It is no Sherwood we're up against. THIS is our world. It's dark, and it revels in its darkness. "Men loved darkness instead of light, for their deeds were evil."
Many of my readers know how much I enjoy the British television show Doctor Who. I like it for many reasons, but mostly because I love the main character--The Doctor. He's rather Robin Hood-esque, flying around the universe and through time in his TARDIS, defending the weak. Though there are dark moments when he gets depressed (he's the last of his race, and sees a lot of his human friends come and go), he always manages to keep going, to keep living for the wonder of the world. His optimism and courage always balances the darkness of alien invasions and death, and you can always trust him to get through whatever is happening.
In a recent episode I watched, The Waters of Mars, we lost the Doctor. He snapped. He decided, because he was the only person left who knew the laws of time, that he could make the laws of time. An episode that already had a frightening villain and a situation where you have been told, by the Doctor himself, that you cannot win, went even further into despair and darkness. Even as the Doctor is convincing himself that he is now all-powerful, you can see how he's unraveling who he is, who the audience loves. And there's nothing left.
Now, I know that this is an "interesting" development for the Doctor, maybe even a "necessary" step for his character as he still fights and recovers from the war that destroyed his people. But. I have thought before that this show kind of places the Doctor in the void where God would be, if it were not for the premise of beliefs that there is no God. In this episode, he is the most powerful and the most frightening he's ever been. There's no real place for redemption--the Doctor is the most powerful entity we have--so the episode ends only with emptiness.
I've known for a long time that the main writer of this show, Russell Davies, is an atheist. I know that. And I've found it ironic. The thing that atheists deny, God, ultimately destroys the base for any absolute right or absolute wrong. Yet the Doctor (usually) stands for right. Even in this episode, what he does is seen as wrong. As Adelaide says, "I don't care who you are, the Time Lord victorious is wrong."
I thought there was no wrong?
Even with that, this episode laid bare the darkness, the despair, the utter hopelessness of a worldview with no God. Even when we only have "laws of time" to break, breaking them is devastating. When the viewer lost the Doctor, the puppet of "rightness" that usually MUST be kept intact to even keep people watching, the whole worldview was exposed.
I have always been decently careful with this show, because of its tendencies towards the secular and the politically correct, as well as its highly-addictive nature. Now I think it will be hard to watch it the same way ever again.
And it will be hard to write without remembering this episode. THIS is the show I love, with one of the best characters I have ever seen. THIS is the show which is almost in a way a light IN the darkness of other TV shows...and yet it's a phony light, with no real base, crushed on a whim by the writer. I've noticed the search before, beneath the silly aliens and goofy plotlines, the search for Truth. For Right. For God.
Davies, I think, showed his soul in this episode, whether he believes it or not. Struggling, gasping, drowning in its own "logic" and "cleverness," ready to collapse as soon as you decide you have the right to BE God. Like the Doctor, you're only going to destroy yourself. You aren't up against Time--but you're ignoring something even greater.
There are so many people killing themselves and not even realizing it. The Doctor doesn't realize it until its too late. His death, the death of this incarnation of him, is coming. And, suddenly, he goes from feeling all-powerful to being scared, I think, for the first time ever, running into his TARDIS to hide.
This world needs us.
We can't just leave it like this. These people, these people who think they're God, who think they've outsmarted everything, who think they can call their own shots, because who's keeping track...these people are dying. There's going to be no TARDIS to hide in.
THEY need us. The all-powerful, the all-clever, the Doctors of the world. They have nothing. And they need to know that, before it is too late.