That time in eighteenth-century France when Barbara and the Doctor had a post-Aztecs followup chat about time-travel. And I loved it for the following reasons:
- This is the first historical since The Aztecs, but what this conversation makes clear is that he and Barbara have talked about it since, and several times by the sound of it.
- While Ian continues to be the Doctor’s Science Bro, it’s clear that the Doctor’s relationship with Barbara is to a large extent grounded in the fact that they have both learned their lesson about time-travel and history the hard way. Or at least it’s heavily implied in The Aztecs:
(Gifs by Cleowho)
- The Doctor doesn’t say ‘my position’; he says ‘our position’. He may be the more experienced time-traveller, but he considers Barbara to be a fellow traveller now. They have a genuine friendship these days, and a large part of that is because they both ‘get’ time travel, despite her still having a lot to learn. In fact what’s particularly lovely about their friendship is that they’re far more similar than they could ever have suspected at the start when Barbara was busy administering assorted verbal eviscerations.
- The fact that all they can do is not get swept away with the tide of history bothers the Doctor, but what bothers and saddens him more is the fact that Barbara appears to be going through one of the however-many stages of learning how to be a time-traveller, which is moving past the frustration of not being able to change anything to simply finding everything absurd. And when at the end of the episode everyone (especially Barbara) is so flippant about the pointlessness of their actions when everything’s already been written, it bothers him. His insistence that they not get carried away with the flood, and his beautiful little speech at the end of the serial about their lives being important if only to themselves isn’t just about selfishness and self-preservation; it’s about not allowing the predetermined nature of history to render your life devoid of meaning.