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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Entertainment & Interests > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Doctor Who

Doctor Who "Bigger on the inside..."

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Old October 28 2013, 10:44 PM   #1
Noddy
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Multi-Doctor stories

Let's take a moment to consider how stories where the Doctor interacts with his past selves work. In the past, I used to think that after each multi-Doctor encounter was over and the earlier Doctors returned to their proper places in space and time, their memories of their future would be wiped to ensure the survival of their future history. This would explain why, at the end of The Five Doctors, Borusa is still imprisoned in Rassilon's tower when, if the First, Second and Third Doctors knew of his impending corruption, he would not have been allowed to get that far in the first place. But earlier on in the same story, when the Second Doctor is talking to the Brigadier, he casually mentions the time they fought Omega, which occurred in The Three Doctors. If the Second Doctor retained his memories of that event, how could it still have happened as we saw it (The Third Doctor would already have remembered everything that would occur)?
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Old October 28 2013, 11:04 PM   #2
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Re: Multi-Doctor stories

Great point, and one that I think would have constituted into a flaw had Holmes' The Two Doctors not come into place. I think in that case with the Second Doctor can be argued that his memories were sorta kept intact with the assistance of the Celestial Intelligence Agency, but was gonna forget those multi-Doctor events (among other things, I suppose), when he was gonna leave the Brigadier and be off to be exiled and regenerate into the Third.

If anything, The Four Doctors kinda made that explicit - that of Doctors 5-8, only 8 would remember the events of that story, while the others wouldn't because a Time Lord can only remember so much, or so they said to that effect.
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Old October 29 2013, 12:14 PM   #3
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Re: Multi-Doctor stories

I don't think there are any fixed rules about that kind of thing.
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Old October 29 2013, 12:45 PM   #4
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Re: Multi-Doctor stories

Something I've only just noticed: In The Five Doctors, the Second Doctor is actually incorrect when he first suspects Jamie and Zoe to be illusions. He tells them that the Time Lords erased all their memories of him when they left him, so they shouldn't even know who he is, but in The War Games, it was clearly stated that they'd both remember their very first adventures with him, but not their subsequent journeys.

Perhaps the Second Doctor in this story isn't from after The War Games, as has long been thought, but is from before, and has gained some vague, not-completely-accurate knowledge of what his future holds (maybe from when he mind-linked with his Third self in The Three Doctors?).
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Old October 29 2013, 02:37 PM   #5
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Re: Multi-Doctor stories

But are we forgetting Time crash where the tenth doctor knew how to sort everything out because the fifth doctor watched him, and he remembered?
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Old October 29 2013, 02:49 PM   #6
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Re: Multi-Doctor stories

The Mirrorball Man wrote: View Post
I don't think there are any fixed rules about that kind of thing.
There are no fixed rules about anything in Doctor Who. It's never been a franchise from which one could expect a tight continuity. With all the different producers who've made it over the decades bringing their own ideas -- and neglecting or not even being aware of their predecessors' ideas due to the era's perception of television as an ephemeral form of entertainment -- the series has contradicted and retconned itself in many, many ways. Even in the modern era, RTD and Moffatt have rewritten the continuity and the laws of time and physics at a whim in order to suit their storytelling needs of the moment.

Which is not a criticism. It's just part of the show's distinctive charm, that playful, make-it-up-as-you-go, tall-tale sensibility. Some franchises can be fun to analyze and try to work out the consistent ground rules for, like Star Trek, but with something like this, it's best just to relax and go with it.
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Old October 30 2013, 10:20 PM   #7
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Re: Multi-Doctor stories

Green Lantern wrote: View Post
But are we forgetting Time crash where the tenth doctor knew how to sort everything out because the fifth doctor watched him, and he remembered?
Perhaps a consequence of the Time Lords no longer being around? You could perhaps read that into Davison's surprised delivery of "You remembered!"
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Old October 30 2013, 10:34 PM   #8
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Re: Multi-Doctor stories

I kind of figure that the Doctor has so much knowledge and experience crammed into his head that it's kind of a crapshoot whether he remembers any particular thing from his past. Maybe "Time Crash" just happened to fall on a day when he was remembering better.
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Old October 31 2013, 03:37 AM   #9
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Re: Multi-Doctor stories

And in the case of "Time Crash," the Doctor remembered the solution to a problem that he would have already been thinking about anyway. It's just that, because he already had past knowledge of what his future self had done, he was able to work it out much faster this time.

"The Two Doctors" implies that the 2nd Doctor's memories of the events would be pretty foggy anyway because of all the drugs that Chessini & Dastari had been pumping him with.

I'm not sure about "The Three Doctors." It's possible that the Celestial Intervention Agency removed, blocked, or altered the relevant memories at some point. The 2nd Doctor does remember Omega in "The Five Doctors." But it's possible that, while he remembers the adventure in general, he can't remember anything specific that would help the 3rd Doctor solve the problem any faster. Or, it's possible that, at that point, the 2nd Doctor's memories haven't been altered yet. Perhaps the Time Lords removed those memories at the same time that they removed his knowledge of how to pilot the TARDIS just before they made him regenerate at the beginning of "Spearhead from Space."

I'd never really had a problem with "The Five Doctors" before because there's the clear implication that, as the time scoop removes each incarnation of the Doctor out of time, the Doctor forgets everything that happened prior to the abduction of that incarnation. That would explain why the 5th Doctor doesn't remember how the 1st Doctor solved the problem the first time. However, it doesn't solve the problem of why the 4th Doctor didn't use the memories of the first 3 Doctors to try to prevent Borusa's rise to political power in "The Deadly Assassin" & "The Invasion of Time." Or why the 5th Doctor didn't just save everybody a lot of time & bother by just letting Cardinal Hedin kill him in "Arc of Infinity." (But then, Davison would probably struggle with that moral quandry more than most Doctors anyway.)

Still, there are a lot of possibilities here. We don't really know how the time scoop works. So it's possible that, when all of the displaced Doctors & companions are returned to their proper places in time & space, that they don't remember what happened, or indeed that anything happened at all. It's also possible that Rassilon erased their memories when he sent them home.
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Old October 31 2013, 03:46 AM   #10
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Re: Multi-Doctor stories

Noddy wrote: View Post
Something I've only just noticed: In The Five Doctors, the Second Doctor is actually incorrect when he first suspects Jamie and Zoe to be illusions. He tells them that the Time Lords erased all their memories of him when they left him, so they shouldn't even know who he is, but in The War Games, it was clearly stated that they'd both remember their very first adventures with him, but not their subsequent journeys.
The Doctor actually refers to them knowing who "we" are-- it might be more their knowledge of the Brigadier, who they refer to by name, but could not possibly know.
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Old November 1 2013, 12:54 PM   #11
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Re: Multi-Doctor stories

One theory suggested elsewhere is that whenever one of the current Doctor's past selves was removed from their original place in space and time in past multi-Doctor tales, that act effectively created a divergent/alternate past Doctor, one whose future would be different to the current Doctor's past. This could well explain how the Second Doctor is working for the Time Lords in The Two Doctors; he's a sort of temporal clone of the original Second Doctor, who never worked for the Time Lords. I'm not saying I necessarily agree with this theory, but I thought I'd share it here.
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Old November 1 2013, 02:08 PM   #12
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Re: Multi-Doctor stories

Each story is different. and circumstances of how they came together and left are different. In the Five Doctors, Rassilon sent them back so he probably removed there memories. In the Three Doctors the Time Lords probably altered the memories of the first and second Doctors to some extent. In Time Crash there were no Time Lords or outside entity's involved so is no reason the 5th doctor would forget the 10th doctor. As for the Two Doctors, (rolls eyes) 6B? LOL
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Old November 2 2013, 02:21 AM   #13
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Re: Multi-Doctor stories

The Two Doctors is definitely the most problematic. The second Doctor segments are presented to us like they're just another adventure from that era (they're even introduced in black and white!) which just happens to intersect with the events of the sixth Doctor and Peri. It's a unique case where the usual explanation given (outside forces bring the incarnations together) doesn't apply.

I'm not an advocate of the Season 6-B theory, but I can't readily account for The Two Doctors as it is actually presented to us. So while it's definitely a retcon, it is one that unfortunately I do tend to factor in when I watch that story. I just can't rationalize it any other way.
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Old November 2 2013, 12:52 PM   #14
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Re: Multi-Doctor stories

That's the whole point, it is meant to be a normal second doctor adventure and also a normal sixth doctor adventure, but the two meet as it turns into the same adventure. Is there anything wrong with that?
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Old November 2 2013, 02:46 PM   #15
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Re: Multi-Doctor stories

Green Lantern wrote: View Post
That's the whole point, it is meant to be a normal second doctor adventure and also a normal sixth doctor adventure, but the two meet as it turns into the same adventure. Is there anything wrong with that?
Only that it had never happened before, and that previous stories treated such a crossover as a shocking and forbidden thing. So having it suddenly be a casual happenstance was a bit incongruous. Although I guess by now there have been so many book and audio crossovers between Doctors that perceptions have changed.

Plus there's the fact that Troughton and Hines being a couple of decades older worked against it feeling like a "normal Second Doctor adventure," as did the anachronistic TARDIS console and the massive continuity glitch of having the Doctor on a mission for the Time Lords.
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