In Brightest Day: “The Name of the Doctor” and Its Implications

By now, I hope you’ve caught up with Series 7.2 of Doctor Who. The last episode of the season, called “The Name of the Doctor,” concluded with an amazing scene that needs to be seen to understand what I’m going to be talking about. Obviously, everything after the jump is spoiler-filled. So don’t read/watch unless you want any part of this brave new world we’re entering.

Okay, so for starters, the concept of John Hurt as the “Doctor” (quotes for a reason) is interesting. It does exactly what Moffat said it would do; it changed everything we knew about Doctor Who.

john-hurt-doctor-whoBut who is Hurt playing? There have been a good bit of theories about where he fits in the timeline, from Hurt playing a pre-“Doctor” doctor (aka before William Hartnell) to Hurt playing the Valeyard, a incarnation of the Doctor that the Master once said was “an amalgamation of the darker side of the Doctor’s nature.”

For me, though, only one theory works in my mind. The theory argues that Hurt is playing a regeneration that fits between Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor and Christopher Eccleston’s Ninth Doctor. This would make this regeneration, whom I will refer to as the “Soldier,” the regeneration that most likely fought in the Last Great Time War, and therefore would probably be the regeneration that made the decision to timelock the Last Great Time War, ending the reign of both the Time Lords and the Daleks.

ce1Originally, I assumed that Nine was the one who fought in the War. It would explain the anger and trauma that he showed in Series 1. However, the introduction of the Soldier makes sense in a way. All of Nine’s rage and trauma would still exist, but the introduction of the Soldier means that there is a level of shame that began with Nine and has followed all the way through Ten to Eleven and beyond.

The quotes certainly back this up. The Soldier’s first lines are telling;

“What I did, I did without choice…in the name of peace and sanity.”

-the Soldier

It seems that the Soldier feels that whatever choice he made, it was a choice that could not be avoided. It was, in fact a necessity. Whatever that choice was, his next regenerations disagree, taking away the “Doctor” mantra and leaving him nameless.

“But not in the name of the Doctor.”

-the Eleventh Doctor

In essence, the addition of the Soldier adds an additional wrinkle to the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders that all the post-Time War Doctors have. Instead of feeling guilty for just an action, they feel guilty because of this specific person, which is both themselves and its own entity. That’s something that I personally have never broken down before.

doctorwhofinaleWhat does that mean in the grand scheme? Well, the problem with cliffhangers is that I, along with the rest of the Whovian population, won’t know what is going on until November. But if I had to guess, come the 50th Anniversary Special, we will see the amount of guilt and pain that came with the decision the Soldier had to make. And that will add a great new wrinkle to an already troubled Time Lord.

4 thoughts on “In Brightest Day: “The Name of the Doctor” and Its Implications

  1. I love this post but keep in mind that the Doctor has always owned the Moment and its aftermath, ever since Eccleston’s Doctor. So MAYBE it is that he was the one who pulled the trigger and did what we already know he did.

    Personally, I think he murdered a Companion. Something he had to do, but something that NO Doctor worthy of the name would ever do. A lesser crime in real life, certainly, but in Who mythology the ultimate crime.

    • Owning the Moment and being ashamed of it is two completely different things. In “Rose,” Nine showing shame in being unable to save everyone affected by the Last Great Time War. In fact the exact quote is, ” I couldn’t save your world! I couldn’t save any of them!” Obviously, he admits his faults, but it’s not like he is alright with what he did. In fact, there is shame and embarrassment in every mention of the Moment.

      Also, killing a companion is so out of left field that I can’t acknowledge the concept until Moffat shows me otherwise. I wanted to write this article to analysis what I already knew about the series and make assumptions about those facts. I feel confident in my theory, but if you think differently, by all means explain what I’m missing.

  2. I like your dubbing of ‘the Soldier’. I decided to call him ‘the Secret’. There’s something so epic about putting the word the before an adjective: the Secret, the Dire, the Radiant, the Undying etc.

  3. Pingback: Quote of the Day – June 4, 2013 | My Two Cents

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