WARNING: SPOILERS (AND EXTREMELY LAME NERDERY) BE HERE!
So, Cait and I watched the second episode of the new Doctor Who season last night. It was good, but there's something that, yet again, bothered me. I had a whole conversation a few months ago that was spurred by a teaser trailer for the new season that contained a brief clip of Rory (?) asking "Who killed all the Daleks?" and Doctor Who responding "who do you think?"
I'll just paste what I wrote on facebook about it, originally:
doctor who is supposed to be a good guy, right? yes, he's fallible, and yes, i realize that the doctor has murdered in many incarnations in the past. and yes, the 10th doctor and the story arches were supposed to be a very sinister (and emo) trip down a dark alley where the doctor becomes a slightly vengeful maniac, but even in those cases, any overt acts of violence or murder were USUALLY hedged by either subtleties or his hand being forced. IN GENERAL, he's supposed to be a good guy and abhorrent of violence as a means to an end. even his notorious destruction of the ultimately-evil daleks has been hedged by saying that.. welllll he didn't ACTUALLY kill them, he just locked them away.
SO .. that said: in this preview i didn't like the ballsy swagger of the "who killed all the daleks" "who do you think" line in the teaser. doctor who is not supposed to be james bond. he's supposed to be a relatively moral figure that we can look up to that uses violence as an option of last resort. MAYBE there's something i missed or in the actual plot line of this next few series it won't be so overt and they're just playing it up for the teaser, but if so? ... don't. stop. that's stupid. we already had the 10th doctor little trip down sadsack asshole alley. let's not do that again so soon.
I guess I should really amend all the aforementioned comments and substitute "the doctor and his companion" for "the doctor", since it's an overarching reinforced point that he needs and keeps a human companion to rein in his impulses here and there. but the combined protagonist that they represent is not supposed to be a killer, and i don't like the continued implications and swagger
My friends responded: I'm willing to bet that "Who do you think?" doesn't actually answer the question of "Who killed all the daleks?" in the way that the trailer makes it seem for precisely all of the reasons that you described. They do stuff like that all the time in trailers as misdirection or suspense-building or whatever.. Turns out? Yeah, not so much. In that episode, he just killed them. And, now, in this second episode: the bad guy? Yeah. Killed. No big woop. Even Cait, who is not as uh.. passionate.. about Doctor Who as I am, turned to me and said "I thought the Doctor didn't kill people?" INDEED. I am glad to see, at least, that I am not the only one noticing and being put off by this:
The dinosaurs, of course, were not the baddies here, with the tearjerking triceratops death scene reminiscent of The Land Before Time. But in David Bradley's Solomon we had one of the most unpleasant villains in recent memory. And as funny as the episode was, the whole thing was undercut with a darkness that was almost disturbing enough to ruin everything. The line about "breaking in Nefertiti", for instance, was laced with a dark sexuality that felt completely inappropriate.
Perhaps it was intended as some justification for the Doctor's merciless decision to leave the old letch for the missiles. But that was a hugely un-Doctorish move, and I'm not sure how I feel about that, either. Could it be intended to feed into the themes revealed in the trailer for next week's western episode – with the Doctor getting emo over the question of his mercy?
I totally agree, but as I said above -- even if they are merely allowing this as a setup for some emo retrospective, I'm not happy. Because, didn't we .. already do that?