Every rule the Eleventh Doctor has explained
In Doctor Who, the Doctor often creates rules for his companions or guides to follow himself, with the Eleventh Doctor creating significantly more rules than any other iteration. As of modern revival, the Doctor is the last of his kind, earning him both extreme survivor guilt and a god complex of sorts, as he is generally more advanced than any enemy he might encounter. While most other versions of the Doctor created rules to protect their fellows, many of the Eleventh Doctor’s rules seem like a way to keep himself and his kind in check.
The Eleventh Doctor had a heartbreaking perspective on himself and the world around him that became increasingly apparent in his darker moments. In Season 6 episode “A Good Man Goes to War”, the Doctor explained the basic connection between his rules and his sense of self-loathing, stating: “Good men don’t need rules. Today is not the day to find out why I have so many.“By examining each of the Eleventh Doctor’s rules and how they apply to himself and his companions, it’s possible to get a clearer picture of how he saw himself and why he made the decisions he made.
1 “Don’t run away”
A rule borrowed from the previous versions of the Doctor, “Don’t Wander Off”, became a consistent rule across all versions of the Doctor and was used by the Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, and Thirteenth Doctors. Within the eleventh Doctorate run, the rule was mentioned in “The Eleventh Hour” (Season 5, Episode 1), “The Rebel Flesh” (Season 6, Episode 5) and “Nightmare in Silver” (Season 7, Episode 12) as He warns his companions from the dangers lurking around every corner lest they should allow their curiosity to get the best of them without his presence
Often the Doctor’s primary concern with his companions was their safety, which was especially important to many Doctor Who modern companions tragically died while traveling with the Time Lord. Considering how Davros had mocked the Tenth Doctor for letting so many people die for him, it was more important than ever for the Eleventh Doctor to put safety first. By using the Doctor’s First Rule from previous versions, the authors were able to quickly communicate that he had begun to learn from his mistakes and was taking a new approach to travel.
2 “The Doctor Lies”
“The Doctor Lies” was a rule explained by River in Season 5 Episode 13, “The Big Bang”, and became one of the most formative parts of the Eleventh Doctor’s tenure, particularly in relation to the Doctor’s relationship with the Companions Amy, Rory and River. After being introduced by River when the Doctor lied about his own death, the rule was repeated in Season 6 Episode 8 “Let’s Kill Hitler”, Season 6 Episode 13 “The Wedding of River Song” and Season 7. Episode 5, “The Angels Take Manhattan”. Either way, the Doctor lied about what was to come to protect his friends and give them the freedom to make their own decisions.
Given that David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor was portrayed as a romantic hero, emphasizing that the Doctor is lying was a great way to cast the Eleventh Doctor in a darker light. While none of the Doctor’s lies were malicious, they did speak to a deceptive nature in the character. The Eleventh Doctor arc was all about change, and this rule helped distinguish Smith’s Doctor from its counterparts and suggested a darker side that would be explored more deeply during Capaldi’s run.
3 “There’s always a plan”
“There Is Always A Plan” was introduced as the third “First Rule” of the Eleventh Doctor in comic book history First rule, and while never discussed on-screen, it encapsulates both Matt Smith’s Doctor and Steven Moffat’s writing style well. The Eleventh Doctor had a wild energy about him that made everything he did seem completely improvised (like when he caused a distraction by literally yelling, “Look at me, I’m a target!“). However, it always turned out that he had a complex plan in the works.
Similarly, Steven Moffat was inclined towards writing Doctor Who in a long arc format, with tiny details building up to big revelations in the finale. Moffat even made his own fan theories canon 16 years later, showing his entire career was a plan to make his mark Doctor Who. Despite all the chaos that often ensued during the course of The Eleventh Doctor, both he and Steven Moffat always had an impressive plan.
4 “Never Run When You’re Scared”
Introduced in Season 6 Episode 8, “Let’s Kill Hitler” as Rule 7, “Never Run When You’re Scared” offers a new perspective on inner bravery Doctor Who. This rule came while the Doctor was begging River to help him save Amy and Rory, and it proved that even when the Doctor was dying and helpless, he was still trying to care for others. Running is an iconic part of modernity Doctor Who, especially for the Tenth Doctor, so suggesting that this is the wrong decision seems like an odd decision. However, this rule has more to do with emotional strength than physical threat.
River Song had a complicated schedule, and this episode marked her first real encounter with the Doctor. He provided her with rules that would help her become the River Song everyone loved, and that included an emotional vulnerability she didn’t have while living as Mels. She had to open up to the fact that she was walking down a dark path and that she could be loved completely. While the Doctor himself struggled with emotions, he lived by the ideal that caring for others requires knowing when to stay.
5 “Never ignore a coincidence. Unless you are busy. Then always ignore a coincidence”
Between seasons 5 and 7, Doctor Who The plots were convoluted but always built on something important, making “Never Ignore A Coincidence” a message to the audience as well as the characters. This rule was introduced in Season 5 Episode 12, “The Pandorica Opens” when the Doctor noted the many connections between Amy’s childhood and her latest threat. In fact, the Pandorica Alliance had used Amy’s life as inspiration for their perfect plan.
Although this rule was never directly stated again, it remained a common theme over the next few seasons, particularly during the “Impossible Girl” arc in Season 7. Clara appeared throughout, and throughout the Doctor, identical appearance characters were encountered in his adventures, the coincidences made no sense. The addendum adds a dash of humor to the rule, however, because while the Doctor might want to work on a mystery until he figures it out, the problem of the moment always took precedence.
6 “Never Be Knowingly Serious”
As light-hearted as the Eleventh Doctor is, Matt Smith’s account contrasted with Tennant’s in that his version of the Doctor appeared to be actively fearful of his own potential. When he wasn’t actively infantilizing himself, he seemed like a broken old man made dangerous by a hidden anger. When he saw himself in Mels in Season 6 Episode 8, “Let’s Kill Hitler,” he started listing his rules to make sure they held to the same standard.
The Doctor was dying and seeing his best friends in danger, he stopped to change into a suit and use a baton. When he tried to show bad guys they wouldn’t win, he threw out scathing one-liners. As The Silence and Madame Kovarian demonstrated, the Doctor was the most dangerous man in the universe when angry. That’s why he went into Never Knowingly Be Serious, because the alternative was that he fully acknowledges, and possibly even gives in to, his own darkness.
7 “Always waste time when you don’t have any”
The Doctor introduced “Always Waste Time When You Don’t Have Any” in Season 6 Episode 8 “Let’s Kill Hitler” to explain why he was still giving a performance while he was dying, and although not doing it again was mentioned, it defined the perspectives of the Eleventh Doctor and all his companions on death. For the Doctor himself, he did everything he could to delay the inevitable, resisting bringing River to Darillium and putting off Trenzalore for himself. While eventually accepting his regeneration, the Eleventh Doctor was known to stall.
This perspective carried over to the Companions, who were influenced by the Eleventh Doctor as each Companion faced death Doctor Who and found a way to delay it. Amy and Rory chose to die from Weeping Angel, which gave them the opportunity to spend the rest of their lives together. River and the Doctor spent 24 years together before she went to the library. Clara, who had lived endless lives, was extracted at the last second before her death and became virtually immortal. As River said in the 2015 episode “The Husbands of River Song”: “Happily ever after doesn’t mean forever. It just means time.“
8th “Time is not your boss”
The last rule established by the Eleventh Doctor was “time is not your boss” – a rule that addressed specifically the Eleventh Doctor’s relationship with River, but also applied to the complexities of the Doctor’s relationship with time as a whole . The Doctor made the rule about himself in Season 5, Episode 4, “The Time of Angels” before sharing it with Mels in Season 6, Episode 8, “Let’s Kill Hitler,” essentially giving both of them the opportunity gave up rejecting the predefined relationship they would have with each other. With this rule, their marriage became more of a choice than a coercion.
On a larger scale, the idea of fixed points was incredibly important Doctor Who, when both the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors struggled with moments they couldn’t control. But where Tennant’s Doctor openly defied the laws of the time, Smith’s version learned to sidestep them, creating paradoxes and exploiting loopholes. Though time travel doesn’t work without rules, the Eleventh Doctor learned to live by his own rules, letting the world work for him with a touch of defiance and an excessive amount of self-control.
MORE: Doctor who would be very different if Steven Moffat left after Season 9
https://screenrant.com/doctor-who-eleven-doctor-rules-meaning-episodes/ Every rule the Eleventh Doctor has explained