The Doctor Loses?

Den of Geek has run an article regarding the 2010 series finale of Doctor Who, The Big Bang. Louisa Mellor has written that the finale was full of themes of loss and revival and was not for kids.

The focus point of the piece is that:

“The series was all about death. Or to be more specific and fittingly for the show, death’s companion: loss.”

This is backed up by the fact that Amy loses Rory a number of times in the season, once during Amy’s Choice, once during Cold Blood and again during The Pandorica Opens. The article even talks about the eventual goodbye that Amy and Rory are going to have to say to the Doctor one day:

“Just how many times does Amy lose Rory in season five? Once in a dream world, once in an underground cave, once in Stonehenge some time AD, once, so she momentarily thinks, in the London Blitz during his two-thousand-year vigil over her sci-fi iron lung.

“And surely there’s one to come…in their future, after they too have said toodle-pip to the Doctor and been replaced by whichever nubile lovely is interstellar hitchhiking that week.”

One of the biggest things that can separate Doctor Who fans is interpretation. For example, there are lots of areas within the show that fans argue about in terms of whether something is “canon” or not. Whether the Virgin New Adventures are set in this universe or a pocket one. Whether Scream of the Shalka ever really happened (it did, but in a side step universe-so there!). But what can always be said of the show is that if it has an overall theme, it is one of “life goes on and isn’t that brilliant”.

But as Ood Sigma remarks just before the Tenth Doctor regenerates, “This song is ending, but the story never ends”.

Yes, there’s loss. If you watch any Doctor Who serial, someone always ends up kicking the bucket. The Doctor frequently loses friends and loved ones, to the point that when talking about it with Wilf in The End of Time, he nearly starts crying. But as Ood Sigma remarks just before the Tenth Doctor regenerates, “This song is ending, but the story never ends”. This actually gives the Doctor the strength he needs to get into the TARDIS and complete the process. The clinging thought in his last moments that there’s always a reason to carry on.

The 2010 series of Doctor Who carries this overall “mission statement” off with a wonderful new breath of life where the eleventh Doctor gains more friends to travel with, grows closer to River Song and by the end of the series, still has the same people with him in the TARDIS, bear in mind that this is something that the tenth Doctor never managed to do.

If anything, just as the Tenth Doctor got past a lot of the guilt that the Ninth Doctor had carried from the Time War, the Eleventh Doctor has resolved to “love again” and throw caution to the wind rather than travelling alone like his predecessor.

The article at Den of Geek also comments that the reason The Big Bang isn’t for children not because of content but more because the themes of loss would be better understood by adults. This in itself is true, but as everyone knows when one door closes, another one opens.

And that’s exactly why The Big Bang and the whole of the 2010 series is perfectly balanced for children to watch. It shows us that life goes on and whenever you’re at your lowest point there’s always something to bring you back up again.

Den of Geek’s article isn’t wrong as such; it’s an opinion. But at the same time even though we as the audience know that nothing in the world of Doctor Who ever stays the same, there’s always a new delight around the corner to keep a smile on our faces whatever age we are.

Read Den of Geek’s full article, Doctor Who: you know, not for kids…

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  1. Lazarus77 says:

    I think that Den of Geek has hit on something but that they didn’t take it that important step further. Yes, the themes are complex for children to understand but that’s why the parents are there in the first place, right? To explain and ground the show.

    Something that I’ve loved about this series is that there are CONSTANTLY moments that will go over the childrens’ heads but that the parents will react to. I love that because children are inquisitive and curious. They will ask their parents what is so funny or what made them scoff or made them upset. And that creates dialogue.

    Those moments that are partly magic and partly real are brilliant. The Pandorica is such a clever way to introduce mythology to children who might have not been introduced to it before (or remind those who are aware of the incredible stories mythology contains). But none of it matters if the parents aren’t there to make it accessible.

    This series has been so well balanced as to introduce older themes for the children to wonder about but presenting it in such an open way that it’s not hard to discuss.

    I’ve said it before; I’ll say it again: this series has been brilliant.

  2. 23skidoo says:

    Something struck a nerve with me on that article, and that is that there seems to be almost surprise that the show is capable of being this deep. Putting aside the continual mistaken impression that it’s a children’s show to begin with (I’m in Moffat’s camp – it’s a family show. There’s a big difference) the fact is Doctor Who has delved into serious issues throughout its history. Eccleston’s season was about survivor’s guilt which could be applied to any number of metaphors ranging from people coming back from war, to people outliving their loved ones. Tom Baker’s final season was about entropy. Even going back to Hartnell you saw stories dealing with underlying adult themes, including loss (if you want some psychoanalysis of the Doctor, take note of the fact he lost his granddaughter, his first two human companions, and suffered the deaths of two more, all during early encounters with the Daleks. No wonder he was so psycho about them by the time Eccleston came along.)

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