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In Doctor Who Episode 2 of Series 7, Dinosaurs in a Spaceship, the Doctor chooses to leave Solomon on the spaceship which is about to be destroyed, allowing him to die.

The obvious alternative would be to send the spaceship out unmanned, for example, or the inclusion of an explanatory line stating that the spaceship would not be able to fly unmanned. It is very rare for the doctor to kill anyone directly, and even rarer for him to do so when it wasn't strictly necessary for the survival of his companions and himself.

Previously in Dr Who, Davros suggests that the doctor is evil at heart, manipulating companions to die or kill for him, because he is afraid to do so himself. This episode contains not only an example of a companion sacrificing herself (Nefertiti in this case), but also the doctor choosing to let someone die.

Is this not unusual behaviour for the Doctor? Or has he always let those he deemed 'evil' die?

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    Doesn't answer the question, but: The Doctor spent precious seconds clearly explaining to Solomon that it was the little green ball that was being tracked by the missiles. I took this to be The Doctor giving Solomon a way "out" if he chose to take it -- get rid of the green thingee -- that would keep him distracted long enough for the others to make their escape. That could just be me giving The Doctor a huge benefit of the doubt, tho. – KutuluMike Sep 10 '12 at 16:45
  • I agree that's going on a limb to make the explanation work. It seems more likely to me that we're seeing a shift in the Doctor's attitude that may become a plot point, or we are seeing some error on the part of the writers/editors where they tried to communicate the Doctor giving Solomon a chance or an option which he refused to take out of greed or spite. I actually took that lengthy explanation to mean they were pointing out the Doctor was deliberately performing this act, giving Solomon the "valuable" missiles. – PeterL Sep 11 '12 at 20:24
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This is why you should always wait at least three weeks before asking Doctor Who questions.

In the very next episode, Town Called Mercy, the Doctor again behaves in a very un-Doctor-like way. Specifically,

he drags Jex out of town and tries to hand him over to the gunslinger specifically so Jex will be executed and the gunslinger leave the town alone.

Similar to the way Ten became more angry after he lost Donna, it appears that this is an effect of Eleven travelling so much without a steady companion. Amy calls him out on this in the episode:

Amy: This is what happens to you when you travel alone for too long.

We know that the Ponds are leaving in the next few episodes, and that The Doctor has been "weaning" them off of travelling with him. I suspect this behavior is going to jointly set up their eventual reason for leaving as well as his reason for seeking out another companion.

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  • This further reinforces what I mentioned about the theme of this current ark is Doctor as warrior vs Doctor as healer and helper – Ashterothi Sep 22 '12 at 4:22
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It isn't a matter of simply evil. Those who slaughter others, in his eyes, deserve to die. I would suspect that this comes from a deep fundamental hatred for the Daleks and their desire to exterminate all things not like him. Also, people who threaten Earth after the Doctors warning, generally don't fair to well either.

These acts by the doctor of killing those who commit genocide, weighs heavily on him. One of the primary themes with the Daleks is exactly how different is the Doctor from the Daleks? On many different occasions the Daleks accuse him of being like them. The Doctor is a dangerous man when crossed.

On a side note: One of the new Doctors themes is seeing how others may view the Doctor. Some see him as a compassionate good guy (such as the soldier from Demons Run). Others see him as a fierce warrior that must be stopped for the good of the universe (such as the headless monk). While the decision of who deserves to live and who deserves to die is nothing new for the Doctor, this new darker motif is making the Doctor far more dangerous then ever.

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    He tried to save Davros, and was planning to save the Master at the ends of seasons 3 and 4. I don't think it's fair to say that the Doctor feels anybody deserves to die. They actually go pretty far out of their way to point this out pretty much every chance they get. Early after the time war he perhaps felt the daleks needed to die (see "Dalek") but that seemed to be isolated to shortly after the war. – PeterL Sep 11 '12 at 20:22
  • In "Dalek" (Series 1 ep 6) he seems quite keen to kill the Dalek. He actually gradually becomes less so towards them as he realizes how many of them escaped. When he thought it was only one, he wanted it destroyed no questions asked. – Ashterothi Sep 11 '12 at 20:37
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    Each Doctor has his own personality, but it is also tempered by his experiences. In "The Christmas Invasion," the newly regenerated Doctor tells the Sycorax leader (probably terribly misquoted) "I don't know quite what kind of doctor I am yet, but I do know I don't give second chances" right before helping the leader off the Sycorax ship [and to his death]. – jwernerny Sep 17 '12 at 17:56
  • No second chances, I'm that sort of a man. – AerusDar Aug 1 '13 at 23:29
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He killed Solomon because Solomon caused the genocide of the Silurians (remember this is 100 years in the future, all the ones we saw previously either died when they were introduced or are probably long since dead). In seasons 1-4 of the new series it sometimes seemed like he was suicidal because of his own genocidal actions against the Time Lords (and the Racnoss in the runaway bride, and the fish people in Vampires of Venice...) He only kept living because he kept helping people and trying to redeem himself, and he knew that Solomon would never do that. Plus, Eleven doesn't hesitate to strike out at, humiliate or kill his enemies when they push him too far (the Weeping Angels, the army that kidnapped Amy Pond, etc).

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In one of the very early episodes (Forest of Fear) an injured man is slowing the Doctor down and he picks up a rock with which to kill the injured man; another human present stops the Doctor. The Doctor has always been prepared to kill when not strictly necessary.

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