Doctor Who: 10 Huge Questions After The Power Of The Doctor

All the major talking points after Jodie Whittaker and Chris Chibnall's final Doctor Who outing.

Doctor Who The Power Of The Doctor Sacha Dhawan the Master
BBC Studios

Could Chris Chibnall actually pull it off? A feature-length special to mark 100 years of the BBC, the first (and only) regeneration story under his watch, and the final Doctor Who job for his production team. The departing showrunner certainly had his work cut out.

Compared to the angst-ridden endings of many of the Davies and Moffat Doctors, the Thirteenth Doctor’s regeneration was filled with positivity, wonder, and delight. It brought back to the table Jodie Whittaker’s lighter take on the role, before the Timeless Child narrative had started hammering away at it.

Though less successful in neatly wrapping up the era itself - with the Flux and Timeless Child plots conveniently ignored - and with no return for any of Chibnall’s new monsters (whatever happened to the originality of Series 11?), The Power of the Doctor will nonetheless go down as one of its high points.

That said, it wasn't perfect, leaving many unanswered questions in its wake - some of which will likely never be addressed, and others that could very well be explored under new showrunner Russell T Davies.

10. So What Is The Power Of The Doctor?

Doctor Who The Power Of The Doctor Sacha Dhawan the Master
BBC Studios

There was surprisingly little dialogue on the titular "power" of the Doctor, with the Master’s own powers - and the ones he harnesses - the subject of much discussion. The Doctor even admires him for the sheer audacity of his scheme, and comments on the superior power of his TARDIS over hers.

At one point, she questions whether he really does have the power to call upon both Cybermen and Daleks. Turns out he does, helped in no small part by stolen technology from Gallifrey, and the Cyberium he’d ingested.

In contrast to the planet-powering energy of the Qurunx, the Doctor can only give out accidental static shocks. We are shown her inability to control her friends, with Dan choosing to leave early on, and Yaz refusing to stay back, while the Master (as Rasputin) casually uses old-school hypnosis to manipulate the Tsar. The obvious misdirect that the Doctor’s power is her ability to regenerate is heightened by the Master’s plan, with those static charges easily mistaken as the start of the process until we learn otherwise. But as always, this is the Master’s obsession, and not the Doctor’s.

In the end (and, refreshingly, without any of the dull exposition so characteristic of this era), the power of the Doctor is rooted in her friendship circle. Her extended fam. The lengths they go to, both together and independently, to defeat their enemies. The risks they are prepared to take, and the costs that are often involved. Sometimes, the Doctor must let them in (Yaz), and other times let them go (Dan). But the Doctor’s own strength lies in her refusal to admit defeat, surviving on the edge of the abyss.

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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.