Logopolis: Please explain the mysterious white man to me

Logopolis was the Doctor Who episode where Tom Baker’s fourth Doctor regenerated into Peter Davison’s incarnation. It ended Baker’s unrivaled seven year run in the magical blue Police Box.

I managed to catch a repeat of Logopolis on Sci-Fi this week (I’d recorded it a while ago), and most of the plot is easy to follow. However, throughout the entire episode, a white figure observes everything that’s happening and is present whether the [[TARDIS (Doctor Who)|TARDIS]] is on Earth or on Logopolis. The white man is revealed later to be the person who flies the TARDIS off while The Doctor remains in Logopolis.

Finally, we’re told that the white man is a version of The Doctor, and whenever Baker’s regeneration begins, he morphs briefly into the white man before changing into his fifth incarnation.

So, what’s up here? To my eyes, the white man is some kind of intermediary entity, something between incarnations. So, does he exist in the future? Does he use the TARDIS to travel to the points where the Fourth Doctor was in order to forewarn him? I don’t know, it’s all a bit vague. Any suggestions?

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4 Comments

  1. Jeffrey Scott

    A Timelords regenerations are a bit tricky at times. It’s interesting how one Timelord can regenerate several different ways. Perhaps I should explain that a bit more before attempting to explain the Watcher.

    First regeneration the Doctor regenerates from old age – essentially.

    Second Doctor was forced to regenerat by the time lords but was given the ability to choose what he wanted to look like.

    Third Doctor’s body was irradiated by the Spiders on Metabillus 3. Another Timelord assisted his regeneration by giving it a “little push”.

    The fifth Doctor was poisoned, he recovered some antidote but oly enough to save his companion Peri. His regeneration almost went wrong. The Doctor became self centered and even violent (attempting to choke his companion) till he finally settled down.

    The next regeneration was kind of sketchy. Essentially the Tardis was pulled out of it’s trajectory by another renegade Time Lord (The Rani). The resultant shock to the Tardis apparently forced a regeneration. (This was mostly all done off-screen).

    When the seventh Doctor was transporting the remains of the Master back to Gallifrey, he landed on Earth. Not watching what was outside the Tardis he walked right into some passing bullets. Rushed to a hospital his regeneration almost didn’t take place thanks to a well meaning physician (I refuse to say doctor as it would confuse things).

    We never saw the Eight Doctor regenerate though it’s possible it was a result of the Time War. It must have happened just before the episode Rose as he had yet to look in a mirror. He only just noticed his new persona when looking into a mirror in Rose’s apartment.

    After taking in the bit of the Tardis, something no one, not even a Timelord should do, hes body once again needed a regeneration. This is the second time he regenerated inside the Tardis with no ill effects to the Tardis.

    His last regeneration was also done in the Tardis but this time it destroyed the interior (The desktop theme?)

    So the point is this, each regeneration something new has taken place. At times he has been helped along, sometimes the effects of the regeneration are worse than before. Yet Timelords are still a very secretive race. So much we don’t really know about them. Which makes the name of the show very appropriate. Doctor Who?

    Now we move onto Logopolis where the fourth Doctor regenerates into the fifth. In a way you could say the Doctor helped himself out. It’s very possible he would not have survived the great fall that he did if the moment had not been prepared for. Thus the Watcher. The Watcher was a sort of ‘push’ towards his regeneration. Without which he may have died permanently. The Watcher was indeed a version of the Doctor. A sort of ‘in-between’ version. So how did the Doctor know he was going to die and need this version? And how was this version created to help assist him? Likely it was created and/or generated by the fifth Doctor.

    So you may ask, if the fourth Doctor was going to die, how could the fifth Doctor send something back to assist himself? Well, it is time travel after all and we probably would never be able to understand all the wibbly wobbly timey whimey stuff involved in Time Travel.

    However, this was not the only reference of a ‘version’ of the Doctor existing or of a future Doctor assisting a past version of himself from dying.

    Required viewing: Two Doctor (1985), and Trial of the Timelord (1986).

    Do you understand now? If so, please explain it to me because I’m still confused.

  2. Gerard McGarry

    In a way you could say the Doctor helped himself out. It’s very possible he would not have survived the great fall that he did if the moment had not been prepared for. Thus the Watcher. The Watcher was a sort of ‘push’ towards his regeneration. Without which he may have died permanently. The Watcher was indeed a version of the Doctor. A sort of ‘in-between’ version. So how did the Doctor know he was going to die and need this version? And how was this version created to help assist him? Likely it was created and/or generated by the fifth Doctor.

    I suppose we’ll never know where the in-between version came from or how he was generated. Interesting that he was part of the regeneration sequence though. The notion of a secondary presence was interesting, and isn’t it at the moment The Doctor sees the white man that he realises the end is near?

    Big question for you Jeffrey – what do you think of the fact that the three and a half regenerations in the revived series have all be the same? That’s Ecclestone to Tennant, Tennant to Smith, The Master’s regen in the TARDIS and that “pouring of regeneration energy into his spare hand” one. Are the regenerations becoming predictable?

  3. Jeffrey Scott

    I think the regenerations are becoming more predictable. However, who would have thought a regeneration would destroy the interior of the Tardis? Not me. As you could tell from my recap of the regenerations, the way they worked was all over the place. I think it’s just and attempt by the writers to set regeneration into a specific mold. But all things can change.

    1. Gerard McGarry

      I don’t mind the more predictable regenerations. I think the special effects have matured to the point where The Doctor spewing golden beams of energy from his arms and face is an exciting and slightly scary sight.

      Yes, the power to destroy the TARDIS in the last regen was something new: I’d still like that to be explained a little better. Was it the radiation The Doctor absorbed, or was it more powerful from him suppressing the regeneration to go visiting his pals to say goodbye?

      As for the older regeneration effects, I assume that the special effects technology was moving in leaps and bounds in those years, so they changed dramatically each time. It’s still thrilling to watch, just because of what it symbolises within the story – the same man regenerating into a different body, and the unpredictability of his new persona.

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