Doctor Who: The Rings of Akhenaten (season 7.5, episode 2) just aired this weekend, and like every episode of Doctor Who, it spawned more questions than it answered! We’ve noticed a fun trend in Doctor Who episodes: showrunner Steven Moffat, and the rest of the show’s recurring writers, love to drop little clues, hints, and homages which either excite long-time Whovians or tease our brains regarding plots yet to develop. In response to this, we’ve decided to launch a new weekly column: The Hidden Bits of Who! In our first installment, we’ll take a look at the hidden information from “The Rings of Akhenaten”, as well as what some of it may mean for future episodes.
The Doctor’s Granddaughter. The Doctor mentions that he’s been to the show’s setting once before – a long time ago, and with his granddaughter. Fans of New Who may be a bit confused – the Doctor has a granddaughter? Yep! The Doctor’s first companion, Susan, was his granddaughter – a character he later abandoned, beginning the trend of new companions. Fans have been clamoring for a return of Susan, and this homage to Classic Who may indicate that a reunion is in the Doctor’s future.
We’ve seen that car before! Well, not exactly! Keen eyes may have noticed a familiar looking car almost runs over Clara’s father in the event that brought her parents together. The car looks very similar (in color and make) to the car that killed Rose’s father in season one, episode eight – “Father’s Day”. The eerily-similar situations (both companions’ fathers either being run over, or nearly run over, by the car) lead us to believe this is more than a coincidence.
In fact, the parallels are pretty in-your-face. Check out this comparison series of animated GIFs showing the two episodes’ scenes side-by-side:
Clara’s mom dies on the same day Rose and the Doctor started traveling together. Clara’s mom’s tombstone is marked with the date of her death: March 5th, 2005. Coincidentally, this is the day that the ninth Doctor and Rose Tyler began their travels together (and the same day the Autons attacked). Was Clara’s mom’s death a result of the Auton attack? It’s safe to say that the use of that date was not a coincidence.
Clara’s mom died when Clara was 16 – which might explain the missing “16” in her book. In last week’s episode, we saw the title page of Clara’s book, which was dated each year following when she received the book, except for when she was 16 and 23. Clara’s mom died in 2005, which would have been the same year Clara turned 16. If the book was a gift from her parents (or even her mom), would she have been too sad to look through the book to write her new age on the title page?
NITPICKING AND FUN FACTS
Why didn’t the T.A.R.D.I.S.’ translation matrix kick in? The T.A.R.D.I.S. regularly converts spoken word to the Doctor’s – and his companion’s – understood language. This has been explained numerous times throughout the show. Why, in this episode, was the T.A.R.D.I.S. not translating for them?
The T.A.R.D.I.S. doesn’t like Clara. We’ve never heard of the T.A.R.D.I.S. not liking a companion. What reason would the Doctor’s oldest and most loyal companion have for disliking the Doctor’s latest companion? (Could this be why the translation matrix wasn’t working?)
Where did the Doctor go? The Doctor left Clara alone on a new alien planet… but why? This was never explained. What was the Doctor doing? Why did he leave?
Lots of the “101 Places to Go and See” book! We’ve seen this book numerous times throughout the past two episodes. Whether in a flashback or “present time”, the book keeps appearing. It’s clear that there’s more to learn from this book.
Where did Amy’s glasses go? The Doctor has been wearing Amy’s glasses for the past two episodes, but they are noticeably missing toward the end of the episode. We learn that the currency of choice on this planet is items of value… Did the Doctor trade Amy’s glasses, one of his most prized possessions, to return Clara’s ring?
The Doctor didn’t leave the planets without a sun. This common misconception is making its rounds in the Who-communities, but quick-eyed observers are quick to point out that the Doctor explained that the planet we thought was a sun is, in fact, a planet. The “planet” the episode took place on was actually one of many pieces of rock in a ringfield of debris orbiting this planet. The destruction of the planet did leave these orbiting rocks without a planet to orbit around, but not without a sun.
We’ve seen this scene before! Did you notice a familiar look when we had a from-the-back view of the Doctor and Clara looking at the planet (later revealed to be a really pissed off “god”)? That’s because it is familiar – we saw similar with the Doctor (9th) and Rose in the second episode of New Who:
All of this and more happened in this week’s episode of Doctor Who! Did you notice anything we missed? Do any of these tiny finds stick out as obvious future plot twists to you?