“Death in Heaven” was an interesting end to a season that I believe was the best of the new series. A typical Moffat two-parter, it started strong and petered out a bit by the end… the end… the end.
To be honest, I wasn’t entirely certain that the episode was going to end. I counted three, possibly four good places for the episode to conclude, but it seemed that Moffat just wanted to keep going. And going. And going. Like the energizer bunny of the sci-fi genre.
I’ll admit that I didn’t think any of the endings were particularly bad. (Though none of the additional material really seemed to contribute to the story line.) That is, none of them until the last when Santa stepped aboard the TARDIS. At that moment, my heart filled with fear.
The thing about Moffat’s writing is that it can be hard to tell whether he’s about to do something completely rational (providing that rational is truly possible in a program about a time-travelling alien) or to take the show into the realms of the ridiculous. I now had weeks to wonder whether we were about to discover “horror of all horrors” that Santa Claus is a Time Lord.
It wasn’t the idea in and of itself that was particularly difficult to comprehend. He does manage to deliver toys to the entire world in a single night and his bag is definitely bigger on the inside. It was that the idea required the introduction of a fictional character into the world of “Doctor Who”.
Much to my delight, I discovered that I was not the only fan harboring this fear. Much to my dismay, I discovered that most of my non-Whovian friends simply didn’t understand. We all know, after all, that “Doctor Who” is a fictional series. It stars fictional characters who live in a (mostly) fictional universe. Or do we?
While I try to maintain the pretense of being a “reasonable” person, I have to confess that I have occasionally found listening for the wheezing of that big blue box. A part of me longs to escape with the Doctor (or at least my idea of the Doctor) and explore the universe. To look at everything with the awe of a child encountering the world for the first time. To see sights others have never seen and to have the kind of adventures that no one else believes are possible.
I want to face the type of problems that force me to “think outside of the box”. I want to make the hard decisions. To stand up for what I believe. And to see everything turn out alright in the end. It is because of this and, despite what I know, I could never utter the Whovian equivalent of blasphemy, “The Doctor isn’t real.”
Christmas came and went and, to my delight, the show retained its integrity. I could hear Whovians everywhere letting out a long sigh of relief. Whatever they may have thought of the episode (I confess I rather enjoyed it), one thing was still certain: Santa isn’t real. The Doctor is. And that’s a world with which I can live.