Short thoughts on Doctor Who, disc by disc. (originally published July 2012)
The Space Museum
Tonight’s soundtrack: Thelonius Monk, “Epistrophy”
We’re certainly not going to solve how Time and time travel works in the world of Doctor Who tonight. Not in 250 words. Not in these shoes. I’ve got some thoughts in my head, though, and The Space Museum is as good a place as any to start setting them out.
First, let me lie back on my fainting couch before you blow my mind with the fact that Time Travel in Doctor Who runs on dramatic principles: the Laws of Time are exactly what is required to get maximum drama out of any moment or story, according to the understanding of the author. Therefore, they contradict each other as necessary and we shouldn’t worry about it.
My immediate response is “Yes, of course, that’s the fact of the matter. What is it like to live in a world without fun, you stunted hobgoblin?”
My second response is less charitable. I think that reductive “Oh they just fucked up the writing; that’s just the way the world is” notion encourages people to throw up their hands and declare “This makes no sense!” as soon as things get weird. We hoo-mans take any excuse to stop burning brain cycles. To avoid the complaint, simpler things get written. Then, sorry… people get more dumber. I know the notion intends to help people enjoy more things and not get hung up on logic at the wrong moment, but it’s rhetorical Valium. Use as needed. Let’s not put it in the water supply.
A contradiction is a tension. Tensions are exciting. Applying your brain to a hot paradox, wrestling with the fiction itself - I’d argue that’s just about the exact opposite of mental masturbation.
Shit. That got away. Quickly— The Space Museum gives us three hints about Time and the Doctor:
1. If Time were a line, it would be a spiral, like a record album.
2. But in fact, Time has more than two dimensions.
3. The Doctor knows choice is as good as chance.
Sorry, Free Will fans! See you tomorrow! And not!