Baby Driver: Why Did Doc Protect Baby?

Directed by Edgar Wright, ‘Baby Driver’ is a crime action thriller film featuring well-crafted and inspired action sequences. It probes the treacherous world of bank heists and the people behind them. The film revolves around Baby, who has outstanding skills with the steering wheel but is stuck working for the wrong people. He is a getaway driver for a crime boss and desperately wants to get out of it. His employer, though, thinks otherwise as Baby is forced to comply with their orders.

Doc, Baby’s employer, tasks him and a few other accomplices with an elaborate heist that evidently has a slim chance of success. Baby, who is uncompromising about getting out of his current situation, attempts to alter his fate and make a swift and secure escape. As Baby tries to escape he requests the help of Doc, who is initially hesitant, but when he sees Baby’s girlfriend Debora with him, he agrees to help. Since the film only hints at why Doc helped, viewers may be keen to know the reason behind his sudden change in conduct.

Doc: The Unconventional Ally

When we’re introduced to Doc, he is the mastermind behind the heists and appears to be the most sinister of the lot. However, he vouches for Baby every time some new accomplice has something awkward to say about the boy and defends him from any shrewd comments. A couple of segments later, it is also revealed how Baby got into the business. Baby was caught by Doc stealing the crime boss’s car with a lot of merchandise in it. Doc, though, saw talent in him and allowed the boy to repay his debt by working for him. Since then Baby has been taking only a portion of his cut and paying the rest off to Doc.

Over the years, Baby has created a name for himself under Doc, being one of the best drivers around. Doc has nurtured Baby’s talents albeit for illegal purposes but cultivated his skills nonetheless. Although their relationship is strictly professional, Doc assumes that there is a friendship brewing between them, but hardened by the dangerous and treacherous life the crime boss leads, he is unable to show Baby the empathy a normal person would.

After Baby pays up his debt, he is under the impression that Doc will leave him alone, but Doc catches Baby again and harshly insists that he continues to work for him. Doc calls Baby his “lucky charm” as even though he never does business with the same crew twice, Baby has always been his getaway driver. Baby initially rejects his offer, but is forced to change his decision quickly and has no option but to oblige as Doc calmly scares the boy by threatening to cause harm to him, his foster parent Joe, and his girlfriend Debora.

Until here, it seems like Doc knows his way around a good deal, and has the power to keep it for as long as he wants, but there is a very minute underlying trust that he has for Baby. When Baby finally comes to Doc for help towards the end of the film, Doc initially rejects Baby’s advances. However, his unprocessed concern for Baby is ultimately revealed here as he agrees to help him when he sees him with Debora. Doc even allows Baby to take the tapes that have incriminating evidence of his activities; however, Baby only picks up the one tape that he needs the most: his mother’s tape.

A sudden injection of hope flushes through Baby, as Doc gives him a bag of money and advises them to run as fast as they can, but as soon as they reach the parking lot, Doc, Baby, and Debora come face to face with a group of gunmen. A firefight ensues between the two parties as Doc fights off the group, dramatically imploring Baby and Debora to “get out of there.” At the end of this scene, he gives his life protecting Baby and Debora as a police car driven by Buddy rams straight into Doc instantly killing him.

While the film tells us that Doc helped Debora and Baby out because he claimed to be “in love once,” we could speculate that he could have had an ulterior motive. Doc’s nephew, at eight years old, turns out to be far sharper than Baby ever could be. Doc may have used Baby’s failure to get rid of the boy, reinstating his nephew into the business as a replacement for Baby, considering he started at a similar age. He knows that Baby will not survive the onslaught of the police and eventually will be apprehended, hence he helps him out as a final gesture after which Doc will begin training his nephew to take up his spot soon.

In the same light, Doc could have seen Baby as a threat to the business, or an eagerly waiting successor ready to pounce on his throne. With the number of years Baby has worked for Doc, he knows the ins and outs of the business and has gained considerable recognition that could allow him to take over Doc’s place. However, he sees Baby with Debora and instantly understands that the boy isn’t a threat anymore because of his attachment. He hands them a ticket to get out of there, again, as a final gesture to do away with Baby, unbeknownst to the gunmen awaiting them below.

The two speculations, while strong cases, do not match up to the real reason why Doc helped Baby. If Doc wanted to get rid of Baby, he would just get someone to do it since he knows exactly where Baby lives and monitors his movements. The actual reason why Doc helped Baby is because of Doc’s attachment to him. Over the years, Doc has grown fond of Baby. In a convoluted way, he sees Baby as the son he never had. While his nephew surely is in contention to one day join the business, Baby has been an integral part of his operations for a long time. The fondness has grown over the years, and while he will never reveal this, he knows his time is coming to an end. He hopes for the best for Baby and Debora and genuinely wants to see them happy and free.

In the world of crime, attachments can very often get people in trouble, as showcased in ‘Baby Driver’ and, in this case, Doc’s concern for Baby. While initially he was portrayed as a ruthless crime boss, Doc became the unconventional ally that Baby desperately needed. Ever since Baby was caught stealing Doc’s car, he gradually began seeing Baby as someone who could become his most trusted deputy. Baby would go on to drive every since successful heist under Doc, but he could never let that get to his head. Doc always kept Baby under surveillance and never showed his concern for the boy. Eventually, when the time is right, we get to see Doc’s true colors as an odd anti-hero of the film.

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