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“The Eleventh Hour”: Religion Like a Little one in Physician Who’s Good Fairytale


Each different Tuesday in StoriedOkay. B. Hoyle explores the methods our cultural narratives act on us individually and in society as an entire.


In the event you’ve by no means watched a single episode of Physician Who, you may pull up a chair to Episode One in every of Season 5, “The Eleventh Hour,” and watch it as a standalone with out actually struggling confusion or needing rationalization. This will’t be mentioned for a lot of episodes of the favored, long-running British science fiction/fantasy sequence, however “The Eleventh Hour” is a type of episodes that introduces a brand new solid within the type of a brand new Physician and new companions. However maybe most notably, Season 5 additionally begins a brand new metanarrative and vital story arc. 

Generally perception appears to be like like submission. Like giving up, letting all our rigorously erected defenses down, and giving in to one thing a lot less complicated and higher than we’d ever dared hope for.

What I really like about Physician Who usually is that it’s unapologetically childlike. Not infantile— childlike: it invitations you to just accept absurdity, simplicity, and the implausible with out skepticism, however with surprise and awe. It presupposes Good and Evil and the notion that there are heroes on the market who ought to—in response to a code of unquestionable and intrinsic goodness—save the day. And one of the best of all these heroes in this story is the Physician, aided by his companions. You by no means query the Physician’s functionality or need to finally be and do good, and though the Physician can function as a solo act, the Physician chooses to not be alone, working greatest with companions, buddies, and aids. 

Physician Who is actually a fairytale, marrying complexity with simplicity, universality with specificity, and awakening the childlike eager for the otherness of eternity. For my part, no Physician does this higher than Matt Smith’s Eleventh Physician, no companions are higher as “fairytale companions” than Karen Gillan’s Amelia Pond and Arthur Darvill’s Rory Williams, and no single episode is best at illustrating these fairytale themes than the pilot episode for all of those characters, which is in fact “The Eleventh Hour.” 

The episode opens when the Physician crash lands his TARDIS (his time-and-space-traveling magical blue field) in Amelia Pond’s entrance yard late one evening. She’s a younger woman with a crack in her wall and no mother and father, and since the Physician all the time finds himself precisely the place he’s wanted, we all know this crack have to be vital—and it’s scaring younger Amelia, and since it’s vital to her, it’s vital to the Physician, so he guarantees to assist. 

When the Physician asks Amelia what her identify is, she tells him, and he says that it’s “an excellent identify—like a reputation in a fairytale. Amelia Pond.” He enunciates every syllable for dramatic impact. “The Eleventh Hour” is the start of Amelia Pond’s fairytale, full with a “magic” apple—the very first thing the Eleventh Physician asks for when he emerges from his TARDIS in Amelia Pond’s yard.

However earlier than he may also help Amelia with the crack in her wall, the Physician has to type out his problematic TARDIS, so he guarantees to be again in just some minutes and leaves. And Amelia Pond sits and waits. And waits. And we’re invited to concurrently among the best openings of any of the episodes of Physician Who and one of many saddest, as a result of the Physician doesn’t know that his time-traveling TARDIS is misbehaving, and that though he’s promised to return in just some minutes, his TARDIS won’t deliver him again for for much longer than that. 

When the Physician returns, he meets a lady named Amy on the home he thinks he simply left, and he doesn’t notice that the younger Amelia Pond he left on their lonesome that evening, he left not only for an evening, however for twelve years. Amelia grew as much as name herself Amy, and it took her a lifetime of remedy to unravel the “fantasy” of the “Raggedy Physician” who visited her and promised to save lots of her from the scary crack in her wall. And now, she doesn’t consider in him or his capability to save lots of her anymore. 

As a result of the Physician was whisked unintentionally away for twelve years, the crack in Amy’s wall was by no means mounted, and an evil creature emerged from it into her village—one which’s been haunting her for her entire life, and one whose presence now threatens the world. The Physician all the time will get known as again precisely when he’s wanted most, although, so his reemergence into grownup Amy’s life on the eleventh hour suits the narrative construction of the story. However so as to save her personal life, and assist the Physician save the world, Amy has to reignite the childlike religion and longing she’s spent so lengthy making an attempt to suppress. 

Generally perception appears to be like like submission. Like giving up, letting all our rigorously erected defenses down, and giving in to one thing a lot less complicated and higher than we’d ever dared hope for. Or perhaps, than we’d ever dared hope for since we have been a lot youthful and much much less jaded. The Physician doesn’t ask Amy to consider in him with out proof, however the one proof he can supply her is her personal religion in him from when she was a toddler. 

When the Physician crash landed in Amelia Pond’s yard twelve years earlier than, Amelia launched him to quite a lot of meals, as a result of he had simply regenerated into the Eleventh Physician and didn’t know what his new mouth favored but. One of many meals younger Amelia gave him to eat was an apple—it’s what he requested for, in any case—and he or she gave him one onto which she carved a smiley face. He tucked it away in his pocket earlier than boarding the TARDIS and promising to return. After all, the journey he took was, for him, a couple of minutes, however for Amelia twelve years, so the apple in his pocket with the smiley face stayed contemporary. 

Grown Amy, struggling towards perception, struggling to be rational, doesn’t consider that this man who has returned is the “Raggedy Physician” she’s spent her entire life dreaming of and making an attempt to suppress eager for—till he takes out the apple. In an important scene the place the earth is in peril and the Physician has twenty minutes to reserve it, and he has solely an apple to persuade Amy Pond that he’s who he says he’s, he places the apple in her hand and pleads along with her. “Amy, consider for twenty minutes.” 

It was virtually too late for Amelia Pond. She grew up! She needed to develop again into “believing in fairytales once more,” as C. S. Lewis would say. And when the Physician reappears in her life, to save her life and the lives of everybody on the planet (as a result of he’s the Physician and that’s what he does), he convinces her with, what else? A “magic” apple from her youth. 

After all, finally Amy believes for for much longer than twenty minutes, as a result of she discovers that the thing of her religion and longing is true. He’s not simply her “Raggedy Physician,” however he’s the Physician, and childlike religion can now transfer into mature perception. He’s able to saving her and saving the world, and he’ll do it. 

What “The Eleventh Hour” reveals us in regards to the roles of religion and longing in perception is that typically having religion like a toddler awakens perception when all else fails. Generally the everlasting longing that lives within the coronary heart quickens the thoughts, too. Amy by no means actually let go of her “Raggedy Physician,” although her thoughts—and everybody in her grown-up life—tried to rationalize him away. And her lifelong eager for her Raggedy Physician spilled over into the lives of these closest to her, too, a few of whom are extra in a position to instantly consider on sight. When her boyfriend Rory sees the Physician for the primary time, he says, in shock, “It’s him, the Raggedy Physician!… However he was a narrative, he was a recreation!”

In one other episode, however one which harkens again to “The Eleventh Hour,” the Physician tells a younger Amelia Pond as she’s sleeping in her mattress, “We’re all tales ultimately; higher make it a superb one.” He’s fading out of existence, trying towards that still-present and still-scary crack within the wall, telling her all about their adventures collectively in a useless hope that she—her unconscious—will keep in mind him. As a result of the tales kids inform, and the desires they dream—the religion and longing they carry with them into maturity have the ability to result in perception. Jesus mentioned, “Let the little kids come unto me.” The religion Amelia Pond put within the Physician as a toddler was proved, on the eleventh hour, to be not a useless one, however a real one.



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