Doctor Who series 11’s third episode introduces a new villain to the series called Krasko, a murderer and time traveller who tries his best to stop Rosa Parks’ 1955 bus protest as part of a racist mission to undo the civil rights movement.
In the time he spends onscreen, Krasko (played by Joshua Bowman) definitely leaves an impact – but could he actually have a closer connection to Doctor Who mythology than we might first assume?
Classic Who fans may note that the basic storyline of Rosa bears some similarities to The Time Meddler, a 1965 serial starring William Hartnell’s Doctor that also saw a time-traveller from the future aiming to alter historical events for his own ends in 1066.
In that story, a character called The Monk (Peter Butterworth) was attempting to destroy a Viking fleet led by Harald Hardrada using neutron bombs, in the hope that the easy victory would leave then-English King Harold Godwinson in a stronger position to face William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings. Following this, he hoped England would enter a new technological age.
It was also noted that he’d given aircraft design tips to Da Vinci and lent mechanical assistance to the builders of Stonehenge among other historical alterations, all to foster his own amusement or to reshape Earth history into what he considered to be a better form.
Krasko’s attempt to set back race relations by preventing Rosa Parks’ bus protest definitely bears comparison to the Monks’ actions – so could there be a connection between the two figures?
Well, it’s possible. At the end of the episode Ryan zaps Krasko far back in time using a Temporal Displacement Weapon, and the first time we see the Monk he’s living in 11th century England. Krasko is also familiar enough with Time Lord technology to instantly recognise the Tardis for what it is, while the Monk himself actually had a more advanced Tardis (with a fully-functioning chameleon circuit) that allowed his meddling through time.
The idea of them being the same person – Krasko as the younger version – seems unlikely, however. While the Monk was never named as a Time Lord when he appeared in the series (at the time, the Doctor’s backstory wasn’t fully established) it was suggested he came from the Doctor’s home planet, and his possession of a Tardis implies that he was a renegade from the Doctor’s species.
Krasko, meanwhile, just seems to be a human from the future – the Doctor would definitely note that he was another Time Lord if she suspected it – and his only mode of time travel is a vortex manipulator that the Doctor destroys. Also, as a character Krasko is much more dangerous and hostile than the Monk ever was, and there’s little crossover between their personalities.
What’s far more likely is that Krasko was intended by episode writers Malorie Blackman and Chris Chibnall as a different take on a character like the Monk, using a similar idea to tell a new and culturally relevant story for a new generation of fans.
Still, who knows? The last time we saw the Monk he was stranded on a desolate, icy planet, and Krasko is now similarly marooned in history. Maybe one day the meddling pair will cross timelines and finally find a way to thwart the Doctor for good…