“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” ~ Yoda
What’s a picture of Yoda doing here? I’m talking about Doctor Who.
Last night I was watching the two-part finale from the 2006 season of the BBC’s reimagined Doctor Who. In this episode we once again see the characters faced with the end of the world, a top-secret organization, Cybermen and Daleks run amok, and enough pithy humor to keep even the most jaded of us laughing. But that isn’t what made me focus on these two episodes. Instead. I began to wonder about something a Facebook friend said about the show in general. Tom Baker, the fourth Doctor, appealed to her because he’s funny; all the other Doctors, she allowed, take themselves too seriously.
Well, being the writer that I am (and I am a writer, which is why you’re reading this instead of doing something worthwhile) I started looking for signs of David Tennant’s character taking himself too seriously. I had not thought of this before. Does he? Maybe he does. And did Christopher Eccleston make his Doctor egotistical as well? I think there’s some truth to that. Does it detract from the quality of the show? Well, that’s for each viewer to decide.
But as the two-parter unfolded I began to wonder whether the egotism is deliberate. After all, The Doctor is the last remaining “creature” from a war that consumed and destroyed his entire race. I’m a newcomer to the show, so I cannot say this with certainty, but I think the Doctor’s “being full of himself” is a result of anger.
According to Star Wars, anger is a baaaaad apple.
Does anger also lead to arrogance? In the gospel according to Yoda it leads to hate. As a writer, the progression of emotions fascinates me. And even if you’re not a writer — and God help you if you are — you’ll notice the best entertainment gives you complex characters, a good story, an attempt by the main character to resolve the crisis, and a steady drumbeat of emotional change. And when it works best it really is like music; there is a rhythm to the way emotions change. Anger can indeed lead to hate, but it doesn’t have to. Perhaps in the case of The Doctor it leads to a certain smugness, but his heart … (yes, I know he has two) … but his heart is still in the right place. And that’s what we want most out of the characters we love: heart.
Until next time,
Peace, from Keith
Text copyright © 2013 Alan Keith Parker