Throughout Season 9 of Doctor Who, one particular questions has lingered. It's a new question, on top of a pile of old questions, but it's the one that looks to be answered next week: “Who is The Hybrid?” First mentioned in the season opener, “The Magician's Apprentice / The Witch's Familiar,” the question has hung over the rest of the season with a firm--but still loose--grip on the events of Season 9... at least, that's what we thought.
As it turns out, this has been almost an entire season of hybrid stories, which makes complete sense when you look at the titles of this year's two-part episodes and the themes they have dealt with. When it was announced there would be a slew of two-part episodes this year, with titles that reflected the theme of inversion and connection between two elements, a connection was implied, although the specific connection was kept in the dark.
Looking back at this season, there are three possible characters that could be “The Hybrid,” through some sort of script-writing magic:
“The Magician's Apprentice / The Witch's Familiar” - Clara, who not only should make an appearance this week, but has always been touted as “born to save The Doctor,” and was previously a Dalek.
“The Girl Who Died / The Woman Who Lived” - Ashildr / Me, who once was human – but lost that title when immortality was bestowed upon her, thanks to a piece of Mire technology.
“The Zygon Invasion / The Zygon Inversion” - Osgood, who is both a human and a Zygon – but presumably in separate Human / Zygon entities.
If you skip to the 00:23 mark of this trailer, you'll see a familiar figure present in the frame. That's right Clara's return is possible, but not necessarily one of hybrid nature. More specifically, Davros' prediction at the beginning about “two great warrior races forced together to create a warrior greater than either,” is definitely something to keep in mind, so unless there's another secret hiding in next week's episode (which there could be), it looks like that's not worth putting a bet on at the tables.
The smart money would be on Ashildr / Me being the hybrid, as she fits the bill in the most literal sense, seeing as Osgood is pretty easily disqualified. Also, Ashildr was a Viking and The Mire were a great warrior race through and through, with the two being fused in her angry countenance. Yet again, this week's trailers dropped an important piece of prophecy, hinting that a piece of canon from Doctor Who's past is about to be recognized. In it, we learned that his Hybrid will, “stand in the ruins of Gallifrey, and destroy a billion hearts to heal his own.” The male designation of the prophetic child means that we could see The Doctor named as The Hybrid, and the proof is in his past.
During the Eighth Doctor's solo adventure in the 1996 TV movie, there was a line that most have deemed as non-canonical for the almost two decades since its release. It stated a very important secret of The Doctor's, and you can see it in the embed below:
Now, most have written off The Doctor's supposedly half-human parentage, but if we know anything about Steven Moffat, it's that he has loved digging up the original series canon and retconning it into the modern series. This is especially true with the Eighth Doctor, as Moffat wrote the short “Night Of The Doctor” to tie Eight's regeneration into the formation of The War Doctor – officially bridging the two series. Capaldi also happens to be a huge fan of the original run, and possibly Moffat realized he could play with this once-discarded truth and turn our favorite character into a mashup of the two races he loves and loathes the most. Not to mention the Sisterhood of Karn have been teased as coming back in the next episode, and have already been featured in one of the season's prequels – so the implicit connection to that moment in history certainly helps our cause.
With next week's finale, “Hell Bent,” looking to answer a lot of questions from this season's run of Doctor Who, The Doctor's reason for running from Gallifrey just might be that--like Spock before him--he was a child of two worlds who was looked down on to a certain degree. It's not a lock, but it's very possible, and would explain a lot of things about The Doctor's personality. We'll find out soon enough when the series returns at its usual time and place: Saturday night at 9 p.m. EST on BBC America.