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Headscratchers: Doctor Who Series 1
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    The End of the World 
  • Jabe holds down the lever to make the giant fans go slower. First, is there no way to just turn the fans off? Second, she actually sacrifices her life to keep pulling this lever, but then after she dies the Doctor manages to get through the last fan anyway (albeit with difficulty). So was her sacrifice in vain? Third, wouldn't it make more sense for the Doctor to get around the fans by hanging off the side of the walkway and shuffling over? The fans weren't so close that they'd cut his fingers. And this way, he wouldn't need any lever-pulling to begin with.
    • For the first point, the fans are clearly controlling the cooling — and presumably the air flow — for the station; switch them off, and given the immense amount of heat that is building outside and is already getting in thanks to the 'no-shields' situation, the temperature will rise to incredibly dangerous levels incredibly quickly, the air will stop circulating, and everyone inside will either literally boil to death or suffocate, which isn't exactly an ideal situation. Presumably slowing them is a bit better than stopping them outright. Secondly, the question's already kind of answered by the fact that it's clearly difficult enough for the Doctor to do the 'fan-stepping' thing once with any great swiftness; since he clearly has to stop, focus and time his step exactly to cross every fan, and he's also on a rapidly diminishing timer, he doesn't really have time to do it for each fan — he only does it the once because he's out of options and because Jabe's sacrifice bought him enough time to get past the first two fans. As for the third, that's essentially asking him to inch across a very narrow platform over what is obviously a very large drop by his fingertips; not easy, not quick, and if he slips up once he falls to a very messy death and everyone dies.
  • Why does the Doctor execute Cassandra? (Yeah, technically he just "allows" her to die, but he set it up that way. She would've lived if he hadn't reverse-teleported her and then refused her life-sustaining moisturization. Also yes, I know that Cassandra doesn't actually die here, but the Doctor didn't know that.) I mean yeah, I get it, she was a murderer. But fast-forward to The Sound of Drums and you find that the Master is far far worse. Cassandra claims that she'd weasel her way out of a trial, but why can't the Doctor just lock her up personally? (That's what he planned to do to the Master, actually). The Doctor's only other justification is that "everything has to die sometime", i.e. Cassandra is over two thousand years old and she's lived long enough. But of course the Master is a Time Lord and he's plenty old himself. So why save the Master and not Cassandra?
    • The Ninth Doctor dealt with Cassandra, and the Tenth dealt with the master. Different Doctors, different standards of justice.
    • Hate to say it, but maybe the Doctor is prejudiced. Maybe he goes easy on the Master because the Master is a fellow Time Lord, and after the horrors of the Time War he wants to preserve as many Time Lords as possible, even the evil ones.
      • Also he and the Master are really close, even if you ignore the blatant Foe Yay.
    • Another issue is that when the Tenth tried to save the Master, he was lonely and desperate. Remember the line, "Now I've got somebody to care for." He could never do something like that with Cassandra.
    • As noted above, Nine and Ten are different Doctors with different standards; Nine is still jaded, bitter and war-scarred by this point, and so is dealing with his enemies more bluntly (particularly the cynically evil one like Cassandra) while Ten is a bit more mellow but his loneliness and isolation cuts deeper. There's also little equivalency since it's not just anyone he's saving, though; evil mass-murderer though he is, the Master is literally the only person by that point who will ensure that the Doctor is no longer the last Time Lord; he doesn't have the same connection to Cassandra.
    • I thought the Doctor DID know Cassandra would survive. Wasn't she a brain in a jar connected to a flesh based body? He could have known her skin would rupture, but her brain would survive and be arrested. Thus he knew he wouldn't be murdering her, just inconveniencing her.
  • Here's one. In "Trial of a Time Lord," the Sixth Doctor discovers that the Time Lords moved Earth halfway across the Universe, how were the Ninth Doctor and Rose able to watch its destruction several million years later?
    • They moved it back?
      • Think about it this way- if a rackety old Type 40 TARDIS like the Doctor's can move planets as long as it has six pilots, imagine what the Time Lord high council at the height of their power can do. It'd be ridiculously simple for them.
      • But that was only with the atmospheric shell that the Daleks had already used to protect it and the life on it when they moved it. When the Time Lords moved Earth, it wiped out almost all life on there.
      • Because they wanted it to; the whole point in that case was to wipe out Earth so as to protect their secrets. That particular High Council was a bit corrupt.
      • After they'd filled out the proper paperwork and skipped 3 times around the Fountain of Rassilon, naturally. Also, I'm pretty sure there's a hand-wave at the end of Trial here a Time Lord mentions they've fixed up all the wacky shenanigans their predecessors got up to.
    • Even if the Time Lords didn't restore Ravolox to its original position at the end of Trial of a Time Lord, the Time Lords had already been removed from history by the time the Ninth Doctor took Rose to witness the final destruction of the planet. There's no reason to think the events of the earlier story still happened.
    • The human race could force back the red giant sun's expansion and the planet's continents in the year 5 billion-moving the Earth back would be child's play in the eons to come.
  • At the climax of the episode, the Doctor and Jabe are trying to fix the shields, Rose is trapped in a locked room with a breaking sun-filter, and the rest of the guests and crew are in the main viewing room. But... the viewing room isn't locked, and Platform One is full of rooms that aren't directly in the line of fire for the exploding sun. So why don't they leave? The sun-filter was cracking, and they knew the Doctor was working to save them, so why stay in the room that was most at risk?
    • Well, who's to say they would be much better off if they moved? Wouldn't the sun just blow the whole station up? Ok, maybe they would have seconds, but they must have agreed that it wasn't much or something.

    The Unquiet Dead 
  • Why were the Gelth so stupid about their evil plan? The Doctor was willing to give them a new planet and help them make new bodies and yet they tried to kill him and everybody else on Earth. Now, that's evil but it's also really stupid because it was proven earlier that the Gelth could only possess a corpse for a short time. If they killed everyone on Earth then they could only have bodies for a short while. Letting the Doctor help would only be in their self-interest.
    • What proved that they could only inhabit one for a short time? When did that happen?
    • Not to mention, its Time Lords like the Doctor who caused them to be formless in the first place. If I was a Gelth, I'd be untrustworthy of them.
      • That was the reason that the Gelth kept possessing corpses and then later being forced to abandon them and the undertaker could take them back.
      • I'm pretty sure that was the gas lamps sucking them out because they were gas creatures. Not to mention, weren't they partially trapped behind the Rift, too before Gwyneth let them out?

    Aliens of London/World War Three 
  • The Slitheen gathered and murdered all of the experts on aliens in England. The Doctor was on their list, given his time with UNIT. Why didn't they also bring in Sarah Jane Smith, also known to UNIT?
    • Because she is a reporter, not an alien expert. The question would be why not gather the ones like Liz Shaw, who must be an alien expert
      • In the Expanded Universe, Liz Shaw died in 2003. Which would be nice and simple except that in the same book, a tenth of the world's population also died, with no Reset Button. And it's pretty clear that in the Earth we see in the new series, that disaster never took place.
      • In The Sarah Jane Adventures episode Death of the Doctor (set 7 years after 2003), Dr. Shaw is alive and couldn't make it due to being stranded on a moonbase.
      • She was on a UNIT Moonbase in the Book too, so let's call it an altered history.
    • Not everyone jumps when UNIT calls. We now know that Captain Jack would have been around at this point (two of him, actually), not to mention the Brigadier, but they might well have told UNIT to get stuffed, as they were working on something else. As for Sarah Jane, she can't stand UNIT these days. Too many guns.
      • Not two of him. One was frozen in a cryogenic chamber. And both were in Cardiff. True, Tosh was later shown to have been involved, but I thought it was clear that only UNIT experts were invited.
      • Plus Jack being there would cause a paradox...
  • How the frick does Mickey get away as the Doctor and Rose are being "arrested"? The three of them exit the TARDIS and are immediately made visible by a helicopter searchlight. At least two cop cars, a tank-like thing and about 20 guys with guns converge on the area, while all three heroes are still plainly visible. Then Mickey runs off and is next shown hiding behind something, as though he managed to avoid being seen. How? And don't say everybody just ignored him; since he was seen in the company of the Doctor they would at least want to question him for a few minutes.
    • "Everybody just ignored him!" Wait, you said not to say that. But seriously, the officials were friendly and their real goal was to make contact with the Doctor and seek his assistance, not to arrest him. They're not the Doctor's enemies and it wasn't a forced abduction; if Mickey was necessary for some reason, the Doctor would have said so and they would've stayed behind to find him. He didn't, so they moved on to get the Doctor (and Rose, since she happened to be tagging along) to the conference ASAP.
  • So...the plan was to hack a submarine using the "buffalo" password and launch a missile at 10 Downing Street. But the plan completely depends on that fact that all the aliens are standing around together, that none of them are outside already and that none of them evacuate when informed of the incoming missile. If they hadn't coincidentally been naked at the time, they would have evacuated easily. And even considering that they were naked, you'd think one or two of them would evacuate anyway. The Doctor got lucky.
    • Actually, one of them did evacuate. She shows up later in "Boom Town".
    • Even if they did evacuate, there's not much way for them to get the nuclear codes if Downing Street goes up in smoke. Also, the plan only really hinged on Jocrassa's death, not the whole family.
    • If they evacuate without their clothes on, they're basically defenseless and revealing themselves to the humans as aliens. The humans who are already on edge, surrounding them and a lot of whom are armed. There's a good chance that if they escape without their disguises they'll get shot and killed in the panic, which isn't that much of an improvement. Basically, they're in between a rock and a hard place, panicking and not thinking straight.

    Dalek 
  • Why didn't van Statten know about the Daleks from British reports in WW2? He does have the internet and the US government at his disposal, after all.
  • Was there a reason for the bulkhead doors being able to open after Rose was discovered to be alive, despite the lack of power? Other than Rule of Drama, of course.
    • I guess after a while they managed to scavenge some more emergency power?
    • Or perhaps the dalek provided the power?
  • So a Dalek's weak point is the eye stalk. Why didn't the Doctor say so immediately when he had the chance? He only gets around to it after a dozen soldiers have already died.
    • He DID tell them that the weakness is the eye-stalk, it's just that the soldiers didn't listen (that and the dalek's protective force-field vaporized the bullets), thinking that one "tin robot" was no match for them.
  • Remember that room where eventually the Dalek uses the sprinklers to electrocute everybody? What was up with the Dalek's entrance? It just rolls in, really slowly, in full view of the soldiers. And for like 30 seconds, nobody fires a weapon. What was everybody waiting for?
    • They obviously wanted to attack it from all sides, so they waited for it to come completely into the middle of the room then fired at it from all sides.
  • When the Dalek gets loose, we're told that they can't evacuate because "the helipad doesn't have power." Why the frick would it need power? It's a helipad. The question is whether the helicopter has power (aka fuel), and of course that's not directly related to the main electric power of the base, now is it?
    • Maybe it's a super-secret helipad that rises out of the ground or something, and they didn't have the power to make that happen.
      • Which actually makes sense, since Henry Van Statten wanted to keep his alien collection super-secret (to the point of mind-wiping subordinates), and a big helipad in the middle of nowhere in Utah is bound to draw some attention.
    • It could also need power for other necessary functions. Maybe the tank isn't full and the fuel pump needs power to work? Contacting local air traffic control and checking radar so the helicopter doesn't take off straight into overhead traffic should also need power.
  • The Dalek gets out of the cage by hacking the keypad. (Isn't there a way of just locking the thing from the outside, such that the inside keypad doesn't help any? But whatever) A guard says that the pad has a billion combinations. The Doctor says that the Dalek is a genius and can try "a thousand billion" (aka "a trillion") combinations per second. The Dalek then spends several seconds hacking the pad.
    • There's a difference between what someone is capable of doing, and the amount of effort they're actually willing to put into an activity. The Dalek knew a few more seconds wasn't going to matter, so why push itself (especially when it was just coming back to full power anyway)? Aka, it was being lazy.
      • Also, most digital security has some kind of time delay between sequential password attempts. Just because the Dalek can run it's own computations that fast doesn't mean the keypad is capable of having them entered that fast.
    • Or, the guard wasn't giving precise numbers, just that there were billions of possible combinations in general.
  • Daleks were modified to absorb biomass from a time traveler in the Time War. Okay, I get that. But why would they make it so the Dalek ended up gaining a rudimentary humanity? Isn't that something the universe's biggest xenophobes would avoid?
    • Presumably they never intended to gain rudimentary humanity. That was a design flaw, or a problem with this specific Dalek.
    • The Dalek rebuilt itself from the small sample of DNA that Rose provided when she touched it. That's where it gained its "rudimentary humanity".
    • I thought the Dalek was able to temporarily power itself up by absorbing the artron energy a time-traveler builds up by going through the vortex (as explained in "Doomsday"). I think the "rudimentary humanity" was an unintended side-effect.
    • Metaltron was near death and without medical supplies. It would've absorbed far more biomass than its brethren would normally need to.
    • The time travelers they would have been most likely to absorb bio-mass from during the Time War would have been Time Lords — themselves a pretty cold, inhuman and, during the Time War at least, ruthlessly genocidal race, so the effects would have been less drastic. Presumably since humanity doesn't time travel as much they were less prepared for the effects of absorbing humanity.
      • Or, perhaps since Rose hadn't traveled as much through time and hadn't accumulated as much Artron energy, the dalek had to absord much more beyond the energy it was after, in order to acquire enough.
  • Why did Torchwood One never go up against Van Statten? The whole point of the original Torchwood was to acquire alien technology, fight the Doctor and to build a new British Empire. Van Statten has a huge bunker full of exotic technology, including a gun the Doctor believes could destroy a Time War model Dalek, and from what we see his power apparently equals Torchwood's: he has access to memory drugs, he can replace presidents at will and he even invented the internet. He should be a target equal to the Doctor.
    • I have 3 ideas: 1 - he started acquiring those things after 2006 - and got a lot from Torchwood itself. 2 - No one cares about Americans 3 - It was too dangerous to meddle with him, he knew much about them.
    • OWNS the Internet. Not necessarily invented it. Maybe he's easily hidden. It wasn't until the spinoff started airing that the cracks in Torchwood's facade showed, and by then, they were around for a century.
      • If I remember correctly, this episode was stated to be in 2012
      • And maybe he was thought to be harmless, like Henry Parker.
      • Van Statten wasn't a threat to Torchwood. Sure, he had a lot of alien tech, but neither he nor his staff really knew how to use any of it - Adam had filed a hairdryer under 'alien weaponry' after all - and a lot of it was broken or otherwise useless. And even if he did have working weapons which he could use, he wasn't antagonistic toward Britain, so any action Torchwood took against him would have been unjust in the eyes of the world.
    • Yeah, uh Torchwood is was created to protect Britain from alien forces, not the United States of America. So they have no jurisdiction over the U.S.
      • Who cares about jurisdiction? Him being a potential threat makes him a fair target, not to mention what they could gain by seizing all his resources.
      • Well, the Americans probably care about jurisdiction, and — Torchwood aside — probably have just as if not more clout in these sorts of matters as Britain does; if Britain has a secret alien-hunting quasi-government organization like Torchwood running around on top of UNIT, then it's almost 100% certain that the United States does as well. And they're probably not going to look very kindly on British agents kidnapping one of their citizens.
    • They don't know he exists. Remember, he mind-wipes people when he fires them, so his existence is probably a secret. When Rose says that no one owns the Internet, he replies "Let's just keep everyone thinking that's true."
  • The Daleks invaded Earth at least twice between 2005 and 2012, so why has Statten never heard of them?
    • Those events only lasted for a very short time before the doctor got rid of them. Odds are Henry was probably still in his museum tinkering with alien junk.
    • For what it's worth, S5's "Victory of the Daleks" suggested that the crack in space caused a large scale memory wipe of some of the Doctor's adventures (e.g. Amy not remembering the Dalek invasion in Journey's End, everyone forgetting the giant Cyberman from The Next Doctor). Maybe no one on Earth remembers these events.
      • The cracks erasing the events doesn't make sense, since they were closed at the end of "The Big Bang", and other things that had been swallowed by the cracks (such as Amy's parents) were shown to be back. By 2012, there should have been records of Daleks from the time the Daleks moved the Earth across space, as well as Torchwood files on Daleks at Canary Warf and [[Churchill's Ironsides. But apparently, the internet is completely void of any references to Daleks!
      • Fridge Brilliance: on most of those occasions, the longest contact anyone had with the Daleks was most likely ended seconds later with a horrible death, which wouldn't exactly leave much time or opportunity for exchanging business cards, so to speak. So while there may be reports of strange metal creatures whizzing around dispensing death from on high, most reports outside of highly classified UNIT type things probably contain little that is useful for actually identifying them.
      • Fridge Logic: Even if no-one had been able to identify them as Daleks (although given that the Doctor told Churchill what they were, there should have been some record from that period along the lines of "Turns out these robots our chap built are actually evil aliens, don't trust them"), you would think the Dalek would be smart enough to identify references to flying death robots as possible Dalek attacks, rather than going over the internet with a Ctrl-F "Dalek".
      • Considering that all those attacks still ended with all the Daleks dead or sucked into oblivion, however, even if it did that still wouldn't exactly help the Dalek in question in its current predicament. The end result would still ultimately be nothing.
      • Due to the Timey-Wimey Ball nature of the Time War, no-one from post-war seems to be able to encounter anyone from prewar, which is why the Doctor always knows he's dealing with post-war Daleks in the new series. Surely the fact that Daleks have been active post-war should be enough for the lone Dalek to know there are other survivors — even if it doesn't help it in the short-term, it should mean it continues to seek orders rather than just blindly wipe out the base and then feel sorry for itself.
      • At the risk of making this discussion start to seem a bit interminable, the Dalek clearly mentions that it's hacked into radio telescopes and satellite systems and discovered no sign of any Dalek activity whatsoever. The fact that some records might suggest that other Daleks were alive post-Time War but pre-2012 doesn't change the fact that they're clearly not alive now, so that's not very helpful to the Dalek in it's current predicament. Any Dalek that survives the war and ends up at a point in the future is presumably out of reach to that particular Dalek, meaning that it has little reason if any to suspect that it's not actually the last Dalek. As for why it gets a bit mopey, since the whole point of the episode is that the Dalek is being corrupted by the human factor introduced into its system through contacting Rose, we can suggest that this is a possible side-effect.

    The Long Game 
  • Why did they need to channel all the heat from the Jagrafess down to the lower floors? It's a satellite, couldn't they have channeled all the excess heat out into space? It would have eliminated the rather delicate kill switch the Jagrafess was sitting on.
    • Due to the vacuum, it's exceedingly difficult to channel heat out into empty space. It requires some quite complex equipment to do so (look up the radiator equipment used in space missions), and adding all the extra heat of a giant space-slug would probably be too much heat to handle through normal methods.
  • What happened to Adam Mitchell?
    • Nothing. You may as well ask what happened to all the other companions...
    • Actually, speculating on this sort of heads into Nightmare Fuel territory. You know, seeing as how the Ninth Doctor strongly implied that if anybody found out about his brain-thing, he would be taken in as a medical subject, studied, and even dissected... and then, not five minutes later, somebody finds out about his brain-thing.
      • That 'somebody' happens to be his own mother, though; it's not entirely unreasonable to suggest that alien implant or not, she might have not be incredibly quick to have her own son dissected. Chances, he was just forced to live a very dull, quiet and anonymous life.
      • except that he would have to never go out in public or make friends or anything, because a random person in the marketplace could snap their fingers and WHOOPS! pop goes the brain-thingy! So, he'd basically have to stay inside for the rest of his life. Sucks to be him, I guess.
      • Maybe he simply changed the trigger for the hole to something more complicated.
      • Maybe he just wore hats for the rest of his life.
      • Late to the party, but he does become a major villain in the comics.
  • If the TARDIS can translate any language, why can't the Jagrafess be understood? It's intelligent enough to manipulate humanity (yeah, the Daleks were behind him, but the Jagrafess needs to understand how to follow orders to that level) and the Editor can talk to him, but we and the Doctor just get incoherent growls.
    • The TARDIS doesn't translate the Judoon because, according to the Doctor, they're 'too thick'. While the Jagrafess obviously isn't thick, its language may be too simple for the TARDIS to be able to effectively translate. Either that, or the growling is an audio cue for the audience that it's talking, and the Jagrafess is communicating psychically.
    • Come to think of it, how can the Jagrafess even work as part of an intelligent species? It has no arms/legs/tentacles/suckers to manipulate anything, and it doesn't seem to be able to move around. It's like suggesting a sea lily could somehow evolve into an intelligent life-form without changing its basic body structure
  • In ninety-one years, nobody cleared out the dead bodies on floor 500? And for that matter, why is there anything up there other than the Editor's control room, like the vendor station and the brain terminal thing? It's not like they were trying to be discreet or anything - difficult to do that with everything iced over and dead bodies everywhere. And why are they there, anyway? Did the Jagrafess just literally come in and turn the heating down without warning? Why didn't it (through the Editor) just go 'Oh, we're remodelling this floor for executive use only, we'll be promoting you on an individual basis to let you in.'?

     Father's Day 
  • So, if changing the past causes demons to appear, why aren't there monsters eating up all of existence right now? (I'm imagining Rose causing a paradox by saving her father in front of a past instance of herself and the Doctor was supposed to be the hand-wave for this, but it still seems pretty weak).
    • Because most time travelers are smart enough to not visit the same event twice.
      • The Doctor isn't one of them, since in a few classic episodes he meets himself.
      • When the Reapers appeared, the Doctor pointed out that the Time Lords could have prevented it if they were still about. Furthermore, when he met himself it was permitted by the Time Lords to deal with a more serious threat (Omega) or as a result of the actions of somebody who knew what they were doing (Borusa).
    • Also, some points in the time-stream are more vulnerable than others (such as the death of Sarah Jane's parents).
      • In Turn Left it mentioned that, when the past is changed, usually the universe can compensate and take care of the damage itself. The Reapers are only called out when you really mess up.
    • It wasn't just one time traveler visiting the same event twice, its three-Rose, the Doctor and the TARDIS.
    • Ok, people, it's a different situation than normal. Rather than just changing time, it's a clear paradox. Rose wants to see her dad before he dies, so gets the Doctor to take her there. He does, she gets the Idiot Ball and saves him. Now Rose grew up with her father. So she has no reason to want to go back and see him. So she isn't there to save him. So he dies. So she wants to go back and see him...you see the problem.
      • It was really more the Doctor who grabbed the Idiot Ball this time. Rose is 19 and can therefore be excused for a lapse in impulse control, especially since the Doctor never explained to her the actual consequences of creating a paradox. The Doctor is nine centuries old and has absolutely no excuse for failing to anticipate that she might feel compelled to save her father. He should have been prepared to restrain her. Which is why it's a Headscratcher that he's never called out for it and Rose is depicted as the moron...
      • Keep in mind that the Doctor had recently dealt with the death of his people, planet and family. He probably just felt a bit too sympathetic for Rose and ignoring his better judgement.
      • People blast Rose for it without considering that she only believes it's possible to change history because that's what the Doctor told her back in The Unquiet Dead.
      • There's changing history, and then there's running past your past self and changing history. I think that's what awoke the Reapers.
      • Because it's ROSE. She's just too important- Bad Wolf! Creator of Jack "The Fact" Harkness!
    • Paradoxes are, if I understood the Tenth Doctor correctly in The Runaway Bride, caused when you go back in time and change your own past, as opposed to someone else's. If you change someone else's past, then their present and future is fixed. If you change your own past, then...well, you're changing your own past. Rose first went back in time, saw her father die, etc. When Rose saved her father, she ran in front of her past self, changing her own course of events and causing the demons to appear. Notice how after she runs in front of her past self and the past Doctor, they vanish.
  • The Doctor stopped adult Rose from holding baby Rose because if you touch yourself in a different time it will create a paradox. But the Doctor has touched himself numerous times whether it be a past or future incarnation. So it does not apply to Time Lords or...
    • It always creates a paradox, but the universe can generally get around them. During a big disturbance in time, though, it's enough of a problem to let in a Reaper.
  • I mean I completely understand why the Doctor was mad at Rose for saving her father. But did he have to get all furious? She obviously didn't know about the paradox thing and The Doctor HIMSELF was a father and a grandfather at one point so he should have at least understood what Rose was going through at that time.

    The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances 
  • The titular threat of "The Empty Child" hinges on medical nanomachines being unable to recognize what a healthy human should be. But the same nanomachines explicitly work on the level of DNA, which more or less by necessity provides an unique identification for a single organism. Certainly anything described as actively attempting to guess at their patient's form would at least be able to recognize foreign entities (such as the infamous gas mask) as such, since they won't share the patient's DNA. It would have been slightly more plausible if the nanomachines were changing everyone into that specific kid, rather than just giving them the same injuries, the gas mask, and a hive mind. So why don't they?
    • Perhaps Chula DNA is radically different from human DNA (but is called DNA for convenience). Maybe it is as similar to the human DNA as to the mask, and the nanomachines really had no clue which was which. In any case, I suspect all the other people would have turned into the specific kid after they had lost a lot of weight.
    • There are weapons in Doctor Who and, in fact, in real life that cause damage to DNA. So the nanomachines can't really use it. Plus, reverting everyone into the same kid would be retarded since, unless the Chula were a clone race, the same thing would happen to their casualties. Which would be very stupid since that wouldn't heal injuries at all.
      • It didn't change everyone into the little boy. It kept them mostly the same but just gave them the same injuries the boy had. Who knows why changing their DNA made them all obsessed with Nancy, though. Presumably with the Chula the nanomachines already know what their ideal state is and so doesn't make those mistakes.
      • The nanogenes didn't necessarily do that; they just gave them a hive mind (hence why Jamie went to his room even though he wasn't personally present to hear the Doctor tell him to) and they were Jamie's thoughts.
      • I personally believe that any nanomedical treatment would use a template system. It looks at the DNA, anything that matches that DNA, within a certain level of variance, is treated as template X. Normally, the template would be created from a healthy subject...in this case, the subject was a badly injured human, so they were 'fixing' all of the humans encountered to that basic template...injuries, mask (which could well have ended up fused to the skin when the other injuries were acquired). It wasn't until the nanogenes encountered a real healthy human, and one that was very, very close to the original template (enough that they got confused and started comparing notes...), that they learned how humans should be built. Basically, the nanogenes had a bad install of the 'human' mod, and were corrupted well when they parted ways. Defile type. It wasn't until they encountered the Doctor and the boy's mother that they got 'patched'.
      • Agree. Nanomachines aren't smart. They don't have enough room for much computing power, and since they were built for a race with only one DNA pattern, they had no capacity to "recognize" differences, just to transfer them.
    • Who says it was DNA that directed their work, in the first place? DNA doesn't offer a description of the organism, just coding for proteins which need to be assembled in combination with the proper growth environment, to turn a one-celled zygote into an infant of the species. It's a recipe, not a blueprint; reading a recipe for bread won't tell you how an oven works or what the finished bread is supposed to look like. The nanomachines had to have been copying the physical differences between the injured boy (including mask) and other humans onto those they infected, no genes involved.
      • So they copy the gas mask onto people, yet don't copy the kid's clothing? Or the straps that held his mask in place? Why, if they're copying non-living structures around his head, didn't they turn all the infectees' hair the same color as his?
      • Nanobots might not be smart, but I wouldn't say it's reasonable to assume that they won't understand that something unattached to an organism is probably not part of it. It seems pretty reasonable to me that the nanobots assumed that anything attached to the boy was part of him and anything not attached to him was not. As for the hair, it may be dead but it is made out of cells, so they probably recognized it as part of the template.
      • Maybe the Chula use organic implants on their warriors, to enhance their fighting and surviving ability in battle. In which case, the nanobots may have thought the gas mask was a military implant to filter poison gas, but so badly damaged that it was nearly coming off. So what do they do? Reattach it! Without considering that it may have never been attached in the first place, because London was a war zone, and to the nanobots, where implanted warriors would be.
      • For what it's worth, the Doctor clearly refers to DNA when he's discussing what's happening.
    • It's actually not as unlikely as you might think. Not every bit of your body contains DNA, for one thing. Your Finger/Toe nails and Hair, for example, are almost pure protein (Keratin is the primary structural element), and bones, for example, don't have nearly as much organic material in them as you might think (except for the marrow inside). And let's not forget that latex (and thus, the natural rubber made out of it) comes from trees. While the mask may not have been natural rubber(I don't know if it would've been or not), similar substances did exist in nature. Particularly if the mask became fused(even partially) to his face (due to heat from the bomb that killed him for example), it wouldn't be entirely unreasonable for a machine with no knowledge of humans to conclude it was part of the body. And that's not even getting into the fact that the nanogenes would have to be able to READ human DNA in the first place! DNA consists of two strings of 'bases' zipped together: one interesting bit is that while there's four bases, each base can only be 'zipped' with one of the others(Adenine always has a Thymine opposite it, and Guanine always has a Cytosine across from it, and vice versa). In order to be read, the two strings have to be unzipped from each other, copied to an RNA string (which substitutes Uracil for Thymine in the process), and then read to create a protein. The coding system is amazingly sophisticated: it's based around triplets(called codons), each triplet either codes for a particular amino acid or 'STOP HERE'. (with AUG doubling as the 'START HERE' code if it's not in the middle of a sequence). As the RNA is read, each coded-for amino acid after the START codon is literally strung together, until a STOP codon is reached. The completed protein is then released and spontaneously folds itself (through still somewhat mysterious means) into its final shape (except when it goes wrong, for equally mysterious reasons). If the nanogenes actually hadn't encountered humans before, they'd have nothing to start with, and especially with dead example, no real way to make enough observations to determine all that, much less work out what coded for what or how the proteins the DNA codes for are used. And on top of that, a VERY large portion of Human DNA is garbage that isn't actually used for anything! It would, however, be possible for the nanogenes to recognize the parental relationship: the son would have exactly half of the mother's DNA, extremely unlikely except in the case of parent and child. The only trick there would be determining which was the older of the two, which *might* be possible with a little observation (which could account for the period between the hug and Jamie being repaired).
    • Perhaps the most likely reason why they replicated the gas mask was because their analysis determined that it was a gas mask, i.e. a device that preserves the wearer's ability to breathe in a contaminated atmosphere. Presumably the Chula wouldn't want an injured patient to be stripped of external protection if the nanomachines were used in space, on a planet with a toxic atmosphere, etc. Therefore, they programmed the repair-bots to register such protective wear as vital life-support equipment rather than just clothing, and to copy it in the event their patient is wearing any.
  • In "The Doctor Dances" it's explained that the Chula nanogenes reconstructed the populace into gas mask zombies, mainly because they had no prior knowledge of human anatomy, they tried to fix a dead child as best they could, confusing the gas mask for the boys face, and now they have the template for what they consider "Human" and change all others accordingly, creating a plague of sorts. I have 3 very niggling questions:
    1. When they eventually figure out what a real human is, everyone is changed back to normal. Why didn't the people still have the god like powers they were given before. The Doctor explains that the nanogenes were preparing the patients for war.... they still should be, they know what the humans look like fair enough, but the Doctor said that the nanogenes "Equip you, Programme You" that wouldn't have changed, the way he said it seemed to imply that this would be done to everyone, not just Chula. So why are the people normal?
      • Possibly because when the nanogenes read Nancy's normal DNA and compared it to her son's, they realized what a 'normal' human being should be equipped with, and funky warrior powers wasn't among them? The warrior abilities could have been passed on with the gas-mask etc as part of the corrupted information that the original botched repair job resulted in (when the nanogenes weren't certain what a human being should look like), and once the nanogenes realize the error they remove them.
      • If the dozens of perfectly healthy people the nanogenes infected didn't teach them that Jamie was injured then why would exposing them to the mother do this instead of making them think that the mother was also 'wrong'? And why did they just latch onto one example of a human and assume that was right instead of checking several? Surely the possibility that the first of a species they happen across could be damaged in some way has come up before. And why does Nancy need to acknowledge that she's Jamie's mother? Were the nanogenes listening or something? Being his sister would still allow her to take care of him and be closely related.
      • The episode points out that the nanogenes in the ambulance, having never encountered a human before, have been corrupted by inaccurate data; they clearly think Jamie's the 'perfectly healthy' human and the other (actually perfectly healthy) humans are 'damaged', and since the DNA links between them aren't close enough to suggest otherwise they just keep following the pattern. As for why the don't do tests, they obviously aren't that 'bright', and probably have limited intelligence; one that requires and enable them to perform certain tasks, but not really think beyond that. Plus, it's a battlefield ambulance; presumably under those circumstances you just want something to quickly patch up the troops and get them back up and fighting, not fanny about doing tests and the like, so they're programmed for one species and then get going. And even if they could do tests, there was presumably no one around to do tests on when the nanogenes encountered Jamie. Nancy, however, acts as the link between the other humans and Jamie, her DNA being sufficiently close to Jamie's DNA to establish a familial relationship (presumably any family relation would do, but a parental one presumably in this case has more maturity and thus dominance over a child's DNA, since it's a direct source for the child's DNA), but sufficiently close to the other humans to convince the nanogenes that they've made a mistake and reset the template they've been working off. As for why Nancy identifies herself as the mother, Jamie's been wandering around all story looking for his mother; she identifies herself to get him to come over to her. 'Sister' wouldn't have made the same connection (not to mention the emotional catharsis of finally identifying herself as his mother).
      • But why does it work that way? I get that the nanogenes, not knowing what a human looks like, might use the first person they find as a template. I also get the idea that they might update the template at a later time. But what, specifically, would cause such an update? Well the nanogenes might be purposefully reprogrammed by a medic or technician of some kind, but obviously that doesn't happen in this story. Nor do the nanogenes update after encountering dozens of normal humans. You'd think they'd realize that maybe it was the original kid that was strange and not everyone else in the world, but they don't realize that. They keep on humming according to the template. (And it has been pointed out that they might not be too bright.) But then, when they encounter the template's mother, they update and use her as the new template. Why? Why does it matter if her DNA happens to be similar to the template's DNA? And what's to stop the nanobots from concluding that the mother simply needs to be fixed? Shouldn't they be like "Oh no, the template's mother has Face-Not-Shaped-Like-A-Gas-Mask Syndrome, just like all the others! We'd better fix her up!"?
      • My best guess is that it's something particular to the Chula. Perhaps Chula mothers are more "standard" for some reason, and are less likely to have obvious deformities. So when they can confirm that Nancy is a mother (being in direct contact with both Jamie and Nancy at the same time), they changed the template to match her.
      • Possibly the Chula are allied with enough other species, all of whom might participate in the same battles and require nanogenes that are attuned to their particular biology. The "corrupted" nanogenes might simply have been in a not-yet-attuned mode, and would have been exposed to a healthy example of whichever alien race they were to be used on, thus setting their program to fix that race's wounds. Normally, they'd never have been shown a casualty until after that initial exposure.
      • No idea about superpowers, but one of the patients did regrow a leg, so they're definitely in much better physical condition.
      • I'm pretty sure The Doctor upgraded the software before he "threw" it on the rest of the mummy-zombies, so, that would explain why they don't have "superpowers" anymore.
    2. Whenever a person transforms on screen (terrifying btw) why isn't there a glowing yellow aura around them, as there was every other time the nanogenes were at work?
      • It seems that most of the transformations were slow and gradual, up until the point where Gasmask Face happened to complete it. Perhaps the yellow aura only appears when they're engaged in speedy repair. Alternatively, maybe it only occurs when someone is rewriting their programming, and the nanogenes are in turn spreading that rewritten program along?
    3. Jack uses Chula nanogenes in his craft, wasn't there anyway the two groups could've mingled with each other, maybe updating each other, solving the situation that way? I know that would've ruined the Tear Jerker ending, but if I was an ubersmart alien that would've been my first thought.
      • There seems to be a lot more 'corrupted' nanogenes floating about than 'non-corrupted' ones inside Jack's ship; the corrupted ones could easily overwhelm the non-corrupted ones if they were introduced together, thus causing the plan to backfire. Furthermore, possibly the ones inside a regular spaceship are programmed more as a relatively basic 'first-aid kit' (i.e fixing up relatively minor scrapes like the Doctor's hand) whereas the ones inside an ambulance would be a lot more complex and in-depth as would be required for the more serious injuries they'd have to deal with.

  • Good thing the nanogenes, despite getting fooled by nearly everything else, understand gender differences in humans. Or maybe they don't, but that involves some pretty awful Fridge Horror for half the patients.
    • The child was male, and the nanites used information from his mother, as well. And since the Doctor also modified them to disperse after healing the crowd, they're probably smarter when given a bit of a kick in the right direction.

  • The sonic blaster is from the 51st century. Or was (as of 1940). But it's gone "now". What? I know, San Dimas Time and all, but now it applies to different time travelers that have never even traveled together before or used the same time-traveling technology?

    Boom Town 
  • Blaine shows her compassion by sparing the life of the pregnant journalist. She then proceeds with her plan to blow up the Earth, which will kill everyone. Including the pregnant journalist. Did she ever stop to consider how insane this was?
    • On some level, yeah, she probably realized that it didn't make sense. She's only sparing people to make herself feel better in the short run.
    • This is an extremely common flaw in logic that humans are quite susceptible to in real life as well; individuals are people but groups are just numbers. In fact it's even a trope: A Million Is a Statistic.
  • Speaking of Blaine, why didn't she just make her own life on Earth? Her whole planet wants her dead(painfully, btw), and she should known the Doctor will go after her again. She even admits that she enjoys her human life.
    • She was taking great pains to avoid detection and wouldn't even allow her name to be in the paper. It's only coincidence that the Doctor landed there in time to see the one photograph taken of her in the newspaper and stop her and an accident that her picture was taken at all.
    • She also shows open hatred for Earth and considers it a primitive backwater; she obviously wants to escape and make a life for herself somewhere better.
  • Why does the gang allow themselves to be emotionally manipulated by Blaine's Not so Above It All speech? She attempted to murder billions in cold blood and proved herself to be incredibly callous and dangerous. Obviously there's a huge difference from that and bringing her home to face punishment.
    • Logically, they know that even if they take her to her execution, they will be nowhere near her level. But you can know something that is being said is false, and still be affected by it, especially if your own character is being called into question. It's perfectly understandable that she got to them; taking someone to their death is not easy, even if they have proven themselves willing to murder billions, and every other option means they will continue being a danger. They know what has to be done, but it's still hard.
  • Did Blaine say they were going to demolish Cardiff Castle? And... they were just going to let her do this? No-one raised any objection at all? Even if you convince people to let you build a nuclear power station in the middle of a city, they are not going to let you demolish a castle that is both a major piece of history, and a major tourist attraction. I'm truly baffled that no-one in the episode ever brought this up.
    • I assume it's simply a Noodle Incident that is part of the overall joke surrounding Blaine's plan, which clearly a typically convoluted large scale Doctor Who villain plot except that the Doctor pretty much puts the halts on it within ten minutes so it doesn't matter any more; there probably is some kind of explanation, no doubt involving some kind of alien mind-control or manipulation or murdering people who could stand in the way (lots of icy patches in Cardiff) or something similar, but once the Doctor shows up it's rendered moot so we never learn what it was.

    Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways 
  • What ever happened to Satellite Five and the Dalek-ravaged Earth?
    • The Bad Wolf killed all the Daleks.
      • Well duh, but what happened to all the other people the Daleks killed (apart from Jack), both on Earth and the station itself? In retrospect, the Doctor's choice doesn't look like much of a choice (the Daleks had already devastated Earth and probably eradicated its entire population, given that their attacks were shown to deform continents) — of course, the Doctor didn't know that.
      • The Daleks' explicit goal with the invasion was to get more Daleks by converting the populace. Their ravaging on the planet was just to make Earth resemble Skaro-so people are still at risk at conversion into pepperpot super-Nazis.
      • Hopefully the Bad Wolf tidied up all that stuff too.
      • You do realize that "tidied up" = billions of Jack Harknesses that can never die.
      • Given that Rose was burning up throughout the entire scene, it doesn't seem likely that she accomplished anything other than what we saw - that is, the Daleks are destroyed and Jack is brought back to life. Everyone else stays dead, the Earth stays ravaged, and humanity rebuilds. By the End of the World, Earth has been restored to its 'classic' look, so presumably the human empire was able to rebuild it before then as a habitable planet.
    • I recall the Doctor telling Rose that Captain Jack had been left behind to start rebuilding the earth. Since the Bad Wolf ended up making Jack immortal, this ended up being a good choice.
      • Did you not watch "Utopia"? The Doctor didn't know he had a working Vortex Manipulator (and to be fair, it wasn't working). Immediately after he was brought back to life, he took a trip to 21st century Cardiff, where the Rift was, and missed by about 140 years, leading into Torchwood. The Doctor knew that Jack came back to life, but was lying through his teeth as to why Jack couldn't come with them.
      • Besides, it's not like Jack was informed of any of these plans and he's not the type to selflessly stay for years on end to rebuild a planet. He also doesn't have the experience or knowledge of how to do so.
    • The Doctor said that if he wiped out Earth and the Daleks, human colonies would still survive and carry on with history, which meant that getting rid of the Daleks would be worth the sacrifice. He couldn't go through with it, but presumably that's more or less how things turned out anyway. Most of Earth was wrecked, the survivors probably evacuated the planet and there's now a period of history where Earth wasn't inhabited and the human empire was based somewhere else. Eventually the planet got better, probably with the help of future technology cleaning up the mess, and it was resettled.
  • There are some serious San Dimas Time issues with the plot of "The Parting of the Ways". When Rose is sent back to the our time, why are the events there treated as if they're concurrent with the events in the future? When Rose and TARDIS return to the future, why does it have to be at the last possible moment, when the Daleks have already killed everyone on Satellite 5 except for the Doctor? Why couldn't the TARDIS have returned immediately after the Doctor sent it and Rose back to the past? That way Rose could've stopped billions of people on Earth being killed by the Daleks, and saved everyone of Satellite 5 too. Even if Rose/TARDIS somehow didn't know what was gonna happen in the future (though her "I can see the whole of time" comment implies she does know), returning to the point in time immediately after she left would've made the most sense, since picking a later moment in time could've meant the Daleks had already killed the Doctor and everyone else before she could save them.
    • Because it wouldn't have been a very interesting episode if the Bad Wolf had showed up seconds after the Doctor had sent Rose away and thus prevented everything. Presumably Bad Wolf has a flair for the dramatic.
  • It's been a while since I saw the episode, but how exactly are the words "Bad Wolf" by themselves "instructions" in any meaningful sense?
    • Mostly because of the way that Rose reacted when seeing them, and Bad Wolf Rose would know that due to Stable Time Loop, so she didn't need more instructions
  • Why don't the Reapers (the things from Father's Day) eat the Daleks for screwing up human history?
    • I suppose this era was in flux, Pete Tyler's death was a fixed point. The Daleks would be more experienced in manipulating history then Rose.

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