Who are The Division in 'Doctor Who'?

Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor
Will the Doctor manage to find out more about The Division this season? (Image credit: BBC Studios/ James Pardon)

So, who are The Division in Doctor Who? That's one question many Doctor Who fans might be wondering after watching the season 13 premiere on Halloween.

The first episode of Doctor Who season 13 introduced plenty of new baddies, characters and unleashed the mysterious Flux on the universe, but it also made reference to "The Division". 

Karvanista, the humanoid dog alien that the Doctor and Yaz had been tracking when we met them in The Halloween Apocalypse, was the only surviving member of The Division she'd been able to find. During their first confrontation, the Doctor tried to get as much info out of him as possible but Karvanista refused to answer any questions about The Division.

As the series has continued, The Division keeps cropping up as this mysterious group working in the background, but answers about their exact origins are still pretty scarce.

If you're keeping up with Doctor Who: Flux but are confused about The Division, here's what we've learned about the group so far.

Doctor Who: Flux - Karvanista

Karvanista was the only living member of The Division the Doctor managed before season 13 kicked off. (Image credit: BBC Studios/James Pardon)

Who are The Division in 'Doctor Who'? Why are they important?

The Division is a top-secret group of Time Lords led by a Gallifreyan called Solpado. After their interference on other worlds had drastic consequences in the past, the Time Lords vowed only to observe events across space and time. The Division was a group created specifically to step in and act only when it was deemed completely necessary.  

Apart from a few names or brief appearances, we know precious little about their individual members. Most of the group's history has largely been erased from The Matrix, the storehouse of Time Lord knowledge on Gallifrey that is connected to every TARDIS. 

When The Spy Master (Sacha Dhawan) hacked his way into the Matrix on Gallifrey, he learned that the Time Lords had actually based their regenerative powers on a creature called the Timeless Child, which he discovered was none other than the Doctor themself. According to the Spy Master, the Time Lords had experimented on the child and extracted its regenerative powers long before the First Doctor fled Gallifrey in their TARDIS. Angered by his discovery, the Spy Master ravaged the planet, leaving only the Matrix intact.

He'd also discovered that the explorer Tecteun (the Timeless Child's adoptive parent) and the Timeless Child had been inducted into the Division as members. Despite his efforts, The Spy Master could not retrieve much more info, save for the story of Brendan, an immortal member of the garda who was gifted a clock in his retirement which thanked him for his services to The Division shortly before the memory of his time was wiped. He believed this story was left behind by Tecteun to enable the Doctor to decode the truth of what had happened to her, or as some sort of apology for the experiments.

Jo Martin's Fugitive Doctor was also a member of The Division. At one point in time, she escaped and used a Chameleon Arch to hide on Earth as Ruth Clayton. Her former partner, Gat, and a group of Judoon contracted by The Division eventually tracked her down in Gloucester, where the current Doctor bumped into her.

Neither Doctor had any memory of the other when they met inside Ruth's TARDIS, but Gat was willing to execute both Doctors for their crimes against the Division. After Gat was killed by the sabotaged rifle she threatened them with, the two Doctors parted ways earlier in season 12.

Having discovered the truth about her existence across the last season, the Doctor began searching for info about the organization, and this was why she began chasing Karvanista.

Jo Martin as the Fugitive Doctor

The Doctor relived part of her past as the Fugitive Doctor before they fled the Division in episode three of season thirteen. (Image credit: BBC Studios/Ben Blackall)

Since the organization cropped up in episode one, we've learned a little bit more about The Division. When the Doctor was trapped in the Timestorm on Atropos, she saw a memory of her own past as the Fugitive Doctor leading a siege on the Temple to confront the Ravagers (Swarm and Azure) alongside her Division squadmates, one of which was revealed to be Karvanista.

In that memory, Jo Martin's Doctor successfully put the Ravagers into isolation and restabilized the forces of Time by smuggling the Mouri into the Temple inside one of the Ravagers' Passenger vessels. Seeing this plan in the past gave her the idea to do the same thing in the present, although this seemed to be exactly what the Ravagers in the had planned to happen...

The Division's reputation grew even shadier when the Doctor encountered a rogue Weeping Angel in episode four. The Angel had taken psychic root in Claire Brown after she was sent back in time by another Angel to a sleepy English village in 1967.

When the Doctor made contact with the Angel, it explained why it had hijacked the TARDIS, and why Weeping Angels were hunting Claire Brown. The Angel was hiding in Claire to protect itself from the other Angels who were an extraction squad sent by The Division to recover it.

This rogue Angel was a runaway member of the Division, like the Doctor. It explained that The Division is willing to use 'everything and everyone to do its work, with operatives from all species hidden throughout time, and claimed the Division is 'unstoppable'. 

Claire Brown and the Rogue Angel from Doctor Who season 13 episode 4

The rogue Angel claimed to know vital info about the Doctor's time with the Division (Image credit: BBC Studios/ James Pardon)

Claire was beginning to experience hallucinations and potentially transforming into an Angel herself due to the rogue one hiding inside her. However, the Angel was willing to let her go and offer knowledge of the Division's history (including the memories stolen from the Doctor) in exchange for the Doctor's protection from the other Angels.

This "deal" didn't last very long, though. The only thing The Division wanted to capture more than this rogue Angel was the Doctor herself, and so the Division squad spared the rogue one and took the Doctor (who was transformed into an Angel statue) away in its place.

There are now just two episodes remaining of the Flux saga. Will we learn much more about the Division as Doctor Who: Flux concludes? We'll have to keep watching to find out....

Doctor Who: Flux continues this Sunday on BBC1 at 6:25 pm in the UK and at 8:00 pm EST on BBC America in the US. 

Martin Shore
Staff Writer at WhatToWatch.com

Martin is a Staff Writer with WhatToWatch.com, where he produces a variety of articles focused on the latest and greatest films and TV shows. 

Some of his favorite shows are What We Do In The Shadows, Bridgerton, Gangs of London, The Witcher, Doctor Who, and Ghosts. When he’s not watching TV or at the movies, Martin’s probably still in front of a screen playing the latest video games, reading, or watching the NFL.