One of the unique things about a show/story/character as long running as Doctor Who is its potential to fold back on itself, to tell a story that opens a new path for future narratives while also inviting you to return to older stories and see them in a new way. As I explored last week, Chris Chibnall’s addition of the Timeless Child to the world of Doctor Who certainly does that. This week, as I’ve been filling my time between Doctor Who: Flux “Chapter One: The Halloween Apocalypse” and Doctor Who: Flux “Chapter Two: War of the Sontarans,” I’ve been continuing my journey through all 695 episodes of Classic Doctor Who. As I’m moving through the Third Doctor’s era (which I ADORE), I’ve been thinking of the Timeless Child. Specifically I’ve been thinking of how seamlessly it brings together a few plot points which felt a bit disconnected to me.
On the eve of the premiere of Doctor Who: Flux, “The Halloween Apocalypse” (best. title. EVER.), I figured it was apropos to reflect on the Timeless Child. Tomorrow, the first episode of Jodie Whittaker’s final full series as the Doctor will air. Shortened due to Covid affecting filming, Doctor Who: Flux will be one single six episode serial story. It, along with three feature length specials with Jodie airing next year, will also mark the end of Chris Chibnall’s time as showrunner for Doctor Who. The Timeless Child is the largest narrative plot point developed during his time at the helm. It’s one of the most hotly debated, too. I wanted to write about it as soon as the episode aired…but I had SO MANY feelings and I had NO IDEA how to sort any of them. They needed to percolate. I needed time to think. But now, with Doctor Who: Flux about to begin, I want to discuss the Timeless Child. And, oddly enough, it was the model set in Spider-Man comics which helped me get to the point where I could see how the Timeless Child fits within the world of Doctor Who.