Topic: The new Doctor Who

I’ve been trying to give this a chance; but we’re now six episodes in, and I’m just not into it.  I also find it odd how much praise the new episodes are receiving, and even the ratings are good.  I’m a bit perplexed by it.  The rest of the post will contain spoilers if you haven’t yet seen the episodes.




If I had to sum up the reason I’m not enjoying it, I would say the show has now become more drama than a fantasy sci-fi adventure.  Whittaker is not the problem; I think she could be a fine Doctor.  However, she’s not being given the material to work with.  In fact, my sense of the stories so far is that Whittaker’s Doctor is delegating out tasks to the point that she’s almost irrelevant.  I’ll put it this way - I don’t watch a James Bond movie to see him ask what everybody else thinks they should do.

Really, I’ve begun to wonder if the Doctor is now actually the surrogate voice of showrunner Chris Chibnall - a showrunner in over his head asking everyone else what they think the production should do.  Just look at the episodes so far and how bereft of imagination they are.

The first episode felt like and looked like a 1990’s direct to video low budget sci-fi movie.  Alien hunter stalks the city in a sports hunt for humans.  Then he pulls off the helmet.  Tooth head!

The second episode is what’s left of a racing contest on a planet of ingenious traps like flying bed sheets and rejected sports gear robots from Sliders “Rules of the Game”.

Rosa was an exception and was done pretty well even though the villain was underutilized.  But again, look at the grand ending.  The Doctor tells the others how Rosa’s mark on history will last forever, and she flings open the door to show them.  Do we see the flagship of the Earth Fleet named Rosa Parks?   Maybe the planet Rosa inhabited by people who uphold the ideals of civil rights?  No.  We see a rock.  I felt like that kid in the Charlie Brown Halloween special.

Then there’s the giant spider episode with Donald Trump.  We can forget for a minute that this story is just another tired Trump bashing exercise; but the spiders aren’t even as good as those in “Eight Legged Freaks” with Kari Wuhrer.  What’s the big resolution?  The big spider grows too large and suffocates under its own weight.  Nobody did anything to make it happen; it just happened.

Then we get to the spaceship adventure, and who’s the threat of the week?  It’s Stitch from Disney’s “Lilo and Stitch”!   And I don’t mean as a metaphor; I mean literally.  Disney could probably win a copyright infringement lawsuit against the BBC.

The most recent episode - didn’t even watch it.  Not sure I will.

Looking back at Doctor Who since it returned under Russell Davies, the show hasn’t always had the big budget or the best actors; but it always had imagination.  Whether it be Cat people, carnivorous shadows or that big ole face in a jar, it was there.  An adventure. A spectacle.  There was always a plot thread - a big epic story that connected the entire season whether it was obvious or not.  Halfway through Chibnall’s first season, and I’m not seeing it.  It’s all gone.

I don’t know.  I guess I’m posting this just to see if Ive lost my mind.  Everyone I see seems so into it and loving it.  I don’t get it.  Is it because the Doctor is a woman for the first time?  Are people afraid to say it’s bad for fear of diminishing that?  If so, that may be the one genius thing Chibnall has done in his Doctor Who run - he hid his inability behind a social agenda.

Re: The new Doctor Who

I haven't watched the season yet, and based on what I've heard, I'm not sure that I will bother. The press for the show has been good, but a lot of the fan reaction has been the same as what you've said. They think that the new Doctor could be fine with better writing, but I've heard that the new season is just boring and preachy. Again, this is based on comments I've seen from others and not my own personal opinion, but it sounds like they replaced stories and metaphors with lessons and monologues.

I don't know if I will watch. Honestly, I wasn't a huge fan of the Capaldi era, and there doesn't seem to be a big upswing here.

Re: The new Doctor Who

Informant wrote:

...it sounds like they replaced stories and metaphors with lessons and monologues.

For me, it does have that feeling to it.  It’s like a college lecture taught by the Socratic method (where the teacher asks the students questions so that they fill out the lesson instead of the teacher).  I know Doctor Who was originally designed in the 1960’s to be an educational series; the monsters were added much to creator Sydney Newman’s chagrin (he being the head of drama at the BBC).  It was producer Verity Lambert who kept throwing the monsters in (like Daleks and Cybermen) to try to juice up the show; and it worked.  A pure educational series just doesn’t work.

As for Capaldi, it was hit or miss; but I liked it overall.  The problem was that then showrunner Stephen Moffat was running on fumes; he was tired.  He didn’t even want to do that final season, but the BBC convinced him to do it to give Chibnall time to wrap up his other works already in production.  From what I’ve read, it wasn’t so much that the BBC wanted Chibnall; it’s that Chibnall was the only person they could find who would take the job.  Nobody wanted to take over running Doctor Who.

I don’t mean to be doom and gloom; but if you’re having that much trouble finding someone to take the job - well, the show is on its last legs.  We may be looking at another long rest for Doctor Who soon; but the BBC has years yet of Chibnall and Whittaker to deal with because of the long contracts that were negotiated.

It’s all really just a shame.

Re: The new Doctor Who

Well here’s an interesting report:

https://wegotthiscovered.com/tv/jodie-w … ctor-2019/

Re: The new Doctor Who

Interesting. The BBC has been kinda crazy lately, so I imagine that they're difficult to work for. I'm not sure whether or not to believe the report. It could be true, bit until there is more info, I will just consider it a rumer.

Re: The new Doctor Who

The rumours of Chibnall and Whittaker leaving aren't true. The source is an absurd DOCTOR WHO 'fan site' whose webmaster hated Jodie Whittaker before he'd seen a single frame of her and has been creating one false rumour after another about her leaving the role and before the first episode had even aired. DOCTOR WHO is doing extremely well in the ratings and currently averaging 8.55 million viewers per episode, slightly beating the previous high point of the Tennant/Tate era (Series Four) averaging 8.05 million viewers per episode. I'm not sure which site is more ridiculous, the DOCTOR WHO fan site with whom this rumour originated or those asinine Midnight Edge videos asserting that Viacom is tricking CBS into signing over the TV rights to STAR TREK by stealthily having DISCOVERY set in the Viacom movie timeline.

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TF's criticisms of the new DOCTOR WHO are fair. I think the Chibnall era has been a lot of fun so far. I really enjoy all the actors, especially Whittaker's magnificent charm and Bradley Walsh's subtle comic timing. I've enjoyed all the episodes in spite of their flaws, but they are emphasizing competence and efficiency rather than the lavish imagination of the Steven Moffat era. There's been a struggle to adapt to a new format and style, but "Demons of Punjab" was excellent in how it balanced historical drama, character arcs and science fiction elements. It's a shame TF missed it.

**

"Rosa"'s ending was quite a letdown with the Doctor suggesting that Rosa Parks' grand contribution to the universe was getting a rock named after her. I would have preferred a more nuanced ending: Ryan pointing out that Rosa hardly ended racism -- and the Doctor gently suggesting that Rosa showcased how every single person has the ability to resist tyranny and that even the smallest of resistances can matter. Yaz could ask how much will it matter: do racism and prejudice ever vanish from the cosmos? And the Doctor could put her hand to the TARDIS controls and suggest that they all find out together. But I forgive the episode its faults because it was a *very* difficult story to pull off and I give it credit for walking a very tough tightrope even if it staggered and stumbled.

**

I liked the spiders and the P'Ting -- I liked how the episodes emphasized that these creatures were not malicious, evil or sadistic -- they were merely forms of life seeking to survive and at odds with human beings. But TF's criticism is fair And TF is basically right in general: I'm having fun, but the Chibnall era lacks inventiveness. Paradoxically, part of that is three episodes confronted America's history of racism, corrupt capitalism in the UK and the Partition of India, and having the Doctor end such evils with the sonic screwdriver risks grossly trivializing real-life struggle, but having the Doctor avoid doing anything offensive risks doing the same.

Re: The new Doctor Who

And now, having stood up for DOCTOR WHO, I must condemn it. “Kerblam,” the seventh episode of the Chibnall era, is a well-paced, exciting story that balances all the cast members well and structures its story beautifully except it has the Doctor confronting a fictional version of Amazon, a corporation that abuses and exploits its workers to exhaustion and injury and leaves them homeless and broken and encourages sociopathic sabotage among its workforce – and the Doctor ends up delivering a lecture to the one labour activist in the episode. The one advocate for labour rights, fair wages and responsible management of workers is presented as a mass-murdering terrorist whom the Doctor promptly blows up before leaving the universe safe for Amazon to carry on its horrors.

This is so wrong it’s hard to know where to begin. The Doctor has been a figure of revolution and anarchy since 1963, bringing down establishment structures as a force of chaos who just happens to be against the monsters. She has always been an anti-authoritarian figure and to see the Doctor defend corporations’ right to grossly mistreat their workers for a pittance of a salary is an absurd depiction of a character who has historically always brought bureaucracy and capitalist empires crashing down. It’s one thing to have the Doctor refuse to intervene in historical situations, but to have the Doctor confront Amazon in space (dubbed “Kerblam!”) and take no issue with it is a betrayal of DOCTOR WHO.

The strange thing is that it’s probably not even intentional. DOCTOR WHO, a product of a massive corporation whose streaming rights were sold to the real-life Amazon, is probably not in a position to show the Doctor toppling Jeff Bezos’ castle with her sonic screwdriver. DOCTOR WHO, having cast a woman, a Pakastani actress, a black man and a senior citizen as leads, is probably not intending to have the Doctor defend corporate abuses.

More likely, DOCTOR WHO, having to appeal to its whole audience and not just left-wing liberals, attempted a polite middle ground: the climax of the episode has the Doctor declaring that the problem is not the Amazon system (offering the lowest prices for its products in the speediest delivery at maximum profit). The problem is how people use the system, whether it’s to pay workers the least the company can get away with to maximize its bottom line or our labour activist who decides to use the Amazon-style delivery system to send bombs to the customers.

Now, this is an argument I have a lot of time for. Tom Cruise made this argument in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - ROGUE NATION. Quinn made a similar argument in "World Killer," saying, "The universe has no conscience, so WE have to."

Except the only person the Doctor feels the need to argue against, stop, trounce, confront and defeat is the labour activist and then space-Amazon makes some noise about hiring more humans and fewer robots and the Doctor is off. At no point does the Doctor confront space-Jeff Bezos; no analogue even appears in the story. And the problem here is a lack of imagination.

A Steven Moffat edited version of this script introduces space-Bezos and has the Doctor rewire the space-Amazon AI so that space-Bezos can only ever live in the conditions on the wages of his lowest-paid employees, forcing him to improve conditions. A Robert Holmes edited version of “Kerblam!” has the Doctor drown space-Bezos in so much bureaucracy that he’s forced to hire and retain a decently paid workforce just to manage. A Russell T. Davies version of this script has the Doctor blow space-Bezos up (he was less imaginative).

But a Chibnall edited script? Well, in attempting not to say anything too provocative or offensive to any particular party, Chibnall has inadvertently presented the Doctor as an enforcer for the establishment who keeps people who protest mistreatment in line while declaring labour rights to be terrorist ideals. I don’t think this is deliberate; it’s more likely incompetence. It’s clumsiness. It is a massive screw-up and it’s not the first. DOCTOR WHO has often made terrible mistakes. At times, the Doctor has been written as racist, abusive, militaristic, spineless, needlessly violent emotionally dysfunctional – and over time, such portrayals are left behind as errors to be explained or forgotten. “Kerblam!” is one such story.

Re: The new Doctor Who

“Kerblam!” sounds like another example of hitting the target but veering off the bullseye. It’s just clumsy.

To revisit “Rosa” for a second, I earlier mentioned how the villain was underutilized.  From many comments I’ve read, people have seemed confused over what Krasko’s plan was.  Would destroying that singular event in the history of Rosa Parks somehow end the civil rights movement?  That idea stretched plausibility past breaking.  So what was Krasko thinking?

I believe the idea was actually meant as a commentary on the mass shootings that have been happening in the United States recently.  In those cases, the murderer doesn’t have a full plan - instead they’ve just picked a spot that in some way fits the target of their rage, and then they walk into that church, synagogue, etc and start shooting anything that moves.  No real message. No specific goal.  They just want to destroy the lives of some of their perceived enemy.

I believe this is what Krasko was doing.  Just like our current mass shootings, Krasko was under no illusion that his actions would change the world. Krasko just walked into history and started shooting up the timeline.  Chibnall hit the target with the idea but veered off the bullseye leaving the audience not quite getting the full message.  Clumsy.

Re: The new Doctor Who

Also a pretty funny thing Amazon has done:

https://www.bleedingcool.com/2018/11/21 … n-release/

No idea if it’s intentional or not, but you can’t currently find “Kerblam!” on Amazon Prime - if you choose that episode, it instead plays this coming Sunday’s episode “The Witchfinders” leaked well ahead of schedule.  Perhaps a little revenge on the BBC for taking shots at Amazon?

Re: The new Doctor Who

I haven't watched this Dr Who but I know some here have and I came across this super in depth critique on the last season

https://them0vieblog.com/2018/12/13/doc … ospective/

Re: The new Doctor Who

I don't know how I feel about Brad posting links to The M0vie Blog, my favourite movie blog. I feel like that's my thing. I once even wrote a pastiche of the writing style of The M0vie Blog: http://sliders.tv/bboard/viewtopic.php?pid=5493#p5493

Ah, well. I suppose it is his right.

Re: The new Doctor Who

Darren is a gem to the X-Files community, isn't he?  Too bad he wasn't into Sliders as well.

Re: The new Doctor Who

Well, I sent him a link to those SLIDERS REBORN reviews I wrote in a pastiche of his style. He wrote back, "This is worryingly (and flatteringly) spot-on, right down to the use of 'reflects' instead of 'said' and the use of pride like 'To be fair, this seems to be the point.' Nice. (I am very flattered.)"

Re: The new Doctor Who

ha!  You guys both provide great depth in your critiques and essays, so I could see why you'd admire him.  Not to mention being an X-Files fan.  Tony Black is great, too.

Re: The new Doctor Who

I just watched the first episode with Jodie Whittaker. What a confusing, impenetrable mess. Does it get any better? With "Doctor Who," that's a pretty low bar to hurdle.

Earth Prime | The Definitive Source for Sliders™

Re: The new Doctor Who

It doesn’t get any worse.

Re: The new Doctor Who

Looks like ratings are significantly down for Whittaker’s second season premiere:

https://deadline.com/2020/01/dracula-do … 202819405/

I haven’t watched it yet, but I imagine the ratings are more to do with people’s opinions of last season than the quality of this premiere episode.  It doesn’t help that the commercials make it look completely derivative of James Bond (likely more in the vein of a parody).

Parodies are fine (Tennant did some - most notably Voyage of the Damned that mirrored the old disaster movies like The Poseidon Adventure); but is there an appetite for it when the audience isn’t as forgiving and willing to give it a chance?  Davies and Tennant had an enormous amount of good will; people would tune in probably no matter what the commercial looked like.

I do agree with some of the comments in the above article, though.  It’s not really fair to compare Whittaker’s second season opener with Capaldi’s second season opener.  Capaldi’s debuted in September while Whittaker had the advantages of a holiday (when more eyes should be available).  Of course, New Year’s is a party holiday which takes people away from their TVs (either because of an actual party or a hangover); and that’s really why Christmas is better.  Chibnall seems intent on proving he’s different, though - even at the expense of reason.

Re: The new Doctor Who

Spyfall was an extremely mediocre episode. The production values are superb, all the actors are engaged, the series is beautifully shot -- but the writing is so devoid of imagination, wit or anything resembling a point regarding any worthwhile subject at all. Spoilers.














I assumed that DOCTOR WHO, if pastiching James Bond, would subvert and question the conventions of those films. Instead, it simply re-enacts them in an empty and often illogical fashion and the middle of the episode flat out forgets the Bond elements and has the Doctor running around in an outback ghost story. When it does dive into Bondian material, it plays it completely straight: Ryan and Yaz infiltrating a building, the Doctor and friends swanning about a fancy party, then a motorcycle chase followed by pursuing a plane. And none of these sequences make any sense and suggest that Chibnall doesn't have the imagination to write the Doctor well.

Why does the Doctor, attending Daniel Barton's to spy on him, confront him overtly and cause him to run? If she wanted to surveil him, why did she draw attention to herself?

Why does the Doctor then let Daniel Barton run away before declaring that she and her friends must capture him? If she wanted him confined, why didn't she trick him into getting into the TARDIS to question him?

Why do the Doctor and her companions then pursue a fleeing Barton on motorcycles? They have a time and space craft; they could have looked up the nearest VOR facility and TARDISed there and been waiting for Barton before he made it.

Why do the Doctor and friends race across a hangar to leap aboard a plane instead of returning to their time and space craft and materializing it aboard the plane moments before it takes off?

Why are these errors here? It looks like Chibnall wanted the specific setpieces in there and they are indeed beautifully filmed, performed, edited, scored and the effects are terrific -- but the connective tissue between them is a tangled script of clumsy choices that speak to Chibnall lacking the style, inspiration and perspective needed to write a time traveller.

It's really unfortunate, because DOCTOR WHO subverted the superhero genre in "The Return of Dr. Mysterio," noting the silliness of the disguises and secret identities and giving the superhero a decidedly de-masculinized job as a nanny and bringing the Doctor's trickery and cunning into a formula that usually relies on force and physicality. DOCTOR WHO also showed the Doctor present throughout the superhero's life, from their secret origin to their awkward teens to the adult career.

DOCTOR WHO taking on James Bond tropes could do the same: it could even observe how Bond is a secret agent who uses his real name and draws attention to himself constantly with a playboy lifestyle that makes a public spectacle of covert operations and is entirely at odds with the less than glamourous life of espionage. Instead, it plays it so straight while forgetting all about the Bond theme for lengthy sections to the point where it's a non-committal affectation rather than a meaningful style.

Good cliffhanger, though.

Re: The new Doctor Who

Spyfall: Part Two.

*facepalm* A faceful of *facepalm*

Re: The new Doctor Who

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So I see the news popping around, and I had to watch the newest episode out of sheer curiosity (so their ratings scheme worked on me at least).  A new black female Doctor that somehow fits into the Doctor’s past even though we know all of the regenerations.  Of course, theories are flying around about parallel universe doppelgängers or lies or other tricks; but I think the answer could be so obvious that it wouldn’t even cross anyone’s mind.

First, the new mystery Doctor’s TARDIS interior looks a lot like the very first TARDIS.  Second, this new Doctor is on the run from the Time Lords.  This fits pretty nicely with the second Doctor, and there’s some grey areas in his history near the end (including the Time Lords altering and erasing his memories before he regenerates into the third).

There may be no regeneration involved here.  This new, forgotten Doctor could be the second Doctor in extreme disguise.  After all, to the social issue obsessed people producing this show, what’s better than a black female Doctor?  A post-op transsexual black female Doctor.

And I’m done again.

Re: The new Doctor Who

Spoilers










I don't see how Jo Martin's 'Ruth' could be the Patrick Troughton Doctor. The Second Doctor created the sonic screwdriver; yet when the Thirteenth Doctor brandishes it, Jo Martin doesn't recognize it. That said -- DOCTOR WHO has always been willing to alter its continuity to suit the present story. The War Doctor was introduced as the incarnation that the subsequent Doctors didn't discuss due to their shame over the Time War -- but the Tenth Doctor never seemed to shut up about his actions during the Time War.

The Third Doctor revealed that he had two hearts to prove that he wasn't human -- but the First Doctor was shown to have a single heartbeat. The TARDIS was named by Susan, the First Doctor's granddaughter who came up with the acronym Time and Relative Dimensions in Space -- except when the Second Doctor meets the Time Lords, they frequently use TARDISes and refer to them as such and TARDISes have existed long before the Doctor's lifespan.

It's not outside the realm of possibility that DOCTOR WHO would revise its history to make room for Jo Martin's Doctor, but the dialogue where she doesn't recognize the Second Doctor's own gadget is so deliberate. That said, so much of "Spyfall" (parts one and two) didn't add up to anything. The James Bond spoof was forgotten by part two. The entire plot of taking out MI6's agents didn't gain any clarity. The alien's plans to use humans as hard drives didn't seem to depend on the Master's involvement. The cross-temporal travels involving the origins of the computer came to nothing.

We had another confusing mess in "Orphan 55" which had some great plot twists and some truly relevant material regarding our environment. But the plot itself is incoherent with a trained soldier dragging civilians into a hostile wasteland to search for another civilian who is never seen on camera again; repetitively having guest-stars charge at the monsters to sacrifice themselves for the regulars; an incomprehensible plan involving hotels and a bomb and family spite.

The Nikola Tesla episode was a solid piece of adventuring in 1903 New York and "Fugitive of the Judoon" was a very solid runaround. But after the tedium of the "Spyfall" premiere, I'm not confident that showrunner Chris Chibnall is imaginative enough to maintain anything more than bland mediocrity and boredom. It's wonderful that Chibnall has approved stories addressing racism, fascism, environmentalism; that he cast the first Punjabi Sikh companion and a woman as the Doctor -- but he doesn't have the storytelling skills to make more of it.

Anyway. I'm betting that Jo Martin is an alternate Second Doctor; someone whom William Hartnell might have regenerated into.

Re: The new Doctor Who

I didn’t give much weight to the sonic screwdriver observation.  The sonic is in fact unrecognizable from the second Doctor era.  His sonic really was just a screw driver that dismantled equipment and opened door locks (though once it was repurposed into a torch to cut through something).  The modern sonic (as used in the latest episode) is primarily a scanning device with some kind of monitor read out judging by the way it’s used.

Re: The new Doctor Who

Chibnall says in an interview that this is not a parallel universe Doctor so... TF could be right. I wonder if, playing fast and loose with the lore -- what if TF is right about this being a post-"War Games"/pre-Pertwee Doctor? I don't think it can be Patrick Troughton in disguise necessarily -- but at the end of "The War Games," the Time Lords declare that before condemning the Doctor to being trapped on Earth, they will change his face. Troughton protests, rejects every proposed face and the Time Lords say that they will choose for him.

At the time, regeneration had yet to be established as a death; instead, it was a metatextual nod to the fact that while the Doctor would be a mercurial adventurer in time and space, he would now be played by a different actor who would emphasize different aspects of the character. It was only with the Third Doctor's demise that it was (in contrast to previous stories) presented as a form of death, a death of self, a death of identity, a death of the specific persona. Which means, retroactively, that if the Time Lords forced the Doctor to regenerate in "The War Games," they were executing him. But the Troughton Doctor doesn't protest death; he describes it as a change of what he looks like.

If TF's theory is right, then it's possible that he wasn't forced to regenerate; he was biologically masked/rewritten into a new appearance.

However... it's not just the fact that Ruth doesn't recognize the sonic screwdriver. Ruth does not recognize the term "sonic screwdriver," and refers to it as "that gizmo" derisively and when Jodie Whittaker calls it by name, Ruth declares that she is "smart enough not to need one." The Doctor would never be so disdainful towards a piece of technology that she created herself. Which means that this Doctor never created it. (?)

There's another aspect of DOCTOR WHO lore to consider: "The Brain of Morbius" has the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) telepathically attacked and he sees his previous faces. We see Pertwee, Troughton, Hartnell -- but then we see additional faces before Hartnell. (They were played by various members of the production team.) Fans took this to mean that the Doctor had regenerated in the past, before Hartnell -- but later stories quietly ignored this detail, with "The Five Doctors" confirming that Hartnell was the first Doctor period. However, the Seventh Doctor's era hinted at a mysterious figure in Gallifrey's distant past and curiously, the Doctor began referring to historical Gallifrey figures as though they were his contemporaries.

The Seventh Doctor novels further indicated that at the dawn of Time Lord society was a mysterious Other, a Time Lord who died but whose genetic material were later 're-used' in the biological machines that create Time Lords, whom the novels depicted as a sterile, sexless society. The final Seventh Doctor novel revealed that the Doctor is a reincarnation of this Other, and the "Morbius" faces were this Other's incarnations. However, as time has passed and as more time travel stories have altered the Doctor's past, this history has been thrown into flux with the Eighth Doctor novels having the Doctor at one point remembering both the Other backstory and a childhood with parents. The revived TV show would later present Time Lords as reproducing sexually, so these novels have been gently set aside as a parallel timeline.

Anyway. There is some (ignored) precedent for there having been Doctors before William Hartnell.

Re: The new Doctor Who

So... the Ruth, the Fugitive Doctor, is indeed a past Doctor -- and it ties into the Doctors seen in "The Brain of Morbius." *spoilers&





















"The Timeless Children" reveals the birth of the Time Lords and the secret origin of the Doctor. The Doctor is not a Time Lord. The Doctor is the first Time Lord. The Doctor was an abandoned black girl found on a distant planet by a Gallifreyan astronaut, Tecteun. Tecteun adopted the child as her own; the child died in an accident only to regenerate into a new body -- and Tecteun became obsessed with experimenting on the child to learn the secret of regeneration to ward off death. Tecteun forced the child to regenerate multiple times; the girl became a boy, changed race,  changed ages -- and while Tecteun couldn't learn anything from the child about where she'd come from her who she was, Tecteun finally learned how to graft regeneration into her own body and then other Gallifreyans but set a limit of 13 lives to control its use.

It's implied that the secret of regeneration also led to time travel, producing the Time Lords while the Time Lords continued experimenting on the child, allowing her to age to adulthood, dispatching her on various missions that would often take lifetimes, wiping her memory each time -- and then, for reasons unknown and erased, the child was mind-wiped once more, regenerated into a male form, locked to 13 lives and starting as the William Hartnell Doctor.

At one point, the Jodie Doctor looks at her own memories and there are clips from previous episodes and one of the clips is the additional faces in "The Brain of Morbius" and another is the Ruth Doctor.

The episode itself is a bit pathetic: Jodie Whittaker spends nearly the whole episode locked in a cell receiving all this exposition. At the end, Chibnall puts her in a position to blow up Gallifrey and the Master and she decides to do it but then hesitates and then stops and then a guest character blows up the planet for her so that the Doctor can run away. Chibnall doesn't have the imagination to come up with a satisfactory solution, so he creates a suicide plan for the Doctor and then has someone else carry it out. He's not a good screenwriter -- but this revelation -- I like how it makes the Doctor even more of a mystery. Who was she before she became the first Time Lord? Why was she abandoned? Where were her parents? Why couldn't she answer any questions about where she came from? Where did she come from?

Why did the Fugitive Doctor's TARDIS look like a police telephone box when the First Doctor's TARDIS only took on that form when landing in 1963 in the series premiere?

It suggests a much lengthier history behind the Doctor and the TARDIS and for every question of the Doctor's origin that's answered, a new question has been raised, and if the Doctor's Time Lord heritage and Gallifreyan origins are no longer where she started, merely a middle ground of her life, then Chibnall's decision to remove the Time Lords and the planet after Steven Moffat restored them makes sense.

It also explains a lot of peculiar continuity errors over the years. The First Doctor said that he had been "exiled" from his home planet, but the Second Doctor later said that he had run away. The Third Doctor said that he had lived for "thousands" of years but the Fourth Doctor confirmed his age to be around 400 years and mentioned that his departure from Gallifrey had involved some scandal he'd fled (which reduces the distinction between exile and running away). There's also those Morbius faces)

The Sixth Doctor was constantly bragging about his experience, but the Seventh Doctor hinted that he had personally interacted with Rassilon and Omega, the founders of Gallifreyan society at the dawn of time which if the Sixth had remembered, he would have discussed repeatedly.

Then there's the confused memories: Seven says he doesn't remember ever being a child while Eight recalls lying in the grass with his father and Ten speaks of running across fields as a boy. It looks like the Doctor's memories were edited to remove her pre-Hartnell lives from mind, but each regeneration seems to have opened up more and more with the Third remembering "thousands of years," the fourth recalling the pre-Hartnell lives -- and even the Second Doctor starting to feel that leaving Gallifrey was due to a subconscious instinct that she had been exploited, experimented upon, abused (and a woman forced to live in a man's body) -- and that her supposed excommunication was in truth an escape.

That said, Chibnall's grasp of plot, action, situation, resolution and exposition remain shockingly poor. I'm not sure what this person is doing writing television. He's a great producer: the anamorphic lens filming, locations, lighting, blocking, interiors and effects are beautiful as is the music -- to the point where I may rewatch Series 11 and 12 with the sound off and the score playing and then fill in the stories myself.