Just like Black Friday is the antithesis of Thanksgiving, so too is the Tordos religion of the ideals of The Doctor.
As I wrote about in the previous post, The Good Doctor tackles colonization and racism. However, on an even more overt level this story deals with a patriarchal society and how theocracy and the desire of those in power can warp the altruistic premise of popular religious movements. This book came out in 2018, so it was released during a contemporary Brexit UK/ Trump America.
The monks of the Tordos religion have used misogyny to subjugate women due to their “great sin” (having children with Lobos natives, which is then used to blame for another tragedy.) Dawson does not even attempt to couch this metaphor, having the Doctor directly call it an apple.
The head priest also takes over the religion in a power grab that goes against the very foundations of this false religion, built around the Doctor’s prior visit. With each decision he makes and declaration there is an uneasy familiarity for readers who grew up in more evangelical based Christian denominations.
Prosperity gospel, racial superiority movements as well as gender and sexuality control are taken to task in this story. With each quip or horrified reaction by the Doctor, Graham, Yaz and Ryan ones own beliefs, or lack their of, are challenged. Is kindness and acknowledgment of other’s humanity our driving force? Or, like so many currently in power, is it a malleable pawn used to manipulate some and harm others we feel threatened by?
The Good Doctor is a challenge. It’s a charge to question the systems around you and not take things at face value; in the end those system may be based on a manipulative lie.