Since the first episode of Series One, I have somehow sensed a darker vibe in Series Two compared to the previous series. However, I never really understood why I felt this way. David Tennant’s Doctor was not really less silly compared to Christopher Eccleston’s version. And, if you think about it, the themes and happenings in both seasons were relatively the same. They embark on these time-traveling adventures. More often than not, they find themselves in a dangerous situation. Sometimes, it even comes to a point where death is involved. So, it was really hard for me to understand why this season felt gloomier, different. It was not until “Age of Steel” that I finally realized what made episodes of Series Two a little darker than the rest: Most, if not all episodes, involved some form of torture. And I shall elaborate on this in a while.

I am not exactly sure if torture was really supposed to be an ongoing theme for Series Two. Did the writers do this on purpose? I do not know. But looking back on previous episodes, if you really pay attention to the storylines, you cannot miss such dark, recurring theme.

S2E1: New Earth – While it may seem like all beings of New New York are safe and healthy due to a medical breakthrough, thousands of infected humans are locked inside a ward.

S2E2: Tooth and Claw – Humans are trapped in a cellar, as the werewolf gets ready to devour them.

S2E3: School Reunion – Bat-like creatures called Krillitanes take students hostage and make them solve the “Skasis Paradigm” for full power and control over time and space.

S2E4: The Girl in the Fireplace – Ever since childhood, Madame de Pompadour has been a human time bomb because of the clockwork androids and their need to repair their ship.

S2E5/S2E6: Rise of the Cybermen / Age of Steel – Humans are turned into these creatures called Cybermen. Viewers later realize that these converted humans are not exactly dead. Rather, each unit has an inhibitor signal that prevents the human side from taking over. Imagine yourself preserved but trapped in this killing machine, and the only way to end it is through your own death. Personally, I would rather that they just killed me from the beginning. If this isn’t torture, I do not know what is.

The thing about Series One is that all the deaths and killings were so abrupt. Think of the Slitheen and how fast they end human life. Or better yet, the Daleks and their life-long mission to exterminate. The villains did not really even bother keeping humans at bay or giving them a slow death. In fact, the audience have gotten so used to the killings that at some point, they have somehow lost the emotional connection. With Series Two, it is different. In every episode, the torture is prolonged, and you constantly ask yourself, “Will they survive or not?” The good thing that came out from this is that even though torture was evident for most parts of the episodes, most of them still had a happy ending.

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