Friday, November 17, 2023

The Doctor's Doppelgängers

Next week begins the start of Doctor Who's 60th anniversary specials. This won't be the first time the Doctor encounters/wears a familiar face. In fact it almost seems like it's a recurring theme, the Doctor encountering his doppelgängers (or being his own doppelgänger in this case). Sometimes before he wears the face and sometimes after. Sometimes at the same time. So with the Fourteenth Doctor coming up (and with "Enemy of the World" in my recent memories) let's take a look at these twinners.

First Doctor - Abbot of Amboise (The Massacre)

Though the episode doesn't still exist in its entirety, "The Massacre" features the Doctor encountering (sort of) his lookalike in the 16th Century. The Doctor never appears on screen with the Abbot, so I suppose the Doctor could have been the Abbot the whole time (instead of just pretending to be him). But all the same, Steven couldn't tell for sure through the four episodes whether he was truly interacting with the Doctor or the Abbot. Frustrating I'm sure. That couldn't have helped with that outburst at the end, before he stormed out of the TARDIS. (Side note: If we're including the fact that David Bradley played the Doctor in "Twice Upon a Time" and "The Power of the Doctor", the First Doctor also had a double in "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship")

Second Doctor - Ramón Salamander (The Enemy of the World)

Upon arriving in Australia 2018 (yet another future story now set in the past), what are the odds that the Doctor would encounter a Hispanic warlord version of himself? Naturally the dictatorship's enemies had to use the Doctor to infiltrate the bad guys' European home. But the Doctor being the Doctor had to make sure he was on the right side before agreeing to overthrow a regime. And enter the Doctor's superb acting skills, utilized multiple times in his second incarnation, to fool nearly all of Salamander's people. Long story short, good guys win and Salamander forgot to close the TARDIS doors before taking off.... so into the vortex he goes. Spin-off media took his story in another direction after that, but as TJ and I have said on the podcast, that goes into the pseudo-canon (pick-and-choose-canon) realm.

Fourth Doctor - The Curator (The Day of the Doctor)

As if it wasn't enough to have all thirteen Doctor's appear AND save Gallifrey, we were hit with another surprise as the legendary Tom Baker returned to Doctor Who. The Fourth Doctor is still the longest running Doctor, so to see him return as the Curator was/is a big deal for fans. Though not technically confirmed in the 50th Anniversary special, it was heavily hinted that the Curator is a future incarnation of the Doctor. Regardless, his face was recognizable by the Eleventh Doctor. The spin-off media expands on the Curator, but as previously noted, that's only sort-of canon.

Sixth Doctor - Maxil (Arc of Infinity)

Before appearing as the flamboyantly obnoxious Sixth Doctor, Collin Baker appeared as the Time Lord Maxil in "Arc of Infinity". Imagine with all the faces you could regenerate into and you turn into another Time Lord. I guess that's just the luck of the draw... except that sometimes the face isn't random (see the two examples below).

Tenth Doctor - Fourteenth Doctor (60th Anniversary Specials)

How do you become your own doppelgänger? By being the most popular Doctor of the modern era. We know next to nothing about the Fourteenth Doctor, except that for some reason he looks like the Tenth. From the trailers (Spoiler warning) we can kind of tell that the Fourteenth Doctor is going to wrap up some of his unfinished business from his time with Donna. What does that mean for them? Who knows? And how does the Toymaker play into things?

Twelfth Doctor - Lobus Caecilius (Fire of Pompeii)

We were told this Doctor double would be addressed during the tenure of the Twelfth Doctor. I don't know what I expected (maybe revisiting Roman times?) but I was underwhelmed at the explanation of why the Doctor looked like Caecilius. Maybe I wanted them to address Donna again? I don't know, but we're getting Donna again anyway. Also, though I never watched Torchwood, Peter Capaldi also appeared on the Doctor Who spin-off as John Frobisher and I kind of hoped they'd tie him into the Twelfth Doctor as well. Oh well.

And now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to be here twiddling my thumbs, continuing along my Second Doctor rewatch, while I wait for the return of the Doctor and Donna. Happy 60th anniversary, Whovians!

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