Sydney Walmsley 
“Run”: An Analysis of the Multi-Persona Usage of Vocalization

Here, in the actual scene, no one is running and the Doctor is hunched, depressed for having lost the exploration team, until he realizes how to save River Song's essence.  And then he runs to CAL, the central computer to save her life essence-- committed to all life, which is a quality always there, but first fully explodes as a commanding character trait when Adric dies under the watch of the Fifth (Peter Davidson), leading to the self-sacrifice to turn to the Sixth.  That staunch attachment remained with “Adric” being his last word as the Fifth incarnation, hallucinating an Adric that prevents him from giving in to simply dying.[17]   In the voice over, River Song utilizes the term “Run” in numerous fashions, one meaning to be a companion, another the stretch of time spent with him.  But in the same sense, the “you can't run forever,” quote doubles a meaning for the stretch of time spent with the Doctor and for the simple human, companion Mortality.  And that Mortality, particularly of Man, is one of the simple, sublime grievances the Doctor lives with daily. 

        That fear of death, that want to avoid it, especially after his direct hand in Adric's, transferred into his subsequent incarnations.  The sight of himself almost killing Peri in his next incarnation brought him to tears and re-instilled his fight for life.[18]  The loss of Rose and the forced memory wipe of Donna compounded this depression, and Amy and Rory's entrapment and subsequent deaths by the Weeping Angels only heightened this guilt that, in transforming to the Sixth, lead to violence, at the end of the Tenth lead to a breakdown of his personal tenants and codes, and in the Eleventh a self-imposed exile.  He realized he caused deaths, but in his later incarnations his desire to change fixed time grew, but the capacity lacked.  Despite 'saving' Rose in an alternate universe where he could never see her again, plugging River Song into a computer, salvaging Donna's mind from the Time Lord/Human meta-crisis though simply knowing of him would destroy her mind, and having to leave Amy and Rory 90 years from their time in order to live out their years could never be seen as salvation to him.  To him, he had not saved them.  He had merely preserved their entities, not their lives.  In a sense, he “ran” in a way he had not before-- he lashed out, he became introverted, and he hid.  But he “ran.”

His intentions save galaxies, during which he tries to avoid actual, physical confrontation, especially after his losses began to count.  But these intentions, these words, these great speeches are in fact his great weaponry, his power throughout the universe to rally the hearts of the just and his saved, his ability to act benevolently-- regardless of incarnation.  Jamie McCrimmon (Frazer Hines), once yelled at the Second incarnation during an encounter with the Daleks while The Doctor is secretly concocting a plot, “you're just too callous... anything goes for the board” and the Doctor's reply foretells the rest of his life's creed thus far, as if he cannot withhold the response: “I've never held that the end justifies the means.”[19]  Jamie's response circles around the central topic, “Och, words.  What do I care for words?  You don't give that much for a living soul except yourself.”  And with a slow breath in, as if to chose careful words, the Doctor looks at him and says, “I care about life!  I care about human beings,” implying that his words and his thoughts are the sole means to preserve the lives he can, even through the manipulation of the situation and perceptions of others.[20]  This only occurs after a manipulation to get Jamie to help rescue a young woman:

    Doctor: Now just where are you going?

    JAMIE: To be by myself for a bit. Do you mind? 

    DOCTOR: No, not a bit. But one word of warning. Don't you try to be a one-man army. You  leave well alone. I won't have you ruining everything trying to rescue Victoria Waterfield. Now, you understand? [21]

        He avoids directly telling Jamie to not run off and save Ms. Waterfield, intending him to do the exact opposite.  This manipulation is not a direct manipulation of his companion, but moreover a manipulation of the man in league with the Daleks.  Run, or the avoidance of the actual term via “leave well enough alone” and becoming “a one man army,” is meant to infiltrate the heart of the issue.[22]  His words are a means to a better end, an end where he tries and must save life, usually resulting in a trick rather than all out war.  If only usually. 

        In the Derridian methodology, the writing of words distances the speaker from the action while still maintaining a line of connection through the formulation of images evoking a meaning.[23]  But simultaneously, the speaking of words, the projection of words in the performance of the actors and the character's grand speeches, in fact evoke the heart of the action.  And through the vocalization, the meaning and the truth of the moment is internalized in a far different manner than that of an observer, a soldier, or even a victim.  It is the power of the sound through the form that allows for the entity to command memory and strength, and thus utilize the voice as a tool, conscience, and weapon.  “Run” is an order, a command to action, but most importantly the statement of physical presence- not necessarily mental presence.  The call to Run is never a preemptive evacuation call.  No incarnation abandons those in need, whether it be due to the more common accidental landings or the sought out confrontations.  The Doctor's voice remains omnipresent as the call for good, the conscience of those seeking to do good but perhaps may be skewed by means, and the external battle cry for those around him, whether that call is to step forward or to fall back/run.  No incarnation disregards this advantage, and no persona escapes this overall character trait.  It is embedded in his very being, and thus the makings of the remnant of the original Time Lords.  He tries to be their best, ultimately, does what they can not do, and thus void the universe of it's premature end.


[17]    “The Caves of Androzani,” Doctor Who, Television Peter Davidson (March 8, 1984; London; BBC.) Television.

[18]    “The Twin Dilemma,”Doctor Who, Television Colin Baker (March 22, 1984; London; BBC.) Television.

[19]    “The Evil of the Daleks,” Doctor Who, Television Patrick Troughton (May 20, 1967; London; BBC.) Television.

[20]    “The Evil of the Daleks,” Doctor Who, Television Patrick Troughton (May 20, 1967; London; BBC.) Television.

[21]    “The Evil of the Daleks,” Doctor Who, Television Patrick Troughton (May 20, 1967; London; BBC.) Television.

[22]    “The Evil of the Daleks,” Doctor Who, Television Patrick Troughton (May 20, 1967; London; BBC.) Television.

[23]    Derrida, Jaques.  Writing and Difference, Print.  University of Chicago Press.  (Chicago: 1978.) Print.; Derrida, Jaques.  Dissemination, Print.  University of Chicago Press.  (Chicago: 1983.)  Print.;  Jackson, Tony E.  “The De-Composition of Writing in "A Passage to India",” Journal of Modern Literature,  Indiana University Press.  Vol. 29, No. 3.  (2006, Spring): 1-18.

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