Doctor Who: The Danny Pink Theories

(Written just over a week ago, with no spoiler info so this is all flagrant speculation)

Let’s play spot the Doctor Who plot arc! Specifically, just what the plan is for the increasingly interesting Danny Pink. Below are some of the major theories, with evidence for and against. Activate the Speculatron 5000!

 

The Master

Danny is the Master, in a new body, hiding out on Earth at Coal Hill School and cunningly insinuating himself into the Doctor’s life.

Evidence For

-He’s a former soldier. The Master has fought in wars.

-He has a slightly weird name.

-He’s a new teacher at Coal Hill School, a magnet for such epic weirdness it may as well have a Hellmouth under it.

Evidence Against

-The Master being riddled with PTSD over killing innocents seems a little…odd. Especially if he’s aware he’s The Master and is engaging in a big evil plan.

Likelihood

Maybe 25%? For all the issues End of Time had, the Master’s sign off scene was genuinely brilliant and felt distinctly final. Bringing him back now would dilute that. Also, I don’t have the words for how bad a message  the only person of colour in the series being an immortal and evil lunatic would send.

 

Another Time Lord

Danny is a Time Lord Chameleon Arch-ed into a human, hiding out at the school. His war memories are trauma from the Time War that his TARDIS has written into his new backstory.

Evidence

-He’s a former soldier who has clearly killed innocent people and is tormented about that.

-His life is fingertip deep. What does he do when he’s not working? Where are his friends and family?

-He has a slightly weird name. We’ll be seeing this one a lot

-Structurally, going back to the Time War yet again would feel a little weird. That being said, the Doctor’s search for Gallifrey could be neatly kickstarted by the realization that he isn’t the only Time Lord still kicking around. Plus the ethical dilemma of whether he ‘reactivates’ Danny, and the effect that would have on both Danny and Clara is exactly the sort of big, chewy moral stuff this season looks geared up to deal with.

Evidence Against

-Danny and Clara already have a really nicely constructed, interesting relationship. Destroying that by ringing the Plot Bell doesn’t seem to quite tonally fit what we’ve seen so far.

Likelihood

30%. There’s lots of potential for something really interesting with this option. There’s also the potential for lots of damage. Too early to see which way it’s going to go.

 

UNIT Veteran

Danny is a former UNIT officer who has been involved in an incident that we’ve seen in the show. He’s killed innocent people and was invalided out and placed at Coal Hill. He knows exactly who the Doctor is and will react very badly when he finds out Clara knows him.

Evidence

-He’s a former soldier who has clearly killed innocent people and is tormented about that. Very little could be more agonizing than being on the front line of the Cyberman invasion, or being one of the few people who can remember what happened in the Year That Never Was.

-His life is fingertip deep. What does he do when he’s not working? Where are his friends and family?

-Coal Hill School is a constant in the Doctor’s lives. It’s entirely possible Danny was either deliberately placed at Coal Hill as a ‘spotter’ for incidents involving the Doctor or that Danny had himself transferred there in order to track down the Doctor for his own ends.

Evidence Against

-Danny’s a recent transfer to Coal Hill, which means the big events from the end of recent series don’t really make sense as the catalyst for him leaving the armed forces. Likewise, most of those events take place either off world in a version of reality that’s extremely mutable, meaning that Danny remembering them would be unlikely.

Likelihood

15%. There’s an interesting reveal here but there’s also a Hell of a lot of work to do to justify this as a backstory.

 

Refugee from the future

Danny is a refugee from, if not the Time War, then certainly an extended bloody conflict in the future. He’s hiding out at Coal Hill School to try and rebuild his life in the past.

Evidence

-This is starting to look like a season where everything we see has importance. The Doctor explaining his problems with soldiers in the same episode we meet a former soldier is thematically deliberate at the very least.

-He has a slightly weird name. Specifically, exactly the sort of slightly weird name Journey Blue has. So much so that the similarity between their names is commented on in the episode.

-What if the PTSD isn’t just from the war but from the fact he knows what’s coming? That would explain both the cadet force (Drilling children for the war) and his ambiguous life outside the school. Maybe Danny’s been sent back to get Earth ready and is struggling with the peace he’s found and the fact he knows it’s expiration date.

-Coal Hill School is a constant in the Doctor’s lives. Could Danny have been sent back to this spot to wait for him and ask for help? Or kill him? Again that would give his trauma added context without invalidating anything we’ve seen.

Evidence Against

Likelihood

60% This is very nearly the best of all worlds. Danny gets to carry the Plot Ball and it accentuates rather than swamps the interesting character work we’ve already seen.

 

The Next Companion

Danny Pink is a traumatised former soldier turned teacher who wants a quiet life and is trying to learn how to reconnect with the world. When Clara leaves, Danny will replace her in the TARDIS.

Evidence

-Everything we’ve seen this season so far, and when we’ve seen it, seems to have be significant. The Doctor explaining his problems with soldiers in the same episode we meet a former soldier is thematically deliberate at the very least. It’s incredibly fertile dramatic ground; the last survivor of the Time War who hates soldiers until he needs them and a soldier who hates his past but can’t escape either it or it’s mindset. They have complimentary trauma and there’s immense potential for the show to explore that.

Evidence Against

Doctor Who is way too fond of companions with a Heroic Destiny. Rose has been both the Vortex and The Moment, Captain Jack is immortal and (maybe) The Face of Boe, Donna was the DoctorDonna, Amy was The Girl Who Waited, Rory was The Last Centurion and Clara was The Impossible Girl. It’s not uniform; after all Martha’s big payoff was getting to spend a year in Hell saving the world in a way that meant no one would ever remember, but it’s a precedent. Whilst a genuinely normal companion would be a breath of fresh air, Mr Pink may have far more of a destiny than he’d like.

Likelihood

60%. If nothing else because the show has started to get quite fond of introducing the next companion whilst the current one is in situ.

 

 

 

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