How the 10th Doctor Caused His Own Death on 'Doctor Who'


The 10th Doctor might not have been ready to go after his second regeneration in the Doctor Who episode “The End of Time,” but his actions in 1870s Scotland suggest otherwise. Between Queen Victoria, her paranoid brainchild, Torchwood, the Daleks, the Master, and Harriet Jones, both of the 10th Doctor’s regenerations are totally his fault. Maybe. Shall we explore, Alonzo?

A new fan theory purports that unlike his predecessors, the 10th Doctor (David Tennant) cheated death. Now, it’s not unusual for the Doctor to cheat, of course, but it is unusual for the Doctor to get more than one chance at a single regeneration. It’s unheard of, actually. Recall your shock (and, probably, your teary eyed joy) at seeing David Tennant’s face be the one to emerge from that golden regeneration energy. No one wanted to see him go. Call it dumb luck, pandering to the fans, or a contractual issue, but there’s no better way to tug on the heart strings of Doctor Who fans than to threaten Ten.


Enter a video by Dan Root found in the depths of YouTube called “Why The 10th Doctor Is An Idiot.” It lays this theory — that the 10th Doctor only has himself to blame for his two deaths — out for all of us to ponder. The time-travel mess of the explanation is confusing to be sure, but for a certain kind of fan, it makes complete sense.

Nothing is ever simple in Doctor Who; if there’s anything fans of the show understand, it’s that. Root makes a good argument that, at first glance, seems pretty solid. But the stuff with the Master might feel wonky, since it seems to remove some agency from the fantastic villain. The Master has proven himself over and over again to be a complicated man with an equally complicated past – not so dissimilar from another Time Lord we know, so maybe he can shoulder some of the blame?


And while it would be nice to put everything in a couple of neat piles and say “this happened directly because of this,” we should know by now that it’s impossible on Doctor Who. The one thing the show has taught us is that cause and effect aren’t straight lines, and time itself is “a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff.

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