Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Doctor Who: 9.2 "The Witch's Familiar"

The conclusion of the first two-parter this season is a mixed effort. The story is a mixture of various elements. Many of the moments and concepts think they are cleverer than they end up being. The Master using a pointy stick to take on the Daleks, the whole sewer/cemetery idea; even the Daleks themselves have long been reduced to a cardboard threat.

However, this quite talky episode has some brilliant thought. In a continuation of the main message from the previous episode, the Doctor is presented with the means to wipe out the evil of the Daleks once and for all. The conversation goes as follows:

“Imagine, to hold in your hand the heartbeat of every Dalek on Skaro. They send me life. Is it beyond the wit of a Time Lord to send them death? A little work and it could be done.”

“Now, why would you be telling me this?”

“Genocide in a moment. Such slaughter, not in self-defense, not as a simple act of war, as a choice. Are you ready Doctor? So many backs with a single knife. Are you ready to be a god?” Davros moves the Doctor’s hands towards the cables. The Doctor considers and steps away. “Why do you hesitate? No one would know. Clara Oswald is dead. Is this the conscience of the Doctor or his shame? The shame that brought you here.”

“There’s no such thing as the Doctor! I’m just a bloke in a box, telling stories. And I didn’t come here because I’m ashamed. A bit of shame never hurt anyone. I came because you’re sick and you asked. And because sometimes, on a good day, if I try very hard, I’m not some old Time Lord who ran away. I’m the Doctor.”

“Compassion, then.”


“It grows strong and fierce in you, like a cancer.”

“I hope so.”

“It will kill you in the end.”

“I wouldn’t die of anything else.”

What follows is a typical case of Davros tricking and betraying our hero, only for our hero to reveal that he was himself, playing the player and had his own trick up the sleeve. As if we ever worried things would go south.

Then, the episode ends with the answer to the question left over from last time. How did Davros survive the Doctor abandoning him to death? Obviously, it was the Doctor who went back and saved him.

Because the answer to the Hitler-Time-Travel-Hypothetical is obvious. If you could travel back in time to kill Hitler as a child, you should go back and befriend him. You might not avoid the holocaust that way, but you could try to influence Hitler away from hate.

And, that is the real-world application to this idea. We need to use our power to influence those around us for Good. We share our story. We push people towards love and compassion and doing good rather than hate, despair and fear.

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