Doctor Who's Bi-Generation: Answering 5 Key Questions
That's not an easy concept to grasp.
When David Tennant said that the final 60th anniversary special of Doctor Who, The Giggle, would be 'bananas', he was not exaggerating. Not at all.
The episode, which premiered on Disney+ and the BBC on Saturday, December 9, left many viewers scratching their heads with a final regeneration twist. If you haven't watched the special yet, please do so and then come back for answers.
If you have and are still not sure what the hell happened, we are here to answer some burning questions.
The Giggle saw the return of the classic Doctor Who villain, the Toymaker, this time portrayed by Neil Patrick Harris.
After the Fourteenth Doctor played and lost a game with him, making the final score 1-1 (the First Doctor's victory also counted), the Toymaker wanted to play the third and final game with a new Doctor, so he shot the Galvanic Beam into the Fourteenth.
That didn't have the expected result. The Doctor began to regenerate, but the process took a wild turn, and soon he split amoeba-style into two Doctors wearing different parts of one costume. Yes, you didn't imagine it. It really happened. And the Doctors call it 'bi-generation'.
Without going into detail, the Doctors said that bi-generation is a long-standing myth among the Time Lords. It leads us to believe that no other Time Lord has ever had two incarnations living side by side. This time is unique. But what triggered it?
It could be because previous regenerations happened after the immediate threat had passed. This time, however, the Toymaker was determined to see the Doctor regenerate and then play with him, giving the Time Lord too few chances to win. So the bi-generation may have been a response to that great threat.
Besides, the Doctors and Donna discussed the need for the Fourteenth to settle down and lead a quiet life, to heal from his traumas, so that the Fifteenth could continue to save the universe. This could also trigger the bi-generation. That's some first-rate therapy right there.
How can there be two TARDISes?
The Doctors explained that the Toymaker's energy was still strong immediately after his defeat. This basically meant that the laws of physics and logic did not apply at the time. So the Fifteenth used this brief period to make a new TARDIS branch out of the old one, just as he had done himself just minutes before.
The Fifteenth's TARDIS can be detected by a jukebox standing near the control panel.
What does all this mean for the canon?
While the concept of bi-generation is already complicated, Russell T. Davies made it even more so when he said in the episode's BBC iPlayer commentary that all previous Doctors also bi-regenerated at the same time as the Fourteenth, and now exist simultaneously in a 'Doctorverse'.
It's hard to grasp, but if you think about it, it actually explains why previous incarnations have appeared in various specials looking older than they were during their tenure. Presumably, future episodes will delve more deeply into the Doctorverse theme.
What's next for the Fourteenth?
While it's unlikely that we'll see the new adventures of all fourteen previous Doctors, the Fourteenth remains alive and well. In order for the Fifteenth to be psychologically well enough to carry out the dangerous mission of saving the universe from all threats, he stayed with Donna and her family to heal.
But both his TARDIS and sonic screwdriver are still with him, so we can expect to meet the Fourteenth on some light-hearted adventures. With any luck and David Tennant's agreement, we might even get a spin-off featuring this Doctor. Fingers crossed.
Doctor Who returns to Disney+ and BBC on Christmas Day, December 25, with the special episode The Church on Ruby Road.
Source: BBC iPlayer.