Doctor Who: the unanswered questions of the Capaldi era

As Peter Capaldi departs Doctor Who, he's left some questions behind...

Contains spoilers for Doctor Who series 10. 

Doctor Who fans are full of questions. Plus water. Water and questions. And varying degrees of bile. Only one of these is important for the article you have clicked on, which is probably this one for now, and it’s the questions one.

It would take too long to examine all the queries fandom has (they vary from ‘How come Germany gets the extended cut of Silver Nemesis?’ to ‘Who wants to watch Babylon 5 with me lads?’), and so we have stuck to questions that the Capaldi era raised but failed to answer. This writer, it should be noted, is fallible and may not list all the questions that our readers may have. Ameliorate his shame by supplying yours in the comments section.

Without further word count, here are our questions. Here’s to the inevitable Big Finish boxsets that answer them, right after they’ve released a series of Master stories featuring Gordon Tipple.

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So, is everyone dead then?

Steven Moffat is famous for not quite killing characters off. In River Song’s first story, for example, she dies in reality but has an afterlife when her conscience is downloaded into a library computer (which, based on my experience working in a library, would still be running on Windows XP). Amy and Rory were horribly killed by living a normal human lifespan. In the Capaldi era, Clara dies but is then brought back by the Doctor and given a theoretically infinite fanfic shipping situation. Bill Potts is turned into a Cyberman, but retains her personality and the Doctor believes she will not survive the events of The Doctor Falls. Nardole, too, is presumed to live life on the run but it’s hard to know if he can die (what with being decapitated in his first appearance).

However, in Twice Upon A Time we see Bill, Nardole and Clara as avatars produced by Testimony, which extracts people from their timelines at the moment of death. There’s scope for this to happen with Clara, as we did see her death (that noise you can hear is Clayton Hickman cheering), but it does seem to confirm that Bill and Nardole do in fact die. I mean, I was really happy when Bill and Heather went on a date, but that seems to have ended pretty badly.

What happened to the Paternoster Gang?

You’d have thought this would be catnip to Big Finish, but we’ve only had guest appearances from two of the gang in other character’s spin-offs. Vastra appears in Churchill: The Early Years (Volume 2) – yes, Churchill got a Doctor Who spin-off before Vastra, Jenny and Strax – and Strax appeared in a one-off special Jago & Litefoot & Strax. Maybe Big Finish don’t have the inclination, maybe the cast aren’t free at the same time, or maybe their target audience still find the idea of comedy Sontarans too infuriating.

When did the Twelfth Doctor do his attack eyebrows bit from The Day Of The Doctor?

We see enough of his hair to indicate that it was during Series 8, and given he was off and about without Clara for a lot of it he had plenty of opportunity. This is also assuming that he never had a haircut between later stories.

What happened to Rassilon?

Rassilon was last seen being sent into exile in Hell Bent. Where did he go from there?

I mean, obviously we don’t know.

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In many ways this is the flaw of an article called ‘The unanswered questions of X’. My headcanon is that, trapped at the end of the universe in a dinky wee spaceship, he regenerated into a tiny Scottish boy called Creet then inhaled a lot of exhaust fumes and lost his memory.

In The Pilot, why did that Movellan scream?

Well, cause and effect would suggest it was because it got shot (which, traditionally, hurts) but Movellans are emotionless robots, so it should have just silently crumpled into the wall. Seeing as Terry Nation’s original twist for the Movellans was that they were robots, possibly the screaming thing is just something the robots do to pass as organic lifeforms (for doubtless nefarious purposes).

In The Witch’s Familiar, what was Missy’s very clever idea?

This question is the most Matt-Smith-era-Moffat that we get with Twelve. A clear sign that Steven Moffat still winged stuff despite his long-term arcs is that he would end a series with the Doctor announcing “I wiped all records of myself because of reasons” and then the next series would begin with, at most, a few lines addressing how this hasn’t really changed much. Making Doctor Who is a mad dash from one set of stories to the next. There wasn’t as much of that contrast with Capaldi’s Doctor but occasionally one of these rogue story tendrils still flaps about.

We will never know what Missy’s very clever idea was, but seeing as she got off Skaro alive and well, it probably involved static electricity and a time machine made of mirrors.

In The Witch’s Familiar, are those Daleks now Time Lord hybrids because of the Doctor’s regeneration energy, and isn’t this colossally dangerous?

Ah, no, wait, this question is the most Matt-Smith-era-Moffat.

Um. The Daleks in casings got eaten out (stop it) by the insane sewer dwelling Dalek mutants, but then regenerated and ate out (come on, we’re better than that) the Daleks who ate them out (there must be a better phrase but I just can’t think of one), who in turn regenerated… and so on until they reach their regeneration limits at which point they just carry on as before.

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So it’s fine. As you were.

So, the moon being an egg… and the next egg arriving really quickly… how does that work?

Obviously this tiny gap where the Earth has no moon has huge ramifications, causing temporal disturbances that severely affect the late seventies/early eighties.