Doctor Who

Doctor Who 60th Anniversary Mystery Sets Up RTD Solving Chibnall’s Timeless Child

Doctor Who still hasn't properly explained Chris Chibnall's Timeless Child mystery, but a clue from the 60th anniversary hints RTD will resolve it.

Warning: spoilers ahead for Doctor Who 60th anniversary special “The Star Beast.”

A key mystery from Doctor Who‘s 60th anniversary specials could signal that Russell T Davies is attempting to resolve the controversial Timeless Child storyline set up by his predecessor. The Chris Chibnall era of Doctor Who proved divisive for many reasons, but comfortably his most contentious swing was the Timeless Child. Riffing on unrealized plans for the Seventh Doctor scuppered by Doctor Who getting canceled in 1989, Chibnall revealed that the Doctor originally came from another universe, but was adopted by Gallifrey. The Gallifreyans then used the foundling’s powers of regeneration to establish the race later known as the Time Lords.

Chris Chibnall left Doctor Who without ever explaining the Doctor’s actual home planet, and with Russell T Davies now back in the showrunner’s seat, there is no guarantee of this crucial detail ever being revealed. Diplomatically not indicating whether it was a route he agreed with, RTD has at least ruled out a Timeless Child retcon, telling SFX Magazine, “I’m not going to unwrite my good friend Chris Chibnall’s work… I’m going with it.” If one big unanswered question from the ending of Doctor Who 60th anniversary special “The Star Beast” is anything to go by, however, RTD is doing more than “going with” the Timeless Child – he’s trying to resolve it.

Doctor Who’s 60th Anniversary Makes A Big Deal Over The Doctor’s Two Hearts

David Tennant and the Beep the Meep in Doctor Who 60th anniversary specials

During the Fourteenth Doctor’s first encounter with the Meep at the Nobles’ house, both aliens bond over their shared trait of having two hearts. Initially, David Tennant’s Doctor treats their shared biology as nothing more than an amusing coincidence, but when scrambling to stop the Meep killing the Nobles later in “The Star Beast,” he postures, “Why is there another two-hearted species on this planet unless I’m part of a strategy by the Wrarth Warriors to outfox you?” This line may have been a deceptive tactic to stop the Meep’s murder spree, but when the villain is later escorted to a galactic prison, the Meep ominously concurs, “A creature with two hearts is such a rare thing.

RELATED:10 Biggest Questions After Doctor Who’s First 60th Anniversary Special

The fact that both the Meep and the Doctor possess dual hearts is evidently not a coincidence. This comparison has been deliberately included to foreshadow a future reveal. Some unknown force brought the TARDIS to Donna Noble, forcing the Doctor and his old companion back together, and while the unseen enemy’s motivations remain obscured for now, the Doctor having two hearts seems to be a crucial factor. After all, the Meep and the Doctor both acknowledge how unlikely it is that two such aliens would accidentally arrive at the same planet at the same time.

Only The Timeless Child Mystery Can Explain The Doctor’s Two Hearts

Doctor Who Timeless Child Experiments

Whatever deeper significance hides behind two twin-hearted species intersecting in “The Star Beast,” it is far more likely to involve the Doctor’s real race – the ones who had the twin hearts originally – than the Time Lords who stole the idea. Previously, it was believed that the Doctor having two hearts was a result of their Time Lord biology. It is now known that this quirk of the circulatory system is thanks to the Timeless Child’s unidentified species, which hails from another universe.

If Doctor Who‘s 60th anniversary specials are building toward some big revelation about the Doctor possessing two hearts – and Fourteen’s exchanges with the Meep certainly point in that direction – then RTD must inevitably address the Timeless Child and the Doctor’s true place of origin. This theory makes even more sense when considered alongside the entity almost certainly orchestrating these events. Very few characters in Doctor Who possess the universe-crossing power to investigate the Timeless Child’s origins, but the Toymaker’s celestial nature singles them out as an exception.

During his downtime after encountering the First Doctor, the Toymaker has perhaps learned what his pesky nemesis actually is – the truth, not the Gallifreyan cover-up version. The Doctor being unveiled as a secret Meep can probably be ruled out, but when the Doctor and Toymaker reunite, the villain may have secrets to share regarding where Doctor Who‘s titular hero originally came from. Assuming the Toymaker is Meep’s mysterious boss in Doctor Who, this would also explain why the Doctor is being taunted with species similar to their own: the Toymaker knows all races that possess two hearts, and knows Gallifreyans should not be among them.

Why RTD’s Doctor Who SHOULD Address The Timeless Child Mystery

Due to the less-than-enthusiastic response Chris Chibnall’s Timeless Child received, as well as Russell T Davies having his own ideas about where Doctor Who should go, exactly how the 60th anniversary specials and Doctor Who season 14 will handle the Timeless Child remains unclear. RTD can either address it head-on or pretend it neither happened – a common Doctor Who practice sometimes referred to as “Valeyarding.” Forced to pick between these two paths, addressing the Timeless Child is undoubtedly the better option for Doctor Who‘s future.

Doctor Who has a long and storied history of pretending inconvenient parts of canon never happened, but whenever the show has attempted to move on from sticky points of contention before, the audience has been left pondering when the matter will be resolved. The Valeyard, the Doctor being half-human, and the Doctor’s mother from “The End of the Time” are just three of the many mysteries Doctor Who has never solved, and all three routinely crop up in any conversation about future storylines and potential twists. The Timeless Child is more significant than all three of those plot points combined, meaning the endless speculation will be considerably more intense.

If RTD neglects to deal with the Timeless Child firmly and quickly, audiences will always see Chibnall’s controversial game-changer lurking around every corner. Whenever a new Doctor Who mystery is teased – like the significance of the Meep’s two hearts in the 60th anniversary special, for example – the Timeless Child will be held up as a potential explanation. It will be the ghost that haunts RTD’s new Doctor Who era, lingering like the dinner party guest who never takes the hint to leave. Whether the returning showrunner develops the Timeless Child further or finds a clever workaround, this unpopular chapter of Doctor Who history must be resolved sooner rather than later.

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