Major spoilers are ahead for this easter egg breakdown of “The Power of the Doctor.”
The Master’s ‘Doctor’ Costume – And How It Foreshadowed The Cameos
This is one of the more obvious easter eggs in the episode. With The Master successfully forcing the Doctor to regenerate and subsequently taking her form, Sacha Dhawan’s renegade Time Lord jumps aboard the TARDIS and assumes the role of the titular hero. As for the costume, well, it’s a bit of a mess. Call it the greatest hits of the past Doctors, or maybe the Master got dressed in a hurry. Either way, it’s the attention to detail that matters most.
He wears Sylvester McCoy’s question-marked jumper, celery stick on his lapel to honour Peter Davison’s Fifth incarnation, Tom Baker’s scarf, and Tennant’s shirt and tie. Dhawan even whips out Troughton’s recorder to pass the time on an alien wasteland. Save for Baker’s fourth incarnation and the late Troughton, Dhawan’s ensemble foreshadows the arrival of the other Doctors.
The finer details around Sophie Aldred’s character would take way too long to list individually, so let’s summarise them in one go. Names. Ace, historically, referred to the Doctor as ‘Professor’ while the Master alluded to her real name, Dorothy. Ace later remarks that the Master used to be a cat, a neat callback to the cheesy, final Doctor Who serial, “Survival”, in 1989, following which the series ended.
We move onto her weapons of choice, Ace is back in action with her infamous steel baseball bat and a tonne of troublesome but deadly Nitro-9 explosives, which come in handy as she takes on the Daleks, echoing her first Dalek encounter during 1988’s “Remembrance of the Daleks”. Plus, there’s the leather jacket with Ace emblazoned on the back. It screams the 80s, but her costume was arguably as iconic as any of the Time Lords that came before. Need we say more than Colin Baker’s eccentrically bright attire?
The Adric Namedrop
It’s a namedrop that’s sure to break hearts. Adric, played by Matthew Waterhouse between 1980 and 1982, was historically the first companion from the classic series to be killed off. Tegan questions the AI hologram of Davison’s Fifth Doctor about what she thinks of seeing the Cyberman running rampant in UNIT. To which Davison says Adric’s name. Adric was famously killed off during the finale of Earthshock, a four-part serial featuring the Cybermen.
Graham Makes a LINDA Group
As the Doctor prepares for regeneration, we pick up with Yaz and Graham as they reunite and form a group of the Doctor’s nearest and dearest that left the TARDIS throughout the years. Similarly to the LINDA group from the “Love and Monsters” story in Series 2 (sixteen years ago), a group of like-minded individuals come together and share their stories of the Doctor. Featured in the scene include Bonnie Langford (Melanie Bush), Katy Manning (Jo Grant), and William Russell (Ian), last seen in the series in 1965.
Langford featured alongside Colin Baker’s Sixth and Sylvester McCoy’s Seventh Doctors from 1986-87, before Ace’s arrival. Katy Manning shared the TARDIS with Jon Pertwee between 1971-73. Manning, however, returned to the Doctor Who universe alongside Elisabeth Sladen in The Sarah Jane Adventures in 2010. As for Ian, the name tag could give him away, but without it, only the most eagle-eyed viewers old enough to remember Hartnell’s era would likely make the connection.
Tennant Remembers His Last Regeneration
Tennant’s first lines following Whittaker’s regeneration allude to his first lines in the series in 2005. He remarks that he finds his new teeth “weird,” and fast-forward to this episode, he recognises them again. He studies his hands, one of which was famously cut off during a sword fight with a Sycorax – but the question remains, how did the Doctor regenerate into one of their former selves?
It could seem like a throwaway line, but the Master refers to Kate’s father, Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, best known as the Brigadier, as an “idiot.” On several occasions throughout the classic run, the Master encountered Nicholas Courtney’s Brigadier, who often assisted the Doctor in thwarting the renegade Time Lord’s evil schemes. Sadly, Courtney passed away in 2011, aged 81. While it’s a shame Courtney never faced off against the Master during the revival, this small line is an affectionate nod to Kate’s legacy and the Brigadier.
The Orange Spacesuits
During the opening sequence aboard the bullet train in space, the Doctor, Yaz, and Dan drop from the TARDIS onto its roof in spacesuits. If they look familiar, then you would not be wrong. The orange spacesuit has appeared in the series before, worn by Tennant on multiple occasions during his original run. The spacesuit first appeared during a two-parter with the Ood in Series 2, the hurtling-toward-the-sun thriller “42″ (penned by Chibnall) one series later, and once again in Tennant’s penultimate story, “The Waters of Mars.”
Matt Smith even donned the suit in the haunted house standalone “Hide” in 2013, four years after. For the full review of “The Power of the Doctor,” head to the link here.