4×20 March 3, 2000
HE JESTS AT SCARS THAT NEVER FELT A WOUND (Serial 56, Episode 2)
Setting: Washington, DC, 210X (UNIT-era +100)
Regular Cast: Hugh Laurie (The Doctor), Sarah Michelle Gellar (Lizzie Thompson)
Guest Starring: Denis Forest (Malcolm), Jonathan Frakes (Agent Blackwood), Armin Shimerman (Steve Whitman), John Lithgow (President Arnold Tannen)
Story: The broken, wheelchair-bound man Lizzie discovers is a version of the Doctor who led humanity to victory over the Morthrai in the year 2000. He gave humanity Time Lord technology after his version of Lizzie was killed by the Morthrai, and was subsequently mutilated and imprisoned when he tried to stop them from abusing the technology to become a totalitarian police state. Whitman claims that if the people saw what the regime had done to its greatest hero, they would rise up and overthrow Tannen’s regime. President Tannen tells the younger Doctor that he wants to reform the Alliance to make humanity “great again”, and claims that his “law and order” image is a necessary deception because the citizens are so accustomed to populist strongmen that they wouldn’t trust a genuine reformer. The Doctor says he agrees, but secretly realizes that the stress of micro-managing the entire world has left Tannen unbalanced. Tannen promises to release the Doctor and Lizzie in return for performing at the Centennial celebration – by executing Malcolm. Such a show would cement Tannen’s power, giving him the leverage to enact his reforms. In Cell 2, Lizzie tries to help the older Doctor escape, but he refuses to believe she is anything but a figment of his imagination. Whitman motivates him instead by threatening to kill Lizzie. The younger Doctor is horrified by the prospect of killing Malcolm and refuses, but Tannen also threatens to have Lizzie killed. At the Centennial broadcast, the Doctor is introduced with much fanfare and presented with an energy weapon of Time Lord design, while Lizzie is held under guard by Whitman, out of view of the cameras. Malcolm is brought out in chains, and Tannen orders the Doctor to kill him, but he shoots Malcolm’s chains instead. When Whitman turns to aim at Malcolm instead of Lizzie, she surprises him with a kick and disarms him. Tannen again orders the Doctor to kill Malcolm, but the Doctor hands the gun back to him, telling him to do it himself. Tannen has ordered the deaths of many, but finds he can’t do it himself. The Doctor challenges him on his “reforms”, but Tannen can only speak in meaningless platitudes about “huge changes”: all his ideas have come from Whitman. Tannen is a vapid narcissist whose “reformer” posturing is merely a messiah complex, while Whitman is a scheming sociopath who engineered Tannen’s rise so he could seize power. Whitman’s henchmen overpower Lizzie and bring out the old Doctor. With Tannen exposed as a puppet, Whitman simply shoots him once he has his gun back, and declares himself the new President of Earth. He can’t kill the Doctor on live television, but he can cement his power by performing the execution of Malcolm. As he shoots, though, the old Doctor throws himself forward out of his chair, taking the shot. Whitman desperately orders his guards to kill everyone, but finds they no longer respect his authority. Malcolm, who has been watching in silence the entire time, dispassionately takes Tannen’s fallen weapon, kills Whitman, and then himself. The Doctor asks his dying counterpart why he “didn’t” (regenerate), and he tells him to “save Lizzie instead,” and gives him his TARDIS key as he dies. Touching the two identical TARDIS keys together creates a “temporal short circuit” which summons the TARDIS, now regenerated from the geode he had buried in Syria. The TARDIS reacts violently when Lizzie enters it, and the Doctor has to disable the safety features to make it dematerialize. They arrive one hundred years earlier at UNIT, where Agent Blackwood informs them that the main Morthrai fleet has been detected in orbit.