Then in The Timeless Children a passing mention is made of developing the secret of time travel. But the story pins the powerful role the Time Lords play in the universe as solely resulting from their ability to regenerate. Therefore, it was the act of stealing the secret of regeneration from The Timeless Child that is the cause of the Time Lords great power.
This is utter nonsense if only because of the physics of what's involved. It has been repeatedly stated that the Time Lord society relies on huge amounts of energy generated through some form of stellar manipulation. For example it seems there is an artificially generated black hole or a singularity or something or other inside each TARDIS providing the power which drives TARDIS's.
We've seen TARDIS's tow planets across the galaxy, for example. How much power did that require? All the time bending wizardry we've seen in nearly 60 years of Doctor Who television episodes have to be the result of great expenditures of power.
It isn't regeneration that made The Time Lords so powerful. It is some kind of power source.
Rassilon, Omega, and stellar manipulators
The history developed in the Classic Doctor Who stories involved Rassilon and Omega. That the two worked together on developing a power source involving black holes and stellar manipulation. Unfortunately, Omega got sucked into an alternate universe that was made of anti-matter. He should have been destroyed, but by sheer force of will he was able to survive.
We saw Omega once in The Three Doctors and later in The Arc of Infinity. We first saw Rassilon in The Five Doctors and then in several New Who stories.
But it was in the Seventh Doctor story, Remembrance of the Daleks, that we learned the most about how Rassilon and Omega worked on stellar manipulation. It was also that episode in which a tantalizing hint was dropped that perhaps The Doctor had been involved.
Remembrance of the Daleks was the episode designated to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Doctor Who. It featured a number of easter eggs - such as the companion (Ace) turning on the television set at 5:10pm on the afternoon of November 23, 1963, to hear an announcer teasing an upcoming new science fiction story named Doct... only to be cut off as Ace walks out the room. Later, when Ace is at The Coal Hill School - the location of the first episode of Doctor Who - she is in the Chemistry lab, that's run by Ian Chesterton, and idly picks up a book about The French Revolution just as happened in The Unearthly Child 25 years previously. And then there's the Daleks who could hover, so they're no longer defeat-able by stairs, and all the action taking place at the I.M. Foreman junk yard, and on and on.
The story is that in 1963 when The First Doctor was living in London, he was trying to set up a plan involving The Hand of Omega and The Daleks. But that plan was cut short when Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright barged into The TARDIS causing The Doctor to have to leave suddenly. It was in Remembrance of the Daleks that The Doctor was able to return to the plan.
Namely, the plan was to instruct The Hand of Omega to blow up the Dalek home world of Skaro, and then blow up ships in the Dalek fleet.
What is The Hand of Omega? It is far more than just a gizmo to give special powers to baseball bats. It's best if we turn to the episode.
While walking the corridors of The Coal Hill School, The Doctor explains to Ace:
The Doctor: A long time ago on my home planet of Gallifrey, there lived a Stellar Engineer named Omega.
Ace: Stellar? As in stars? Do you mean he engineered stars?
The Doctor: ACE!!!
Ace: Sorry, go on.
The Doctor: It was Omega who created the supernova that was the initial power source for Gallifreyan time travel experiments. He left behind him the basis on which Rassilon founded Time Lord Society. And he left behind The Hand of Omega.
Ace: His hand? What good was that.
The Doctor: No, not his hand literally. No, no, it was called that because Time Lords have an infinite capacity for pretention.
Ace: I've noticed that.
The Doctor: The Hand of Omega is a mythical name for Omega's remote stellar manipulator. A device used to customize stars with. And, didn't we have trouble with the prototype.
The Doctor: They...
Ace: And the Daleks want it so they can recreate the time travel experiments. But you said that both Dalek factions can already travel in time.
The Doctor: Oh yes, Daleks have time corridor technology but it is very crude and nasty. What they want is the power that Time Lords have. And they'll get that with The Hand of Omega. So they think.
Ace: And you have to try and stop them.
The Doctor: No. I want them to have it.
The Doctor: My problem is to stop Group-Captain Gillmour and his men from getting diced in the cross-fire.
Ace: So! All this is
The Doctor: ... is a massive deception, yes.
Ace: Well devious... So the Daleks grab The Hand of Omega and go, and no-one gets hurt. Brilliant!
The Doctor: Just one thing...
The Doctor: I didn't expect two Dalek factions. And now I've got to make sure the wrong ones don't get their grubby protruberances on it!
There was a lot of details there, so let's summarize it.
- The power for Gallifrey's time travel experiments was a Supernova
- Omega and Rassilon worked together on stellar manipulation - customizing stars
- They used a device that was called The Hand of Omega
- "We" had a hard time with the prototype device, which The Doctor hurrily corrected to say "They".
- The Hand of Omega would enable The Daleks to achieve the same power level as The Time Lords
What does this say about The Timeless Children?
This tells us that the narrative told in The Timeless Children is at best incomplete if not completely wrong. Consider that we were told this story by The Master, and that The Master has been shown to be capable of manipulating The Matrix as demonstrated during the story arc called The Trial of a Time Lord.
The story of Tecteun and The Timeless Child was told to us by The Master playing back records from The Matrix. He claimed those records were the true history of The Doctor, and that The Doctor was actually The Timeless Child. He also claimed that large parts of the history had been wiped or otherwise made inaccessible.
What is clear is that The Timeless Children did not answer anything about how The Time Lords got the immense power required to do what they did to the Universe.
The episode claimed that power came from The Time Lords having regeneration. But that is clearly nonsense.
Whether the story of Tecteun and the torture of The Timeless Child is accurate is irrelevant to how The Time Lords actually became a Universe-shaping race.