A thought on regenerations (spoilers for "Night/Day of the Doctor")

Discussion in 'Doctor Who' started by Christopher, Dec 8, 2013.

  1. The Mirrorball Man

    The Mirrorball Man Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: A thought on regenerations (spoilers for "Night/Day of the Doctor"

    There's no definite answer. Like everything else in Doctor Who, regenerations mostly exist for the sake of telling entertaining stories, not to speculate about the biology of actual aliens.
     
  2. Mr Awe

    Mr Awe Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: A thought on regenerations (spoilers for "Night/Day of the Doctor"

    ^ Nonetheless, it's a great analogy.
     
  3. ATimson

    ATimson Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: A thought on regenerations (spoilers for "Night/Day of the Doctor"

    Maybe. But I always figured it was more similar to how the ovaries don't (or at least were thought not to - looks like recent research shows we may have been wrong?) produce more eggs during the woman's lifetime. Once they're gone, they're gone. I kinda figured that "regeneration packets" worked the same way.

    What's the point of a process designed to renew, revitalize, and heal when it just damages the body further each time? It seems contradictory, especially since each time the Doctor generally gets younger. I'd be more likely to believe that line of thought if he were progressively getting older, meaning the process didn't work as well each time.
     
  4. Workbee

    Workbee Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: A thought on regenerations (spoilers for "Night/Day of the Doctor"

    I have always seen the whole issue of the regeneration limit to be, well, arbitrary. The purpose of regeneration is to allow production of the show to survive changes of the lead actor. Rather, survival of the show is some combination of ratings, funding, support from the BBC and willing production crew. This 12 regeneration limit was originally introduced as a plot device and explanation of the Master's new form in the wake of Roger Delgado's untimely death. I don't think the producers at the time envisioned that the program would last long enough to see its "final" incarnation -- and even if it did, the show would long since have become the responsibility of another production team. In fact, most subsequent references of this regeneration limit were in relation to this character, not the Doctor. And ultimately, they resorted to various methods of handwaving to sustain the character and allow several actors to portray him.

    It is a fact that Peter Capaldi will play the Doctor after Matt Smith. And should the show stay successful enough, another actor will one day replace Capaldi as the Doctor. Whether the producers say he gets a new set or regenerations, or Capaldi's doctor is a one-off bonus regeneration leaving him yet again at the final regeneration, in the grand scheme, I see it making little difference. The doctor has frequently reacted to a peril as if there was a real chance of final death without a regeneration. Which makes the concept of regeneration sort of analogous to a Kevlar vest as a plot device- it can protect against most shots, but a head-shot could still do him in. So the writers simply never let him suffer a headshot. Regeneration is a great way to allow a change of actor, to make the sendoff of the previous actor an event and the arrival of the new actor something fresh and exciting. But as a plot device in and of itself, it's just rubbish.
     
  5. RJDonner&Blitzen

    RJDonner&Blitzen Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    Re: A thought on regenerations (spoilers for "Night/Day of the Doctor"

    Hmm. This may explain why the working title of the Christmas Special was "Night of the IVF."
     
  6. Alidar Jarok

    Alidar Jarok Everything in moderation but moderation Moderator

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    Re: A thought on regenerations (spoilers for "Night/Day of the Doctor"

    I don't think there's anything indicating that. In fact, the Master has gotten new regenerations several times, suggesting it's just a thing that's a possibility. it has never been suggested that there's a cap on regenerations beyond the natural cap of 13 that can be overridden by Time Lords.
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: A thought on regenerations (spoilers for "Night/Day of the Doctor"

    I don't see a contradiction between the two ideas, though. Sure, the strain of successive regenerations could permanently and irrevocably damage a body, but so would, say, dying of old age or being vaporized in a fire or being disintegrated by the Daleks. But the Master managed to come back from at least two of those. In fiction, any normally "permanent" demise can be reversed under exceptional circumstances -- and fiction has a way of focusing on exceptional circumstances rather than normal ones. We can talk about it being possible to give a Time Lord a new regeneration cycle, but we should take care to remember that that doesn't make it routine or easy.

    As for the rationale of why a mechanism for healing would cause cumulative damage, that makes sense to me, because no process is perfect. Surgery can heal you or save your life, but it's also extremely stressful on the body and thus dangerous as well. Exercise can strengthen your body, but athletes' constant exertion over decades causes cumulative damage as well and eventually the negative effects overwhelm the positive ones. So I can see how regeneration could become cumulatively more difficult over time. Indeed, it does seem that the Doctor's regenerations have been getting more energetic. His first couple that we saw were rather gentle, but then we started to see them happening with bursts of light, then lightning discharges in his seventh regeneration, then these bursts of golden energy that got progressively bigger until his most recent regeneration trashed the TARDIS. Maybe it takes his body more effort to regenerate itself each time and it's reaching a point of diminishing returns.
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: A thought on regenerations (spoilers for "Night/Day of the Doctor"

    Well, oops, it turns out that Eccleston would have been in the War Doctor's place if he'd appeared -- but Moffat feels it worked better the way it turned out.

    http://www.doctorwhotv.co.uk/what-if-eccleston-had-returned-for-50th-56889.htm
    I wonder, though, if they could've found an alternate role for Eccleston if he'd agreed to make a brief appearance late in the game. My thinking is that in the climactic all-the-Doctors sequence, he could've been the one who showed up and contacted the Gallifrey War Council, instead of John Guilor's First Doctor voiceover. He could've had a fair-sized cameo before and during the sequence with all the other Doctors swooping in. And then he could've shown up again once Hurt regenerated into him.
     
  9. DWF

    DWF Admiral Admiral

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    Re: A thought on regenerations (spoilers for "Night/Day of the Doctor"

    I already posted that upthread.
     
  10. cincygal

    cincygal Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: A thought on regenerations (spoilers for "Night/Day of the Doctor"

    The thing is, we found out in Lets Kill Hitler, that there are poisons that WILL stop his ability to regenerate. It was only because River was willing to give him her remaining regenerations that he was able to be saved (without having to regenerate himself I might add).


    Also, we've seen the Doctor have a body part cut off, and it grow back, so why not his head (even though I suspect that will cause him to regenerate)?
     
  11. ATimson

    ATimson Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: A thought on regenerations (spoilers for "Night/Day of the Doctor"

    It only grew back because he was still "in his regeneration cycle". Had he lost it during a later episode, it would've been permanent. Or at least RTD would have needed to come up with different technobabble to explain it. ;)
     
  12. Alidar Jarok

    Alidar Jarok Everything in moderation but moderation Moderator

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    Re: A thought on regenerations (spoilers for "Night/Day of the Doctor"

    Although, that being said, the fact that Tennant's redirecting his regeneration energy into his hand now is a regeneration at least closes that loophole. Otherwise, every Time Lord should cut off a hand first thing in order to save themselves later on.

    And to be fair to the needing a technobabble explanation, I don't think the hand would have been chopped off unless he planned to have it grow back. He didn't come up with something to write himself out of a corner he boxed himself into.
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: A thought on regenerations (spoilers for "Night/Day of the Doctor"

    Well, if you mean the Doctor growing a new hand, then that goes without saying, since it grew back moments after it was cut off. But if you mean the hand growing a new Doctor, I doubt RTD had thought that far ahead by that point. More likely he was seeding it for Torchwood. Or, heck, maybe he just chopped off and regrew the hand because it was a cool moment and a clever new thing to do with regeneration, and then afterward he thought, "Hmm, what happened to the hand that was cut off?"
     
  14. RJDonner&Blitzen

    RJDonner&Blitzen Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    Re: A thought on regenerations (spoilers for "Night/Day of the Doctor"

    True. I suppose, like injuries, some poisons are so serious that he can't bounce back.

    Well, it would depend on if the head grew a body or the body grew a head. :D If the head grows a body, no problem; if the body grows a head, it would be empty. If both happens, then the Doctor has a full-grown infant twin. It would be an interesting twist to use in a story-- maybe not with the Doctor, but with another Time Lord.

    Although David Tennant's human twin was not mindless. Did they ever actually explain that?
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: A thought on regenerations (spoilers for "Night/Day of the Doctor"

    Regenerationy-wenerationy. Like so many things in DW, it was -- quite fittingly in this case -- a handwave.
     
  16. Alidar Jarok

    Alidar Jarok Everything in moderation but moderation Moderator

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    Re: A thought on regenerations (spoilers for "Night/Day of the Doctor"

    I meant the former. It was in response to someone saying that, had it happened later in the season, he would have needed a different technobabble explanation. I was just pointing out that the technobabble explanation deserves a little more leniency in a case like that.
     
  17. ATimson

    ATimson Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: A thought on regenerations (spoilers for "Night/Day of the Doctor"

    Which, as the person you were replying to, I have to admit is a very good point!
     
  18. RJDonner&Blitzen

    RJDonner&Blitzen Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    Re: A thought on regenerations (spoilers for "Night/Day of the Doctor"

    Technobabble gets a bad rap.

    Yeah, that's fine, but it kind of sets a precedent that negates my mindless twin idea. Still, there could be a couple of non-mindless twin Time Lords out there.
     
  19. DWF

    DWF Admiral Admiral

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    Re: A thought on regenerations (spoilers for "Night/Day of the Doctor"

    Why would he be mindless? The Doctor's been cloned before and the clone wasn't mindless. The meta crisis Doctor was partially formed by Donna when she reached out to the hand.
     
  20. RJDonner&Blitzen

    RJDonner&Blitzen Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    Re: A thought on regenerations (spoilers for "Night/Day of the Doctor"

    I'm not familiar with prior cloning stories in DW, but cloning would not automatically transfer or copy memories. Real cloning, of course, would merely create an embryo which is a genetic duplicate of the clone donor, but even a process that clones an adult duplicate from a mature fragment would have no source for duplicating memories.