The questions keep on flooding in...

Dear Johnny Fanboy,

I've just been re-reading The Flood, the final Eighth Doctor comic strip to appear in Doctor Who Magazine (#346-#353).

There are some remarkable similarities here to the later TV episode The Parting of the Ways. The villains of the piece, in this case the Cybermen, take on aspects of religious fundamentalism, like the Daleks in Parting. They promise to "save" humanity from the weaknesses of emotion and sins of the flesh. The very title is a Biblical reference. Both stories end with the monsters getting disintegrated by a member of the TARDIS crew, in this case the Doctor, who has absorbed the power of the Time Vortex.

However, when the Ninth Doctor absorbs the Time Vortex energies, second-hand, from Rose Tyler, his exposure to them brings about his regeneration. Yet the Eighth Doctor survives his experience. How come?

Rob Jacobs

Johnny Fanboy replies:

Hmmm, yes, I wonder whether Russell T Davies, who had started writing a regular column for DWM by that point, was inspired - either consciously or unconsciously - by that comic strip.

I reckon that the important difference is that, in The Flood, the Doctor absorbs only a relatively small part of the Time Vortex, which had been installed as a power source within the Cybership.

Alternatively, perhaps the Eighth Doctor does regenerate shortly after the strip has concluded. After all, the effect of the Ninth Doctor's exposure to the energies of the Vortex is not immediate at the end of The Parting of the Ways, so maybe it is similarly delayed in The Flood.

And in case you're wondering how Rose manages to survive her exposure to the Vortex energies, Sorvad, my counterpart on the Matrix Data Bank column of DWM has suggested (in #364) that the crucial difference could be that Rose absorbs the energies via the filter of the TARDIS, whereas the Doctor extracts them directly from Rose. He possibly also takes up into himself all the damaging effects that would otherwise have destroyed his companion.

Sorvad also ponders whether there is a bit of wish-fulfilment going on here. After all, in Boom Town, the TARDIS and the Time Vortex grant Blon Fel Fotch Pasameer-Day Slitheen a fresh start by reverting her to the form of an egg. Rose gets what she wants in Parting by defeating the Daleks and saving the Doctor. Perhaps the emotionally wounded Ninth Doctor gets what he wants too: a fresh start in a new body...

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