So the Doctor turns out to be, not an eccentric Time Lord who stole a broken TARDIS to flee into time and space for madcap adventures helping the helpless, nay. He is in fact a foundling, a poor little black girl, who is the sole source of the regenerative ability of the Time Lords, hence the true founder of their society, not Rassilon.
This clip does not show, but I have it on good authority that the scientist and mother of the Doctor, a super-scientist who isolates the regeneration gene code, of course, of course, is a strong female character, and the first female space explorer of Gallifrey.
By way of contrast, this is the way to do a proper ret-con:
What kind of idiot would try to steal a faulty TARDIS?
True, in Clara Oswald, we still have an insufferable strong female character upstaging the Doctor, but the disease in this season had not yet metastasized, and so the insufferable was still sufferable.
She is not the one who tells him to steal a faulty TARDIS from the repair shop, merely tell him which one he is fated to steal to make the time paradox come out right. It does not change the basic lore of who or what the Doctor is: a renegade Time Lord. It does not sacrifice story telling to message fiction.
The point of message fiction is twofold.
The first, like Aesop, attempts to convey a moral maxim or lesson in a palatable fashion to influence young minds.
This can be done well or poorly, depending on whether the story rules the message, or the message rules the story.
The message itself, like any sermon, can also be well written or poorly written.
But if the message derails the story, that is fraud. The author who promises an entertainment, but delivers a lecture instead, is just as much a cheat as a bartender who charges for a mug of beer but puts a glass of buttermilk before you. Buttermilk may be better for your health, but, honestly, the bartender is not your mother, and he is not doing the job you paid him for.
And if you go to the doctor to cure a disease, but instead, he deliberately introduces a more severe strain of the same ill into you, that is not merely a fraud, he is also a betrayer. You trusted him, and he turned on you.
If you hire a science fiction writer to show you the wonders of the universe modern science reveals, or to bemuse you with action, adventure, and truth against a cosmic backdrop, he does not merely defraud you, he betrays you, if instead he delivers boredom, tripe, and falsehood.
Political correctness, as they say, is fascism disguised as courtesy. It is boring tripe and falsehood boiled down to its purest essential.
The second point of message fiction is to have a cheap way to immunize untalented work from criticism.
If a crappy story written by a weasel is ruined by its message, but the message bows the knee to a falsely pious sentiment either socialist or Christian, the weasel can denounce critics of his ruined work as being heretics, that is (depending on his particular brand of false piety), of being foes of social justice, or foes of the church.
In some other context, in the hands of another writer, at some other point in time, making William Hartnell into a little orphaned black girl who is also the sole source of the immortality of the Time Lords might have been a perfectly legitimate science fictional flourish to a beloved and long-running series.
But that is not the context here. We live in a day and age when a professor in a lecture hall can be forced by threat of lawsuit not to call his students “mister” and “miss” — a male student insisted on being addressed by a female pronoun — and the professor is not allowed gracefully to obey but to announce his protest to this prohibition in his syllabus. He must obey without protest.
I have not seen the episode, nor, indeed, the season, nor ever will I.
Doctor Who is dead to me. Farewell, faithful childhood friend from Gallifrey!
I will recall your wonderful adventures forever. The hacks who scribbled you over with clownish graffiti of political correctness, I will not hate forever, for I have it from Dante that the coldest and lowest place in Hell is reserved for betrayers.
Originally published here.