It's not uncommon for a new Doctor Who episode to have fans pick a specific plot point from the show's long history, but viewers of the most recent foray into Praxeus have a very specific point of contention related to a classic story.
In short ... why didn't the Doctor save Adric?
Let's explain: In the latest series 12, concerned cop Jake (Warren Brown) tried to pilot a damaged spaceship to spread an antivirus on Earth that would fight the deadly Praxeus pathogen.
Jake was successful, but seemed doomed when the ship began to crumble around him. Fortunately, the Doctor was able to materialize the TARDIS around Jake and save him milliseconds from detonation. Hooray!
However, fans were quick to point out the similarities (and one key difference) between Jake's fate and that of Adric (Matthew Waterhouse), a companion who traveled with the fifth Doctor (Peter Davison) in the 1980s.
In the 1982 Earthshock story, Adric was trapped on a freighter that collided with Earth, with the Doctor apparently unable to save him. Adric died, one of the few Doctor Who companions who were finally killed.
So what is there? Why was Jake saved but Adric not?
— ???????? (@gavinworby) February 2, 2020
Oh my god, people made a fair point on that.
The end of today's episode means Five could have saved Adric.
- Revolution of the Krynoids ????????? (@DChilv) February 2, 2020
I wonder how Adric would feel if the doctor rescued this random guy from the exploding spaceship?
– Zoey (@MistressOfNull) February 2, 2020
– Dean Stephenson (@DeanBStephenson) February 2, 2020
Well, there is actually a very reasonable explanation ...
In the moments before Adric's death on the freighter in Earthshock, a squad of Cybermen invade the TARDIS and the ship's controls are damaged in the ensuing scuffle.
This often forgotten detail is why the fifth doctor was unable to save his friend. If the TARDIS had been fully functional, maybe he could actually have performed a trick similar to the one that saved Jake ...
So blame those heartless cybermen - they'll return to Doctor Who later in this series and are supposed to be wilder than ever.
Doctor Who continues on BBC One at 7:10 p.m. on Sundays