Warning: spoilers for Doctor Who season 10 ahead
Doctor Who has been difficult to watch in recent years. Even hardcore fans will admit that the show has felt like a little bit of a hash. Yet, this is not the case with season ten. Seeing both Steven Moffat’s departure from Doctor Who, as well as Capaldi’s regeneration looming, there has been a sudden and welcome burst of energy in the show. The twelfth Doctor and new companion Bill’s relationship has a brilliant dynamic. They take us through every adventure with an energy not seen since Rose and Christopher Eccleston. Even Matt Lucas’s Nardole has popped up with some surprising performances. Sadly, this party can’t last though, as the twelfth Doctor will be leaving us at the end of season ten.
With such a significant Doctor Who season ahead of us, fans are picking apart every detail in the hope that we can work out what Moffat has in store for us. Whilst the episodes so far have been standalone, there is one thing that links them all. After every adventure, the Doctor returns back to a mysterious vault under his protection. With Timelord symbols sprawled across the vault, it’s clear that it has something to do with the Doctor’s people. Yet, we still don’t know who gave him the vault or what exactly is inside it. The vault has already featured heavily in the story so far. This means that it is likely to have an impact on the finale. We know little about the end of the series, but working out who or what the Doctor is guarding could give us some ideas.
The Next Doctor
Could the thirteenth Doctor be hiding in the vault? In the sea of rumours surrounding the vault, one of the more left-of-field ideas is that the thirteenth Doctor could be hidden inside. Not so long ago, we were almost convinced that Kris Marshall of Death in Paradise had already been cast as the successor to Capaldi. With Moffat enjoying writing timey-wimey plots in the past, revealing the thirteenth Doctor in this way isn’t so distant an idea after all.
In addition to this, after the events of last weekend’s Oxygen, the Doctor is now blind. From the trailer for next week’s Extremis this is going to be causing him a lot of problems. Whether he can survive or is forced to regenerate before the finale remains to be seen. In the season ten trailer, we did see the Doctor in the midst of a regeneration cycle. As ever with Who, we have to take everything with a pinch of salt though.
Ultimately, this rumour is the least likely. Although there is no doubt that John Simm’s Master will play a part in Capaldi’s downfall.
Last seen in Hell Bent after the Doctor escapes his confession dial, fans have been speculating that the Doctor’s entire home world is hidden in the vault.
The vault is Timelord technology, so this is plausable. Furthermore, this would also mean it has the trademark bigger-on-the-inside interior so big enough for a planet. However, the interaction that both the Doctor and Nardole have with the thing inside tells us that this is a person. And there’s only one realistic theory for who that person is.
The Master or Missy
The answer seems as clear as day, right? In the closing scenes of Thin Ice, we see Nardole shouting at whatever is inside the vault as it knocks in rounds of three. Then, right at the end we get the signature four, a big part of the Master’s story in The End of Time. The Doctor then confirms this theory even more when he brings a takeaway to the vault and we hear piano playing coming from inside. For a brief moment the music stops and only starts again when the Doctor tells it about the alien woodlice eating children. It could be John Simm or Michelle Gomez inside, but by how the Doctor speaks, it’s more likely that it’s Missy.
But there’s another bigger question here. If it is Missy, how did she end up under the Doctor’s protection? Last time we saw her, Missy was scheming with the remaining Daleks at the end of The Witch’s Familiar. Either she’s in the midst of this plan, or this not the same Missy.
This is Moffat’s final series of Doctor Who. His very first scene followed after John Simm’s Master sacrificed himself to push the Timelords back into the Time War in the End of Time. Moffat loves symbolism and he will sit on stories for several seasons. Perhaps, then, the Missy in the vault is in fact fresh from regeneration?
Missy features in both Matt Smith’s and Capaldi’s stories. She made the phonecall to Clara that brought them together. So, this could very well be the story that links The End of Time to Missy. If this proves to be true, we can expect a whopper of a finale.
Doctor Who continues every Saturday on BBC 1 and BBC America