When last we left the Doctor (at the end of the Christmas episode “The Snowmen”), he had been dragged out his his post-Pond funk by the mystery that is Clara Oswin Oswald (Jenna-Louise Coleman). Having encountered — and lost — two seemingly different incarnations of the same girl, in completely different corners of time and space, the Doctor sets out to find her once more so he can figure out who and what she really is. We’ll dive headfirst into that quest come Saturday night, but in the meantime we can get a little interstitial snippet courtesy of the short prequel video. Here’s the Doctor hanging around playgrounds and talking to strange children (but not in a creepy way).
As much fun as the Doctor’s adventures across time and space are, this little prequel highlights one of the things that has made the time lord such an endearing character. This powerful, ageless alien is very much in love…with those of us who don’t get to regenerate when we die. In spite of losing friends and allies over and over and over again, he still keeps getting involved in our comparatively tiny lives. You could argue that it’s what keeps him traveling, both to see new things and to encounter new people (human and otherwise).
This short perfectly encapsulates the Doctor’s love of the mortal races. He can send cosmic armies fleeing at the very mention of his name, but he can also share his problems with a curious little girl on a swingset. It’s a thoroughly charming exchange, capped off with a twist that, granted, isn’t that hard to see coming. Honestly, this simple, two-minute scene is one of my favorite things from season seven so far.
When you think about it, this conversation with the little girl is probably how the Doctor sees all of us: as children. But children he looks at with parental affection and admiration. Why else would he spend his many lives saving us time and again?
Doctor Who returns to BBC America and BBC One Saturday night with “The Bells of Saint John.” We’ll see you there.