Short thoughts on Doctor Who, disc by disc. (originally published July 2012)

The Invasion (slight return)

Tonight’s soundtrack: Murray Gold (featuring the BBC National Orchestra of Wales), “Onwards!”

Miss Yakamoto, pass out the quality headphones and cups of K— uh, Coffee, y'know, Veintitrés, if you would. Now, let’s allow WONDERBOT-AV to restore today’s Babalon Shot.

Is everyone sitting comfortably? Are you listening to tonight’s soundtrack and gazing at today’s shot? Relax. Let your eyes unfocus a little, like you do for one of those stupid Magic Eye photos that never work. I mean… just take the whole thing in.


Is that Patrick Troughton comically dodging an explosion in 1968?

Or is that Matt Smith dashing full tilt at the camera in 2012?

Which do you see: the young older man or the old younger man? Our nostalgic future or the restored past?

There. Right in that tension of what might be, where the light and shadow and sound conspire to create an ambiguity, a soft place. A place that’s safe for unresolved contradictions, for unending questions.  Where either and or meet paradox and then take your hand. That Gap Space where your imagination reaches out to an imperfect fiction and creates impossible beauty. That’s the Doctor.

There are many iconic scenes in The Invasion, and gobs of fantastic acting, but to my eye, this accidental freeze-frame is the Cosmic Easter Egg. It’s a gift. It’s a glimpse at how Doctor Who actually works, a moment of slippage. One thing and another at the same time. The future leaking into the past. Random elements of what we like to call the real world creating an illusion that no one intended but which still illuminates certain principles.

Nothing is true. Everything is permitted.