WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the latest episode of Doctor Who: Flux, "Chapter Three: Once, Upon Time," which aired Sunday on BBC.
With the shocking Timeless Child reveal still hanging over the Doctor's head, Doctor Who: Flux has thrown the Time Lord into a desperate seach for the truth about her past as time and space collapse around her. While the Doctor grapples with the threats thrown forth by the Flux -- the mysterious force of destruction tearing through the universe -- she is also encountering new allies, like new companion Dan Lewis and the spacefaring observation officer Inston-Vee Vinder. Each new character is crossing paths with the Doctor from a different corner of space and time, all adding their own unique stories to the wider narrative of Flux and fans think two of these characters might be more closely connected to the Doctor than others.
While Vinder has been stuck on Observation Outpost Rose, his wife Bel has been traversing the post-Flux universe in search of him. It is not yet clear what connects these two characters to the Doctor, or why Vinder found himself transported across the universe and hurled into the Doctor's conflict with the sinister Ravagers. However, the revelation that Bel is pregnant with his child has given rise to a major theory -- these two mysterious heroes could be the Doctor's real parents.
The previous series' finale, "The Timeless Children," saw the Doctor discover that she is not just any member of the Time Lord race -- she was the mysterious Timeless Child, a child found at the mouth of an interdimensional gateway, who became the genetic template for the Time Lords. After being discovered and experimented on by the Gallifreyan explorer Tecteun, the Doctor was later recruited into the mysterious Time Lord agency, the Division, leading an unknown number of lives before the regeneration cycles viewers have seen. This has thrown the Doctor's true origins into question, leading to a fan theory emerging on Twitter that the Doctor's story begins with Vinder and Bel.
Vinder was introduced in the first episode of Flux, "The Halloween Apocalypse," where he was seen in his cramped observation outpost, witnessing the devastation wrought by the Flux. Bel made her debut in Episode 3, "Once, Upon Time," which saw her contending with Daleks and Cybermen on her quest to reunite with Vinder. Episode 3 revealed much about both characters. Vinder was hurled into his own timestream, resulting in him reliving moments from his past. Meanwhile, Bel's recorded messages for Vinder documented her experiences as she traversed a fractured universe, culminating in her revealing she was carrying Vinder's child.
So, what evidence is there that the couple's child could grow up to become the Doctor? Well, fans have pointed to the fact that, while watching a hologram recording of Vinder, Bel remarks "I wonder if he looks different," possibly suggesting that their species has the ability to regenerate -- a trait the Time Lords gained from the Timeless Child. Bel and Vinder also appear to be more closely related to the Flux itself than they realize. Vinder is summoned to the Temple of Atropos, following an encounter with the Flux. At one point, Bel wonders whether the Flux is trying to keep her and Vinder apart. As the Doctor is told the Flux was made because of her, it could be affecting her parents.
Beyond the trappings of the plot and the mystery surrounding Bel's and Vinder's own origins -- their species and home planet are yet to be identified -- there are much more character-driven reasons the audiences may assume they are the parents of the Doctor. Both Vinder and Bel exhibit qualities associated with the Doctor. Vinder is fiercely principled, turning whistleblower on his employer, the imposing Grand Serpent when he witnessed the Grand Serpent secretly ordering his critics' assassinations. Vinder was punished for doing the right thing but did not let that deter him. Bel is shown to be deeply compassionate, driven by her love for Vinder, telling a Cyberman "Love is the only mission."
Both Vinder and Bel are shown to share the Doctor's heroic courage too. Vinder even earned a commendation when training as a pilot for risking his life in order to save three colleagues. Bel faces down multiple Cybermen alone while on her mission to reunite with Vinder. If these characters do turn out to be the Doctor's parents, it would be clear where she got her values and her spirit. This could be a fitting origin story for the Doctor. After she was revealed to be the mysterious forebear of the Time Lords, it would have been easy and obvious to give the Doctor a grandiose origin as a unique, godlike being. However, as a character who has always seen the beauty and value in even the most ordinary life, a humble origin from two parents of low status but with heroic hearts could be a perfect answer to the mystery.
To see the Doctor uncover her forgotten past, new episodes of Doctor Who: Flux air Sundays on BBC.
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