Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Doctor Who 8.12 "Death in Heaven"

The satisfactory eighth/34th season of Who came to a satisfactory end. The Doctor was great, the companion was good, the stories were OK. There were some problems with “Death in Heaven” like U.N.I.T. brought in just to be wasted and the Brigadier’s problematic cameo. However, there were two ideas/messages that were brilliant.

First, the beautiful truth that love is not an emotion. When Danny appears as a Cyberman and Clara wants to help him the Doctor is panicked. The only thing keeping Danny from killing her are his emotions. R so the Doctor (and the audience) assume. But it is his love that holds Danny back and that does not die when his emotions are eradicated because love is not a feeling but a choice. Or, as the episode phrases it, a promise. Wonderful.

Then there is the idea that the show has been exploring all season long. Is the Doctor a good man? Actually it has been a concern of the show for most of Moffatt’s run as show runner. He has been struggling with the liberal quandary that the Doctor must be a bad man because he has convictions. He believes in a truth and in right and wrong and that is a problem for postmodern thinking. Absolutes are only for narrow minded people like Hitler and George Bush. If the Doctor has absolute ideas like good and evil, he must be evil, right?

Even the Doctor begins to fall into this illogical trap. But in “Death in Heaven” he realizes the flaw in logic. He is not a soldier, a dictatorial figure, nor a bad man. He is simply a traveler that helps people out along the way. There are such things as good and evil and it is not “narrow minded” to encourage the former and oppose the later.

Again, wonderful.


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