Who is the Fugitive Doctor in Doctor Who? Where does Ruth fit in the timeline?

Jo Martin as Ruth Clayton - Doctor Who _ Season 12, Episode 5 - Photo Credit: James Pardon/BBC Studios/BBC America
Jo Martin as Ruth Clayton - Doctor Who _ Season 12, Episode 5 - Photo Credit: James Pardon/BBC Studios/BBC America /

Ruth Clayton was revealed as a former generation of The Doctor during Doctor Who Season 12. Season 13 has placed the Fugitive Doctor in the timeline.

While the introduction of the Fugitive Doctor has certainly created some plotholes, it has also lead to questions. Like the War Doctor, we’ve been left wondering where exactly Ruth Clayton’s regeneration fits in the timeline of Doctor Who. The War Doctor was quickly explained, but it’s taken a season since the Fugitive Doctor’s introduction to get confirmation about this one.

The Fugitive Doctor was introduced in Doctor Who Season 12, Episode 5. We got answers in Season 13, Episode 3.

One thing we did know was that Ruth was part of The Division. That gave us some sort of idea, but we got to find out her role when Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor jumped into the time stream and landed in her memories now and then.

The Fugitive Doctor is pre-Hartnell in Doctor Who

It turns out that Ruth is pre-Hartnell. Yes, this is before the TARDIS was stuck in the form it’s in now, which is where one of the major plotholes comes in. Let’s not even talk about how Matt Smith’s regeneration was supposed to be the last. With Ruth, it would mean David Tennant’s regeneration should have been the last.

But I’m not getting into that rabbit hole of problems in this post. It’s purely about where the Fugitive Doctor fits in the current timeline.

Ruth was part of the secret Time Lord agency. We saw that during the third chapter of Doctor Who: Flux. That means she was around before William Hartnell’s Doctor (the first-ever one).

When we learned that Ruth was a fugitive and wanted by The Division, we all theorized that meant she was part of the Division at some point. Well, now we get that confirmation. Ruth was around during the “dark times,” and helped to set up the Mauri as the protectors of time. Whittaker’s Doctor was then able to use that memory as a way to fix the problem created by Swarm in “Once, Upon Time.”

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What do you think of the big reveal for the Fugitive Doctor? Which plotholes need fixing for you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Doctor Who airs Sundays at 8/7c on BBC America. Watch the following day on AMC+.