Short thoughts on Doctor Who, disc by disc. (originally published July 2012)
Tonight’s soundtrack: Tones on Tail, “Twist”
You know what’s a little disturbing? For all that Doctor Who raves about humanity and how it’s got a great future ahead in the stars and we go on an on, indomitable in our pluck, until the end of the universe, hey nonny nonny, the show also fairly regularly maintains that we’re selfish lazy bastards.
That’s putting it too lightly, actually. Humanity leapfrogs across the solar system then out into the wider galaxy and establishes great and bountiful empires because we constantly seek out a slave class. Monoids, Ood, Vox Robots, The Flesh, Star Whales, Tharils… the message again and again is that humans achieve intergalactic success when they’ve got someone else doing the heavy lifting.
By the time the Doctor shows up, sure, that era’s slave system is about ready to crumble and he might give it a push, but, geez, what do you call a species that just keeps saying, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, we totally made a mistake with those guys, but that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with slavery. We just didn’t enslave the right dudes.”
I don’t think you call them anything nice.
At least the Daleks just kill you. And the Cybermen may take you against your will, but they make you one of them. You’re an equal, upgraded to cybercitizen. Across the universe, Sontarans are known as fearless warriors. Time Lords let themselves be perceived as indolent bureaucrats. Humans apparently… well. An Earth ship gets spotted in your solar system, you probably start measuring your tentacles for shackles.
Put it another way: is there any reason to trust humanity other than on the Doctor’s say so?
And what happens when he stops giving us second chances?