Saturday Waffling (July 5th, 2014)

(81 comments)

The hotel I am in has deeply mediocre wi-fi, so I'm going to make this quite brief.

In the most recent Doctor Who Magazine, Steven Moffat posed a neat trivia question of the sort that TARDIS Eruditorum thrives on: in what Doctor Who story does it become unequivocally the case that the Doctor is not human? Moffat points out, for instance, that it's not An Unearthly Child. Sure, the Doctor says he's not from Earth, but the series is full of humans that live on other planets. So when, he asks, is it absolutely unequivocally stated.

Bonus points for whoever can convincingly argue the latest point at which you can believe the Doctor is human. Let's stipulate also that we take all statements made by characters as true unless there's an active reason to believe otherwise - so no going "well the Doctor could have lied when he said..."

I've seen some discussion on it, but I'm curious what you lot settle on.

Oh, and due to the same poor wi-fi, next week's post order is going to be screwy - I should be running Albion on Tuesdays while Eruditorum is thrice-weekly due to Thursdays being comics posts, but I don't think I can process an image-heavy post on hotel wi-fi, so I don't know what will be what day.

Comments

BerserkRL 3 years, 2 months ago

I hear he's half-human on his mother's side.

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mengu 3 years, 2 months ago

WAR CHIEF: We were both Time Lords and we both decided to leave our race.

DOCTOR: Well, the Time Lords are an immensely civilised race. We can control our own environment, we can live forever, barring accidents, and we have the secret of space time travel.

TIME LORD 3: [...] I will now call upon a member of our own race to sort this evil matter out. There will commence a reading of the witness' report. The witness is called. Will you step forward, please?
[...]
TIME LORD 3: Will you step forward, please?
DOCTOR: Oh, oh, I beg your pardon.

WAR LORD: Yes, it is. And members of your own race agreed with me. My War Chief was himself was a Time Lord, and the knowledge he brought me made the whole scheme possible. And another of your Time Lords gave me his support!
DOCTOR: I never supported your scheme for one moment.

(The Security Chief is using his mind-reading machine on the Doctor.)
SECURITY CHIEF: Answer me. You must answer. Admit that the War Chief sent you here. You are both of the same race. Your arrival here is part of a plot to betray us to the Time Lords.


The War Games is fairly clear that the Doctor is of the Time Lord race, not human. (All quotes copied from http://www.chakoteya.net/DoctorWho/6-7.htm ) It's vaguely possible that somehow something... whatever, you'd have to be deliberately forcing the issue to come up with a different impression. The question is whether there's an earlier date that would confirm it.

(It also makes clear that Time Lord is a *race* and not, for example, a rank. *cough* )

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evilsoup 3 years, 2 months ago

Of course, 'Chinese' is also a race, but I don't think anyone would claim that they're not human.

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sorrywehurtyourfield 3 years, 2 months ago

From The Daleks' Master Plan episode 8:

TRANTIS: At least that absurd story that it was my people from Trantis who stole the Taranium has been discredited.
CELATION: Yes; they were from Earth, I believe.
MAVIC CHEN: Only two of them: and they are under the influence of some creature from another galaxy.
TRANTIS: He looked like an Earth creature.
MAVIC CHEN: That's only a disguise. The Daleks know of him. He is some kind of time and space traveller.

So the Daleks definitely consider him to be non-human by this point, although the "disguise" idea isn't quite what the series goes with in the long-term...

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Bennett 3 years, 2 months ago

"The War Games is fairly clear that the Doctor is of the Time Lord race, not human."

Are these mutually exclusive as of The War Games? Race is technically a term of human classification after all.

Personally I would put my money on the very next story being the one that gave the final word on the Doctor's humanity - specifically Doctor Henderson's description of the Doctor as having a "completely alien physiology".

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Adam Riggio 3 years, 2 months ago

To me, it really becomes unequivocal in the last episode of The Evil of the Daleks, when the Doctor lets his friends know that the Human-to-Dalek conversion didn't work on him. Although he says, "I'm not from Earth, Jamie!" which could be interpreted ambiguously, the nature of the Human Factor and the Dalek Factor make it clear. Both are the alchemical essences of the Human and the Dalek, the magickal transformation of a body's character. The Doctor was immune to the conversion process (and always knew he would be; otherwise, he never would have stepped through the machine) because there was never a Human Factor in him to remove and replace.

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Sean Case 3 years, 2 months ago

My personal crazy fan theory is that the Time Lords are basically future humans. Things like the respiratory bypass, the spare heart, and the superganglia are obvious genofix targets, and the new series implies that a lot of their special abilities can be acquired by any regular time traveller.

This of course is why an otherwise unremarkable yellow sun in the unfashionable part of Mutter's Spiral attracts so many cosmic threats. And if the Time Lord hierarchy know of the connection, they certainly wouldn't advertise it.

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evilsoup 3 years, 2 months ago

Ah yes, the 'younger world' theory...

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Chris 3 years, 2 months ago

I too subscribe to this idea, though in my version the Time Lords at large don't know it, only the Doctor does.

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jane 3 years, 2 months ago

I'd go with Spearhead as the point where it's unequivocal.

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jane 3 years, 2 months ago

Moffat's challenge, though, specifically excludes "special powers" -- and the Doctor's ability to resist the conversion process could easily fall under the "special power" clause. It's not unequivocal.

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jane 3 years, 2 months ago

Interesting new trailer. Anyone?

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elvwood 3 years, 2 months ago

So, he's posthuman, on his mother's side?

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Joel Phillips 3 years, 2 months ago

Blood sample not human in Spearhead.

Or Pyramids:
The Doctor: You don't understand the implications... I'm not a human being; I walk in eternity...

Surely not this late though.

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Triturus 3 years, 2 months ago

There seems to be a lot of debate online as to whether the voice is Davros or 'just' a dalek. If it's a dalek, it might be one of the more unhinged ones like Caan or the president from Asylum. The latter episode established that the daleks find hatred beautiful. And it's a short step to derive the divine from beauty, if you're religiously inclined. Going out on the "it won't happen" limb, maybe the daleks, or a dalek, will start worshipping the Doctor as a god.

"Beauty, Divinity, Hatred." Or maybe the Doctor will find himself trapped in a Nick Cave song. Although that'd be hard to do whilst holding on to the PG rating :)

Anyway, the new series can't start soon enough.

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Eric Rosenfield 3 years, 2 months ago

This one wins earliest reference, I think.

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Bennett 3 years, 2 months ago

In The Beast Below, the Doctor responds to Amy claiming he looks human with "No, you look Time Lord. We came first."

...which doesn't necessarily shoot down your theory, just gives it another interesting wrinkle.

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Bennett 3 years, 2 months ago

This comment has been removed by the author.

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Bennett 3 years, 2 months ago

Never would have thought of looking in Master Plan. Well done.

I had a suspicion that I could find an earlier reference by consulting that definitive text Who is Doctor Who? from the 1965 Doctor Who Annual. Sadly it does not lay down the line quite as directly, but the sentences "No one knows where he came from. He is human in shape and speech and manner." vaguely suggest he may not be human in all respects.

(Also, I was surprised at how well those pages stack up against what we know of the character today - especially in light of everything else in that Annual.)

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J Mairs 3 years, 2 months ago

This is my personal fanon as well.

Humanity becomes Time Lords. Time Lords "reformat" history. Time Lords annihilate themselves in mutual destructive way... paving the way for Humanity to become Time Lords. They then reformat history and the cycle begins again.

The Other is always The Doctor from the previous iteration of the loop.

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razorfool 3 years, 2 months ago

Not really a short step for the Daleks to derive divine from beauty when it's outright said in the episode itself.

DALEK PM: It is offensive to us to extinguish such divine hatred.
DOCTOR: Offensive?
DALEK PM: Does it surprise you to know the Daleks have a concept of beauty?
DOCTOR: I thought you'd run out of ways to make me sick. Hello again. You think hatred is beautiful.
DALEK PM: Perhaps that is why we have never been able to kill you.

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Richard Pugree 3 years, 2 months ago

Given that Moffat wrote Asylum which introduced/reworked/refocused Dalek stuff which he hasn't really done much with since, I suppose he'll probably be working through some of those threads more fully.

Regarding the voice, what do we make of it's altering? It's only the last word, hatred, where it becomes unquestionably a Dalek voice, so I suspect we're going to see more of the 'becoming-Dalek' that we've seen with Oswin.

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Aylwin 3 years, 2 months ago

I suspect we're going to see more of the 'becoming-Dalek' that we've seen with Oswin

Probably. *Sigh*

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Triturus 3 years, 2 months ago

razorfool
Hah, good point, I'd forgotten the full dialogue. A step so short it's non-existent, then.

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The61scissors 3 years, 2 months ago

Also from Master Plan, I believe a human Doctor couldn't have survived the Time Destructor when the far younger human, Sara couldn't.

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thepoparena.com 3 years, 2 months ago

I know at least the Virgin New Adventures went under the assumption that the Doctor and Gallifrey are in our far past. From the afterword in Deceit:

"Secondly, time travels in one direction, and the Past is immutable (except in very exceptional circumstances). The Present is Gallifrey’s present, and that is the same as the Doctor’s: he is a contemporary Time Lord, in Gallifreyan terms. However, the Present – Gallifrey’s present – is eons ago, from the perspective of Earth, from our perspective. We, and the whole of mankind, are in the Doctor’s future. Earth, thanks largely to the Doctor’s frequent visits, is a strip of near-certainty stretching futurewards in an otherwise largely undecided mass of future probabilities."

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Prandeamus 3 years, 2 months ago

Ark in space: favourite species

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Prandeamus 3 years, 2 months ago

THIS-IS-HE-RE-SY !

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Prandeamus 3 years, 2 months ago

To take this to ridiculous extremes, how many Aliens has Henderson examined?

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TheSmilingStallionInn 3 years, 2 months ago

I was also thinking about the God-Emperor Dalek from Parting of the Ways, that one was religious in nature, perhaps the first time that Daleks showed such 'affinity' for hateful divinity.

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BerserkRL 3 years, 2 months ago

I don't think anything in the Troughton era (let alone the Pertwee era) could be the first indication, because regenerating into a younger version is already clear evidence of non-humanness. So Hartnell's regeneration into Troughton is the latest possible point.

P.S. - No, "Chinese" is not a race. Even if one accepts the existence of human races (and most anthropologists and many biologists reject it as a meaningful concept), the relevant race would be "Asian."

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BerserkRL 3 years, 2 months ago

Ah, I didn't know that. That might defeat my regeneration argument above. Can anyone provide the exact text of Moffat's challenge?

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BerserkRL 3 years, 2 months ago

If it's Davros, he's switched from saying "Doc-tor" to saying "Doc-ter."

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liminal fruitbat 3 years, 2 months ago

Depends on the definition of human-ness; Lady Cassandra implied that all the various hybrids and modifications running round in the year 5 billion still claimed some form of human identity. And River is a Time Lord, but she's born to human parents and I don't think there's any evidence for her possessing more than one heart or any unusual features not strictly time-related or regeneration-related.

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someguywithsomething 3 years, 2 months ago

The Doctor stuck inside a Nick Cave song is the sory I've been waiting for.

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Sean Daugherty 3 years, 2 months ago

The Doctor describes his first regeneration as a function of the TARDIS, not his (alien) biology. So I don't think that rules out anything unequivocally.

I'd agree that it's not unequivocally stated until "Spearhead from Space." But it becomes the Occam's razor position no later than season 2. At least by "The Time Meddler," the show seems to assume that the Doctor is non-human, without explicitly ruling out the alternative.

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Sean Daugherty 3 years, 2 months ago

Isn't Gallifrey usually considered to be in the same galaxy as Earth? So Chen's wrong, one way or the other. Also, he doesn't rule out that the Doctor is human, just that he's not "an Earth creature." And as Moffat points out in his initial question, the Doctor denied being from Earth all the way back in "An Unearthly Child."

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encyclops 3 years, 2 months ago

Don't we typically see more extensive trailers by this point, rather than super-brief teasers? I'm trying to remember. It really seems like there's a lot more obfuscation going on about this season than usual, given that it's, what, a month and a half out or so?

Could mean it's really going to be good. Could mean it's really going to be bad. All I know is I've seen/heard two boring enemies and two boring sets of friends and I'm worried. I keep thinking about the trailer that featured shots from "The God Complex" in it, and how excited I was for those.

I'm not trying to Chicken Little this season or anything -- maybe this level of promotion is normal and I'm just forgetting. If there's at least one quirky, unprecedented, original, quality story with no returning enemies in it, I'll be satisfied. The Doctor vs. Nick Cave's World would do nicely.

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Callum Leemkuil 3 years, 2 months ago

"Okay; keeping in mind that everything you know for sure is probably wrong, answer me this: in which story is it confirmed, definitively, that the Doctor is not human?

“Now before you jump up and yell An Unearthly Child – sorry, but wrong. He makes it clear he’s not from this time, and seems to indicate that he was born on another world, but he never says he’s an alien. He could, just as easily, be a human being from the far future, born on some colonised world. Indeed, most of his conversation in the early days would seem to confirm that he thinks of himself as human, and he even explicitly states that he is, at least once.

“So come on then. To your DVD collection. In what story do the wise men and women of the BBC stop fudging the issue, and make our hero Not One Of Us. I’m not talking about him having remarkable abilities or attributes – we’ve always known he’s not ordinary, that s fair enough. Spider-Man’s not ordinary, but he s not an alien. And I’m not talking about series bibles, or internal memos or retconned continuity –when did the Doctor Who production team stop hedging their bets and make him alien?"

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Anton B 3 years, 2 months ago

Without being pedantic. (On a Doctor Who blog? Never!) I'd need a working definition of 'alien' before I discounted An Unearthly Child . So -first evidence of 'humanoid alien' = "before your people had invented the wheel, Chesterton, mine had reduced travel in the fourth dimension to a game for children" and Susan's "We are not of this world..." (I may be paraphrasing). First evidence of non-humanoid alien = Spearhead From Space.

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Callum Leemkuil 3 years, 2 months ago

Well, they haven't finished filming yet. It's possible they're waiting for everything to be done before they release an official trailer.

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Matthew Celestis 3 years, 2 months ago

It's not always clear what is meant by 'Galaxy' in Sixties Doctor Who and it has never been established with consistency that Gallifrey is in the same Galaxy as the Earth. Chen may not be wrong about this.

Chen clearly implies that Dr Who's human appearance is a 'disguise.' 'Earth Creature' in this context means human, even if living on a colony world.

Yes, Chen may be wrong about this, but he is not contradicted by any other dialogue in this story. The writers do seem to be implying the likelihood of Dr. Who not being human.

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Anton B 3 years, 2 months ago

Could mean it's really going to be good. Could mean it's really going to be bad.

I'd say on the evidence so far that's a reasonable assumption.

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William Silvia 3 years, 2 months ago

I was reading the trailer as a spoiler that some of the plot threads of Terror Firma were being played out on screen.

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William Silvia 3 years, 2 months ago

The first time that Time Lords and "humans from a species that developed prior to Earth" are presented as opposing ideas has to come after the first time Time Lords are introduced, hence, after The War Games (and we know it cannot come any later than Spearhead From Space, where they beat us over the head with this fact). Of course, the Evil of the Daleks scenes some have described are compelling on their own; I also don't remember the exact wording when the Doctor described the fact that he was much older than any human outside of a Sci-Fi or Fantasy novel will ever live in Power of the Daleks.

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Matthew Blanchette 3 years, 2 months ago

I was going to say "Master Plan", but mostly because Phil mentioned it while covering the story about three years ago and I remembered him doing such... ;-)

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Triturus 3 years, 2 months ago

Up Jumped The Master

Who's that yonder all in flames
Burning up on Sarn again?
Who's that yonder with yellow eyes?
Up jumped the Master, in a poor disguise

O poor heart, I was doomed from the start
Doomed to play the villain's part
I was the baddest Time Lord In the citadel
My blood was blacker than an Ogron's heart

Who's that lurking on the Tardis roof?
With his goatee beard and his Nehru suit?
Who's that lurking by the Tardis door?
Up jumped the Master, who came back for more

Oh no, oh no, where could I go?
With my Melkur of trouble
And my tissue compression eliminator of woe?

Who's that yonder laughing at me
Like I was the brunt of some hilarity?
Oh, it's the Tardis Eruditorium crowd, mocking me for my crazy plans. Yes, I admit the whole Khalid thing was a bit daft, but.. hey wait.. hear me out.. oh never mind. Let''s just agree not to mention the Magna Carta business, if that's all right with you. Look, just leave me alone, all right?

Who's that lurking by the tardis door
Wishing the Doctor died at Trenzalore?
Who's that dancing on the tardis steps
Up jumped the Master and off he crept.


I don't want to think about how long I spent writing that. Not even Weird Al Jankovich would be that sad. I officially have no life.

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storiteller 3 years, 2 months ago

"Humanity becomes Time Lords. Time Lords "reformat" history. Time Lords annihilate themselves in mutual destructive way... paving the way for Humanity to become Time Lords. They then reformat history and the cycle begins again."

Or to quote another show: "All of this has happened before and all of this will happen again"?

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encyclops 3 years, 2 months ago

I'd say on the evidence so far that's a reasonable assumption.

I know, it's a bold position to take, but I have never shrunk from controversy!

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jane 3 years, 2 months ago

So, just from the two trail-bits, we've had two memes repeated: the image of someone in someone else's eye (my favorite) and the recurring word of "beauty" in conjunction with something monstrous.

I think I may really enjoy this upcoming season.

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someguywithsomething 3 years, 2 months ago

Triturus, that was indescribably good, so many references, yet so close to the original lyrics. I tried to respond with my own mash-up (one idea was about Daleks, to the tune of Dig Lazarus Dig the other was called The Loom of the Hand (of Omega) but I didn't get very far. In short, I appreciate you not having a life.

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Triturus 3 years, 2 months ago

Thanks, someguywithsomething :)

I've spent a few minutes today contemplating whether the Mercy Seat could be recast as the Pandorica, or whether The Doctor Won't Leave You, Adric has any mileage, but I think I'll quit while I'm marginally ahead.

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Pen Name Pending 3 years, 2 months ago

I think the trailers add to the mysterious atmosphere that's going to surround this possibly untrustworthy and tricky Doctor.

It was a bit frustrating at first, but after the last one I'm excited. It's suspenseful. I'm sure we'll be seeing something longer soon anyway...if I remember correctly, the trailer for 2012 (also beginning in August) didn't come too soon either.

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GilPage 3 years, 2 months ago

The Sensorites?
It's been a while, but if I remember correctly, in this story Susan displays some mind powers and give the earliest description of her (still unnamed) homeworld. Both of these strongly imply that she and her grandfather arent human.

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arcbeatle 3 years, 2 months ago

Since its a Waffling post, and I'm late, I hope no one minds if I hawk the blog I've started going through a ridiculously obscure sci-fi property short story by short story :P! If you like that sort of thing, check it out.

http://thezocho.weebly.com/home/riftage-daydream-the-wars-10th-anniversary-blog

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Lee Shelton 3 years, 2 months ago

Ooh, a Doctor Who/Nick Cave crossover fandom - I knew I liked it round here!

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ferret 3 years, 2 months ago

Very good Unearthly references - so much so that I hate to shoot them down... but that could be discounted if the people of Earth and the people of Gallifrey are both colony worlds of a shared ancestor.

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Triturus 3 years, 2 months ago

So.. leaked series 8 scripts, anyone?

I haven't read them and I'm not going to look for them. But one encouraging thing is that I've read a few mainly spoiler-free posts online by people who have read them, and the general consensus seems to be that they're very good scripts indeed.

Roll on August 23rd. If I was any more of a child about this programme, I'd be hopping on one leg for the next six weeks nonstop.

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Anton B 3 years, 2 months ago

Oh absolutely. Like I said "first evidence of Humanoid alien. What Moffatt, and by proxy, Sandifer are angling for is evidence (within broadcast TV) of the unhuman alien Doctor; which I don't think exists before Spearhead From Space.
I recall, at the time being slightly pissed off at the 'Pertwee Doctor has two hearts' reveal as being a bit too 'Star Trek' for me. An unecessary cheapening of the brand in an attempt to compete with other Sci fi shows which had more obvious 'aliens' as protagonists. That is, at the time...erm basically Star Trek.

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Anton B 3 years, 2 months ago

If anyone's hopping it'll be Moffatt. Leaked scripts? Ahead of a regeneration season? The only crime that still warrants the death penalty in England surely? I won't be looking and the spoilers will be SO hard to avoid. August 23rd can't come soon enough.

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Anton B 3 years, 2 months ago

Doctor Who/Nick Cave crossover? Look no further than Where the Wild Roses Grow a duet between Cave and Kylie (Astrid Peth) Minogue
"They call me the Wild Rose...Why they call me that I do not know"

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Triturus 3 years, 2 months ago

Yes, that's true. Moffat has had really shit luck with accidental leaks, and I'm sure he'll be properly gutted about this. First they post out some S7 DVDs before the NOTD airs, and now some idiot at BBC worldwide translation dept uploads a load of scripts to a publicly accessible part of the bbc website by mistake.

Apparently there was even a chance that the episodes themselves could have been downloaded as well as the scripts, but it looks like that didn't happen, at least.

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Froborr 3 years, 2 months ago

So the Daleks defined the Doctor as alien here, and the Doctor returned the favor by defining them as enemy in Victory of the Daleks? I like that circle.

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Froborr 3 years, 2 months ago

Well, it really comes down to whether Jenny is able to produce offspring with a human father. If she is, then biologically speaking the Doctor is human, or at least half-human on his daughter's side. ;)

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ferret 3 years, 2 months ago

good point, I think my mind is getting too preoccupied in what plot Moffatt could be coming up with in relation to the question (which he probably isn't doing at all)

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Matthew Blanchette 3 years, 2 months ago

You forgot the whole early leakage of Matt Smith leaving, as well...

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BerserkRL 3 years, 2 months ago

I've read the five scripts. Four of them are really good.

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Philip Sandifer 3 years, 2 months ago

Oh, the Gatiss script leaked?

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Anton B 3 years, 2 months ago

Well, it's on his mind. There's that 'Dalek X-Ray' effect in the trailer clearly showing his two hearts.

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prandeamus 3 years, 2 months ago

Oh, Phil, that's so unworthy of you. I am disappointed. We are disappointed. You've let the forum down, and your profession, and most of all you've let yourself down. Go to your room. GO.TO.YOUR.ROOM.

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Vortis 3 years, 2 months ago

Spearhead from Space. The Doctor and the doctors who examine him conclude that he has two hearts and that is blood is not of human origin. It was established that the Doctor was a Time Lord in the previous serial (The War Games) so there...

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razorfool 3 years, 2 months ago

You never know, it could have been the Thompson script that got leaked.

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Matthew Blanchette 3 years, 2 months ago

The Ford script is actually surprisingly promising.

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BerserkRL 3 years, 2 months ago

Unlike Phil, I was actually surprised at how bad the Gatiss script was.

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Matthew Blanchette 3 years, 2 months ago

Haven't read it yet; the title... is not promising.

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BerserkRL 3 years, 2 months ago

Its flaws are mostly not positive evils so much as failures to do anything interesting.

There are also some callbacks to a classic Who story that turn out to be misdirection; but nothing of note is substituted in their place.

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Matthew Blanchette 3 years, 2 months ago

Am reading it... wow, is the Doctor being portrayed as a huge idiot. :-/

And would that classic Who story be "Carnival of Monsters", by any chance? Miniscope, check...

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prandeamus 3 years, 2 months ago

I don't want to sound like a jerk on this point, but can we not discuss the leaked scripts? I'm not saying don't read them, but I'd prefer to keep the contents a surprise on first transmission.

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razorfool 3 years, 2 months ago

I can't believe Clara was the Rani all this time! What a twist! Damn you Moffat!

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Philip Sandifer 3 years, 2 months ago

Matthew - sorry to have deleted your comment. I'll own the reasons - I know that people associated with the show read the blog, and I know that there's a strong desire for keeping spoilers to a minimum. I don't object in a broad moral sense to spoiler discussions, but I'd rather they not happen here.

Beyond that, I get e-mail notifications of all comments, and I read them because keeping an eye on what happens here is part of the job of running the site. I want to remain spoiler free at this point, and so that puts me in a really frustrating position. In this case I just deleted the comment without reading past the spoiler warning, but still.

So please. No actual spoilers here. Thanks.

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Matthew Blanchette 3 years, 2 months ago

My apologies, Phil. No worries.

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