Thursday, December 28, 2017

Goodbye, Doctor. Hello, Doctor.

Part 1: “Doctor... I Let You Go.”
Regeneration scenes have always been among Doctor Who’s most exciting, powerful, and poignant moments.  But the farewell of Peter Capaldi’s Doctor in the recent excellent Christmas special “Twice Upon a Time” has been especially emotional and impactful for me.  It’s probably because the Twelfth has been my first Doctor.

I decided to get into Doctor Who in 2014, before the start of Series 8 – Peter Capaldi’s first season as the Doctor.  Thus, he was the current Doctor when I first started my Doctor Who fandom.  Sure, ahead of the 8th season, I was able to binge the previous seven seasons and specials, so I was already familiar with the Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh before the Twelfth got to start with his adventures.  But it was the Twelfth’s tenure which I got to follow.  Therefore, while I enjoyed the previous Doctors, my experience with them has been more of catching up.  I was able to have the pleasure of growing into the Twelfth.
Early in my Doctor Who fandom, the Tenth was my most favorite.  David Tennant’s take was simply too charismatic.  But even then my second favorite was already Capaldi’s Twelfth (3rd is Christopher Eccleston’s Ninth).  And as time passed, my fondness for him only increased more and more.  Now, with his run completed, I think he’s now my favorite Doctor.

Among all Doctors of the nu-series, the Twelfth has the most range.  He can be goofy, quirky, cheery, noble, cunning, passionate, and courageous – qualities that other Doctors have also projected.  However, he also can be genuinely dark and intimidating – a facet that the previous incarnations have never quite pulled off.  And thus, along with his electric guitar and sonic sunglasses, he has made himself stand out for me.

I’m going to terribly miss him.

Part 2: “Oh, Brilliant.”
One reason regeneration scenes are exciting is because they introduce who the next Doctor is going to be.  This time, Jodie Whitaker debuted as the Thirteenth Doctor.  For the first time ever, the Doctor is going to be a woman.

Look, I’ve always been annoyed when art is used as a means of SJW/PC/“progressive” propaganda.  I especially hate it when established characters are retconned in order to tweak their sexuality just because (e.g. Iceman becoming gay).  It’s cheap.

But I think this isn’t the case here.  Thus, I have no problem with a female Doctor.  On the contrary, I welcome it.  It’s a thrilling happening.  New ground is broken.

The choice of making the latest incarnation of the Doctor a woman might have been motivated in part by a liberal agenda.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  But even if that happens to be true, it’s not the apparent main reason for it.  It is not at all a blatant attempt of forcing “gender fluidity” or whatever nonsense into the audience’s throats.  This is visibly due more to a creative decision than a political one.  And, most importantly, it’s something organically developed.  It didn’t come out of nowhere; the mythology made provisions for this.
The concept of Regeneration is one of most interesting things about Doctor Who.  It is the ability of the Doctor – or Time Lords for that matter – to avoid completely dying by transforming into a new version.  The old Doctor’s identity, memories, and intelligence are carried over to the new Doctor.  However, in Regeneration, it doesn’t mean a new body is just gained and life is extended.  Rather, a new life is what’s gained, as the old life expires.  The previous incarnation of the Doctor has really died; the new Doctor is an entirely different person.  That’s why the Doctors’ respective personalities vary.  And that’s why incarnations of the Doctor grieve when they have to regenerate, for they are really going to die.  In short, the various Doctors are technically the same being, but they are completely different persons.

Thus, it’s not like the Twelfth Doctor had a sex change and became the Thirteenth Doctor.  No.  The Twelfth died and transformed into the Thirteenth.  They are distinct from each other.  And that’s why this worked for me.  It’s okay for the Doctor to be a woman.

So I wish Jodie Whitaker well, and I hope the Thirteenth Doctor would have a brilliant run.

Excited for Series 11 – a new era!

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