Doctor Who (2006): “The Girl in the Fireplace”

I think it’s clear that the new season of Doctor Who is raising the stakes over even the amazing previous season. This episode, much like the previous "School Reunion", continues the exploration of who the Doctor really is. In doing so, it explores a new frontier in Doctor Who: the frontier of the Doctor’s emotional world.
 
"The Girl in the Fireplace" takes the Doctor to places he’s never really explored. Sure, he’s wandered space and time. But why? What motivates a man to basically be a tourist in space and time, a man who travels, chastely, with companions but never completely embraces those companions in his heart? What motivates a man to act that way?
 
The Doctor’s relationship with Madame de Pompadour is one of the most mature of his life, and also perhaps the most honest. Always before the Doctor has been able to hide his inner life behind a facade of excitement and adventure. By playing the action hero, always having a planet and running, the Doctor is able to be important while also being anonymous. As was explored in last year’s Slitheen episodes, the Doctor is able to act without ever having to face the ramifications of his actions.
 
This episode explores that aspect of the Doctor even further. When the Doctor literally opens up his mind to Madame de Pompadour, she’s able to see the Doctor as he sees himself. Since the Doctor has always been perhaps the least introspective of all the action heroes, the one who’s been the most secretive about his past, he’s always had a unique air of mystery about him. No matter how many times viewers visited Gallifrey, we still didn’t know much about the Doctor. Viewers had no idea of how he grew up, what life was like growing up on his planet, no idea of the events that shaped the Doctor’s psyche. Perhaps it was always untentional, but for a man character, in many ways the Doctor has always been a cipher.
 
Now we are really getting to see the real man, and we see it in many ways, whether it’s his wonderful relationship with Rose, his offhand dismissal then embrace of Mickey, his awkward reunion with Sarah Jane, or his somewhat adult relationship with Madame de Pompadour, we are finally getting to see who the Doctor is: a bit short-tempered, a bit cold, a bit afraid of ever getting close to anyone
 
The story of the Doctor’s doomed love affair is as wonderful thoughtful and complex as any episode has been. David Tennant has proven to be a wonderful Doctor, far more complex and far less tormented than Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor. It makes sense that after a time of mourningthat the Doctor become more introspective and even grow more as a person. It’s nice to see this begin to play out.
 
Doctor Who season two has grown from being a diverting science fiction romp into a wonderfully new-feeling and intelligent series.
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One Response to “Doctor Who (2006): “The Girl in the Fireplace””

  1. Fireplace Says:

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