False Gods

Did you really think that I would go a week without writing a commentary on Doctor Who? Really, then – if that were the case, I would not be me. The me being the girl who received birthday presents that created a mini David Tennant (actually more Doctor-like) shrine on her table. So much so that my sister asked me if I had done my morning puja for DT each time she came  into my room.

But I digress. So…The Waters on Mars anyone?

*Spoilers beyond this point and too much thought put into a kid’s tv show*

I dreaded this episode since well, the previous two episodes kinda sucked for me. Coupled with the stinker that was Journey’s End (I think I hit my head against the wall a few times through out that episode) – I was actually worried I was going to lose my interest for DW.

And then came WoM, which totally blew me away. So much so that I called up Eizwan, asking him to leave work and to come over to pick up the DW episode (which incidentally, after watching it, he did not enjoy it as much. I think he was a little disturbed by the episode)

Being a little disturbed is the delicious consequence of the episode.

The episode has effectively given me back what I loved most about the series, the flawed hero. The Doctor is amazing man/alien, he is the man of fire and ice and rage. But for the past two episodes – actually, come to think of it, all the way back to the Tinkerbell episode in Season 3 (The Last of the Time Lords), I thought the Doctor Who series was dangerously veering towards Doctor-worship. Even his companions were starting to see him with stars in their eyes i.e. the Doctor person had taken on some sort of God-like persona.

It doesn’t help that most of the dialogue that described the Doctor were too close to worship for my taste. A man who walked amongst the gods.

If the Doctor was a god, why could he not stop Time or bend the rules of Time to his will?

WoM doesn’t actually explore the consequences of bending the rules of time but it did, for me at least, explore the consequences of the Doctor’s ego.

From Season 1, The Doctor has taken on a personal responsibility for everything that happens in the universe – starting from the Time War to the banishment of his other self to the other universe. At the end of Journey’s End, Davros suggests that he created his companions in his reflection – to kill and destroy –  a comment that affects the Doctor so profoundly that he refuses to take any new companions at the end of S4.

Donna said at the end of the The Runaway Bride, that he needed someone to stop him suggesting that he would further wreck destruction around him. A few commentaries I read online agreed with this assertion but to be honest, this is not an argument I’m in favour with. Here is a man (or alien, always felt weird using this word when it comes to DW) who is capable of destroying his entire planet, banishing the Daleks etc etc and yet he is unable to stop himself? As romantic as the idea that it is the inferior human companion being the one to stop the superior Time Lord, I personally feel it is his arrogance that stops him from taking a companion again – that he is solely in control and is responsible for everything in the universe. Even if he had picked a companion, it would be too late. He was not willing to listen anymore.

The tenth Doctor’s greatest flaw is in his arrogance – in his assumption that he and he alone must carry the guarding the universe (or maintaining the order of the universe as he suggested – very dark). His companions’ love for him and humanity’s love for the Doctor (The Next Doctor) had only served to fuel his ego that he is some ways a god – a god of destruction. He lives with this torment that his very existence creates destruction. In Journey’s End, he confuses his companion’s willingness to sacrifice not as a result of free-will, but instead of his very nature that brings about death and destruction.

He chooses not to let himself influence others and then he chooses a destiny for his companions. He pushes Rose and TenII to the other dimension, he lets Martha go and he erases Donna’s memory (I personally feel exploding Donna is an excuse)

In WoM, the dilemma was even stronger for the Doctor. Instead of walking away, and letting time take its course, he decides to become a god. In his grief, he decides that he is not the bearer of destruction, he will give life. He is greater than the universe. He chooses who should live or die. The universe is no longer a burden to bear, it is his to manipulate.  He expects to be praised and thanked – at the end of the episode, he asks the three survivors if anyone would thank him.

The Doctor, at the end of WoM, had in effect, decided to become a God. He chooses who should live or die. And fittingly, when the false god appears, it will be destroyed. The Doctor has become a false god, the universe calls for his end.

But of course, not before he realizes the errors of his way, (or repents but I’m reluctant to his this word though). Because he’s the Doctor, and underneath all that is the goodness and kindness that is the Doctor.

At least, I hope so.

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4 comments on “False Gods

  1. Roisin says:

    Hello!

    I’m glad you enjoyed it! This is the first Tennant-era Who I have watched for ages – I’m more likely to be found sitting down with a cup of tea to watch ‘Inferno’ or some other Pertwee-era Who. The reason I’ve not been over-fond of Tennant Who is what you’ve said – the God-like thing. I felt there was a little bit of that in WoM, in the direction at least. I didn’t love it, I have to say, but I liked it much better than any of the other Tennant episodes I’ve watched. I thought the idea was brilliant, although it could have been executed a bit better in terms of pacing. Nic didn’t like the ending – but I was interested by the idea of the Doctor’s ego over-extending and the consequences of that being tragic. The Doctor’s ego is a really interesting facet of his personality, and something that has been explored in all of his incarnations (maybe most notably the fourth Doctor) so I thought it was a good note on which to end the episode.

    I’ll be interested to see the Christmas episodes. I hated last year’s Christmas episode (to my mind there was a wee bit too much of ‘oooh, aren’t humans GREAT) but obviously they’ll be taking a darker turn this year. I think they’ll still have the same things that I don’t like about the RTD Who (I’m not convinced by the 45 minute episode format, rather too much running around and shouting, and lots of CGI just does nothing for me) but I am looking forward to seeing them.

    That said, I’ll probably still be watching them and thinking sadly about how awesome the Brigadier is when he goes all evil in Inferno! x

    • Adlina says:

      I’ve always wanted to get into Classic Who! But it’s really difficult from where I am – the DVDs are damningly expensive and then the torrents aren’t necessarily reliable. But any recs?

      I agree completely with you when it came to the pacing of the story – it was rather bizarre that they would run around and suddenly pause to tell a long sob-story about Brooke’s granddaughter.

      Yes, the Doctor’s ego hasn’t been explored that much S4, it did in S3 and S2, in S2, the consequence was that he lost Rose, S3 – the Master challenged his view on the universe. I love John Simm, but did not like the way he approached his character, making someone insane makes it difficult to reason with him – makes it kinda tedious.

      I love the Brigadier, but I’ve only seen one episode with him!!

  2. Maya says:

    See, while I enjoyed the slightly unhinged, manic I AM THE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE THE DOCTOR VICTORIOUS aspect of his arrogance, the sudden repentance (I also don’t like that word) came about too quickly. It spoiled what had been a brilliant episode (especially in comparison to some of the lackluster sops we’d been given throughout season 4), which was a shame. Adelaide’s death had to affect him, but it happened far too fast to be plausible or good for me. He needed to be brought back down, to be humbled, but to do it in 30 seconds was a cheap rip-off.

    I am excited for Christmas but also heartbroken knowing that really is it (I’d thought maybe they would set up the scenes for the regeneration in this episode, but I guess not).

    And really, Donna bloody comes back again?
    WHY.

    • Adlina says:

      I love the Time Lord Victorious bit, adored it. But I disagree with you that he repented. He was shocked by his own actions – for that 10 seconds when the Ood appeared before deciding that he would run. He was far from sorry, which made me really like it. He ISN’T humbled by Adelaide’s death – which shows that he’s really gone too far.

      The CiN preview (hah, I bet you did not know that ;-)) later shows that this Doctor is far from remorseful, his arrogance has definitely over-extended himself – his end is going to be tragic.

      Careful what you say about Donna is some quarters. There are Donna lynch-mobs out there, ready to get you. But I did not think she was not going to come back – she definitely was.

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