In the afterglow of “The Day of the Doctor” and “The Time of the Doctor” I can’t help but think about all the implications that these two pivotal episodes link. Things like the Doctor fully expecting to die at Lake Silencio, knowing he had no regenerations left as an ace in the hole. Or Rory, who wanted kids so badly, never being able to hold his actual daughter as a child (The one time he did, it was a ganger). This got me me wondering, with all of the threads Moffat tied up, how much of it was planned and how much do we as fans fit together for him?
There’s no doubt that Moffat has more of a long game when writing than RTD ever did, but how much of it is through actual planning? I have to wonder if he writes levels “A” and “B”, and when fans dig and find levels “C” through “Q” he just runs with it saying “I’m glad someone got that connection.” This theory gains traction when the fans can’t make a connection or they can, but it proves to be a bridge too far.
Many of us had plenty of questions before “The Time of the Doctor” about the TARDIS exploding or what part the Silence played in all of it. Sadly many of us still have questions, or at least a desire for a clearer answer. But why are the answers we got so unsatisfactory? I really think it’s because we aren’t able to find the depth we are used to. The answers are serviceable, it’s not like he was answering a math problem with “the smell of blue”. But they didn’t work of 16 different levels either.
So who gets the credit when an episode is powerful and fits seamlessly into the shows canon? The truth is that a good writer will let the story happen and not get in the way. Sure, that’s a little abstract, but a good writer knows their limits. No one can think they way everyone else does, there is always someone with a different idea that you likely would never have thought of. So say SteeMo decides he wants to make an episode water tight. He closes every plot hole and covers all of his bases. Then we as fans come along and say “Well what about X event from series 3?” The tighter his writing, the less room he has to wriggle around and fit that in.
Half the fun of this show is digging deeper and making connections the writer never dreamed of, and you can only do that if the story is fluid enough. Sure, the gaping plot holes will always bother me. But would I sacrifice the revelations I come across just to close them up when they really don’t detract anything from the story?
The truth is that there will always be more questions than answers, but that’s what keeps us coming back and digging deeper. There is a reason this show has been around for 50 years, and I’m willing to accept the occasional inconsistency to ensure another 50. So if Moffat keeps his outlines tight and his writing (somewhat) loose, I don’t mind filling in the gaps and discovering things all for myself.
I just wish I didn’t have so much time between episodes to do it.