In Fugitive of the Judoon, a new Doctor debuted, making it the first “multi-Doctor” tale of the Thirteenth Doctor era. Played by Jo Martin, this Doctor’s identity remained a mystery for much of the story, but there’s still much we do not know: it is, after all, Doctor Who.
Lord Chibnall has bestowed upon us a grand puzzle of just exactly who this new Doctor is and I’m just going to lay out my thought process here. Keep in mind, this grand puzzle could be a shaky house of cards. Easily brought down by a sneeze, if this showrunner doesn’t have his details in alignment.
Initial thoughts were that Martin is an alternate Doctor from a parallel universe, a popular opinion that has the benefit of fitting what we know, while being kind enough not to blow all known past continuity to bits. But Chibs says no. Martin is not an alternate Doctor but the real one. As the saying goes: The Doctor lies, Russell lies, Moffat lies. But does Chibnall lie? This would seem more of a direct statement than a half way obfuscation. But okay, let’s say she’s the real Doctor.
The next theory is that she’s an incarnation that came prior to William Hartnell; this is the one that’s generally the most upsetting to fans. This would upend the whole applecart but would certainly fit the rather cliched phrase “Everything you know is a lie”, as stated by the new Master. Honestly, I wouldn’t even mind if this were true — as long as it were done well. But this whole theory has been rendered moot, as the TARDIS buried by the lighthouse was in the shape of a police box. How can Martin be pre-Hartnell with a police box TARDIS, when it didn’t become a police box until Hartnell came to Earth, and once in the junkyard, only then blended in as a police box? An Unearthly Child‘s dialogue directly corresponds to this.
Well, there is an answer that just occurred to me. In The Day of the Doctor, when the Tenth, Eleventh, and the War Doctors all crowd into the TARDIS, the desktop glitches twice, giving us three console rooms in the span of 15 seconds. The proximity of a different Doctor immediately affected the TARDIS and she changed shape.
When Jodie finds the buried TARDIS, it’s a police box. But was it in that shape before she got there? We don’t know. When Martin comes over, the ship is still buried – she doesn’t even see it and they beam in and then things get distracting. Is it possible the shell simply reacted to Jodie? It’s a possible explanation.
The other big theory that’s been beat to death is the Season 6B version. Where there was another, secret incarnation after we saw Patrick Troughton fade into blackness pulling faces and before Jon Pertwee stumbled from the TARDIS on Earth, unconscious, into the weeds, in Pat’s clothing.
This seems rather desperate to be honest. Not unthinkable though. You never really can trust the Time Lords and they loved to send the Doctor on missions, using them as their eyes and ears. Maybe Martin came in, did what she had to do, got disenchanted, ran, used the chameleon arch, and at some point in time, she heads back to Gallifrey to make amends, dresses up in Troughton’s clothes, and regenerates into Pertwee. Seems a bit thin.
And as some have pointed out, they threw in a line in Fugitive where Martin doesn’t recognise Jodie’s sonic screwdriver. A sonic that the Doctor’s had since Jodie was Troughton, so that deliberate line told us something. She’s probably not the 6B Doctor.
Finally, the only other viable operating theory I know of that fits the facts: Chibnall said that Martin’s not an alternate Doctor. She’s the real Doctor. But what if Jodie’s not in her universe at all but has been shunted into Jo’s universe? Maybe Jodie is the alternate Doctor here? It’d be semantics and word play on Chibnall’s part but he wouldn’t be lying. As we’ve speculated before, Jodie having been shunted to a parallel universe at some point would explain a few things.
Seconds after she regenerated, she fell from the TARDIS at a couple thousand feet, smashed through the metal roof of a train, yet wasn’t even scratched. Yes, regeneration energy does wonders but it would take some time restructuring a Time Lord that’s just been liquified. One wonders if she slipped through a crack in time, shifted into a different universe coming out only 20 feet over the train on that Earth. In Fugitive, Jack tells the fam about the Cybermen – they’ve never heard of them, but the Cybermen and Missy were all over social media at the end of Series 8! Something’s wrong here. Oh, and there’s no UNIT or Torchwood around, which I thought was odd. And maybe the Master’s line did die out with Missy. In our universe. But over here, there’s a different incarnation raring to go. Food for thought.
Could that be the reason the fam or parts of it are leaving at the end of Series 12? They suddenly realise that the Doctor’s from a different universe and has to get back to it?
I’m hoping we find this out sooner rather than later and again, I’m hoping that Chibs has his ducks in a row. If not, this is going to get very messy.