Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Red: A Doctor Who Motif. Oh, and my thoughts about what REALLY going on with the Doctor.

Gosh I've had a lot of traffic here this month already. Hi to all of you who visited my posts on vaccination and leggings as pants - forums are a boon to bloggers, aren't they?

Today, I thought I'd talk about something completely different.

I've been watching the first episode of series seven of Doctor Who: Asylum of the Daleks. I've watched it five times since Sunday morning and am seeing a pattern. (Yes, well, if you watch anything often enough you'll begin to see patterns, that's how conspiracy theories come into being).

Ever since the introduction of Amelia Pond, way back when Matt Smith first graced out screens with his hyperactive, Peter Pan view of the world, the colour red has featured strongly. In the very first episode of fifth series (modern) 'The Eleventh Hour' we meet red-haired Amelia (Amy) Pond, in her white nightdress with red hearts and red buttons on it. Her cardigan is red, the blanket/shawl she packs in her suitcase is red, her boots and beanie are red, the windmill in her garden is red with white spots, the Doctors hanky is red with white spots, it's just red, red, red everywhere.

In fact, in nearly every episode she wears red, even if it's only nail polish! Don't believe me? Have a look at this and this.

Eventually, during and after 'Demons Run' she pretty much stops wearing red, but red continues to feature in the show.

Red balloons are seen at Amy's wedding in 'The Big Bang' - where Amy brings the Doctor back from non-existence after the cracks in the Universe are mended. They're also seen in 'The Almost People' - where the Doctor stabilises Flesh Avatars into humans, and in 'The God Complex' - where rooms of an 80s style hotel are filled with patrons greatest fears to inspire faith in them so a Minotaur can consume their faith energy to continue to live.

The red with white polkadot handkerchief is seen in the 'The Eleventh Hour' - where the Doctor saves Amy from the crack in her wall, and again in 'Cold Blood' - where the Doctor uses it to retrieve a piece of TARDIS debris from the crack (and is not consumed by the crack like everyone else has been!), and a third time in 'Let's Kill Hitler' when he takes it out in Hitler's office - in that episode, River saves him from dying after she poisons him with a kiss.

So, back to 'Asylum of the Daleks'. Red featured in this episode again. This time it wasn't in relation to Amy or the Doctor himself, but rather it was the dress worn by Oswin Oswald - who will somehow become the Doctor's new companion Clara Oswin during the Christmas special to be screened later this year.

Also - just as an aside - it was interesting that Darla Von Karlsen is a red head, and her daughter (I believe this is the little ballerina who is actually a dalek when Amy looks a second time), Hannah, is also a red head. The Doctor's universe seems to have more than our usual 7% population of red heads...

Anyway, back to the story... I thought it was noteworthy that the soon-to-be new companion was wearing red, and the old companion has stopped wearing red...

I believe red is a motif in Doctor Who. I believe it is a metaphor for 'red flag'. Instances where the Doctor is messing with stuff he shouldn't be messing with or has 'rewritten at timeline' and 'tainted' inhabitants of that timeline.

I've been watching all the series repeatedly for a couple of years now, trying to figure out what Moffat is trying to tell us. Many believe there are secrets to be revealed (about the Doctor, perhaps his name or who he really is, or about Amy or River), things Moffat has written into the show that will become obvious later, but which are only clues now.

We were all busy trying to figure out who River Song was, and who Madam Kavorian and The Silence and The Headless Monks were, but I think I'm beginning to see the significance of all the red in this show.

I believe Moffat is not asking the audience who Doctor Who is. I don't think we'll ever find out his real name. I believe the question is being posed to the Doctor himself. I think the Doctor is heading for an identity crisis.

Way back at the beginning of the series, nearly fifty years ago, the Doctor ran away from Galifrey. Later in the Time War, he distroyed all the Time Lords because they wanted to destroy time and become gods. Since those times, the Doctor has been roaming the Universe messing with time, he recognises fixed points in time and mostly respects those, but he is constantly messing with the rest of time. He is known to the people of the Gamma Forest as a great warrior - their word for warrior is doctor - and he is known to the Daleks as 'the predator'. He is constantly battling with and winning over species who want to dominate (earth specifically, but dominate generally) and is also known as 'the oncoming storm'.

A title he gives himself... You can just catch him saying it in this trailer, 'Violence. No violence. Not today, not while I'm around, I am the Doctor, the oncoming storm.'

Matt Smith has said in the past that the biggest clues to the story arc of the eleventh Doctor can be found in the very first episode 'The Eleventh Hour'. I believe that clue is when the Doctor speaks with the Atraxi at the end of the episode and says to them, 'Basically run.'

Later in the Doctor's timeline, River says to Rory that at Demon's Run the Doctor will rise higher than he ever has before and fall even further. Actually, one of the TV trailers for 'A Good Man Goes to War' rather succinctly conveys what I'm trying to say here.

In short, the Doctor believes himself to be someone who saves people; a defender of the innocent. However, his immense conviction, courage and ability to manipulate time to his will makes him a great threat to the rest of the Universe. This is also shown in 'The Pandorica Opens' when all the warring factions collaborate and conspire to lock him up - which surprises him.

I believe Moffat's aim is to show that power corrupts and ultimate power corrupts ultimately, and that the Doctor is becoming exactly what he destroyed the rest of his people to prevent them from becoming - a force to be feared.

The red motif is that of a red flag, highlighting every moment that he has inferred with the space-time continuum in a way no one should have the power to interfere, and all the beings he has tainted with this interference.

Ultimately, I believe he will destroy the people he loves the most, Amy and Rory, through his sense of entitlement to 'rewrite time'. This lesson might not be learned with the demise of Amy and Rory, though, which may be why Oswin Oswald wears a red dress until she is ultimately destroyed in 'Asylum of the Daleks'. The Doctor's ultimate fall from grace may come with Clara as his side kick and lead into an existential crisis for the Doctor at the fiftieth anniversary series!

That scene with the atraxi at the end of 'The Eleventh Hour' - I think that's the lynchpin of the entire story arc for the eleventh Doctor. The fear on Rory face may not be for the eyeball-in-the-sky but for the power he witnesses in the Doctor's display.


Unknown said...

Little Red Ridinghood and...

Sif Dal said...

the big BAD WOLF! Hahaha!

JennaQuentin said...

Great thoughts - thanks for putting the video clips too! I think you're right on the doctor's identity crisis and had never noticed all the red!

Good Job!