Part 5 – Survivors of the Flux

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    Craig @craig

    Survivors of the Flux

    It’s part 5 and I think you know how I feel about this so far. Yet I sit at home on a Sunday and still hope that Chibnall will do something spectacular. I really don’t want to dislike Doctor Who. I love it.

    Anyway, from the BBC website – As the forces of evil mass, the Doctor, Yaz and Dan face perilous journeys and seemingly insurmountable obstacles in their quest for survival.

    This has Kevin McNally returning as Professor Jherico. So that’s interesting.

    It’s written by Chibnall and directed by Azhur Saleem who did “Once, Upon Time”. My heart sinks but still has some hope. Please be good.

    Oochillyo @oochillyo

    hey everyone 🙂 how are you all 🙂

    Spoilers ahead in case

    This ep felt like they were cutting too quick between time periods I sort of wanted to see more before switching to the next, however it all sort of clicked into place eventually and all was very interesting and enjoyable 🙂

    Loving the characters and moments, the trailer for part 6 has me smiling from ear to ear 🙂

    The Grand Serpent guy is a gem 🙂 , I loved him before and was like mmm I want to seem him being threatening and making powerful moves again but it was lovely when you realize he has slowly been breaking down UNIT (which is why I think we hear that Unit has been scrapped in Resolution nice foreshadowing 🙂 )  and has a big grand plan and then bang Lupari Ships are under attack and The Sontarans are back nice 🙂

    Loved a lot of the dialogue and jokes especially the guy on the Mountain 🙂 and it was nice to sort of feel like I was watching a different show sort of Indian Jones , you dont often get that in Doctor Who and then back to Aliens ect 🙂

    Swarm and co were class 🙂 , I really liked the power and idea of The Women in White and her acting is great, bit of mixed feelings regarding who she is) but very nice however I jumped with joy when Swarm took her out the picture 🙂 , loving all the new villains 🙂

    Loved when Bel and Karvanista went from fighting each other to fighting over the controls of the ship 🙂

    Loved the scene where The Sontaran Ships teleport above The Lupari Defensive 🙂

    Really interesting with great moments especially towards the end, lovely payoffs to things, I am looking forward to ep 6 very much 🙂


    Regards – Declan Sargent

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    Hi Everyone,

    Like you, @oochillyo , I enjoyed this episode.

    The Doctor’s new origin story is a bit galactic fairytale isn’t it?

    A foundling, she confronts the Evil Step-Mother who experimented on her as a child. A mother who stole her genetics to create her (adoptive) species, recruited her to meddle in and control Time, and mind-wiped her when she rebelled. A mother now orchestrating the genocide of a whole universe, in a last ditch attempt to control her “timeless child” again.

    It’s not easy to find out your Mum is Space Mengele.

    That sounds too flippant, I know, but that’s also the reality of who Tecteun is – a scientist who is a genocidal child-experimenter.

    It must be beyond horrifying for the Doctor.

    I do agree with those on the previous thread who grumbled about the Special One -ification of the Doctor, which this storyline under Chibs has pulled off. I too preferred her/him as an ordinary(ish) maverick.

    On the other hand, the grand multi-verse scope and the mystery of the Doctor’s original origin-species is intriguing.

    It strikes me Tecteun is a very Aztec god sounding name. Human sacrifice, particularly of the heart, was very significant in Aztec culture.

    This was very grand in horizon(s), and absolutely gorgeous, yet again, to look at. The production values are incredible; Tecteun’s cherry blossom tree Tardis interior, for one. I do rather miss dusty old corridors and sticky-back plastic outfits from the days of old though.

    The Grand Serpent is a Goa’uld from Stargate (snakey beings which possessed human bodies, with a penchant for Egyptology) isn’t he? Not quite sure where he fits in (except as an Ouroboros embodiment) but loving the acting.

    Swarm and Azure seem to be the avatars of the forces of dark matter or dissolution in the universe.

    Really enjoyed reading the thread on the previous episode, Village of the Angels, btw, with some great theorising from @mudlark and @jimthefish and @scaryb and others. Scary, you’re back – yay! I had a hectic work week and missed commenting as a result.

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    Really liked it.

    Yaz, Dan, the professor–Indiana Jones. What’s not to like?

    UNIT’s history compromised by the serpent. Yes, it makes sense.

    Awsok–everything about that was perfect. Barbara Flynn, the dynamic between her and the Doctor. It was brilliant. But perhaps less impressed by her death, which seemed…too easy.

    Anyway, just liked the mix that the episode provided.

    But will have to watch again.

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    Oh…final thought: what about the little girl Peggy? What happened to her? She was an incredibly interesting character in the previous episode, and her story deserves (at least) an episode of its own (if not more).



    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    No, another final thought…

    In the previous episode with the Weeping Angels little Peggy witnesses the death of her awful Great Uncle (“he was never nice to me”). It struck me in this episode how it was replicated by Awsok’s attitude to the Doctor.


    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    OK I’ve said something on these lines before but, if he has nothing else, he has the audacity.

    How interesting to hear much of the same story from a different perspective – first a heartbroken Master realising his beloved, loathed frenemie is the most important figure in Timelord history, to the shattering of his ego and sense of self. And now the Doctor who has realised she was possibly denied her real life and family by a person she had then learned to trust and been missused by. And then her mother, because like it or not, that’s her mother, as the Doctor’s reaction to her death (even without any of the memories) showed, made a dreadful but pertinent point. What did she do? She found someone, gathered them up, changed them.

    I did think last week the Doctor was very much moulded by the Division. The urge to interfere. And she knew it at least from the moment she made the comment about Division’s mission being against Timelord protocol. As I recall – it’s been nearly a year before I watched the first episode – the Doctor did start off talking about how he must not interfere – and was swiftly interfering all over the place.

    I think we have seen the Doctor’s parents, and they’re human, which explains a lot, might be twisted to retcon eight’s vague Spockification – his mother was human after all. If Chibs is incorporating any of that, then that implies the Doctor, as a child, before mummy dearest found them, never knew their father. If for some reason eight grasped a faint memory of his mother.

    I mean, it’s a lot to do with the lore. I’m broadly relieved if the Doctor’s origins turn out to be human. There is precedent, in terms of regeneration power, I’m not sure why the two hearts in this case, is that part of a greater mutation during whatever gives the baby Doctor their powers, that was then engineered for the Timelords? I don’t particularly mean I’m glad if the Doctor is human in origin, as much as I’m glad if they’re not of another, mysterious, powerful race. It’s a reason why the Doctor always frantically imprinted on humans, at least humans willing to head off through time and especially space. It’s not better than the original idea, but it is better than the alternatives.

    I still think we can return to the mad man/woman/person in a box after this. RTD will just have a different kind of trauma for the Doctor to deal with, but nine did, for all the overall light heartedness for much of his run, come in with trauma. First we had the death of all the Timelords, then I think Moffart made it guilt over his role in the death of the Timelords. Chibs has made it very complicated adopted relationship with the Timelords. And as always they’ll pop up from time to time to varying effect.

    I think there’s an article on here, by @jimthefish? about the diminishing returns of the TimeLords. I’m impressed that Chib managed to do something fairly new and interesting with them, with a whole other aspect of them that manages to cut them down to size, but also stay true to the old British Empire evocations. I’m pretty sure Ruth Doctor is the one who breaks away from the Division, and I’d like to see that.

    Again very much looking forward to watching this in one gulp. Even considering revisiting the whole run, which hadn’t particularly interested me before. I noticed that the date Yaz is looking for is December 5th, next weeks episode. I realised as soon as the words were: fetch your dog, it was Karvanista. Who must then be told to fetch his human.

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    @miapatrick “I think we have seen the Doctor’s parents, and they’re human”

    Yes, I’ve seen the spec elsewhere on the interwebs that Bel and Vinder are the Doctor’s parents.

    I mean certainly, the fact that Bel is pregnant, does seem pregnant with meaning.

    In terms of timey-wimeyness, there would be a time paradox going on though?

    Bel and Vinder are alive contemporaneously with the events of Tecteun’s plan to destroy the universe using the Flux and therefore Baby-Doctor, if she is in Bel’s belly, is not-yet-born and has not yet been found by Tecteun and used to give birth to the Time Lords, at the same time as Whit-Doc (some umpteen reincarnations leter) is the indirect cause of Tecteun’s universe-destroying hissy-fit.

    What is very cool about this, however, is it makes sense of all the serpent symbolism (the Grand Serpent and his tattooed minions). I mentioned the Ouroboros, the serpent which swallows its own tail – which is an alchemical symbol of death and rebirth.

    So are witnessing the death and rebirth of the universe and the death and birth (rebirth) of the Doctor simultaneosly?


    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    First of all, it’s so nice to see so many familiar names back. It’s almost like old times. A special wave to @scaryb — good to see you with us again, my furry friend…

    One the episode itself, I’m a bit more meh about this one. Still a vast improvement on the last couple of years but this defaulted once again to an entire episode of the Doctor being talked at and doing pretty much nothing at all. It was the Timeless Children or Once, Upon Time all over again.

    What saves it is two things. First, Dan, Jericho and Yaz off on a series of Indiana Jones-esque adventures. They had great chemistry and the little snatches of their adventures were really tantalising and positively screamed spin-off (although where did they get the money for all that globe-trotting?). I wouldn’t be surprised if Big Finish were printing off the contracts even as we speak. Yaz, in particular, came into her own here and I really don’t want to see Jericho go. He’s got the potential to be a really good recurring character or maybe even a companion of the future. (@blenkinsopthebrave, RE. Peggy, I suspect that the regretful and childless Jericho will be ultimately deposited back in his own time to bring up Peggy as his own child.)

    The other saving grace was, of course, the wonderful Barbara Flynn. I’ve waited years to see her in Who and I’m so glad it finally happened and she plays her scenes with Whittaker brilliantly. Like many others on here, I’m a bit disappointed to see her go so quickly though and I’m hoping that we’ll get to see her again through some time-wimey shenanigans or other. The hints of the ambivalent mother-daughter relationship between the Doctor and Tecteun were handled really well and if we are to have the Doctor’s family making an appearance in the show then the least we can do I think is explore those relationships in detail. Flynn played her brilliantly too (more Rose-Marie from A Very Peculiar Practice than Mrs Swinburne though). There was something of the Rani done properly to her performance — the morally blind but brilliant scientist but thankfully with all the 80s camp excised. She certainly could have been an interesting and worthy adversary going forward — more interesting than, say, the Master, who I think ran out of steam as a character a while back and should really have been laid to rest with the fitting send-off given to Missy.

    And it looks as if any hope of the Doctor not being the Timeless Child and the whole thing being a fabrication of the Master has been shot out of the water. Which is fine, I guess. I think I’ve become a slow and grudging convert to the idea. As I’ve said before, I prefer the Doctor to be an unexceptional maverick but it’s also important that the narrative moves forward if the show has to survive. Both RTD and Moffat understood this too, I think, and it’s only natural for any writer to want to deepen the characters and explore the characters under their charge. Sure, it makes the Doctor a little different than what she was even a decade ago but you could have made that same argument about Pertwee and Hartnell. Change is and should be the only constant in Who.

    I suppose the in-universe problems I have are the problem of the Doctor’s Time Lord physiology. It could be, as others have suggested, a mutation that Tecteun introduced into the Gallifreyan genome and it’s not an insurmountable objection. What I wonder about more is if the Doctor had been deeply involved with Division all this time then why did the Time Lords exile her to Earth for interference at the end of the War Games? Surely there would have been someone in the High Council who would have been in the know, or that Division would have pulled some strings? It strikes me as a risky thing to allow to go ahead in any case.

    Kudos to @miapatrick for identifying the double meaning in ‘Division’. It feels like the end of Flux is going to be another universe reboot, with the Doctor being placed in a simplified new universe, perhaps with another memory wipe in place. I’m not sure that will be satisfying however and I’m not convinced that we can wholly return to the ‘mad(wo)man in a box’ concept. Even if the Doc has no memory of who she was, we as the audience will now and our relationship with the character has been changed forever. And as @miapatrick says, she’s going to be burdened with a PTSD even greater than her Time War survivor guilt. But it took Moffat most of his run to unpick that angst from the Doctor and return her to the (more or less) untroubled figure that we had pre-Time War (and I’m pretty sure that even RTD said that he eventually found the Time War to be a counter-productive concept and certainly by the end of his run it was something that he was trying to downplay too.) I suspect that when he takes over again, he’s going to spend a lot of time unpicking and rewriting the Timeless Child narrative (although maybe not, as he is apparently a fan of it and is perhaps looking to build upon it.) But on the other hand, I can definitely see the argument that the Doctor is being enriched by this turn of events and that it opens up a whole set of narrative possibilities for the future.

    So, another just slightly weaker episode but Chibs deserves kudos for even managing to provide a credible explanation for UNIT’s dating controversies and that was a nice nod to the Brigadier in the episode. The whole thing (the episode but also Flux in general) has had something of an Infinity War vibe to me. So, I’m looking forward to the Endgame now and very much hope that Chibs manages to stick the landing.

    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    @juniperfish and @miapatrick

    So are witnessing the death and rebirth of the universe and the death and birth (rebirth) of the Doctor simultaneosly?

    Ooh, I do like this idea quite a lot. I do wonder if the Doc and Vinder wouldn’t have felt some kind of bond when they met though — although I guess not, given we’re talking many, many regenerations and mind wipes later…

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    @juniperfish, That is an awesome interpretation. It makes total sense, and, along with the serpent motifs, it also feels like a mobius strip, where the universe, the Doctor, and Doctor Who the show meet themselves in a never ending way.

    @miapatrick, Also love the idea that Chibnall might also be attempting to fold the 8th Doctor into this interpretation of who the Doctor is.

    If these interpretations are, indeed, what Chibnall is attempting, and can actually pull it off next week, I will be incredibly impressed.

    Still a little nervous about the allusion to what appears to be Lungbarrow in the teaser for next week, though.



    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @juniperfish and now I’m thinking of the Never-ending story, with the serpent on the book cover and the endless progress of destruction and re-creation. You’re right, it makes the serpent some lovely imagery.

    @jimthefish re: going forward, it would be possible to spin this in a positive way for the Doctor, I suppose. The Doctor now knows who she is, she’d have met her parents, it could be made a kind of healing of wounds (Amy was still filled with sadness at losing her baby, but was somewhat healed at finding River again. That said, she did get to grow up with her, so it’s a bit different). The Doctor might be freed from some of the guilt and unease of her relationship with the other Time Lords, and also maybe Elevens dangerous tendency to lean into ‘I’m a Time Lord’ on occasion. Being the Tmeless Child could potentially make the Doctor more aware of their difference, or sense of their importance (If the others are the Time Lord Empire, the Doctor has often been something of the Time Lord Saviour, not as Saviour of the Time Lords, though sometimes that, but the Time Lord who swoops in to save poor humans), but at the same time, knowing that they’re human, and losing a lot of their sense of obligation towards the rest of them, this could be a positive thing.  Re: Vinder – depends if this is going into Eight’s revelation about his mother. He says his mother is human. If this does link to that, it suggests the Doctor as a child might not have ever met him before now. Supposing that was some Primal memory that somehow emerged during that version of the Doctor for some reason a shadow of his brief time with his mother and he knew enough to know that brief memory was of a human. But no memory of anything she’d have told him, including about his father. I’m not saying it’s probable, but it’s possible so far.

    @blenkinsopthebrave I think this is the most fun we’ve had with Who for a while. I don’t know if he’ll tie it up effectively, but I’m enjoying myself much more than I expected.



    MissRori @missrori

    I dunno.  I keep having the sense that most of what has happened in this miniseries isn’t going to matter after next week’s finale, given how increasingly messy it’s become and how thin the new characters are.  I’ve had a hard time caring about what’s going on with that in mind. I am surprised nobody’s theorizing that the ending will involve the restoration of Gallifrey, although that would be more appropriate for next year’s specials anyway.

    All the guff the Doctor gets over taking and changing people is weird.  We humans do that all the time with each other, it just usually doesn’t involve time travel and stuff.  If people like those who chide the Doctor had their way nobody would make friends at all, there would be no need for prisons, etc.  (I think I may be overthinking things 😀 )

    MissRori @missrori

    Specifically, perhaps the watch can be used to restore the universe from the Flux’s damage, rather than restore the Doctor’s memories (which don’t have much meaning, or positive meaning, for her anyway).  And that could take care of Gallifrey and the Time Lords!

    Mudlark @mudlark

    Once again we are jumping back and forth between multiple narrative threads – six in this case, but now that we have a firmer idea of what is going on and where everyone fits in it isn’t so much of a problem and I enjoyed this episode, even if it wasn’t up to the standard of last week. And visually it was gorgeous.

    Of the various threads, that of the Doctor was the most compelling, as much because of the interaction between her and Barbara Flynn’s Tecteun as in the information imparted which involved another info-dump interspersed with the Doctor’s desperate questions and assertions that, despite the odds, she will save everyone and everything; an assertion which, at this stage, comes across as sheer bravado in the face of the overwhelming evidence, though she will undoubtedly manage it somehow.

    As for Tecteun, @juniperfish , I don’t think that your comparison with Mengele is all that inappropriate, even in this context. She is every bit the amoral scientist for whom anything is justified in the search for knowledge. Watching The Timeless Child I remember wondering about the series of regenerated children we saw, and whether she was in fact killing them successively in order to study the process.

    The Prentis thread was satisfying in revealing his relevance to the story and the reasons for the closing down of UNIT. He is, almost literally, the (grand) serpent in UNIT’s garden. And  Craig Parkinson does understated evil really well. He evidently has the means of time travel, also, which made me wonder whether he might not be a Time Lord gone *really* to the bad. But all is not lost, because Kate is still on the case, working under deep cover – and with a shout out to Osgood!

    Yaz’s globetrotting quest was great fun and she, Professor Jericho and Dan  work really well as a team. Like @jimthefish though I did wonder how, after being stranded in 1901 with little but the clothes they arrived in, they had managed to find the wherewithal for that expensive travel. Foreknowledge of things like horse racing results and stock markets might have been lucrative if they had even a small store of cash to invest, but 2021 currency wouldn’t have been of much use. The nit-picking imp on my shoulder also prompted me to wonder how. when they broke into the Aztec pyramid, they found a handy candle already burning on the altar to provide light – or did I miss Yaz producing and lighting it? And if so, why not an oil lantern or similar?  Entertaining as those interludes were, though, their quest contributed little to any furtherance of the story except a date, December 5th – not entirely coincidentally the date of the final episode – and in linking up finally with Williamson and his tunnels. I suspect that this thread, apart from proving some entertaining interludes, was little more than padding to keep them in the frame.

    Vinder’s, Bel’s and Karvanista’s threads are subsidiary but not entirely inconsequential. Vinder discovered why Swarm and Azure were harvesting people – to provide energy for their conquest of space. ‘We are Time’, says Swarm the Ravager, and Time is indeed the ravager of all things, since entropy wins in the end. Bel and Karvanista’s threads also serve a purpose in introducing the final attack by the Sontarans.

    Finally, going back to the Doctor’s story, I can hardly be alone in thinking ‘chameleon arch’ when we saw the fob watch, but I suppose that, if it holds all the information of the Doctor’s life pre-memory wipe, it functions in much the same way.

    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord


    I’m not saying it’s probable, but it’s possible so far.

    Oh, I think it’s both and as a theory I like it a lot. And if it brings a sense of closure to the Doc’s past going forward, as you suggest, then I think that can only be a good thing. And I do love the idea of bringing Eight’s backstory into the general mythos a lot. If there’s one thing you can say for Chibs is that he hasn’t wanted for ambition with this whole storyline and part of me suspects it might be the shot in the narrative arm that the show needs.

    On another note, does this mean that UNIT had Thirteen’s functioning TARDIS all the time Three was exiled to Earth? The Brig must have been killing himself laughing every time the Doc’s back was turned.

    ScaryB @scaryb

    Great posts, everyone… and YAY! to bonkers theorising being back.

    @juniperfish (big furry wave to you) – totally agree with your take on Tecteun (interesting to get her side of it which pretty much corroborates what the Master described to the Doctor, only “justified”), and like @mudlark I wondered about her adopted child seeming to have so many deaths – that’s a lot of misadventures for 1 child.

    So is Chibs heading straight into a Moffat loop here (which is not a bad thing IMHO, if he can pull it off)?  Presuming he’s looking at a complete reboot (in terms of convoluted canon) and also presuming he doesn’t want to lumber the Doctor with a whole new case of PTSD after the long time it took to shake off the Time War survivor trauma… I have a theory forming.

    1. We have a Chekhov’s baby (to pinch one of @bluesqueakpip‘s trademarks). Bel’s baby can’t be a coincidence. I am strongly coming to the opinion that the baby will be the Doctor (in a very timey wimey way). Now, we don’t know for sure that either Bel or Vinder is human (as in earth origin eg we don’t know about their biology – either or both of them could have 2 hearts for example). Bel in particular is one hell of a badass, and seems to have been kicking around for a while, being familiar with daleks, cybermen etc and not in the least phased by them. Vinder isn’t afraid to stand on his principles. I wouldn’t be upset for these 2 to be the Doctor’s ulltimate parents, even if she gets to spend very little time with them.

    Also – we know from River that gestation in the time vortex plays havoc with biology, and gave River the ability to regenerate. Surely bouncing about in flux-distorted universe-disintegrating times is going to have some potentially drastic effects on a growing foetus. So – in  a very timey wimey wibbly wobbly way, Awsok/Tecteun, in creating the flux, is responsible for creating her own adopted child. And the Time Lords. That gets rid of the problem of the Doctor being related to a megalomanic, psychopathic race like the Time Lords (but doesn’t negate that Hartnell thro to Whittaker THINK they are). TLs have always been a bit problematic, apart from having cool taste in big collars (as @Phasehift eloquently pointed out a while back (thanks for the reminder @miapatrick)).

    2. We also have Chekhov’s fob watch… is it a chameleon arch, or just the container for all the Doctor’s previous (as in before she became Hartnell) lives. Does it also include memories of her life before she got picked up and messed up by Tecteun? Maybe – if she doesn’t get zapped by Swarm in the next episode – she’ll revisit some of those lives in the specials? But probably it needs to be opened in the finale. Or lost!  Sadly I don’t think there’s going to be a happy family with the baby-Doc and her parents, I think they’re doomed, but possibly by saving their baby and the person she grows into. Or maybe 13 will save herself as a baby by rescuing her parents before Bel gives birth to her. But some sort of (tragically brief but cathartic) resolution.

    Or mabe that’s all a pile of late night, overworked brain-addled bobbins! 😉

    Some loose ends – is that the ruins of Gallifrey where Vinder is cornered by Swarm and zapped into a Passenger? Where’s @wolfweed when you need him to do a screen grab?! 😉

    Not sure where the Serpent fits in (but like the ouroboros analogy (or the serpent in the garden??)) but I did enjoy the reference to UNIT, Kate going undercover and OSGOOD (real or zygon?) and @jimthefish‘s

     On another note, does this mean that UNIT had Thirteen’s functioning TARDIS all the time Three was exiled to Earth? The Brig must have been killing himself laughing every time the Doc’s back was turned.

    Mwuhuhuh 🙂

    Sorry, loooong post. It’s been a while!

    ScaryB @scaryb

    Last thoughts – why on earth is Divison HQ so deserted? If they’re everywhere/every species/every time surely they’d be retreating to the safe haven while our universe is fluxed? All we’ve got is a mad scientist and an Ood! (And why has that Ood still got its translator orb – that’s slavery is it not?)

    Can’t wait to see where Williamson’s tunnels fit in/lead. I love that they’re real, and still mysterious in our universe.

    Fob watch – maybe the clue to defeating Swarm and Azure is in the Dr’s past memories.

    Chibs has been seeding in the Timeless Child since his second episode 🙂

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @jimthefish yes I feel that it ‘fixes’ in a way that part of eight’s film. I’ve always been happy to see eight included in AG Who, but that revelation has always been kind of sitting there, tactfully ignored.

    And yeah, Chibs – I didn’t think I’d be saying this after his first run of episodes, but ambitious is definitely the word. His second gave me mixed feeling, which remain mixed, but I’ve liked what he’s done with his storyline this time out. In his second, it might be because the revelation came from the Master the focus was a bit ‘oh god, the Doctor turns out to be indescribably special and important’, but now it’s more a case of ‘the Doctor got snatched and experimented on for lifetimes, but hey, silver lining, might be able to get properly mentally free of the Time Lords’ . Perspective is a wonderful thing.

    I got a little sense of the themes of adoption, especially international adoption here. In that sometimes it’s problematic. Tecturn assumed this small child was abandoned and up for grabs, even assuming she was just feeling a bit broody at the time or genuinely thought she was doing a good thing, it’s interesting that the Doctor points out she didn’t know, maybe she was waiting. Maybe she’s always been trying to get back there.

    @scaryb you’re right of course that we don’t know that they’re, or that they’re both human. My own theory is that Bel at least is, but the two hearts is a stumbling block to the ‘Doctor is human in origin but vortexed’ because River only had one heart, and it appears two hearts aren’t necessary for regeneration (though she didn’t regenerate all that many times, as far as we know).


    I think you’re right about the fob watch for defeating Swarm and Azure. They were gloating at the start about having the advantage of memories of their last encounter.

    Oh hey, the Doctor has yet another real name. I hope River gets told it at some point.

    What I’d like for next week: Ruth Doc, at the point of leaving the Division (I’m sure it’s Ruth who leaves). Oooh, maybe a glimpse of Ruth regenerating into Hartnell? The Doctor meets her parents (assuming they are), and achieving a sense of resolution and of who she is. The Flux reversed is inevitable though how that would tie in with the Doctors origins (if this theory is correct) remains to be seen. Karvanista is finally reunited with his human, at which he grumbles and growls but is actually pleased (and I’m sorry, he’s just my Oliver in my head, grumps and all) and is very important in whatever they do to save the day. The actual saving of the day won’t make perfect sense and will be a little frustrating, but the emotional resolution will be more satisfactory, that’s more of a prediction than a hope.

    I didn’t think I’d say this (not that I hated his first series, but I wasn’t so enthusiastic) but I’m glad we have a little more Chib coming next year.


    ScaryB @scaryb

    @miapatrick – River was only vortexed. In this hypothesis the Doctor (to be) is fluxed – anything could happen! Her whole biology could be rewritten, including 2 hearts. She’s born, perhaps in dramatic fluxy circumstances, dies but immediately regenerates to the lost foundling Tecteun then finds. Waiting for her parents who she eventually finds many many regenerations later!

    Maybe she’s always been trying to get back there

    Emotional resolution with slightly dodgy plotting – that sounds like Chibnall. (I think Dr Ruth will be back – even if it’s as a memory which has the solution to defeating Swarm).

    I found an interesting comment on the Graun thread (before they snapped it shut around 10pm on Sunday! Shame!) about someone who found out later in life that they had been adopted and about the stress that late discovery caused, and the resonations they found in the Doctor’s story.

    It makes the Doctor “special” but not in the usual “hero’s journey” way. I can live with that. And with a human parent (ha! never thought I’d ever say that)

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @scaryb good point!

    don’t get me started on the closing of the Graun thread. Only one time has it still been open in the morning. If they don’t want to mod it overnight, I can’t for the life of me see why they can’t, as sometimes has happened, reopen it later.

    And yes, very Chibs, it’s good to know he seems to have hit the mark over the adoption thing though.

    Mudlark @mudlark

    @scaryb @miapatrick

    I’ve been pondering the notion that Bel and Vinder are the Doctor’s birth parents and it would certainly work. I’m not sure that the Flux itself could be the operative factor in transforming the hypothetical Doctor embryo, because  Awsok stated that it – and presumably its effects – were spatial, not temporal. Swarm and Azure, on the other hand, are temporal agents and clearly bent on monkeying around with time itself, and who knows what side effects that could have. Furthermore, after so much of the universe has apparently been destroyed by the Flux, it’s going to take a comprehensive timey-wimey reboot to restore the status quo – even perhaps involving that wormhole towards which the Division space station is heading – and in such circumstances anything is possible. It’s quite conceivable that Bel, with or without Vinder, could be hurled into another universe and far back in time. Vinder’s current predicament, trapped in a Passenger, might also be a factor.

    Then I got to thinking that if Bel is human and Vinder is not (or vice versa), that would make the Doctor …. a hybrid 😮 .

    At the end of Heaven Sent, after the Doctor broke through the barrier from the confession dial onto Gallifrey he said ‘The Hybrid …. is me’, which, given the existence of Me, was ambiguous. Later, in Hell Bent, the General says, ‘All Matrix prophecies concur that this creature [the Hybrid] will one day stand in the ruins of Gallifrey. It will unravel the Web of Time  and destroy a billion billion hearts to heal it’s own’. That statement could apply more or less to the Doctor after his 4 billion year ordeal in the confession dial and after he had travelled to the end of the universe in his attempt to bring Clara back to life. But what if Chibs has taken the concept of the Hybrid and given it his own twist. In The Timeless Children the Doctor stood in the ruins of Gallifrey and, because this was the result of the Master’s extreme reaction to his discoveries about her, was indirectly the cause of its destruction. She is also the reason the universe is now being destroyed, in the course of which billions upon billions of lives must have been lost. And the Web of Time is also taking something of a hammering.

    Just a thought 😈

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    I keep going back to a question @bluesqueakpip asked ages ago. If Chibnall presented the Doctor as the timeless child, why was that story called The Timeless Children? Do they refer to the many children that were studied/sacrificed? by Tecteun? Or…?

    @bluesqueakpip What are your current thoughts?

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @mudlark this is interesting because to me Moffart’s conclusion, assuming it was a conclusion and not just a breathtakingly effective bluff of the hybrid prophesy didn’t quite work for mewas one of his least satisfying conclusions. As you say, the existence of Me made it ambigious – but only because she was a human who had been changed, and we were able to think that the hybrid referred to that. It could all the more apply to the Doctor now that the Doctor is revealed to come from some other species, but is also the baseline of the Timelord’s genetic make-up. I would have a lot of respect for Chibs if he does pull this off.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    I genuinely don’t know. Given how easy it would have been to call that episode ‘The Timeless Child’, I’m pretty sure the plural has some significance. Right the way back in Chibnall’s second episode, The Ghost Monument, the Doctor herself is the Timeless Child, singular.

    One of the things I did pick up this episode is that the Doctor’s adoptive mother increases the mirroring that’s become apparent between the Time Lords and the Daleks. @juniperfish calls her a Space Mengele, but she’s really the Time Lords’ Davros. Daleks and Timelords – both species are the result of genetic manipulation by a scientist who left their ethics at the door. Tecteun indeed – she rips her daughter’s hearts out to see how often she doesn’t die.

    One possibility is that the ‘Children’ was a deliberate call-back to Moffat’s 50th Anniversary Special, in which the crime that haunts the Doctor is that he killed billions of Time Lord and Shogobhan children when he destroyed Gallifrey. Tecteun didn’t kill the children of Gallifrey; she gave them regeneration. But was that all she did to them? Did the Timeless Children become Time Lords – and is their megalomania and psychopathy inevitable? Did the Doctor, by saving the Gallifreyan children, inevitably bring back the Time Lords who are mirrors to the Daleks?

    Basically, the question becomes – is the Master the other Timeless Child, because he discovered he was no accident? Is his psychopathy and megalomania built in – literally built in, deliberately designed in by Tecteun?

    @scaryb – welcome back!

    @miapatrick I get the impression the Graun thread is only being kept open by the efforts of Martin Belam and can’t get reopened the next day because he has to do his day job of Covid Liveblogging. Whether it’s a money thing, or whether it’s because they’ve noticed how many trolls the recaps were attracting, I don’t know. Less heavily trolled recaps seem to be left open for days.

    I agree Bel’s baby is likely to be Very Important – too much is being made of the fact that she’s pregnant. It might be that Baby Bel is the Doctor, simply because of the pun – it does have a feel of a writer going ‘oh, this plotline is going to be cheesy, let’s just lampshade it’. The Doctor then becomes a Moffat loop; which might explain why Chibbers wanted the Weeping Angels and why Moffat was happy to release them to another writer. Moffat built on RTD and his Time War; Chibbers is building on Moffat and his Loop. Quite possibly, also building on Moffat’s idea that a human exposed to the Vortex is so close to the Time Lords that Madame Vastra was reduced to delicately asking if the Doctor, Amy and Rory were a threesome.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    I agree that I quite liked the Doctor as ‘John Smith from Gallifrey’. But one thing I did manage to mention before they shut the Graun thread; Chibbers is making the Doctor’s origin story that of an abused child. A very abused child.

    Which is terrific, fairytale or not, because being an abused child is too often the villain’s backstory. It’s pretty much the backstory RTD gave to the Master, in fact.

    The Timeless Children. One chooses to be a villain; one chooses to be a hero.

    nerys @nerys

    I just watched the episode this afternoon. I must say, Chibnall is on a roll. I love all the bonkerizing going on here among new and familiar faces. Feels like old times!

    Was everyone else as happily surprised as I was to see Kate Stewart back? I should have anticipated that, with UNIT back in the picture. I’m looking forward to next week’s conclusion … and then I will be rewatching all the episodes once the puzzle pieces have all come together!

    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    @miapatrick and @scaryb

    Yes, I think we’re looking at a reset canon going forward and the Doc as cosmic adoptee too and I’m fairly happy with both ideas. RE. RuthDoc, yep, I think we’re definitely going to see her again. It occurs to me that the holy grail of unexpected reveals for Chibs will be a surprise regeneration and I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what he’s planning to pull. Maybe 13 will be gone sooner than we think. Perhaps this week’s cliffhanger will be the opening of the pocket watch, opening up the possibility for next year’s specials being the adventures of past, previously unseen, Doctors, Ruth included.


    Yes, I was rewatching Heaven Sent recently and its resonances with The Timeless Children struck me too. Maybe Chibs was bothered by the vagueness of the Hybrid prophecy and wanted to do something more literal with it. As you say, it certainly seems to have come to pass now and a case could definitely be made for the Doc being the Hybrid (or maybe the Doc and the Master being it?)

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    Not sure if this has been pointed out here, but just rewatched it again last night, and this is only a minor point (I think) but during the scene set in UNIT in 1967, as Farquah and Prentice are walking down the stairs we hear the sound of Lethbridge-Stewart coming from behind a door. Farquah says: “That’s our new corporal. A bit of a shouter…” Corporal? 1967? That makes no sense.  And would Lethbridge-Stewart have ever been a corporal? It seems to me that Lethbridge-Stewart had Sandhurst written all over him. I could never imagine him in the ranks.

    So, was it a mistake? That seems far fetched  to me, as they have taken so much effort to get all the other references to the show’s past right. Is there something going on that we haven’t thought about?

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    I thought it was the General trying to make a joke – Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart shouts like he was Corporal Lethbridge-Stewart. Somebody tell our ‘new corporal’ to turn the volume down.

    It’s completely impossible that a Corporal in 1967 could be a Colonel in 1968, so there’s definitely something ‘off’ about it. However, the General’s little joke about the ‘new corporal’ might be why The Grand Serpent doesn’t identify Lethbridge-Stewart as the guy who’s going to take over UNIT.

    The only other alternatives I can think of are that Lethbridge-Stewart was working undercover as an NCO – which would fit with the fact he wasn’t in UNIT in 1967 – or time has gone very wibbly wobbly indeed.


    Even though the trails of the formation of UNIT has been found, has the secret of  Lethbridge-Stewart been uncovered yet? How can a guy retire from UNIT, even before he is UNIT?

    The latest episode seems even more convoluted and surprisingly stagnant when it comes to the timeline of the Brigadier. Does anyone have any insights?

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @bluesqueakpip I agree Chibs is very much building on Moffart here. But if your comment about the Master – also somewhat on RTD. (of course every one would be to an extent), particularly the relationship between the Doctor and the Master. I think RTD showed them looking into the time vortex, as something baby timecards had to do, and both Doctor and Master had an extreme reaction, the Master ‘went mad’, and the Doctor started running. I might be misremembering but don’t many Time Lords just carry on, or be inspired by it, some go mad, some run away. From that I always had a sense (many many evil acts by the Master notwithstanding) the Timelords we ought to really be concerned about is the ones who didn’t have a negative reaction to it. This did establish the cruelty in their childhoods. This does also give a less egotistical reason for the Master’s reaction to discovering about the Timeless child as the Doctor, as they’ve been presented as a victim of the Timelords in a sense since The Sound of Drums. Discovering his frimesis was responsible not only for what he saw as his greatness, but also his suffering.

    @jimthefish I would absolutely like to see more Ruth Doc. And given that we’re looking at a cannon reset, it would be nice if they covered, even briefly, the original reset that bought us the original Doctor. What’s kind of cool about this is all the inevitable contradictions, because the series evolved over the first years, can now be explained. The Doctor had undergone a major memory wipe, after running away from the Division. He’d probably blocked out what of the Timelords he could remember for a while, she’d gone into regeneration perhaps with a determination never to interfere, but interfering is in her DNA, and it came out. And he might have been happy just to hole up in London with his granddaughter (though that part still leaves questions…) acting out a normal childhood though she hardly needed to attend an earth school. As regenerations progressed, the gap in the memories recedes, and the Doctor is able to think about the rest of the Timelords more without noticing it, or entirely noticing it.


    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    So, some questions that I really hope are resolved tomorrow.

    1. Who, if anybody, is the Grand Serpent connected to? He can travel in time, so…a Time Lord? But he does not seem to be connected to either Swarm/Azure or to Tecteun. In fact, who is the Grand Serpent and why is he doing what he is doing?

    2. If the universe is being destroyed in a way that is converging on Earth as the last point of destruction, why are the Sontarans hell bent on attacking it, particularly if Sontar is, presumably, already a pile of ash, and also presumably, Earth (and the Sontaran fleet) is about to become a pile of ash?

    3. Tecteun told us (?) that she unleashed the Flux. Swarm and Azure seem to be all in favour of the Flux, so what, exactly, is/was the conflict between Tecteun (when she was alive) and Swarm/Azure?


    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    Um.   Interesting, sorta.   Baffling, as in ‘where is this going?’ – frequently.   (In some cases, nowhere, really).

    So now Yaz and her companions are doing Indiana Jones stuff. It would seem the Angels have lost interest in them. Though somebody hasn’t, dynamite, mysterious assassins with suicide pills, is Yaz going to be the next James Bond? It would appear so, somehow the Doctor has delegated to Yaz the task of saving the Earth from alien incursions. Exactly how she is supposed to do that isn’t exactly clear. This is muddled writing. Why would date of the end of the world be on an old Mayan pot? And how would Yaz know where to find it?

    And I’m afraid all this stuff about Division interfering behind the scenes (isn’t that pretty much what the Doctor does?) in multiple universes is losing me again. Too many story threads, too many complications. Umm, the next bit didn’t please me at all – the Doctor wouldn’t stop interfering in stuff so Division aka Tekteun decided to invent the Flux to destroy the Universe (and the Doctor with it). So it’s the Doctor’s fault. (I always knew she was too bossy 🙂 This is getting just too apocalyptic for me. Chibbers back to his old tricks, rewriting the canon.

    And Tekteun had the Doctor brought to her ship (?) while she destroyed the Universe so the Doctor was no longer in the Universe to save it. So the Doctor will survive in Tekteun’s command ship – what could possibly go wrong?

    And oh yes, we have UNIT, and also the Serpent guy from episode 1. Somehow, going from supreme dictator to an undercover bureaucrat seems a bit out of charcater. And also we have an occasional digression to Bel and Vinder’s search for each other, and the two blue-ish characters (Swarm and Azure?) who initially looked like the big bad but now appear to be just minor villains.

    And meanwhile, Yaz and friends, via Nepal and the Great Wall of China, end up in Liverpool in Williamson’s tunnels. This is all very diverting but seems somehow off the point.

    You know, with a bit of re-cutting to make each story thread continuous (instead of jumping from one fragment to another) you could have six fairly coherent, reasonably interesting episodes. Instead of the confusing collage that this series actually is.

    So then the wicked emperor aka boss of UNIT is in collusion with the Sontarans, and the two blue villains (Swarm and Azure) have broken into Tekteun’s ship and zap her… So this all connects up somehow.

    I’m ambivalent about this ep. The adventures of Yaz and co seem almost pointless (and we still don’t know who/why was trying to kill them). It does all connect up – well mostly – in the end. But the fragmented nature of the storyline makes it hard for me to care much about, say, Bel and Vinder’s quest to find each other. And it feels like the Doctor’s story has jumped not only the shark but Moby Dick and a kraken as well…

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