The Pointlessness of the Doctor's "death"

Discussion in 'Doctor Who' started by Irvy, Sep 10, 2012.

  1. Irvy

    Irvy Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Location:
    N Ireland
    I love Who, and I'm a big fan of Moffett and Smith, but there's one thing that just makes no sense to me.

    OK, the Doctor is ancient, and he can travel to any point in time and space and has done so for at least 1000 years, probably more. His time line is not linear from our perspective, any of his incarnations can turn up at any point in time and stop you from doing that bad thing you wanted to do.

    So him dying at some point shouldn't really have any effect. You can't breath a sigh of relief that he's dead, because he still might turn up and stop you. Or save you. You might turn out to be the first person he ever met, thousands of years after he "died".

    He's had a millennia to go anywhere, anywhen, which weaves him so intrinsically into the fabric of space time that even his actual death won't remove him from the universe or stop him from turning up on your doorstep.
     
  2. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2005
    Location:
    the Frozen Wastes
    Well River's story is the perfect example of this, since the first time we meet her, she dies.
     
  3. Methos

    Methos Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2012
    Location:
    Hiding under Gaila's bed...
    it's also worth checking the books and audio plays around Doctor Who... especially Lungbarrow, which deals with a lot of The Doctor's 'earlier days' on Gallifrey...

    I won't say too much about the book, but it adds a whole lot more to The Doctor's character than you'd believe, and explains a lot about the way he views time and what the future / past holds for him...

    Trust me, if you can find a copy of this book, either in normal or e-book format, I highly recommend it for any Doctor Who fan who wants to learn more about The Doctor's origins / future :)

    M
     
  4. lvsxy808

    lvsxy808 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2001
    Location:
    London
    Well, you're right Irvy, as far as it goes.

    But the point of the Silence's plan wasn't to just kill the Doctor in general. It was to kill the Doctor before has the chance to do a specific thing.

    They knew that he would do this business on the Fields of Trenzalor or whatever at some point - they probably know that because as you say, the Doctor is a time-traveller and that event could happen at any point in objective time.

    But they also knew that he hadn't done it yet from his own point of view, in the Doctor's subjective time. If they could kill him before he got to that point in his own personal timeline, then that one event would be averted, and presumably whatever other side-effect timeline changes resulted from that were worth the risk.

    So yes, killing the Doctor doesn't mean he won't still show up to do something. But it does mean he won't show up to do this particular thing.

    In theory.

    .
     
  5. Methos

    Methos Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2012
    Location:
    Hiding under Gaila's bed...
    of course, The Doctor's personal timeline can be altered as well...

    Just because he didn't do something before, doesn't mean he won't do it lol

    For example, on multiple occasions, when multiple Doctor's meet, the newest incarnation knows the event didn't happen to him before the event occured...

    yeah, it gets complicated lol... but as Doctor Who shows on various occasions, most of time is extremely fluid, and can be changed readily... including his own timeline :)

    M
     
  6. Irvy

    Irvy Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Location:
    N Ireland
    You're right about the Silents, but that's not what I was talking about. The Doctor faked his own death, and Amy's sad because she'll never see him again, and he's "keeping a low profile". When you've woven a loud presence through space and time for centuries, stopping doesn't make it go quiet, it's still there, unless you rewrite your own history.

    The Doctor's life has a sequence of regenerations, a beginning, a middle and an end, but only he and other Time Lords experience it that way. Even if he had died in 2011, it didn't stop him popping up in 20011, so from the perspective of anyone who isn't a Time Lord (or a tv viewer), the Doctor's death and birth would be abstract notions separate from the ever constant persistence of his appearance.
     
  7. Psion

    Psion Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2001
    Location:
    Lat: 40.1630936 Lon: -75.1183777
    I agree with you Irvy. Moffat et al have the best handle on a time-traveling character that we've yet seen in Doctor Who and perhaps in television, but they still make mistakes.
     
  8. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2001
    Location:
    Sac, Ca
    Well he's still just one guy in a huge, vast universe of billions of worlds. Even if there are 11 different incarnations of him roaming around, the likelihood you're going to run into one of them is ridiculously small-- and that's before you even factor in all the various time periods he could be in.

    If I was a villain somewhere up to no good, I wouldn't be all that worried about him showing up.
     
  9. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2005
    Location:
    the Frozen Wastes
    The villain should worry about the Tardis.
     
  10. Bacl

    Bacl Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2006
    Location:
    Wehnimer's Landing, Elanthia
    I agree completely. In fact, "The Doctor's Death!" arc of last season really hurt my enjoyability of the show. I love Smith as the Doctor and have loved Moffat in the past, but the arc of the Doctor's so-called death really frustrated and distanced me from the show.
     
  11. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2001
    Location:
    Sac, Ca
    Well according to Moffat, the whole point was to take the Doctor out of the spotlight (as this wondrous savior of the universe RTD built him up to be) and back to being just a rogue, wandering time traveller-- which is what I thought most fans wanted.
     
  12. Timelord Victorious

    Timelord Victorious Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2006
    Location:
    Germany, Earth, the Solar System
    Actually, assuming the Doctor doesn't change his personal timeline somehow (or someone else does), you can make sure he won't spoil your deeds ever again.

    If he shows up and doesn't know who you are and THEN you kill him for good, you can be reasonably certain he won't show up for you ever again.

    Otherwise you have to trick him first into syncing diaries... If he still had meetings ahead of you... not time to kill him yet.
     
  13. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2000
    Location:
    QC, IL, USA
    Even though the Doctor is a time traveler, he still has a finite existence. By killing him you ensure that future versions of him can't meddle with events. And really, playing dead so as to exist under the radar is only relevant to certain large groups that already know who he is. The Silence, for example, are probably aware enough of his personal timeline to know which version of the Doctor they need to worry about.

    The Doctor, as far as they know, died on Lake Silencio. If somebody tries to kill him before that happens, they will fail, so it's not even worth it to worry about earlier versions of him. Since it's pointless then to worry about the Doctor before Lake Silencio (because he obviously survives those encounters) and it's pointless to worry about the Doctor after Lake Silencio (because he's "dead"), you now have a universe where nobody needs to bother seeking him out at all.
     
  14. Wereghost

    Wereghost Part-time poltergeist Commodore

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Location:
    Ireland
    Not if your relative pasts are in the agreed no-fly zone. The Doctor and Davros, for instance, have apparently never met in the wrong order. This seems to have been the case for the Doctor-Dalek relationship too since Resurrection Of The Daleks in 1984, or possibly Destiny Of The Daleks in 1979. From Remembrance Of The Daleks in 1988, the Doctor has always seemed to assume that the Daleks he's currently facing are from a later time (for them) than any of their previous meetings. So I think there may have been some sort of accord to prevent things getting too messy. This may well be one-sided, with the TARDIS keeping track of them or refusing to land where a paradox might be created.

    (Ten mentions to Wilf in The End Of Time that there's a causal nexus of some kind between him and the Master and that it needs to be respected. I guess that there are certain levels of interference with Time that can be tolerated and others that can't; an example of the former being affecting things whose outcome or details you have no prior knowledge of, and an example of the latter being any interference that deletes your original motivation to interfere in the first place.)

    (Edit: I recall from the novelisation of Logopolis that the unravelling of the Universe was attributed to the breaking of its causal nexus.)
     
  15. DWF

    DWF Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 19, 2001
    Location:
    Columbus, Ohio
    But it was Moffat who made the Church and it's what went after the Doctor. And it's like the Doctor ever kept a low profile, it was the Doctor in the library who told the Vashta Nerada to look him up in the library becasue of how dangerous he was.
     
  16. Sindatur

    Sindatur Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2011
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    Exactly, RTD had the Doctor as a famous Super Hero, and Moffat brought along The Church of The Silence in order to perpetuate this arc, that has led to his low profile. Maybe he got that idea after Doctor Who was his, maybe, he only wrote that in The Library episode to keep with RTD's Tone and texture for the Doctor. Or maybe he's simply a hypocrite, but, nonetheless, he used River and The Church as the catalyst for this change, at least since the beginning of last season, if not from S5, since The Church did appear in S5 and was mysterious about their profile and River's crime.
     
  17. ROBE

    ROBE Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2008
    Also it was the fall of the 11th the Silence were worried about.
     
  18. Mister Fandango

    Mister Fandango Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2012
    Honestly, I wonder the same thing about the Time Lords themselves. Why doesn't he run into them constantly? Sure, they were 'time locked' (whatever that means), but their exploits before the Time War already happened. Their impact on the universe already happened. The Doctor even talks about said exploits every now and again, such as with the Corsair. And then you have cases where Time Lords such as the Meddling Monk influenced Earth's own history; construction of Stonehenge, 'suggesting' aircraft design to da Vinci, etc.

    I mean, is being time locked just shorthand for 'erased from existence?' Because that's the only way it would make any sense. But we already know that's not the case.

    Sure, no bumping into any Time Lords who are aware of events post-Time War. That much makes sense. But none at all? Not so much.
     
  19. Timelord Victorious

    Timelord Victorious Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2006
    Location:
    Germany, Earth, the Solar System
    Maybe it's a bit like the time cracks... They erased Amy's parents from history but Amy is still here even though that should be impossible.
    Also time crack erased people CAN be remembered. Amy subconciously remembered Rory and could actively be reminded of him.

    Time Lock could work in a similar way. Gallifrey is still there, we know that much, but hidden behind a nearly impenetrable wall of timelock. Gone from the perception of lesser beings. Suspended in a single moment of (non)time (no causal connection to any other moment in time).

    The timelock is not unbreakable, Dalek Caan did it and the Daleks are back in full force.

    The Timelords nearly did it by finding that one thread left to the rest of the Universe and using it as a lifeline.
     
  20. Holdfast

    Holdfast Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2000
    Location:
    17 Cherry Tree Lane
    Sure, but having a lot of time to do things isn't the same as having an infinite amount of time to do things and, more importantly, knowing what to do and when. He's not omniscient & omnipresent.

    Kill him (permanently) before he has a chance to foil your plans and assuming he doesn't have the opportunity to tell a younger version of himself (or anyone else) how to stop you, you win.

    I mean, a younger version might still stop your plans further down the line, but that would be unrelated/coincidental/bad luck rather than due to the supposed pointlessness of killing him. It's still worth trying to kill him when you encounter him, because you have at least a chance he doesn't eventually turn up in your way in a younger guise.
     

Share This Page