Dr Who on Violence

[Update: Image above has been changed after the Beirut-Paris events]

You don’t need a degree in archetypes to see Christ-like qualities in the Doctor Who Television programme. The Doctor loves humanity, cares for us, coming from outside our time and space to save us, and all without the usual whack-pow of superheroes, but by doing the unexpected.

And so here we are starting Season 9 with a two-part The Magician’s Apprentice and The Witch’s Familiar. Knowing that Jenna Coleman will be leaving the series there was a chilling moment when Missy tricks Clara into the dalek casing (remember how we first met her), ‘I am Clara Oswald’ came out as ‘I am a Dalek.’ Say ‘I love you’!’ and Missy squealed with delight, as it became ‘Exterminate !’

The wonderful conversation between The Doctor and Davros might be a key to understanding Christ:

Davros: “Compassion, then?”
The Doctor: “Always.”
Davros: “It grows strong and fierce in you like a cancer.”
The Doctor: “I hope so.”
Davros: “It will kill you in the end.”
The Doctor: “I wouldn’t die of anything else.”

Then the very reality: to kill the good (The Doctor), in fact is what wins the day against evil.

The next two episodes again had The Doctor prepared to die in order to save.

I found myself leaping from the episodes to the Rene Girard’s Mimetic Theory (People can desire anything, as long as other people seem to desire it, too) and the Scapegoat Mechanism (Societies unify themselves by focusing their imitative desires on the destruction of a scapegoat) that provide models not only for the way we relate as humans, but how Christ (like The Doctor) compassionately takes all this upon himself (especially in the passion and cross) and, quite the opposite of the usual power reactions, unexpectedly wins against evil by the very opposite.

If you want to read more on this approach, I recommend beginning with works by James Alison.

Doctor Who watchers, do add your insights in the comments below.

Ps. At traditional Evensong I cannot avoid being “distracted” by the thought of Doctor Who when we get to the prayer mentioning “…both our hearts…” [The Doctor, of course, has two hearts].

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