Saturday, November 8, 2014

Doctor Who 8.11 "Dark Water"

It is a shame that pictures of the production for “Dark Water” were leaked months ago. A large part of the appeal of Doctor Who, especially where classic monster appearances occur, is in the surprise. “Earthshock” is a classic example. Cybermen especially benefit from this surprise element. While they are an interesting concept, they are also a bit of a single issue concept. How many times can that issue be explored compellingly?

But, that is merely the initial impression level to “Dark Water.” There are actually a number of other fascinating moments and ideas here. It is likely that this will be the more interesting of the two parts, assuming part two is mere action and evil bashing. This part has more to consider. For starters:

The idea of an after-life. This is something Doctor Who has shied away from, being a materialistic, science fiction program. Even here we have a “cheat” of sorts. We are not seeing the Doctor Who version of heaven or hell, but rather a “Time Lord technology” being employed in a dastardly scheme to conquer the Earth. Even so a few ideas emerge. The whole parable of the fetus idea of life and thinking that death is the end for one.

In the nether-sphere, we see a sinister take on the “every tear is wiped away” idea. Some think heaven will be a place where no one is sad. I think a more interesting take is one where heavenly comfort overcomes sad emotions.

And that whole idea of the Master—or the Doctor maybe someday—being a woman. I understand that it is seen by some as some feminist victory. However, to me it may be more of a betrayal of gender. Is it wrong to see gender as special and character defining in some way? Are there not characters—female characters—that would lose something of their essence by becoming male?

My favorite moment in the whole episode—perhaps the whole season—is the confrontation between Clara and the Doctor in the volcano. I’ll likely re-watch that scene multiple times in the years to come.

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