I thought of other titles for this post, but the fact that it manages to include “Doctor Who” in a sense other than as the title of the TV show, while being about that TV show, made me opt for this one. (Does anyone else regularly mistake articles about a doctor who did something, as being about “Doctor Who”?)
Fans of Doctor Who know that a major debate about the first episode of the current season, “Deep Breath,” is [SPOILER] whether the Doctor actually pushed the cyborg to its death.
We may or may not find out the answer to that question. But we already knew that killing is not against the Doctor’s programming, contrary to his claim. He doesn’t like doing it, and if he did we would consider him profoundly immoral. But he does kill – and indeed, indicates that he is “afraid he might have to kill” the machine that has begun to become human through its process of substitution.
I don’t find the issue to be as poignant as some others do. The episode seemed to be intentionally echoing “The Christmas Invasion,” the first full episode in which David Tennant played the Doctor. The Doctor gives the Sycorax leader a chance to surrender, and when he tries again to kill the Doctor, the Doctor sends him plummeting to his death, saying “No second chances. I’m that sort of a man” Here’s the clip below:Sarah Bessey, Richard Beck, Ross Miller, and Paddy O’Meara are among those who’ve discussed online whether the Doctor pushed the half-face man to his death at the end of “Deep Breath.” I’m not sure, but it wouldn’t be out of character if he did.
But it is great to see people debating this. Because fans of Dr. Who often debate matters that are simply ones of personal preference – like whether it was appropriate for me to use the abbreviation “Dr. Who” in this sentence. But there are also matters about which serious disagreement is possible, about which we need to learn to disagree in a principled and rational manner, and not just the way we do when something is about personal preference. Ethics seems to me to be just that sort of matter.
On the other sorts of topics Doctor Who fans are liable to debate, this cartoon from Real Life Comics is relevant: