So I'm a little slow. I actually wrote a whole post on this topic, and then didn't post it because i didn't like what I wrote. This was last Wednesday or so. Since then I've been giving it alot of thought. Do I write about all my tv shows? Movies? Favourites? How do I go about showing why this is my second favourite form of storytelling? And, as usual I am too late to make Dewey's wrap-up post...but who cares! I finally know what I want to say:
This past week's Weekly Geek was to post about our second form of favourite form of story-telling. Mine is tv shows. I kept trying to make it movies, because I do enjoy them, but the ones I get caught up in, and argue and discuss about, are tv shows, for the most part. By the way, I have to give a big thanks to Bride of the Book God, because she wrote about tv shows as her 2nd favourite form, and some of what she says crystallized what I had been trying to say last Wednesday in the unposted post. So thank, Bride! And you can go here to check out her post. TV are one of the things my family and I sit down to together to do. Over the years, my eldest son and I have watched Babylon 5, the old Star Trek (he still thinks it's cool that I can name the episode within seconds of the opening scene/music!), Lost, and Heroes: he, my daughter and I watch Smallville, the new Battlestar Galactica, my husband and I watch House (our tv show!), Life on Mars, Vicar of Dibley and host of shows from England (mostly on DVD now) and our whole family watches the new Dr Who from Britain. So, after watching the final episodes of Season One of Dr Who this weekend at my daughter's request, I realized that I want to talk about this episode as it encapsulates everything good about tv and visual storytelling.
"The Parting of the Ways" is an episode that even after viewing at least 4 times, still makes me cry. In fact, there were very few episodes that I didn't find myself moved by, because the new Dr Who is exploring who we are by going into the past - both Earth past and other worlds - and the future, again sometimes ours, sometimes ahead in the universe somewhere. The best of the episodes involve something personal, and Parting of the Ways is as personal as it gets: the Doctor sends Rose back to Earth to save her, and he and Captain Jack face annihilation, as well as the entire Earth, from the Dr's old foes the Daleks, and she does the unthinkable to save him and Jack. The power of this episode, and in this series as whole, is in its exploration of love. The Doctor, we learn in this episode, when faced with the dilemma of being a coward or a killer, chooses coward. He can't - he won't - kill to wipe out the Daleks, even though he is dooming the human race to painful extermination. He can't because at the bottom of his being is the hope that some way out can be found. The will to live, to survive, even when all hope is lost - that is the Doctor's secret. And in this episode, for the first time, we see what the Tardis is really formed of, for Rose, the Doctor's companion, looks into it, in order to save her Doctor from that annihilation at the Daleks. The picture as she emerges from the Tardis with the light pouring from her eyes and face, the light that is Wisdom incarnate, what the Goddess Sophia (who is Wisdom in Christian mythology) would look like if She walked the Earth - and what Rose says about time, is haunting and beautiful. She is beautiful, and how she destroys the Daleks and restores Jack, before the Doctor stops her, is magnificent. That is a perfect scene that understands the power of Spirit made bodily, and it is so beautiful that I am moved to tears - because Spirit - nor all of time, can't be contained in our bodies. We simply can't hold all that much power, and the Doctor tells her that; even he can't hold it. He can only touch it as a Time Lord, and because it powers his ship. It destroys his current body, and we all meet the new Doctor at the very end. Rose has no memory of what she has done, which is also fitting, because if she remembered, everything else that happened in her life would not mean anything in comparison to that moment she was All and saw all Time.
This episode is about saving the ones you love, if you can, and also about letting them go. When the Doctor sends her back to earth the first time, he tells her, "Have a good life. Have a fantastic life." So I started thinking about what is a good life? Do I live a good life? And Rose says to her mother (who doesn't understand Rose's need to try to get back and save the Doctor), "The Doctor showed me a better way of living my life. You don't give up, you don't stand around, you do something about it." And I thought, that's the recipe for a good life, both in tv land and in the real world. And that's part of why I love Dr Who so much - he goes into time that needs fixing or correcting, he acts. He can't stop time, he can't restore dead people - see the episode when Rose goes back to see her Dad, and what happens! Which Rose refers to in this episode, and how Jackie (her mother) reacts when she finds out - this show is all about love and the things we do for the ones we love, and how the impossible becomes possible if you do something about it. For a main theme of a tv show, that's not too bad! This episode contains all of the season's themes within it. Science fiction is a vehicle for showing us to our selves. What would we be like through other's eyes? What is the best of us? The worst of us? Dr Who shows us all this, with great storytelling and superb acting. I especially love long-arcing storylines, and most of my favourite tv shows (with a few exceptions) have had this as part of the writing. I love to see how one story impacts later on, how one character's actions come into play later. Because that is how our life works, even though we don't always slow down enough to see it. Stories, written and visual, allow us to see that causal effect.
This particular episode also featured the words "Bad Wolf", which were encountered in earlier episodes as well. We finally get an answer to what those words mean, and I thought about it later and I am intrigued by how two little words could catch our attention. And like almost nothing else - except other fairy tale words - do. "Bad Wolf", no matter what context we see it in, immediately grabs our attention because it recalls the fairy tales with the big bad wolf. We know these words mean something. And even as they are a signpost for us to pay attention, so do the Doctor and Rose pay attention, and follow them to the source. So once again I find fairy tales turning up at the most unexpected, least likeliest places!!
And it's one more reason for me to love Dr. Who and this episode!
And, by the way, my daughter has said that if the doctor came by in his blue phone box, she would hop in and travel around the universe with him. She's 5. That Doctor, he appeals to females of all ages!!!!