Doctor Who: Series 13 - Gallifrey Falls/Stands/Falls ??? Game, Set & Match! - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Doctor Who: Series 13 - Gallifrey Falls/Stands/Falls ??? Game, Set & Match!

Chris Morley goes on a hunt for Gallifrey, finds it, loses it, finds it again, blows it up, oh look it's back...

It would seem, since Doctor Who returned to our screens in 2005, that its successive showrunners - Russell T Davies, Steven Moffatt & now Chris Chibnall - have been up for a game of what can perhaps be described as planetary tennis, with Gallifrey as the ball.

Consider this. In his first serve with Christopher Eccleston’s sole series as the Ninth Doctor, during The End of the World RTD drops the revelation that the Time Lords & indeed their home planet have perished, the then- latest mention of the Time War as first seeded in the maiden outing for the man in the leather jacket who believes himself to have carried out a sort of final solution against both his own people & their Dalek opponents.

Moffat then picks up the racquet in quite some fashion for the fiftieth anniversary, revealing that the Doctor was wrong! He didn’t rain destruction down upon Gallifrey after all! Davies’s doings are, well, undone, as the Eleventh Doctor saves his home planet with a little help from all his preceding incarnations.

Then, after Steven’s exit stage left, Chibnall sticks his feet under the desk & undoes even that by writing a new chapter into the story of this most venerable corner of the universe. Where Davies had the Time Lords attempting to come to Earth to create a new home for themselves with the help of one of their own conditioned from childhood to do their bidding, the Master having been hearing the drums of war since childhood, Chibnall has the man who fled in Gallifrey’s hour of need and hid at the end of the universe itself to escape the New-Who defining conflict return to destroy it!

“Look upon my work, Doctor, and despair. Remember how we used to run through those streets as children? The alleys where we'd hide from Borusa as we skipped classes? All gone now.”

All of this poses a rather big question ahead of the reduced eight-episode long Series Thirteen. Will we see yet another twist? Or will the latest Lord President of Who finally settle things one way or the other for the planet first glimpsed during The War Games? And might Chibnall go all-out in favour of spending the whole of Jodie Whittaker’s third series exploring Gallifrey & the lead-up to and/or aftermath of its implied end? Also, what might it mean for its two highest-profile exiles? Intertwined as they have been since Terror Of The Autons, with the Doctor already at the time stuck on our little planet & the Master just arriving.

If recent history is anything to go by, Jodie Whittaker could become the latest incarnation to make it three years & out. If that particular trend is to repeat itself, what better last stand than to having the Doctor to put Gallifrey to bed, either by saving it once more - a possibility now that her & her home’s destinies could be linked as the Timeless Child returns to the birthplace of the Time Lords - or to fall short of doing so, perhaps killed by the man who put the boot in - for which there is a precedent, of course…

“We had some fun there, didn't we, hey? Graduated. Assassinated presidents.”

Speaking of the Presidency, there is the possibility that if the Doctor is to die at the hand of her oldest foe he makes it a political matter if he goes a step further with a plan first introduced in a roundabout manner during the abovementioned assassination attempt in The Deadly Assassin. Only where then he spent so much time hiding in the shadows, here he can put himself front & centre as Lord President - potentially with an army at his command thanks to his creation of the Cyber-Masters, sporting the obligatory Time Lord clobber as first introduced during that orignal insight into the political machinations he was so keen to be a part of.

Which would make the Master's previous spell as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom seem quite the warm-up in retrospect! And with everything pointing towards Graham & Ryan leaving the TARDIS “fam” this coming series (perhaps even during the Revolution Of The Daleks Christmas/New Year special) could the Master strike at the hearts of the woman they’d travelled with by stealing the one remaining companion she has, with or without romantic subplot? It’s been suggested that Yaz’s issues with mental health, first hinted at in Can You Hear Me?, will have a bigger part to play when Doctor Who finally returns - as Mandip Gill said during a panel at New York Comic-Con….
"You have to think about loads of things. We actually worked with Mind charity...We were able to ask lots of questions. How would people react in certain situations?

[It gave me more insight into] why Yaz hadn't mentioned it running up to this, why she'd gone to her sister and not her mum because she's obviously very close to her mum.

I'm really happy that I got to play that part. It's part of Yaz's journey now and it will affect her choices in the future."

What if the Master is able to play on any vulnerability on her part & influence her indirectly to act against the Doctor, or even join with him having convinced her that he himself is just as fallible? After all we’ve seen evidence of a certain tendency towards melancholy on his part since Sacha Dhawan took on the role.
“I was keen to approach the part like I would with any other character, which in a way, gave me confidence to make the character my own. Yes, the character is playful, unpredictable, dangerous, but I was keen to explore where that ‘persona’ originates from.

That’s when I really became excited by the possibilities in terms of where I could take the character, because I started to uncover a much more darker, more melancholic side to the Master, which I felt hadn’t been explored before.”

There is of course the possibility that Yaz could see it as a chance to help the Master through what she might view as his suffering over the loss of that which he fled all that time ago, in a bold affirmation of the importance of support - in a sense last seen when the Doctor grasped the extent of the trauma ( inflicted upon him by their shared kind with a literal glimpse into his mind.

Whether it stands or falls, then, the prospect of Gallifrey’s return could be match point in the Game of Russilon…..

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