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.