Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Doctor Who 8.7 "Kill the Moon"

Intentional or not, the creators of Doctor Who often use the character to explore divine qualities and characteristics. He is frequently a messianic figure. At the very list he is a savior. So it is always interesting to those of us of faith when they address theological questions head-on.

Spoilers Ahead.

“Kill the Moon” is another episode that is “weaker” in plot and thrills, focusing instead on character moments. The Doctor takes Clara and a student from last week on a trip to give the girl the sense that she is “special.” He takes them to the moon. At first he says that this is merely so she can be the first girl on the moon, but he takes her to the moon in a moment in the future. The moment that he chooses turns out to be a pivotal moment in humanity’s story. The moon is about to explode.

As the episode unfolds it is revealed that the moon is actually an egg, and it is hatching. Our characters have to decide whether to destroy the moon, killing the hatchling, or to let it live and risk whatever consequences that will bring humanity.

It is at this point that the Doctor leaves.

He tells Clara and the other characters that they have to choose for themselves; humanity, the inhabitants of earth, must decide what they will do with their moon. And then he leaves.

Clara is furious. She manages to communicate the situation to the earth, and has humanity vote. They choose to “kill the moon,” but Clara aborts the explosives before they can.

The Doctor returns and shows them the result of their decision. It turns out humanity was never in danger, and the experience leads them out into the galaxy in an expanding, human civilization in space.

And Clara is still furious. She can’t believe the Doctor would abandon her in such an important moment. How could he leave her in danger? What if she would have made the wrong choice? She almost did. We never really know if the Doctor was in control the whole time, or if he simply knew what would happen. Either way, he gave Clara, and her student, a tremendous gift. They grew. They made a difference. “Specialness” was achieved. And, we know because of who he is, that the Doctor did the right thing. Things were always going to turn out perfectly.

There is a tension in Christian theology, a paradox. God is sovereign. He is always in control and His plan, His will, is. And yet God has given humanity a gift: free will, the ability to choose, to change, to grow and to make a difference. We have a role to play in His plan and we are not automatons. And somehow, both of those truths mesh.

For some reason, that makes a lot of people mad; and that has a lot to do with trust. It remains to be seen if Clara will be able to trust the Doctor again.

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