Tuesday, September 02, 2014

8.02 Into the Dalek, or Victory is Yours, But it Does Not Please You?


Writer: Phil Ford and Steven Moffat
Director: Ben Wheatley
Airdate: August 30, 2014

Well, that was rather good.

It's an interesting question, whether merely being opposed to evil is sufficient to define one as good. After this, the Doctor doesn't seem to think so.

Of course, the point here is that the Dalek seeks out what it understands. At the end of the day, it found hatred and embraced it. It just happened that it got pointed in the right direction on who to destroy.

State capitalism is the death of morality and it is endless bloodlust. It is a power that claims a penetrating sovereignty over the individual body. It is necropolitical. It makes die and let's live.

Like Rusty, we are subject to the conditions in which we exist. In a system of oppressive hatred called capitalism, it must perhaps be enough to be defined by what we are not and to turn our hatred towards evil.

This machine kills fascists.

The Doctor is in an enviable position. He tries to be a good man. He is in a position of privilege. The privilege to strive for goodness that can only come from someone who has escaped the system of hatred that most of us exist in. I don't mean that uncharitably. We have seen his adventures. He has strived for this privilege, even as he was born into it in a way that none of the rest of this universe ever will be.

The antipathy towards soldiers was interesting, and right. Unlike the usual abhorrence of violence, this was built on the sturdier foundation of a loathing of obedience. I think most of us naturally understand that loathing. I think another good reason to not be keen on soldiers is that they are the strong arm of the vicious capitalist state. They protect our freedoms the same way banks protect our capital. Of course, soldiers too are subject to the restraints of the life they were brought into.

The Doctor has a biting line about how civilians communicate to soldiers with their tears. My guess is that, in the end, this is a setup for the Doctor (or viewer, or both) to learn a valuable lesson about the innate humanity of those who sign up to kill in the name of western democracy. But maybe these positions will be allowed to stand.

I thought about these kids when the Doctor said that.

Of course, no need to make it exotic. Like a country in a different part of the world. Or a rebel ship in the an asteroid belt. It need be no more exotic than the suburb down the highway. The militarized police in Ferguson sure make civilians communicate with tears. And rage. The unstoppable rage of those born into capitalism and finding their fostered hatred directed where it belongs.

This machine kills fascists.

Trying to keep the Tardis free of such things is probably a sound idea. The nature of state capitalism is that it is insatiable. As it penetrates the body, demanding sovereignty in a grotesque expression of patriarchy, so too it penetrates all culture, soon enough. Eventually, even the most measured critiques are met with the violent rage of oppressor. An Anita Sarkeesian never had a chance. Not when the might of an entrenched power structure has to defend itself against even the most mild inquiry.

Eventually, the social violence will just become violence.

Into darkness. That's where the Doctor went this week. The most dangerous place in the universe was the inside of a Dalek, but it may as well have been the inside of a board room. Same difference. So what else is there?

The innate morality of Clara is something that is important to believe in. I don't know if it's real (I would wager that it is not), but it is important nonetheless.  Hobbes wouldn't like it, which is a point in its favor. Most of us are probably more like the Doctor though, trying.

And that, as Clara says, may be the point. It may have to be.

Obligatory Bullet Points:

-Maybe I'm just a bit of a doof, but that proctologist joke really was pretty funny.
-It all looked rather nice.
-And the acting was solid-to-excellent across the board. Capaldi and Coleman continue to impress.
-One dalek really is more compelling than a whole bunch of 'em.
-Oh, right. The slap. Well, as I said on Tumblr:
The problem, in the main, with Clara slapping the Doctor is that it didn’t go far enough. Why settle on slapping a man when you can rupture the time vortex and use it to eliminate the very existence of men? The mind boggles.
-Gatiss next week. Fuck me.

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