even when we lose it's still fun because that means the doctor saves the earth!

2

Requested by @fabulouspotatosister


“We did it!”

Sometimes the Doctor was just a little bit too cheery. Although, in this case, he was perfectly justified. You did just escape death-by-exploding-TARDIS, after all, and that was worth being cheerful for.

“Yeah,” you breathed, slumped against the control console. Man, that was a close one. That could have been bad. Very bad. Death-bad. “We did.”

What you had done, you weren’t sure, but the Doctor had told you to do it and the mauve alarm had stopped flashing and that shrill whistle was finally silent and the TARDIS wasn’t rocking back and forth anymore, so you could only assume that it had worked. And that you weren’t going to die, which was good.

The Doctor was at your side out of nowhere. “You okay?”

“Fine,” you assured him, but he didn’t seem convinced.

“C'mere,” he murmured, pulling you into a hug. “Shh, easy. It’s okay.”

“I just said I’m fine,” you muttered, but who were you to resist a hug from the Doctor? You gripped the fabric of his suit, not wanting to pull away. Every hug from the Doctor was something you treasured. If you were smart, you wouldn’t torture yourself with all this closeness, all this touching that would have been, from any human, rather suggestive of… something. Anything. Any possibility of a thing that was vaguely more-than-friendly-like. But no, of course this was not so with the Doctor. He couldn’t just-

Oh, who were you kidding? The Doctor was a romantic; he just wasn’t a romantic with you.

And just so, you thought. He was, as some might put it, “way out of your league.” And you knew it. So you wouldn’t sulk like a little girl. No. You would sulk like a grown woman, staying up ‘til the crack of dawn with your favorite food and a good movie and some stolen hugs from the Doctor.

“If you say so,” the Doctor finally conceded. “How about we stay in tonight, huh? I think that was more than enough near-death experience for one evening.”

“Definitely,” you agreed. Well, it was time for a shower. Or a bath. And a nap. That had been an exhausting experience. Or, well, if you were going to make this an indulge-myself-because-I-nearly-died therapy session, why not take a nap in a bath? The TARDIS would keep the water fresh and warm and it wasn’t like anyone was going to care if you got pruny. Oh, yes. This was a good idea. There was only one obstacle between you and a therapy bath that potentially could include bubbles.

The Doctor wasn’t letting go.

“Mm… Doctor?”

“Oh!” The Doctor took a few steps back from you, smiling sheepishly. “Sorry.”

“No problem,” you said, and in a desperate attempt to make sure he hadn’t gotten the wrong idea, you said, “I like hugs.”

Well, dumber things had been said by you before, but the Doctor was either oblivious or was kindly ignoring the blurb of awkward that had just slipped out of your mouth.

“Um… well, y'see, the thing is…” The Doctor was doing that eye thing, where he would look at you a bit sideways and squint. It always made him look a bit guilty, although the expression was actually a sign of anxiousness, you were discovering. He scratched the back of his neck, another anxious habit, and you were immediately on alert. "You’re brilliant, you know that?“

"You might have mentioned it once or twice.” He had. It was like his catchphrase. Save the Earth? You’re brilliant! Talk to aliens without being weirded out? You’re brilliant! Give him a banana? You’re brilliant! But then again, you tried not to take anything the Doctor said too seriously. He had once been in the habit of calling you foolish girl and stupid ape, so you knew his words, even the complimentary ones, were to be taken with a grain of salt.

“No, I mean, really brilliant,” the Doctor insisted. “I mean, we do this stuff, all the time, nearly dying, and sometimes you lose your cool but you never give up. And regeneration! You stuck through regeneration and just accepted that I’m still me even though I’m nothing like old me was, and nobody does that!”

Ah. The Regeneration Incident. That had been a lot of fun. You wondered if this was finally the day when you would look back on that event and laugh off how traumatizing it had been for everyone involved, but the Doctor didn’t look to be in the laughing mood. And, he wasn’t done.

The Doctor was swaying back and forth on his feet, scuffing his trainers and running his hands through his hair. You leaned back a little bit, confused. He should be relaxed, not stressed out. You had just successfully survived. What was his problem?

“Do you know that I watch you?”

… Well. That was a new one. “Um…”

“I do,” he said, working his jaw. “I watch you. I know humans get a bit freaked out by that, but it’s a Gallifreyan thing. We watch time, we watch the universe, we watch… important things. I watch you 'cause I can’t not watch you. Because you’re in my brain, all the time. I’m afraid of lettin’ my gob run without checking it, because I know that if I’m not careful, I’m gonna mention you every other sentence. That’s mad!” He wildly threw his arms up in the air to emphasize his point, but you thought the way his hair was defying gravity was probably a better illustration. Wait, no, it was time to be serious. The Doctor was being serious. Leave the hair alone. Do not fantasize about ruffling. “That’s absolutely insane! Loco, bonkers, off my rocker! My big, superior, Time Lord brain, and all I can think about is…”

There were a lot of directions this could be going in, but you had half an idea that it was going somewhere emotionally dangerous. “Is..?”

The Doctor stepped close to you, so close that you thought that he was going for another hug, but his hands -his manly, hairy hands that he was so proud of- reached up to cup your face. He leaned down so that his forehead nearly bumped yours.

“You fill my head,” he said in a hushed, reverent tone, and you noted that his breath smelled like banana and cinnamon. That was, of course, before you realized exactly what it was that he said. 'You fill my head.’ Your heart stuttered at the implication. "I hate going on adventures without you. I want to show you everything, I want to know what you think; I want to have you be with me, always. Forever. Because you were my best mate, and you still are, but you’re so much more than that and you’re amazing and brilliant and if I ever lose you I don’t think I’ll… and I just… I want… Please.“

"I…” What were you supposed to say? I love you? No, you couldn’t say that! No, no, no-no-no. Your mind went to Red Alert when you realized that the Doctor was waiting for some sort of response and you were so without a proper answer that you were learning the true meaning of the phrase 'tongue like lead.’

Wait, what was he doing? He was pulling away!

You looked, and the disappointment and hurt in his eyes was like a punch in the gut.

“It’s alright,” he said with a weak, thin smile that lied, lied, lied, filthy lying liar who lies. “I didn’t expect you to feel the same-”

It was only two seconds. Maybe just one. But in those two-seconds-maybe-one, your experienced what the Doctor might have identified as some sort of Time Sense. You saw your life, from this point on, without the Doctor. It wasn’t half bad. In fact, it was quite pleasant. You were married, successful in a career that you enjoyed, and surrounded by friends you would gain over the years. But then you imagined life with the Doctor. It was wild, and a bit scary, and there were certainly no mortgages or commuting to work. But you had a key to the TARDIS, and the Doctor looked at you like you held the universe, and there were no boundaries. No walls or fences. And you were so, so happy. With him.

And that only took a second or two. He had dropped his hands from your face and was pulling away, but oh no. That was not gonna happen, not if you had anything to say about it.

You reached out, grabbed the straying Doctor by the collar of his coat (the tie had been tempting but not within reach), and yanked him back to you. Forget whether or not it was in your nature, forget whether or not you were the sort to make life-changing decisions in a split-second, and please, forget caution! Throw it to the wind! Because you were not letting him get away. Not this time, and not because you were too silent to tell him-

“I love you.”

Your imagination realized that it made an error in its prediction of the future and corrected this mistake by adding kissing to the 'stay and love the Doctor forever’ scenario. Lots and lots of kissing. Because the Doctor was good, which was saying something, considering that he was practically attacking your mouth with his mouth. Points for the noises, though. He was whimpering, and you were quite sure that it was the most adorable, desperate sound you had ever heard.

“You mean it?” he panted into your mouth when your mouths finally broke contact, sounding far too close to heartbroken. “Really?”

“I do,” you answered, your bottom lip brushing against his. “More than anything.”

He would say it back to you later. You knew he would. In the meantime, he was going to enthusiastically teach you about all the different types of kisses in the universe. There was, apparently, a whole book about that particular subject. And he had been reading a lot lately.

Why Steven Moffat Deserves All the Praise

So this week, news broke that Steven Moffat was to step down from his position as showrunner. Honestly, I am not dreading this. Moffat has had an excellent run and by the time he finishes Series 10, he will have been doing the job for seven years. Doctor Who is a show that thrives on change. However, it has been clear from over the last six years that Moffat’s worst critics are generally those who do not understand that fundamental principle of the show. Even if Moffat has have some writing problems on the odd episode, he is one of the consistently best writers the show has had. So I write this to celebrate the man, the devil, the one and only Steven Moffat and his contributions to Doctor Who.

Women

Moffat has written some of the best written, relatable, and well-rounded female characters this show has seen, both main and supporting.  On the companion side, we have Amy Pond, River Song and Clara Oswald, all of which have different stories and arcs that the audience can engage with. On the supporting end, Vastra, Jenny, Kate Stewart, Osgood and Missy all play a vital role in the stories they appear in.

I can engage with Amy especially, as someone who loves history and lived in a childhood fantasy world that I never wanted to leave, but had to understand that growing up is normal. Her story is beautiful, with her love for Rory undying, yet struggling in fear he would leave her as well. Her ending is extremely satisfying to watch after two and a half series of development and build up to that moment.

River’s story of regaining agency for herself is a brilliant concept that had a decent execution, and she is the only companion who understands the reality of being in love with The Doctor, which is rare in Nu-Who. Also she’s a woman that is over forty who is allowed to be sexual without it being a joke, which is rare in television let allow Doctor Who.

Clara is our longest running companion of Moffat’s era and her story has been wonderful. The Impossible Girl arc was my favourite because it brought about a load of theories and a new way to tell a story, and ultimately it is revealed that Clara is perfectly ordinary woman who made an extraordinary decision. Clara’s story did not end there. Over the next two series, Clara deals with her control. When Series 8 results in her losing Danny because she had too much control, Series 9 had her become reckless and controlling to the point where is killed her. Through Clara we got the most feminist Doctor Who episode to date in ‘Hell Bent’ where Clara declares that The Doctor has no right to take her memories without her consent.

As well as the companions, we also have an array of vibrant supporting female characters. Series 6 introduced Vastra and Jenny, the Victorian lesbian couple who solve crimes and were the inspiration for Sherlock Holmes apparently, who are badass, funny and providers of the first lesbian kiss on Doctor Who. Kate Stewart, daughter of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, is the head of UNIT’s science department, cool under pressure and determined to save her country by any means. Osgood, initially a comic relief character who was meant to be a fan stand-in, turned into the most enjoyable supporting characters. Then there is Missy, who is just queen of evil and a lot of fun to watch.

Progression and the Prospect of a Different Kind of Doctor

Series 5 was a bit white and straight, and Moffat has acknowledged this issue as time as gone on. Series 6 introduced three LGBT characters, two of which are still regular supporting characters, as well as an inter-race regeneration. Series 7 had an episode where the supporting cast was black men. Series 8 had the first appearance of an intersex regeneration when The Master became Missy. Series 9 had the first deaf actress, first transgender actress, first intersex and inter-race regeneration and the majority of episodes had a supporting cast of people of colour. That is outstanding progression from where Moffat’s era began. As well, two of the female companions have been established as being bisexual, with River openly flirting with women and Clara often joyously talking about Jane Austin.

With this progression, Moffat’s era has been the first to really establish the idea that The Doctor could become a person of colour and/or a woman eventually. In Neil Gaiman’s episode ‘The Doctor’s Wife’ we get a reference to a Timelord who could change between genders. In the same series, we have Melody Pond, under the guise of Mels regenerates into River Song, showing inter-race regeneration. In Series 8, the Master is reintroduced as Missy, a female regeneration. Finally, Series 9 had The General, a Timelord who had regenerated into a man, and then into a black woman. As someone who before Series 8 was unsure if I would want a female Doctor, this development and handling has put a lot more faith in me that it would be a good thing for the show.

Bringing back Gallifrey

When the show was brought back in 2005, it was revealed that The Doctor’s home planet had been destroyed by him at the end of The Time War. At first, this did bring a good opportunity for some character development for The Doctor. While The Ninth Doctor had great development, The Tenth had very shoddy handling and it was brought up scarcely in The Eleventh Doctor era. This culminated in ‘The Day of the Doctor’ where it’s revealed Eleven had been forcing himself to forget what he did and he makes the decision to save Gallifrey rather than burn it.

This move has been criticised because it apparently wrecks Nine and Ten’s characterisation, even though Ten and The War Doctor said they would not remember saving Gallifrey. It does not affect Nine or Ten. They still have to deal with their actions. They still have to think this through.

Whether it was ultimately going to be a bad decision or a good decision, the return of Gallifrey brings new opportunities for The Doctor’s character other than moping.

He brought new life to the show

Towards the end of Russell T Davies era, I was getting rather bored with the Earth-based stories that were set in modern day London. It is not really fate if The Doctor does not go anywhere out of the Southeast of England. Also, the Daleks being used as the series main villain was getting tired. It is not a slam against Davies. His era was fine for introducing new audiences into the show after a hiatus, but after four series, it was starting to feel like it was the same song on repeat.

So when Moffat took over, he decided to take the show back to its roots and made it about all of time of space. In his first series, we were on a space station, wartime Britain, late 19th century France, and an alien ruins. He also made the Daleks scary again. Not with the Power Ranger Daleks, though they did look cool, but with ‘Asylum of the Daleks’. It was a terrifying environment to be in, as well as the idea of love being removed so humans can become Daleks. In addition, Moffat came up with unique ideas with the Daleks other than them just invading Earth. In Series 8, we have the main cast going into an Dalek, and most recently, a psychoanalysis of Davros. Variety did no harm.

Conclusion

Whether or not you can engage with Moffat’s writing style, no one can deny all the contributions that he had made to Doctor Who in just six years. He has given us some of the best characters, most progressive series, and took the show back to its roots as well as coming up with new ideas with the villains.

I hope Chris Chibnall continues this good work, and I wish Moffat the best luck for the future.