Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Doctor Who Episodes 801. 802
In Doctor Who's Season 8 Episode 1 (801), titled Deep Breath the setting is in Victorian-era London. The episode opens with a T-Rex Dinosaur roaming next to The British Parliament. The episode includes additional oddities such as spontaneous combustion, the return of previous characters known as the Paternoster Gang and Clara struggling to know the man the Doctor has become. The new Doctor, the 12th over a 50 year+ span is played by Peter Capaldi who also played as various characters, most notably as Caecilius in the episode The Fires of Pompeii, the second episode of Season 4 of the reincarnation series on BBC.

In this first episode of Season 8 we also see The Doctor struggling to discover himself. The backdrop of the story has half human and half robot creatures who are working at becoming fully human. There is one in particular who is seeking to discover the "promised land" (aka Heaven). In this struggle we see, as has been the case in many a episode over the years, the continual battles of science, (the doctor) and faith. While at times the series seems to take the side of science, via the Doctor, it is at least open to the possibilities and challenges the viewing audience to think on its own. The Doctor in one revealing scene is challenging the leader of the half robot, half humans, a half-faced man, to look at himself through a reflection as he has made himself out of various parts from various humans. The half-faced man sees his own reflection and realizes his own need to discover who he is. The Doctor sees his image on the reverse side of the reflection and realizes, he also has been influenced by other things and has also changed. The question is how has he changed, has it been in appearance only, or also within in his spirit? In typical Doctor Who series form, it is an attempt to get the viewer to also think about changes in their own life. It is one of the things that keeps the Doctor Who series so compelling and falling within the definition of Science Fiction. The series continues to test the boundaries of looking at the reality around us and incorporating thought as to our own realities and surroundings, including political and societal commentary.

www.thevirtualpew.comIn the end of episode 801 we presumably see one seeking faith, the half-faced man, looking for paradise die. Whether he is pushed by the Doctor or something else, the power of science over faith is not answered. We see the half-faced man impaled on a cross that is a steeple on a church, giving the image that faith ends in death and is not as powerful as science. Later on at the conclusion of the episode though we see a challenging image, the Doctor is still searching to discover himself and the half-faced man who was impaled is in fact in what is presented as Heaven. He is confronted by one in Heaven who says they are friends with the Doctor. What the detail or impact of that relationship with the Doctor is we don't know. I suspect that as in previous seasons the story will continue to develop in a terrific way that with the conclusion of the series wo;; be answers our questions.

My thoughts on the new Doctor are at present mixed. Capaldi is the oldest person playing the Doctor since the origin of the series back in 1963. He does a good job but seems like a more appropriate follow up Doctor to one of my favorites over the years, David Tennant, as opposed to Matt Smith. Tennant was the Doctor prior to Smith and Capaldi looks like an older Tennant. That is just me though, one of the things I have learned about the Doctor is the ability of the new Doctors to grow on you. I learned to like Smith, I expect to also learn to like Capaldi.

www.thevirtualpew.comMany who are not fans of Science Fiction, or some conservative Fundamentalist's may have issues with the questions asked in Doctor Who. I don't, in fact the questions it raised specific to the challenges of Faith Vs. Science is one of the things I appreciate about the show. It challenges the viewers to ask themselves questions and the show largely does not take sides, neither though does it ignore the questions that many have. I appreciate that and expect those seeking their own answers, if looking far enough and long enough to find answers. It is clear. Doctor Who has questions regarding himself and like many others in our world, while they may pretend to know the answers, there are moments and times where one who is questioning the realities of God and faith must admit, they don't really know. For those looking or just interested in looking in on issues and questions such as this, sit back, buckle in, and enjoy what appears to be another season of thought provoking episodes in typical Doctor Who fashion. I know I am.

In the Season 8 Episode 2 (802)  episode Into The Dalek we see one of Doctor Who's most hated, if not the most hated enemy, the one who seeks to destroy the whole of humanity return. The Dalek's, a robot type of creature, with an alien controlled brain and body who live inside a metallic body make a return in this early season episode but what will be a surprise to many a viewer, it isn't in typical Dalek fashion. We don't initially see an all out war between humans with the Dalek's as in the past. Instead, we see Doctor Who exploring the inner workings of the Dalek's by literally going inside the body of a damaged Dalek and trying to discover what is wrong with it as it seeks to befriend humans and destroy other Dalek's. This Dalek has for some reason turned good and this seems impossible to the Doctor.

www.mosaicwichita.comThe episode in some ways resembles the classic Science Fiction story, The Fantastic Voyage written by Jules Verne. In this episode though, once inside the Dalek, after being reduced in size, the Doctor, Clara and several soldiers from the resistance movement go in to explore the workings of Dalek's and to figure out what is wrong with this one. What happens, as is the case in many Dr. Who episodes, is the exploration of self and obtaining awareness into ones own life. There is another reoccurring theme that has occurred already in this season. There is the death of a soldier who sacrificially gives up her life to save the Doctor and those on the ship she is based on. There is another hint regarding Heaven in this sequence. What that hint is isn't clear yet but in the tradition of Dr Who there is the ongoing exploration debate between faith and science.

Also in the episode towards the end is an event during a time the Doctor continues to search for his own identity. There is a phone call to Clara from the previous Doctor, played by Matt Smith. It is an unexpected, but appreciated cameo with some revealing questions. Questions that will likely continue and ultimately be answered. 

www.mosaicwichita.comDoctor Who is a terrific series, a series I have seen most every episode available over the 50+ years the show has been airing and every episode of the current reincarnation of the series. The show has a world-wide fan base for a very good reason. It is a Science Fiction Geek's reward that airs through the week on BBC America and BBC Worldwide. In the United States the show airs its first run episodes on Saturday nights with reruns through the week. I can imagine the fans of such writers as CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien would love and appreciate this series but then again, that is likely one of the reasons Peter Jackson has offered to direct an episode or two for the payment of a Dalek. The questions are there and while The Dalek's in some ways represent pure evil, there are also times of thought, that just as in this episode, one can be challenged with the potential of change, while at the same time, facing their own evil desires that may include such things as hatred, even of an enemy. Seems consistent to me of the challenge made by Jesus and other New Testament authors, that is, to love, even our enemies.  

To see a video regarding the round the world tour to introduce Doctor Who Season 8, The Twelfth Doctor , click on the video below, if the video doesn't work, try the following link:

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