In a bunker filled with stacks and stacks of munitions shells, Millington is demonstrating his secret weapon. He breaks a capsule inside a sealed glass box. Green fog pours out. The doves inside slowly choke to death.
“Just think what a bomb full could do to Dresden. Or Moscow,” says Millington. “It could mean the end of the war,” he says perfunctorily. The old, eternal justification.
But Millington isn’t trying to end a war. He’s trying to start a new one. In his twisted mind, the final battle of Norse mythology has become entwined with the final battle between his way of life and the “revolution” that Sorin believes in.
(Just like Churchill, who asked his generals to come up with a plan for a surprise attack on the USSR, using German troops, after Allied victory over the Nazis. Learning of the American success with the atomic bomb he grew even bolder, saying “We can tell the Russians if they insist on doing this or that, well we can just blot out Moscow, then Stalingrad, then Kiev, then Sevastopol”.)
Millington’s green fog, harvested from a well of ancient evil beneath the ground, has been sealed inside the Ultima Machine, which Millington will allow the Russians to steal.
“And Whitehall thinks the Russians will be stupid enough to let you detonate one of those things inside the Kremlin?” asks the Doctor.
“Oh that’s the beauty of it,” says Millington, “we won’t detonate it. They’ll do it themselves. The machine will be programmed to self-destruct when it tries to decrypt a particular word. And when the political climate is appropriate…” by this he means when there is peace… “then we will include the word in one of our cyphers.”
The Doctor asks what the word is.
“What else could it be Doctor? Love.”
The word rings through the story. Jean and Phyllis love men in uniform. Ace says baby Audrey is lovely. Wainwright so doubts God’s love for a nation that drops bombs on German children that he can hardly bear to say the word “love” in church.
November 6, 2013 @ 10:40 am
Hatred, of course, is only ever mentioned in reference to Ace's mother. Because the opposite of love here isn't hate, it's murderous disinterest. Ace can only hate her mother because of the love that feeling is entwined with, or perhaps is submerged by. In short, Ace can only hate her mother because she loves her. Millington can only wistfully contemplate massacring Russians because of his utter indifference to them.
Hatred has its own body-count, of course, out there in the Real. Fenric simply suggests that there might be something worse.
February 21, 2014 @ 5:48 pm
Great Comrade of United People's Democratic Fascist Socialist Republican Communist Tyranny of Whoniverse:
WOW. This is one of the most insightful readings I have ever read of a Doctor Who story, not to mention reinforced the episode in question as one of my favorites of all time. Basically, thank you.