Last night I went to see Doctor Who in 3D at my local theater. We saw the Series 8 finale event, episodes Dark Water and Death in Heaven.
If you are not a Whovian, sorry champ, the rest of this review probably won’t make sense.
So my friend and I had already seen the episodes when they aired last year but we thought it would be worth it to see even just the opening credits in 3D. And I can assure you yes the fuck it was worth it. Imagine seeing this in 3D:
So basically the premise of this episode is that Danny Pink has died after a freak car accident and Clara wants him back. She tries to force the Doctor into changing time, but he refuses, instead offering to take Clara to a point in time and space where she and Danny’s timelines are intertwined.
I should mention at this point that Danny Pink is black. And very, very attractive.
So hell yeah Clara, you betta did that!
So their travels take them to the Nethersphere, which is initially posited as the afterlife, where Danny is. But it’s not really the afterlife, it’s a hard drive where dead people’s souls go because of a plot to take over the world that the Master (now Missy) has undertaken. The souls, or consciousness, or whatever the hell we’re talking about (It’s Doctor Who, so I think they make it up as they go along) are scheduled to be uploaded into Cybermen.
Michelle Gomez as Missy is absolutely brilliant, by the way. She was also worth the price of admission.
Danny Pink eventually is turned into a Cyberman but because he did not delete his emotions, he is not properly plugged into the hive mind of the Cybermen, so he is not obeying orders. He saves Clara, has one last bitch-fit with the Doctor, and ultimately saves the world.
I may have simplified things a bit and put more focus on the black man rather than the Doctor.
One of the reasons I like Doctor Who so much is that it seems, where possible, they cast black people in significant supporting roles. I don’t know so much how they fared in the original/classic series, but ever since the 9th Doctor in 2005, they have brought us some great companions and associates.
Mickey Smith, Rose’s boyfriend, is one of my favorites.
But let’s not forget Martha Jones!
And they later were shown to have gotten married and became some sort of government agents. Perhaps with U.N.I.T.
Now, I did observe somewhat of a dearth of blackness in the Matt Smith years and that really disappointed me. But with the coming of Peter Capaldi’s Doctor since the 50th anniversary, I have noticed an uptick in interesting supporting characters who happen to be black, Danny Pink notwithstanding. There was Saibra in Time Heist…
And Courtney Woods in Kill the Moon and a few other episodes.
These supporting characters, of course, don’t make up for the fact that there has never been a black Doctor Who (or a woman, but we are talking about black people right now). But as someone who has been knee-deep in science fiction and fantasy for most of my adult life, I do really appreciate the fact that modern Doctor Who doesn’t shy away from race-blind casting (which I personally think is race-aware, but no matter), or speaking to issues of race and class in its story lines. I seem to recall an episode where the Doctor schooled Martha on free blacks in London prior to the abolition of the slave trade. (Or did I make that up?)
For people interested in further discussion of Doctor Who and race, you should get the book Doctor Who and Race! I definitely plan to. Of the twenty or so fans in the audience at last night’s screening, maybe four of us were black and there were no other people of color. It’s nice to know that there is some scholarship going on about this issue and it’s not just being swept under the rug.
Which makes me also wonder… in light of this Matt Damon/Effie Brown thing, I wonder if any people of color have directed episodes of Doctor Who? Definitely need to get the book!