In Doctor Who S10E9, after the TARDIS has delivered the Doctor to

Mars, in 1881,

a place where the Doctor needs to be to solve problems and prevent bigger problems, the TARDIS suddenly decides to do a bad thing.

It takes off without the Doctor, returning to the Doctor's office at college, and the one person aboard can't make it go back to Mars, no matter what he tries.

Why? What went wrong? What happened? At face value, this is a situation the Doctor finds himself comfortable with, and the TARDIS has often put the Doctor in this kind of situation knowing very well that the Doctor wouldn't turn his back on this mess before it was all solved. So I can't think of any reason, neither in-universe, nor out of, why this turn of events would be necessary.

Or is this something that will be explained later? But the episode pretty much felt like a stand-alone episode, not part of a story arc.

  • Maybe we'll find out in the next episode? Although the main story of E8 was resolved, it ended on something of a cliffhanger w.r.t. the whole TARDIS situation.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jun 11, 2017 at 13:16
  • Ah yes, maybe it's as mundane as Missy being desperate to be out of the vault for a breather, and having developed a TARDIS remote. But I am really hoping for something that I missed, something on screen.
    – Mr Lister
    Jun 11, 2017 at 13:19
  • @misterLister I suspect it is either never going to be explained or was engineered by Missy as part of her evil plan to fool the Doctor into thinking she had turned good. Jun 11, 2017 at 13:28
  • @Bellerophon Evil plan? Oh my, aren't we supposed to realise that yet? Is that going to be a surprise move, later?
    – Mr Lister
    Jun 11, 2017 at 14:40
  • @MrLister It is S10E09 actually
    – TGar
    Sep 9, 2017 at 19:23

1 Answer 1


Basically, as with many things in an ongoing series, we don't know yet. When the TARDIS first took off it looked as though the lever that is used to set the TARDIS going on a journey was pulled down. This may suggest the TARDIS piloting itself as we have seen before or it may suggest an outside force interfering.

The first, that it was the TARDIS, seems unusual and out of character. The TARDIS can, and does, pilot itself, usually when it believes the Doctor is needed somewhere but in this situation the Doctor wasn't onboard. Maybe the TARDIS wanted the Doctor to sort the situation out and was afraid he'd run away so removed that option but that would show the TARDIS laking any understanding of the Doctor. The other reason the TARDIS goes weird is when time is getting mucked around but that didn't seem to happen here. The other possibility is that the TARDIS wanted Missy free or wanted the Doctor to see Missy being helpful so kidnapped Nardol as he would ask Missy for help but this raises the question, why does the TARDIS want to help Missy?

The second explanation seems more convincing. An outside force could be Missy, explaining how she broke through the outside force, or some other villain. If it was Missy it is probably part of some plan to make the Doctor trust her. This would also make sense as a Time Lord has a decent chance of beating the TARDIS's defences and hacking it.

If it was some other enemy it will doubtless turn up and explain its motivations some day. Maybe it wanted to strand the Doctor so it could attack London. Here the reason Missy could get them back is simply her superior skills and experience over Nardol. The question is why didn't she tell the Doctor that the TARDIS was controlled?

Overall, we don't know but will probably be told later as part of a multi-episode arc.

  • 1
    Nice answer, with probably as much presicion as can be asked for right know. A reference you might use, we have seen the Silence influence the Tardis and force it to explose.
    – Edelk
    Jun 11, 2017 at 18:49

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