Saturday, September 28, 2013

Legacy Character Study: The 2nd Doctor

Hello, all. Welcome back. Today, we're taking a look at the next Doctor. One whose influence still shows up in the show.

In both subtle ways... and not so subtle ways.
Character Conception
The idea of "regeneration" was not planned from the start. It came about because they had a surprisingly popular show with a lead actor quickly becoming unable to do his job due to his health. The solution was to write a new actor into the role, using the interesting idea of renewing the Doctor's body from old to young (er). In this way, they could also change the character as they saw fit.

Indeed, the new actor, Patrick Troughton, had a good deal of ideas regarding the new version of the character. Thankfully, some of his more... "creative" ideas were thrown out, like having the new Doctor be a turban wearing pirate in blackface. No, that's not a joke. Look it up.

Sydney Newman, one of he show's creators, came up with the "cosmic hobo" angle, and Troughton made it work.

Secret Origin
After the 1st Doctor's body collapsed from weakness during the first appearance of the Cybermen, it began to glow, turning into a new man who bore a striking resemblance to Moe Howard. After explaining the situation to Ben and Polly, he went off to continue his adventures.

Powers and Abilities
This Doctor was the first one to have two hearts, which I talked about last time, and he also had mad instrumental skills on the recorder! This was also when the Doctor began to show psychic abilities, which manifested by summoning an information hypercube with his mind.

Look familiar?
"I've got mail!"
Ben Jackson and Polly Wright, who I mentioned last time.

Jamie McCrimmon
A Scotsman warrior from the mid-18th Century. Brave, loyal, and best buds with the Doctor. At the end of the Second Doctor's run, he had his mind wiped by the Time Lords of everything but his first adventure with the Doctor, and was returned to the 18th Century.

Victoria Waterfield
A 14-to-15 year-old girl, one of the Doctor's youngest companions, from Victorian London. Smart, but still known for screaming, which she did. A lot. Possibly moreso than any other companion, though later ones gave her a run for her money. Fiercely protected by both the Doctor and Jamie. Left the TARDIS of her own free will to live with a childless couple in 1968.

Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart
A by-the-book military man. Teamed up with the Doctor to fight the Great Intelligence's robotic yetis in the London Underground. Did not enter the 2nd Doctor's TARDIS. An "unofficial" companion. Though, as with Sara Kingdom, this is debated.

Zoe Heriot
A scientist from the 21st Century. Smart, and... Smart. Had her memory of the Doctor erased (except, like Jamie , for her first adventure) and was returned to the 21st Century.

Notable Enemies

After their initial bid to restore their planet, the Cybermen became an all-out invasion force, with the sole mission of assimilating all humans into their collective. The Doctor would encounter them throughout history, including after they were all sealed away in a gigantic tomb. Probably this Doctor's worst enemy, not because of their aims, but the vast scope of their threat. They might not have bothered the Time Lords, but they almost wiped the humans out several times.

The Daleks recognized the Doctor in his new form, convincing his companions as to his identity. The Daleks.... Did Dalek-y things. You know, trying to take over the universe. Their threat is growing from simply going after a planet at a time to becoming a major threat to the Galaxy. Seemingly destroyed by a Dalek civil war engineered by the Doctor.

The Great Intelligence
Yeah, I bet some of you New-Whovians didn't expect this name until later, huh? 2 fought this disembodied mind of as-of-yet unknown origin and his robot yetis in the Himalayas and the London Underground. Hmmm, I wonder why the Great Intelligence thought that invading the London Underground would be a good idea. (Wink, wink.)

Ice Warriors
Aka "Martians." Not actually evil, but basically Klingons. A warrior race with a strict code of honor. Abandoned their home planet for reasons unknown, but my guess is that it has to do with the virus in the water turning people into water zombies, like in "Waters of Mars."

Notable Traits
There's a popular fan theory about the Doctor's regeneration. Although he sets his body to shuffle, he tries to fix his biggest flaws in his personality. Here's how that works out for this regeneration:

1 was a grumpy old fart whose body failed him in his last moments and outwardly cared little about others, so 2 was a cheerful, young(ish) trickster who cared deeply for those in his care. Where 1 could be aloof and uncaring to the degree where he'd consider killing a man to save his own skin, 2 was unfailingly quick to rescue and defend others. 1 was rendered helpless in the end, so 2 compensated by manipulating situations as much as he could.

Beyond the changes made as a response to his previous incarnation, 2 was different in other ways, but similar in others. The Doctor's wit was just as quick as ever, for one.

The Doctor: "You look very nice in that dress, Victoria."
Victoria: "Thank you. Don't you think it's a bit..."
The Doctor: "A bit short? Oh, I shouldn't worry about that. Look at Jamie's."

2 was the first incarnation to be more like the Doctor as we know him today. He was actually meant to be more of a protagonist (although the role of the male companion was still to do the more action-heroic things, as the Doctor was more the brains of the outfit), and actually began to be more... developed. He had more of a character beyond just being "mysterious." He could be a bit scatterbrained, often veering into the nonsensical, but often as a ruse to get the villains to underestimate him. But along with his new warm and friendly appearance, he hid the other side of his personality; a dark chessmaster, manipulating events behind the backs of both the good guys and the bad guys. He was completely willing to sacrifice a few lives for the sake of many. The 2nd Doctor was also quite persuasive, able to talk people into believing his lies or his truths, whichever he needed at the moment.

2 wore a more "contemporary" outfit of a white shirt, suspenders, a bow tie (which are cool), and what appear to be the Joker's pants.

Bet they have the same tailor.
Occasionally, he'd break out a stylin' fur coat if got a little cold out. Later incarnations would apparently just tough it out. With the outfit and the demeanor combined... Well, there's a reason that 2's described as a "hobo-clown."

Oh, and now you know where this Doctor's outfit came from.
Catchphrases include: 
"When I say run, run!" 
"Oh, my giddy aunt!"
"I don't like it."

Notable Character History 
The Doctor flew around the universe and helped people out, as would become standard.

The more important events include: 
  • Instigating the Dalek civil war in an attempt to defeat the once and for all  
  • Fighting the Great Intelligence in London alongside Lethbridge-Stewart, which led to him taking this to higher authorities, setting the stage for the 3rd Doctor's run  
  • The Doctor uses the alias John Smith for the first I've while fighting Cybermen.
  • The 2nd Doctor's final serial, "The War Games." The Doctor finally gets in over his head when trying to defeat a renegade Time Lord and his unstoppable army of brainwashed super soldiers. He contacts the rest of the Time Lords and inform them of the situation. He tries to evade the Time Lords again, but they capture him and sentence him for his crimes, which include the theft of his Type-40 TT Capsule: aka the TARDIS. The Time Lords forcefully regenerate the Doctor and wipe his mind of the necessary knowledge to use his TARDIS, thereby exiling him on Earth in a new body.
What happens from there? We'll see next time.

Alternate Versions 
Well, there are no true "alternate versions" of the 2nd Doctor in particular (except for the clone made in the Audio Dramas), so I'll take note of the fans' explanation of a continuity error known as the "Season 6B explanation."

The 2nd Doctor reappeared to team up with his 6th incarnation in "The Three Doctors." His hair was noticeably grey, and he told several people that he was on a mission for the Time Lords, which goes completely against his tenure as the Doctor.

The Season 6b explanation states that right before the Time Lords forcefully regenerated the Doctor, they sent him on a few missions, including the one he's on in "The Three Doctors." This would seem to be backed up by one of his comments in the episode, where he said that the Time Lords could always deny sending him because he's an outlaw. Yes, fans will always bend over backwards to explain this stuff. You think this is ridiculous? Go look at some Star Trek fan theories about Romulan head ridges.

Well, we've taken a look at the cosmic hobo. Next time, let's look at a Doctor who's a bit more grounded, in more ways than one. See you then!


  1. I never quite cared for the 2nd Doctor but when you kept calling him the cosmic hobo it reminded me of this That being said, it's pretty cool that he got the Daleks to fight each other.

    1. Oh, 2 was a crafty guy. And he only perfected the trait with time.