“So we are fighting an unknown homicidal force that has taken the form of your commanding officer and a cowardly alien, underwater, in a nuclear reactor. Anything else I should know? Someone got a peanut allergy or something?” Now, that’s more like it.
Browsing: Doctor Who
Being a true, die-hard fan of Doctor Who frequently means farming fallow land with the hope of getting some small sprout to grow. This is a show that, by its very nature, is structured as to be incredibly variable in quality and full of insane missteps.
Would you, if you could, kill Hitler as a baby? It’s a classic moral conundrum that puts utilitarianism against a purer form of right and wrong. If you kill the child, millions of lives may be saved. But could you bring yourself to kill the child? Could you be the person who murdered an innocent, even if it meant salvation for millions of other innocents? If that’s the way to save the world, is it worth saving? And would you be a hero for doing so?
God, I love Doctor Who. Most Christmas episodes tend to try to do one thing very well, whether it’s instill a moral, or remind us of some hidden truths we obscure too often, or just give us a sense of magic during a dark season. Yet “Last Christmas,” like many of the best Doctor Who episodes, has about a million different things on its mind at any given second, from dream crabs to Santa Claus, from a layered narrative structure to a complex character interaction that may just be made better for its final narrative fake out.
Over the course of this series, Doctor Who has played with the question of just who the Twelfth Doctor (and by proxy all of his predecessors) really is behind all the bluster and affectation.
Two-part episodes are an essential element of Doctor Who, baked into the show’s core. The classic series was made up virtually entirely of serials (there is a one-off episode, but it directly leads into the following story), so that every episode was part of a multi-episode story unfurling before viewers, and sometimes arguably lasting for seasons.
“In the Forest of the Night” is a fairy tale, but not of the sort it first appears to be. Early on, The Doctor tells us “The forest. It’s in every story that kept you awake late at night. The forest is mankind’s nightmare.”
“Hatred is too strong an emotion to waste on someone you don’t like.”
Every relationship is a collective delusion (which is not, it should be clarified, the same thing as a shared delusion).
As we move past the half-way point of this series of Doctor Who, it’s clear that the focus of this season is choice. The Doctor creates himself with every decision he makes, shifting further from the person he used to be toward the person he is now, he makes choices, and those choices have consequences, both personally, in an existential context, and universally, because when The Doctor chooses, people live or die based on his certitude and his accuracy.