“He who has a strong enough why can bear almost any how.”
Far too often, we as an audience come into a show with – or develop – very strict expectations of our favorite characters. Much in the way that we scrutinize celebrities, royalty, politicians, and other such limelight-plagued individuals, we tend to skew toward an idealistic view of characters. As much as we complain about characters who are too “perfect,” as much as we demand imperfections and all the realism they create, we tend to balk when characters “go too far,” even when the distance is warranted.
Being a character as old and beloved as he is, the Doctor is definitely subject to such a narrowed gaze. Everyone – based on when they first came to the show, what types of stories the show was telling at the time, and what Doctor they started with (you never forget your first Doctor) – everyone has a very specific and individual notion of who and what the Doctor is. That belief generally falls along a short scale containing such values as “good man,” “non-violence,” and, in the extremist case, “paragon of virtue.”
I missed last week’s Who episode because of a party (1920s costumes, murder mystery, and more delicious food than you could shake a flapper dress at), but I’m a bit glad of it. The past two episodes (and, in truth, even the first of the season) deserve to be viewed as a two-parter in theme, if not in plot.
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