Doctor Who S01E02: The End Of The World

The End of the World

Here is the Guide for Parents!

Rose takes her first trip in the TARDIS!

Imagine her excitement. Where would you go? Think of the places you could see, the time periods you could visit.

Rose’s first trip doesn’t reveal mysteries of a world past. She won’t witness some interstellar super-war with aliens and spaceships. She won’t see the beauty and expanse of the universe.

On her first trip through time and space, Rose watches a painfully familiar scenario play out. The Doctor shows her the end of the world.

Her world and her race do not end in majesty and dignity; the human race ends in pettiness and whimpers of revenge.

(I have to admit, my recollection of this episode has been reduced to: “that one with ‘Tainted Love‘ and the lady that’s just a flap of skin.’ But there’s a ton of interesting and kind of profound stuff in here.)

Humans left earth centuries ago and the sun’s deadly rays have been kept at bay with manmade satellites surrounding the planet. The reasons for preserving earth are based on tradition more than practicality. Now the money has run out and representatives of the wealthy and the respected have gathered for a viewing, like a family circling the old man’s chair as Grandpa stamps the last ember of his last cigar into the ashtray.

Who has come to witness the death of earth?

A bizarre cast of aliens and a mysterious hero all stuffed inside an old mansion in space – this is a prime set for a murder mystery. And sure enough, we get one.

“The murderer is right here in this playroom!”

Of this illustrious gallery of aliens, the guest of honor was Cassandra, the last human. Really she’s a flap of skin stretched across four poles like a canvas. She’s also pompous, rude, and in possession of a terrible taste in music. She and Rose don’t get on too well. Cassandra’s jealousy of Rose’s human appearance somehow convinces Cassandra to treat her like an inferior. Imagine a plantation owner looking down on a slave for being physically stronger and you get a picture of how backwards that kind of thinking is. Like, “You are superior to me and are therefore different and so I am better.” Huh?

Creepy little mechanical spiders are loosed on the space station, killing a few of the folks gathered to witness the death of earth. And it’s up to the Doctor to figure out who is behind the murders and why they’re doing it.

He does.

It was one of the guests present. The solution to the mystery doesn’t interest me as much as the comment on humanity. The last act of our species isn’t to toss a kitten out of the way of the exploding planet. Or to smile lovingly on the universe which has so generously tolerated our activities in the little pocket around the star Sol. Nah, the last thing we do is kill someone else.

With a title like this, think of the weight on Russel T Davies to tell a good story. I imagine he felt the pressure to tell a meaningful story. What story would you tell with the title “The End of the World?” He basically said that things get faster, but not better; money still runs the show; anything we do now makes only the faintest impact on our descendants; and as the world sighs out of existence, its primary inhabitants will be too busy murdering other things to notice.

The last acts of humanity look a lot like the first acts of humanity. And the middle acts of humanity. And the in-between acts.

People are selfish – the Bible says so, sure. But you don’t need to be a Christian to know that. This future that Doctor Who shows strikes me as way more probable than Star Trek, which is nice, but not very reliable. That kind of peace between humans is a good goal, but so far it’s only been accomplished on a sci-fi TV show. (And even then, Captain Kirk and co. had to had have someone to fight. Stories about getting along with everyone aren’t very interesting. I mean, have you seen the last season of TNG?)

So that’s all really. People are bad til the end.

If you buy that – the Christian version of people being bad or the Doctor Who version of people being bad – here are some things worth considering:

-Can a future of perpetual human suckage be prevented?

-Why bother?

-From whence cometh said suckage?

In this possible future, things end with us killing each other. In the Bible’s version, there is a hero at the end who gathers his people together to return to their kingdom beyond.

*************

Next TARDIS Thursday

on Geeks of Christ

The Unquiet Dead

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