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TV Snapshot: Bigger on the inside

BBC America

In “The Doctor’s Wife,” the matrix of the TARDIS—the Doctor’s “Time And Relative Dimension In Space” time machine and spacecraft disguised as blue police box that is “bigger on the inside”—has been downloaded into a living person named Idris. After the Doctor realizes this, Idris suddenly asks:
Idris: Are all people like this?
Doctor: Like what?
Idris: So much bigger on the inside.
In an episode Charlie Jane Anders calls a “love letter” to the Doctor Who series, this was one of my favorite lines—and touches on one of the aspects of this series that draws me to it. Idris’ comment reflects something the Doctor, a close-to immortal being, exhibits continually: a fascination with and even wonder at the largeness of human emotion, capacity, potential and being—and that’s something that can’t help but make me think of larger truths.

In particular, Idris’ exclamation made me recall C.S. Lewis’ ruminations in The Weight of Glory:


There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilization—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendours.
I am intrigued by the moments the Doctor exhibits a sense of awe and reverence during his interactions with humans. He seems to rejoice and marvel at the sense of largeness and expanse of life in humans—a life that even though there are instances where it is twisted, as Lewis puts it, towards “immortal horrors,” overall seems made for “everlasting splendours.” Or as the Doctor puts it in his universe, “life will out.

Indeed, the Doctor echoes the sense of awe and reverence that Lewis writes about for most of the life he encounters. In fact, he seems to reflect something else Lewis says in The Weight of Glory: 
All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics.
Life, in the Doctor’s universe and our own, is indeed bigger on the inside.

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