The Road(s) Not Taken
Have you ever sat down and watched your favourite science fiction drama or fantasy televisions series, and gotten so caught up in the narrative, that you actually find yourself loving these characters?
I think it’s a reasonably accurate statement to say that those who invest in scifi do so wholeheartedly; they attach themselves emotionally with their protagonists (and sometimes antagonists), and we decide, as fans, that we instantly know how their stories should go, how the characters should develop…
It’s probably partly where some writers get their start; we start gazing towards the end of the story… And we find our own plots for the characters to follow…
If you check out my review for Doctor Who Series 7 The Angels Take Manhattan, I’ve been pretty vocal about how I believe the story for The Girl Who Waited and The Last Centurion should have ended… but I’m not Steven Moffat, so it’s not actually my decision… but what if it were…
Dear reader, I’m starting today with a brand new series of articles entitled, cunningly enough… The Road(s) Not Taken in reference to what ways over the years, some of my favourite science fiction or fantasy dramas have taken me on a different journey to the one I envisioned (except Farscape… who could ever predict THAT?!) and I’d like you to get involved… is there anything you’d like to have seen go down a different route? We’ve got a comment box so show me what you got!
I’m starting this week with my other favourite series – the aforementioned…
Specials: The Waters of Mars/The End of Time Parts 1 & 2
I’ve been pondering something for a while so I thought I’d throw it out into the public domain as an idea…
See, whilst watching The Waters of Mars, one of the Doctor Who special episodes, and the last before David Tennant’s swan song, I remember vividly the ending of that episode.
Adelaide alive. The Timelord Victorious.
I remember him turning around and swaggering back to his TARDIS; confident, arrogant, frightening. I recall Adelaide’s look of shock and horror at what this man had become; she walked back to her house, and then she pulled out her gun, and behind closed doors, killed herself.
Ten fell to his knees, unable to prevent it, the Ood calling him, and suddenly he realised just how far he had gone…
Rewind the clock – because when Adelaide pulled out that gun, not for a second, did I think she was going to commit suicide – this thought literally ran through my brain fully formed because how brilliant would it be if Adelaide, one of the most strong-willed companions yet, would be the cause of Perfect Ten’s death because she was going to shoot him!
This was her way of stopping the man who could change time at a whim; not a poetical death to say that Ten can’t control everything, but a way of showing that he has done wrong.
And the beauty behind this rather crucial thought is that it doesn’t change ANY of the action that follows in The End of Time Parts 1 and 2 – it only changes the Doctor’s motivation – he would straight off be fighting his coming regeneration, but he’d still go to the OodSphere (maybe less of the knocking around and avoiding meeting them behaviour!), and then he’d find out the Master was back, and then he’d find out about the Immortality Gate…
Suddenly Perfect Ten has a potential remedy for his coming regeneration; much like the Master wants to use it to fix his health problems, Ten can use it to repair his body and stop the regeneration!
You’ve now got two Timelords after the same thing, but also every single moment from The End of Time still takes place, but when you reach that crucial moment with the four knocks, Ten is choosing to make his condition worse with the radiation blast rather than cure himself – you’ve got Wilf banging on the glass begging him to help himself.
Does that make Ten’s sacrifice all the more heroic? Does it make Adelaide too much of a villain? Have I come up with absolute baloney? I’m not saying this is better that RTD’s version, in fact maybe it’s too dark for a companion, even a one off, to be the cause of the Doctor’s regeneration…!
About Joss Gateway
Sci-Fi Heaven's resident Stargate and Doctor Who columnist. He's lovely too.