Tarot and Doctor Who - The Fool
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Oct. 20th, 2012 | 11:30 pm
I’m assuming we’re all familiar with season 5 and 6 so I’ll try to keep narrative short. In the beginning of the episode, Amelia is looking for Santa to save her from the crack in her wall. Santa appears in the form of the newly regenerated Doctor crashing his TARDIS into the Pond’s shed. The little girl introduces herself as Amelia Pond. The Doctor later comments that it’s like a “name in a fairy tale” which is the world we are in. We are in the world of fairy tales and myth. Cinderella expresses her wish to go to the ball and her fairy godmother appears. Likewise, Amelia is scared of the crack in her wall and the Doctor appears. In the next essay, I’ll discuss the Doctor as The Magician archetype. This first episode is just as much about the Magician as the Fool.
The Doctor investigates using his sonic screwdriver or, rather, magic wand. He opens a passage between the worlds. He receives a message on his psychic paper (part of his bag of tricks, The Magician is also a trickster). The message from the crack is “Prisoner Zero has escaped”. Zero is the number of The Fool. The Fool, as mentioned earlier, is the first card of the Major Arcana. Rather than starting with 1, it starts with 0, saying that we’re starting with something brand new. Something that hasn’t been shaped yet. Our Fool is a blank slate of sorts. The Fool, as the name implies, is ignorant of the world around her.
Pictured in the card, shown above, is a man/boy without a care in the world about to step off a cliff. He fancies himself an adventurer but he is unaware of the danger before him. A little white dog is nipping at his heels warning him of the danger. Does he listen? Similar to this imagery, we see little Amelia, ignorant of the dangers of traveling with the Doctor, of the dangers of the universe at large, eagerly waiting for her Raggedy Man to return. Here, Amy mirrors the imagery of the Marseilles Deck, pictured above left, with its reds, blues, and whites, down to the red and white suitcase/knapsack. So where’s the dog? There are several different things in this episode that represent the little white dog. First, a little detour.
Amy mirrors the TARDIS
When we find Amy as an adult, she is dressed as a policewoman. But it’s a ruse. She’s actually a kissogram. “I go to parties and I kiss people.” And what is the TARDIS? She is a sapient machine that dresses herself up as a police box. Moreover, it’s implied that she has chosen to be one for 700 years despite the infinite forms available to her. In The Doctor’s Wife of season 6, the TARDIS becomes human for a short time and the first thing she does is kiss the Doctor. She also mentions the Fool stage of her own journey. “I wanted to see the universe so I stole a Time Lord and ran away.”
They also have a slight fetish for biting. Biting is used to show something is real twice in season 5.
The second is in The Time of Angels. Amy’s mind is infected with a Weeping Angel. She believes she is turning to stone and can’t move. The Angels are closing in and she tells the Doctor to leave her. The only way to convince Amy that she is still flesh is to bite her. Biting comes up again in the The Doctor’s Wife. “Biting is like kissing, only there’s a winner.” The little white dog in the card is a call back to the real world and to what’s real. In these cases, it’s the latter. With the Doctor, there is a lot of illusion and trickery. We’re going to need a level head when adventuring with the Doctor. We are on a spiritual quest, sure, but we shouldn’t get tied up in illusions. That isn’t a true spiritual quest.
The TARDIS is also bigger on the inside. Amelia’s house also appears bigger on the inside with a staircase appearing to lead up to a third floor but the outside shots clearly indicate a two story house (although it could just be an attic). Also, there is the use of perception filters. Prisoner Zero sets one up in Amelia’s house to hide. The TARDIS uses one to hide herself.
Back to the Episode
The Doctor realizes that Zero is hiding in Amelia’s house and aims to get her out. However, he finds a grown Amy who knocks him and chains him to the radiator. To convince her to uncuff him, he, as The Magician, gives her, as The Fool, her first lesson.
Prisoner Zero emerges from the room as a middle-aged man and a dog. Here is a literal “dog” in the episode. We hear the sound of the dog barking but it is coming out of the man’s mouth. This is a warning. When running with the Doctor, things are not always as they seem. Again, this spiritual quest is full of illusions and misdirects. Who is really the monster? The man is actually a ferocious dog. Later, Zero turns into the Doctor. Is the Doctor really the monster? You will always trail the edge of the cliff on this quest. Watch your step. In a lot of decks, the Fool stands at the edge of a cliff with the dog warning of the danger of taking one step too far. The Doctor himself is a dangerous man. He has committed genocide of his own people to end a hopeless war. Countless others have lost their lives after coming into contact with him. Some have been left permanently damaged (Donna). Some never truly go back to a truly normal life on Earth after meeting him. The Doctor himself lies. Are you sure you want to go on this journey, especially with this madman?
With the help of a computer virus, Amy, Rory, and the Doctor corner Zero in the coma ward of a hospital. This computer virus sets every timer, counter, and clock to 0, the number of the Fool. Zero has now taken the form of a woman and her two daughters. But once again, he can’t get the voices right. The Doctor has pictures of all his faces, ready to send to the Atraxi. However, Zero has one face left: the Doctor. Zero explains that he’s had years to form a psychic link with Amy’s mind and the image that comes up is the Doctor. The energy is similar to the glow of regeneration. The Doctor is being mirrored in Prisoner Zero. This is the first time he sees his new face. The Doctor and Prisoner Zero both have the ability to change their face and hide themselves using perception filters.
The Doctor realizes that Amy is dreaming about him because she can hear him. This is the next lesson of The Magician/Doctor. He runs over to an unconscious Amelia and puts his hands on her face and tells her to remember Zero’s true face, the one she saw in the secret room. He is helping her manipulate reality. She dreams of Zero’s true form and he is forced to change. He is captured and the Earth is saved. Amy has completed the first step of the journey through the Tarot. She has met the Magician and had her eyes opened to new and hidden realities. And the Magician teaches her to find and change those realities on her own. This will culminate at the end of season 5 when she dreams the Doctor back into existence.
The episode ends with Amy being woken by the sound of the TARDIS. The Doctor has come back for her again (although this trip took two more years). The Doctor invites Amy to come along with him.
14 years since fish custard. Amy Pond, the girl who waited, you've waited long enough.
When I was a kid, you said there was a swimming pool and a library, and the swimming pool was IN the library.
Yeah. Not sure where it's got to now. It'll turn up. So... coming?
You wanted to come 14 years ago.
I grew up.
Don't worry. I'll soon fix that.
The image could be taken straight out of Peter Pan. Amy is in her nightie and Peter Pan/the Doctor/the Magician has offered to take her to never-never land, a land of timelessness and myth. The last shot of the episode is of a wedding dress. In the two years since Prisoner Zero, Amy and Rory decided to get married but Amy is now running away from that future. This is the last white “dog” of the episode, in the form of a white wedding dress. This “dog” is not a warning but a call back to normal life, the real world, the world of marriage, work, and family.>> To The Magician