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February 2017



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sf doctor who meant to be?

so good to be alive when the eulogies are read.

This is going to be a long blog post full of Doctor Who fanwank.

You have been warned.

Also? SPOILERS!!!!!


So, after skipping the last season and a half of 10, and nearly all of 11 that wasn't written by Neil or a Christmas episode, I came back, like a strayed lamb, for the fiftieth.

...and I surprised myself by in general, without nitpicking (I could nitpick), liking it a lot. The Doctor being generous of spirit. Check. (A thing I felt often lacking in 10's tenure--a writing, not an acting, issue) Structural and narrative integrity? Check. The beautiful play of the sonic screwdriver joke into the deadly serious climactic reveal? Check. Archive footage?

Oh god. I made a noise, you guys. A NOISE. 

God bless CGI, you guys. My heart.

I wanted to see 8.5 regen into 9, but I guess the powers that be aren't over fucking with the honorable Chris Eccleston yet, so fuck them sideways. And that is Not Elizabeth Tudor, you motherfuckers. Not in any parallel Earth.

Although yes, I laughed at the deconstruct of the "Body of a weak and feeble woman" quote. Well played, sirs. Well played.

But anyway, what I want to talk about is Osgood. Osgood, yes. And Osgood's scarf. And Four.

Where did she get that scarf, I ask you? Why is she the girl who calmly (and compassionately) hands her Zygon impersonator her inhaler when it has an asthma attack? Why is she the person who, when the world is falling down around her ears, screams, "Doctor, help me!"

People. This is not Osgood's first rodeo. And she's not screaming for 10, 11, or 8.5 for that matter. She barely knows any of them.

...Perhaps I should put it this way.

What is Tom Baker not wearing, when he shows up at the very end, stepping out of his retirement for a word with his future self? (Yes, we once saw him regenerate at a much younger age... but Time heals paradoxies, do it ain't?)

I say ye, Osgood is not just one Osgood's daughter*. She is Four's last Companion.

You doubt me. I see it in your eyes.

But what gesture does young Osgood make, in her scarf, when she hands her Zygon counterpart the inhaler, preserving its life--and by not revealing themselves, protecting the pact the younger (older?) Doctors have forced upon her (both of her) colleagues?

...the prosecution rests.

*Tom by name


I felt certain that Four had given Osgood the scarf -- perhaps during his tenure as curator? -- and I saw the scarf (and the glasses, and the geekery, and the awesomeness) as a signal that she was a delightful stand-in for us, the viewers, the fans -- but I like your theory even more. YES x a BILLION. <3
General consensus is: that wasn't Four. That was Doctor N, where N had decided to regenerate into a familiar face for his retirement (other Time Lords have had control over regenerations in past. I think the Doctor's are generally just too traumatic.) I can't recall the exact quote, but the curator actually uses words to that effect. Gets around the aging thing quite nicely.

Other than that, I'm fully on board with Osgood being companion. :-D
Yeah, I know, but I don't like that answer, so I'm ignoring it.

Thirteen regenerations, dammit.

And Metallica died in a plane crash in 1993.

(Also, then whence the scarf?)

Edited at 2013-11-29 11:10 am (UTC)
The Doctor still has the scarf around! I'm pretty sure it showed up in the TARDIS wardrobe room a whole bunch of seasons ago.
Oh, ok...ignoring is definitely your perogative. :-)

If the Doctor finds & rescues Gallifrey, I don't think another round of regenerations is going to be a problem for him. though.

And wouldn't the scarf have been in the Tardis?
Yeah, but why would it have any significance to a different Doctor's companion?
Scarf was unwound by the fifth doctor trying to find his way around the Tardis while still confused. Of course, if one is ignoring canon, one is ignoring canon.
Your ideas are intriguing and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.
Knitting people (not me, no idea) say that the scarf isn't the right ... something. Stitch? That it's different enough that maybe she's a fan of 4, but that it didn't come from 4 directly.
Yes, this is correct - I'd halfway noticed it looked a little odd, but it's been long enough since my Who days I didn't really focus on it.
I'm not expecting it to be the same scarf, in any case (even assuming the prop people cared enough to duplicate the stitch pattern). Hell, I wear out clothes, and I'm not 1200 years old.
I didn't see the show - this is just from the pic posted above - but I doubt it would have bothered me if I had - the reference is pretty obvious. I'm mostly amused that it stood out to me even that much. I mean, it's not like I ever made one of the scarves, though certainly I knew enough people who did.
I. I. My HEART. Yes, perfect--though with the herewiss corollary. XD
I like it. Adjust for the possibility that it's merely a future incarnation looking back fondly with a warm personage, but it seems to me that Osgood could very well be the Doctor/Curator's FINAL companion, as well. Timey Wimey, eh? I'll give you Timey Wimey. How's about a National Gallery for a TARDIS configuration, eh?
That would certainly explain the roundels on the wall that the Curator walks past as he leaves.
Loved Osgood. Loved the archival footage. Loved the idea of bringing Gallifrey/Time Lords back to the show. Hated the retcon more than anything I can remember watching on television.

(You have a neat theory, though, although I'd lay my bets on the curator as a future Doctor, rather than a past one.)

Edited at 2013-11-29 08:54 am (UTC)
Curiously, what you refer to as the retcon, I would call the Clever Plan, and it was the bit that made the while thing work for me. I LOVED that. It's so perfectly Doctory, and it changes his sacrifice to a personal one rather than the sacrifice of countless others.

Edited at 2013-11-29 09:59 am (UTC)
I entirely agree about it being a most Clever Plan. The Doctor(s) had to fool everyone into thinking that Gallifrey was destroyed, and obviously the best way to insure that this is true is for everyone (including the Doctor(s)) to be fooled, at least until is was time to let it loose, now that pretty much all the remaining Daleks were mopped up.

Interesting theory about Osgood, I like it a lot.
It's so perfectly Doctory, and it changes his sacrifice to a personal one rather than the sacrifice of countless others.

Yeah, that's what I hate about it. I was invested in the previous interpretation. I didn't want a Clever Plan; I just wanted to know that the story I'd been watching for several years was real, and actually meant something*. I know that there's a lot of Doctor Who history, and that series 1-4 are only a small part of that. I know that the characterization of 9 and 10 is pretty wildly different from previous Doctors. But they were my introduction to the series, and I loved them, partly because they often faced impossible choices and hard losses, and above all, consequences. And a lot of the emotional weight of that stemmed from this one huge morally questionable sacrifice at the outset.

If we're moving past that period in the show, that's okay. I won't (I don't) like the show as much, but it's a return to a more classic feel and conception and characterization, and I understand why people would be happy about that. But please don't undercut the previous era to do it.

*With the caveat that I am all for any Clever Plans on the part of 11 that save Gallifrey/some Time Lords, but that do not undo the initial decision on the part of the War Doctor that forms the basis of my understanding of the show I've been watching for the past seven series. 10 and 11 can be clever! Just not John Hurt.

Edited at 2013-11-29 10:47 am (UTC)
You've no idea how happy I was to find your comments here - I've been feeling very alone with that opinion!
Actually, here's a way of putting it that, of all of the people I know, will probably only make sense to you.

You know, on Farscape, the writers had a motto? "When you get punched on Farscape, it hurts."

I feel like for the last couple of years--and especially with this past episode--the motto of Doctor Who has been, "When you get punched on Doctor Who, don't worry, in a few episodes it will be revealed that you were never punched, you only dreamed you were punched, and all the pain has been psychosomatic."

I don't want that. I want to trust the show not to fuck with me, and not to fuck with the characters.
*g* Yeah, that totally makes sense to me.

I have the benefit of having no real emotional investment in either of the current Doctors, in large part for that reason. Well, I have an emotional investment in The Doctor, but Tennant's Doctor was such an ass--above and beyond the usual Time Lord galloping egotism, which is a feature rather than a bug--that I broke off pretty cleanly. I am invested in Nine, however.

But I'm also okay with the irony of the Illusory Sacrifice. All that suffering, for naught. It gives me feels in a way that none of the "Pray to the Doctor!" solutions have done.

But I haven't bothered to watch most of the previous few seasons (In part because of too many Tinkerbell Endings), and I was in a good place to appreciate a narrative solution that was, for a wonder, actually set up, made sense, and wasn't just last-minute handwavium.

(I haven't trusted the show since 2006, I think. So I'm just pleased it didn't make me feel like I had stupid all over me again. I think I at least get where your sense of betrayal is coming from, though--I feel that way about later seasons of Buffy.)
Oh, well, I never trusted Doctor Who to make a ton of sense, or to set up its endings particularly well. (For the most part, it still doesn't do that. The last three seasons have had a lot--a lot--of "Everybody lives!" endings, and every single Moffat-run season finale has involved somehow rewriting or reimagining the timeline of the season that preceded it. So I'm also a little tired of the device.) But once upon a time, I did trust it to care about its characters (even if 10 was an ass, which he of course was), care about what it was saying, have consequences for actions, and not undo anything that happened more than an episode or so in the past.

Anyway, I'd actually be cool with the illusory sacrifice if the suffering that was all for naught wasn't...60-70% of the past seven seasons. Irony's great, but I don't want to build a series on it. And Doctor Who in particular invites emotional investment.

Okay, sorry for my incredibly long-winded Doctor Who thoughts. This keeps happening, lately.

I think I at least get where your sense of betrayal is coming from, though--I feel that way about later seasons of Buffy.

I don't know what you're talking about. Season five of Buffy is great, and everyone knows that Buffy ended after season five.

Edited at 2013-11-29 12:02 pm (UTC)
Fair enough. Season 5 IS pretty great, and I'm glad they were smart enough to end there, with the exception of that musical reunion episode with the bizarre retcons ;). But Season 4 is made of hate, except for Tara.
Even a terrible, terrible season full of Riley could not hold Tara's awesomeness back.
When you get punched on Doctor Who, don't worry, in a few episodes it will be revealed that you were never punched, you only dreamed you were punched, and all the pain has been psychosomatic."
Yes. And aaargh. This was one of the big problems I had with the episode (and...much of Moffat's tenure), as well.
I thought it was pretty clear that Liz Osgood was the Curator's companion. And the Curator was a regeneration of the Doctor, far in the future of his own timeline. Returning, as he actually said, to a favorite old face. The scarf is a dead giveaway. We already know that the Doctor keeps a huge wardrobe in the TARDIS, including all his own old clothes.

And you are 100% correct that THAT was not Elizabeth Tudor, in any timeline. She was not cuddly. Though she almost certainly was passionate.

THAT was not Elizabeth Tudor, in any timeline.

Though she may have been Queenie from Blackadder.
If Blackadder is bleeding over into the Whoinverse, why on earth isn't Baldrick turning up?
THANK YOU for saying what you did about Eliz I. It about drove me round the bend, and it would have still been *fun* had she had the gravitas of EI but the hots for the Doctor. A Friend made an amazing suggestion: That she should have met DW *before* she was queen: it would have explained why she never married.

my theory

Yes. Four's last companion. I think so.

I think Four "faked" his regeneration.

"It's the end-- but the moment has been prepared for…"

And then the Watcher merges with the Doctor.

Or maybe he took the Doctor's place and the Doctor went off somewhere else to not die.

Curator is suspiciously close to Watcher IMHO.

Do Four retires from doctoring for a while -- perhaps to watch over Gallifrey -- perhaps to just retire on Earth for a while.
And that is Not Elizabeth Tudor, you motherfuckers. Not in any parallel Earth.

That was pretty much my reaction as well. Even as an impulsive teenager, Elizabeth had more gravitas than that. But that was my only nitpick, as otherwise I have no dog in this fight -- I've never been more than casually interested in Dr. Who, and then only in the newer ones. The old shows can drive me out of the room in 5 minutes flat.

Note: the only reason I watched the special was that we were at a Dr. Who con and everyone was watching it. I was expecting to walk out of the room thinking, "Well, I have no idea what just happened there," but I was pleasantly surprised.

I do like your hypothesis concerning Osgood.
I thought it was the Zygon giving back the inhaler that it had taken from her in the elevator, giving her the opportunity to tip it over with the scarf trick and escape. Though this one was so tricky I might have missed any number of moves.

That being said, except for that one weak-and-feeble gag, that was no more Elizabeth Rex than I am. :(
She had gotten the inhaler back. It changed hands several times. :)
Er, Elizabeth Regina.
ER seemed to have a certain attitude about her gender that would fit Elizabeth Rex, even if it isn't technically right...

Well, at least I didn't make that mistake to her face!

(Also, I knew that... O the shame!)