Doctor Who’s Awkward Mental Health Fears Reaction Explained by BBC – Screen Rant

Posted: February 14, 2020 at 3:46 am

This post was added by Alex Diaz-Granados

The BBC attempts to explain the Doctor's lack of empathy to a companion's fears of dying alone in a recent Doctor Who episode exploring mental health.

The BBC issued an official statement explaining The Doctor'sawkward response to mental health fears in a recent episode of Doctor Who. "Can You Hear Me,"was an episode in which the Doctor and her companions are forced to face their worst mental traumas. Still, fans found the Doctor's lack of empathy towards her companion, Graham, at the end of the episode to be deeply unsettling.

Doctor Whofollowsa time-traveling, 900-year old Time Lord called the Doctor (from the planet Gallifrey), as he gallivants across time and space. The Doctor doesn't like to travel alone, and frequently plucks humans filled with wanderlust to go along for the journey. Not only do the humans (typically referred to as the Doctor's companions) act as the audience surrogate, but they also serve to balance out the Doctor's alien tendencies - mainly when a dose of humanity is more than necessary to avoid chaos in the universe. The Thirteenth Doctorchose to travel with three companions, Yaz, Ryan, and Graham.

Related: Doctor Who: The Chameleon Arch Explained-How A Time Lord Becomes Human

The controversial episode in question, which prompted the BBC's official response, was supposed to shine a spotlight on mental health issues. The episode also intended toshow that there is nothing wrong with seeking supportfor mental healthproblems, caused by trauma or other means. The official statement offered no apology for the fan outcry, but rather an explanation.

"The intention of the scene was to acknowledge how hard it can be to deal with conversations on this subject matter...When faced with these situations, people dont always have the right words to say at the right time, and this can often lead to feelings of guilt. By showing the Doctor struggling to find the right words, the intention was to sympathise with all those who may have found themselves in a similar position."

While a significant part of the Doctor's character is the fact that they are indeed an alien (two hearts, regenerations, and all), the Time Lord has never lacked compassion for humans or other species. It was completely understandable that fans were disappointed when the Doctor responded, rather callously, to Graham, who not only was relaying his fears about his cancer returning, but also his concern about dying alone. (A major character arc for Graham was mourning the loss of his beloved wife, Grace.) Although the Doctor's indifferent reaction was probably not meant to be malicious, it was quite out of character for the Doctor, who should've known better by this point.

Doctor Whohas lasted for fifty years and counting for a reason, the series may star an alien in aspaceship shaped like a telephone booth, but it's really the humans who are the heroes. While the Doctor may lack humanity in certain situations, the character learns by interacting with humans, and observing how they care and exude compassion for others.Over timethe Doctor begins to understand these interactions and displays their own sense of empathy for others, humans or otherwise. The companions and the Doctor learn from each other on every adventure they take, and the worlds they save on the way make the show so worthwhile to watch. Hopefully, the backlash from the episode encourages the writers to impart more compassion on the Doctor, so the same situation doesn't happen again.

Next: Doctor Who Season 12 Already Set Up How the Time Lords Can Return

Source: BBC

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