This is the fourth article in a series of articles from planetzogblog on the topic of Doctor Who and religion. (Clink for link to the previous article on the same topic.)
Following on from part 3, which featured episode 10 of the 2006 Season, the final three episodes of this season are the subject of this article.
(Please note, if you haven’t seen this season, the plot is discussed.)
The 2006 Season, episode 11, 12&13.
My theory for this season is that Russell T. Davies, with the intention to make Doctor Who a complex and multi-layered experience, with the arc of the Doctor and Rose, has allusions to the Old Testament Garden of Eden story and the New Testament story of Christ in the Wilderness, both of which have a theme of (among other themes): Temptation.
(Christ in the Wilderness was alluded to episodes 8&9. The Eden story, which is alluded to heavily in the first six episodes, is returned to with episodes 11, 12&13.)
These last few episodes, rather than illustrating Temptation, are more concerned with another aspect of the Eden story – the theme of leaving Paradise: Paradise Lost.
(This theme was also explored with episodes 5&6, but Paradise was regained – though it will be lost again.)
Epiosode 11: Travelling on again.
Episode: Fear Her
Travelling together is a kind of Paradise for the Doctor and Rose. After the turmoil of the first six episodes, this is another single episode story like The Idiot’s Lantern which shows how happy the Doctor and Rose are travelling together.
This episode has various similarities with the The Idiot’s Lantern. Unhappy families contrasting with the happy couple of the Doctor and Rose; the domestic scale of the story; and one of the couple being separated from the other, lost, away to another realm (by the Wire or the Isolus) temporarily.
This is the second-from-last story for the Doctor and Rose. Significantly, there are various moments in this story which echo their first story, Rose. The mention of “The Shadow Proclamation” in both stories; then, Rose unsure whether to travel with the Doctor – now, Rose is sure that she wants to travel with the Doctor forever.
Most subtle is the image of the Doctor holding out his hand for Rose at the beginning of the episode Rose, which is reversed here: now Rose has a hand ready for the lonely Doctor to hold.
For Rose, to be separated from the Doctor would be to lose her Paradise. (To foreshadow this separation of these two, we have already seen or heard of the separations, whether temporary or not, of many people in this season so far: Queen Victoria and Albert; the Doctor and Sarah Jane; the Doctor and Madame Pompadour; Rose and her mother Jackie; Elton and Ursula.)
The last few lines of the episode underscore this idea:
Rose: You know what – they keep trying to split us up, but they never ever will.
The Doctor: Never say never ever.
Rose: Nah, we’ll always be alright, you and me. [pause] Don’t you think? Doctor?
The Doctor: Something in the air. Something’s coming. [pause] A storm’s approaching…
Episodes 12 and 13: The End
Episode: Army of Ghosts/ Doomsday
“The ending of Doctor Who, where we had to separate the Doctor and Rose, that was unashamedly taken from the [omitted so as not to spoil] novels.” (Says Russell T. Davies, from The Indendent Newspaper 22 October 2006.)
The novels that Davies mentions in that article (which I won’t mention here, to avoid spoilers for those novels) are a strong influence on Army of Ghosts/ Doomsday. Those novels also allude to the story of the Garden of Eden. Although Davies uses some of the ideas of those books for the finale, the other Eden allusions in this season are not directly from those novels.
The 2006 Season ends with Torchwood being the means by which Rose loses her Paradise. The Torchwood set up by Queen Victoria all those decades ago, the Queen Victoria who issued A Warning in Paradise in episode 2: “You will leave these shores and you will reflect, I hope…”
On the shores of Norway, there is an echo of the Doctor earlier in the season struggling with his “rules”, when, suspended over the Satan Pit of episode 9, he couldn’t quite get the words out for a final message to Rose.
Again, he doesn’t quite get those three little words out.
As the universes are closed to each other, Rose is now separated from the Doctor: Paradise Lost.
This article concludes planetzogblog’s thoughts on religion and the 2006 Season, but part 5 in this series of articles, looking at other aspects of Doctor Who and religion will appear at some point in the future…
Did all that make sense, or am I just reading too much into these stories? Please feel free to comment.