Daily Archives: September 22, 2013
A Terrible Choice
Quite a part of from the fact that both a future companion (Amy Pond) and a Future Doctor (Peter Capaldi) are in this episode there is the bigger question of changing history.
A question that goes back as far as the show itself.
To fire itself even.
In the very first story, An Unearthly Child the Doctor is an power struggle between cavemen for fire.
This has vacillated between, “not one word” as The First Doctor said in The Aztecs to more modern times where it comes down to the Doctor saying he knows when to meddle and not on “A Fixed point in time”.
But even then it’s not so straight forward as we saw in Season 6 when The Doctor was “killed” in the first episode.
(If you haven’t seen Series VI…SPOILERS…:) )
Only to find out it was a Tessalector Robot. Which raises all kinds of questions about his non-death at the hands of river and the running of all time together. But that’s fall under “timey wimey” and will give you a headache trying to reconcile the inconsistencies.
So when is a “fixed point” not a fixed point. When it’s good for the story and does not bog down the narrative.
I.e. fan favourite Harriet Jones, she was supposed to be a PM that ushered in a New Golden Age (9th Doctor) – “the architect of Britain’s Golden Age“–but when she uses Torchwood to destroy the Sycorax, the Doctor destroys her future as Prime Minister.
Enter Harold Saxon, aka the Master.
The Wedding of River Song is a cracking could Sci-FI story, just don’t try to hard to make it make logical and conical consistent sense.
But back to History.
The Fires of Pompeii is also like the movie Titanic you know the ending. Everyone knows the ending.
What you do in the mean time is makes of breaks it.
The Doctor and Donna arrive in a new Roman town only to discover it’s Pompeii and Volcano Day is tomorrow!
This presents a dilemma.
Donna, being the normal human wants to save them.
The Doctor knows they must die for history to be correct.
Then you thrown in aliens and the further dilemma that The Doctor must cause the eruption himself and I think you have a much better episode.
The Doctor has been doing this kind of thing in “historical” episodes before, mostly in the William Hartnell first Doctor era.
“Fixed Points” in the future are not as meaty as ones we all can relate to.
Like the Aztecs.
Barbara trying to change the Aztec culture. The Doctor saying you can’t.
And in the end human nature wins out and nothing is changed.
The Aztecs I have always felt was the best Hartnell episode. It has a lot of depth (just ignore the painted backgrounds) in the story and lots of conflict for the characters. It explores the early “ground rules” for the series that will later be broken.
Another one like it, but as highly regarded is The Space Museum where we get a story that starts in a similar vein to The Impossible Astronaut where The Doctor and company arrive at a Museum and find themselves on display!
How can that be and can it be changed? Should they change it??
Now that’s the kind of thing I like about WHO.