Doctor Who, Retcons, and Why We All Need To Chill

Jennifer R. Povey
5 min readMar 3, 2020
Photo by Charlie Seaman on Unsplash

I love the round things. Ahem.

So, the Doctor Who season finale, “Timeless Children” dropped like, well…

…let’s just say it made a splash.

I’ve heard normally quite sensible people exclaim that Chibnall “completely disrespected the show.” That he “turned the Doctor into a Mary Sue.” That he’s a talentless hack who just wanted to change everything.

If you haven’t watched the episode, go watch, I’ll be waiting…

Photo by Charlie Seaman on Unsplash

Still there? Okay.

So What Happened in Timeless Children?

Here’s what we seem to know. The Master was so angered by something he found in the Matrix that he destroyed Gallifrey. (How is not explained, and the behavior seems remarkably out of character).

He drags the Doctor to the ruins and shows her what he found.

And what the Master claims to have found is evidence that the Doctor is not, in fact, a Time Lord. Rather, she is an extradimensional alien whom the Time Lords used as the genetic source for the ability to regenerate.

He believes this is going to destroy her mind. Needless to say, because she wasn’t on the ragged edge of insanity in the first place, it doesn’t.

He then proceeds to entrap the Cybermen, use them to convert the dead Time Lords into uber Cybermen. The Doctor is all set to sacrifice herself to stop him, but somebody else steps in.

Oh, and of course this makes canon that Hartnell isn’t the first Doctor, just the first of a cycle. Because the Doctor worked for Time Lord intelligence and then they wiped her mind and gave her a new regeneration cycle.

Well, huh.

Why are People Mad?

There are a few reasons why people are mad:

  1. They never liked the negative regeneration theory in the first place. The idea that there were regenerations before One was introduced in “The Brain of Morbius” (in which various members of the production crew…
Jennifer R. Povey

I write about fantasy, science fiction and horror, LGBT issues, travel, and social issues.