Doctor Who isn’t letting you ignore climate change anymore and provides us with one of the scariest monsters to date. The Dregs appeared in this week’s episode titled “Orphan 55,” and while it was an absolutely terrifying look into a planet where the Doctor watched her friends trapped away from her, she quickly learned about the creatures outside.
In a world where carbon dioxide takes over the atmosphere, the Dregs thrive. Those Dregs, however, are the survivors of war, climate change, and the mess that the world has become. That’s right! They’re on Earth!
In a twist that I personally did not see coming, Doctor Who took on climate change and didn’t sugar coat it.
“Unless people face facts and change, catastrophe is coming. But it’s not decided,” The Doctor says, talking to Yaz, Ryan, and Graham at the end of the episode when they realize that was the future. That was Earth. What’s terrifying is that right now, no one seems to care in our actual reality. Weather is changing, all the signs are before us, and no one seems to give a crap because it isn’t directly hurting them—or, at least, not in a way they recognize.
At one point in the episode, the Doctor yells about the brightest scientists trying to warn us all, and it truly hits home—the fact that the discussion on climate change is just a giant circle of those in power not wanting to listen to the facts and continually thinking everything is fine. Greta Thunberg is a child and has to stand before the powers that be and force them to listen. Everything is a disaster, and truly throwing it in our faces on Doctor Who made that scary reality that much more real.
But then, in the end, the Doctor gives us a brief moment of hope.
The thing about our current climate is that we can begin to change and fix what we’ve done. It isn’t set in stone, and it isn’t something that is irreversible. But that’s if we start to take it seriously and drastically change how we function in order to save our planet.
Doctor Who is a show rooted in teaching. Meant to be a source of history lessons for children, the show now has just switched to teaching its audience to be better. The Dregs are terrifying because they’re creatures with fangs who take our oxygen, but they’re more than that, they’re the future if we don’t actually start caring.
It’s one of the better episodes of Doctor Who, especially because the message wasn’t thrown to us in the beginning, but rather, it waited until our fear was already rooted in the Dregs and then threw in that this was Earth, this was the future, and we need to make changes or we were doomed.
The Doctor knows, and to be honest, I don’t want to end up trying to live among the Dregs.
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