With Legend of the Sea Devils having bowed on Easter Sunday, Jodie Whittaker has just one episode left as the star of Doctor Who – and though the show's latest instalment didn't dwell too heavily on her imminent departure, it did contain one subtle nod to what's next.
Series boss Chris Chibnall – who will exit the show alongside Whittaker – had previously described the Easter special as a "big standalone Bank Holiday action romp... before we go into the big epic battle for survival with Jodie's final episode".
Sure enough, the episode didn't follow up directly on the ominous message that the Doctor (Whittaker) received at the close of the most recent series – in The Vanquishers, the embodiment of Time (also played by Whittaker) warned, "Your time is heading to its end. Nothing is forever. No regeneration, no life. Beware of the forces that mass against you… and their master."
The Doctor didn't share this warning with her companions Yaz (Mandip Gill) and Dan (John Bishop), but it's probable that thoughts of her imminent demise might've played into the Doctor's reluctance to enter into a romantic relationship with Yaz.
"Yaz, I can’t fix myself… to anything, anywhere, or anyone," the Doctor says, when the long-brewing tension between the two is finally addressed. "I’ve never been able to. It’s what my life is.
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"Not because I don’t want to. Because I might. But if I do fix myself to somebody, I know sooner or later, it’ll hurt."
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It's possible that the Doctor is worried she'll be the one to get hurt – if Yaz opts to leave the TARDIS, or even if she stays for the rest of her natural life but old age eventually catches up with her – but could she also be implying that Yaz will be the one to get hurt, and soon, given that mysterious "forces" are apparently plotting to end the Time Lord's life?
Adding weight to that second interpretation is the exchange between the Doctor and Yaz that follows. "Can we just live in the present, of what we have..." an emotional Doctor asks. "...while we still have it?”
A disappointed Yaz agrees, before picking up a stone from the seaside where she and the Doctor are sitting. At Yaz's request, the Doctor skims the stone across the sea, making a wish as she does so: "I wish this would go on forever."
The episode concludes with the pair exchanging a meaningful look and the Doctor staring wistfully out across the ocean... is she remembering Time's warning and the fate that might be about to befall her?
For now, we can only speculate – and we'll have plenty of time to debate and discuss new theories, with Doctor Who taking another break of several months before returning to BBC One and BBC iPlayer later this year for a special episode to mark the BBC's centenary.
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