‘Doctor Who’: Will The Timeless Child Mystery Be Unraveled This Season?

Doctor Who is known for many things. One of those things is having some kind of story arc. Though this element was mostly absent in season 11 of the sci-fi show, it seems to be coming back in season 12 with the Timeless Child mystery being brought up.

When was the Timeless Child first mentioned in ‘Doctor Who’?

Jodie Whittaker of Doctor Who: Timeless Child mystery unraveled or not?
Jodie Whittaker of Doctor Who at SiriusXM Studios | Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

Surprisingly, perhaps, to some Doctor Who fans, the Timeless Child was first mentioned in season 11. During the second episode, “The Ghost Monument,” an alien foe of the Doctor’s refers to whoever this is while taunting her. “We see deeper…Further back. The Timeless Child.”

The Doctor has no idea what these aliens are talking about. She doesn’t seem to, at least during “The Ghost Monument,” know who the Timeless Child is, or why this child is so important. “She doesn’t know,” the aliens say. “We see what’s hidden, even from yourself,” they add.

But what could this secret be that’s hidden even from the Doctor?

How has the Timeless Child been brought back in season 12?

In “Spyfall: Part One,” the Master comes back to Doctor Who. During “Spyfall: Part Two,” he mentions the Timeless Child to the Doctor. “They lied to us,” he says. “The founding fathers of Gallifrey.”

“Everything we were told was a lie,” the Master continues. “We’re not who we think, you or I. The whole existence of our species, built on the lie of the Timeless Child.” Whoever the Timeless Child is, the Time Lords thought they were important enough to lie about.

The Master, when he finds out this lie, gets so angry that he destroys Gallifrey.

Why might the Timeless Child arc not be solved in season 12 of ‘Doctor Who’?

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When speaking to CultBox, Jodie Whittaker talked about the writing for season 12 of Doctor Who. According to Radio Times, she said: “You don’t necessarily always rush to get the answer.” For her, “The beauty of [showrunner] Chris [Chibnall’s] writing is that nothing is an accident.” While the Timeless Child may have seemed to have been “in an episode of season 11 and then forgotten about,” it wasn’t according to Whittaker.

While the actress says that “You don’t necessarily always rush to get the answer,” that doesn’t mean that fans “won’t discover something.” “You’re not going to be denied,” she says. “The beauty of this show is that it goes on and on and on. And so maybe some things, a few, are answered and maybe some things aren’t.”  

So fans might not find all of the answers they want about the Timeless Child in season 12 of Doctor Who. However, according to Whittaker, it’s all part of Chibnall’s plan for the show. “For him, all this has been plotted out,” she says. “He has wanted to write this since he was a kid so the choice of when and how – it isn’t a manic decision.”

What could this mean for ‘Doctor Who’?

There are many possibilities, especially in a show like Doctor Who. The Timeless Child arc could be resolved this season, or it could not. It could last another season or so, perhaps even as long as Chris Chibnall stays showrunner. Though this would be different for the show, especially the newer series, it wouldn’t be the first change that Chibnall has brought to the show.

How fans would react to a longer arc would probably depend on how well it was done. Only time will tell how it will turn out. One thing’s for sure: story arcs are definitely back on Doctor Who.