The fourth episode of Doctor Who season 11, "Arachnids in the U.K.," saw the Time Lord confront mutated spiders in Sheffield - and dropped some tantalizing hints about her personal history. It exploited a classic Doctor Who trope, with the monster of the week adding a touch of horror to an aspect of everyday life. Given that the episode aired around Halloween, it was certainly fitting that the show used spiders.
In truth, this was one of the most important episodes in the season so far. Returning to Sheffield in 2018 gave the Doctor's friends an opportunity to decide whether or not they really wanted to be part of "Team TARDIS." Interestingly, where previous Doctors tended to make puppy-dog eyes until their would-be companions decided to hop on boards, Jodie Whittaker's 13th Doctor warned them off. She wanted to make sure that they went into this with their eyes wide open, aware of the risks and the fact she couldn't promise to keep them safe.
This was largely a one-and-done story, although once again the real villain has the potential to return. But the real mysteries lie in the details - in subtle hints that the Doctor's history may be a lot more complicated than Doctor Who fans had previously thought. Here are all our key questions.
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10. Could Jack Robertson Be Any More Of A Donald Trump Stand-In?
The real villain of Doctor Who's fourth episode was US presidential hopeful Jack Robertson, played by Chris North (Law & Order, Sex & the City, Manhunt: Unabomber). Robertson is an entertaining critique of real-world US president Donald Trump. A real estate magnate with a serious ego, Robertson has strange hair, a tendency to exaggerate, and a dislike of reading (notice that his panic room contains food, water, an entertainment system, and only one book). He's even a germophobe, with scheduled bathroom breaks and a tendency to wash his hands a lot. Fortunately, although Robertson may be a pretty obvious critique of Trump, North plays him so effectively that he feels like a three-dimensional character in his own right.
9. Could Robertson Be Another Recurring Villain?
Doctor Who season 11 doesn't seem to kill off its villains, and in the case of Jack Robertson that could be significant. After all, Robertson is planning to run for president in 2020. Should he be successful, the most powerful man in the world will be an egomaniac who's clashed with the Doctor. Previous seasons have seen the Time Lord intervene to change the course of human politics - who can forget Harriet Jones, who became Prime Minister but was unseated when she angered the Doctor? She was replaced by the Master of all people, meaning the Doctor really did have to defeat the Prime Minister of Great Britain. It's possible that, this time, the Doctor might wind up going up against the President of the United States.
8. Who Were The Doctor's Sisters, And What Happened To Them?
"Family" really does seem to be the major theme of Doctor Who season 11, and this episode the Doctor made a throwaway comment about how she "used to have sisters." This is brand new to the show; there have been previous references to the Doctor's parents, children, and even grandchildren, but there's never been any indication she used to have siblings before. The Doctor seems to have parted ways with his/her family on very bitter terms - the First Doctor even took his granddaughter with him when he began his travels, most likely against the wishes of his son. So just what happened to the Doctor's sisters?
7. Have There Been Previous Female Doctors?
But that wasn't the only curious question raised by the Doctor's ill-advised attempt at small talk. She drifted from talking about her own siblings to a time when she was "a sister in an aqua hospital" that turned out to be a training camp for space assassins. Does that mean there have been previous female incarnations of the Doctor? If that's the case, it suggests everything Whovians know about the history of the Doctor may be wrong. Perhaps the Time Lord has gone through two regeneration cycles in the past, not just the one as was previously believed?
There is some evidence that there have been other Doctors, ones who have never been seen on TV. The classic Doctor Who story "The Brain of Morbius" featured a brief scene in which eight faces - clearly implied to be past versions of the Doctor - were shown during a mental battle. That detail has largely been forgotten by the canon, but may be relevant again after all.
6. Will We Ever Meet Ryan's Dad?
Ryan's father seems to be pretty unreliable, not even bothering to turn up to Grace's funeral. But he seems to have reached out all the same, sending Ryan a letter in which he suggests the youth should come and live with him. Ryan is furious, particularly at the fact the letter describes them as "proper family." Given he's clearly bonding more with Graham now, it's likely this will lead to a scene in which Ryan chooses to stay with Graham over his dad.