This episode was brilliant. It displayed all of the story and character traits I have come to love in Doctor Who. It was terribly funny, silly, and witty, with scary monster and a Doctor who steps forward and declares to the Boneless (I’m with The Verities and heretowith will call them the Flatliners), “..this plane is protected! I am the Doctor!”
I had such an emotional reaction to this episode. As I have written earlier, I am missing the Doctor and not really connecting to this version of him. It almost seemed as if the Doctor hasn’t been here. He’s been split into pieces, components of himself, one per episode. However, the parts of the Doctor do not make the whole of the Doctor. In this episode, in this moment, he finally came altogether as a single being with the purpose of protecting the universe from the baddies. Production even dressed him in his original red-lined Doctor jacket, emphasizing his arrival.
“You are monsters. That is the role you seem determined to play. So it seems that means I must play mine..the man that stops the monsters…You are not welcome here, this plane is protected! I am the Doctor!”
However, he finally steps forward because…
1) Clara was becoming too Doctorish, in “not good” ways. It looks to me as if it was Clara’s excellent emulation of the Doctor that finally drove him to get over himself and get the job done. This tactic was brilliant on the part of the writer, Jamie Mathieson. As Clara and the Doctor walked through the Doctor’s traditional “save the world” strategies, we were given even more glimpses into the Doctor’s heart and mind, in a similar manner as the end of Mummy on the Orient Express. Understanding the thoughts, feelings, and motivations of others creates greater intimacy between people. In this case, between both the Doctor and Clara, as well as the viewers and the Doctor. (Well, we feel closer to him.)
2) The Doctor seems to become very clear on who the monsters are and that he isn’t one of them. The Doctor has been trying to understand himself through the two-dimensional paradigm of good and bad. However, when he encounters true two-dimensionality he realizes that he is more complex than that, that life is more complex than that. (A bad habit he picked up during the war on Trenzalore?). As demonstrated by the Flatliners, three-dimensionality is difficult and messy. He has been struggling with fear of his own monsterness. By re-claiming the title of Doctor, he embraces the reality that a good man who makes difficult decision when all the choices are bad is NOT the same as a two-dimensional being that continues to kill innocent people for the sake of curiosity.
So, welcome back Doctor. You are a good man whom we count upon to save the world. You have been missed.
Totally Superfluous Questions to Create the Appearance That This Blog Has a Value: Are there places in your own life where your doubt and insecurity are preventing you from stepping up to the plate? What do you need to do about it?
[There is so much to say about this episode, I wrote a Part Two entitled DUIT (Doctoring Under the Influence of the TARDIS)-to be posted soon!]