Well, we were still only part way through the 2006 season and there were hints about how Rose would be written out of the series. Very strong hints that she would be killed off were going around the tabloid press. So at least part of this story involved Rose actually asking Ten what happened in his universe to part them. She asks if she died, and he still won’t tell her, but he does tell her one thing. His one regret was never telling her he loved her. I tell no lie. But that was how I envisaged it WEEKS before Doomsday. And lo and behold, with time running out, he doesn’t manage to say “I Love You.” Coincidence? RTD hacking into my computer, or just on the same creative wavelength? But the story fell into place EXACTLY right.
The main theme, though, explores the two personalities of the two very different Doctors and Rose’s relationship to them. Ten managed his burden in life much better than Nine ever did. He was removed by a regeneration from the immediate aftermath of the Time War and less haunted by the past. But on the other hand, he didn’t have Rose. So what would happen if Ten’s mind and Nine’s got switched? Would she love the man who looked like her lover or the one who WAS her lover? The simple answer was she ended up unsure which one she loved at all. But when she ran away from them both on a stormy SangC’lune night she accidentally found the answer to the problem. There is something of a narrative shortcut here, of course. Falling down the very hole that leads to the lost underground cavern where the Time Lords did their rituals is Famous Five meets Scooby Do, meets the rather more unsophisticated plots of the earliest Doctor Who which had quite a lot of those same sort of coincidences in it, as well as a lot of occasions when Susan sprained something, which may well have been cries for attention, as Rose points out, or just horribly predictable plot devices that you couldn’t get away with now.
Anyway, the post-modernist way around a thing like this is to bring it into the dialogue. Just as Jaws, Tremors and Blood Beach get a mention in “Riddle of the Sands’ when the plot gets a bit familiar, so a Scooby Do reference here smoothes over the problem of such an obvious plot device.
But I wasn’t finished. There had to be a twist to the story. And as it happened I had watched the Sixth Doctor episode Twin Dilemma a day or two before writing this one. Azmael defeated the entity using his body by forcing himself into a thirteenth regeneration, thereby killing himself. The idea of his fourteenth incarnation as a spirit locked out of the SangC’lune pyramids and living a half life in the crystal presented itself. Azmael leaving Ten his knowledge and skills as a parting gift tied things up.