As a former soldier, I have been keeping a close eye on this season and the repeated comments from our new Doctor on soldiers. As much as I felt last night’s episode (The Caretaker) was the weakest of the season, it did finally for me put the Doctor’s attitude into perspective.
He’s wrong and he hasn’t figured that out yet.
I have mentioned before how much I have enjoyed that each episode this season has pried open and examined an aspect of the Doctor’s character; I don’t just men Twelve, I mean “The Doctor” as a cultural icon and lead character. We are getting a real dissection of what it means to be this Time Lord and I am loving it.
Meanwhile, he keeps badmouthing my profession.
To be fair, this is a Doctor who just spent nearly 1000 years on Trenzalore defending a civilian population against various armies full of soldiers, it’s bound to have had an affect on his attitude. I think there’s more going on here, and finally in this episode we got it.
The method of examining The Doctor’s character this season has been comparing him to adversaries. We balanced his question about regeneration against the clockwork robot in “Deep Breath.” His submerged hatred becomes his foil in “Into the Dalek.” In “Listen” we see how his own fear of the unknown had driven him out into the Universe to “know.” In “Robots of Sherwood” the heroic myth of his character is compared to Robin Hood. In “Time Heist” we see him as a seeming victim of his own machinations as “The Architect,” but the goal of his schemes is in the end good.
Then, in “The Caretaker” we have had him run up against the soldier adversary; not the spider-droid…Danny Pink. We see The Doctor spend far more of the episode opposing Danny than the monster because Danny’s a soldier and really the antagonist to The Doctor here. And then Danny in the vein of all the stories this season points out the hypocrisy inherent in The Doctor’s abuse. The Doctor is The Officer, The General, and that may be at the core of his displaced aggression this season toward soldiers.
That is what he fears. The lessons of Trenzalore, of Demon’s Run, of Gallifrey, of Skaro: He must stay away from soldiers, because he will order them to their destruction. He will order them to die, and it will be out of kindness and heroism he sends them off to do it.
But he WOULD make a good Dalek.
He’s wrong of course. As much as he may order people to fight for what is right, they make that choice, they choose to fight and sometimes die, but he holds himself responsible. Responsible, as he states early this season, for 2000 years worth of mistakes.
I am looking forward to Danny Pink straightening him out, though we know Danny’s sitting on his own mistake-driven-pain that must still be revealed. If Moffatt is the writer I think he is, both these men will be freed from the burden of this pain by the end of this season.
And both will know why they have to keep fighting.