The Many Faces of the 12th Doctor
Guest contributor Dominic Townsend speculates on the familiar face of Twelve.
When Peter Capaldi was announced as the 12th Doctor, everyone smiled. Everyone clapped. Everyone began to think of the amazing acting this man has done in film and television. They began to appreciate his dedication to the franchise and his genuine love for Doctor Who from an early age. They began to realise that this man will be a fantastic Doctor… and then some of them started whining.
Pompeii. Modern London. Not a lot in common, but in the Doctor Who universe, Mr Capaldi has played small but vital roles in each. The father of the only surviving family of Mount Vesuvius, and a father who took it upon himself to kill his own family, and himself, to save them from a fate worse than death. Dark, I know, but remember, Torchwood is for the grown ups.
So funnily enough, despite people eventually coming to terms with Capaldi, as a brilliant actor, taking on one of the most iconic roles in television, Mr Steven Moffat couldn’t help stirring things up a bit could he? Just when we’d forced ourselves, painfully, to ignore his previous appearances in the Whoniverse, Moffat went and made us all remember them again by stating that these appearances may not actually be ignored!
With that in mind, and Mr Moffat’s insatiable ability to turn everything on its head, here are a few theories of mine to consider, if you so desire. Remember, this isn’t necessarily the truth I am writing, just some hypothetical brain farts, and knowing Doctor Who these days, I’ll be very surprised – and more than a tiny bit smug – if any of this turns out to be true. But anyway: allons-y!
We watched Clara Oswald step into the Doctor’s time stream and generate a thousand replicas of herself across all of time and space… who’s to say the same didn’t happen to the Doctor when he stepped into his own time stream? Yes, one could argue that if that were the case then there’d be a load of Matt Smiths everywhere, and nobody would fail to notice that. So we have to go down the route of the ‘subconscious’ – as he could see his own past, and most importantly his future, within the time stream, then perhaps his future regeneration seeped into his subconscious even if he didn’t mean for it to do so, thus his subconscious projected his next face across time and space for him…
But for what? Perhaps as a warning – we know that Capaldi is being heralded as the 12th Doctor, but if we take Hurt to be the 8th, that does indeed mean Capaldi is our final incarnation and therefore all the more significant… until something happens that will be decidedly timey-wimey and he acquires a whole new set of regenerations? Moffat has said recently that the 50th will ‘change the course of the show’, meaning that perhaps his significance grows ever larger with the outcome of the ever-nearing episode on November 23rd.
Now, these are just a few ideas, and I know they aren’t completely without fault. ‘But he was in Torchwood!’ I hear you cry, ‘the Doctor never even met him as John Frobisher!’ We all know it’s long overdue that the good Captain Harkness and the Doc met up again sometime soon, and perhaps 11 saw this when inside his own time stream, even in his ‘subconscious’, and so he saw it appropriate to generate a version of himself to ‘warn’ Jack, even if he…didn’t. Or perhaps the Doctor was there…the beautifully haunting speech into the camera by Gwen about the Doctor’s absence in the last episode of Children of Earth really brought home the Doctor’s ignorance, almost changing the way we see him…so wouldn’t it be more shocking if he was actually there, but powerless to stop the 456?
I know I’ve gone off on some very tenuous tangents here but these are just a few of the rambling theories my befuddled brain has spouted in its continuing struggle to maintain its sanity in the build up to 50. It’s on the horizon people – stay strong and keep sonicing!