Headscratchers: Doctor Who 2013 CS "The Time of the Doctor"
WARNING! THERE MAY BE UNMARKED SPOILERS!
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Purpose of the Silence
What's the point in confessing to a priest if you can't remember confessing?
Assuming that Steven Moffat is more religious than he lets on, it may be a riff on a fact of Catholic (and perhaps Anglican?) Confession — one that priests often forget what a penitent has just confessed to him. In some cases, this is a theological grace (to aid the priest in keeping the Seal of the Confessional), but it can also be chalked up to the fact that most priests hear lots of confessions and couldn't keep them straight even if they wanted to. And nearly all don't.
That depends on if you're supposed to confess directly to a Silent (in which case, only you would forget confessing), or if you're supposed to confess to a priest with a Silent in the same room (in which case both you and the priest would forget).
I can think of both a positive and negative implication, depending on how sinister you think the Papal Mainframe is. Remember that the Silence don't only have memory erasing powers, but also the ability to leave post-hypnotic suggestions. On the plus side you could go to confession, tell all your bad deeds, the "priest" could say "You are absolved, but don't do that any more", and you'd walk away with nothing but a feeling that you were forgiven and a strange desire to not perform that particular sin. "Gee, I feel so much better, even though I'm not sure what the priest told me. I think I'll quit drinking and cheating on my wife. This church is great!". On the darker end of things, the Silence could use this as a means to find out your dirty secrets without you ever even knowing you revealed them, and brainwashing you to be a loyal follower of their doctrine. Or it could be a little of both.
This is a Church Militant; what they mean by 'confessor' could be something closer to an interrogator or an intelligence officer. Someone who can infiltrate an enemy's territory and extract their secrets without anyone remembering that they've done it.
Or for that matter, root out any potential dissidents within your own ranks.
A bit of Fridge Brilliance when you remember that the church has evolved into a police organization; they need an enforcement mechanism, preferably one which involves little to no bloodshed. Guess what fills that role?
Then where does the shooting lightning from their hands come in?
The bolts of electricity are probably just a type of built-in weapon. It is a Church Militant, after all.
Time Lord Aging
How does Time Lord aging work? Eleven spent 400 years wandering around time and space prior to the events of "The Wedding of River Song" and doesn't look like he aged a day. Suddenly he spends 700 years on Trenzalore and he's an old man?
It was closer to 300 years, I think. And I assume the constant fighting wore him down.
Which would be backed up by the War Doctor's obvious aging.
Its also possible that the Daleks use some sort aging device on him or he happen to be got into a Noodle Incident that made him age. After all 300-700 is A LOT of shit to happen.
Yes, because Time Lords age slowly. 200 years on him doesn't show much aging, but throw in an extra 100 years and then another 300 years spent in a war zone on top of that and the aging accumulates.
It's also entirely possible that regularly being in the TARDIS halts (or heavily decreases) his aging while he's on his adventures. Eleven was away from his TARDIS for those 300 years, and one could easily imagine the War Doctor would have been away from his for extended periods of time while taking part in his battles.
Time Lords do age, just slowly. This was confirmed in The Leisure Hive from the classic series, in which the Fourth Doctor was (temporarily) aged by about five hundred years into an old man. That would roughly fit with the timeline in this episode.
I always figured regeneration energy could also be used to keep the body young. Eleven didn't have enough left to regenerate again, but he could keep his body young until he ran out.
Another possibility would be that Time Lords have some ability to control their aging — as River said she did in "Let's Kill Hitler". Maybe the Doctor simply did not care about aging anymore and let time take its toll. Come to think of it, the only times we have seen the Doctor age was either due to some external influence ("The Sound of Drums", "The Leisure Hive") or when he was involved in a war (Eighth Doctor, War Doctor, and Eleventh).
Eleven not being able to regenerate
Eleven mentioned a few times during his run about regenerating — he considered it during "Let's Kill Hitler" and threatened the Cybercontroller with it in "Nightmare in Silver" (OK, that might have been bluff). Not to mention the regeneration glow during "The Impossible Astronaut" (unless you consider that the death we saw was always the Teselecta's and never an actual death in an alternate timeline). He was also able to expand regeneration energy to heal River. So... when did he realise he could actually not regenerate anymore?
Time Lords don't actually "die" like humans. They actually do initiate a final regeneration, but the process kills them.
This would also explain how they turn into the swirly "scar tissue" that we saw in The Name of the Doctor.
In "Let's Kill Hitler", he was grasping at straws and probably a little bit delirious. "The Impossible Astronaut" was always the Teselecta for a number of reasons, and it was just projecting a hologram to look convincing. "The Angels Take Manhattan" is a good question, but it is possible that Time Lords still have some residual regeneration energy left in their bodies even after their final regeneration. Azmael was able to force himself into regenerating for a thirteenth time in "The Twin Dilemma" and, although the process could not be completed, it seems unlikely that it would be able to begin in the first place without as little spark.
It could also very well be that the voice interface telling him "regeneration disabled" was how he found out that Ten's aborted regeneration counted.
This could also explain why River got so angry at him about wasting regeneration energy to heal her. She knew just as well as he did that he was on his last life.
Could actually be a case of Fridge Horror (and Tearjerker): he just gave up in the end. He could have used River's gift, tried to have one more go, but by the end of the war he just didn't care anymore. He regenerates as normal, but then the war would have still kept going. If he just died it would all stop. The Doctor's been burned many times by You Can't Fight Fate. Except this time it nearly became fatal for him.
Regeneration generally makes more sense if you think of it as a pool of energy, rather than twelve discrete objects. The life expectancy in the UK is 80, but that doesn't mean everyone lives to exactly 80 — likewise, a Time Lord has enough energy for 12 regenerations, more or less. But that energy can be replenished, it can be siphoned off, and the moment you regenerate for the twelfth time doesn't necessarily empty you entirely. Some prudent, healthy, boring Time Lords might have reached fourteen or fifteen faces.
So the 11th Doctor is actually the 13th. Fine, that makes sense with what we already knew. Except... in The Impossible Astronaut, the Doctor started to regenerate after being shot (it was stopped, but still). Unless Time Lords release regenerative energy when they die the last time, how exactly can these two facts be reconciled? The most obvious explanation is just that Moffat wrote whatever was more dramatic at the time, but that's decidedly unsatisfying.
Maybe there's still regeneration energy left over (since the Metacrisis wasn't a 100% complete regeneration like the others) and it's an automated response. Not enough to enact a full regeneration but Kovarian et al didn't want to take the chance just in case?
And the Doctor would have then expanded this leftover energy to heal River in The Angels Take Manhattan. Or we never saw the Doctor getting killed in Lake Silencio and it always was the Tesselecta as mentioned below (it's left unclear whether the events in The Impossible Astronaut are an alternate timeline where the Doctor does get killed or if it already is the events from The Wedding of River Song).
^ It was always the Teselecta. It was a fixed point in time, so it had to happen the way that it always happens, and we have the post-Byzantium River Song who appears in "The Wedding of River Song" as a testament to that, because she knew that the Doctor faked his death there, and she would have been the River that we met in "the Impossible Astronaut". So yes, it was just a light show put on by the Teselecta every time.
In "The Impossible Astronaut" it wasn't the Doctor. It was the Tesselector putting on a light show. The Doctor's actual ability to regenerate was irrelevant to that, all that mattered was the Tesselector faking his death in a convincing way (shot in the middle of regeneration).
If we assume that the Kovarian Chapter doesn't know of the War Doctor and/or the meta-crisis (and while they could know about the latter, they definitely don't know about the former, since the Time War is time locked and information on it is scarce), it all makes sense. The Doctor knew he didn't have a regeneration left, but his enemies didn't, so he put on a show for them.
Minor point, but he's actually the 12th. It's just that he's the result of 12 regenerations. 10's regeneration with the same face doesn't count as a different doctor I don't think.
Ten might not count as two regenerations, but the Metacrisis Doctor probably counts as the "true" twelfth incarnation.
So even though Eleven clearly met a future incarnation of himself at the end of The Day of the Doctor (played by Tom Baker), he still believed that he was on his last life and that there was no chance of another regeneration cycle?
The Doctor's memories get wiggly when there's more than one of him present (after they go their separate ways, that is). He literally might not have remembered that Twelve was there, or thought he was Ten's lost regeneration or something else like that.
There's also the possiblity that the future version he met was just a hallucination he was projecting to give himself hope (Clara mentioning him could be part of it or tied into her merger with his timestream).
The Doctor knows better than anyone that the future is never set in stone. And after 300 years without any indication that he was going to find a way out this time, it is not very hard to imagine that he would start to lose hope and seriously consider the possibly that the Curator might just have been a temporal abnormality, and that the timeline he came from no longer existed.
The RTD era showed that Time Locks can be escaped from. And for all we know, the dimension they're stuck in could have a strange sense of time like the Divergent universe. Plus, unlike Caan, they had a crack to regular time and space available, and therefore had legroom.
As of Day of the Doctor, they AREN'T in a time-lock anymore, so anything from the RTD era is rendered moot. They're frozen in a painting (Cup-A-Soup!)
To add to that, we have seen that people who intentionally stasis lock themselves can be animate within the pocket universes that they are in - it is how the Zygons got out, as well as the three Doctors. In this case, the Time Lords just needed to know if it was safe to do so, which is why they sent out the Question
If the time lords can still function wouldn't Rassilon have destroyed all of time and space by now?
^ Since Rassilon was last seen being killed by the Master, it seems unlikely.
Isn't Rassilon immortal, and even if the Master killed Rassilon, wouldn't the Master destroy all of reality instead?
The Master's desire seems to be to rule the universe, not to destroy it. That's possibly one of the reasons why he attacks Rassilon, as he most likely doesn't agree with Rassilon's plan.
The special indicated that the Master was okay with the plan, he just hated being excluded.
I am fairly certain after the high council not only initiated plan Apocalypse but FAILED at it (evil is one thing, incompitence is quite another), Galifrey had a military coup. Rassilon is probably beck in his tomb in the Death Zone by now.
Or maybe Rassilon regenerated after the Master attacked him, and his new incarnation thought his previous self's crackpot Final Sanction scheme was a monumentally-bad idea. Likewise for the Master, if they killed each other.
The question of how the Time Lords could get around a time problem just seems silly to me. They're the TIME LORDS. They INVENTED time travel. They just fought a war that involved the use of alterations to time as a weapon. If they didn't have a way to stretch the observable 10~ seconds Stasis Locked people have into usable time, then they wouldn't be who they are.
Not if they keep trying to use those 10 seconds to break a Time Lock that isn't really a Time Lock, they couldn't.
Weeping Angels on Trenzalore
How did the Weeping Angels get to Trenzalore? They don't have spaceships. Did they all just close their eyes and one zapped them over there (although wouldn't the shield have stopped that?)
It's never entirely clear how they get anywhere. We see one stowing away on a ship in The Time of Angels, but that's just to crash it. How they were on Alfava Metraxis to begin with, or how they've gotten to earth on the occasions they've appeared there is unknown. Considering what we've been told about them however, that they are "creatures of the abstract" and that anything that holds the image of one becomes one, we can probably surmise that they are not so much physical beings as some sort of sentient concept.
What we know about the Weeping Angels is that they are ideas which take on a life of their own. In other words, they are embodied memes. The Silence Prophecy might have created these Weeping Angels which were present at Trenzalore. If not, well, they certainly don't seem susceptible to physical damage and have at least once survived a spaceship crash. Force fields might block energy, but as we saw on Smith and Jones, it didn't prevent the Judoon from simply stepping through. So the Weeping Angels could have originated there, crashed a ship, or even just taken a space dive to the surface while no one was watching. Their placement would suggest the latter two instead of a more intriguing former explanation. Only the Church Militant was considered the first to arrive, making these explanations dubious. So my inclination is to believe that SM didn't really put that much thought into it. Forget the backstory: they were there for a cameo.
Also, there's a line where the Doctor says something to the effect of "maybe they got here before the Church Militant put up the force field".
Maybe one of the besieging ships caught on that the force field lets ordinary light through — it must, else the surface would've been completely dark — and used powerful projectors to send images of Weeping Angels down to the planet as a covert attack. The images, cast onto the clean white surfaces of snowdrifts, then became actual Weeping Angels.
In an expanded universe book, it has accounts of Weeping Angels blocking out the light of a sun on a planet in order to plunge it into darkness, so they can probably just fly throughout the universe with their wings and don't need a spaceship.
Why does Clara remember the Silent when she sees it a second time, rather than "meeting" it all over again?
They were always portrayed that way. Back when Amy saw one for the second time, she actually wondered how she could have forgotten the first one.
Why didn't Clara kill the Silent? She was on orders to, after all — "You should kill us all on sight."
It's entirely possible that one of Clara's duplicates was there, just off-camera, when the "kill us on sight" comment was originally made by the Silent whose remarks were incorporated into the recording. Hearing its remarks in their original context could have negated the impact of hearing them on the Neil Armstrong tape.
Also, Clara didn't have any means to kill it at the time. She's stark naked and completely unarmed. Heck, maybe the need to stop people from killing the Silents on sight is why you can't go to Church in your clothes.
Starting the TARDIS
The Eleventh Doctor starts the TARDIS before regenerating (fully) but he knows this isn't a good idea (from the End of Time)?
Fridge Brilliance: Regeneration is a dodgy process, and can fail. And Eleven was actually on his final life, getting another one is a fairly unique circumstance, so he might have suspected it wouldn't work and he would die. And what would happen if he did? Exactly what was "supposed" to happen before the Time Lords changed the future; the Doctor dies on Trenzalore, his body becomes a scar in time, the Tardis becomes his tomb. It would be a rather dark Plot Twist; he gets another set of regenerations from the Time Lords, uses the energy to defeat the Daleks, but then dies anyway and it turns out that was what was going to happen all along. By escaping Trenzalore before the regeneration takes full effect, he guarantees that the future has indeed been changed.
Leading off of that, perhaps he really thought the process would mess up, and did not want to strand Clara on another planet. Maybe he started the TARDIS, hoping it could make it to earth in case he died.
Starting the TARDIS before regenerating in the End of Time has nothing to do with the volatile regeneration that then happened. He's been seen to regenerate while the TARDIS is in flight during the classic series.
A case in point is the original transformation. Here are excerpts from the scripts- End of "The Tenth Planet": (To the familiar sound of dematerialisation, the Doctor's features change to those of a younger dark haired man.) Then in following episode, "The Power of the Daleks": TWO: Life depends on change — and renewal. BEN: (sarcastically) Oh so that's it, you've been renewed have ya? TWO: (taking Ben's remark seriously) I've been renewed have I? That's it, I've been renewed! It's part of the TARDIS - without it, I couldn't survive.
Just to point out, it isn't that unique a circumstance. The Classic series showed the Master getting a new set of regenerations at least once and even New Who stated The Master being brought back with the implication being he got another new set. So the Doctor knew it was possible and that it would likely work.
Considering how he just diverted the spillover energy from his regeneration into blasting the Dalek ship, he probably wasn't too worried about overloading, afterwards.
The Doctor changing his timeline without causing a paradox
Throughout the series, we're repeatedly been told that the Doctor can't alter his own timeline, he can't change things that have already happened to him, as this would cause a paradox. In "The Wedding of River Song", such a paradox threatened to destroy the whole universe. But in this episode, The Doctor changes his own timeline in a big way, seemingly without any consequences. He doesn't die on Trenzalore, so the body of the Doctor and the giant Tardis seen in The Name of The Doctor aren't there either, meaning the events of that episode are now a paradox. And since The Great Intelligence and Clara can't jump inside the Doctor's body, the whole "impossible girl" story arc of the previous season is, well, impossible, which means the Doctor would never have even met Clara, and Clara would never have been there to save him, etc etc. This is a major paradox, and according to the time travel rules established in the series, there should be some major consequences. So why aren't there any? At the very least, the Reapers should appear to fix the paradox, but they don't... Why?
Because the Doctor doesn't change the timeline at all. The change comes from precisely two sources: Clara, whose actions create a paradox because she knows what is to happen so falls under fixed point rules, and the Time Lords, who are established to be able to tell the laws of time and the Reapers to stuff it if they see fit. Apparently this being able to tell the laws of time to stuff it includes smoothing over paradoxes - or just getting everything to ignore the paradoxes, which may be a part of why and how the time war had been beginning to tear the universe asunder.
How exactly can the Time Lords "smooth over paradoxes"? Especially since they are trapped in another universe? All we see them do is grant the Doctor a new set of regenerations, there's no implication they're doing anything else. Also, even if the Doctor isn't technically altering his own past, the Time Lords and Clara are. Clara ask the Time Lords to help the Doctor, and they do so, but that means the "impossible girl" plot never happens, meaning Clara never meets the Doctor, so she isn't there in The Day of the Doctor to stop the three Doctors from destroying Gallifrey, which means the Time Lords aren't behing the time rupture seen in this episode, which means the plot of the episode never happened... So Clara and the Time Lords aren't just changing the Doctor's timeline, they're also causing events that change their own past in a way that causes a huge paradox. Can the Time Lords really do that? As far as I know, it's never been established they can. But if they can, why can't the Doctor too change his own timeline and just "smooth over" the paradox? He's a Time Lord too.
The Master didn't do anything in those episodes that changed HIS past. He merely changed *Earth's* past by using the paradox machine to let the humans from the far future kill their ancestors. He's not human. The Doctor would never be able to change his OWN past/future with a paradox machine. The reason the Time Lords were able to is because they were not part of his timestream. Plus, it's possible that the Doctor may eventually Trick Out Time by creating a facsimile of the bad future on Trenzalore to preserve history.
Its best to think of the Reapers as being just Early-Installment Weirdness for the first season of the revival, everything since (and previously in the classic series) has contradicted them. For the Paradox Machine the Master had to MacGuyver the TARDIS into one because that was all the Time Lord tech he had access to. Presumably the other Time Lords on Gallifrey had access to the purpose built real things.
Okay, but if the Time Lords and the Master can smooth over paradoxes, why can't the Doctor? If the TARDIS can be used to change you own past while still avoiding paradoxes, why hasn't the Doctor done so in the numerous cases it would've been extremely useful? Like in "The Wedding of River Song", where the paradox was about to destroy the universe? Or in "The End of Time", where he could've saved Wilfred without having to sacrifice himself? Or in "The Girl in the Fireplace", where he could've taken Madame de Pompadour with him? Why does the Doctor keep saying he can't alter his own timeline, if this "rule" is something a Time Lord with a TARDIS can easily break?
The Doctor doesn't want a paradox machine, he wants his TARDIS. Once he turns it into a paradox machine, he can no longer travel. Also, he was horrified when he saw what the Master did to his TARDIS, and isn't likely to do it himself.
The Time Lords, like the Daleks, are impressive and godlike not due to biological abilities, which are only moderate at best; they are godlike because of their technology, intelligence, and expertise. As brilliant as the Doctor is, he ran away after gazing into the Untempered Schism, so he doesn't have any specialized engineering knowledge (as would be necessary to make truly impressive time lord tech, such as making TARDI Ses or paradox machines from scratch) beyond the basics any Academy grad would have (i.e., enough to maintain and deduce how to jerry-rig in an emergency), and Sexy/The TARDIS isn't much better, being explicitly a jalopy compared to the Galifreyan technological standard. The Doctor could deal with paradoxes if he happened to have a paradox machine handy, but he doesn't know how to make one from scratch, would need to scrap his beloved TARDIS for parts to jerry-rig one, and would need a decent amount of time to do so (meaning he couldn't do it on a whim or in a short enough time to be helpful). The Time Lords, on the other hand, have warehouses of spare parts and the R&D division that made Sexy obsolete in the first place; The Master has the ruthlessness to be willing to use Sexy for spare jerry-rigging parts.
The simplest explanation is that the Doctor can't change his future/past, but someone outside his "time stream" can. The Doctor changed — saved — billions upon billions of lives throughout his life by altering the future. Now, at the end of his life, the Time Lords — the people he spent all his life running away from, and who treated him with contempt at best, outright hostility at best — altered his. If that's not a Crowning Momentof Heartwarming, I'm not sure what is!
There's actually a simpler answer than that. It may have been the Eleventh Doctor's time to die, but not necessarily the Doctor's time. Thus, he may remember that for Clara to stop the Great Intelligence, he will have to eventually recreate the scene there at future!Trenzalore when it's his final time to go.
Or that the residents of Christmas will build the graveyard for their own fallen, and the Doctor will opt to return there when he reaches the actual end of his life, to die in a place that was like home to him for 300+ years.
Ah, the reapers. Every time a paradox emerges, someone mentions Father's Day. But there's a neat little way to explain this one: When the 9th Doctor explains the reapers, he specifically says that the Time Lords used to keep them in check. And the Time Lords are present in this episode, via the crack in the universe. So perhaps, in addition to providing the Doctor with a new set of regenerations, they also did some sort of timey-wimey anti-paradox thing which allowed the universe to change in the way it did.
Even in "Father's Day", the Doctor says that once he had the TARDIS back, he'd be able to fix the situation and get rid of the Reapers, while leaving Rose's father still alive. He would have been able to leave a paradox in place without destroying the universe/planet/wedding.
And who's to say there is a paradox to begin with? As long as the Doctor eventually goes back to Trenzalore to die, it doesn't matter if it's the 11th or 111th version of him. The only change would be that the interlopers in his time stream would be able to see "future" incarnations too, but those could be blocked in the same way the War Doctor was blocked (however it was done).
Asking Clara if she knows how to fly the TARDIS
You could say the 12th Doctor forgot how to fly the TARDIS due to his regeneration. However, then you have to consider how long the 11th Doctor was on Trenzalore. It's entirely possible that he naturally forgot over time but didn't bring it up until he regenerated. Another possibility is that he knows he's about to pass out for hours like Ten did and wants to make sure Clara is okay while he won't be able to fly it.
You could indeed say that he has forgotten. He's been using a zip-drive kind of navigation and hasn't flown the TARDIS manually since first arriving at Christmas 300 years ago. However, this may not be the only factor. He's experienced two sorts of perceptual shifts within a matter of minutes: hallucinating Amelia/Amy and noticing the color of his kidneys. He may feel that his abilities are impaired for a combination of reasons, also including the possibility that he may experience some downtime as Ten did. The question he poses Clara may likewise be a face value request for information considering all these possibilities. Thus, asking if she knows how to fly the TARDIS might just be assessment of the current risk. He hasn't had any time to learn if she's picked up any information from Tasha Lem or even Sexy herself. Furthermore, it may even be a successful attempt to instill a teachable moment with cognitive dissonance, as any good teacher would do. Clara's mind is certainly now primed to learn about flying the TARDIS, whether or not it is the Doctor's intent. I interpret the Doctor's line of reasoning as a completely logical reaction to uncertainty.
That, or it's got something to do with his new regeneration cycle. Maybe the Doctor as a personality starts completely anew and therefore he has to relearn many things, among them flying the TARDIS (something he was never very good at to begin with). Or number 12 is simply "blessed" with the same preference for amnesia as number 8.
There's nothing new about the Doctor's memories being temporarily disrupted by a regeneration. Four, for example, didn't even recognize Sarah Jane or the Brigadier when he first met them.
Not only that, but he's been known to run off at the mouth too. So he may indeed just be addled.
The Doctor once mentionned that he threw the TARDIS' manual in a black hole because he disagreed with it, and River stated that, in fact, he doesn't know how to fly it properly (leaving the brakes on). So it's fair to assume that the Doctor doesn't really know how to fly the TARDIS, but barely manage. Maybe 12th is a "by the book" kind of guy and he acknowledge his lack of TARDIS piloting skills
On the Doctor's -ahem- physical attributes
With the Doctor appearing naked in front of Clara's family, anyone who has ever wondered if the Doctor has alien privates (he's not human after all, two hearts) has an answer. Clara's family would have noticed if they looked any different from human nethers.
Nothing's proven unless it's explicit. The "would have noticed" reasoning could have been erroneously applied to Twelve's appearance at Gallifrey - and yet the Doctor assumed he would have no more regenerations. In this case, there are other explanations, such as a trained aversion on the part of Clara's family against staring directly at his organs while at the dinner table. Time Lords might also have a "low level perception filter" where their genitals are concerned. Now if the incident had taken place in the presence of a Truth Field, we might have more information....
Grandma seemed very happy to look and very pleased at what she was looking at.
There have been a few times the Doctor has been in the hands of humans who didn't know he was an alien and they noticed nothing odd. The Third Doctor, in his first adventure, passes out and awakens in a hospital; he's wearing a gown, so some human must have undressed him. The Seventh Doctor also died on a human operating table and was sent to the morgue wearing nothing but a shroud. All in all it seems that Time Lords look human all over.
Sending a message everyone can decipher
The Time Lords' plan fails because all the races opposed to them receive their message and understand it's them behind it. Shouldn't the Time Lords have figured out that alerting their enemies in such a way would be a bad move? Surely they could have used a special frequency, a special language, or some other method that would've ensured only the Doctor would receive the message, since he's the only person they're trying to reach?
Not everyone could decipher it. They only understood it and took action because the Doctor used Handles and the Seal of the High Council to do so. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero.
The other races didn't know the exact words of the message, but they understood the Time Lords were behind it, thus finding out that Gallifrey hadn't been destroyed in Time War after all. That's why all the ships were surrounding the planet even before the Doctor deciphered the meaning of the message. So the question is, why did Time Lords gave away their position to all their sworn enemies, when the Doctor was the only one they were trying to reach?
^ The other races did not know that the Time Lords were behind it. They came to Trenzalore to investigate the message, but they did not learn of its significance until after the Doctor translated it.
If it was just a random message of unknown origin, why did the other races send massive warships to investigate it? And why did the Papal Mainframe feel the need to shield the whole planet? It certainly seemed like all the races knew the Time Lords were behind the message, what else would justify such drastic measures?
The message also reportedly induced fear in any and all races that heard it (including, presumably, races like Daleks and Cybermen that can't usually feel that.) Was that really necessary, if they didn't want an army turning up?
^ It was never stated how intentional the feeling of dread that accompanied the message was. For all we know, it could have just been a temporal side-effect like the "bad dreams" in "The End of Time".
The various forces could have been worried about a message of this capacity being sent, so sent armies in case.
As soon as an aggressor race like the Daleks expressed an interest in the message, all the others had to send warships to investigate, because they didn't want to look vulnerable to such hostile rivals. Nor could they afford to send no one, in case the message turned out to be of benefit to said rivals.
Killing the Silence
So, most of the Silence "confessor priests" were okay guys, just a little misguided. Unfortunately, the command to kill them all doesn't know that. They probably countermanded that, but still, how many innocent priests were killed before they deprogrammed all of humanity?
The command to kill Silence is embedded in the footage of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landing on the moon. Personally, I think it's safe to say that the confessional priests were engineered far enough into the future to assume that not many people are going to see that footage. Some perhaps, but not everyone.
By that era, assuming the footage even still exists, it's probably been digitally upgraded and converted between formats enough times to have inadvertently neutralized the Silence's command.
But Clara is not from the distant future. Sure, she wasn't alive when it happened and she's not American, so it is possible she just never cared enough to see it, but it still seems odd.
Clara didn't have the means to kill them at the time (being naked and all), so even if she did carry the "should kill us" command in her subconscious, it wouldn't have made much difference.
Indeed. Post-hypnotic suggestion, which we now know is an artificial trait, could function similarly to the Saturnynian's perception filters in "The Vampires of Venice", wherein "self-preservation overrode the mirage" and the vampires' teeth became visible because the subconscious was trying to alert the brain of the threat. It is possible that the priests' post-hypnotic suggestion was engineered with such a safeguard that prevents it from being used in a way that would force the target to harm themselves.
It's perfectly possible to have never seen this footage. Apart from that, describing the Silence as innocent priests seems a little harmless, as above mentioned. They do indeed sound more like interrogators and/or spies, that the Kovarian sect used to infiltrate Earth.
Considering that one of them murdered at least one innocent woman for what appears to have been no reason whatsoever in "The Impossible Astronaut", assist in the kidnapping of another woman and raise her newborn child to become an assassin, describing them as 'innocent' seems a bit questionable. At the very least, they have rather dodgy ethics.
That was from a splinter sect, it doesn't mean all the Silents are like this. Maybe the ones that joined Kovarian were the most ruthless, joining because they were acting too ruthlessly for the Church.
If I recall correctly, it was said in "Day of the Moon" that information concerning the Silents had to be periodically refreshed in order to remain active (which would explain why Kovarian and the Clerics have never tried to kill the Silents either despite standing right next to them), so maybe Clara just hasn't watched the moon landing in a long time.
The Papal Mainframe probably sent back a clean up force to about the year 1970 to find and edit the copies of the footage. They clearly have the technology and done carefully no one would notice a thing.
Time Lords can make cracks?
The Time Lords can crack open the Universe juuuuust enough to send things through, say a new batch of regenerations for the Doctor, but they can't send through anything else? Say, themselves? Also, did they blow up somebody's TARDIS for that? Can't doing that destroy a universe?
Madame Kovarian's branch of the Papal Mainframe blew up the TARDIS, not the Time Lords. Thus, they created exactly the problem (cracks in the universe that people can enter through) that they were trying to prevent.
The Doctor explains this. The cracks in the universe were healed, but they left behind scars, places where the universe is weaker than normal. Anyone trying to break through into the universe from outside it, would naturally use those weak points.
The original question doesn't refer to the crack on Trenzalore, which the Doctor indeed explains. But after the Time Lords close (how did they do that, by the way?) the original crack, they're somehow able to open a new one one far away from it, and send regeneration energy through the new crack.
The crack should have closed but the Time Lords were keeping it open for a way to return.
Failing to Answer
What happened to "Where no living being can fail to answer"?
With a truth field in effect, you must truthfully answer any question that is asked of you directly, but not every question you hear (as evidenced by the fact that the Trenzalorean man near the beginning does not answer the question that his wife asked the Doctor and Clara). I mean, could you imagine how tedious it would be if everybody was forced to answer every question they ever overheard? How unbearable would school classes be? Since the Doctor was not directly asked the Question (it was being transmitted everywhere), he could not have failed to answer it because technically, he was not being asked the Question. Now, if he were to have said something like "Yes, yes, I'm here," then the Time Lords probably would have taken that moment to properly ask him the Question. Regardless of that, however, the Question is answered - by Clara. It is important to note, after all, that the prophecy never said who would answer the Question.
"Where no living being can fail to answer" wasn't prophecy, but rather the opinion of the Kovarian branch of the Church. They believed that sooner or later, the situation would reach the point where the Doctor would answer the Question and bring back the Time Lords. That belief is why they attempted to stop him from ever reaching Trenzalore.
Regeneration energy destruction
Why is regeneration energy suddenly powerful enough to bring down a Dalek Saucer?
Because the Time Lords have given it so the Doctor can survive.
I imagine getting a whole new regeneration cycle might cause a bit of a stronger reaction than just a simple regeneration. It's like the regeneration cycle itself was regenerating.
Also, the Time Lords beyond the Crack knew the Doctor would turn that energy against the Daleks, and were hardly going to pass up the chance for some payback.
Remember how destructive Ten's regeneration was after holding it back for so long? Eleven was holding it back for an exponentially longer time.
Also, given that a Time Lord's final death is basically an auto-aborted regeneration, the same thing would have happened if the Doctor had willed his thirteenth regeneration before his new cycle and died.
Tasha Lem and the TARDIS
When did Tasha Lem learn how to pilot the TARDIS (apart from the obvious WMG that she's some avatar of River Song) and where does she go after dropping Clara in Christmas ?
In the past, one imagines. She's clearly well acquainted with the Doctor. As for where she went after, she went back to the Papal Mainframe.
Enemies of the town
Why exactly did the Daleks, Sontarans, and Cybermen fight so hard to gain control of Christmas? The Doctor and the Silence fought to keep the Doctor's name from bringing back the Time Lords. Why were so many armies fighting against them?
They were all acting out of "pure, unadulterated dread." None of them wanted the Time Lords to return.
But the Doctor and the Silence wanted the same thing, so why were they fighting?
^ The Silence and the Doctor were not fighting. They were allies. The Mainframe helped the Doctor defend Christmas so that he would not be forced to reveal his name and release the Time Lords, thereby reigniting the Time War. Later on, Kovarian led a Renegade Splinter Faction of extremists that became dedicated to killing the Doctor before he could go to Trenzalore, but that was only a section of the Mainframe that broke away. The majority of them continued to fight alongside the Doctor.
The Silence and the Doctor were fighting with the rest of the bad guys because the Silence and the Doctor wanted to save the lives of as many people in Christmas as possible, but the bad guys want to destroy the planet in an attempt to either destroy the Time Lords' potential access to this universe, or to make it inaccessible. (Note that the various Evils probably don't actuallyknow that a crack in the walls of reality are the source of the message, only that the message is coming from somewhere down on that planet, in that village, at least until they get access to the memories of the head of the Church....)
Lies in front of the crack
An elderly Doctor told the guy who came into the tower that he, the Doctor, had a plan. He then told Clara that he didn't have a plan — it's just that saying he does placates the townsfolk. Pretty impressive trick, considering that this is a place where no one can lie.
The plan was to make up a plan.
Rule number one: the Doctor lies. Even when he can't, apparently.
Maybe his plan was to wing it.
The Doctor does have a plan. "Talk a lot. Hope something happens. Take the credit." That's his plan. Technically he's telling the truth, but it's a lie in spirit because he knows that that particular plan would not ease the nerves of the locals.
Same way he tricks the wooden cyberman. Misdirection.
I assumed that his plan was to die. He had seen his future on Trenzalore and didn't think that he could fight it, but saying "I'mma walk up to the top of the clock tower and let the Daleks have at me" isn't very inspiring, so he didn't explain that to Not-Barnable.
But even in that case, him telling Clara that he didn't have a plan would be a lie. Ultimately, maybe he had a plan, maybe he didn't, but given that he said he did AND said he didn't, he must've lied, unless the "plan" was in flux.
It's pretty clear his memory isn't what it was. Possibly he did have a plan when he spoke to Not-Barnable, then immediately forgot about it in time to tell Clara he didn't have one.
He only said he had a plan, he didn't specify what the plan was about. Maybe he had a plan to stay there in the tower for the next few minutes.
Is it ever actually said what's emitting the Truth field? I assumed it was part of the town and was destroyed at some point during the siege.
It's not stated outright, but it's implied to be the Time Lords through the crack. The Doctor notes that the point of the truth field is to make sure that whoever says "I am [Doctor's real name]" is actually the Doctor. That's also why they weren't just asking "Is the Doctor there?" Lots of people in the universe can honestly answer "Yes, I'm the Doctor."
Return of the Time Lords
So...are the Time Lords back now? This was very unclear. If so there had better be some exploration of this right off the bat.
As I understood it, the implication when the big crack in the sky closed was that the Time Lords are still locked away, this particular opening for them is closed off, and the Doctor will have to find another way to restore them. They were able to restore the Doctor's regenerative cycle through the crack, but that's pretty much it.
If the Silents were genetically engineered as priests by the Papal Mainframe, why did they need to conquer Earth just to get a spacesuit? Shouldn't their creators have been advanced enough to get one themselves?
Yes, they would have been advanced enough, but the problem is what the Doctor describes in the episode as "the destiny trap," saying, "you can't change history if you're part of it." Since the Silents were responsible for guiding humanity's evolution to the point of them developing a spacesuit, they were ingrained in history and had to abide by it. The Silents could not have just used a suit from the future because then they would have never gone back and influenced humanity to develop space travel in the first place and would have created a paradox, because without space travel, the Silents would not have even come to be and there would be no future spacesuit for them to use. Also, the Silents call themselves the "sentinels of history." They treat time with respect, so waiting it out and slowly molding human society in a way as natural as possible would probably be preferable, from a temporal stability standpoint, to a sudden infiltration or an outright invasion. Logically, they could avoid making too many drastic changes to history if they just operated quietly from behind the scenes, and it wasn't as if they had a deadline, so why not put forth the effort to be meticulous?
Also they wanted that particular spacesuit. They were crafting a fixed-point in time, so they were working to create as exact a set of circumstances as possible. Ergo, shaping history to align with the point they wanted to make. A suit from the future just wouldn't do.
Abandon the town
Why doesn't the Doctor just abandon Christmas? Let's retrace our steps: Why is everyone attacking Christmas in the first place? Well, because they want to stop the Time Lords from coming back. And how can the Time Lords come back? Only if the Doctor says his name. So really, the objective here is to kill the Doctor, isn't it? There's no particular reason to kill all these other townspeople. Considering that fact, why doesn't the doctor just leave? It seems to me that all his enemies would follow him, trying to kill him so he won't unleash the Time Lords. And then the people of Christmas will be safe in obscurity, won't they? The Doctor mentions that the bad guys want to burn Trenzalore to prevent the Time Lords from coming back, but what does it matter if Trenzalore is burned or not? The crack in the universe will still be there. In fact, the first time we ever saw a crack, the Doctor says that "If you knocked down the wall, the crack would still be there." In summary: The crack is important, but nobody can affect it (that we know of). The Doctor is important, but he can just run away on his own. The people of Christmas are not important. So why doesn't the Doctor just run away, and then his enemies will follow him and then the people of Christmas will be safe?
Even if the Doctor left, Trenzalore would still be surrounded by fleets of Daleks, Sontarans, and Cybermen. Once he left, they would likely descend to invade/upgrade/exterminate everyone on the planet.
But why would they do that? What would motivate them to kill these people, compared to anyone else in the galaxy?
Because these people are close by, and other people are farther away?
Do Daleks need a reason to kill people?
So why can't the Doctor or the Papal Mainframe evacuate the town/country/planet instead? Considering that the Doctor and his allies can hold the invaders off for literally hundreds of years, he'd have ample time to sneak people off the planet. He could have used the TARDIS to take them instead of just sending Clara away.
^The townsfolk may not have wanted to leave their home - which is a natural reaction, despite the obvious danger.
The thing is, they wouldn't be in obscurity. Everyone surrounded that planet in the first place because there was a signal that no one understood. All they knew was that it came from this planet, it brings fear, and we can't shut it off. They don't know that it comes from a crack (at first) and they don't know that the cracks are indestructible. If the Doctor ran, some would definitely follow him, but just as many would take their chance at closing the door on the Time Lords. Not to mention that signal would still be broadcasting. Forever. Everywhere. Without fail, with fear, and with no off switch. Remember the drumming in the Master's head? This would be a lot worse. Eventually they would attack and destroy the planet, if only in an attempt to make the transmission stop.
The Doctor leaving in his time and spaceship wouldn't actually solve their problem. There wouldn't really be anything stopping him from coming back a week before they arrived, or a thousand years after he left, or at any point in history when they weren't yet on the scene or were no longer there. They'd burn down the town, perhaps the entire planet, before finding out that wouldn't destroy the crack. Then they'd focus on actually trying to destroy the crack...and The Daleks have time travel technology and an utter contempt for any non-Dalek life in the universe. Better to stay and fend off the devil he knows than go and risk the devil he doesn't.
They're probably also concerned that, given the stakes, the Doctor might have written down his name and locked it away in a place that the mayor of Christmas can access in a pinch. That way, even if one of the besieging forces' sneak attacks kill or disable him, the residents could still hold the threat of reading his name over the looming battle-fleets. (The truth-field might not actually allow this, and the Crack might not accept such information from anyone but the Doctor, but the besiegers wouldn't want to bet on that.) In which case, the attackers would have to destroy the town and everyone in it, even if the Doctor left: they're suppressing the knowledge of what the Doctor's name is, not just the Doctor himself.
If the Papal Mainframe is protecting Christmas, why don't they station a few thousand troops down there? They've got a working teleporter, after all. But it seems like the Doctor is on his own until the final battle. (Granted, the mainframe ship launches Death from Above once in awhile. But it seems like they could do more.)
For the first three hundred years, it was a cold war, with no one daring to be the first to make an attempt at invading. They'd test the boundaries, send in single agents, etc, but everyone knew that once one group made a move, everyone else would respond and full-scale conflict would ensue between the parties. The Doctor snuck in, and no one knew the Papal Mainframe was involved in sneaking him in, they just assumed he showed up on his own like always; sending in troops would have made it obvious they were breaking the uneasy truce. Once the conflict actually broke out and the shield protecting Christmas was weakened, the Church did send down reinforcements right away.
Helping the Time Lords
When the Doctor first learns that the Time Lords want his help, he seems inclined to help them. But wouldn't that unleash Rasillon, and his crazy scheme to bring about the end of time itself? Wouldn't that unleash the Master, who was last seen wrestling Rasillon as the white-point-star thing stopped functioning? Maybe you should just leave the Time Lords where they are.
When we last saw Rassilon, he was being killed by the Heel-Face Turn-ed Master. If the Master decides to turn to evil again at a later date, then the Doctor will just have to cross that bridge when he comes to it. But containing one very manageable psychopath would not worth condemning the Time Lords to a life of being trapped in a pocket universe, which is a situation that they are in only because the Doctor put them there with the intention of saving them. And as for the other members of the High Council who supported Rassilon, they would not have any reason to attempt the Final Sanction anymore because their motivation for doing that was escaping the Time War. Since the Time War is not longer going on, the Time Lords would likely be able to revert back to their usual "lazy senator" ways.
It's true that the Final Sanction was developed during the last days of the Time War, but once they got out of the Time War via the white-point-star, they still wanted to go through with the plan. Once Gallifrey appeared next to earth, they were already free, so why go through with the Final Sanction? Because they're crazy. Or at least, I got that impression. In which case, releasing them into our universe is a bad idea, because they'll just try for the Final Sanction again. Right?
^ Had the Time Lords successfully towed Gallifrey out of the Time War, the entire War would have come with them, as the Doctor said. They still would have wanted to enact the Sanction in order to survive the constant warfare.
I assume that either the other Time Lords have already captured and locked up Rassilon and his followers + the Master, or that the Doctor has a plan for dealing with them right away once Gallifrey comes back. He's had a lot of time to think of one, after all.
And it's not just the Time Lords, remember; there are a bunch of non-Time Lord civilians including millions of children on Gallifrey waiting to come home.
The Papal Mainframe dedicates itself to ensuring the Doctor's silence. So why don't they do anything that would, ya know, ensure his silence? They leave him there on the planet for 300 years, giving him plenty of opportunity to speak his name if he ever decides to do so. Why take that risk? Why don't you beam him back up to the mainframe and put a gag on him, so he can't speak? And if you still want to protect Christmas in the meantime, just send an army down there.
The Papal Mainframe's method of maintaining the Doctor's silence was to help the Doctor fend off the invading forces so that he would not have to speak his name. That way, they were able to maintain his silence and protect the town that was directly in the line of fire. Plus, Tasha clearly knows the Doctor well. She would probably be expecting him to think up something clever in order to escape; he already tricked them earlier on with the "key in the quiff" routine.
The Doctor pointed out repeatedly that it would only take a moment for him to say his name. Even the daleks exterminating him point-blank might not be enough to stop him. Noone was willing to take the risk that his dying breath would doom them.
Sending Clara Away
The Doctor sends Clara away because all hell is going to break loose. But hell doesn't break loose for a good 300 years, because he manages to keep everyone in stalemate. Did he really need to send Clara away, then?
The Doctor did not know that he would be protecting the town for 300 years (the TARDIS only took as long as it did because Clara grabbed onto it at the last second), but he still wanted to get her away from the very tense and volatile situation that he was in the middle of, just as he usually does when it comes to his companions ("The Parting of the Ways" being an example).
Sending Everyone else Away
If the Doctor thinks that the situation is so dangerous that Clara needs to be sent away, why doesn't he send everyone away? Tell the whole town to pile into the TARDIS (I'm sure there's room), and send them to some other planet where they won't be bothered. The bad guys don't care about the townspeople; they just want the crack and the Doctor.
He would have had to evacuate the entire planet. He said that the enemy races would burn the whole world just to kill any possibility of the Time Lords returning. And it only makes it harder since he had seen the outcome of a dead and burnt world when he came to Trenzalore before.
I was under the impression that Christmas was the only town on the whole planet. Otherwise, you'd think we'd hear about all the other towns that died because the Doctor wasn't there to protect them. (He can't be everywhere at once.)
^ The episode does not state that Christmas is the only town on Trenzalore. The planet is a human colony world, as explained by Tasha Lem. And as for other towns being attacked, there was no immediate need for the alien races to do so, because the Doctor and the crack were located in Christmas. However, the races were scared enough to burn the whole planet as long as it meant that the Time Lords would stay gone.
Most of them probably don't want to leave; it's their home, after all.
Bringing back the Time Lords
Does the Doctor want to bring the Time Lords back, or not? If he does want to bring them back, he can just say his name and do it. If doesn't want to bring them back, then actually he wants the same thing as his enemies. And if he wants the same thing as his enemies, you'd think that maybe they'd stop giving him reasons to change his mind. After a century or so, you'd think that the bad guys would say to each other: "Hey, the Doctor hasn't unleashed the Time Lords after all these years. Maybe he doesn't want to unleash the Time Lords. Maybe we have nothing to worry about. And maybe we should stop attacking Christmas. Because obviously, if we kill all these people that he cares about, then he might unleash the Time Lords just to spite us. Maybe, if we all just walk away from this, everything will be fine." Why does nobody think of this?
The Doctor wants to bring them back. He saved them for a reason, and he supported their return by saying that the would come in peace. But he cannot just say his name and bring them back because, as Tasha explained, it would ignite Time War II.
So, in what circumstances would he actually bring them back? Seems like he will never bring them back, because that would just ignite Time War II.
^ I would imagine that he intends to bring it back when he believes that it is safe to do so.
The only reason he didn't bring them back was that that very planet was surrounded by all the strongest enemies of the Time Lords and other monsters besides.
Aware of what's happening
Are the Time Lords aware of what's happening on the other side of the crack? They must be, because otherwise they couldn't respond to Clara's plea for help. But if they're aware of things, why do they need to set up this whole big "Doctor Who?" message? The Doctor explains that the Time Lords sent this message so that he could tell them if things are safe. (His name apparently doubles as a codeword for "It's safe.") But if they're aware of things on the other side of the crack, why do they need the Doctor at all? You can see that there's nothing here except a sleepy little town, so just come on through! (And if they'd never sent that signal, they wouldn't have attracted a zillion bad guys!)
It is unclear as to how aware the Time Lords are of what is going on. The fact that they need to be told whether or not it is safe suggests that there awareness is limited. It could be that they can only hear what is transmitted back to them, be that via Clara speaking directly to the crack in time or the Doctor somehow transmitting his answer to the Question down from the Papal Mainframe.
Also, it wasn't explicit, but I got the impression that time wasn't moving as quickly for the Time Lords in their pocket universe as it was for the outside universe.
The Doctor strongly implies that he only needs to speak his name, anywhere in the universe, and the Time Lords will hear it and come back. He only has to say it, on the Mainframe ship, not transmit it in any other way. He stayed in Christmas so that he would know at the start of anyone messing with the town, rather than risk not learning of their destruction until after the fact.
When did he do that?
^ When he encountered the Daleks aboard the Papal Mainframe, however, he could have just been bluffing.
The Daleks knowing this is the Doctor's last incarnation
How exactly do the Daleks know the Doctor has used all of his regenerations? Okay, I guess it's possible some Daleks survived the Time War, so they might've relayed the info on the existence of the War Doctor, but all the Daleks who saw the metacrisis Doctor died soon afterwards, and it wasn't even obvious whether the metacrisis Doctor counted as a regeneration before the Doctor confirms it in this episode. On top of that, all the data the Daleks had on the Doctor was erased, and it seems they've only recently figured out again who he is. So how can they know about the War Doctor and the metacrisis Doctor, and how can they be so sure this is the final incarnation of him?
Maybe Tasha Lem knows it, and the Daleks managed to recover the information from her brain when they converted her.
More importantly, how do they remember who he is? Oswin!Clara deleted all information about him from history.
That was specifically explained. The Daleks said they forcibly extracted the information from Tasha Lem's corpse.
Touched by an Angel
A Weeping Angel manages to grab Clara's leg. Why doesn't it vworp her off to the past instantly (Angels are fast, remember)?
They may be in a weakened state similar to the one in Time of the Angels.
Merely making physical contact with a Weeping Angel does not automatically result in you being sent back in time. The transport is a conscious decision on the Angel's part; it is their preferred method of attack, but more importantly, it is how they feed. But the Angels in "The Time of Angels" opted to snap the Clerics' necks instead of sending them back in time because they were already feeding on the Byzantium's warp drive. If the simple act of touching an angel caused you to be sent back in time, then the Angels would not be able to snap peoples' necks at all. Compare it to being held at gunpoint - if you were to touch the gun, you would not automatically die. The gun's wielder has to actively pull the trigger and shoot you for that to happen. Also, there was an Angel in "The Angels Take Manhattan" that grabbed River by the wrist, but she was not sent back in time because the Angel in that instance was too weak.
The Angel may not have known how long ago humans colonized Trenzalore. If it was very recent, sending her back in time might only have stranded her on a not-yet-colonized, empty planet, in which case she'd most likely die in the wilderness rather than live out her years as a source of energy for the Angel.
Christmas stays the same for 300 years
The town of Christmas doesn't seem to advance or change in any real way during the Doctor's 300-year vigil. It'd probably be a pain to rebuild the set again and again, but is there a Watsonian explanation?
Christmas's culture isn't really delved into, but they may be some variety of Luddite/Amish/Transcendentalists. On top of that, the anti-tech ban would restrict any mechanical progress.
Yes. Since they're a human colony (they are called a "human colony" explicitly, so they're not just Human Aliens) in an era of space flight, they must being living simply on purpose. The name Christmas also points to this.
Constant warfare and siege are not exactly the best environments for advancement and progress, especially not when we're talking of a single small town that's isolated from everything else, no universities, no neighboring cities, no cargo shipsments... It's a wonder that the extant infrastructure kept standing for so long; Lots of it is probably owed to the Doctor and his sonic screwdriver.
Report back in "One Hour"
Before sending him to Trenzalore, Tasha orders the Doctor to report back to her in one hour - and makes it quite clear she'll be very angry if he doesn't. The next time they see each other (in person) is three hundred years later. Yet, for some reason Tasha never comments on the Doctor being late. Was this intentionally left open for a potential Capaldi episode?
I thought it was implied that they had regular meetings. That's how he gets his marshmallows.
She talked to him via the hologram and identified the planet as Trenzalore.
Clara's first reaction to Tasha in the TARDIS
Shouldn't she have been a bit more suspicious/frightened/freaked out initially? The last time she saw Tasha, there was a Dalek Eyestalk sticking out of her forehead. For that matter, is Tasha really free of Dalek control?
Although the last time that Clara saw Tasha, she also saw Tasha shoot up three Daleks and actively help her and the Doctor return to Trenzalore.
How long was The Doctor on Trenzalore?
People are saying 300 years, but that number was given the FIRST time Clara returned. When she was brought back a second time, because the Doctor was close to dying, he was MUCH older, implying that much time had passed. In addition, he thought the man he saw was Barnable, though he wasn't, implying this man was a descendant.
The impression I got was 300 years in the first timeskip and another 300 in the second, though I don't recall if that's stated.
It seems a new e-book came out about the war which says he was there 900 years. Definitely makes him the longest lived incarnation
If the Silents are part of the Church of the Papal Mainframe, why aren't Tasha and her subordinates wearing eyedrives?
We saw in The Wedding of River Song that the eyedrives were controlled by the Silents. It's likely that they were either made specifically for the Kovarian chapter or that the mainstream Church didn't want to put themselves under their control like that.
Why Can't the Doctor Speak Gallifreyan?
Even though apparently Handles does. The message is in Gallifreyan we are told by Handles apparently the Doctor no longer speaks with mother tongue and the Tardis translates every language except the one of the culture that built it.
It was encoded.
Indeed. Handles does not say that the message is in Gallifreyan. He says that it is of Gallifreyan origin, meaning that it is coming from Gallifrey. Not that it is spoken in Gallifreyan. It was a coded message, and Handles had to be input with the algorithm in the High Council Seal's atomic structure in order to decode it.
The Truth Field and the Question
Why is the Truth Field necessary at all? The question is "Doctor who?", which apparently is taken to mean "What is the Doctor's real name?" They are not asking "Are you the Doctor?" or "What is your name?" or "Is it safe to come out?" Giving a false answer to the Question would not cause the Time Lords to do anything that would harm them.
It has to do with implication. The Time Lords intended for the Doctor to use his name as a code word to let them know that it was safe to come through. They asked a question only he could answer because he was the only one that they could trust to tell them whether or not it was safe. The Doctor understood the meaning of the Question, so he knew that giving his name would be equivalent to confirming a clear path. Hence, if it wasn't safe, saying his name in order to confirm a clear path would have been untrue. It's basically the same thing as it would be if the Time Lords were asking a straightforward question, but as I said, they needed to ask a question that only the Doctor could know.
Moving the crack
Since the Time Lords apparently can close the crack in one place and move it elsewhere, why did they keep it still for centuries? I can buy that the flow of time probably isn't the same for them, but they can obviously hear what is said on the other side of the crack, and the Doctor probably spent a lot of time talking about this and that in front of it, without ever answering the question. You'd think that would be enough for the Time Lords to go, "This isn't working. Let's try somewhere else."
Probably the Time Lords didn't have full control over the crack, only just managing to keep it open. Moving it slightly was the best they could do.
Wait... why can't the Time Lords come back again?
So, let me see if I've got this right. All of the Doctor's enemies surround Trenzalore and attack the town of Christmas for three centuries to try to kill the Doctor, the only being capable of restoring the Time Lords. So far so good. Over the centuries, the Doctor and the Silence hold them off, and they fight each other as much as the Doctor, so that by the end of the episode, the only attackers remaining are the Daleks. Still so far so good. Then at Clara's urging the Time Lords give the Doctor a whole new set of regenerations, and apparently getting that much regeneration-juice all at once gives the Doctor some kind of shiny super-regeneration that blasts the Dalek mothership out of space. Okay, great. So... if the Time Lords could do that, why not just bring them back? The whole reasoning for keeping them sealed away was that if they came back, the Time War with the Daleks would start all over again, but didn't you just blow the Daleks out of the sky? The Daleks aren't a galaxy-ending threat any more, they're a ragged group of survivors that show up and rattle their spears once per season only to get sent packing by the Doctor again.
The Doctor destroyed only one ship and the Daleks' ground forces, not the entire fleet around the planet. The likelihood is that the fleet retreated when exactly what they were afraid of (the Doctor having a trick up his sleeve) turned out to be the case, but even if the Doctor had then let the Time Lords out, that fleet would still have been out there and war would have come eventually. And anyway, the Daleks are not, in fact, a "ragged group of survivors" anymore. Ever since "Victory of the Daleks", they have returned to their status as a universal power. They have a full parliament, and had been calling their ships from all over for the war on Trenzalore. They laid siege to the Papal Mainframe, who are meant to be a sort of "intergalactic U.N." And remember what was said in "The Last Day" - even one Dalek is enough to ruin a Gallifreyan city.
Assuming the Daleks are back to galactic-superpower strength only raises further questions. It's not like they're just going to sit on their... err... plunger-things. They're out there. Which is better: the civilized galaxy minus Gallifrey to oppose them, or the civilized galaxy PLUS Gallifrey to oppose them? Seems like war is going to happen whether Gallifrey is a part of it or not.
Probably so, but it's a choice between "Daleks killing people" and "Daleks and Time Lords going all out against each other and ripping the whole universe apart." Just Daleks can be dealt with. A full-on Time War cannot.
That doesn't make any sense. The Daleks are basically space-Nazis, yes? During WWII, did the U.S. or Russia say, "Well, all-out war would be more destructive than just sitting back and letting them have Europe, so let's use just enough force to keep them away from our own borders and leave it at that"? Or did they use all the force that was available to them to end the threat once and for all? And how much more death and destruction could the Nazis have caused in the long run if the former had been the case?