Friday, February 28, 2020

Donna Noble: The Most Important Woman

Donna: "Well, what d’you keep telling me for? What am I supposed to do? I’m nothing special. I mean, I— I’m not… I’m nothing special. I’m a temp! I’m not even that. I’m nothing."
Rose: "Donna Noble, you’re the most important woman in the whole of creation."

I recently finished re-watching Season 4 of modern Doctor Who. It’s easily my favorite season, largely because of the Doctor/Companion combo. I loved the Tenth Doctor’s era in general, but his chemistry with Donna just makes it that much better. Not only is Catherine Tate a professional comedian who plays off David Tennant so well, but Donna’s character development over her story arc resonates with me so much.

In her first episode, Donna gives us a well-rounded character, right from the start. “The Runaway Bride” starts off with Donna being an obnoxious, naive bridezilla. However, as she realizes that the Doctor is her best chance of surviving Christmas, she softens up. Later, when she learns that her fiance has been using her, you can see her innocence and her genuine soul. With how raw she ends up and how shocked she feels after her traitorous fiance dies, she declines traveling with the Doctor. But that’s not the end of Donna.

Over a year later, Donna and the Doctor reunite and she brings a refreshing, non-romantic feel to the TARDIS. After two seasons of romantic tension in Doctor Who, it’s nice to have a break from it and for the Doctor to just have a best friend for once. So for the first several episodes of Season 4, we get the witty back-and-forth of David Tennant and Catherine Tate’s comedic chemistry. In many ways throughout the season Donna acted as the Doctor’s moral compass and she frequently gave him a much needed fresh perspective. Towards the end of their journeys, it gets deeper though.

During “Turn Left” (one of my favorite Donna Noble episodes), she gets an It’s a Wonderful Life experience, seeing what life would be like if she’d never met the Doctor. As the world falls apart at the hands of the Judoon, the Titanic, Miss Foster, and the Sontarans, Donna’s family and her self-esteem slowly fall apart. At a low point, Donna’s mother even straight up says that she’s given up on her. How heartbreaking is that???

Everything comes to a point as dimension-hopping Rose approaches Donna over the years, promising her that she’s the one that can fix the whole mess. Despite Donna’s insecurities, she goes back in time and fixes everything, only moments before the Daleks steal the Earth and mess everything up again. In the end, Donna overcomes her insecurities and saves the Earth and the universe, bringing everything back to normal. But it comes at a cost. The Doctor has to sacrifice Donna’s memories and character development in order to save her life.

For a moment before her memory was taken away, Donna knew how important she was. For just a moment, she knew it. As a generally insecure person, this resonates with me. Since we live in a fallen world, I get the occasional boost from the Holy Ghost reminding me who I am. However, those spiritual experiences have a half-life. What would life be like if we could always remember our divine potential? What if we could always live in a way that we magnified our gifts and our callings from God? That’s what Donna got (in a sci-fi kind of way) when she was the DoctorDonna. In real life, we can have that too. It involves continually seeking the Spirit and drawing close to God. Through His word and His light, we can keep that spiritual self-esteem boosted up. We can transcend this fallen world as we seek to fulfill our divine potential.

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