Chapter By Chapter features me reading one chapter of the selected book at the time and reviewing it as if I were reviewing an episode of a TV show or an issue of a comic. There will be spoilers if you haven’t read to the point I have, and if you’ve read further I ask that you don’t spoil anything further into the book. Think of it as read-along book club.
We’re in the home stretch, the second to last chapter of the book. And thus far, especially in the previous chapter, every answer has been replaced with a question. Our heroes better find the TARDIS and sort this mess soon because time and space are in a kerfuffle right about now.
Everyone has their favorite Doctor, the one that they just enjoyed seeing most. In Classic Who the winner of that race is usually Tom Baker’s Doctor, and he does play an amazing and fun interpretation of the Doctor admittedly. He also had my favorite Companion, K-9. However my favorite Doctor, and I don’t know how he ranks on fan polls, is the Fifth Doctor, Peter Davidson’s. While at time Tom’s is the most fun to watch Davidson’s Doctor is probably the nicest of them all, and I imagine Moffat, also being a Fifth Doctor fan, may have use him as the template in creating the Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith, though Smith is a bit more…lively. Doctor Five is less egotistical, a bit more–lacking a better term–human and fallible. He’s right except for the times he isn’t and doesn’t hold the same commanding presence as most of the others, meaning he has to convince people he knows what he’s talking about. He also has the most civilian outfit of the classic Doctors, a Cricket uniform with a nice jacket. He wouldn’t have a normal outfit again until New Who, where they all tend to blend in a bit more in their outfits, except for maybe Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor costume.
And yes, I know David Tennant is married to Davidson’s daughter after she played the Tenth Doctor’s clone daughter. Moving on. Let’s see if anything gets answered without another question. This book doesn’t have much time left, you know.
We start off with Ian and Barbara trying to comfort Bamford, who we later learn has the first name Louise so I may start calling her Louise to separate her from the Bamfords we’ve met. Apparently having people to comfort her helped her keep her sense of self, meaning she won’t become the General Bamford we all know and loathe. Vagrants killed her mom before she met Louise’s dad which means Louise is now a woman out of time thanks to the timeline going crazy. Unfortunately I doubt we’re going to have the time to really examine that. Ian also gets some closure from his alternate self when he pawns alt-Ian’s wedding ring to get them some money. Alt-Ian is dead so he won’t be using it but you have to feel sorry again for his alt-Barbara, if indeed that’s who he married. We’re still only guessing as Guerrier continues his slashfic paring of Ian and Barbara. So at least we’re wrapping something up.
Meanwhile, The Doctor, Susan, and Griffiths trick younger Kelly and his colleagues so they can destroy the artifacts and notes that would have led to the time loop device being created. This stops the experiments but won’t get them closer to finding the TARDIS, which is clearly not here. Susan is surprisingly upbeat about destroying the equipment. Previous she thought this was changing history and they shouldn’t do that but apparently at some point she started agreeing with her grandfather that this particular event should have been changed. I would have liked to have seen her come to that revelation. Also, they make it a point to note that she shook off an attempted attack back in chapter ten. More on that in a moment.
Our group comes together and comes to realize that the police box Ian and Susan saw when they arrived might have been the TARDIS, changing along with the times in a sort of sleep mode until it could be found by its proper master, the Doctor. I’m not sure the full explanation jives with even what Guerrier would have known about TARDISes at the time since this was well before Matt Smith’s Doctor and the whole Trenzalore situation, where we see what happens when an unmaintained TARDIS dies…as the grave that now isn’t or…yeah, let’s just avoid another headache. At times Steven Moffat can really follow Geoff Johns’ trend of messing with lore when he thinks of something better, and Who lore contracts itself often. Again, two origins for the Loch Ness Monster.
At any rate they arrive but don’t find the TARDIS or any kind of police box. What they do find is the man who attacked Susan, but now Susan is suddenly saying that he never really tried to attack her. So what she just that upset that what she was met with was another alternate Ian? And why is she only mentioning this now? If he asked her who she was and grabbed her, which is the story she told, did it take her this long to recognize him? I’m not sure if this is a change or not but it seems like a last-minute addition at any rate. And of course yet another question as we have yet another alternate Ian. I understand all the alternate Andrewses we’ve gotten but a second alt-Ian? Why not an alt-Barbara just to be different? An alternate Susan or even an alternate Doctor, which would have led to more questions given how few alternate universe in official canon have seemed to feature their own Time Lords or their own Doctor at all. (As in zero. No evil mirror Doctor and I think we’re better off with that. The Valeyard was confusing enough.)
Nothing really lore-related otherwise. We do see that this alternate Louise and Griffiths both gain a sort of conscience and want to find a less fear-driven way to make the world a better place without the bullying and violent tactics they grew up with. Maybe they’d even prevent the war, or maybe that happens when the Doctor later stops WOTAN/The Machine? I’ve stopped expecting this story to make sense of it’s own time travel logic, and that may be the biggest problem with this story. Even for Doctor Who the time travel logic has gone cross-eyed.
We still have one chapter and a three-page epilogue left to go so next week we conclude this book. If anything’s going to make sense this will be the last chance. See you then.