Monday, December 3, 2012

Doctor Who S7 continuity

This season's perspective has been from the Ponds' timeline, more or less.  As I mentioned in previous reviews, I really don't think that the Doctor's timeline is concurrent; I think that the Doctor's timeline jumps around a bit.  I'm going to lay out my hypothesized timeline, and comprehensively explain why I think that.  This also doubles as my Season 7 review roundup, as I'll link to my review in the episode title.

(ETA:  Upon re-watching, I've made some corrections to the hypothesized timelines.  Click here for the updated predictions!)

ALL the spoilers follow, FYI.

Pond Life (S7 Prequel)

In this set of sketches, it seems like the Ponds' timeline is running in the same direction as the Doctor's, if not at the same rate.  Certain things happen chronologically, particularly what with the Ood, but also their Ood had been there a month, while the Doctor'd thought the Ood had just gone on a walk.  The notable thing here is when the Doctor changes the bulb at the beginning of Pond Life 5...


The Power of Three (S7E4)
... or at least the first half of it.

Abridged, The Power of Three goes like this:  SMALL BOXES happen, and the Doctor stays for four days before getting all frustrated with the unbearable slowness of time and abandoning.

I'm 95% sure that the events of Angels occured while he was away, before he comes back on the Ponds' wedding anniversary.  He starts out taking the Ponds for granted, essentially, and ends up cherishing the F outta them.  It's the only thing that makes narrative sense.  (I might be giving the writers too much credit, though, given their horrendo track record...)

The Angels Take Manhattan (S7E5)

River:  "Does the bulb on top need changing?"
Doctor:  "Just changed it."


Also, River joins the Doctor as a proper companion, which is something I totally called back in my Dinos review.  Just sayin'.  Called it.

The Power of Three (S7E4)
... part two.

So the Doctor comes back on the Ponds' wedding anniversary, adventures adventures Rory leaves his cell phone charger in Henry VIII's bedroom.

And then the Doctor got all emo and wanted to stay.  I'm predicting that the reason the Doctor gets so squishy with the "I... miss you" is because he's seen the Ponds' death.  It also explains the maudlin rooftop monologue, though that might be me thinking too highly of the writers here... as they don't really seem to care about things like emotional consistency.

A Town Called Mercy (S7E3)

There was that very blatant bit about the cell phone charger...


... which is pretty damn conclusive, if you ask me.

I also think the Doctor's comfort with using guns to shoot people may be a holdover from spending too much time with River. Amy rather beautifully smacks him upside the head about it, which makes me loathe to put it before episodes where the Doctor uses violence... but to repeat myself, I might be giving the writers too much credit.  Because this is a self-contained episode, it's hard to place it specifically.  I like the thought of them arriving directly from the end of Po3, but that might not necessarily be the case.

Dinosaurs on a Spaceship (S7E2)

The most outstanding gesture towards non-continuity is this right here:

I do know what it means when the Doctor is sad when they're not looking.

("What's the point in them being happy now if you know they're going to be sad later? The answer is, of course, because they are going to be sad later.  SOB.)

Seriously, look at him.  HE KNOWS.

This ep also had a lot of subtle-ish nods in it that I pointed out in my review.  At the time, I'd totally called the whole "spending a lot of time with River off-camera" thing that ends up happening in Angels... but admittedly, I have some bias there.  (THIS SHIP SAILS ITSELF, IS ALL I'M SAYING.)

The Doctor also kisses Rory, which really makes me feel like he thinks that's "normal" now. That makes me lean towards this being significantly later in the Doctor's timeline, after he's spent seriously significant time with River.  Plus, Rory kissed the Doctor in The Power of Three, so that might be another one of those cyclical priming things that happens all the damn time in the Whoniverse.

There is also that whole deal what with the Doctor straight-up murdering a dude.  This maybe might indicate one of the following things:
  • It may have followed Asylum, since the Doctor may have had his rage levels increased after exposure to the nanocloud.
  • It may have preceded Mercy, since she had to slap some sense into the Doctor for trying to kill people, and he hadn't yet received that lesson.
  • It may have followed Angels, as he might have picked up some murder-is-OK tendencies from hanging around his gun-toting wife for too damn long.
Non-conclusive, but suggestive.

Asylum of the Daleks (S7E1)
Amy:  "Is it bad that I've really missed this?"
The Doctor, while pulling a face: "Yes!"
Why would it be bad if Amy had missed adventuring with the Doctor, if not because it means that it's been a while since she saw him (and thus he must have necessarily missed a chunk of that potential quality time during his "I'm a time traveler and I can hang out with you in any order I want to, damn it" post-mortem tour).

The Doctor also doesn't seem to have missed the Ponds all that much, as if it hasn't been long since he's seen them... which, yes I know is slightly tenuous, but there's another gesture towards that sort of continuity nod in The Angels Take Manhattan.

Though to be honest, outside of those very subtle hints, there's no other reason why this couldn't have occurred literally any point this season for the Doctor.  It's almost entirely spoiler-free, unlike a number of other eps.  I put it last mostly because I like the thought of this being the Doctor's segue into the new companion, from his point of view... and because there's something poetic about these episodes being almost exactly in reverse order.

I'm also be tempted to put it between Angels and Power of Three, pt 2, for reasons that mostly have to do with character development:
  • The involuntariness of this episode would make it a good segue between "OMG MY FRENDZ R DED noooo :c :c noo" and "I can visit them in any order I want, TIME LORD VICTORIOUS WOO #highfive!"
  • The Doctor isn't acting all Rivery, suggesting it's earlier in his timeline
  • He's not particularly vicious or violent yet, which seems to develop through Power of Three, Dinosaurs, and Mercy in particular... and this episode basically gives him an excuse to harbor violence, what with the nanocloud of Dalek hate, etc.  
But again.  Writers.  Credit.  All things considered, I'd put my guess with Asylum at the end (to give a poetic grand arc which is somewhat ill-fitting around the edges) instead of Asylum near the beginning (which has well-thought-out implications for the minutia of character development but is less poetic).

If I'm wrong about this specific bit - if the eps are out of order, but Asylum took place earlier in the Doctor's timeline - I will take back every nasty thing I've said about the Who writers this season.  (Except the things about the Weeping Angels continuity.  Because it is IRREDEEMABLY TERRIBLE.)

If I'm wrong about the entire thing, and the episodes are in linear order for all parties as presented in S7?

Then I will be WELL AND TRULY MIFFED, considering the increasingly blatant hint-dropping.


So there's my S7 predicted continuity.  What do you think?  Do you have a different/better one?  Are there details that I left out, that you think are significant?  Reblog/comment with your thoughts!

ETA:  Here are links to my reviews, all tidy-like:

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