Lessons from Doctor Who


So, I recently got into Doctor Who. I should be clear about this – I just started watching Dr Who and am just now on season 3, the very first episode. (And can I say, I’m so glad that they cast Martha Jones as a brilliant, funny, beautiful woman of colour.) If you spoil me, so help you god, I will curse you to the PIT. Yes that one. That being said, this post is rife with spoilers for seasons 1 and 2 so just so you know, you’ve been warned. Also, these lessons are just pieces of advice that I think the show is trying to get across. They may not be things I agree with necessarily.  I’m enjoying the show in general so far, and am willing to suspend disbelief at some of the sillier concepts, with respect to ‘science’ that several plot points depend on and I am really enjoying the development of some of these character arcs. I admit to having a bit of a crush on Christopher Eccles – Number 9. The ‘older, wiser’ vibe he had going on was pretty attractive. And Martha Jones is brilliant.

  1. Love

You will lose everyone you love. Love anyway. Love even if your family – your race, your entire people- are obliterated in a war. Love even if someone you deeply care about is now in a parallel universe and you can never see them again because doing so would mean ripping a hole in space/time. Love, even if you leave them eventually because interspecies relationships can mean a human ages must faster than a Time Lord…and that’s no fun.

Love because if you’re living to be over 900 years old, I mean really what else is the point? Some fondness, some companionship. Someone to stave off the loneliness, grow affectionate towards, and have adventures with. Someone to share smiles and jokes and quirky moments with. Someone you can feel strongly for. The doc values that feeling – of loving someone. Even if it ends. Even if it always ends. And even if it hurts, each time. I think the Doc knows he can take a lot of pain. But he still wants – needs – to love. Sometimes, it’s really not more complicated than that.

  1. Revenge

“Promise me you’ll find someone” – Catherine Tate (God she really will always be Lauren Cooper for me)
“I don’t need anyone” – The Doctor

“I think you do…to stop you” – Catherine Tate

When the doctor is intent on murdering a self-doubting Dalek, Rose Tyler questions what he’s turning into. And the Doc stops, but I think he only does for her. Prior to this moment, he delights in how much torture and suffering the Dalek has endured, telling it – no, ordering it, commanding it – to kill itself not out of mercy but… schadenfreude? Even deeper than that. Not quite a bloodlust but… he wanted it to suffer. To hurt.

And yes, eventually he does pity the Dalek. But until that point, until Rose Tyler asks him to see himself as she sees him, he couldn’t stop. He wanted to see the Dalek in pain.

And then there’s the coldness with which he stood there, watching the baby Racnosses die in flood and fire until Catherine Tate asks him to stop.  He just…didn’t really care. But the women in his life tend to stop him, or ask him to look at himself. (There’s probably a good gender commentary someone can sink their teeth into… but not me, I’m afraid. Not for this post) Anyway, revenge. It’s alienating to see. It makes you disconnect from your…well human side. That’s the point right? All these humans telling him that when they see him get all vengeful or cold that it…well, alienates them. And yet, the doctor remains vengeful and cold on occasion – which leaves me empathising with him quite a bit. (Why, you ask? well. Other posts may clarify my position on that as time goes on. In general, I don’t really like to be vengeful – and I don’t the doc does either. It doesn’t make me happy but… there is a certain satisfaction I associate with those feelings.)

3. Cat babies are the cutest.

4. Socialism. It kinda wins! One such obvious example is Nancy who is a bit of a Robin Hood figure who cares for many young, starving children on the streets of London at the time of WWII. Her primary goals? Keep the young ones safe and alive – mainly by stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When asked to defend her morals, she does so brilliantly by pointing out that when people are starving, a spirit of sharing food and not hoarding it is the only reasonable and rational choice to make. Another example follows in season 3, when the Doctor and Martha visit  Hooverville. Hooverville is a slum district in the middle of Central Park in the 1930s; people are out of work. There is no money or food. When a fight breaks out over the issue of bread being stolen, the leader of the town is quick to resolve it, by handing back half (not all) of the loaf back to the man it belonged to. The other half is given to the thief. “No stealing, and no fighting! We’re all going hungry here” is the explanation that is provided.

That’s all I’ve got so far. I’ll add to it as I keep on watching! And again, if you spoil me… I will really really strongly dislike you. (I know, it’s not much of a threat, but seriously, please be nice)

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