Doctor Who: lots of theories for the last episode

After the potentially game-changing The Stolen Earth, and the best cliffhanger in ages, what lies ahead in Journey's End? Here's our theory list so far...

Which theory do you believe?

Journey’s End is the episode that marks the end of Doctor Who’s fourth series since its revival. And off the back of a cliffhanger that it’s fair to say virtually nobody saw coming, the theories have been pouring in as to what’s going to happen next.

Here’s a digest of the current thinking. And we should point out that we’ve not a clue what’s about to happen either, hence only mild spoilers within…

The Regeneration* The most obvious clue here, you’d think, is the constant shots of the Doctor’s severed hand from The Christmas Invasion. This has been used before, of course, but could it be used in some way to allow David Tennant to regenerate into David Tennant? Perhaps without a hand for a bit, even?

* The Doctor will temporarily regenerate into someone else. This is also a good possibility, and the most intriguing suggestions are Christopher Eccleston and John Simm. The latter would be the one that could be the most interesting, not least because that’s the last time the Doctor’s hand was used.

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* It is a new Doctor, that they’ve managed to hide from the entire media and rumourmongers. This is the least likely outcome, not least because of the wide reports that David Tennant has been seen filming the Christmas special. But could that be a red herring? Could we actually be getting a new, long-term Doctor?

* Will we end up with two David Tennants? Just a thought…

The Assistant

We know (or we’re as certain as we can be) that one of the Doctor’s assistants is going to buy it, so which is it going to be?

* Our money is now firmly on Rose. Too many forlorn looks in The Stolen Earth swung it in her direction, and we suspect that her days are numbered.

* However, we’ve already seen Donna die. Did she die? Is that coming up too? Could two assistants die, or is Donna getting out of it someone? She also keeps saying she’s just a temp – what if she wasn’t talking about her job?

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* We can’t see Sarah-Jane dying at all, nor Captain Jack (not least because, er, he can’t, unless he somehow gets caught in a loop of everlasting death). There are the other spin-offs to consider, after all, which should ring-fence the other Torchwood folk for this episode too. Martha is an outside shot.

* Also an outside shot, although he’s not a companion of the Doctor as such: what about Bernard Cribbins? Donna has been told she’s facing a big loss of her own, after all. We hope this doesn’t happen, though. We like Bernard, and he’s been one of the absolute acting highlights of the series (and he got the best lines of The Stolen Earth: from the paintgun – “Want to swap?” – to the webcam – “She says it’s naughty”).

The Insect

* Given that Donna still seems have the bug on her back – after all, it was referenced in The Fires Of Pompeii and there was some mention too in The Stolen Earth – are we still not in a true timeline? Is this the chance for Russell T Davies to hit the reset button somehow, surely the outcome that we all fear? Or will it allow Donna to somehow stop the Dalek shooting the Doctor? Perhaps she’ll take the shot herself, allowing the Doctor and Rose to live?

* What if it’s not just Donna who has a bug on her back? Could Rose have one, for instance, which has allowed her to travel back from the parallel universe? Did she have her own ‘Turn Left’ moment that the same people tracked, that ultimately led to the Doctor being shot by the Dalek? Don’t discount this one…

Further Points

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* Was it the tapping noises from The Master episodes last year that we heard when Harriet Jones was using the subframe network? And what is the Mr Copper Foundation that made said network? is The Master returning? (Thanks to GAlexG for that one)

* Donna appears to have been wearing a big ring on her finger: could this be linked to the ring that appeared at the end of The Last Of The Time Lords? Or is that really grasping at straws? Could it be that she’s turned into some kind of villain here, and has been all along? That would, surely, be great.

* Does Jenny, the Doctor’s daughter, link into this somewhere? We hope not. What about River Song? Our suspicion is both of these are being saved for series five, when Steven Moffat takes charge.

* What does the key that Martha is holding have to do with things? Is that, too, a dreaded reset mechanism? Or is that something that’ll allow an assistant to make an ultimate sacrifice?

* Or is, as PeeJay18 notes, Dalek Caan the one we should be listening to? His comment about the “threefold man” could hold the key, he reckons…

* Why did we not see Harriet Jones die? Was it us, or did the Dalek readjust its aim and shoot the screen? Is Harriet therefore working for the Daleks, and has managed to bring the Doctor and his assistants together?

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Add your own theories in the Comments box…! This could go on all week…