Please note this article could contain major spoilers for Doctor Who, Series 12.
It's probably fair to say that it's been one of the most interesting weeks Whovians have experienced in a long time. While Chris Chibnall has mainly approached Jodie Whittaker's era with more broader storytelling to appeal to a wider audience (with mixed results, it must be said), last Sunday evening he threw an absolute spanner in the works and, in this author's opinion, completely took his game to a new level.
'Fugitive of the Judoon' was the ultimate red herring of an episode - innocently teasing us with the return of a decade-old alien (which, let's face it, no one was really that bothered about seeing come back), before dropping in the shock surprise of a fan-favourite return, which then distracted us from the main twist of the episode in Jo Martin's 'fugitive' Doctor.
As a result, the Internet's gone into a frenzy over just who this mysterious incarnation is, and how she fits into the wider arc of the Timeless Child. Is she a pre-Hartnell incarnation? Is she a future Doctor, or one from an alternate universe?
Hopefully these answers will come to light in the next few episodes, but for now, there is some evidence so far to suggest that Jo Martin's fugitive Doctor was the protector of the Timeless Child, and the Time Lords later wiped her memory to protect their own secret.
How, you ask? Well, let's delve back in time a bit...
4. The 'Fugitive' Doctor Is Between The 2nd And 3rd Doctors
It'd be very surprising if Jo Martin turned out to be a pre-Hartnell Doctor as she has the Tardis, which is shaped like a police box, and Chris Chibnall has stated he is well aware of the continuity at play.
No, for this theory to work, Chibnall has exploited a different bit of Doctor Who history - the Season 6B theory. This suggests that because we never saw Patrick Troughton regenerate into Jon Pertwee after he was exiled to Earth (at the end of Season 6 of the classic series), the Doctor did not go straight there, and there was a time between these two incarnations where the Doctor was doing work for the Time Lords.
It would make sense that THIS is where the fugitive Doctor fits in, a deduction strengthened by the fact that when we meet her, she is on the run after doing exactly that.
Now, before you start saying 'but she didn't recognise the Sonic Screwdriver, which the 2nd Doctor used', on a re-watch of the episode it's never explicitly stated by Martin that's the case. The suggestion she doesn't recognise it is actually just an assumption made by Jodie Whittaker’s incarnation.
The fugitive Doctor refers to it as a 'cute little gizmo', before going on to say she's 'smart enough not to need one'. Weirdly, she almost looks at the device in disdain and disgust, perhaps suggesting that she knows exactly what it is, but there's a more personal reason why this incarnation doesn't have it...
There's also a couple of other factors that strengthen this argument: Martin's Doctor has been described as more aggressive by some in the fan base, not too dissimilar to the War Doctor, and this would make sense if she was being held by her race to potentially do things that were against the Doctor's own moral code.
It's also been reported that Chibnall was a big fan of Jon Pertwee's era, and it may be he wants to reference that with his own story. Could it possibly be that when the 3rd Doctor stumbles out of the Tardis and collapses at the start of 'Spearhead in Space', it is not as a result of his regeneration, but some unknown trauma the Time Lords have put him through that he himself can't remember?
If this is correct, maybe Chibnall secretly has Sean Pertwee lined up to do a cameo regeneration at the end of the series (that's more wishful thinking from a fan, but it would be cool and the likeness is certainly there).
So, if the fugitive Doctor was between Troughton and Pertwee, what was she doing during this time?