Did Doctor Who just reveal a clue about the Doctor’s secret origin?
Last series, we learned the Doctor was from a different universe and species than we knew – and the latest episode might have just offered some clues to her true identity.
It’s fair to say that Doctor Who series 12’s finale The Timeless Children chucked a grenade into the canon of the series, revealing that the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) wasn’t "just" a Time Lord from Gallifrey – she was actually from a different species and universe entirely, as well as the first known person to be able to regenerate and the genetic base for all Time Lords since.
Shaken by the revelations and the missing memories of those years (wiped from her mind by the Time Lords), the Doctor vowed to investigate her origins and find out the truth about her life – but new series 13 episode War of the Sontarans may have already offered one clue about the Doctor’s true backstory without her even noticing.
But first, let’s dial back a bit. During the new episode, Yaz (Mandip Gill) and Vinder (Jacob Anderson) find themselves transported to the Temple of Atropos on the planet Time, where the floating Priest Triangle begs their help in repairing the damage done to the Inner Temple by the Flux.
In the temple, they’re introduced to the Mouri – silent, Quantum-Locked women who stand on pedestals around the room, and apparently maintain the flow of time by letting it flow through them. The only problem? Two of them are broken, which could be Very Bad for time in undisclosed ways (presumably, this could be what caused the Flux?).
Anyway, it’s made clear that these Mouri are essentially what keeps time flowing – which is made all the more interesting when the Doctor finally arrives, and doesn’t appear to know anything about them at all. Surely the Time Lords, who supposedly invented time travel and watched its turn from their citadel would be aware of “creatures who hold time in this universe together"?
Unless, of course, this is something that was kept under wraps – which has us wondering whether this new twist on the rules of time in Doctor Who is part of the bigger secrets kept from the Doctor. Clearly, Swarm (Sam Spruell) knows all about the Mouri, and suggests that during his last attack the Temple of Atropos was where it all began. This would suggest the Doctor used to know what it was as well – but for some reason, it was among the other memories wiped from her mind, and not something she was re-appraised of later on.
Now, this is a bit of a stretch – but what if this is because the Doctor has some connection to the Mouri herself? The stylings of the temple and their costumes don’t look too far away from the look of the “Timeless Child” who would eventually become the Doctor (as seen in series 12), and the fact that this information was clearly kept from her suggests it could all be part of the larger secret. Perhaps the Doctor’s true species are the Mouri – or the mysterious outsiders who “assigned” them and the Priest Triangles the job of looking after time and stopping it “running wild.”
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Of course, it’s possible that this is just some other new lore showrunner Chris Chibnall is introducing, and we’re really overreaching with our theories this week. But given the Temple of Atropos’ importance to Swarm’s plan, Swarm’s long connection to the Doctor and all the secrecy, it doesn’t seem too out of the question to suggest that there might be some importance attached to this new storyline.
Also, to put it bluntly, Doctor Who's behind-the-scenes team have something in common with the Mouri – time is against them. Chris Chibnall only has four more episodes and three specials to wind up Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor Who storyline, and assuming the specials are a little less arc-focused (which seems likely) we do kind of need to start getting some answers about the Doctor’s origins in the coming weeks.
Sure, the Mouri might seem a random choice for now – but as we learn more in the coming weeks, we could look back at this as the moment the truth was finally – finally – being revealed.
Or, you know, not. Frankly, we're still trying to work out how the Morbius Doctors fit into all of this.
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