“I’m the Doctor and I save people.”
This has been a favorite line of Peter Capaldi’s 12th regeneration Doctor.
By Whovian standards, I haven’t watched a ton of Doctor Who (I beg forgiveness, as I’m slowly getting there), but from what I’ve seen so far, the Doctor is a unique character.
You might be thinking, “Duh! He’s the Doctor,” but one aspect of his character is particularly intriguing. His inclination toward peacefulness. Sure, he’s not above battling his enemies in spectacular displays, or offering threats to anyone who endangers his friends.
But he’s not a warrior. As a wise Gallifreyan said, “Words are his weapons.”
Words, a screwdriver (or sunglasses), and enough love for his companions to overflow his two hearts.
Capaldi’s Doctor in particular would rather save than destroy, as shown by his mantra. It’s his ultimate goal, one that took a gripping turn in an alien alley hidden from the human world.
I’ve been catching up on Series 9, and wow. Face the Raven, Heaven Sent, and Hell Bent make for an incredible trio. Eye-popping, heart-wrenching sort of incredible.
*SPOILERS AHEAD FOR AFOREMENTIONED EPISODES*
We all know how much Clara means to the Doctor. They’re an inseparable, whimsical duo. Their different personalities blend in a perfect combination of jovial interaction. The Doctor loves Clara in a protective, fatherly way. Face the Raven brings this love to the forefront as the Doctor faces the reality of losing Clara. He loathes the thought of letting her go, of having her disappear from his life for good.
Her death deeply wounds him, as evidenced by his ensuing anger toward Ashildr. Anger from the one who saves people.
A Story of Love (Not a Love Story)
The next two episodes reveal the full picture in a haunting display. At the head of the class is the Doctor’s unbending desire to save Clara, even if it’s impossible. Through Heaven Sent, the curtain slowly pulls back. The result? A tale of love so deep it can’t help but send chills through you.
Enduring billions of years, living the same futile sequence over and over, for the chance to save one person? Dedication on a mind-numbing scale.
All those years, enfolded in an endless cycle of agony. No wonder Clara’s reaction is so potent when she learns what the Doctor endured to reach a point where he could rescue her.
Who couldn’t help but be moved to tears at the thought?
A Story of Greater Love
In another tale told, one that strikes much closer to home, another sacrifice was made. In a land under Roman rule. By a simple carpenter who willingly suffered unknowable agony. Out of love for his chosen, his “companions.”
Even more startling is the fact that those same people were once enemies. In Whovian terms, we were to God what Ashildr was to the Doctor. Despicable. Unworthy. Deserving punishment (though of course God acts in perfect justice, while the Doctor was motivated by a wrongful need for vengeance.)
It makes you want to shake your head in wonder and ask, “How is this possible?”
That’s the point. The reason why it’s called amazing grace.
The Doctor and Clara were close friends, and we know, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13 ESV)
Though the Doctor didn’t die in the ultimate sense, he died many times. The story of his sacrifice points, intentionally or not, to the story of the greatest sacrifice in all time and space.
Those three episodes left me in an emotional wreck, in a good way. Such is the beauty and power of stories, that through their telling, they can shine light on life’s profound truths.
What stories have presented glimmers of Truth in a way that caught your attention?