Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Curious Case of Orson Pink

Author's Note: Nothing is more disappointing and frustrating than working long and hard on something only to have it erased by a button.  I had a much lengthier post about this situation, but somehow it got erased and I could not recover it.  I'm most frustrated because I put a lot of effort into it.  However, I'm not going to be defeatist.  I'm just going to make it shorter and more direct.


In Listen, a well-praised Doctor Who episode, we were introduced to Orson Pink, which the episode strongly suggested was the descendant of Danny/Rupert Pink and/or Clara Oswald.

Well, in The Wrath of Missy Parts 1 & 2 (Dark Water/Death in Heaven), Danny was killed off without having children.  Clara, perhaps, might have been pregnant (a curious Post-It reading "Three Months" was seen).  However, SHE was killed off in Face the Raven.  She was not shown to have given birth.

Now, in Listen, Orson Pink had a family heirloom, a toy soldier, ostensibly the same toy soldier Clara had given Rupert/Danny as a child.  He also talks about how his great-grandparents told him stories of time-travel.  Granted, Listen never overtly stated Orson WAS Danny and/or Clara's descendant, but it strongly suggested it.

With both Danny and Clara dead, we are faced with a quandary.


Kyle Anderson, carrying water for The Moff, came up with some interesting theories via Twitter (before he blocked me): that time can be rewritten, that Danny wasn't dead, or that Orson wasn't Danny and Clara's descendant.

Moffat himself in Doctor Who Magazine offers that Orson may be descended from another branch of the Pink family (one of Anderson's theories).  Clara went to them and gave them the toy soldier, and from them sprung Orson.

I argue that theory makes no sense.  If it was Rupert/Danny's brother, Stanislav Pink, he himself didn't travel through time and space.  Come to think of it, neither did Danny.  He was always waiting for Clara to come back from one of her many journeys, but as far as I remember never travelled in the TARDIS itself.

Furthermore, Rupert/Danny was in a children's home (read, an orphanage).  Where were these phantom Pinks all the time he was away in this lonely place?  Or was he adopted by a family with the same surname, or adopted and allowed to keep his original last name?


For me, this is yet another example of a larger issue: Doctor Who's inability to have any sense of continuity.  I found a few examples to back up my idea.

Series Five's The Eleventh Hour: Amelia Pond is left waiting by the Doctor, and she grows angry and resentful regarding her "raggedy man".
Series Seven's The Angels Take Manhattan: Amelia Pond is visited by the Doctor early the next morning after her encounter, with him correctly dressed.

For the sake of an admittedly cute scene, Steven Moffat, who wrote both episodes, contradicted himself.  He also erased two season's worth of character development. What was Amy's motivation, her emotional arc?  Her anger at The Doctor for leaving her waiting as a child.  With The Angels Take Manhattan, she wasn't left waiting.  The Doctor came to her, late but now by mere hours rather than years.  Therefore, why did she have this anger for years, or say he didn't show up when he clearly did, or go on about a 'raggedy man/Doctor' when he wasn't in regeneration rags when she technically saw him last? 

Series Six's The Doctor's Wife: The TARDIS in human form tells the Doctor she picked him.
Series Seven's The Name of The Doctor: Clara is shown telling the First Doctor which TARDIS to pick.

For the sake of showing how important Clara (and by extension, Steven Moffat) is to Doctor Who, Moffat contradicted The Doctor's Wife, which was written by Neil Gaiman.

Series Seven's Asylum of the Daleks: Oswin (a version of Clara that spread through time and space), is able to say "I'm Human, I am NOT A Dalek" clearly, with the Doctor able to hear her exact words.
Series Nine's The Witch's Familiar: Clara, inside a Dalek, says "I'm human" but it ends up coming out as "I am a Dalek".

For the sake of drama, Steven Moffat, who wrote both episodes, contradicted himself.

Series Eight's Listen: a figure named Orson Pink, who looks like Danny/Rupert Pink, has as a 'family heirloom' a toy soldier that originally belonged to Danny Pink.
Series Eight's Dark Water/Death in Heaven: Danny Pink is killed, turned into a Cyberman (albeit one who cries), with no known children.
Series Nine's Face the Raven: Clara Oswald is killed, with no known children.

It cannot be both.  There can be no Orson Pink if he has no ancestors.  Orson Pink cannot exist. 

Yes, I know Moffat said Orson was descended from another branch of the Pink family, but I cannot accept speculation in Doctor Who Magazine as Canon.  As previously stated, Rupert/Danny had no known family, no known children (legitimate/illegitimate), and with him dead he could not father the child who would become Orson's grandfather (assuming Danny would have been Orson's great-grandfather who told him time-travel stories).

With Clara dead and without her having children, she could not have been related to Orson Pink either (which makes her connection to the Pink family that got her sent to the children's home where Rupert/Danny lived in all the more bizarre given she was using the TARDIS' telepathic link that should have been keyed into HER lifestream, not Danny's).

By killing off BOTH Danny Pink AND Clara Oswald, Steven Moffat, writer of two of the three stories (Listen and The Wrath of Missy Parts 1 & 2, with Face the Raven written by Sarah Dollard with Moffat as the showrunner/producer), Steven Moffat has essentially rendered Listen illogical and impossible. 

If Danny and Clara are both dead and without having had children, Orson (assuming he was indeed meant to be the descendant of either one or both of them) cannot exist.
If Orson cannot exist, he cannot be the first human time-traveler.
If Orson cannot be the first human time-traveler, the events of Listen could not have taken place.
If the events of Listen could not have taken place, Clara could not have gone to Gallifrey to inspire the future Doctor on his course to being the Time Lord he grew to be.


I cannot find a way, a logical way, to reconcile the contradictions and discontinuity between the events of Listen and those of both The Wrath of Missy Parts 1 & 2 and Face the Raven.  At least Back to the Future, which faced a similar situation with the future children perhaps not being born due to changes in the past, made things logical.  Doctor Who can't be bothered to do that.  More on that in a bit.

Going on to the other contradictory episodes, one thing is clear.

It cannot be both. 

IF Oswin could say "I'm not a Dalek.  I'm Human" and have it come out as such (despite being in reality a converted Dalek), how is it possible then for Clara, who is merely inside a Dalek, to have the exact same words come out completely differently?

It cannot be both. 

IF the TARDIS chose the Doctor, why would Clara tell him which TARDIS to take?

It cannot be both. 

IF the Doctor failed to return to Amelia until twelve years later, how was it he was shown returning the very next morning to a waiting Amelia?  Why would she maintain all that anger and keep referring to him as "the raggedy man/Doctor" if technically, the last time she saw him, he was perfectly dressed and not in the disheveled clothes from his regeneration?

And those are the ones I could think of off the top of my head.  Therefore, I ask again...


No television show gets away with such massive continuity errors as Doctor Who.  Moreover, no television show not only gets away with such massive continuity errors as Doctor Who, but actually gets praised for them as Doctor Who.

It's a curious thing to me that programs of all stripes, even soap operas, strive to maintain continuity, but Doctor Who not only doesn't bother to, but that this lack of continuity is seen as one of its strengths, not weaknesses.  I remember well when after asking about points of logic after The Day of The Doctor theatrical screening, the exasperated NuWhovian replied to me, "It's NOT SUPPOSE to make sense!  It's British!".  I can argue with the fact that it's British being the reason for its lack of logic, but from my vantage point this captures all that is wrong with NuWho and its fans (including professional rimmer Kyle Anderson).

Doctor Who, for them, is not about logic.  It's not about stories tying together as a cohesive whole.

It's about the emotional response.  It's about which Doctor Who episode can make them cry the most, the hardest, the loudest. 

I for the life of me cannot understand why NuWhovians would take the answer about how Orson Pink can be when Danny Pink is no longer with us either seriously or rationally.  I believe plot holes and continuity questions should be answered within the confines of an episode, not a writer's commentary in a magazine. 

Imagine if Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, rather than answer the mystery in a Sherlock Holmes story, opted to give readers tidbits and then take to The Strand to give the answers.  Then again, most Sherlockians hold that ACD wasn't as good a writer of Holmes as Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, or even really bother to read Canon (which is thoroughly unimportant to them).

Yes, again and again Doctor Who contradicts itself, sometimes within the same series/season.  And again and again NuWhovians and critics don't seem too bothered with that.  Moffat takes the applause, the praise, the awards, but when it comes down to it he cannot keep things straight (not even his own writing).  However, he didn't have to worry about that then and doesn't have to worry about that now.

I figure we'll never get an answer to my original query, or on how Sherlock Holmes survived The Reichenbach Fall, or how a Dalek can say one thing one day, and NOT say the exact same thing another day, or when exactly the Doctor returned to Amy Pond, or how the "Ponds" could see themselves happily in the future in one episode only to be zapped back in time in another episode, or how Clara could read 'the name of The Doctor' in a book but have this big mystery built around 'the name of The Doctor' when the answer was so easily available (or who actually wrote The History of The Time War and manage to include 'the name of The Doctor' in it).

So long as you cried...

Alas, my question, in a shorter version than my original (but still wordy) essay, remains The Unanswered Question:



  1. Oh GOD This! So accurate. But the only difference is I CAN think of quite a few others.

    Lets start with Male / Female regeneration. After an age of wondering, yes, it was confirmed in The Doctor's Wife that gender switching regeneration was possible. But from the way the Doctor speaks of the Corsair, you could tell he was a real rarity amongst his people - especially for flitting back and forth all the time. But I can accept for some people that this might not be concrete enough evidence and, as we know, Moffat does ignore things not written by himself. So let's look at Moffat's own words about this - when in Night of the Doctor, Ohilla (leader of the Sisterhood of Kahn) clearly stated about Elixir of Life "Time Lord science is elevated here on Karn. The change doesn't have to be random. Fat or thin, young or old, man or woman?". So without Elixir of Life, it clearly is a bit more random. But we all clearly saw the General in Hell Bent take a swig before becoming a woman. No? Hmm - maybe it didn't make the edit.

    Fairly minor but just because it's the next one to occur, when Amy met her younger self, we'd kind of expect an explosion rather like the one in Mawdryn Undead when she ran her fingers through her own hair.

    Ah yes, the Husbands of River Song - wasn't it lovely, those pictures of the Doctor in her purse - all layed out in order. Which as this was very shortly before Silence in the Library, wouldn't she know that the Doctor she was encountering was younger than any other she had encountered before. (Let's face it - Big Finish clearly deserve some blame here too for having River meet Eight unless they wipe both of their memories).

    I nearly mentioned Sarah-Jane not having seen the Doctor since he left her in Aberdeen instead of Croydon which totally forgets the Five Doctors - but that one needs to be laid at RTD's door instead.

    As I'm at the end of lunch hour, I will end there - but there are MANY more.

    Stuart Pinel

    1. It would be fascinating to catalogue how many NuWho episodes contradict each other or established Canon.

      While watching HORS (curious what the initials form) I too thought it curious that she would know of the so-called "War Doctor" when he was this big secret no one, not even The Doctor, acknowledged.

      Thanks for reminding us of more of these oddball moments.

  2. I liked some of Moffat's stories, but overall - I preferred RTD. One, he brought it back. Two, he didn't generally as a rule just go "Well it's my head-canon so it WILL BE!" and take a crap on 50 years of history to do his own little fanboy weirdness. He also didn't need each companion to be more special than the last. I mean, if they keep going this way, a companion one upping their predecessor, they're going to end up pairing The Doctor with God.

    Frankly, I still prefer RTD, Moffat fanboyed far too much, contradicted himself frequently, but far more frequently destroyed 40+ years of history as well as his predecessor RTD. I'm actually glad Moffat is gone and am sort of hoping the Broadchurch bloke does a good hand better.

    I never liked the War Doctor, it was illogical and out of place - no matter how much I like John Hurt. While I loved Rose having a reprise - I think they should have gone the way that War was 8 much, much older and 8/"War" regenerated to 9. His crap of "Oh, well ACTUALLY War isn't part of the 12 regenerations. He's special. Cause I said so! But if you wanna get really technical - Eccleston was 10, Tennant was 11, Smith was 12, and Capaldi is 13." Was a load of horse poop. As was the whole "Time Lords can become women and Time Lady's can become men." when in official (old school included) canon - Lords get absolutely no choice in their regenerations while the Ladies if they concentrated and thought about it, could pretty much mold their new forms by will.

    Moving on to Danny. His death, while amazing and just thinking about it makes me sob - was pointless and silly and nullified most of the season. I was so angered by it. And hearing Clara died (spoilers for me I haven't watched the new season since it's no longer streaming) makes me angrier especially since I'd heard she was coming back. I mean - if they can bring back Glasses McDressedasPreviousDoctors, why can't they manage it with Danny and Clara.

    Furthermore - wanna explain to me why The Doctor couldn't have gone back in time and parked his butt in.. Idk Philly or Baltimore or Boston or heck Ithaca/Syracuse/Buffalo/Rochester (New York State) sent Amy a postcard and just picked her up? He clearly said he couldn't go back into NYC (that's stupid and highly illogical use of Angels, cue my eye rolls and heavy sighs) he never said he couldn't go back to that TIME.

    1. The answer to your question is simplicity itself:
      Because Moffat Said So. End of Discussion.

      I've never weighed in to the RTD/SM debate as I've never had interest in it. I will say that I'm amazed how many people (down to my favorite nemesis, Kyle Anderson of The Nerdist) can constantly praise Moffat for contradicting what came before on DW.

      And more bizarre, not just contradict what came before RTD, or during RTD, but down to contradicting himself.

  3. Lady me and Clara now have a time machine? Could create loads of problems

    1. I imagine to some, it creates 'spin-off' possibilities. To Each His Own, I guess.

    2. The long way around... just set the universe straight or rescue danny, have a kid, i'll die when i damn well please, hmmm

  4. It's a show about Time Travel and Time can be rewritten.

    Did Harriet Jones serve three terms as Prime Minister or was she forced out of office after a few months - Both because Time can be rewritten (by the Doctor himself in this case).

    Why did Van Statten call his Dalek a Metaltron and talk of it as something very rare when there had been at least two world wide Dalek Invasions by that time - Because the episode Dalek takes place in a Timeline where those invasions had not happened.

    1. W/regards to the Metaltron, I figured it was because Van Statten had no word for 'Dalek'.

      Continuity is something DW isn't very good w/, at least NuWho. Classic Who made the effort to not contradict itself (perhaps missing something in 26 years worth of programming). NuWho, in 10, delights in going against itself.

  5. Usually I take this stuff with a grain of salt, it's a time travel show, so maybe after Clara and Danny died, history, or the future, was changed. But there are two things that bothered me about this:
    1)I feel like if you're going to introduce a character like Orson and strongly suggest that he's a descendant of Clara and Danny, there should be some explanation, if not, it makes "Listen" a pointless episode.
    2)When The Doctor talks about saving Clara, the Gallifrians say her death is a fixed point in time, backed up by the fact that her heart never start beating again, implying that she always died then.
    This is a show I really enjoy, and I'm wiling to give it a little leeway when it comes to continuity due to the fact that it's a time travel show and it's been around for so long and has so much history, but this bothered me as it was over the course of only a season and a half, all done under the same show runner.

    1. Back in the day, they had the position of Script Editor to see how things fit and whether someone in Episode B contradicted something Episode A.

      Perhaps they ought to bring that back.

  6. I'm not going to get into the "Who begat Orson Pink" question, but I will answer the Clara inside a Dalek question. When Missy put her in the shell/tank of the Dalek she specifically does something to the tank so that Clara cannot say anything about being inside the tank and she even says as much when she locks Clara inside.

    1. Thanks. I'll take your word for it because I've no desire to watch again.

  7. And thus many a fan-fic is written to fix the plot holes. The TARDIS pushed Clara's fractured self to direct the 1st Doctor to her shell since the TARDIS knew who and where she came from. The TARDIS knows past and future, and time tracks can cross each other and make a mess. Orson Pink is from a parallel universe where Clara and Danny did marry, somehow he slipped a time track at the end of the Universe (probably because there were so many Doctors there viewing it at the same time) and ended up in the wrong universe. Doctor Who plot holes are the meat and potatos of fan-fic. Oh, I almost forgot. The 11th visiting Amelia at Amy's request was a dream sequence, where he planted all the stories Amy made up and made Rory play with her, to tide her over until he returned. The Doctor is telepathic so he could do that easily and Amy wouldn't remember he'd come back that first night.

    1. Thanks.

      Too much timey-wimey for my tastes, but an amusing overview of the plotholes along w/how to fill them!

  8. I’ve been thinking about this episode. I think the doctor changed Amy’s timeline during regeneration because she asked him to in the book. That meant the Amy he knew grew up resenting him but the version he visited at the end didn’t.

    As for Danny and Orson Pink, I thought the writing made it very obvious that the two of them got married and were his ancestors. Unfortunately Missy killed Danny before that happened. So they met Orson in Listen before his timeline was erased.

  9. So years later. On the topic of Orson Pink.
    Its weird but my assumption is that its a Clara Copy somewhere at some point. They never fully stated how many Clara there were in the Doctor's time stream. Also never truly verified it was just his past and not potentialfutures as well. Just that she was thrown into those points to "give the doctor what he needed" basically..(in canon but not for us viewers) to fix and prevent paradoxes and fixed points for the Doctor's timeline.
    So since the Doctor and Missy both HAD to have that events happen in their timeline. there could have been a Clara that had interjected during one of their random dates and begate a child through it.
    its dumb as bricks though.

    Its FAR FAR easier and FAR less nonsense to assume that Orson Pink is from a different dimension. That the time travel "slingshot" worked correctly. But it fell through a hole in the dimensions (which do happen.. more often than it should). So he fell from dimension where Clara left the Doctor's travels to be with Pink. Or where Pink chose to return to life. (or most likely. The Doctor found a way to power up enough for both).
    Then he ended up going too far into the future because of the dimensional hole.
    The doctor didn't really know Orson's history. And. He couldn't properly recognize that he looked like danny (even if it was used more as a running in joke in the episode).

    So... I prefer that explaination. Cross dimensional time traveler. Who gets dropped off in the right "time" but not right dimension. And is just confused as heck but forgotten by the Doctor like any other "not right time" people.


Views are welcome, but I ask that there be no foul language. Any comments with either vulgar words or that are bigoted in any way towards anyone based on sex, race, religion, or any other protected category will not be published. Keep it clean and keep it respectful. Thank you.