With apologies for the title to Yes fans (see Gates of Delerium), I want to speculate about something bothering me. I really enjoyed Haunting of Villa Diodati but one thing I’m not sure of – why did the story happen? Why was the Doctor there on the Lake Genva shoreline (apologies to Smoke on the Water fans) exactly when the Cyberium had arrived? Or should the question be reversed?
Cyberium and the Villa Diodati
From here in on I get spoilery. First a digression…
Why does the Doctor always end up somewhere interesting?
I think most stories break into one of the following:
- The Doctor is sent somewhere at an important moment in history, eg by the Time Lords (numerous examples)
- The Doctor intercepts a distress signal (again numerous examples)
- The TARDIS goes astray – I think with its ability to see the web of time, the TARDIS knows when and where to set the Doctor down to make events turn out correct (a bit like the Jedi knowing how the future will turn out with the Force)
- The Doctor is somewhere interesting – eg Earth at most periods of history when it’s invaded every couple of weeks
In the case of Haunting of Villa Diodati, the Doctor picked that evening as a fan of the Romantics, with no sense (and established history was on her side) of threat. In that case, maybe the question is…
Why was the Cyberium sent back to that point in history?
My basic idea is someone sent it to a place they knew the Doctor would go so she could interact with it. There has to be more than that as any number of places might have worked. As writers the whole Cybermen / Mary Shelley idea is irresistible, but what’s the in-story purpose of that point in history?
One outcome was to get the Doctor to take the Cyberium into her nervous system – has she altered it or gained some insight we will see her use to save the day in the two-part season ending?
I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a stronger connection to the Romantics, but I can’t see it for now. One thing for sure, it’s got me thinking!