Why did Kate Stewart use the name Lethbridge in Doctor Who?

Kate Stewart has spent all of Doctor Who avoiding the use of the name Lethbridge. Why did she use it in the most recent episode?
Picture shows: JENNA COLEMAN as Clara and JEMMA REDGRAVE as Kate Stewart.
Picture shows: JENNA COLEMAN as Clara and JEMMA REDGRAVE as Kate Stewart. /

Doctor Who Season 14, Episode 4 brought fan-favorite Kate Stewart back in for a bit. However, she made it clear she is Kate Lethbridge-Stewart. Is this a back step for the character?

When Kate was first introduced as the head of UNIT, she introduced herself as Kate Stewart. It was only later that she told The Doctor that her father was Lethbridge-Stewart. She dropped the Lethbridge part of her name to avoid nepotism. It was a great move, proving her worth as the head of UNIT—she got it for her own skills.

That’s the way she’s introduced herself since. That is until “73 Yards,” where she introduced herself to Ruby as Lethbridge-Stewart, picking up her father’s full name.

Was this done for the new fans of Doctor Who?

There is an argument that this was done as a way to help newer fans understand who she is. Sure, the newer fans won’t know of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart right away. However, as they watch more of this season and fall in love with Doctor Who, they’ll go back over other episodes. They could even start from the Classic Who series, which would introduce them to Lethbridge-Stewart. This allows them to immediately create that connection.

It does seem odd, though. All fans have to do is watch the series from 2005 to get all the connections. We’re told who Kate is and why she doesn’t use the name Lethbridge. We also eventually get to meet Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart again, so the fans will be able to understand all the connections.

Is it a sign that Kate has gained what she wants?

Kate chose to drop the name Lethbridge to avoid using her father’s name to get to where she wanted to be. She wanted to become the head of UNIT on her own merit, and that’s exactly what she’s done. Is it possible that dropping the name Lethbridge was always going to be a temporary measure?

A lot has changed over the years. It is possible that Kate has reconnected with the Lethbridge name. She achieved what she wanted to do by herself, and now it’s time to bring her father fully back into UNIT.

Is it a hint of how timelines have changed in Doctor Who?

A lot has also changed in Doctor Who, especially with bi-generation. We just have to look at how the name “mavity” for gravity has stuck since Fourteen and Donna went to the time of Sir Isaac Newton. We have seen a different side to Fifteen compared to other versions. How much has actually changed?

If Kate has started using the name Lethbridge again, why? When did that come in? This can’t be something just done without realizing it broke continuity. Was this something subtle that could come back up in the story?

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