Dr. Who Recursion Paradox
August 31, 2009 6:27 PM   Subscribe

Dr. Who question. Can the Tardis ever appear inside itself? Has it ever?
posted by geekhorde to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Apparently, yes.
posted by Miss Otis' Egrets at 6:36 PM on August 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

Yup. And other Tardises can be inside each other.
posted by plinth at 6:38 PM on August 31, 2009

Wait. There are OTHER Tardises? Man. I obviously wasn't paying enough attention when I was a kid.
posted by geekhorde at 6:48 PM on August 31, 2009

There's a more detailed description of how this happened here (part one). The Doctor's TARDIS materialized around the Master's TARDIS, which itself contained the Doctor's TARDIS. So it's still not clear whether the same TARDIS can appear directly inside itself (though I don't see why not).

The recursive TARDISes in that episode created a "gravity bubble" which caused problems, so while it can happen, it's not a good idea.
posted by shammack at 6:59 PM on August 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

"Definitely a gravity bubble!"

(also, yes, what everyone else said re: TARDIS recursion.)
posted by gac at 7:04 PM on August 31, 2009

The same TARDIS did merge with itself in the mini-episode "Time Crash" when the Fifth Doctor met the Tenth Doctor.

It created a black hole which needed a supernova to counteract it. You can watch the whole thing here.
posted by inturnaround at 7:05 PM on August 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

Wait. There are OTHER Tardises?

Every Time Lord or Lady worth their salt gets their own TARDIS. It's like a class of spaceship, not a specific name of one. As to whether or not the Doctor is qualified to fly his own TARDIS, and whether or not he's even supposed to have one, is up for debate in certain circles.
posted by Mizu at 7:09 PM on August 31, 2009

Sure, but being the last son of a doomed world, who's to say, right?
posted by geekhorde at 8:25 PM on August 31, 2009

Worth remembering that in the beginning the Doctor stole his TARDIS. They're not automatically issued.

Can the X ever Y? Has it ever?

In Doctor Who, this is a complicated question.
posted by dhartung at 8:31 PM on August 31, 2009 [2 favorites]

>>> Every Time Lord or Lady worth their salt gets steals their own TARDIS.

Fixed that for you.
posted by grabbingsand at 8:43 PM on August 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

Logopolis partly answers the question, but in that episode, the Master's tardis was disguised as a police box (which happened at the end of the prior episode "The Keeper of Trakken". In Logopolis, the Doctor materializes his tardis around what he thinks is an ordinary police box (but which is in fact the Master's Tardis). The Doctor does this to take a measure of each of the police box's dimensions. But as the Doctor and Adric enter each successive box, the recursive tardis is not exact, and they take the dimensions of the new box, until they eventually pop outside.

It is in the subsequent episode, Castrovalva, where we learn that the tardis can be reconfigured, parts of it jettisoned, and portions of it disassembled and taken outside of the rest of the tardis.

In addition, there are a number of episodes of the Third doctor (2 seasons worth?) where the doctor has removed the console from the tardis itself, but he is still able to perform dematerialization experiments with it in an effort to regain his lost time travel knowledge. In other words, he can dematerialize away from the console, which itself is outside the tardis.

Furthermore, in an earlier episode with the Fourth Doctor, the doctor explains to Leela how the Tardis is able to be bigger on the inside than on the outside. He demonstrates the principle by placing a large box away from her and a small one close up, and states that the Tardis simply places the large faraway box inside the small closeup one without actually moving them. Leela complains, the doctor shouts a bit, waves his hand, and exits.

Doctor is qualified to fly his own TARDIS, and whether or not he's even supposed to have one, is up for debate in certain circles.
posted by Mizu at 10:09 PM on August 31

He's not. It is pretty well-established in the original 1962-1989 Who series that the doctor "borrowed" a Type 40 that was in the shop. But he would not have earned one in any case, because his grades were awful. In "Destiny of the Daleks", Romana boasts about graduating "triple-alpha" and asks him his grades. His answer was triple-gamma (this is stately much more explicitly in the Target novelization). Basically, he was a C-average student.

Furthermore, the second doctor episode "War Games" makes it clear that the Doctor is afraid to solicit the help of the Time Lords to stop the renegade TL named War Chief because they will punish him for his past crime of stealing the Tardis and violating their non-interference rule. They do ultiamtely punish him for these crimes, resulting in his regeneration to the third doctor and his exile on earth until "the Three Doctors".

The only time his possession of the Tardis could be said to be legitimate is between the end of the Three Doctors, when the High Council returns to him his knowledge of time travel to the end of "the Five Doctors", when he becomes President of Galifrey, but goes AWOL.
posted by Pastabagel at 9:34 PM on August 31, 2009 [15 favorites]

Oops, I meant "1963-1989"
posted by Pastabagel at 9:35 PM on August 31, 2009

If he was very patient, though, he could grow his own. Which is, apparently, what Jack Harkness is/was doing in the Hub.
posted by kalimac at 2:58 AM on September 1, 2009

Man. Everyone has been incredibly nice and helpful. But Pastabagel wins the award, I think.

What the heck is a pastabagel anyway?
posted by geekhorde at 7:46 AM on September 1, 2009

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