doctor who theory


Perhaps I built up the 50th anniversary way too much in my head, so much so that that there was sure to be some form of disappointment. Overall though, I still liked the episode even if I didn’t overwhelmingly adore it (it didn’t help that I despised almost everything about Queen Elizabeth and the whole Zygon plot). One aspect of the special that surprised me was that Billie Piper did not return as Rose Tyler but rather as the conscience of “the Moment” (the device that would destroy the Time Lords) who appeared in Bad Wolf/Rose Tyler form.

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At first I didn’t love it because I thought the surprise was a little underwhelming. On a second watch (in which I skipped Queen Elizabeth scenes), the episode improved immensely, particularly the story surrounding the three Doctors and the Moment. And upon re-watch (the third time through), I realized something incredible: what if “the moment” was in fact ‘actually’ Bad Wolf?


Throughout the entire special, there are clues dispersed here and there, like little easter eggs suggesting one very probable interpretation of the Moment being Bad Wolf and in a way ALSO ‘the moment.’ Let me break it down with evidence because what is a thesis without examples to back it up, right?

The 3 Doctors ready to push the button together.

The 3 Doctors ready to push the button together.

One of the most telling scenes is when Clara, Ten and Eleven show up to support Hurt’s Doctor when he is about to destroy Gallifrey. Pay attention to the dialogue:

WAR DOCTOR: Go back. Go back to your lives. Go and be the Doctor that I could never be. Make it worthwhile.

DOCTOR 10: All those years, burying you in my memory.

DOCTOR 11: Pretending you didn’t exist. Keeping you a secret, even from myself.

DOCTOR 10: Pretending you weren’t the Doctor, when you were the Doctor more than anybody else.

DOCTOR 11: You were the Doctor on the day it wasn’t possible to get it right.

DOCTOR 10: But this time

DOCTOR 11: You don’t have to do it alone.

(They put their hands on the button together).

“THIS TIME” infers that this isn’t what always happened. The first time around, the Doctor really DID destroy all of the Time Lords, but now something has made it possible to change and rewrite time (a theme Moffat is a HUGE fan of). And furthermore, the words ‘this time’ are repeated once more when the Doctors alter their plan:

CLARA: What? What don’t they know?

DOCTOR 11: This time, there’s three of us.

“This time,” says everything. Clearly the Ninth Doctor remembers destroying the Time Lords back in Series One. Recall the dialogue from the episode “Dalek” in which Nine owns what he did completely (no hidden doctor in his mind yet):


The 9th Doctor speaking to the Dalek in “Dalek.”


Dalek: I demand orders!

The Doctor: They’re never gonna come! Your race is dead. You all burned—all of you. Ten million ships on fire. The entire Dalek race, wiped out in one second.

Dalek: You lie!

The Doctor: I watched it happen. I made it happen.

Dalek: You destroyed us?

The Doctor: I had no choice.

Dalek: And what of the Time Lords?

The Doctor: Dead. They burned with you. The end of the last great Time War. Everyone lost.

dalek-2Personally, I find the 9th Doctor’s characterization in this episode to be absolutely brilliant because he is so conscious of the dark choice he made and is facing the consequences of living as the last of the Time Lords. He doesn’t run from what he did but rather accepts it. The Doctor watched his planet burn. This is canon. If the Doctor didn’t remember wouldn’t he have said something like this instead: “I think I made it happen somehow even though I can’t remember exactly how?” In its place, the 9th Doctor spoke with authority and complete knowledge/awareness of his actions.


FURTHERMORE, if indeed the Doctors are rewriting their own timeline then, how was it possible? If “the Moment” was always there, wouldn’t the Doctor have found a way to save Gallifrey the first time around? So what is different? What would have this kind of power? Think of the first time “The Moment” is described in “The Day of the Doctor.”

According to legend, it developed a conscience.

GENERAL: The Moment is gone.

ANDROGAR: I don’t understand. What is the Moment? I’ve never heard of it.

GENERAL: The galaxy eater. The final work of the ancients of Gallifrey. A weapon so powerful, the operating system became sentient. According to legend, it developed a conscience.

ANDROGAR: And we’ve never used it.

GENERAL: How do you use a weapon of ultimate mass destruction when it can stand in judgment on you? There is only one man who would even try.

Rose Tyler appears as Bad Wolf in "The Parting of the Ways."

Rose Tyler appears as Bad Wolf in “The Parting of the Ways.”

But what if The Moment is more than just sentient? Bad Wolf of course saw everything that could be in “The Parting of the Ways!” Wouldn’t she be able to find a way for the Doctor to save his people in the process? What is interesting about the idea of Bad Wolf being the Moment is that there is a legend surrounding it. NO ONE actually knows the truth behind the Moment. It is myth. Couldn’t have something omniscient (Bad Wolf) have created a myth spread throughout time and space among the Time Lords? Bad Wolf has certainly done this kind of thing in the past. And again, I reiterate that if the Moment was omniscient, how could the 9th Doctor have watched Gallifrey burn the first time around (unless of course time was rewritten)? Further consider another part of the special:

WAR DOCTOR: She didn’t just show me any old future; she showed me exactly the future I needed to see.

MOMENT: Now you’re getting it [so ‘the moment’ had a plan the whole time].

DOCTOR: Eh? Who did?

WAR DOCTOR: Oh, Bad Wolf girl, I could kiss you!

MOMENT: Yeah, that’s going to happen [technically will kiss him in this Doctor’s future and this DOES also sound more Rose like to be honest].

Bad Wolf showed the Doctor just the thing he needed to see to alter the literal moment in time that darkened his entire existence. Very Rose and very Bad Wolf if you ask me! Let’s go back to Bad Wolf in “The Parting of the Ways”:

Bad Wolf defeating the Daleks and 'ending' The Time War.

Bad Wolf defeating the Daleks and ‘ending’ The Time War.

ROSE: I am the Bad Wolf. I create myself. I take the words, I scatter them in time and space. A message to lead myself here.

The DOCTOR: Rose, you’ve got to stop this! You’ve got to stop this now! You’ve got the entire vortex running through your head. You’re gonna burn.

ROSE: I want you safe. My Doctor. Protected from the false god.

DALEK EMPEROR: You can not hurt me. I am immortal.

ROSE: You are tiny. I can see the whole of time and space. Every single atom of your existence. And I divide them. Everything must come to death. All things. Everything dies. The Time War ends.

ROSE: I can see everything. All that is, all that was, all that ever could be.

Isn’t it conceivable that THIS was the moment that allowed time to be rewritten?

Bad Wolf could see every possibility. Isn’t it conceivable that THIS was the moment that allowed time to be rewritten? This was the moment that Bad Wolf gave THE MOMENT a conscience, or in fact actually a part of herself with Bad Wolf’s power? She could see how the Time War actually ends if she brought the right Doctors together. Take a look at some more dialogue from the special:

DOCTOR 10: These events should be time-locked. We shouldn’t even be here.

DOCTOR 11: So something let us through.

MOMENT: You clever boys.

MOMENT: You clever boys.

Did they almost figure it out that this was actually Bad Wolf that let them through the time lock? It is particularly interesting that the Moment chose to not reveal herself to Ten and Eleven, the two Doctors that actually know her. Would they have discovered the truth, that Bad Wolf was actually the one bringing everyone together and helping them rewrite time?

The Moment shushes the War Doctor after 10 tried to figure out why they were all together.

The Moment shushes the War Doctor after 10 tried to figure out why they were all together.


Okay, so let’s move past the rewriting timeline part of my interpretation. What else is there? Consider the Moment’s first scene:

WARRIOR: Hello? Is somebody there?

MOMENT: It’s nothing.

(Rose Tyler – or so we assume-sits on the device.)

MOMENT: It’s just a wolf.

The first thing she does is say she is the wolf. We can all just assume The Moment is being facetious but perhaps there is more than meets the eye?  Later on in this same scene, it almost even seems as if Bad Wolf is revealed to the audience but not to the Doctor:

WAR DOCTOR: Who are you?

(The clock box makes a noise.)

WAR DOCTOR: It’s activating. Get out of here.

(He tries to touch the box)

Bad Wolf’s eyes glow and make it hot. She does this while the WAR Doctor isn’t looking so the Moment either has the powers of Bad Wolf in the form or this IS Bad Wolf. Photo: BBC

Bad Wolf’s eyes glow and make it hot. She does this while the WAR Doctor isn’t looking so the Moment either has the powers of Bad Wolf in the form or this IS Bad Wolf.


MOMENT: What’s wrong?

WAR DOCTOR: The interface is hot.

MOMENT: Well, I do my best.

The Moment does claim to be the conscience but so what? Does every character tell the truth? And again, I reiterate the Moment’s need for secrecy. Furthermore, the Moment is rather flirty for JUST a conscience. On re-watch, this is the scene that really convinced me the Moment was Bad Wolf…at least in some way.

What if in fact the character is both The Moment AND Bad Wolf?  Doesn’t it make sense for Bad Wolf to have created this Moment purposely for the man who needed it? The Moment describes herself even more in this scene:

WAR DOCTOR: There’s a power source inside. (pause) You’re the interface?

MOMENT: They must have told you the Moment had a conscience. Hello! Oh, look at you. Stuck between a girl and a box. Story of your life, eh, Doctor?

WAR DOCTOR: You know me?

MOMENT: I hear you. All of you, jangling around in that dusty old head of yours. I chose this face and form especially for you. It’s from your past. Or possibly your future. I always get those two mixed up.

WAR DOCTOR: I don’t have a future.

MOMENT: I think I’m called Rose Tyler. No. Yes. No, sorry, no, no, in this form, I’m called Bad Wolf. Are you afraid of the big bad wolf, Doctor?

Her eyes glow with Bad Wolf powers.

Her eyes glow with Bad Wolf powers.

The Moment certainly knows everything about the Doctor (including his future such as when she tells him that one horrible day he will count how many children died on Gallifrey). One particularly head scratching line by The Moment said: “stuck between a girl and a box.” The line is kind of cheeky and a little bit of a Rose like dig. She claims she chose this form for the Doctor but I think it makes more sense if it was Bad Wolf choosing her own form.

Look at Rose's hand.

Look at Rose’s hand.

Still, there is something about The Moment’s apparel that strikes me as odd. IF The Moment chose the form of Bad Wolf then why isn’t she wearing the clothing from “The Parting of the Ways?” Not only that, she is also sporting a ring on her finger. The way she speaks at first is jumbled and reminds me of The Tardis in “The Doctor’s Wife,” as if she actually is still making sense of whom and where she is. That would make sense if Bad Wolf strategically hid a part of herself inside this contraption; a split off of her soul hidden inside the box like Voldemort inside the journal. And the clothes and ring make sense too if you consider that Bad Wolf (in her own confusion) went too far into Rose’s future, wearing clothes unrecognizable to us (maybe war torn in the parallel universe) including the ring on her wedding/engagement finger (married to the human Doctor probably). In other words, a split off of Rose/Bad Wolf’s soul was placed by Bad Wolf inside the contraption to change history. And when opened she needed to take on a physical form. Trying to find the right image, she went too far into Rose’s future (because the Moment has Bad Wolf powers) which is why the “Moment” looks as she does. And what if this split off of Bad Wolf (again, think Voldemort and his split souls), now has the feelings and memories of this future Rose who is likely married to the human Doctor?

Finally, one last aspect of this conversation I want to discuss is the line: “I always get those two mixed up.” Has the Moment done this before? According to the Time Lords, the Doctor is the only one crazy enough to converse with it. However, this line does make sense coherently if this is actually Bad Wolf speaking. She, with all her omniscient power, gets confused sometimes because she has been in the past and the future spreading messages across time and space. She is perhaps one part of Bad Wolf’s soul sent to the Doctor’s past AND future here to change time and save the Doctor from himself.


I keep bringing up that Bad Wolf can be Bad Wolf and The Moment but that just seems kind of confusing. How can she be both? Shouldn’t she just be one or the other and shouldn’t I just go with the obvious conclusion that The Moment is just The Moment? Well, I never like to think straightforwardly and for that matter neither does The Moment. Going back to her introduction, consider the double meaning:

WAR DOCTOR: Don’t sit on that!

MOMENT: Why not?

WAR DOCTOR: Because it’s not a chair, it’s the most dangerous weapon in the universe.

(He pushes her out the barn and closes the door behind her. But there she is, sitting on the box again.)

MOMENT: Why can’t it be both?

Here, The Moment (with a bit of snark) claims the most dangerous weapon can be both a chair and a weapon. She asks him, “why can’t it be both?” Well, the same applies for Bad Wolf. If indeed The Moment created a conscience, who says that it wasn’t Bad Wolf that created that conscience? Like I said before, if the conscience always existed why didn’t this all happen the first time around? Something had to have built up that legend and something had to have given The Moment a conscience. And that is why I find it compelling to consider that THE MOMENT is both a weapon AND Bad Wolf.


So if the Moment IS both Bad Wolf and a weapon what is she up to? Why she has a plan of course. The Moment does way more than merely stand in judgment of the Doctor, she also manipulates the situation by choosing just the right moments in time to alter the timeline as I have mentioned earlier in this post. Ten is the most suspicious:

DOCTOR 10: Why are we all together? Why are we all here? Well, me and Chinny, we were surprised, but you came looking for us. You knew it was going to happen. Who told you?

(Moment Rose is holding a finger to her lips.)

Again, the idea of ‘who’ plays a part once more. This remains ambiguous and even mysterious. The Moment can’t allow the other Doctors to discover the truth for some reason, for the part he plays in HER plans. More than bringing everyone together, however, she also tells the Doctor how to do things including the sonic screwdriver: “same software, different case” foreshadowing the use of all the Doctors needed to save Gallifrey, frozen for one moment in time.

Her plan is rather simple: show the Doctor the one thing the three of them needed to see in order to change his mind. She continues to manipulate the situation by showing Clara the horrors of the war, influencing her too into giving a speech. Revealing to Clara all those people they were going to kill convinced Clara to stand up to the Doctor. Bringing the children up earlier just ties it all together in one nice little bow. Her plan is a success for Gallifrey does indeed fall “no more.”


The Curator and the 11th Doctor look at the painting.

The Curator and the 11th Doctor look at the painting.

What did it accomplish in bringing the Time Lords back besides their return?

Before I finish this thesis, there is just one more thing I want to bring up. While I don’t think Bad Wolf will return again for the foreseeable future, there is something I noticed, something eerie regarding The Moment’s plan. What did it accomplish in bringing the Time Lords back besides their return? Is there more than meets the eye than just that very thing? Like, for instance, what was the point of Tom Baker’s return as some kind of future Doctor (or simple curator with an older version of the 4th Doctor’s face) revisiting old faces? Does it have anything to do with Peter Capaldi playing the next Doctor, an actor we have already seen before in Torchwood and the Pompeii episode back in series 4? While I don’t have a sounding theory just yet (I’ll write another one if I do), it is interesting to note that both The Moment and The Curator/Future Doctor (?) put their finger on their lips to shush first Hurt’s Doctor and then to hint to the 11th Doctor of Gallifrey being lost. The Curator, like The Moment shared just the specific details needed for the Doctor to move forward as if they had both planned it. Who knows? Maybe they even planned it together…

It should also be noted that one of the Zygons using the appearance of Scarf Girl also put her finger up to her mouth. Let’s take a look at all three:

The Moment shushes the War Doctor after 10 tried to figure out why they were all together.

The Moment shushes the War Doctor after 10 tried to figure out why they were all together.

Zygon Shush

Zygon Shush

The Curator Shush

The Curator Shush

And most intriguing is what Moffat has said himself on the fact that Peter Capaldi’s face has appeared in the Who Universe twice before. And it definitely relates to revisited faces and ideas former showrunner Russell T. Davies had. Moffat told Nerd3 as transcribed on Radio Times:

SM:”I’ll let you in on this. I remember Russell told me he had a big old plan as to why there were two Peter Capaldis in the Who universe, one in Pompeii and one in Torchwood. When I cast Peter, [Russell] got in touch to say how pleased he was, I said ‘Okay, what was your theory and does it still work?’ and he said ‘Yes it does, here it is’. So I don’t know if we’ll get to it… we’ll play that one out over time. It’s actually quite neat.”

Now taking these thoughts from Moffat and Davies and re-watching the end with Tom Baker, it gives the whole ending a possible new interpretation.

DOCTOR: I never forget a face.

CURATOR: I know you don’t. And in years to come, you might find yourself revisiting a few. But just the old favourites, eh?

(The Doctor winks).

Hmmm. Very interesting to say the least.


I know this post has been quite long but before I end it, I want to close on Steven Moffat’s own words about Billie Piper’s role in the 50th (after it aired of course) that is quite interesting. He says [from]:

“I thought the story of Rose, which was beautiful, was done,” he said. “I didn’t want to add to it, and I didn’t feel comfortable adding to it, really. That was always [former Doctor Who showrunner] Russell [T Davies]‘s story. But we did want Billie. And I liked the idea of bringing back the Bad Wolf version. The way Russell ended it in “The End of Time,” by just sort of looping it around, was perfect. I didn’t want to stick another bit of it in. That would be wrong. I just wanted to get Billie Piper, one of the absolute heroes of Doctor Who, back in the show, but without interfering with the story of Rose Tyler. I just thought I might spoil something. I might trip over my bootlaces doing that.”

So what do you think of this Doctor Who Theory? Was The Moment Actually Bad Wolf? Or at least a part of her? I like to think so…

Photo Credits: BBC



Check out my introduction and the review of the 50th anniversary special in the new regular blog feature: Doctor Who Diaries

Read Doctor Who Re-Watch: Dalek Versus the Day of the Doctor

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