He’s the last of the Time Lords, and that’ll kill us in the end.

10Dec11

Last night I was thinking about Doctor Who. Specifically, why people would choose to stay with him as his companion. I can see why they’d agree to go at first; he’s offering to go anywhere in time and space, and his transportation is proof enough of what he’s claiming. But after the first time you’re almost eaten by an alien creature, I think most people would say “Thank you, had a lovely time, never come back. Bye!” Then again, that might just be proof I would never make a good companion to the character.

However, a far more disturbing thought came up in the middle of that, as I remembered the events of the Series 5 finale. Namely, the fact that the TARDIS explodes….and takes the universe with it.

Think about that. The cause of the explosion is never explained. The ship is acting strangely, and then it goes BOOM, and takes out all of time and space. The only area that’s not erased is the Earth, and that’s only because it’s close to the thing when this happens. If it had happened while the TARDIS was orbiting another star, there would be no Earth to have a vastly skewed human history. That means the Doctor is basically piloting an unexploded doomsday device at all times, and whenever he loses the thing (which he does every other episode), he’s not there to keep us all from being destroyed and never existing.

It gets worse. “The Doctor’s Wife” includes both the idea that the TARDIS is at least semi-intelligent, and that it was an old, creaky thing when the Doctor took it. So he knowingly took an outdated piece of Time Lord technology, that he literally cannot fully control, and ran off. We have no guarantees he was actually trained in using the TARDIS, and maybe he could have gotten a newer model, with a built in “Does not destroy the entire fabric of time” failsafe on it.

But that’s not the scariest part. If we extend this idea back to the original series, we have to include the Time Lords. They might be able to contain and repair the damage of a TARDIS like the Doctor’s actually explodes. So rather than blowing up everything, it might be more like an oil tanker running around-a terrible calamity, but one that won’t end everything if it’s responded to appropriately. In that light, the Doctor’s theft remains reckless, but less genocidal in its implications.

The scariest part is now that he’s the last of the known Time Lords. You might say that he’s horribly irresponsible for gallivanting around time and space with such a dangerous thing. The reality is that it’s the safest thing he could do.

He can’t just abandon it somewhere, no matter how well hidden and buried it might be. This thing has a mind of its own, and it could easily decide to just follow him around. Or find random people if it really didn’t want to go back to him. Then you might have someone with NO experience driving the thing, unaware they hold the keys to universal annihilation. Even if it stays put, you’re only delaying the problem. How do you guarantee it won’t explode on its own at some point in the future? The same element that powers it would be a risk no matter what you did to contain it, whether you left it in the TARDIS or took it out.

What about shutting it down and staying with it? Well, what do you do after that? How would the Doctor resist using it “one more time,” and then he’s off again? That’s before we think about the multiple enemies who could probably trace the TARDIS if it stays in one spot and time long enough. We’ve seen how the Master was able to turn the TARDIS into a paradox device, so there’s concrete proof it can be perverted to screw with time more directly.

Then there’s the fact he’s alone. Without the Time Lords, there’s no one he can return it to. He can’t turn it in and ask for clemency, or even trade it in for a safer model. He’s the only one who knows what it can do, and what others could do with it if they somehow took control. The only thing he can really do is stay on the move, hopping from place to place, and hoping he can figure out what he’ll do with it in the future.

No wonder there’s so much running for him. If he stopped long enough to take stock, he might go insane.

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