The Doctor Falls

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This topic contains 272 replies, has 46 voices, and was last updated by  ichabod 3 years, 11 months ago.

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    ichabod @ichabod

    @tardigrade  Somehow I find it difficult to imagine Missy preparing a confession dial, but perhaps she may have, in the lonely hours in the vault, particularly towards the end, when she began to feel that she had something to confess.

    Great point — A Simm Master Confession Dial would have nothing but snarks and boasts, and I don’t think Missy pre-Vault would even bother — but after the Vault, maybe.  As to your question, yes, it’s the interaction with her past self, and a fatal intereaction at that, that makes me question the outcome of this Master/Missy encounter and wonder whether she has killed of herself — as she is after the Vault — for good.  As it were.  But as I’ve said, I’m pretty hopeless with keeping these time-loop things straight.

    @janetteb  Missy does “come good” thus rewarding the Doctor’s faith but he never knows because he has stressed that reward is not required, he does not need to know because he does “good” simply because it is the right thing to do.

    I like the little reach-back there to Missy in TWF (I think), jeering, “No, I have not ‘turned guid’!!”

    The Doctor’s penchant for averting or resolving a crisis and then skipping off to a new adventure (leaving the survivors to clean up) could be partly because he doesn’t need to know that his gains from his “good deeds” endure (or, for that matter, devolve into much grimmer consequences than foreseen) because it really is the good-act-for-its-own-sake, as an example to encourage others, that he’s about.  He does like a bit of “witness” for his amour propre’s sake, but he doesn’t want rewards or stick around to collect them.  As for hope — he’d rather not have his hopes re the effects of his help killed by unintended consequences.

    “Am I a good man?” The Doctor enacts his answer: based on outcomes, it’s impossible to know because in hindsight there are as many judgments of his acts as there are points of view, all down the future.  Based on his intentions at the time, he’s clearly doing his best, so we *can* have an answer: yes, his intention is to help, not harm.  Clara says he tries to be, and that’s good enough.  Good enough for me, too.

    So his M.O. is “Do good and disappear” — good grief!  The Doctor is a NUN!  [Remember that old movie with Audrey Hepburn, “The Nun’s Story”?]

    @thane15  I think the Tardis was nervous of the Doctor’s ‘wish’? That he not regenerate? If he doesn’t then the Tardis sits and dies maybe?

    Great question — could the Tardis “die” without its Doctor(s)?  It was dormant before Doc 1 stole it, so he sort of woke it up and has bonded with it over time.  Maybe, by now, in a way that’s beyond normal (for Tardises), so that it really doesn’t want to have to got back to sleep, on its own, in Antarctica, for an unpredictable period.  In fact, maybe the bell is ringing to attract the attention of Hartnell’s Doctor: “Come quick, there’s a future You wrestling with regeneration too, over here — you need each other’s help!” kind of thing.  Or maybe the bell is tolling to remind CapDoc that it is time for him to change, willy-nilly.  The Doctor is a good nun, and the Tardis is a mean one!

    @brewski  Applause for your version of the Xmas special — you may have hit the jackpot with this one.

    @missy  Scottish writer, Doctor and Missy, yet Scotland has trouble with sound?

    “Death by Scotland.”

    @wolfweed  “I mean, look at me — I’m a Hell of a catch!”  Wonderful!  I’m so gonna miss Missy.


    Mudlark @mudlark


    I agree with @blenkinsopthebrave, that in the exchange between Bill and the Doctor the real meaning is in what is left unsaid but is understood, because in teaching/learning, travelling together and in peril of their lives, with the Doctor having risked his own for her, they have come to know one another well.  What Bill says is only half the sentence and there is an implied ‘but’, to be followed by the unspoken ‘in my own way I do care for you, deeply; it was all worth it and am grateful’.  The Doctor’s ‘Yeah’ is all she needs as reassurance that he understands.

    The Doctor’s ‘Without hope, without witness, without reward’ is at once a statement of fact in his predicament, an affirmation of his principles, and a way of steeling his nerve for what is to come.  It doesn’t mean he has a death wish; his anguished cry when he survives against the odds and then feels himself start to regenerate is evidence to the contrary.  He doesn’t even want to change from the person he currently is. When he says this he is expecting to die, probably without hope of regeneration, without even the reward of knowing for certain if his death achieved anything significant; and facing imminent attack from hordes of cybermen he doesn’t have time to waste feeling good about himself or his actions. In the urgency of the moment it is no more than a statement of what he believes at the core of his being is the right thing to do.

    Mudlark @mudlark


    The Master-Missy relationship is, I think, fairly straightforward – insofar as Moffat loops can ever be described as such. The indications in the text are that Simm-Master will regenerate into Missy and that she remembers enough to realise this. She claims to be a bit hazy about the details, but then she has never been particularly scrupulous when it comes to telling the truth, and in the incident of the dematerialisation circuit she certainly remembers the confrontation as seen by her earlier incarnation – a very curious kind of double vision..

    The main question is whether she carried over the memory of her death at the hands of her earlier incarnation, or whether the trauma of that event had erased all recollection of the details. If she did remember, then it makes her declaration for the Doctor all the more poignant a gesture; truly without hope, without witness (other than his/herself), without reward.

    Simm-Master says ‘Don’t bother trying to regenerate, you got the full blast’, and their laughter could be seen as a mutual acknowledgement of the absurdity of their situation: the ultimate suicide pact. But as Moffat has said, more than once, the Master always escapes from seemingly final death, and often without explanation, so we will no doubt see him/her again if we stick around. If Miss did remember enough about her former existence to anticipate this end, though, what’s the betting that she had made provision accordingly?



    Nick @nick


    It’s difficult to talk about the fundamental moral foundation of our society, especially today as we are post-religous to a large extent. I think I would say this though. Whenever one does a good act, at a fundamental level you do so, in the knowledge that you may well get know reward and no recognition. In fact if you act on the basis of any expectation for reward or recognition (in this life anyway) you can’t claim any moral basis for your action, whatever it is. I agree with you, that this is a fundamental element of the Doctor’s character.

    However, I suggest that there is reward and recognition attached to being good – the reward and recognition that you give yourself. It makes you feel good about yourself, your place in the world. In fact, for the truly evil, the exact opposite will be the case. You reward yourself with pleasure from the act of ill will. Being Human, we recognise that we both impulses sit within our individual morality.

    I’m suggesting that the Doctor has lost this element of his moral code, even whilst he restates it at that moment. This is the difference between the normal actions of the Doctor in such situations and this one. He no longer feels and rewards himself from the knowledge that his actions are helping others. I think this sits behind his reason for the current regeneration crisis being different from that pf D10 (“I don’t want to go”) and explains @bluesqueakpip ‘s description of this predicament.

    I would also contrast this with Missy’s “end”. She has gained a measure of personal redemption because she has recognised an element of the Doctor’s “no recognition, no reward” morality within herself and proposed to act upon that new found element of her personality.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    I’d agree that we’re in a period of moral flux – one reason I like Steven Moffat’s writing (even though we have very different ideas on religion) is that we both seem to agree that utilitarianism is a dreadful philosophy. 🙂

    Yes, the Doctor seems to be restating the idea that virtue should be its own reward – but in a way that avoids the weird loop where it’s argued that no one is really virtuous because we feel good about being virtuous. In this episode everyone except the Simm Master does the right thing because it’s the right thing; other Moffatian points that come up are that dying may not be the worst thing that can happen – to die is not to ‘lose’. And, of course, that a moral society (or person) is one who tries to save its children.

    tardigrade @tardigrade


    In fact if you act on the basis of any expectation for reward or recognition (in this life anyway) you can’t claim any moral basis for your action, whatever it is.

    I really don’t see that the phrase “(in this life anyway)” is particularly relevant ethically- the expectation of personal gain is still present, even if that comes later on. And that’s one reason that I think it’s actually easier to talk about morality once it’s separated from traditional religion belief. If you’re operating within a framework where your actions are scrutinised and you can expect (substantial) reward in an afterlife or future life based on those actions, then the purity of the moral basis of those actions is called into question. It’s the actions you take when you’re not being scrutinised (“without witness”) that are the better indication of character.

    But to claim that someone with a religious belief that they will be judged and rewarded/punished based on their actions cannot take actions based on moral grounds is, I think, taking things much too far. I don’t think that treating the morality of actions in black and white terms is very helpful, and leads to the rather extreme position that you mention, that if you feel good about something you’ve done, then that is a reward, and that throws doubt onto the morality of the action. I’d prefer to think that morality, like pretty much anything else, is better considered on a spectrum, with truly selfless acts right up at one end, but still with many other actions towards that end of the scale.

    I’m suggesting that the Doctor has lost this element of his moral code, even whilst he restates it at that moment.

    In the end, the Doctor’s moral code compels him to regenerate, and to accept the personal negatives that come along with that, so that he can continue to help others. But it may be important for him to recapture why he is doing that and feel an internal reward that affirms that he’s doing the right thing.

    Missy @missy

    @ichabod:     “Death by Scotland.”

    As opposed to ‘chocolate?’

    I too shall miss Missy would love the Doctor to know that she was coming to stand with him. You never know, if JS is staying as the Master, his love of ‘showing off’ might lure him into telling the Doctor this in the hope that it will hurt him, he has before. He  can be pretty stupid at times.


    Nick @nick


    I’m sorry, for what was obviously poorly wording, but you have read much more into that phrase than I ever intended. I agree with you, regarding looking at morality outside any religion context. I’m not so sure that faith in some reward in an afterlife necessarily makes much difference.

    I certainly didn’t mean to infer or imply this at all

    But to claim that someone with a religious belief that they will be judged and rewarded/punished based on their actions cannot take actions based on moral grounds is, I think, taking things much too far

    Sorry for any misunderstanding.


    Brewski @brewski

    @ichabod  Thanks!

    I know others like @blenkinsopthebrave are thinking its more likely that Doctor One will be the Clarence of the story, rather than CapDoc.  However, I am rather keen on the twist of the teacher becoming the taught.

    In other words, Twelve is all against regenerating, but when he stubbornly explains its virtues to One he inadvertently teaches himself.

    It would be too good to be true to have old the old Docs being paid a visit, though, wouldn’t it?

    Only thing I’m wondering is: in order to demonstrate that not regenerating was a bad thing, they would all have to be a sort of crotchety and bitter version of their older selves.  So would that be a fun and quirky thing?  (The actor’s could certainly have fun with it.)  Or would it sort of spoil the character a bit?

    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    @brewski — I’ll be very curious to see just what approach we’ll see. Can’t imagine we’ll see all the Doctors though, maybe just edited highlights and I imagine some of them will just be re-edited footage a la The Name of the Doctor. If indeed this is the approach taken. It might just be some kind of Two Doctors. Rachel Talalay has used the expression ‘fangasm’ though…..

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    Warning: Cameron K McEwan’s jacket contains strobing…

    Brewski @brewski

    @jimthefish [sigh] No, probably not.  I never get my wish.  Even at Christmas.  :p

    I’ll settle for the fangasm, though! lol…  (settles in to wait…)


    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    @brewski — I’m hopeful that you’ll get at least some of your christmas wishes as I think you’re definitely onto something with your theories about the spesh….

    nerys @nerys

    Someone may have already mentioned this, and so I apologize if I’m repeating an earlier post(s):

    Much attention has been given to Missy clasping the Doctor’s hand as they part ways for the last time. (Did she hand something off to him?)

    Near the beginning of the episode, right after Missy knocks out the Master with her umbrella, she tells the Doctor, “I was secretly on your side all along, you silly sausage!” He asks her, “Is that true? I need to know” and clasps her hand. She replies, “I’m in two minds. Fortunately the other one is unconscious.” And then the Doctor walks away to contact Nardole, while Missy steps back and looks unsettled.

    So I think this is why Missy clasps the Doctor’s hand as they part ways near the end. Without words, just this gesture, she is reassuring him that she is on his side.

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    Your last paragraph–I agree.

    I just finished watching the episode again, and I know that others have suggested something changes hands, but I am more of the view that the holding of hands is just that. And its importance is precisely that–the emotional significance that the holding of hands signifies.

    tardigrade @tardigrade


    So I think this is why Missy clasps the Doctor’s hand as they part ways near the end. Without words, just this gesture, she is reassuring him that she is on his side.

    When they clasp hands, earlier in this episode and previously, it clearly affects Missy emotionally. She actually rejects an attempt by the Doctor to clasp both her hands when they’re parting for the last time. The way I see this, she’s still in two minds at that point, and I think doesn’t trust herself not to immediately give in to the Doctor’s wishes if she clasps his hands – she possibly even sees it as a deliberate attempt at manipulation by the Doctor. So she instead goes for the much more impersonal firm handshake. I don’t think this is intended to convey a covert message. I’m sure that the Doctor can read the signs that she is in two minds though.

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    nerys @nerys

    You make some very good points, @tardigrade. The interesting thing is that as Missy firmly clasps the Doctor’s hand, the words she speaks indicate she will not stand with him. But maybe her gesture is “the other mind” side of it. That’s why these “layered” scenes are so good; the layers can lead to many different interpretations.

    Brewski @brewski

    @jimthefish I just had another thought as I awoke from a nap.  How’s that for hopeless fan?  😉

    Twelve takes One to see Susan (played by Carole Ann Ford of course) who is now old and nearing regeneration.  Which she does.  Becoming the new, younger Susan and Thirteen’s new companion!

    She’ll be pretty sassy and refer to him as “GranDoc”. 🙂

    ichabod @ichabod

    @nerys  Yes, that’s the beauty of it — she “played” the “two minds” she was in, one physically, the other verbally, at the same moment.  So good . . . (and bad).  Being “of two minds” about it is a neat marker of just how far along the Vault experience has brought her, when you compare that line with Simm’s “I will NEVER stand with the Doctor!”  The Doctor succeeded changing her, so much so that SimmMaster had to kill her to preserve his own integrity as a bad, bad guy.

    So does Simm now regenerate into Missy again, as she was long before the Vault — only to still end up here, in the big ship?  Isn’t this a time loopy thing with the MissMaster stuck in it (but with lots of possible other stuff happening between)?  Or will Missy 0.2 somehow avoid ending up right back here, dying on floor 1057 or whatever it is?  Gah.  Time loops make me stupid, every time, every time, every time . . .

    @brewski  Man, you’re on fire!  Love it.

    RorySmith @rorysmith

    After a rewatch; I almost died noticing Jon Simm applying eye liner. Why did I miss that?


    lisa @lisa

    I watched again tonight too.   Maybe wrong but I think the Saxon Master

    is wearing a black Crombie coat very similar to the Doctor’s blue Crombie Coat?

    Whether it could be a thing that matters I have no idea?  The Masters inferiority complex and

    narcissism are the most authentic aspects about him so maybe a little competition of the coats?

    @brewski          I hope your right!   I’d like for the Doctor  to have something like

    a new ‘Earth’ family and maybe multi part extended family stories might be interesting ?

    janetteB @janetteb

    @brewski I have long had a “fanfic” story bubbling in my head regarding just such an event. Susan is elderly and nearing regeneration and manages to send out a message to the Doctor who arrives, not knowing that it is her, high jinks ensure, others, possibly the master, have also picked up the message, are lurking about eager to get their paws on the Doctor’s DNA, and the outcome is her regeneration. Not sure about her becoming the next companion though. I think that might be too compromising for the script writers. It is usually preferable to create a new character rather than warm up an old one. I would rather that he simply re-establishes his connection with Susan but she continues to live her own life, an “earth family”, as @lisa said, that can be called on, visited etc so he is no longer alone in the universe. Possibly he could take one of Susan’s children on board as companion.


    MissRori @missrori

    @janetteb  Pretty cool idea.  IIRC, the Big Finish audios did something like that in the fourth and last season of the New Eighth Doctor Adventures line, with that Doctor reuniting with an older Susan and later taking on her son Alex as a companion.  It…didn’t end well, alas, in “To the Death”, that line’s finale.

    MissRori @missrori

    @janetteb  Frankly your idea sounds like much more fun, I would go ahead and try it!  😀

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    nerys @nerys

    @rorysmith I loved the eyeliner moment, too! My favorite Missy/Master exchange was when they were asking the Doctor about all the different ways he’d died:

    MISSY: Well, we thought we might chuck you off the roof, but I wasn’t sure how many regenerations you had left.

    MASTER: Yeah, we could have been up and down the stairs all night.

    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    @brewski — another nice theory.

    I think we could well see Susan at Christmas, given PC’s keenness for her to come back and the rumours that he is getting a strong input into the special. Now I know many are keen to see some kind of return to the character, but I’ve never been all that bothered myself. I think mostly because of the culture of the time her character wasn’t handled as well as it could have been and while it might be nice to remedy that, I can’t help but feel that the character’s story, as it was portrayed, has kind of run its course.

    Having said that, I think @janetteb should definitely write her fanfic (love me a bit of fanfic). I’m sure we could find a home for it on the site if needs be…

    Devilishrobby @devilishrobby

    Has anyone considered that since it’s been established that timelords can become either sex has anyone thought that Susan could now be Peter or Paul.

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    @devilishrobby  Susan is the horse in ‘A Town Called Mercy’…

    susan gif

    Ollie14 @ollie14

    Thanks for the replies @nick. Only had chance to look at them. I think you are right tbh

    Brewski @brewski

    @ichabod @lisa @janetteb @jimthefish

    I think I am most drawn to the notion of this being a Full Circle kind of thing.  Where 13 is the 1 of the new cycle.  (I’m sticking with the Classic Numbering System, sorry War Doctor. 😉 )

    I do agree that rehashing Susan as she was would never work.  But I don’t think it would have to be like that.  Since it would be a regeneration, we would really be able to see a whole new Susan personality develop.

    Also, should the next Doctor be young and male again, traveling with his granddaughter would be the simplest way to remove any hints of romance.

    I am pretty convinced of at least a cameo though.  PC got his wish with the Mondasian Cybermen, so why not the Christmas gift he’s always wanted.

    Fingers crossed…

    janetteB @janetteb

    @brewski and it is Christmas when families are traditionally reunited so when better to meet up with his Granddaughter again.

    Fingers crossed….


    geoffers @geoffers

    @brewski @janetteb

    at the very least, perhaps the doctor will find out where exactly susan is, in his current time stream, and it can be like the finding gallifrey theme from a couple of series ago? something for chibnall to tackle in a loose arc, or even a doctor’s quest sort of thing, next series? i could go for that… if she’s not featured in the xmas special! 🙂

    Mirime @mirime

    A bit late to this, but wow. That was rather good. There may have been a few tears.

    I really don’t want him to go 🙁

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    Missy @missy

    @mirime: I think that quite a few of us feel the same.


    Mirime @mirime

    @missy I’m considering reading the books, just to postpone the inevitable, though what I’ve actually done is go back and started watching the fifth Doctor episodes again. And just by coincidence while grumpily not eating anything on Monday because I was having some tests done I watched the Eleventh Doctor try and wipe out the human race in Terminator Genisys followed up by the Ninth Doctor trying to destroy the universe in Thor 2.

    Back to the The Doctor Falls, I thought it was very reminiscent of BioShock again at the beginning, loved the two Masters, and I’m sure Missy had some sort of vague subconscious recollection or foreboding of what was going to happen just from the way she looked at the laser screwdriver when she picked it up. Also unlike some people in other places I liked Bill having a happy ending and got fed up of having to say that it was not a deus ex machina.

    Missy @missy


    Thank you so much for the videos.

    @mirime. I’m pleased too.  Heather needed a friend and Bill is about to lose hers, so good luck to them. Great end.



    MissRori @missrori

    @mirime and @missy I also support Bill’s happy ending!  Besides, it was shot through with bittersweetness, since she doesn’t know the Doctor’s okay and vice versa.

    @mirime So you’re going to be reading the Twelfth Doctor novels?  They are good, especially this year’s batch.  🙂

    Mirime @mirime

    @missrori I think I will be. Never had much to do with the novels, have read a handful because of the authors (Neil Gaiman, Alistair Reynolds), or their status as ‘interesting’ for some reason (Shada, Lungbarrow, Dead Romance).

    I’ve been having a look at the more recent Twelfth Doctor ones because I like Bill, good to hear a recommendation. What I’ve actually just bought is ‘Tales of Trenzalore’ because I vaguely remember reading one of the stories has the Mara in and I’ve just watched Kinda – which I have no memory of watching as a child, but I do remember Snakedance and how it terrified me.

    MissRori @missrori

    The ones with Bill include some of the stronger ones, specifically “The Shining Man” and “Plague City”.  Best of the Clara-era ones are “The Blood Cell” and “Silhouette”.

    Also, the recent short story anthologies like “Time Lord Fairy Tales” and “Twelve Doctors of Christmas” are fun.  And if you haven’t read Holly Black’s short story “Lights Out” yet, track it down!

    Mirime @mirime

    I’ve been looking at at the Holly Black story, also I believe there’s one by Marcus Sedgwick and I really enjoyed his ‘Ghosts of Heaven’. I’ve also had my eye on the Fairy Tales as well.

    I’m trying not to buy any books as I have well over a hundred on the waiting to be read pile. On the other hand I have an Amazon voucher burning a hole in my pocket…

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    Missy @missy

    @nerys:     MISSY: Well, we thought we might chuck you off the roof, but I wasn’t sure how many regenerations you had left.

                      MASTER: Yeah, we could have been up and down the stairs all night.

    That is my favourite conversation too. I posted this a while ago, but the wording was wrong.


    Rob @rob

    I think @juniperfish speculated that 1 and 12 will combat the Valeyard ( in the Christmas special)

    Now The Master stated that the Valeyard was a distillation of darker bits of the Doctor……

    Hence his knowledge of the Doctor

    The Master very very occasionally fibs

    Who else knows the Doctor so intimately and is somewhat dark?

    Answers via a Tardis with a working chameleon circuit


    yolo2546 @yolo2546

    I reallly thought the twelth doctor will be the first in the reboot to have 4 series. 🙁

    Anyway, who thinks the screwdriver will go. He barely used it (noteably) in the last season.

    And by noteably, I mean he hasn’t broken it 😛

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    geoffers @geoffers


    actually, he broke it in ‘oxygen,’ didn’t he?


    also, i predict the new doctor will choose the more stylistic (and functional) sonic fountain pen…


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