Doctor Who series nine’s penultimate episode was a mind-bending puzzle of a story, with Peter Capaldi’s Doctor trapped in a devious resetting clockwork prison that seemed to have no obvious escape.
Eventually, the Doctor solved the riddle of his time there and found his way out, but not before some reddit users spotted another mystery. Why are there so many arms and spoons when the Doctor’s supposed to be alone?
Microscope-eyed fan HMpf1998 was the first to notice the oddity, which comes when the Doctor is eating soup before dropping his spoon when a thought strikes. When Peter Capaldi is holding the spoon in close-up, you can spot a second arm behind his own, with – bizarrely – a second dripping spoon.
See it? If not, here it is in some more detail – you can see the second arm in this picture below (and note the dripping spoon at the top)
…and then spy the second spoon (still dripping) when Peter Capaldi drops his on the table.
And in case you were wondering, there was nothing else behind the Doctor that could have produced that effect. As seen in these shots taken just before, he was supposed to be alone.
So what’s going on? Well, the reddit thread’s explanation is that the second spoon was there during production to actually drip soup, lining up so it appeared to be dripping from the first spoon while that utensil actually remained clean. Perhaps it was done to keep splashes away from Capaldi’s costume and the table, or maybe it was some arcane technique of filmmaking too complicated for us to understand. After filming was completed the weird doubling in the shot went unnoticed, and so this odd puzzle was born.
Still, we’re not counting out other more canonical possibilities either. After all, we learned the Doctor was repeating his actions over and over in the prison, so could this hint of a second figure be something to do with that? Perhaps the shadow of a previous visit, as Steven Moffat recently indicated was possible due to flaws in the Confession Dial’s resetting feature?
We’ll may never know for sure – but in hindsight, we definitely should have expected the Doctor to be causing trouble with a spoon again.
Doctor Who will return later this year