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*sigh* Question, because I'm really stuck here - in Journey's End, assuming what Dalek Caan says about the Doctor's soul being revealed isn't just insane gibberish, what exactly is being revealed?

Because I don't believe that it's all about the Doctor manipulating people into getting killed or killing themselves, not at the end of a season that is all about humanity's agency, decisions, free will, etc. Especially not after Midnight, where the Doctor can't even save himself. It simply doesn't make sense, and for the moment I'm going to pretend it's supposed to makes sense on some level. Jenny's death was about her choices, River's about her wanting to keep her future, Luke Rattigan was trying to redeem himself rather than let someone else die for his arrogance, and the LINDA people were an unfortunate case of life being just not fair. The rest, though? Jabe, the Controller, Lynda, Sir Robert, Mrs. Moore, Jack/The Face of Boe, Chanto, Astrid, the hostess, and there are others not shown in the flashback, all died as heroically as possible, trying to save other people, just like Harriet Jones, and if you take that away, if you reduce all that, including Martha, Jack and Sarah Jane's actions in the finale, to the Doctor turning people into weapons, the whole thing becomes really rather dark and depressing.

Davros says, referring to Harriet Jones's death: "Already, I have seen them sacrifice today for their beloved Doctor." In Harriet's own words this sound rather different: "But I stand by my actions to this day, because I knew - I knew that one day, the Earth would be in danger and the Doctor would fail to appear. I told him so myself, and he didn't listen." and "But my life doesn't matter. Not if it saves the Earth."

Davros is an unreliable narrator with an obvious agenda, who isn't even seeing what is happening under his very eyes. He's obviously pushing the Doctor's survivor's guilt buttons very effectively and with lasting impact, but in the end there really is no reason to take his accusations at face value. Why should one trust him, rather than (e.g.) Rose, who two episodes earlier talked about the Doctor making 'everyone he touches' realise how brilliant they are or can be? At the very least the truth has to be somewhere between these two statements.

Dalek Caan is insane, but OTOH he is, sort of, the voice of truth in this, the most he does is call the Doctor 'Dark Lord' in the beginning; he never judges and condemns him along with Davros or the Daleks. He has recognised the truth of what the Daleks are and betrayed them and Davros. When a Dalek can do that, does it make sense to assume the Doctor's companions are without a mind or will of their own?


So, what is being revealed?


I think in the end it once more comes down to what is the red thread running through Ten's arc, that he simply can't accept that death is a part of life that even a Time Lord has no control over, that life is painful, messy and complicated and will force you to occasionally compromise your lofty principles, that in the end you just have to live with that, and the fact that he just can't, which would be a good transition to the specials, where he decides to travel alone, and the conclusion of Ten's story, but this isn't much of a reveal, is it?


The only other option I see is that Davros's perception is so distorted that he is missing the point entirely, just like he completely misinterpreted the rest of Dalek Caan's predictions, and we're really supposed to go with Rose's statement in Turn Left, which would make the reveal simply about the Doctor inspiring people to be heroes and saving others and being a force for the good, even if it's unavoidable that they sometimes do get killed. After all, before they stepped out of the Tardis he was still telling them, "It's been good, though, hasn't it? All of us, all of it. Everything we did," telling them how brilliant they all were. It's just that every time the subject of death comes up, it automatically eclipses everything else in his mind.

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( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
elisi
Jun. 20th, 2010 05:30 pm (UTC)
I think in the end it once more comes down to what is the red thread running through Ten's arc
I think this is it, more or less. It's not much of a revelation for us, but it is for the Doctor I think, especially since he is so very good at trying to run away. And it feeds right into that regeneration's most specific weaknesses - he has that God-complex brewing the whole time, and telling him that people sacrificing themselves is his fault really, really gets to him.

(Might be back later when I've got my thoughts sorted out a bit more. This just happens to be something I've thought about.)
solitary_summer
Jun. 20th, 2010 06:47 pm (UTC)
I've been trying to sort out my thoughts about this for... it's been months now, actually. *facepalm* S4 is definitely the hardest to write about.


Maybe we're supposed to realise that while Davros has no healthy (or sane, at that) relationship with life, the Doctor's relationship with death is also problematic, and neither is an objective narrator, and it's actually we who are looking at these deaths and seeing them for what they are, tragic, yes, but also heroic and necessary. Maybe it's really that simple.

I haven't started to rewatch CoE yet, but I was thinking about Jack blaming himself there, like he was already blaming himself in EW and... in a way he's of course right, some of it was his fault, but definitely not everything. But if he can blame himself, if he can pretend he has, or had, or might have had, control over it all, if there is a reason it happened, a way it could have been prevented, that maybe makes coping with the sheer unfairness of it all a bit easier. The Doctor struggles with the same fundamental unfairness of life, but he also has the Tardis and power that Jack doesn't have, so when he can't stand it any longer he actually tries to change it...
elisi
Jun. 20th, 2010 07:36 pm (UTC)
Maybe we're supposed to realise that while Davros has no healthy (or sane, at that) relationship with life, the Doctor's relationship with death is also problematic
I'm reminded of AtS - Angel says that the reason W&H are so successful is because their motives are pure. And as he (and the Doctor) know only too well being a hero is always fraught with compromise.

But if he can blame himself, if he can pretend he has, or had, or might have had, control over it all, if there is a reason it happened, a way it could have been prevented, that maybe makes coping with the sheer unfairness of it all a bit easier.
Oh yes. ("But I want you to know I did save you. Not when it counted, of course, but ... after that. Every night after that. I'd see it all again ... do something different. Faster or more clever, you know? Dozens of times, lots of different ways ... (softly) Every night I save you.")

so when he can't stand it any longer he actually tries to change it...
I will always love Waters of Mars (and RTD) for actually going there. And I think that one reason he ends up there is definitely because of Davros - on their own, his words mightn't have done much, but added to everything else... One broken Doctor.
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