If you are reading this blog post, you don’t need to be reminded that Series 10, premiering April 15, 2017, will be Peter Capaldi’s final one as The Doctor.
Many people in fandom have described how fully and authentically P-Cap has embodied this role, bringing a depth and complexity to the character not seen in previous incarnations. Watching him leave the show is going to suck for a lot of us. After all, being a Whovian requires that we embrace the inevitability of losing one Doctor to gain another. But, it’s not easy, especially if THIS Doctor is YOUR Doctor.
Humans are designed to shy away from pain, for obvious reasons. We learn to not touch hot stoves, avoid sharp objects, and keep fingers out of doors. If we don’t learn these lessons of self-protection we risk physical harm, even death.
At a physiological level, emotional pain is no different from physical pain. In the end it’s all just sensation. When we feel sad, we feel pressure/pain/tension in our chests. Anger creates feelings of heat, pulsing, tightness. As a result, we also try to avoid this kind of pain.
However, there is an important difference between physical pain and emotional pain. Emotional pain won’t kill you. In fact, emotional pain is an inescapable part of life; we have to learn to cope with it in order to thrive, especially the pain of change and loss.
We go to great lengths to avoid the pain of loss, usually by attempting to control the situation. We diminish its importance to us, we numb out, we avoid contact before the actual loss. We do all these things to make it hurt less when the actual loss occurs. We think, “If I don’t feel it now, if I disconnect now, I’ll feel less sad later.”
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. In fact, it actually makes things worse.
See, if we diminish/numb out/avoid that which we love, we also diminish/numb out/avoid the joy prior to losing it. In the end, our attempts to make it better serve only to deprive us of the good stuff. It doesn’t even make the loss easier in the end. The loss is the loss and it will be experienced on its own terms, regardless of how we try to manipulate it.
So I say, bring on the feels! Watch Peter Capaldi’s final series with all the squee/obsession/fanishness that’s bursting out of that huge heart of yours (because no one who loves Doctor Who as much as you do, given that you are reading this little blog, could possible have a small heart). Dive right in and feel every one of the (approximately) 600 minutes we have left with Peter Capaldi as the Doctor.
The emotional pain you will feel during and after his regeneration serves only as affirmation of what a great Doctor he made and how good your relationship with the character was. It’s terribly bitter sweet, but if you try to avoid the bitter you just destroy the sweetness.
Finally, by jumping all in, we jump in together. We get to do what we fans do best: squee, laugh, cry, argue, complain, relish and repeat…together. In the end, that’s what the pain is all about, right? Losing a connection? By jumping whole-heartedly into Series 10, you also jump into the Whovian world and all the friendship and connection that brings.
Good luck with your Series 10 viewing! I’ll be posting weekly with some psychological perspectives on the episodes. When it’s all over, look to Verity Podcast for a discussion about moving forward after loss. I may just be there, doing my shrinky best to get us through until we get to connect to 13.