Doctor Who Christmas Special 2017: What ‘Twice Upon A Time’ Really Means

8. The Biggest Databank In The Universe

BBC

The Doctor deciding to use his most reliable go-to weapon, knowledge, heads off in search of the biggest database in the universe for information on the glass avatars. The Doctor once used more or less the same words to describe the Matrix on Gallifrey (Hell Bent), and when the TARDIS door started to open onto an orangey backdrop, we might have expected to see him back there. It would have been an odd choice however, given the Doctor’s rejection of his home world following his enforced imprisonment in the Confession Dial and disastrous attempt to resurrect Clara.

Instead we soon learn that the database is the Dalek hive mind and that the planet (resembling the ruined future Earth in the Lego Dimensions Doctor Who game) is Villengard. Once the location of a huge weapons factory (previously only namechecked in Moffat’s first Doctor Who adventure The Empty Child), it is now the refuge of the besieged Rusty, the Dalek who wages war on his own kind. It would appear that the Doctor would sooner risk consulting with his arch enemies than his own people.

The Director and co-writer of Into the Dalek (Ben Wheatley, Phil Ford) were fascinated by Rusty’s untold future (initially he was to kill himself by blowing up the Daleks at the end of the episode, but earnt a last minute reprieve – did Moffat’s plans for him go back that far?). They speculated that he could team up with Journey Blue, the soldier rather harshly turned down by the Doctor from joining him and Clara as a companion. It would have made for a fun spin-off series, but as the next best thing this was an appropriate return for the character, as well as being a subtle reminder to the viewers of Clara’s importance to the Doctor and the tragedy of his memory wipe.

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Paul Driscoll is a freelance writer and author across a range of subjects from Cult TV to religion and social policy. He is a passionate Doctor Who fan and January 2017 will see the publication of his first extended study of the series (based on Toby Whithouse's series six episode, The God Complex) in the critically acclaimed Black Archive range by Obverse Books. He is a regular writer for the fan site Doctor Who Worldwide and has contributed several essays to Watching Books' You and Who range. Recently he has branched out into fiction writing, with two short stories in the charity Doctor Who anthology Seasons of War (Chinbeard Books). Paul's work will also feature in the forthcoming Iris Wildthyme collection (A Clockwork Iris, Obverse Books) and Chinbeard Books' collection of drabbles, A Time Lord for Change.