You Are Not Alone
In those terms, then, Season 3 is the natural next chapter in a forty-year romance between the Doctor and the Earth; it's a postscript for heartbreak. It's an examination of medical ethics. It's an examination of the role of the individual in the workings of religion. It's the story of a girl who pledged her life to help the world, and how she did it, in a Gospel told by and for the Doctor himself. It's a story of reversals and dark mirrors: defining the Doctor by precisely defining his opposite, and then resolving the difference; by resolving the question of power and its responsibilities by upgrading simple human power to a near-divine level, then giving Him a human heart. It's a biography -- actually, it's more precise to call it a working pathology -- for God. Most interestingly -- to me, at least -- is that it's the next step in what seems to be an ongoing project by Russell Davies to ask a very simple question: why do atheists (Joss, RTD, Ursula K. LeGuin) write better religious fiction than the faithful? Or, really, why do they do it at all?
II: The Runaway Bride
The Christmas Special begins with a repeated element from earlier seasons. In this season, more than ever, it pays dividends to pay attention to repeating images and concepts. We begin with a zoom into Earth, the fourth such in the new series. The first time, we said hello to a new friend; the last time, we lost her. And in the middle, we traded one Doctor for another, and said hello again. This time it's a goodbye. "The Runaway Bride" is a story about coming to terms with grief, finding the strength to admit that sometimes hope and love aren't enough; and it's a story about finding peace.