Warning! The following contains spoilers for Doctor Who's season finale, "The Timeless Children." Read at your own risk!
Chris Chibnall promised answers at the end of Doctor Who Season 12, as well as some more questions to think about for the future. To put it mildly, the Doctor Who showrunner delivered on all fronts with massive reveals regarding the Timeless Child, and an ending that jerked audiences right into a wholly new and troublesome situation. Put simply, everything we thought we knew about the Time Lords has changed, just as The Master had foretold.
The Timeless Child Mystery Revealed
The big secret that The Master learned was finally revealed to The Doctor, but it wasn't immediately clear to her. It turns out the "Time Lords" that we're all familiar with were first Shabogans, and among them lived a brave space explorer named Tecteun. This space traveler explored distant planets surrounding Gallifrey, and eventually came upon a massive boundary to another universe. At the gate stood a young girl who would change the Shabogans' way of life forever.
Tecteun raised the child as her own, but soon tragedy struck on Gallifrey when the child suffered a tremendous fall and burst into a bright light, regenerating into another child completely. Tecteun was thankful that she survived, despite the physical differences, but the scientist was intrigued by the regeneration. She began to run genetic testing on the child, until she could successfully reverse engineer the DNA to be compatible with Shabogans.
The process was approved by the Shabogan leaders, and the "Time Lords" were born. It was agreed the altered genetic code would only allow for 12 regenerations within the species, though that was not a limit on the child. Doctor Who showed the child change several times over during the course of just the experimentation, so there's no real knowledge on what its regenerative ceiling is. Understandably, The Doctor was confused about what all of this meant, until The Master giddily informed his rival that she is that child.
The revelation not only explained how Doctor Who's broke the twelve-regeneration rule, but it also made the Time Lords a hybrid species that was only advanced by The Doctor's foreign DNA. Oh yeah, and this means that Jodie Whittaker's Doctor is a completely different species than the "Time Lords," or possibly the only true Time Lord. Regardless of the distinction, The Doctor's essence was within in each and every Gallifreyan, which angered The Master beyond comprehension, and it was that knowledge that caused him to burn the world to ashes, all the while resenting The Doctor for technically being the source of his own power.
Mind Wipes And The Mystery Doctor
The Season 12 finale also revealed that The Doctor's memory was scrubbed at some point in this process, which explained why she didn't realize she was any different from the average Time Lord. Memory flashes teased that the memory wipe was a result of her work with "The Division," which sounded like the Time Lord's secret police or something. It's a story that will likely be addressed down the stretch, if the Doctor can work out the weird artifact memories that her adoptive mother left behind that survived the erasure.
The Doctor seemed crushed by her new memories, but the mystery Doctor helped her out of that funk. It was unclear if the newer Doctor Who character had mentally linked with her other half or, as the Doctor suggested, if the mystery Doctor's essence was "within her." With the new information about the current Doctor's origin, it's now much more likely our mystery Doctor is from the past. If she's from the pre-mind wipe era, she might have some answers to this blind spot period in the memory banks of Jodie Whittaker's Doctor.
Things Got Crazier With Cybermen 2.0
While The Doctor was busy having her mind blown by this new information, The Master was hard at work on his big plan. Now that he knew the power of regeneration was transferable between species, he double-crossed The Lone Cyberman and fused with the Cyberium. He then used that power to fuse the Cybermen with regenerative properties, thus creating the nigh-indestructible Cybermasters. If you thought Cybermen were spooky before, the previous versions don't have anything on Cybermen who don't die the first time.
It's unknown how much of a factor The Master and his Cybermasters will be going forward, thanks to the old man from Part 1 on the finale setting off that bomb that was supposed to destroy everything nearby. Though it wasn't shown on camera, the audio made it sound as though The Master had an escape for his new creations, so it's just a matter of how many Cybermasters escaped. We know The Doctor had enough time to get away from the explosion, so The Master and his minions definitely had a chance.
The unscathed Doctor's plan to take the TARDIS back to Earth and pick up Ryan, Yaz, and Graham was interrupted by some Judoon. They appeared within the TARDIS and teleported Doctor to a prison where she is apparently set to serve a "life sentence." The Doctor herself was just as confused as Doctor Who audiences, who can only wonder what exactly any of that was about. Personally, my gut thinks it's related to that incident with the mystery Doctor and Judoon (and possibly Captain Jack) earlier in Season 12, but I can only speculate.
More Doctor Who On The Horizon
Just when it felt things couldn't get any crazier, Chris Chibnall dropped another bomb on Doctor Who fans. Another holiday special is on the way, which will be called "Revolution of the Daleks." The Daleks haven't been seen since the 2019 New Years special, and have had next to nothing to do with the story in Season 12. How could they possibly fit into what's happening on Doctor Who at the moment?
It's a great question we presently have no answer to, though I have a guess. A Dalek resurgence could be devastating enough for the Judoon to be swayed to lift The Doctor's sentence. If not, it would at least motivate The Doctor to find a way to escape her jail cell. There's no way the holiday special will be able to cap off all of the cliffhanger mysteries of Season 12, but it may at least set the story in a direction where we know what to expect from Season 13.
Doctor Who will return this upcoming holiday season, though it's unknown if BBC America is going to release it during Christmas or on New Year's Day like the last couple were. Stick with CinemaBlend for more details on television in the meantime, and for a look at what's happening in the world of movies as well.