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Silence Will Fall – The Complete Timeline

silence-will-fall-pandorica

Guest contributor Noah Fischel goes through the Silence arc in chronological order.

Now that the arc of the Eleventh Doctor’s life has finished, it’s time we put everything in order. And this isn’t the order of episodes, this is the order of cause-to-effect. Beginning from the formation of the Silence to the Doctor’s regeneration. Now, because a lot of the arc is pre-destination paradoxes and looping timelines, it will probably get a bit confusing, so brave heart, readers.

Beginnings and precursors (2013 Specials)

Starting the whole timeline off is, actually, something that happened toward the end of the Eleventh Doctor’s life. The arc begins with The Day of the Doctor, in which the Tenth, Eleventh, and War Doctors save Gallifrey by trapping it in a parallel pocket universe. With hope in their hearts, the Doctors left each other to finish out their lives. But the Time Lords tried to figure out ways of escaping back to our universe.

The next section of the timeline is confusing, as two things practically happen at once, because one couldn’t happen without the other.

The Pandorica Will Open/Doctor who? (Series 5/Series 6B & 7A)

Hungry Earth Crack (2)The pre-destination paradox comes into play when the Time Lords find a way to come back. The cracks in the skin of the universe, sealed, but still scarred. The Time Lords found one on the planet Trenzalore and began calling out across the universe for help. Asking a certain question. When the Doctor came to investigate, he found out, with help by his trusted Cyber-head, Handles, the translation of the question. “Doctor who?”. If the Doctor answered with his true Gallifreyan name, the Time Lords would know it was safe to come through, and with a truth field surrounding the area, he couldn’t lie. This scared the Papal Mainframe, who had an “emergency faith change” and became the Church of the Silence, with their sole purpose being keeping the Gallifreyans from returning and sparking a second Last Great Time War between them and the other races surrounding the planet.

With the faith change, came a rogue chapter, lead by Madame Kovarian. She and some priests from the church, the memory-altering race of Silents, went back along the Eleventh Doctor’s timeline to kill him before he reached Trenzalore. Blowing up his TARDIS seemed like the perfect way to defeat the Time Lord. Little did they know that he wasn’t the one in there piloting when they decided to do it, and as an additional kick in the teeth, their actions sparked the entire conflict.

Silence Will Fall (Series 6A and B)

river-astonaut-weddingWith the exploding TARDIS failed, and the universe restored, the Kovarian chapter of the Church tried more drastic measures. Going so far as kidnapping Amy, stealing her child, Melody Pond, and turning her into a killer. Eventually going by the name River Song, she was bred with one task in mind: To kill the Doctor. All through her life, from early childhood up until early 20s-30s (or older, if you consider Alex Kingston’s age) she was thwarted every chance at killing the Doctor. Spacesuit, no. Poison, no. Spacesuit again? Still no. Well yes… Well, sorta.

The Doctor hatched a plan in an instant and escaped his death in the Teselecta, the time-traveling, shape-shifting robot powered by miniaturized cross people. He and his shrunk down TARDIS hid inside the Justice Department vehicle while River shot with her superpowered spacesuit. How is that for a getaway plan? With the fixed moment in place (he was there, right?), the universe (and the Silence) thinking he was dead, and Dorium’s box left open, the Doctor was able to sneak away back into the shadows.

Slip Back Into the Shadows (Series 7A and DVD Minisodes)

InforariumFree and on his own, the Doctor began adventuring around, but the main goal was deleting himself from the universe. First stop, the Inforarium. Using the same memory proof effect as the Church priests, he was able to ‘erase’ himself from the Inforarium databanks.

However, the TARDIS trio of Amy, Rory, and the Doctor, were abducted one-by-one and taken aboard the Parliament of the Daleks. Tasked with disabling and destroying the asylum of the Daleks, he met Oswin Oswald, Junior Entertainment Manager of the starship Alaska. When he tried to save her, though, Daleks from many past “battles” from the his history began to wake up and recognize him. But not after Oswin deleted the information of the Doctor from the pathweb database of his worst enemies. Not even his own enemies remembered who he was anymore. Not even Stormcage Containment Facility had records on him, releasing River Song from prison and allowing her her freedom.

Breaking Some Serious Science (2013 Specials)

Jumping ahead, with the reveal of the Doctor’s dangerous secret, he departs to help Kate Stewart with an investigation in the Under-Gallery of the National Gallery. Does this sound familiar? That’s the next portion of the looping timeline (jeez this gets confusing). After leaving the gallery, with a new destination in mind, the Doctor and Clara find themselves on Trenzalore. Also sound familiar? This is the exact point in which Kovarian split from the Church. At the same time, however, the Doctor, settling down to save the town called Christmas, manages to defeat the enemies, while Clara convinces the Time Lords through the crack that they should be thankful to the Doctor for saving them. As a reward for helping save Gallifrey, the Doctor gets a brand new regeneration cycle, and after defeating the Dalek fleet above the town, regenerates into the Twelfth (Fourteenth?) Doctor.

And that is the story of the Eleventh Doctor. The final timeline of the Silence Will Fall arc:

  • 2013 Specials
  • Series 5
  • 2010 Christmas Special
  • Series 6A (Middle of Impossible Astronaut, onwards)
  • Series 6B (Closing Time onwards)
  • Series 6A (First moments of Impossible Astronaut)
  • 2011 Christmas Special
  • Series 7 Minisode (Inforarium)
  • Series 7A Prequels
  • Series 7A
  • 2012 Christmas Special
  • Series 7B
  • Series 7 Minisodes (Clara in the TARDIS and Rain Gods)
  • 2013 Specials

Did I miss anything? Let me know!

Step back in time...

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131 comments
ConradWesleyClough
ConradWesleyClough

The problem with the idea that Trenzilor was 11's grave (and not the just Doctors grave as a whole at some future time) is that even after the siege of Trenzilor in the Christmas special it was not the ruinous mass graveyard that it was in the Name of the Doctor. Given that those were battlefiled monuments, placed where the various soldiers fell, it indicates that whatever battle the Doctor dies in is a massive one, far beyond anything seen during the centuries long siege that 11 endured on the planet. There is also the fact that in the Great Intelligences own words, the Doctor would would be known by other names, including the Valeyard before he ended up in that grave, something that we know the 11th doctor never did. Ergo the grave on Trenzilor is not and never was the grave of the "11th" doctor (the interior resembling 11s TARDIS is actually easy to explain, the desktop could have 'glitched' over to him as soon as he entered, or the final doctor could have imply liked the same or a very similar desktop), but it could well still be (and in my mine likely is) the far future grave site of the Doctor (which ever regeneration happens to be his last).

Sherlockian
Sherlockian

As to the point that because 10,11, and 12 all saved Gallifrey, he could not have died on Tranzalore thus no grave should be there in Time.  You forget that the saving of the Time Lords actually took place in a meeting of all of their timelines.  11's timeline was just AFTER he saw his grave in Name.  So, technically, he (11) had not saved Gallifrey yet.  It is only AFTER he and 10 and 12 save the Time Lords that tings get altered.  Again, just because 10 was there or 12 was there does not mean that the saving was done BEFORE 11 existed or AFTER 11 existed.  11, at that current point in his life, saved the time lords AFTER he saw his grave.  

jimandcathleen
jimandcathleen

Of course the problem is that if the Time Lords are frozen in a single moment of time, then they can take no action to cause anything.

Andrew_Swallow
Andrew_Swallow

Some where along the line the Church of Silence managed to make a TARDIS and kidnap Amy.  I suspect that the Doctor was running the group that made Rive Song because there are much simpler ways of organising an assassination.

LaraHarris
LaraHarris

Here is the problem I have with Trenzalore. 

It can never have been the Doctors grave. 

Why? Because... Gallifrey was never destroyed it was always saved by the War Doctor, 10 and 11. We know this because 10 was there when it happened. We know he was there because 11 remembers the "event" (fez) just not the details of what happened and 12 was present and needed for the save of Gallifrey to happen, that means that if 12 was there, he NEVER could have died on Trenzalore because the Time Lords had to give him his new regenerations for that to happen. What happened in Time had to have always happened because it happened before. So Name and the Grave, doesn't actually make sense.

lukashcartoon
lukashcartoon

@NoahFischel my question is Did the time Lords create the explosion or just take advantage of it ? I don't think Moffat had the return of the time lords until he knew he was going to do the 50th.

GreigRobertson
GreigRobertson

Now I feel at ease with this arc, bit disappointing this was explained in full in the show, but I'm glad someone was able to piece together everything, this is now closure for me and I can now look forward to the 12th Doctor's era.   But however, It bothers me that someone other than moffat had to explain it, it's just lazy to me when he thinks all the fandom can work it out by themselves, even if that were true, he still needs to explain it in detail in the show. Thank you for clearing all the confusion up for me

Me and Stuff
Me and Stuff

The comments on the newest article haven't been working for the last few hours. Can't someone do something about that?

tbuxton42
tbuxton42

This was a great read- only two events came to mind which weren't present here: at one point, one of the Silence's time ships crash-landed on Aickman Road (The Lodger) and not long before, the silence caused by the TARDIS' explosion began to physically (or rather audibly) affect those locations which the Doctor visited, such as Venice, a city which was seemingly reduced to silence as the Doctor, Amy and Rory departed (The Vampires of Venice). Otherwise, though, an extremely thorough and accessible retrospective on one of Doctor Who's most ambitious story arcs to date! (Personally, I never had too much trouble following the arc- even if the regression of the Silents to semi-Priests was a bit of a letdown- so I generally struggle to empathise with complaints regarding its supposed complexity.)

No More
No More

2 things I noticed that's amiss. 

1) Blowing up the TARDIS. 

The aim here is only to blow up Doctor's vehicle, to prevent him from ever reaching Trenzalore. It's not so much to kill the Doctor (that's River's job), so they'd just blow it up irregardless if he's piloting it then. I'd go on to suggest Silence blew up the TARDIS by either programming or post-hypnotic suggesting River to blow her up, or to sacrifice one Silent to tamper the TARDIS from within. 


2) Infonarium and Dalek asylum. 

I'd say the events at the asylum happened before infonarium, as the idea of removing himself from the data banks came from Oswin's deleting them from the path web. 



DW_girl
DW_girl

Thankyou so much for clearing this up for me- It's been so confusing but now I think I can continue to watch Doctor Who without my brain being messed up by that Moffat!

Master Michael Moon
Master Michael Moon

One of the best articles I've actually ever read. And I'm not just saying that. A well written and detailed account of things that can be very complicated sometimes. I only understand this whole arc to a point, but when it's presented like this, it's easier to understand. Well done!


EricPavlat
EricPavlat

Mr. Fischel, please use proper grammar if you're going to be writing about such nuanced things as time paradoxes. The sentence fragments often make your meaning either imprecise or unfathomable.

bl0ndie98
bl0ndie98

This is a great summary, this arc has been fantastic.

jimandcathleen
jimandcathleen

Of course the problem is that if the Time Lords are frozen in asingle moment of time, then they can take no action to cause anything.

SkyFaller™
SkyFaller™

I can't commend this chap enough. Noah certainly showed us the "arc" *badum-tsch* with great detail, precise analytical points and overall a kick-ass article. I tip my hat off to Noah for this brilliant article; and to Moffat for producing such a tantalising, brain exploding and incredible arc.


shyx111
shyx111

And this is why I love this era so much.

Mikeyboss182
Mikeyboss182

Great article very much enjoyed reading it but I still don't like the Silence arc.


Nickcastle
Nickcastle

This arc was ultimately not very satisfying as it did not hold enough attention.

gunslinger19
gunslinger19

the great thing about this arc is that it really justifies the time lord's survival. if, as RTD had planned, the time lords had returned in end of time, it would have seemed quite sudden and forced, particularly as the entire backstory took place in just two episodes. but watching these ramifications effect the doctors life many series before the event really shows how important Gallifrey's return is and builds anticipation beautifully. i love that river had a presence in the series all the way back in series 4. it gives the story a great sense of realism and continuity. i always understood the arc, but some aspects were left unexplained for too long imo. and i do want to know who that woman in the shop was. i think series 7 should have been more arc heavy as well, just because the arc wasnt really touched upon until Name. but overall, i loved this arc format, particularly in series 6 although the split annoyed me, and i would love to see it used again in the future!

TheBiPunishment
TheBiPunishment

Ambitious, intriguing, complex and doubtless very thoughtfully written, the arc which has dominated Matt's era is certainly an intelligent one, and a grand idea. However, I do have some issue with it. The most obvious being the Silence's plan involving the astronaut suit making very little sense. Why an astronaut suit? If it can move itself why put someone in there? Did they really shape human society for that long just for a suit which, being from the 51st century (Or thereabouts), they could have easily procured anyway? Beyond that, I'm not too fond of the Silent creatures being part of this arc, I think they'd have worked much better off as a one-time wonder. I also feel that Kovarian didn't have a big enough presence within the arc as a whole, and I disliked River's backstory. The idea that she and the Doctor are always going in opposite directions would have been more intriguing and and led to a far more emotional ending to their relationship. But overall, it was a good arc with some fascinating ideas, and I hope at some point in the future another writer attempts something similar.


DW_girl
DW_girl

@jimandcathleen No because the time crack is a tear between the universes meaning that they can make contact with our universe and use The Doctor to bring themselves through.

Amy is Hannibal
Amy is Hannibal

@jimandcathleen  "Frozen" is a metaphor here. The three Doctors were able to move around inside the Gallifrey Falls painting, and the Zygons could do likewise in their own. Why wouldn't the Time Lords be able to move around in their pocket universe?

Amy is Hannibal
Amy is Hannibal

@Andrew_Swallow  They confirmed in "The Time of the Doctor" that the Kovarian chapter was responsible for the engineering of River Song and that they were doing it so that the Doctor would die before he could ever go to Trenzalore. They went to the lengths that the did because they were trying to make the Doctor's death a fixed point and that takes a lot of effort and precision.

Andrew_Swallow
Andrew_Swallow

@LaraHarris The Doctor 12 and 13 were both on Trenzalore so creating a fake grave for himself is possible.  The last regeneration being different from normal regenerations may even have freed the 'time line' to go into the grave.  What is difficult is leaving a Tardis.


I suppose the Tardis's manufacturing room may have been told to fake the big blue box, it does nor have to travel through space.

Amy is Hannibal
Amy is Hannibal

@LaraHarris  We don't know what circumstances cause Twelve to return to the Time War in the first place, so we can't yet say that it doesn't make sense. We don't have all of the information. For all we know, the process would have worked just fine with only twelve incarnations working on it, and Twelve had to involve himself for some other reason.



LaraHarris
LaraHarris

Sorry.... cant edit... meant to say... "had to have always happened because it happened EARLIER in the Doctors (11's) own time line.

Amy is Hannibal
Amy is Hannibal

@lukashcartoon  The Time Lords didn't create the explosion. They just found the crack in time that was leftover by the explosion and used it to send their message. The explosion itself, as explained in "The Time of the Doctor", was the result of the Kovarian branch of the Silence taking control the Doctor's TARDIS and blowing it up in an attempt to kill him.

Amy is Hannibal
Amy is Hannibal

@GreigRobertson  Most of it was explained over time in the show. You're not going to get a big, fat, ten-minute chunk of exposition detailing everything down to the letter and spelling it out; that's not a particularly effective way to write a story like this anyway. Plenty of other shows have arcs that require the viewers to keep up and they don't have to insert clunky exposition blocks - why should Doctor Who?


The only thing that this arc requires is that you pay attention to the dialogue and not be afraid to do some deductive reasoning - even then, the most work you have to do is generally rely on established time travel mechanics that the show makes use of anyway. I can say for certain that everything mentioned in this article was covered at some point on-screen; the only things left to the viewers were the less-important underlying logistics - Why did the Silence invade human history? Why did they need River in the suit? - And those questions can be answered by examining what we've been shown and told in the show. This article doesn't tell us anything that the show didn't already; it just puts the events in chronological order so that they're easier to digest.

With the way Moffat writes, worry less about what details are left out and worry more about what does and doesn't stand to reason - if there's only one reasonable answer for the issue, then it must be the answer. "Once you've eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the answer." What Moffat is doing with his version of Who is recreating a sort of Who-based "great game" by getting the audience involved and thinking about the story.

Amy is Hannibal
Amy is Hannibal

@No More  1. Or they had one Silent sneak in and plant a remote receiver

2. We don't know that. He wanted to "step back into the shadows" as earlier as the ending of Series 6.

EricPavlat
EricPavlat

I opened the post wanting to understand the arc better, and was honestly frustrated at how many times I had to re-read things, wonder what was meant because there was no subject or no verb, etc. You did a lot of research and you obviously understand the arc far better than I do, making it a shame that I didn't understand every detail the way I'd wanted to.

Amy is Hannibal
Amy is Hannibal

@BiBernardus  "Why an astronaut suit?"

- History says astronaut suit. They were trying to convert the Doctor's death into a fixed point in time. Kovarian clearly had knowledge of what was supposed to happen there (as seen in "Closing Time"), and the Silence being the self-proclaimed "sentinels of history" would want to stick to recorded history as closely as they could, particularly since they were mucking about in their own past (being future humans and all). If history says that the Doctor was shot by a spacesuit, then you work around that event and convert it into something that can't be changed.

"If it can move itself why put someone in there?"

- Several reasons. For one, the fixed point is that River shoots the Doctor by the lake, not that an empty spacesuit does. However, despite having engineered River to hate the Doctor, she fell in love with him and would most certainly have refused to kill him (also seen in "Closing Time"). So how do you force her to kill him? Put her in a spacesuit that can move on its own, and have that shoot him with her in it. For two, her presence is what fixes the event - you would want to use somebody close to the Doctor because then it means that their timelines are more closely intertwined, and any attempt to alter what happens by the beach (which the Silence's actions have established must happen) will cause history to break. A fixed point is a moment with such a resounding effect on history that it can't be changed without creating an obscene amount of paradoxes, and if River never shot the Doctor by the lakeside, then all of her later encounters with him would have never happened since they were shared with an earlier Doctor, which would mean that he could never be by the lakeside to be shot at all (since River's future is his past, and changing River's future alters his past). And for three, with River, you have somebody who can take the fall for the murder. She's the Silence's patsy.

"Did they really shape human society for that long just for a suit which, being from the 51st century (Or thereabouts), they could have easily procured anyway?"

- Yes. They couldn't just take a spacesuit from the future because they were the ones who inspired the creation of the first spacesuit. If they never did that, then humanity would likely have never made a spacesuit and then there wouldn't be one for them to take back in time. They were willingly engaging themselves in a very long game for the sake of precision and temporal reinforcement.







teddybowties
teddybowties

@Andrew_Swallow @LaraHarris  the TIMELINe in the grave. Exactly. they buried the TimeLine. his body was, after all, a record of hsi history, twisting there, shining within space and time, reflecting his past. So, yes. Exactly right! ;) his 'body' was his timeline. his timeline now is a new one. ;) there's a lesson here... some kind of platitude, but I cna't thnk well enough right now. I'm tired. somebody else do it.




Amy is Hannibal
Amy is Hannibal

@Andrew_Swallow @LaraHarris    It wasn't a fake grave.


For one, it was surrounded by the graves of the soldiers who had died in the Siege of Trenzalore, so if it were fake, they'd have to devastate the planet anyway and put up a grave for every single soldier that might have died in the conflict.

For two, the TARDIS itself was dying and degrading. Why would the Doctor leave his TARDIS there to die?

For three, the timestream contained only the lives of Doctors 1-11, because Eleven was the Doctor who died there.

Really, the episode does all but spell out in big bold letters that "The Name of the Doctor" is what would have happened if the Doctor had died on Trenzalore in "The Time of the Doctor". 

LaraHarris
LaraHarris

Whatever the reason, he was there.

Amy is Hannibal
Amy is Hannibal

I would certainly be interested in knowing how he sees it.

teddybowties
teddybowties

@Amy the Consulting Key Ring @GreigRobertson  yeah.. I am an exceptionalyl bright person, like all of us here... but I can understand peoples' frustration... i ahve a cognitive deficit and an executive function issue.. those make it so I can only grasp  chunks of the whole instead of the whole itself, and have trouble comprehending long streams of  information... but i alspo have asperger's and adhd, which insures that this annoying malfuction happens at random, and often. ;) I totally undrstand. But it DOES frustrate ME as well when someone just won't use their brain long enough, too. it's not ALL health issue that's keeping peolep from understanding this stuff. some of it is Moffat's writing... and some of it is unwillingness to think hard. ;) of course. of course.

Amy is Hannibal
Amy is Hannibal

In fact, concerning #2, the Doctor said in "Asylum of the Daleks" that even he couldn't hack into the Pathweb and that he had tried to hack it before, which I assumed was a part of his original "delete himself from history's records" crusade (which we see a part of in "The Inforarium"). The way that I saw it, Oswin was unknowingly tying up that one last loose end.

teddybowties
teddybowties

@Amy the Consulting Key Ring @BiBernardus  exactly. which might mean that she truly IS Tasha Lem... and that Tasha Lem is the River Song that was MEANT to exist before the Silents' tampering, perhaps in spite of it. ;) Tasha Lem is the real Melody Pond, the Melody Pond that was meant to come about becaue of the healthiest timeline. And she remembers all of it becuase she is STILL part Time Lord, that having happened due to her conception wihtin the TARDIS.

Amy is Hannibal
Amy is Hannibal

@BiBernardus  Thinking about it, it's like... performing surgery on history, but instead of giving it a healthy new kidney in place of a bad one with a stupid color, you are trying to do the opposite but in a way that the patient won't notice what's wrong until it's already killed them.

LaraHarris
LaraHarris

Absolutely. But which he never could have done... 

Amy is Hannibal
Amy is Hannibal

@DW_girl @Amy the Consulting Key Ring @BiBernardus  Yep. That was implied near the end in this exchange:

DOCTOR: Yes. We saw the future, Clara. This is how it ends.

CLARA: Change it.

DOCTOR: Ha.

CLARA: Like Tasha said, change the future.

DOCTOR: I could have once, when there were Time Lords. Not any more.

So the Time Lords certainly have the capability of mitigating a paradox (and since the Master built a functional paradox machine out of one outdated TARDIS, who knows what kind of technology the Time Lords possess), but the Doctor thought them lost and didn't realize that he could ask for their help. Clara was the one who realized that (based on what the Doctor said just then) and she called out to them. She asked them to help "change the future," which would tell them that there was a paradox about to be created and that they would need to make preparations.



Eradallion
Eradallion

@DW_girl @Amy the Consulting Key Ring @BiBernardus  I definitely think that the time scar we saw in Name of The Doctor is the scar of his first regeneration cycle, that he left there when regenerating. That explains why, when Clara entered his time line, we only saw previous incarnations. The people of Trenzalore found the time scar he left behind, thinking he died to save them, and buried him. Don't know about the TARDIS, though

Amy is Hannibal
Amy is Hannibal

@DW_girl @Amy the Consulting Key Ring @BiBernardus  It's essentially like when the Master used a paradox machine in Series 3. The Toclafane were able to come back in time and slaughter their ancestors, despite that being a contradiction of their existence. The timeline that they came from still existed, it was just... shunted off to the side in favor of the new timeline in which they killed the people of Earth. Of course, that timeline ended up being collapsed, which allowed the older timeline in which humanity survived all the way to the universe to reassert itself, but they themselves would eventually become the Toclafane and be taken back in time by the Master in order to kill their ancestors and create an alternate timeline, which would then be collapsed, and so on.

In this case, the Doctor dies during the Siege of Trenzalore, leaving a tomb. A younger Doctor and Clara came to that tomb, and Clara entered it, leaving echoes of herself scattered throughout the Doctor's past. Then she and the Doctor came to an earlier version of Trenzalore and got wrapped up in the Siege, but by the end of it, when the Doctor was nearing death, the Time Lords sent him a new regenerative cycle at Clara's behest, which allowed him to survive. This shunted the tomb timeline off to the side where it was made to feed into the new timeline. If it helps, picture a straight line that branches into two forks, except one of the two forks (the one representing the tomb) loops back onto the original line and causes the other fork (the one that represents the Doctor's survival) to branch off. The two outcomes of the Siege share the same history.

DW_girl
DW_girl

@Amy the Consulting Key Ring @BiBernardusYou have some good explanations for all the confusing questions. 

I'm still confused over how The Doctor's timeline could have been on Trenzalore with the dead TARDIS in 'The Name of the Doctor' when he never died on Trenzalore in 'Time of the Doctor'? I have a few theories but nothing that solid. It's a paradox I think, and one that is vital to sustain (It's to do with Clara jumping in the timeline I'm sure and that if she didn't then The Doctor would never meet her and therefore she'd never jump into the timeline, and therefore she'd never be able to get the Doctor to save Gallifrey and get the timelords to give him extra lives)... Still really unsure though....?