If I credit Chris Chibnall with anything, it’s that he’s not afraid to stir the pot. No, this has not made him popular.
He is, however, the first person who had the guts to actually, finally cast a woman in the role of the Doctor (in the actual show, anyway). The fan base was very split on this. The events of the Timeless Child simply added another misshapen layer to the increasingly rocky viewing terrain he laid out.
But whether you love or hate this era, it is coming to an end.
To celebrate 100 years of the BBC later this year, it will end with a ton of stuff packed in.
The Doctor! Yaz! Dan! Daleks! Cybermen! The Master! Ace! Tegan! Kate! And really, who knows what else? Perhaps Doc Martin? With Division gone and the fob watch chucked into the heart of the TARDIS, will Chibnall bother to crack open that can of worms again? HMMMM?
Honestly, I don’t know and don’t really care. No, there’s more important unfinished business here.
There’s going to have to be a kiss.
The relationship between the Doctor and Yaz. It’s a thing. Of course there’s a cutesy nickname for them as a couple, but I’ll pass on that, as I’m not a tween.
To a certain degree, we were aware that Yaz had feelings for the Doctor. The indications awkwardly presenting themselves were something akin to pulling teeth, as it’s usually only been brought up — no, not during Series 11 or 12 or even Flux really, but only during the Dalek specials. We knew at that point that Yaz had the hots for the Doc.
And no, there was absolutely no indication that the Doctor felt the same way, or even thought about it. She might be the least compassionate incarnation we’ve ever seen. That’s not necessarily a knock though. Every incarnation has their quirks– this one hides them beneath a wacky, frantic exterior. But snapping at her “fam”, her overall impatience with them, turning her back on them, ditching them, forgetting about them on a regular basis… well, each Doctor is different. Fair enough. What’s a little bipolar behaviour between shipmates?
In the most recent Dalek special, companion Dan thought it seemed glaringly obvious that there was a distinct chemistry between the two women. We viewers missed all that, allegedly happening between adventures, and off screen. But Dan really seemed adamant on the point, so yes, now that we were alerted, well, alright then. We try to keep up. There may be a lot of story beats that Chibnall has in his head that never actually make it to the page, so we have Dan to fill us in, I suppose.
In Legend of the Sea Devils, Dan, between jauntily disposing hordes of Sea Devils, took care to mention that the Doctor is definitely Yes for Yaz as well. It was glaringly, blatantly obvious to all non-viewers and Dan. So yeah, this was an honest to goodness thing. Now.
In this special, there was also a floaty ship, large war amphibians, death, sword fights, and some world ending threat, but most importantly, the Doctor wanted to make sure she and Yaz were on the same page dating-wise.
The Doctor told Yaz that she was the most amazing person she’d ever met (incredibly high praise, all things considered) and that if she could ever fix herself to a person, it would be her. These comments, coming out of the blue, raised quite a few eyebrows, with some viewers wondering if there were whole series that they might have missed.
Later, after the trouble was over, the Doctor and Yaz sat down, and actually talked.
For the first time in this era, the Doctor legitimately opened up to someone. No cruelly turning her back on the other’s concerns and fears; no, not this time. Whenever these feelings of hers started, we’ll never know, but now, being aware of them, she explained herself, in a very rare, genuine moment.
She told Yaz why she simply can’t fix herself to anyone because of who she is, and can they just let things be as they are now? An emotional, honest, and tender exchange that we never see from the Thirteenth Doctor.
Although the development of this relationship has been handled horribly at every juncture, we finally find ourselves at this point. We may as well be generous enough to accept where we’ve landed, no matter how bumpy the journey.
Now, we await the finale this autumn during the BBC’s 100th. We know that Jodie Whitaker’s Doctor is leaving, one way or another. And now, knowing what Dan has known for God knows how long, there will come a moment.
A moment when the Doctor knows that the end is imminent, and she will never see Yaz again.
It’s a moment that Chibnall doesn’t seem particularly suited to writing, but it also really shouldn’t be rocket science. It’s a test he should be able to pass.
All I’m saying is, when it comes… At that moment, and it had better be a moment for the ages… well, she damn well better kiss the girl.
You can tell any story, no matter how crazy, how strange, how impossible, as long as there is truth in that story. An honesty. Real emotion.
This era has had monsters, running around, zaniness, and a lot of sonic waving, but it’s been mostly bereft of that honesty and truth.
That brief talk at the end of Legend had some of that truth, a small reminder of eras past. Honest emotions between the Doctor and a companion.
Let’s allow that this relationship is forged in steel, and that there really are three hearts that beat as one. Let’s all come together and get behind that because an era is ending.
A Doctor is going to fall.
And now, it will all come down to this.
This will be her final moment, and if this is the truth that Chibnall would have us believe, a worthy bond, then it’ll be a moment that will be shared with Yaz.
There has to be a proper goodbye.
There has to be a kiss.