The last fifteen episodes of Doctor Who have depended heavily upon Steven Moffat’s “Parenthood” theme. Lets illustrate it here:
- “A Christmas Carol” – the story of a boy who grew up with an abusive father, learning how to love.
- “The Impossible Astronaut” &
- “Day of the Moon” – involve an orphanage and a mysterious child who is later revealed to be River, and the child of Amy and Rory.
- “The Curse of the Black Spot” – a story about an estranged father who mends his relationship with his son.
- “The Doctor’s Wife” – we get a break here!
- “The Rebel Flesh” &
- “The Almost People” – a two-parter involving a subplot about a father hoping to get back to his son; also culminating in Amy’s labor.
- “A Good Man Goes to War” – Melody Pond is born, and the Doctor builds an army to non-violently rescue Amy and Melody.
- “Let’s Kill Hitler” – Amy and Rory discover they’ve already raised their daughter – woops!
- “Night Terrors” – a father learns to love his weird alien son, by inviting a stranger into the house in the middle of the night (wtf?)
- “The Girl Who Waited” – break
- “The God Complex” – break
- “Closing Time” – a father learns to love his baby with whom he’s had a hard time developing a connection
- “The Wedding of River Song” – Amy and Rory’s daughter, River, kills Amy’s best friend/her own husband – its like a American soap opera!
- “The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe” – When her children go missing, a mother takes space-miners hostage and drives a future-space mining thing, then pilots her family through the time vortex in order to rescue them.
Gordon Bennet, look at all that parenting!
I wanted to illustrate the frequency of the parenting theme in response to criticisms of “The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe”. Admittedly not the most feminist of stories, there does seem to be a common habit of viewing this story solely in the context of Science Fiction as a whole, rather than in the context the current era of Doctor Who. I think its important to remember that this story is told in the context of a whole season devoted to parenthood.
If we divide this last 15 episodes into stories about mums and dads, what do we get? (Lets exclude Amy and Rory for a moment.)
- “A Christmas Carol”
- “The Curse of the Black Spot”
- “The Rebel Flesh” &
- “The Almost People”
- “Night Terrors”
- “Closing Time”
- “The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe”
If we were to include “A Good Man Goes to War”, I feel that it was be a bit more of a “Dad” story than a “Mum” one; Amy’s a damsel in distress, whereas Rory is the adventurer who travels all of time and space to build an army to try and save his wife and daughter (I imagine relating how helpful many dads want to be when their partners are giving birth, but undoubtedy aren’t).
In “The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe”, the “women as vessels for life” concept, isn’t what the story is really about. That’s a spacey-wacey symbol of importance, but isn’t the heart of the story. I believe what lays at the heart of it, is a story about mothers as emotionally strong, and incredibly brave and daring. That isn’t to say its without its problems, and that as a stand alone story it may still give an uneven feel for the importance of mothers in the lives of their children.
I think Moffat’s message so far has been this, “The Doctor will defeat the Daleks…but failing that, your Mum and Dad (if you’ve got ‘em) will always save you.” Not an accurate message, but perhaps a comfort to many young people hiding behind the sofa.