Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Dead Men Tell No Truths: A Preview of "The Name of the Doctor"

In Season 5, right after watching "Flesh and Stone," I correctly predicted that River would not kill the Doctor (as that was obviously what Moffat wanted us to think, so I knew it had to be untrue) and that she would, instead, help the Doctor fake his death to hide from someone and then take the fall for it by going to prison. I accurately predicted, when watching "The Lodger," that the stranded ship was a Silence ship. I accurately predicted what "The Question" was going to be. The only real thing that I feel like an idiot for missing was that River was Amy and Rory's daughter, which I thought was a crackpot fan theory that could never be true.  I made a vow after that to not reject "crackpot" theories and to make sure that I don't rule something out just because it sounds too "out there."

My point here is not to brag.  Okay, my point totally is to brag.  But my point is, I can get a lot of things. Or, at the very least, I know the right questions to ask.  So let's look at the questions that need to be asked before we head into the big finale of the season.

What did the Cyber Planner's clue mean?

I swear to God, every single time I finish one of my weekly write-ups of an episode, I immediately think of something I completely forgot to mention. This week, it was a big one, and that's the big clue that the Cyber Planner gave the Doctor:

"You know you could be reconstructed by the hole you've left behind."

Sometimes, I think that Moffat needs to set up rules for his own Universe that wouldn't be obvious. He did it in "The Impossible Astronaut" where he, essentially, explained to us the rules of the new mystery, that they couldn't go back in time and stop the incident from happening because it would create a paradox. The Doctor broke more laws of time than that when he rescued himself from the Pandorica, so the only reason this was being brought up in that episode was to explain to us that they can't cheat that way in this season. In this season, that'll be against the rules.

I can't imagine how exactly you could "reconstruct" the Doctor by the "hole he left behind," but the rules in this season say that it's possible, and the Cyber Planner wouldn't bring it up if it wasn't incredibly significant and would affect the plot of "The Name of the Doctor." My guess is that this is how the Great Intelligence is going to find out about the prophesy: "On the fields of Trenzalore, at the fall of the eleventh, when no living creature can speak falsely or fail to answer, a Question will be asked, a question that must never, ever be answered: Doctor who?" We've seen from the preview that the Great Intelligence will be in this episode, and the preview even showed him asking the Doctor his name.

But why does the GI want to know?

I keep thinking of the name "The Great Intelligence." There are some indications that the Great Intelligence's primary goal is to gain intelligence. In the classic series, it wanted to drain the Doctor's brain so that it could absorb his knowledge. Perhaps the Doctor's name is important knowledge, and so the GI wants to know it because it wants to know everything. It's kind of like the Brain Spawn monsters from Futurama.

The Brain Spawn have absorbed so much information that they know that bow ties are cool

Post-Library River?!

This is the most fucking insane clue that we've been given.  River has somehow survived the fucking Library?  This changes everything.  So, how might it have happened?  Here's a few theories:

River Found Her Way Out of the Computer

River's consciousness, at the very least, isn't dead.  The Library is still holding what is presumably the version of her consciousness she had at the moment she died.  She'd just need a body to put her consciousness into.  We never saw in "Silence of the Library" what happened to her actual body.  And whichever future Doctor prepared the screwdriver that saved her probably knew her ultimate fate.  Perhaps it wasn't just a plan to save her consciousness, but a chance to save her life completely.

River Didn't Really Use Up All of Her Regenerations

How exactly did the Doctor and Amy know in "Let's Kill Hitler" that River used up all of her regenerations?  Hell, how did she use up all of her regenerations?  It seems really strange that she would need to use up all of her regenerations to save the Doctor.  If we assume Melody Pond was the first regeneration, Mels was the second, and River was the third (there could be other regenerations in there, but there are strong hints to suggest that there are not) then she could have regenerated up to 10 more times.  That seems like a lot of regenerations to save the Doctor just once.  Again, we didn't see her body after she died.  Perhaps she had to be taken away from the Doctor's sight so she could regenerate in secret.

Everybody knows that everybody dies,
unless you're a recurring Doctor Who character.
Then you can live for-fucking-ever!
Clara is a "Post-Library" Regeneration of River

This would solve two mysteries with one stone, but don't ask me how the fuck it would work.

Which leads us to the next question:

Who the Fuck is Clara?

The problem with this question is that we don't have many clues as to what's happening.  It's an annoying way to handle a big mystery.  So let's sum up the very, very few and very small clues we've gotten about this mystery.*

-Clara was born from two parents who met by complete chance.  She wasn't bred or created.
-Emma, the empath, confirmed that Clara is completely normal.  I doubt that she'd say the same if she met Oswin or Clara Oswin.
-They have all, at some point, used the phrase "Run you clever boy and remember."

That's more or less it.  I still think that the possibility of her being a regeneration of River is perfectly conceivable, but I still can't work out how that would actually explain anything.  I would love it if she turned out to be a regeneration of Susan, but that would make the scene where Clara Oswin kissed the Doctor in "The Snowmen" really gross.  Like Luke kissing Leia in A New Hope.  If she is River, then it's fine.  If she's some random person, that I think River should slap her.  Just because a River/Clara cat fight would be hot.  (I apologize for being a male.)

I also keep thinking of the villain Scaroth, from the classic, Douglas Adams written Fourth Doctor episode "City of Death."  Scaroth had different versions of himself scattered across time, in different centuries, because of his space ship exploding.  The big difference there was that Scaroth's different selves all shared a consciousness and could think as one.  The Claras don't seem to be able to do that.

As opposed to Scaroth, however, the world is richer for having more people who look like Clara.

What is the Doctor's name and why is it dangerous?

I'm still sticking with my the-Doctor-is-a-God theory, which ties into The Cartmel Masterplan.  The much bigger question is going to be how much of this is going to really be revealed in this episode.  I think it's going to cut away very quickly so that, somehow, River will be the only one to hear it.

I'm looking forward to the episode.  There are a lot of mysteries to be solved.  I just hope they all have satisfying conclusions. 

*I’m going to start instituting a new naming system to keep the Clara’s straight, because that’s starting to confuse me. So, from now on:

Dalek Asylum Clara = Oswin
Modern Day Clara = Clara
19th Century Clara = Clara Oswin

Besides being much easier to actually write, it also reminds us that Clara’s three different names are clearly very important. Also, it’s like Moffat made these names specifically for me, as the version of Clara that I have to write about the most is the one with the shortest name. Thank you, Steven. (I can call him Steven now.)

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