Saturday, April 10, 2010
This continues throughout the Specials. True, they include two Christmases, and so the Christian mythos comes naturally. But the final three episodes are pretty explicitly about the Doctor’s basic internal conflict: is he man or god?
He is ascendant (literally) in “The Next Doctor,” praised as “that Doctor on high” who has saved the Earth many times and never been thanked. This time he’s saved the Earth from a non-human evil power (and a brilliant oppressed woman breaking the glass ceiling of megalomania) from being born on Christmas day.
In “Planet of Death” he goes into the desert with his disciples (okay, that’s a bit silly, but it’s there!) and in “Waters of Mars” he defends an artificial Garden of Eden, and goes too far in presuming on his god-like powers. Which sets up the two-part finale, in which he struggles against his own mortality as well as the megalomaniacal Master and fellow Time Lords, and resolves it in Christ-like sacrifice.
The relationship to the metaphor is accented in numerous ways, from the tiny blue box in the stained glass window of a church, to Donna’s mother literally praying to the Doctor for deliverance; the Time Lords bringing “hell” to Earth, the Master naughtily announcing, “He is risen!”