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The Impossible Astronaut

The events of ‘The Impossible Astronaut’ and ‘The Day of the Moon’, episodes 1 and 2 of Series 6, take place in the United States in 2011 and 1969.

The plot devised by ‘The Silence’ to kill the Doctor appears to succeed on the shores of Lake Silencio when someone wearing an Apollo Astronaut’s space suit emerges from the lake. After a brief exchange the Doctor submits to be killed and since he fails to complete his regeneration before the Astronaut fires a second and third time, his death is final.

Amy, Rory and River Song, are devastated. Amy suggests that this can’t be the Doctor but must be a clone or duplicate ‘or something’.

Well, yes, this was the Doctor miniaturised and safe within a Teselecta version of himself; so he is ‘barely singed’ when his companions, with the help of Canton Everett Delaware III commit his body to a Viking-style cremation in a boat upon the lake.

Really, the symbolism in this episode seems incredibly rich with Christian parallels; though perhaps I am mistaken.

A man, beloved, immortal, who submits to death in the presence of his friends, having shared a last meal with them, beside a lake, who then appears to them again calling himself ‘the King of O.K.’  and for whose friend (Amy) the ‘thing that really matters’ that she can swear to truthfulness upon is ‘fish fingers and custard’, to which he replies, ‘My life in your hands’. Really, Steven, don’t try to tell me you didn’t know what you were doing!

So, I have no qualms at all about making one further link to the life of Christ and his disciples from events in this episode.

Beside the Lake, beside the Doctor’s lifeless body, Amy asks Rory, ‘What do we do?’

River replies, ‘We’re his friends. We do what the Doctor’s friends always do; as we’re told.’

After Jesus shared his final meal with his disciples in that upper room and before leaving for the garden of Gethsemane, he encouraged them with promises that gave them hope for the future; to help them through the few days until his resurrection, and beyond.

He said, ‘Greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. John 15:13-15

Now, we may not be able to claim River’s perfect friendship (We do what the Doctor’s friends always do; as we’re told) but I am sure she was on the right track in suggesting that love is often best expressed in trust that works itself out in action.

Jesus said, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” John 15:9-11

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One comment on “The Impossible Astronaut

  1. […] But, secondly, it exercises my conscience in that I find myself, indirectly, promoting a product that is ultimately not a friend of the Gospel and which in many ways denies it (and I continue to do this even knowing that writers may be intentionally appropriating biblical themes of life and death, good and evil, faith, hope, trust, and love for their own purposes. I am not forgetting that these are themes present in all the major faiths and even, strangely to me, in atheism; it’s just that some are obviously Christian-for example Rory, Amy and River Song sharing a last meal of bread and wine with the Doctor before he is killed, and then cremated, and then resurrected-but-not-really-resurrected, in an episode of Doctor Who. (That’s Series Six, Episode One, ‘The Impossible Astronaut’. You can visit Blue Box Parables for some comments on that episode by clicking here.) […]

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