Saturday, December 28, 2013

Doctor Who-The Doctor,The Widow & The Wardrobe

                         Falling out of the sky after an encounter with aliens,the doctor falls to Earth inside a spacesuit,put on backwards,into late 1930's England to be assisted back to his TARDIS by a Madge Arwell-wife of Reg and mother of daughter Lily and stargazing son Cyril. Grateful for her assistance,the doctor vows to be at her willing assistance if she wishes for him to come. In 1941 when Reg goes missing in his plane over the English channel,the doctor returns in the personage of the character of a shelter where Madge has taken her children for protection during the London blitz. While he has decorated the home,especially the children's room,in a fancifully whimsical manner Madge is traumatized by the loss of her husband. And has elected not to tell Lily and Cyril as it's Christmas time. 

                    During the night  Cyril awakens to sneak a look at his present put under the tree by the mysterious but kindly caretaker (the doctor,of course) and finds in the huge box a door into a beautiful wintery forest-where trees create their own decorations as it were. One even falls to the ground and expands into a growing sphere of wood. Lily and the doctor join together when the find Cyril has gone missing,and follow him through into the wintery forest. The doctor has intended this as a gift for Cyril. However he observes the trees speaking to each other in whispers-atypical behavior indicating something has gone wrong. Madge herself enters the box herself to be set upon by an expedition,who respond to her protective actions as a mother and explain to her what has occurred.

                       The expedition are from Androzani Major-a world where the living trees are a prized commodity. They intend to melt down the trees of the forest using artificially created acid rain in order to harvest their natural life force. Meanwhile the doctor and Lily follow Cyril's footsteps into an elaborate wooden structure where they encounter regal looking wooden humanoids. Cyril meanwhile is upstairs with one such humanoid, who places a golden crown upon his head. By the time the doctors and Lily reach him,he is unconscious. He awakens to tell them he hears the trees talking. From out the window Lily notices the trees covered by stars,which the doctors explain are pure life force about to ascend. 

                     Speaking through Cyril,with the crown apparently a relay the life forces of the trees deem him as too weak. Same goes for the doctor and Lily as well. Soon enough the doctor notices the beginning of the acid rain. And the sound of the Androzani land vessel coming toward them-piloted improvisationally by Madge as the original crew had escaped at the beginning of the acid rain fall. When she arrives to rescue her children,she takes the relay,believing it to be a crown and puts it on her head. The life force of the trees are intending to use a strong individual to carry their energy as a symbiotic biological lifeboat. The life force stars enter into Madge's apparently unfazed mind as the rounded tower they are in takes off into the night sky.

                     Realizing that Madge's thoughts are controlling the vessel,the doctor advises her to focus on her home. This forces her to recall the memory of her lost husband,and the children to begin to learn of the news she has been hiding from them. After landing back on Earth in their proper time and place,the doctor leaves the sphere to give Madge privacy to tell her children of their fathers supposed fate. Yet outside he finds a surprise he asks them to come see. Apparently,the sphere's trip through the time vortex at Madge's hands had provided a guiding light for her husband to steer his plane into safety and be with them for Christmas. Having reunited the Arwell family the doctor,at Madge's maternal suggested,
returns to the TARDIS where he meets Amy and Rory for Christmas dinner-where River Song has told them about him still being alive and where they had been setting a table every Christmas for the two years he'd apparently been away.

                    Over time the doctor has had a fickle relationship with domesticity: alternately embracing and dismissing it. In this story, everything he does is based around his interest in the Arwell children and their healthy curiosities. He is continually surprised by Madge's sometimes brash maternal confidence,accepting her inability to tell her children of their father's fate due to her protectiveness and concern for single motherhood in the ward times of the second world war. A re-visitation of Androzani from the final fifth doctor story,and the story of it's life force trees has a well written and vitally metaphoric message about environmentalism and deforestation as well. Overall this is a fantastic Doctor Who Christmas tale full of the love of family enduring through hardship,the significance of the power of both mother and fatherhood and of course the importance of respecting life in all it's forms.
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