Doctor Who Episode 6.11: The God Complex
Doctor Who has a history of satiring about religion. I don't know about the old series, but even in the new series it appeared quite a few times; in Parting of the Ways, the Dalek Emperor claimed to be god because he created the new Daleks... just make you think, if somebody created you (or claim to have created you), why does it automatically mean that you should "worship" him? This isn't just an RTD thing; in series 5 and 6 we already have those clerics which for some yet-unknown reason are military-looking; in A Good Man Goes to War the headless monks cut their (and others) heads because (not exact wording, but means something like) the logical mind obstructs faith and pure faith can only be obtained by removing the ability to reason.
In this episode though, religious faith are the core of the story.
- I like the idea that "gods" are just creatures from outer space that "fall from the sky" and feed on people's faith (as a form of emotional energy) as food. It is probably not new, but still nice to see it on a TV programme that was watched by millions, many of them kids.
- Although sci-fi never spell it out, the parallels to real-world religions is always there. In this particular episode we see how these monsters instill fear in people to turn them into believing the "god"; those who are turned will then constantly "praise him"; and most importantly those believers now feel "happiness" and "peace" despite the impending doom, in fact the closer they are being eaten the happier they become.
- Of course, the best bit is that "gods" actually get punished: when civilizations get sufficiently advanced, they realize what gods are and decide they have enough of them, they build prisons, send them off to outer space and make sure the gods suffer long enough. Again, it is not new, in fact it has some interesting similarities with RTD's The Second Coming, which is every bit as weird just by reading the wikipedia page.
Seems a very very long way to go for this earthly civilization, though...
Overall, it's a clever episode, incorporateing some interesting thought-provoking ideas. I think episodes 9, 10 and 11 have been very good, even better than those River Song-related stories. Now just two more episodes to go...