A Modest Theory About Doctor Who Series 8

Spoilers Ahead

Usually I don't get into in-depth commentary or analysis on Geek Grrrl, but after watching the Doctor Who Series 8 premiere, "Deep Breath," I had some thoughts on where this season is going, which I felt would be fun to share.

So, our new Doctor, as you may know, is played by Peter Capaldi, an actor who has appeared on  Doctor Who before as the character Caecilius in the episode "The Fires of Pompeii." 

In that same episode Karen Gillan--later companion Amy Pond--played the Soothsayer, a seer belonging to the Sibylline Order, a group whose members have the uncanny ability to foretell the future.

Before anyone starts complaining about the show's re-use of actors and actresses, there is a precedent of regenerating Time Lords taking the form of other people. Way back in the time of the fourth Doctor, Romana deliberately regenerated in the form of Princess Astra. 

Now the Doctor seems to prefer a certain amount of randomness in his new looks (hence his recurring lament about not being ginger), but in "Deep Breath," the Doctor comments that he's seen his new face before. As he spends the episode enduring problems with his memory, he doesn't yet realize where his face came from. But he does know that it's significant in some way. In the same vein, he also can't figure out why he, for the first time ever, has a Scottish accent. This is where my theory comes in.

The episode "The Angels Take Manhattan" sees the end of Amy and Rory's time as companions. A weeping angel gets Rory, and Amy, not wanting to spend the rest of her life without him, takes the chance that the angel will send her to the same place, and lets herself be touched. We've assumed that all went well because of the epilogue in River Song's book, which she asked Amy to write to let the Doctor know she and Rory are okay (there's a whole lot of timey-wimeyness going on in this episode). 

But I don't think things were okay (maybe not at all, or maybe just not at first). For one thing, who's to say Amy actually wrote the epilogue? For another, earlier in the episode River told Amy to never let the Doctor see the damage. What if the damage this time was that Amy ended up in Pompeii? I see no reason why, with her obvious foreknowledge of the future, she wouldn't have been taken in by the Sibylline Order.

When the Doctor shows up in Pompeii, it's the tenth Doctor, with companion Donna. I don't remember if the Soothsayer ever sees the TARDIS. Assuming she didn't, Ten and Amy never met each other (Amy was Eleven's companion), so neither would recognize the other, the result being that Amy gets left behind.

Now if the Soothsayer did see the TARDIS, the theory still stands. There's an argument to be made that she was so corrupted by the Pyrovile (aka the rock alien) that she didn't recognize the TARDIS or simply no longer cared. There was also a precedent set in the episode "The Girl Who Waited," where Amy was accidentally left too long in an accelerated timeline (for lack of a better word). A short amount of time for the Doctor and Rory ended up being 36 years for Amy; her "abandonment" by the Doctor left Amy hating him. Being trapped in Pompeii shortly before volcano day could easily have led Amy to once again hate the Doctor. Maybe enough to actively work against him once she realizes he's arrived. Whether she knew the Doctor was in Pompeii or not, the result is the same: Amy is left there.

Back to the last moments of Eleven's life in "The Time of the Doctor," he has a vision of Amy. Seeing someone who isn't actually there would be significant under any circumstances, but for the Doctor to see Amy in the last moments of his life strikes me as something not to be taken lightly. Moments later he regenerates with the form of Caecilius, and speaking with a Scottish accent--Amy's accent--for the first time. To me, that raises a big red flag as to what really happened to Amy after the weeping angel touched her.

As for the epilogue in the book, there's a strong possibility that River wrote it herself to hide the damage. But I'm hoping that Amy wrote it, after the Doctor pieces together his memory. I'm hoping Series 8 leads Twelve back to Amy, followed by a reconciliation, a rescue, and a reunion with Rory so they can finally both have the happy epilogue they deserve. Whether my theory is anything close to what the show actually has in store, well...

But I do know the show is big on foreshadowing and doesn't tend to leave loose ends.When Freema Agyeman was brought on as companion Martha Jones, she mentioned her cousin (also played by her) who died at Canary Wharf in the episode "Army of Ghosts." When Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper of Torchwood) met the Doctor, it turned out she was distantly related to her other character, Gwyneth, in "The Unquiet Dead." But no mention has yet been made of the connection between Amy and the Soothsayer (who, perhaps tellingly, has no name).

One last note on Capaldi as the Doctor...I think he may be my favourite incarnation yet. Oh yes. What I especially liked about the new Doctor (which is a testament to the show's writing as much as to Capaldi's acting) is that this is the first time (since Nine at least) that you can still recognize the old Doctor after his regeneration. When Nine became Ten, and Ten became Eleven, it was as though the new versions had nothing at all remaining in them of the previous one(s). But you can clearly see Eleven in Twelve (hopefully we'll see some Nine and Ten in him too). I thought that was lovely. I can't wait to see more of Capaldi and watch the character--and the season--unfold and evolve.

What do you think? Any theories about what Series 8 holds? How did you like Capaldi as Twelve? I'd love to hear what my fellow Whovians have to say. Allons-y!

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