Trauma is subjective

Today, in a meeting, while waiting for some code to compile, we got on the subject of traumatizing things in Doctor Who, and the meeting runner started listing the things that traumatized her the most. Now, she’s not a fan, but has seen the whole run of the show as it was broadcast. She hasn’t seen any episode more than once, so this is really a nice list of the things that left the greatest impressions. I found this very interesting. I’ve tried to reproduce how she described each thing.

  • “There were these computers that sucked everyone’s soul into the internet. That was just horrible!” – From “The Bells of St. John”
  • “This guy was turning everyone into scarecrows and made them attack people.” – From “Human Nature” / “Family of Blood”
  • “Then there was the one with that giant bee.” – From “The Unicorn and the Wasp”
  • “There was this invisible spaceship that would appear and eat people.” – Now this one was hard to decipher. We only figured this one out after she added more detail: “Yeah, the spaceship would appear when these boys got near it. And there was this family of four people.” So that was again “Human Nature” / “Family of Blood.”
  • “And that lady that was all flattened out.” – Cassandra in “The End of the World” and “New Earth”

Interestingly, she didn’t mention the Weeping Angels at all, though she remembered them when I suggested them to her. She said that it wasn’t so much that these things scared her outright, but that the concepts were horrifying. Maybe age has something to do with it: especially for the earlier episodes, she was in her teens when she watched them.

It was also surprising to me that “Human Nature” / “Family of Blood” stood out so much to her. While the Family, especially Son of Mine, was creepy, I didn’t think that there was anything particularly out-of-this-world horrifying in this episode. I guess this is a great demonstration of how things impact different people in different ways.