Series 12 of Doctor Who ended by finally revealing who the Timeless Child is. But with that answer came many more questions… (Spoilers follow.)
Who or what is the Timeless Child? This had been a key question in Doctor Who since not just the beginning of Series 12, but virtually the beginning of Jodie Whittaker’s era. “The Timeless Child” was first mentioned early on in Series 11 in The Ghost Monument, but it became far more important in Series 12. Whoever or whatever the child was, it was major enough to cause the Master to destroy Gallifrey, as revealed back in Spyfall.
However, at long last, the question of who the child really is was finally answered in Series 12’s finale, The Timeless Children. And it’s an answer that has, at the very least, proven to be extremely divisive in the fandom. Since the finale was broadcast on Sunday, the whole of Doctor Who fandom has been discussing the identity of the Timeless Child: the Doctor.
Fans aren’t just discussing it because we found out about the existence of unknown Doctors, all set before William Hartnell’s. It’s not just because the Doctor herself had no idea about these earlier lives, either. But, more than that, the Timeless Child was the reason for the Time Lords discovering regeneration. As a result, it makes the Doctor far more important to her people than we could have imagined. So in some ways, this almost answers the titular question itself: “Doctor who”?
But, at the same time, this revelation raises a whole new set of questions.
Both we and the Doctor now know that they’ve lived many more lives than they thought they had. However, that does lead to one key question: why did they forget? Why would the Time Lords erase the Doctor’s memory of those earlier lives?
We’re given hints that the Doctor was involved in something on Gallifrey. A secret organization called “the Division”. Which frankly sounds like the next major arc word. When Series 13 does roll around next year, I think it’s highly likely that the Doctor will investigate what the Division was.
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We should also expect the return of Jo Martin’s Doctor, who was introduced in Fugitive of the Judoon. While she briefly appeared in The Timeless Children, it was only inside the Doctor’s mind. There are still so many unanswered questions regarding this incarnation. Why did she have to hide herself as a human? Why were the Time Lords looking for her? Why does her TARDIS look like a Police Box if she’s before Hartnell’s Doctor? (And that’s a very big if. There might be one more twist with her Doctor that we don’t yet know about.)
Some questions, I’m sure, won’t ever be answered. If there’s one thing that stands out about the revelation of the Timeless Child, it’s that Chris Chibnall has brought back the mystery of the Doctor in a big way, so I’m sure he’s in no rush to reveal everything.
But at the same time, we can definitely expect some of the biggest questions to be answered next series. Chibnall said he had a five-year plan in mind with his era. The revelation of the Timeless Child feels like that plan is only just starting to unfold.
Do you think some of the bigger questions will be answered next series? Do you have any theories of your own regarding those questions? Let us know in the comments below.