Series 5 Big Picture Speculation

3rd May 2010 • Blog Post by Seb Patrick •

Five episodes in, and a story arc is starting to take shape. And a couple of very interesting, yet-to-be-explained points have made themselves conspicuous. So let’s do some speculating! Obviously, don’t click the jump until you’ve seen “Flesh and Stone”.
First off, let’s have some kudos for Moffat for doing something conspicuously different with the running arc. After the instances of seeing the “crack” at the end of both “The Beast Below” and “Victory of the Daleks”, we could have been forgiven for thinking this’d be another “secret” running image in the style of Bad Wolf, or Rose’s series four appearances – seen by the viewer each time, but with the Doctor blissfully unaware until everything comes together circa episode 11. This time, however, the “arc” is one in which he’s already an active participant – he knows about the crack in time, about the fact that time is being “rewritten”, and he’ll presumably be spending the second half of the series trying to sort it out. So the final episodes will be the culmination of the story, not just the bit where it actually happens.

Anyway, aside from all the stuff with the crack, and people getting wiped from existence, and whatnot, there was something else quite significant about the episode. In case you’ve missed it (and I know a fair few of you have already caught it), it came as the Doctor and River left a closed-eyed Amy in the forest. Having already run off, the Doctor – who’d previously lost his jacket to the grasp of an Angel – suddenly reappeared in front of Amy, softly told her that she needed to “remember what I told you when you were seven”, and kissed her on the forehead before leaving. The thing is… that wasn’t our Doctor. Here’s why:

He’s still got his jacket on. Oh, and weirdly, when we see his forearm, it’s bare – perhaps his costume is ripped and tattered at this point? Anyway, that’s less relevant than the fact that he’s still got his jacket on.

The obvious answer to this, of course, is that it’s a Doctor from the future. There are multiple clues to this – he’s a lot kinder and softer towards her than he is in the immediately preceding scene, for one. Furthermore, when she asks how the crack can be there, he says “I don’t know, but I’m working it out.” This suggests that he’s slightly further along in his timeline, more actively seeking a way to figure out the problem (note that this scene occurs before he’s had his “Time can be rewritten” moment of realisation). But the crucial moment, of course, comes with the “Remember…” line. He’s not asking her to remember something specific. He’s asking her simply to perform the act of remembering. The obvious assumption, then, is that in the future, presumably somewhere around episode 12 or 13, something Bad has happened to Amy – and the Doctor needs to go back and help maintain her existence by re-affirming it. I’d be 99% sure that we’re going to see this exact scene over again, only this time from the Doctor’s perspective, later in the series.

But what is he asking her to remember? What moment in “The Eleventh Hour” – which is the only time he met her when she was seven – could be so important? Well… how about this one?

Remember that odd moment when we cut back to little Amy sitting on her suitcase waiting for the Doctor to return, before hearing the TARDIS sound and smiling? Then it cut to her being woken in bed by the same noise? We assumed it was just a dream – that she was dreaming a happy-ending-that-never-was to her Raggedy Doctor story. But what if it wasn’t? What if that moment actually happened to her? What if our future Doctor did come back and visit her – having already known her as a grown-up – in order to tell her something important? She’d have to have forgotten, of course (in order to still be angry at him for not coming back), but it could be a deliberately subconscious memory that reappeared in her dream when she heard the TARDIS noise again.

We can but guess. But what’s clear is this – those of us who excitedly wondered what the man who’d proven himself so brilliant at structuring single episodes would do when given an entire series to work with are being given our answer. Moffat is a clever, clever bugger – and you suspect that there’s going to be a lot about the early part of this series that will only make full sense when the whole thing has finished.

Now, the question is – any moments in either “Beast” or “Victory” that might also have actually been our Mysterious Future Doctor?

Seb Patrick once met Paul McGann, who immediately pretended to be Mark McGann. He writes for Den of Geek, BBC America, Film4 and the official Red Dwarf website, among others. He owns over thirty toy Daleks and wishes the Dapol factory tour was still open.

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