As I alluded to before, when I do reviews here at The Christian Scribbler, I have two aims in mind; the first is just a plain review…was the book/movie/show/CD a good one from my perspective? Is it worth the money/time? The second aim is to share any “sacred” I find in the “secular,” anything theological, philosophical, or spiritual that makes me ponder aspects of Christianity, or other belief systems.
Let’s “turn” to the review. Turn Left is a Doctor Who episode, that I did enjoy, written by Russell T. Davies (RTD). First I have to say that I must have Joss Whedon’s Firefly on the brain, because that is all I could think of as the show started in an alien type of Chinatown… Anywho, Donna and The Doctor are in a market doing a bit of touring and shopping when Donna gets “pulled” into a fortune teller’s booth. I could have told her, from a Christian perspective, that no good could come of this, if she’d only asked (ha)… We, the audience, quickly realize that this isn’t a nice woman we are dealing with here, it takes Donna a bit longer. By the way, this is where an aspect of Doctor Who that all of us fans know and love makes an appearance — a really cheesy “monster,” this time a gigantic, obviously fake beetle that gets a bit friendly with Donna’s back shows up; it latches on to her shoulders like a parasite.
The main theme of this eppy is an idea that I believe we’ve all kicked around at one time or another; do the smallest action and choices we make affect our futures in some profound way? They do with Donna at least…the “bug” takes her back into her past and influences her to make a right turn when she originally made a left turn…literally. She is at a crossroads in her car…thanks RTD…yes, we get it, the scene brings to mind the important crossroads in life.
The whole span of universes go down hill from there; Donna’s change in choice sends major ripples through the multiverse…and Catherine Tate’s wonderful acting is supposed to send ripples through us. I think she pulled it off really well. Choice and consequence, what-if’s, is there really coincidence, do we have free will in our choices? Yes, RTD’s plot is set up to make us think.
Eventually Donna is able to return to her past again, and “right” the wrong; making herself turn left once more. The universe is righted, the cheesy parasite insectoid falls off, and The Doctor finally finds her in the fortune teller’s shop. The Doctor soon freaks out a bit himself, as Donna passes on a message from a certain blonde ex-companion, the message consists of two words, “Bad Wolf.” Which, sets Tennant up to beautifully emote the Doctor’s internal feelings to us via facial expression.
So what stood out to me in this episode? First, the central role of Christmas in the Doctor Who universe (yes, I understand that’s when the execs want a Who special on TV, but nevertheless…it was featured in this eppy as well). Big alien invasion time? Christmas. Time to evacuate London? Christmas. Pivitol character introduction or development for The Doctor? Christmas. It’s amazing how the celebration of the Lord’s birth (notice I didn’t say, the actual date of the Lord’s birth, but rather the celebration of it) has such a high rate of “coincidence.”
Moving on; the messiah-like quality of The Doctor, as discussed in a previous post, was actually shared this time with Donna. I both liked and disliked this plot device; at first I thought RTD was trying to make the very deep, very true point that all humans, regardless of station in life are pivotal (as The Doctor himself has alluded to in the past)…but then RTD changes track a bit and makes sure we know that Donna Noble is really really special, not like the rest of us ordinary slobs.
I, as a non-Arminian, non-Calvinist Christian have my own ideas about choice, free will, etc… and I couldn’t help but be reminded of the most important Cross-roads of everyone’s life…that point, or points, where we each, with our own free will, answer the question posed by Christ in Matthew 16, “13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?“ That choice, that answer, really does have world changing implications for each of us. I do realize that it can come across as “cheesy” for me to mention that, but when terms such as “crossroad” and “life-changing choices” comes to mind, that’s what my thoughts turn to.
The philosophical questions RTD brings up through the storyline are really interesting, and he does such a good job balancing the story; if you want to read something deeper and ask those deep questions because of the plot…well and good. If, however, you just want to kick back, relax, and enjoy an hour long sci-fi show with the fam without giving it too much thought, it works just as well. It was a fun, but serious episode and well acted by Tate; worth watching and mulling over.