Published on April 28th, 2011 | by Andrew Reynolds
Space (And Time) 1969
Time travel is an unbalanced and, some would say, unfair proposal. As we saw Saturday when out of the great blue came a homicidal astronaut to blast our hero to death mid-regeneration: was he invited? Did the Doctor know he would be there? Had the Doctor been there before and now knew what was to come?
Taking the fun out of everything, Physics would decry this as stomping merrily over the consistent histories approach, where even in a universe that allowed time travel you still have to abide by the laws of physics.
This is mostly a concession to free will: how exactly could the 1103 year-old Doctor interfere with his own time line, while remembering what had happened, and thus not be able to break with events that he had already seen?
Breaking it down further, it means Baby Hitler won’t be smothered in his cot and your Great, Great Granddad will be spared a nihilistic death by ‘curiosity’.
Of course, the caveat here is that this is human free will, not Time Lord free will… well that and “it’s a TV show!”.
There consistent history seems a little vague. The Time Wars are a no-no for meddling but then again so was Pompeii.
So what is Space: 1969? An ancillary event to the fixed point of the Doctor’s Death? A warning from a dead man to his younger self to see what is happening around him, to stop The Silence from doing whatever evil they have planned?
And just who gave him that slender warning, one that he knew the TARDIS couldn’t resist?
Let’s back up a bit. Amy Pond is certainly a free spirit as your granddad or Jerry Garcia might call her. While questioning why the Doctor would recruit himself her first reaction is, he wants to save himself. Amy imposing her free will on the Doctor (though free will is just a fancy way of saying ‘those humans… they’ll do anything!’)
A Time Lord, despite the ponderous piety, is a noble creature. We’ve seen the lengths the Doctor will go to, to save our humble blue planet. So, being that he knows how Amy is going to re-act and his own apparent apathy over saving us once again (“Humans, I thought I’d never tire of saving you”) what are the Doctor’s motivations for sending his younger self back?
Did he even do it? But then again who else has the power to unite all of the Doctors friends and himself together…could it have something to do with The Silence’s TARDIS – last seen squatting on the roof of Craig’s house in The Lodger?
Does he want to save himself? Avenge himself or simply correct the mistake of an old man who missed what was right in front of him?