What’s on your ‘Bucket List’? That is, given that you know you are soon to die, what will you do with your remaining time?
In 6:12, ‘Closing Time’, the Doctor, travelling alone on a ‘farewell tour’, decides to attempt a social call on old friends, Craig and Sophie Owens.
He met them in 5:11, becoming Craig’s ‘Lodger’ when he was separated from Amy, who was alone in the TARDIS and unable to land (locked in a materialisation loop) effected by the crashed space ship that has taken over the room above Craig’s flat (only there is no room above Craig’s flat).
Two situations confront the Doctor; first, the emergency crash program of the ship at Craig’s place, in searching for a new pilot, seems intent on working its way through the entire population of Earth (17 people have been tried; 6,000,400,026 remain) until it succeeds.
A second, more complex problem, confronts the Doctor; Craig’s relationship with Sophie. Craig says she is ‘a friend who is a girl; there’s nothing going on’ and this strikes a chord with the Doctor who comments, ‘ah, that’s completely normal; works for me’.
But, in his ancient Time Lord wisdom he picks up on the vibe between these two. When both complain about the dullness of their existence it becomes obvious that neither will leave Colchester to pursue brighter dreams because of their feelings for each other. Sophie says, ‘Cos life can seem pointless, Doctor. Work, weekend, work, weekend; and there’s six billion people on the planet doing pretty much the same.’
To which ‘Who’ replies, ‘Six billion people? Watching you two at work, I’m starting to wonder where they all come from’.
Both problems are resolved when ‘Sofa Man’ Craig must convince the alien craft that no one is going anywhere by admitting his reasons for staying, ‘Sophie! I don’t want to leave Sophie! I can’t leave Sophie! I love Sophie!’ and Sophie in turn admits her own feelings for Craig.
The alien ship implodes, Amy lands the TARDIS and the Doctor departs with her, leaving Craig and Sophie to consider his advice, ‘Now then. 6,000,400,026 people in the world; that’s the number to beat’.
Enter ‘Alfie’ Owens, or as he prefers to be called, ‘Stormageddon; Dark Lord of All’ (see terrifying picture) whom the Doctor meets on his return visit, arriving when Sophie has left Craig in charge while she takes a weekend off.
‘Craig Owens can do it on his own. No-one is coming to help me!’ he says. Just as well he’s wrong; the Doctor arrives just as some Cybermen are busily re-energising their crashed ship beneath ‘Sanderson & Grainger’s’ department store in preparation to take over the planet.
With Craig’s help that crisis is averted and the Cybermen destroyed; ‘I blew them up with love’, he claims, when their attempt to transform him into their ‘Cyber Controller’ is thwarted because he hears and answers Alfie’s cries. The Doctor explains to one Cyberman, ‘What’s happening, you metal moron? A baby is crying. And you better watch out, cos guess what? Ha! Daddy’s coming home!’
This is quite upbeat considering the Doctor’s mood earlier when he tries to comfort a crying Alfie. Then he said, ‘Shhh. There, there. Be quiet. Go to sleep. Really, stop crying. You’ve got a lot to look forward to, you know; a normal human life on Earth. Mortgage repayments, the nine to five, a persistent nagging sense of spiritual emptiness; save the tears for later, boyo. Oh, no! That was crabby. No, that was old! But I am old, Stormy. I am so old; so near the end.’
Not even at his best can the Doctor resolve that ‘persistent nagging sense of spiritual emptiness’ and even a Time Lord must die eventually. What hope is there for mere Earthlings then?
We find out in the New Testament where Paul reassured Christians in Corinth that, in Christ, they had more to hope for than the joys (and tears) of ‘a normal human life on Earth’.
‘If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 1 Corinthians 15:19-26