Monday, February 27, 2012

The Waters of Mars

I have just finished watching "The Waters of Mars" and this post is more about a few questions about The Doctor (or Time Lords in general) than about the episode itself.

Bowie Base One crew
In this story, The Doctor is faced with a dilemma yet again. For once, the TARDIS lands in a fixed point in time. This is very unlike The Doctor; being in a place and time where/when he isn't allowed to fix things.

Set in the year 2059, The Doctor meets Captain Adelaide Brooke (Lindsay Duncan) and her crew in Bowie Base One, the first human colony on Mars. Right from the moment The Doctor recognizes her, we can see that Captain Brooke is someone that he admires.

My first question about The Doctor is about his knowledge. In the show, they displayed the information in his head similar to Internet articles. I understand that they probably did so to make it easier for us viewers to see what The Doctor "sees"; but I find it interesting because it seems that, for him, it's almost like he was browsing the Internet for information. He doesn't instantly have access to the entire information about a particular event. Instead, he becomes more aware of it after more clues about when/where he is are disclosed to him. In the episode, when The Doctor was told what the date was, he immediately "sees" that he is in the middle of an important moment – a fixed moment. He doesn't actually know or feel time itself. For some reason, I always assume that Time Lords can feel time and just know when he/she is (since they're the *Time* Lords). So, does The Doctor have unlimited knowledge? Or can he just "download" information given the right "clues?" Especially with The Tenth Doctor (David Tennant), I was under the impression that he has all this information in his head, but it takes time to access some of them.

Another point about his knowledge that I find interesting is that it seems to be updating in real time (I know "time" can be a complicated concept in Doctor Who, but just let this slide). At the end of the episode, when Captain Brooke killed herself, The Doctor's article updates itself right away. He can instantly see the future (and by future I mean relative to when he was at that moment). This, to me, shows that information on fixed moments are transcribed in The Doctor's brain or DNA. Any changes in fixed points in time are immediately delivered to him; almost as if he can feel disturbance in the grand scheme of "time."

Then again, The Doctor mentions that fix point vs. flux in time is just a theory. The way he said it makes me feel that it was just one of the rules that the Time Lord race came up with; there are some moments that just seem very crucial to other moments happening, therefore they're not to be messed with. But he also mentions that it's in his gut; he can feel that some points are fixed while others are flux. This further supports my aforementioned theory that information about time is imprinted on a Time Lord's DNA.

I am very entertained by this episode because it shows how intricate and amusing The Doctor (and the Time Lords) is (are).

Should I stay, or should I go?

I do love how conflicted The Doctor seems to be; fighting with himself between leaving and keeping the fixed point intact, or staying and trying to help people but messing with what he knows. Similar to "The Fires of Pompeii," The Doctor is faced with the impossible decision between letting people die, or possibly ruining what is to be an amazing future for humans. He knows that Captain Adelaide Brooke's death is "fixed in time forever" and that it "creates the future." It's completely heartbreaking, knowing that The Doctor has to make these decisions from time to time, just because he likes to travel.

Another question raised while watching this episode: how big a role does the TARDIS have in deciding when/where it will land? The Doctor has mentioned numerous times that the TARDIS is alive, and that it can control itself to go to a place/time that it deems necessary for The Doctor to be in. Therefore, in this storyline, it seems that the TARDIS wants The Doctor to be in this unfortunate situation. Does it (she?) want The Doctor to have to make these choices?

"It took me all these years to realize, the laws of time are mine
and they will obey me!"
At the end of the episode, The Doctor had the realization that, being the last of the Time Lords, he has the power to control what happens in the universe. He doesn't have to follow the rules anymore, because he is *it*. There's no one else. He is fire and rage and, I have to say, kinda hot! He was arrogant, yet fearful and desperate; he showed that he was superior, and was more powerful than anyone in the universe.

But it was quite scary to see. Captain Brooke is right, no one should have that much power (to which The Doctor replied, "tough.").

This episode, as "Midnight" and "The Fires of Pompeii" did before it, shows how much The Doctor needs an assistant; he needs someone to ground him and to stop him. He needs someone to humanize him.

This episode also shows what an amazing actor Tennant is, especially with his ability to show such deep and diverse emotions through facial expressions alone.