How does the thirteenth doctor die? Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor Who regeneration explained


Image via BBC

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Doctor Who: “The power of the doctor.”

The Doctor is dead… Long live the Doctor!

Doctor Who reached the end of another era with the release of The Power of the Doctor, the feature-length finale of Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor. And what a finale. We were promised a truly fan-friendly experience upfront, and it’s safe to say they definitely delivered. Not only were the Time Lord’s three greatest enemies on display – the Daleks, the Cybermen and the Master (Sacha Dhawan) – there were also various surprise cameos to keep viewers on their toes.

But we all knew how this episode would end, with the death and rebirth of the Doctor herself. So how did the time traveler’s final regeneration go? Let’s find out…

The Death of the Thirteenth Doctor, deconstructed

Image via BBC

In “The Doctor’s Power,” the Doctor was confronted with the Master’s boldest and craziest plan yet. After assuming command of the Cybermen, he uses the metalmen’s planet as a gigantic mobile conversion factory, powering it by chaining a living energy source called the Qurunx to the planet’s core. It turns out he needs this incredible power to accomplish his coup de grace – transferring his own mind into the Doctor’s body.

The Master forces the Doctor to regenerate into him and takes the form of our hero… for a while. In the depths of her consciousness, the Doctor is able to hold on to her present persona thanks to encouraging visions from her past bodies (yes, those surprise cameos I mentioned above).

Meanwhile, outside of the Time Lord’s mind, her combined friends—with a little help from an AI from the Doctor she activated earlier—can reverse the process and retrieve her. However, the vengeful Master decides that if he can’t be the Doctor, then neither can she, and blasts Thirteen with a bolt of the captured Qurunx’s energy.

Knowing what to expect, the Doctor and Yaz (Mandip Gill) say goodbye, with the former wishing to face his next life alone. After seeing a sunset for the last time, the Doctor gives in to the regeneration process – but is shocked at what happens next.

After the volcanic energy of their regeneration dissipates, the Doctor is amazed to find that they have regenerated back into an old body. Especially that of her tenth self. That’s right, David Tennant is The doctor! Uh, again. So what happens to Ncuti Gatwa? Well, thankfully, the thrilling teaser for next year’s 60th anniversary celebrations promises to be on the way too.

But why is the doctor wearing an old face? Is this the work of Neil Patrick Harris’ superpowered villain? We’ll get the answers to all these questions and more when Doctor Who finally returns to our screens in 2023. How does the thirteenth doctor die? Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor Who regeneration explained

Lindsay Lowe

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