This week’s episode of Doctor Who literally takes a page out of the U.S. History books as we are transported to one of the most pivotal moments in the Civil Rights Movement: the day Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white passenger and move to the back of the bus.
Exactly how and why they end up in the 1950s, it looks like the TARDIS is up to some tricks of her own as she keeps “missing” the mark to take them back to Sheffield. Nonetheless, the group learns quite a lot during their visit to the past as far as being provided a new perspective on how far we have come and the ways we still have to go.
Gather ’round and let us discuss the week’s episode “Rosa”.
Back To The Past: Thanks to the TARDIS having issues, The Doctor ends up bringing her friends to 1955 Montgomery, Alabama instead of Sheffield. The group is initially upset but then gets excited when they realize they can explore and see how the past really was. Before attempting to leave, the Doctor finds that there are traces of artron energy in the area from another time travel device, which either means there is another TARDIS around or someone like them. Deciding to investigate, the group learn that they have arrived the day before Rosa Parks refused her bus seat for James F. Blake on December 1, effectively influencing the civil rights movement (OH SNAP).
Not So Smooth Criminal: In seeking out the source of the energy, the Doctor discovers it to have come from a vortex manipulator, owned by a recently paroled criminal from the future called Krasko, armed with a vortex manipulator. The group realizes that Krasko plans to change history by ensuring Parks never had to refuse her seat to Blake (Don’t want to think about what a catastrophe that will be).
Racing Against Time: After leaving the group to do research, The Doctor makes plans to prevent Krasko’s scheme. After using his equipment to shield herself from being displaced into the future, the Doctor learns that Krasko was imprisoned for murder with the restrictor placed him upon release preventing him from killing anyone, including Rosa. Armed with that bit of knowledge and unable to make him change his mind, The Doctor and her friends do their very best to recreate the same conditions of the moment Rosa Parks was arrested as Krasko does his worst to try to stop them.
Fighting Hate: While Ryan does his best to remove false notices at bus stops, he comes across Krasko blocking the bus’ route with a car. As he attempts to stop him, Ryan learns that the criminal’s actions are motivated by his deeply racist ideals. Ryan then uses the temporal gun from his equipment to send him into the past. After successfully removing the blockage and getting rid of Krasko, Ryan and the others rejoin the Doctor on the bus as passengers.
Part Of History: As the moment arrives, The Doctor has an epiphany of sorts about the whole situation and ultimately forces her friends to remain on the bus upon realizing they have become a vital contributing factor to the event. After witnessing Parks being arrested by the police for violating segregation laws, the group returns to the TARDIS proudly knowing they played in a role in Parks becoming a symbol for freedom and a true icon of the Civil Rights Movement.
Given the current political climate, having Doctor Who take on this storyline was a bold move on the show’s behalf. Never has the show fully taken on the topic of racism and how much we still need to improve in society as a whole on accepting diversity and treating one another with respect and compassion. Easily the most emotional episode of the season thus far, “Rosa” is one of those episodes that will live on forever in the viewer’s heart.
Check out the promo for next week’s episode below!
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