In the beginning of season 6 of Doctor Who, The Doctor was shot by an astronaut which triggered the regeneration process of The Doctor. But, he was shot again in the middle of regeneration process which killed him permanently.

In the end of the season, we learned that that wasn't The Doctor who got killed. That was Teselecta (Justice Department Vehicle Number 6018 from the future) in the form of Doctor.

Maybe, a machine from the future can disguise regeneration special effects of a Time Lord, but why bother? I mean, why on the Earth The Doctor planned his own fake death? Whom was he making fool? Definitely, he couldn't make the Spacetime fool. His death was a fixed Spacetime event. So, if "original" he died originally, he couldn't replace himself with Teselecta or time would stop to create an alternate reality. It means, it was Teselecta whose fake death was shown in the beginning of season 6.

Fooling The Silence is out of question because:

  1. By the time he hired Teselecta, he already knew that it was The Silence which was going/trying to kill him (in case it was his investigation approach according to you).

  2. Escaping such way isn't The Doctor's style (even against Daleks; The Silence were just nothing). He could always and easily beat them with confidence.

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    What is your question? Who was he trying to fool by faking his death? How about not dying first. Then he was trying to figure out, perhaps, who would try to go through all that effort to kill him. Which he could not do if he were dead. – Thaddeus Howze Aug 22 '14 at 19:43
  • @Thaddeus How about not dying first. ~> Impossible if it's fixed Spacetime event. Probably, I didn't understand what you want to say. – Baby Yoda Aug 22 '14 at 19:50
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    The event of the Doctor being "SEEN" as dying is the spacetime event. There is no cosmic rule that says HE has to be there TO die. Only that he is SEEN dying there. – Thaddeus Howze Aug 22 '14 at 19:58
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    It's the same reason the Doctor doesn't like reading the final page of a book/history/journal/etc; until he KNOWS what the ending is, there is no paradox involved if he goes back and changes things to direct it to a different ending. True -- that only applies to HIM, but as a complicated space time event, he seems to have a lot more inertia in time than most people. (True to a lesser degree with his companions, River, etc.) In it's way, it's Quantum Mechanics as applied to Time Travel. – K-H-W Aug 22 '14 at 20:26
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    Considering he is of a race that traps exploding novae in perpetual suspension to pimp their rides, it's not that far-fetched a concept that they can influence quantum-mechanical events... – BMWurm Aug 22 '14 at 20:31

The Doctor was pulling a con, on basically two groups of people:

Amy and Rory

Inviting Amy and Rory to his "death" allows the Doctor to prime them for two very important tasks:

  1. Guide him towards gaining knowledge of the Silence. The Doctor is in an odd situation where he knows information now that he needed to know then, which means he has to rely on Amy and Rory to prod him in the right directions without asking too many questions
  2. Take on the Silence without him. It's not controversial to say that the Silence are one of the Doctor's more dangerous enemies; there's a small list of people who have violated the sanctity of the TARDIS, after all. The Doctor knows that at some point in their 1969 adventure, he's going to be separated from Amy and Rory, and he needs them to appreciate the gravity of the situation they're in.

The Doctor has never been above using emotional moments to manipulate his companions, and Matt Smith's Doctor is no exception; that's basically the point of both "The God Complex" and "Amy's Choice", after all. Faking his death, and more importantly inviting Amy and Rory to witness it, is another manipulation towards a desired outcome: defeating the Silence.

The other thing it allows them to do is move on from him, which ties into the next group.


Remember that the Doctor wants to disappear at this point. He discusses this with Dorium's head at the end of "The Wedding of River Song" (emphasis mine):

Dorium: So you're going to do this, let them all think you're dead?

Doctor: It's the only way. Then they can all forget me. I got too big, Dorium, too noisy. Time to step back into the shadows.

Remember that the Doctor is deeply affected by several revelations he receives in "A Good Man Goes to War", from both Madame Kovarian and River Song (emphasis mine):

Doctor: What is [Melody Pond]?

Kovarian: Hope. Hope in this endless, bitter war.

Doctor: What war? Against who?

Kovarian: Against you, Doctor.


Doctor: You think I wanted this? I didn't do this. This, this wasn't me!

River: This was exactly you. All this; all of it. You make them so afraid. When you began, all those years ago, sailing off to see the universe, did you ever think you'd become this? The man who can turn an army around at the mention of his name? Doctor: the word for healer and wise man throughout the universe. We get that word from you, you know. But if you carry on the way you are, what might that word come to mean? To the people of the Gamma Forests, the word "doctor" means "mighty warrior". How far you've come.

He wants to disappear, to stop being such a negative influence on people. He's not the first person in history to disappear by faking his own death1.

It's also important to his own timeline that River Song be incarcerated:

  • A lot of the information he gains about the Silence comes from the data files of the Teselecta itself (in "Let's Kill Hitler"). The Teselecta only has these files because they're a justice robot and killing the Doctor makes River the worst criminal in all of history. Changing the past so River doesn't kill him would create a paradox
  • If she's not in prison for his murder, he can't be sure that she'd be on the Byzantium, and the events of "The Time of Angels"/"Flesh and Stone" may never happen, which would be utterly disastrous for history.

The other thing to consider is the fact that this is exactly how it was supposed to happen. The Doctor faking his death wasn't an attempt to cheat the Fixed Point, an there are two pieces of evidence:

  1. The Doctor appeared to start regenerating. With benefit of hindsight, we know that the Eleventh Doctor was the end of the Doctor's natural regeneration cycle. If he were dying for real in "The Impossible Astronaut", he wouldn't have had any regeneration energy.
  2. "The Wedding of River Song" showed us what happened when you try messing with fixed points in time, and it's pretty unequivocally bad. But none of that happens when the Teselecta is shot.

So the Doctor using the Teselecta to fake his death was the fixed point in time created by the Silence, and it always was.

1 Or maybe he is. Wibbly wobbly...

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    Per the events of Time of the Doctor, we know it's not #1 or #2, as he didn't have any regenerations left. Well, I guess it doesn't rule out #2, but it's not an example of that. – user1027 Aug 22 '14 at 19:57
  • You are giving opinions over facts of the show... – Baby Yoda Aug 22 '14 at 19:59
  • @Keen Very good point. I'll update my answer to reflect this. – Jason Baker Aug 22 '14 at 20:05
  • @SachinShekhar I'm about to add more to my answer that may address your concern – Jason Baker Aug 22 '14 at 20:07
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    Don't you just hate ontological paradoxes.... – Vincent Apr 8 '15 at 11:57

He was fooling The Silence. They took his 'death' to be real, and figured they had finally succeeded. Admittedly, at that point, he didn't know it was The Silence. He faked his death to survive, so he could then find who was trying to kill him.

Due to events later in the series we know that it was always the Teselecta there, The Doctor never died at Lake Silencio in any timeline. If it was the Doctor there, then he wouldn't have started regenerating, as that would be impossible (see Time of the Doctor).

  • What!!! By the time, he hired Teselecta, he already knew that The Silence killed him. – Baby Yoda Aug 22 '14 at 19:53
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    @SachinShekhar The Silence never killed the Doctor. It was always the Teselecta. – user1027 Aug 22 '14 at 19:54
  • I am talking about what was inside head of The Doctor. – Baby Yoda Aug 22 '14 at 19:56
  • @SachinShekhar Go on... – user1027 Aug 22 '14 at 20:01
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    Technically, it was the Kovarian Chapter that had River shoot the Tesselecta, and as Keen said, she never shot anything else. – BMWurm Aug 22 '14 at 20:26

The assassination attempt by the lakeside was explicitly noted as a fixed point. The Doctor has always been able to tell which events are in flux ("The Fires of Pompeii", "Cold Blood", etc.) and which events are fixed. Therefore it had to happen, and he had to go through with it. The Doctor couldn't simply "easily beat [the Silence] with confidence" some other way, because history was fixed and it had to happen. However, the Doctor also realized at the last minute that the records and everything else that he had seen pertaining to his supposed "death" were ambiguous and that there was nothing that conclusively pegged him as really being there, so he opted to exploit that ambiguity of the situation by faking his death with the Teselecta. That way, he could still "fulfill" history as he had seen it while also tricking the Silence into thinking that they had won, which in turn gave him the opportunity to "step back into the shadows" as he had come to feel it was necessary to do.

  • Yes, I think this is the most correct answer--he couldn't change what Amy and Rory and River had seen (not to mention the Silence), so he needed to find a way to survive that was consistent with everyone seeing this. Note this exchange in The Angels Take Manhattan: AMY: Time can be rewritten. DOCTOR: Not once you've read it. Once we know what's coming, it's written in stone. – Hypnosifl Feb 22 '15 at 22:59

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