This third special in this series by the BBC focuses on the wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff that is the backbone of Doctor Who. A number af celebrity Whovians did the commentary as they discussed the most timey-wimey episodes and situations of this wibbly-wobbly show.
“The Impossible Astronaut”—For this episode they mostly talked about how weird it was that the Doctor could invite people to and attend the after party of his own funeral, which,yeah, when you think about it, is awfully weird.
“Father’s Day”—This episode they discussed the issue of fixed points in time, and how messing them up is a huge no-no. They also touched on the idea that despite knowing that certain events are important, it’s a very human and selfish desire to want to change them anyway.
“Bad Wolf”—Rose is the Bad Wolf and the phrase Bad Wolf is a message; she would never have picked that phrase if she hadn’t already picked that phrase and left it for herself. Ouch, this one makes my head hurt.
River’s Messages through Time (From S5–6)—She is able to time all the things she does (her skin-of-her-teeth escapes and whatnot) because she understands the Doctor’s ego and can manipulate him into picking her up at exactly the right moment.
“The Waters of Mars”—This also looked at the importance of fixed points, but even more strongly than the “Father’s Day” episode it focused on the consequences of messing with said fixed points. (It also underlined how terrifying the idea of the Time Lord Victorious is.)
The Void (From “Doomsday”—Please pause for one million tears from me—they showed the whole damn clip of Rose getting sucked into the void with the sad wall-touching and everything.)—This is less of timey-wimey and more wibbly-wobbly, as it looked at the idea of parallel universes and how they intersect with our own timelines.
The Girl (and Boy) Who Waited (From “The Girl Who Waited”, “The Doctor’s Wife”, and “The Pandorica Opens”/”The Big Bang”)—This looked at the way that waiting for the time traveler who’s left you behind can just mess with your head psychologically.
“The Girl in the Fireplace”—This episode gave us a new and interesting idea of time travel with the ‘windows’ in space-time. It also is, in a way, an extended metaphor for the Doctor’s relationships with all his companions—convoluted, emotional, and, because of the difference in lifespans if nothing else, ultimately tragic.
“The Big Bang”—This one looked at TARDIS-less time travel (what with the Vortex Manipulator), the need to fill in the blanks (Crap, left my sonic with Rory 2000 years ago, let me pop back there and tell him to leave it in Amy’s jacket, etc.)
The Romance of River and the Doctor (From S4–6)—Some of the commentators felt that if the Doctor was ever going to have a story-relevant romance, it would have to be as timey-wimey as theirs. The concept of their backwards romance is very ultimately tragic and underscores that the Doctor is always screwed out of the possibility of settling down happily. There’s a first time for everything, and a last, and for River and the Doctor, sometimes they occur simultaneously.
And of course:
“Blink”—This is the episode that effectively sums up how paradoxical Doctor Who can be, in a deliciously mind-bending way. Although the Weeping Angels themselves are pretty timey-wimey, the biggest example of it is the recorded conversation between the Doctor and Sally Sparrow.
This installment in the “…of Doctor Who” series was pretty cool. I wish they had looked a bit more at the River Song-y timey-wimeyness of Season 6, as I could use a highly simplified explanation of what went down there, but they did a good job of focusing on the different issues/potential plot twists that can accompany time travel. Tune in next week for the Destinations of Doctor Who!
Quote of the episode, from Jonah Ray (Comedian/actor): “Do you do it because you have to do it because you knew what happened or did you do it because it needs to be done so it can happen? …Is my nose bleeding?”