Needing the Doctor

What might you do if a time-traveling physician showed up in your fireplace?

If you’re a young girl in 18th Century France named Reinette, you might befriend such a mysterious man.  This is the catalyst for my favorite episode of Doctor Who, Girl in the Fireplace.  On this adventure, The Doctor and his friends – Rose and Micky – find themselves in the future and trapped on a spaceship reminiscent of the Nostomo from Alien.  While wondering the ship, The Doctor comes accross a fireplace that’s actually a potal into 18th century France, specifically the bedroom of a young girl named Reinette.  In meeting Reinette, The Doctor Discovers that she is being watched over by Joker-looking “clock-bots” that frighten her as a closet boogy-man would.  Nevertheless, The Doctor assures her that even the monsters/demons fear something:  The Doctor.

As the episode progresses, The Doctor traverses back and forth through the fireplace between 18th Century France and the future spaceship.  Meanwhile, Reinette ages while he doctor doesn’t.  As Reinette grows older, The Doctor discovers that she has become Madam de Pompadour, the famous mistress of King Louis XV, and that the “steam-bots” are still present in her life.  It also becomes apparent that The Doctor is the true object of her affections, not the monarch of France.

This episode presents so many solid ideas, mostly in lines given to Reinette.  She doesn’t know exactly what the “clock-bots” are so she refers to them as monsters; monsters who lie in wait for her as her days pass.  She realizes that The Doctor wouldn’t keep popping in and out of her life if it weren’t for the monsters presence, as she says “one never knows when one needs one’s Doctor” and later declare that  “The Doctor is worth the Monsters”  – to which Rose agrees – that “one many tolerate a world of demons for the sake of an angel”.    The idea that difficult things in life have purpose and that good can come of them.

Watching this episodes and contemplating the wisdom within the dialogue, I can’t help but think of a statement Jesus made in the Gospels that “it is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick”.  The Doctor came into Reinette’s life to help her deal with fear and change; things that were making her sick, not in body but in spirit.  When he was around she knew she’d be alright no matter what happened.

In an account in the Gospels of Mark and Luke, Jesus encounters a man tormented by a legion of demons, rescuing him from them by casting them into a heard of pigs.  In so doing this man is restored to rightful mind and spirit, able to return home to a community that likely shunned him and tell the wondrous story of his change, even though he wanted nothing more than to remain with Jesus.  I wonder if he ever had a moment where he thought “encountering Jesus was worth the demons”


Posted on by Aaron in Uncategorized

About Aaron

Author, Speaker, and Super Nerd. Aaron Welty speaks and writes regularly connecting the dots of life, faith, and science fiction. Originally from Michigan, he now lives and works in the Washington, D.C. Metro area.

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