Vincent and the Doctor and that other thing that got the issues helpline involved

I thought long and hard before writing this post. I really did. Because it's one thing to write about an episode of Doctor Who, but it's quite another to write about an episode of Doctor Who in a way that screams "KNEEL BEFORE MY SUPERIOR EXPERIENCE OF SUFFERING, BITCHES". Which, god, I hope this avoids. But 45 minutes in prime time dealing with depression? Richard Curtis – and Steven Moffat – have balls.

To catch up anyone who isn't a long-term reader and never spotted the occasional reference, about six years ago I had a massive breakdown. (The why is not important any longer; it's enough to say it was complicated and multi-faceted.) To catch up everyone, there was a period of rather-longer-than-there-should-have-been where I was… not suicidal, because that implies having the energy to take a decision and act upon it, but in favour of the idea of perhaps getting accidentally hit by a bus and being grateful for the chance to embrace oblivion. In the years that followed I have sometimes wished that at the darkest moments, someone could have whisked me into the future, six months, a year, to now, as proof that things will get better – not just better, but happy and contented and, quite often, wonderful. And then Richard Curtis goes and does it on my telly, and I welled up. Now I just watched it again and properly burst into tears (acknowledging the shameful emotional manipulation of employing Athlete). It's so simple, so brilliant; the ultimate act of kindness. Because the Doctor (and, therefore, Curtis) knows that these acts of kindness make a difference – even if the script has to spell it out for the kids in terms of 'life is a pile of good things and bad things' – and sometimes they don't change the ending, but the kindness always counts.

So there's that. But for me, the most important line – that bit that I sort of missed on first viewing but that roundhoused me hard in the stomach the second – was where the Doctor and Amy say goodbye before deciding to go back and take Vincent into the future. The bit where Vincent says:

"We have fought monsters together and we have won. On my own I fear I may not do as well."

Wow. There, encapsulated in two lines (and Matt Smith's pause; my word he's wonderful. crushcrushcrush), is depression for you. This is why kindness is important. And why I got a bit throw-y when I read a comment left on Marie's blog:

"The main problem for me was that Van Gogh's character was deliberately
unlikeable."

Well, duh, commenter. I think you may have not only missed the point, but gone 50 miles past it without ever having seen the turning. Happy, sympathetic people tend not to be people who off themselves. Not that I'm implying any kind of conflation between correlation and causation – except yes, that is exactly what I'm doing. I also never said kindness was easy.

Oh, and if there is any justice in this world Tony Curran will have awards showered upon him.

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