May I just say that if you think the latest trailer for the second half of Doctor Who Series 12 is intense…try watching it at 0.25 speed. Nightmare fuel.
We now have a glimpse at what lies in store for us in the rest of Series 12–not counting the holiday special (probably Christmas) which hasn't been talked about much but which is definitely coming at the end of the year. And if the BBC's goal was to pique Whovians' interest and make them nervous…well, they definitely succeeded with me.
Here's a shot-by-shot analysis of the brief new clips in the trailer. I've left out a few that we've already seen elsewhere or that didn't contain anything worth talking about. Please note that this breakdown contains spoilers for all Series 12 episodes that have aired thus far.
First, we see the previously-released shot of the Doctor in the crow's nest of a lighthouse. In voiceover, the Doctor says, “Time is swirling around me.”
Then, very quickly:
This is taken from “Spyfall Part 2”, however, it's interesting that it's been included here. Could we be returning to Gallifrey before the end of the series? Granted, Jodie Whittaker has implied that we won't be getting a full resolution to the Timeless Child arc this year–most likely, it will be more like the Silence arc, in that it will be spread out through much of Chris Chibnall's tenure on the show. He has previously stated that he's got a “five-year plan” for Doctor Who, which I suspect includes some big event for the 60th anniversary in 2023. Not that far away, when you think about it. All that said, we will most likely get some significant developments in the Timeless Child mystery before 2020 ends.
I've heard through the grapevine that Chibnall, who co-wrote next Sunday's “Fugitive of the Judoon” with Vinay Patel, has included something pertaining to the series arc in the episode. I suspect that whoever the Judoon are after is in some way connected to Gallifrey. More on that later.
I believe this is from Episode 6, “Praxeus”. Which, by the way, is written by Pete McTighe, scriptwriter of the really excellent Series 11 episode “Kerblam”, so I have high hopes for this one. Then again, the last time I got excited about an episode based on its writer, we got “Orphan 55”, so…
“How long is this gonna last, Yaz?” Ryan, did you ever hear the tragedy of Rory the Last Centurion? It's not a story the Doctor would tell you. Never a good sign when companions start asking this sort of question.
Interesting futuristic interior which may or may not be part of the Doctor's TARDIS…or somebody else's.
“Is this our lives?” Don't start complaining, Ryan, at least you've got a life…for the moment…
Quick shot of the Judoon someplace gnarly, and then…
“Sometimes, even I can't win!” Yikes. I don't think I've ever seen the Thirteenth Doctor look this intense. She seems quite angry and desperate here.
“HA HA HA HA HA!” Hoo boy, we know what's coming now…
“Everything you think you know…” A very familiar line, but this voiceover is a new recording rather than dialogue lifted from “Spyfall”. The creepy laugh is new as well. So even though he doesn't actually appear in this trailer, I think we can assume we'll be seeing the Master again before long. Also, the Doctor is standing in a cemetery. I'm getting a very strong “The Angels Take Manhattan” vibe from this trailer. Meep.
“…is a lie.” Here's where things get really interesting. A new character appears from smoke inside the TARDIS, which is looking quite ominous with creepy red lighting. Also, while you may not be able to spot her in this screengrab, the Doctor is standing at the console, apparently all by herself. We'll be discussing this mysterious figure in more detail shortly.
Graham is booking it away from someone or something. HURT GRAHAM AT YOUR OWN PERIL, CHIBNALL.
Judoon, either in their spaceship or in some other place that's probably not Earth. Might we be visiting the home base of the Shadow Proclamation again in the next episode?
This character appears in the “Next Time” trailer for “Fugitive of the Judoon”. He appears to be the titular fugitive on the run from the space rhinos, which means he's almost certainly an alien pretending to be a human. Beyond that, we don't know anything else about him, but I suspect he'll turn out to be a Time Lord. Not the Master…unless the Master has regenerated again, but I doubt it. Probably not a Time Lord we've met before at all, though there are a few possibilities amongst the Gallifreyans who have appeared on the show in the past. If he is a Time Lord we've encountered previously, he's most likely Rassilon, as the Big Cheese was exiled from Gallifrey by the Doctor and may not have been present for the Master's apocalyptic temper tantrum. Also, fun fact from spinoff media: Rassilon, who was resurrected to help with the Time War, has infinite regenerations, so he's probably not dead if he never returned home.
Cool spaceshippy thing…
I'm assuming the woman on the right is Mary Shelley from the Cybermen episode.
No idea who this alien is.
Cyber-ship or cyber-conversion facility of some sort.
The Doctor and somebody else surrounded by Judoon.
NOPE NOPE NOPETY NOPE
Creepy Smoke Man from before, played by Ian Gelder. Who, intriguingly, voiced the Remnants in 2018's “The Ghost Monument”…which means this actor is the one who first mentioned the Timeless Child on the show. That probably isn't a coincidence. This has led me to develop a theory about who the Timeless Child may be…but you'll have to wait until Thursday to find out more about that, and to learn who I think this guy is.
“…WILL FALL.” Not sure what's going on in this shot, but the Doctor looks worried, so probably nothing good.
And that's it. Lots of fascinating clues dropped here, and if this trailer is to be believed, plenty of darkness is in store for the TARDIS team in the latter half of Series 12. Plus, it looks like we're definitely going to have further arc reveals along the lines of what we got in “Spyfall”. I'm happy about that. Here's hoping the rest of the episodes this year live up to the standard set by the best moments of the ones we've gotten so far.
Tomorrow, I'll be taking a break from the current era of Doctor Who to review “Dark Universe”, the latest Seventh Doctor drama from Big Finish Productions. Because it's really good, and it actually serves as a great new jumping-on point for Doctor Who audios in general. Then, on Thursday, I'll reveal my theory about who the Timeless Child is and how they will likely change Doctor Who forever. If my suspicions are correct, the answer to the mystery will be equal parts cool and controversial.