The Doctor’s Clothing: Doing Fun Things With Time Travel

Doctor Who has done (and most likely is continuing to do) something that LOST could have done had it had the foresight. On LOST, the only point at which time travel actually resulted in something we had already seen previously on the show was when Flocke took Richard to talk to Locke and deal with his wound. On Doctor Who, we have already seen a time travel loop used to good effect, when the Doctor, having left Amy with her eyes shut, suddenly reappears in a different jacket to talk to her again, a scene that we get to see from a different angle in a later episode, and learn was the Doctor from the future having come back to talk to her.

If you have not seen “Let’s Kill Hitler” and wish to avoid spoilers, either stop reading now, or read and then if necessary travel back in time to erase all memory of having done so.

Many fans have noticed the clothing that the Doctor wears in “Let’s Kill Hitler.” At the beginning, he has a new jacket, and after being poisoned, he reappears wearing a tuxedo.

We saw him in a tuxedo at Rory and Amy’s wedding, and it has been suggested that in fact the Doctor we see in the tux in “Let’s Kill Hitler” had just come from and subsequently returned to the wedding.

I wonder if we’ll find out that the Doctor who appears in the tux in fact was not the Doctor having been poisoned, but the Doctor from an earlier time, called by his later self to substitute. Once Melody Pond passes on the regeneration energy to him, he will be able to use it to save his earlier self – or perhaps do something even more interesting.

What if the poisoned Doctor cannot be saved, and so is the one who dies on the beach in the Impossible Astronaut, and he is the Ganger Doctor? Then perhaps the Doctor who lives and has Melody Pond’s regeneration energy can indeed travel through time and rewrite history, passing that regeneration energy back to her after she is killed in the Library.

Maybe the show will do something rather different than what I am suggesting, but it is clearly doing something interesting with interlaced time travel. Such stories take a lot of forethought and careful planning, but they are worth it.

What do you think the show is going to be doing with such time travel possibilities?

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  • Evan Hershman

    All I can say is I LOVE the Eleventh Doctor’s wardrobe. “Bow ties are cool.” :-)

    I dunno how they are going to work out the plot with the Impossible Astronaut, but I think maybe your suggestion is a bit convoluted. But then again, with Doctor Who, anything is possible. :-)

  • James F. McGrath

    My hunch is that I am wrong about the details. But I am pretty sure that the gist is right, in the sense that the wardrobe changes are going to be significant and indicate some time-travel aspects of the story that will only become clear later.

    What do you think was the significance of his hearing young Amelia Pond (perhaps the voice interface, perhaps not, since we didn’t see who said it) say “fish fingers and custard”? I wondered whether it didn’t remind him that chemicals in fish fingers and custard are an antidote to the poison of the Judas tree. :)

    • Anonymous

      He said he needed a cure, and she said, You will be dead in 32 minutes.
      He said he needed a pain killer, and he heard, “Fish fingers and custard.”

  • tentativelyfrank

    Absolutely brilliant point! I was wondering why he wasted 30 minutes changing into a tuxedo.

  • tentativelyfrank

    I’ve added a link to your post to mine!

  • James F. McGrath


  • BWSixteen

    This just in, Roland Boer attempts to justify Nazi Socialism over on his blog “Hitler’s Moustahce.” Nah I kid, he’s only tried to justify the legacies of Mao, Lenin, and Stalin.

  • James F. McGrath

    Are you going to link that to Doctor Who, or did you mean to post that comment on a different thread?

  • Doug Chaplin

    Sorry, James, but when you ask where this story is going, I’m inclined to think the answer is “up it’s own arse”. Moffat is getting too clever for his own good.

  • Adorecarlen

    I think the doctor that dies on the beach is flesh

  • James F. McGrath

    If a Doctor of flesh could potentially survive turning back into goo, could a Doctor of flesh even survive burning?

    @4e1d78d527ea732001b09a45ce914072:disqus , he will only be judged too clever for his own good if he fails to pull it off. I agree that time travel narratives can only get so complicated before they stop being enjoyable. But I suspect that even on that point not everyone would agree.

  • Anonymous

    Rewatched the end of the Flesh episodes. Dr. or Flesh Dr. says he’s going to die, but maybe not. ALso says about seeing his death, “This time I didn’t get invited.” So he knows already what happens, kind of, on the beach. The readout from the tesselecta was maybe only done for confirmation of his suspicions.

  • mon☆

    I was a bit disappointed this episode seemed so rushed. I still have questions but none that can really be answered by timey wimey stuff. But…

    I was thinking about the significance of the fish fingers/custard. The Dr. tells the Amelia-interface that he can be brave for her, but he needs her to tell him how. “I’m not Amelia  Pond, I am a voice interface. (silence) Fish fingers and custard.” The Dr. snaps himself up and sets the Tardis off. Fish fingers and custard was what he ate the first time he met Amy as a child – and he noted her bravery as well. Whether the interface actually says this or it’s a conjuring from the Dr’s own consciousness is irrelevant, I think. I think its just something that holds a significance in his heart as it always brings him back to little Amelia. I’d like to think so anyway. And I love the suggestions here about the doctor bringing River back from the Library. That would be awesome! But remember that that she was put into the computer  and likely her body is gone, especially as time lord remains are to be thoroughly disposed of (isn’t that what River says as they burn the Dr’s body Impossible Astronaut) But who knows! =)

    What a fun post. 

    • mon☆

      doh, I just realized that the Doctors can interact with each other. So in theory he could stop 10 from putting River into the computer. But that would be LAME. And yet, awesome.