“The Timeless Children” promised to change everything about “Doctor Who.” At the end of the episode, though, it seems that all it did was bruise the Master’s ego. Whether we’ll be looking into some of the secrets revealed later remains to be seen. For now, it seems that “Doctor Who” will go right back to what it’s always been when the show returns in the holidays.
The Cyber-buildup doesn’t go anywhere. Ashad (Patrick O’Kane) never gets beyond a slightly emo Cyberleader before being dispatched by the Master, unfortunately, because there was potential there. His torturing of the other Cybermen last week doesn’t amount to anything either. He planned to eliminate the need for organic material in the Cybermen. Efficient yes, but it takes away the very thing that makes them scary. Without the conversion process, they are just like any other robot in the universe, as the Master points out.
Alexa, Start The Conversion Process
Cybermen made of Timelord bodies, though, is a different story. To wipe out the possibility of their existence shortly after their creation? It’s a bit of a cheat. The expense of creating the costumes would seem to suggest their eventual return even if they do look a bit like Alexa enabled candelabras. I understand that The Master has a way of escaping these things and probably took the Cybermasters with him. I initially thought “The Timeless Children” was referring to these new Cybermasters. While it was referring to the Doctor’s own murky past, the moniker still fits.
Too Many Stories
The Doctor’s companions, unfortunately, don’t fare much better than the Cybermen in this story. The producers promised more character development last season, but they didn’t deliver. We got a little bit more about Yaz (Mandip Gill) in “Can You Hear Me?” but not enough to give the character any pull. I think the problem comes from there being too many characters. Trying to get a new Doctor introduced and grounded is enough of a writing challenge. Keeping three traveling companions interesting at the same time is a lot to ask. There are rumors someone will be leaving the TARDIS after the upcoming “Revolution of the Daleks.” While I like Yaz, Ryan (Tosin Cole), and Graham (Bradley Walsh), I think an exit could improve things.
One Day, I Shall Come Back
And now on to the history-changing aspects of this episode. The Master has done a deep-dive into the Matrix and discovered the Doctor has more history than we know. A fandom splitting moment to be sure, but not quite the game-changer it was built to be. Adding in extra Doctors to the mix doesn’t hold the same shock it once used to. Now that we’ve accepted the Ruth Doctor and the War Doctor before her, more Doctors can’t be a surprise. That some of those Doctors come before we expect? I can’t mourn the loss of the number one title for William Hartnell, mostly because he hasn’t lost it. He will always be the Doctor that came to us first. That, to me, is all that matters.
What is more interesting, yet not touched on, is where did the Doctor come from then? I have a feeling that Chris Chibnall will leave that idea to another showrunner. Hopefully, we’ll see more of the Ruth Doctor soon. That character feels a bit underused. She may have only been there to root Jodie’s Doctor through the Matrix, but that doesn’t seem right. Could it be possible the BBC is gearing up to have more than one Doctor at a time? As the Master once said, “A cosmos without the Doctor scarcely bears thinking about.” A cosmos with two at a time, though? “The Timeless Children” introduces endless possibilities.