Short post today as I’m still swamped with writing work that pays…
I had a chance to watch A Christmas Carol again, and I stand by my original review. This is the highlight of the Matt Smith era so far, and one of the best scripts of the television series, full stop. Watching it again after months away, I caught several little bits that I missed (notice that Karzan dons and then removes a bow tie?) and the script just sparkles.
But what really hit me is the realization of why I love Matt Smith’s Doctor so much: it’s the discord.
What the Doctor does in this episode, rewriting Karzan’s life in order to make him a better person, saving him and the 4003 passengers on board the ship, is sweet and heartwarming and a little bit weepy. It’s also unbelievably arrogant. I mean it: rewriting a person’s life to that extent? With the joie-de-vivre the Doctor shows in this episode, it’s like watching him dive inside the boot of a car and seeing engine parts go flying all over the place. Sure, in the end, you might get a Ferrari where once there was a Yugo, but… dude, what did you do to my car?!!?
In some ways, if the Doctor had gone with Plan A and simply walked all over Karzan and brought down his empire in the most final, most humiliating way possible, that would have been better. It would have meant playing God less.
And in this framework, I’m left to cheer and admire a Time Lord while at the same time being a little bit frightened of him. Yes, that’s it: Matt Smith’s Doctor is the first Doctor of all eleven that I actually fear. And, dramatically speaking, that’s a good thing.
I’m also frightened for him. Going to the well so often, crossing the line so much… there’s going to come a point where he goes to far. And I think the overarching point of the sixth season is that we are rapidly reaching that point.
Doctor Who returns to our screens on August 27 with an episode entitled Let’s Kill Hitler. I am really, really looking forward to it.