Short thoughts on Doctor Who, disc by disc (originally published June 2012)
Colony in Space
Tonight’s soundtrack: Dirty Three, “Everything’s Fucked”
Everyone’s running a couple cons here.
The mining corporation could just use legal and military threats to get the planet, but they also run a fake monster and a mole. The colonists deceive themselves and everyone else about their chances of survival. The Master’s tricked out as a corrupt official, but that’s just a flourish in his larger, more deadly scheme. The Doctor lies to the colonists, bluffs the Master, and does patronizing illusions for the Primitives. The Time Lords kick it all off by insisting on plausible deniability and forcing the Doctor to be their wet boy. You can’t trust anyone, and so no one does. This is a story about betrayals, misdirection, dishonesty, cover-ups, strife, and the violence that erupts in such an atmosphere.
It’d be Reservoir Dogs, if it wasn’t already Indiana Jones and the Ring of Power.
What gets buried in all the hullaballoo: the Primitives once created an armament so powerful that even Time Lords call it a Doomsday Weapon. It’s so destructive, so utterly antithetical to existence that it has what I’m going to start calling a Gravity of Evil. It attracts bad people. It draws the mean in good people to the surface. It sets sensible people against their own interests. It’s rotten and wrong and it’s why the crops don’t grow and why the corporation lusts after the world. Just by being there, the superweapon makes this1 a Bad Place. No one should have this power. It doesn’t even belong in a museum.
In the 21st Century on Old Earth, we called that weapon the Citizens United decision2.
1 Even today, the damned internet can’t decide if the planet is called Exarius or Uxaerius, that’s how divisive it is.
2 Oooh, political.