Did you feel as satisfied and validated I as did when Clara told off the Doctor? He has often been mean and grumpy this season. Yet, I do believe there is a point to this madness; the production team and Peter Capaldi know exactly what they are doing. This Doctor is mad (mad as in angry, not mad as in crazy, though I concede that as a possibility this season).
Stephen Moffat has said in several interviews that the Doctor is one person, not 12 (13…14…) people. This means that his personality is continuous. Immediately after Eleven’s regeneration, the taste test scene with Amelia served as a clever and effective method to educate the viewers about the changes the Doctor expereinces when he regenerates. His body, his senses, the prominence of various personality characteristics shift, but the components of his core personality and memories remain stable.
So, in exploring the psyche of this incarnation…He spent 900 years fighting a ridiculous war. He battled every enemy he has ever had multiple times. He used up an entire lifetime protecting the universe. I think he is tired and angry because of it. As a result, he doesn’t like soldiers. I also think this is why he has been so irritable and mean to Clara, without seeming to notice his own behavior.
Remember your last bad day, when even the most benign comment bugged you? Ever have the experience when you think you’re fine, until someone asks you if you are ok? I think this is what is going on with the Doctor. He is so caught up in his own bad mood that he is unaware of how he is treating Clara (and Courtney…and Danny). Until she told him off, that is.
Anger also explains the Doctor choosing to leave the decision to destroy the creature to the women. He obviously gets really mad when they express ambivalence about what to do with the creature. Then, he gave up. I think he was sick and tired of saving humanity and this time he said, you do it! You save your planet yourself.
“We don’t do anything. I’m sorry, I can’t help you. Earth isn’t my home. The moon isn’t my moon. Sorry…now you’ve got the tools to kill it. You made them and you brought them up here all on your own with your own ingenuity. You don’t need a Time Lord. Kill it or let it live. I can’t make the decision for you.”
Does that sound mad or what?
Another testament to Moffat’s skill as a story teller; he was able to create so much tension in the viewer that when the conflict finally erupted, we were emotionally right there with Clara. I listen to many Who podcasts and read many reviews. While I am positive they are out there, I have yet to find anyone who did not feel Clara’s anger at the Doctor was justified. Amazing! Since when do we agree about anything? This is good story telling and is predictive of an incredibly well-crafted second half to Season 8.
So, Kill the Moon. I am working on a blog post (to be posted soon!) in which I argue that each monster this season has served as an embodiment of the Doctor’s shadow side. In this episode, there are deliciously creepy spiders, that turn out to be germs, and a unique, one-of-a-kind-in-the-entire-universe creature. This creature does no harm to the earth, but rather just flies away.
I think the moon represents the Doctor’s angry emotional state-hard, dry, crumbling, a wasteland. Yet, within the anger lies hope and wonder. I think this is where Moffat and his fellow writers have been leading us; birthed from anger, weariness, and hopelessness, spoils of the Trenzalore war, the Doctor emerges as a new creation. Reclaiming his curiosity about and enthusiasm for the universe, and in his relationship with humanity, the Doctor as wonderful, one-of-a-kind-in-the-entire-universe creature.
In a similar manner, Courtney reflects Clara. She represents the innocence, naïveté, sensitivity, and vulnerability of Clara as she began her voyage with the Doctor. When Clara demands that the Doctor tell Courtney she is special, she is asking for herself as well. Clara says, “You say something like that to somebody, it hurts. Especially someone like her. Especially if it’s you. Doctor, it can affect her whole life.”
The Doctor has spent a significant amount of his clever dialogue time insulting Clara this season. This incarnation is not the goofy, warm, inviting, hero she came to know and love. He is not HER Doctor. Remember, she didn’t want to stay with this Doctor. In the final scenes of Deep Breath, she told him that she was leaving. It was only after the phone call from her beloved Doctor that she chose to stay. Perhaps that phone call had greater intention than to just get Clara to go on adventures with Twelve. Maybe Eleven was begging her to stick it out with him, predicting that he will be irritable and cranky and difficult, all driven by his anger and fear. But, please stay with him. Give him a chance to sort it out and find himself again.
I love that Clara defended herself. No matter how empathic we can be towards the Doctor, he has been mean, disrespectful and demeaning towards Clara. In the face of this treatment, I am thrilled that she told him how much he hurt her and how he damaged their relationship. If we aren’t willing to protect ourselves, even from the people we love, they can’t trust us. If Clara travels with the Doctor again, (which I believe she will) the Doctor will know that he can trust her to be real and honest with the same conviction that she has trusted him.
Totally Surpufluos Question to Create The Appearance the Blog has True Value: How do you treat the people you love when you are angry? In what ways are you willing to stand up for yourself with the people you care about. Have loved one’s stood up for themselves with you and how did that change your relationship?