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In “The Timeless Children”,

it’s revealed that the Doctor has an infinite amount of regenerations,

so why would he need another regeneration cycle in “The Time of the Doctor”?

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  • 3
    Because season 12 hadn't been conceived, never mind written yet?
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Mar 13, 2020 at 18:15
  • 7
    Because the new thing is a retcon that breaks the previous continuity into little eeny-weenie nonsense pieces.
    – Valorum
    Mar 13, 2020 at 18:21

3 Answers 3

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While the comments are accurate in canon it has not been explained yet however there are a few assumptions that can be made.

The dr has had all memory of his past removed from his mind, so has no idea that if he dies again he regenerates again. If he doesn’t know then it explains why he refuses to die.

The Timelords have buried away the history of what the Dr is, all Timelords that might have either known, or had the ability to unlock from the memory vaults, have died or possibly had there minds wiped. Remember Galifrey had suffered from war and even though it was saved it no doubt meant that knowledge was lost. In addition the fact that Rasailon has no idea what the Dr is indicates the knowledge was buried deep. Therefore the Timelords thought the dr needed a new set of regenerations. By giving him that regeneration energy and adding it to the endless regeneration of the timeless child it gave him the super charged abilities we see in the episode with him able to destroy the dalek forces.

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It's not easy to enplane. As we now know the Doctor is the origin of Regeneration and can do so infinitely. The Time Lord's wiped his memory and forced him to regenerate into a baby and was given to Ulysses and Penelope Gate to raise alongside the Master. He had it drilled into his head that Time Lord's have 12 Regeneration's and have to be given a new cycle.

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When the Time Lords wiped the Doctor's mind (the reasons for which will probably be explored next series), they obviously attempted to create a lie that s/he was simply another Time Lord, even going so far as to revert him/her back into a child to live among other Time Lords as one of their own. It stands to assume if they were to go to measures these far they wouldn't make it so easy to figure out the Doctor is special, e.g. has a different physiology and number of regenerations. It's fair, then, to assume that when they wiped the Doctor's memory and reverted him/her into a child, they also altered him/her physiologically to resemble other Time Lords, including limiting his/her number of regenerations to the standard twelve. We know the Time Lords are capable of altering a being's biology due to the Chameleon Arch, and the device that appeared to wipe Brendan's memory (an event which serves as an allegory or metaphorical counterpart to the real events) did resemble a Chameleon Arch. The Time Lords had been studying the Timeless Child for years so it wouldn't be a stretch to assume they were familiar enough with its biology to create a suitable Chameleon Arch that could work on it.

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