Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Malignant Morality in Doctor Who

Here is my little rant about actions taken by The Doctor in the lastest episode of Doctor Who. You can either read below, or listen here:

The following contains spoilers for the 2nd episode of the 7th season of Doctor Who, "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship", and everything that came before it.

"Dinosaurs on a Spaceship". I'm growing increasingly concerned for The Doctor's moral compass. I did think he might have lost it, but to my horror in this latest episode The Doctor stepped on it, smashing it into pieces. The moral compass that is, in case my metaphor got a bit vague there.

The question I have now is whether any of the characters in the show, or more importantly any of the writers behind the show, are aware that The Doctor stepped on it. Again, that's the moral compass.

So, let me backtrack and explain a little. "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" told the story of a rather evil man, Solomon. He effectively slaughtered many Silurians, and he's generally a nasty dude. At the climax of the episode, The Doctor strands Solomon on a little ship with missiles heading for it. And, seemingly with no care in the world, The Doctor wanders off, leaving Solomon to meet his demise rather non-dramatically. What's going on here?

The whole David Tennant era got us used to the idea that death isn't a good thing and that it's an absolute last resort for The Doctor. But now we see him let off a bit of cold murder.

I thought it was a defining character moment at the end of the 4th series when, after all the evil he has done, The Doctor offers to save Davros.

Others have argued that this killing of Solomon is fine. That The Doctor is really a very dark guy. And I wholeheartedly agree with the latter. He killed all of the Time Lords, and at the end of "The Family of Blood" he forced the family to endure terrible immortal existences. These events, however, had a sense of importance and dramatic weight. They were a last resort. Having The Doctor wandering around killing people and not caring about it is something I simply don't care to see. There's no emotional conflict.

But then, as I said a few moments ago, maybe lead writer Steven Moffat has done this deliberately, and has consequences in store for The Doctor in future episodes. A bit like the whole scenario in "The Waters of Mars", in which The Doctor goes a bit bonkers maniacal because he has no companions to hold him back. Amy and Rory are certainly getting distanced from him.

Or maybe, despite his baby-like playfulness, Matt Smith's Doctor is simply far more cold and brutal than his previous incarnation as David Tennant. This is hard to believe though, since no time at all has been dedicated to demonstrating this idea.

So in the end, much like all of the last couple of seasons, "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" just left me confused, unsatisfied, and ... really confused.

Yours universally,