Doctor Who: Fury from the Deep

The episode of Doctor Who “Fury from the Deep” says goodbye to Victoria Waterfield as the Doctor’s companion, and says hello to a new companion for the first time that would remain with the Doctor down to the present day: the sonic screwdriver.

This episode features the TARDIS landing on water, and the Doctor, Jamie and Victoria being apprehended after being discovered in the restricted area of the nearby beach. There is a natural gas pipeline there, which it soon turns out has been colonized by parasitic seaweed which, although not itself sentient, can take over human beings creating a sort of hive mind.

The Doctor identifies the creature in question in a book of myths and legends, in this case an entry about something sailors in the 19th century claimed to have seen. And so once again, rather than undermining or combatting the mythical, Doctor Who affirms its literal truthfulness.

Apart from that broader topics of mythology and sci-fi, which intersects with religion, the other main point of interest related to religion and sci-fi in the episode is when the Doctor says that for matter to conquer mind is against the laws of nature. In fact, from a purely natural perspective, one might conclude that mind is matter. But at any rate, it seems as though there is no inherent “law of nature” that prohibits something non-sentient from overpowering something sentient. The closest thing to such an alleged natural law might be what one find in Genesis 1, where the Creator charges human beings with dominion over the rest of the created order. And so it may be that the idea of seaweed becoming humanity’s master is at odds not with any scientific law, but with a conviction that ultimately derives from Jewish and Christian views of creation and of humanity’s role in it.

At the very least, this episode provides a useful starting point for conversations about this topic. And it also features the Doctor trying to fly a helicopter!

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