Archive for September 2014
This episode, in contrast to its predecessor, is great Doctor Who. It’s fun, it’s dramatic, it’s scary, it’s sad; any quibbles are easily waved off. The chemistry among Rory, Amy, and the Doctor is delightful. Even the sexual jokes are funny.
Some people complain when the monsters aren’t really monsters. I like it. Most bad things in life are not evil; they’re just something or someone else trying to live the best they can. Signora Calvierri is trying to save her race. Her children. Her actions are entirely understandable.
I thought I remembered the Doctor offering to save her family, to take them somewhere. He didn’t. It’s a bit of a missing for me. But perhaps by then it was too late. Too many dead girls. He did try to prevent her rather horrific suicide at the end. But if he had, what would he have done? Maybe then he would have taken her and her sons away. The race would still have died, in time, but at least the family would live out their lives.
(I think this is one reason I like the end of ‘Time Heist’ so much. He gets to save the aliens and take them somewhere they can live happily ever after. So many times he tries to do just that and fails. Or if he succeeds, it’s on the back end of a turkey like ‘Hide’ and no one remembers.)
There’s both an echo and a pre-echo – if that’s a thing – in this episode. The loss of the Saturnyne home world echoes a common thread of the RTD era: planets stolen out of time and space for Davros’ reality bomb. It could have worked as a part of that, ‘cuz timey wimey, but clearly Moffat did not want to ride Davies’ coattails. Perfectly understandable, but it ends up sounding a bit repetitive. This time they’re running from the crack in time. People also keep mentioning the Silence, which is the Series 6 thing. I think there is such a thing as too much foreshadowing.
But like I said, easily waved off. So far this is the best of S5 after the premiere. If only it could go on this way.
I have problems with this episode.
The angels, established in ‘Blink’ as quantum-locked and having very specific abilities, are given whatever magical powers will serve the scene and make things scary or tense or whatever the writers are going for. They can climb out of a TV, ok. They can live in your brain, ok. They can climb OUT of your brain. They see you looking and they assume you can see – as if the whole quantum lock thing were voluntary. I can see what they’re doing, trying to build tension and make things interesting, but the actual effect is the opposite. Magical creatures that can do anything are not interesting, they’re boring. Things that work one way and then suddenly work another are annoying. I’m not happy with the angels in this episode.
Ditto River Song, as I said before. WHYYYYY does she have to be a criminal? And can she really be punished/shamed for something she was brainwashed to do and had absolutely no voluntary say in? And did ANYONE in the world not get that who she killed was the Doctor? Now Alex Kingston is a genius and she can sell anything; it’s incredibly difficult not to buy every word out of her mouth. But it’s all garbage. River isn’t River, she’s some weird thing made to build dramatic backstory. Ick.
Amy coming on the Doctor is wrong in every way. I’m sure some people think it’s cute. I don’t get it. One, he says no, just as Ten does with Martha, and she ignores him. I guess it’s funny to have a woman come on to a guy so strong he can’t make her back off. No, it’s not funny, it’s appalling. I’m fine with women having sex drives and being kinky; I just think it’s really inappropriate here. Is it because it’s the night before her wedding, or because he’s saying no, or because it’s so out of the blue? I don’t know. I just know I despise it.
On the other hand…
I didn’t get this on the first pass, and it’s kind of brilliant: Moffat’s whole ‘big bang’ thing is an attempt to explain away Davies’ excess. There’s no way people wouldn’t remember Daleks, planets in the sky, the Master race, a giant Cyberman over Victorian London (a giant dinosaur over Victorian London) – and yet people don’t. I appreciate the attempt to explain that. Once again, if I didn’t already know it was lame I’d be looking forward to seeing how it all turned out.
The acting, as I mentioned with River, is stellar. I love watching Matt Smith’s Doctor figure things out. He’s brilliant in every way. Karen Gillan completely sold Amy’s fear in the forest, in spite of the fact the all the reasons and motivations for that fear were crap. Her countdown is terrifying. Props to Karen. I understand that people think the writing in these episodes is great. I don’t get it. The actors do amazing things with a script that makes no sense. I can’t give credit to the writers.
It’s disappointing when a story is bad. But somehow, it’s still Doctor Who. It still has charm, adventure and excitement. I still love it. And though this one disappoints, there are many others that make up for it.
ETA 11/17: Having finished S5 and half of S6, I now realize why I missed the thing about fixing the RTD era. It’s because it’s so glossed over. Other than this one early mention of Amy’s missing memory, there is no suggestion that those events were forgotten or never experienced. The erasing and re-booting of the past doesn’t make sense; it just happens, and you sort of accept it and move on. A disappointing example of Moffat’s failure to deliver.
A Matt Smith box set is about to be released on Blu-Ray. Now, I love my Complete David Tennant Years DVD set, but I am unlikely to acquire the Eleventh Doctor equivalent.
For one thing, I don’t have the same passionate adoration for Eleven (sorry, Matt) that I do for Nine and Ten. I coveted those DVDs. I was prepared to collect them slowly as I could afford them, until my wonderful husband made his wonderful discovery and delivered them all at once in one gorgeous package. I do love the package; the photos are wonderful. It includes the animated specials Tennant did, a couple of Proms, and some special features that were not part of the regular season releases. I’m happy to have them all.
The Matt Smith collection, on the other hand, mostly seems to include things I have, or things I don’t especially want. ‘An Adventure in Space and Time’ and ‘Day of the Doctor’ I acquired individually as soon as they came out. (I kind of wish I’d held out for the upcoming collection which includes ‘The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot’ but oh well.) I have series 7 on the computer, along with most of the Christmas specials; the remaining special and the better half of S6 I have on DVD. So in acquiring the collection I’d get S5 and half of S6; I’d get S7 and ‘Time of the Doctor,’ which I didn’t especially care for; I’d get it all on Blu Ray, which I also don’t care for. So there’s really no benefit to me in acquiring the set.
However, there is a benefit to me in OTHER people acquiring the set. Matt Smith fans who bought his seasons when they came out may be ready for an upgrade and willing to pay for it. In which case their DVDs will begin appearing in used DVD shops. Where I may have them for a fraction of their original price.
I look forward to the day. 🙂
In case you haven’t worked it out, when I comment on an episode you should expect SPOILERS!!!
This is definitely a high point in the season so far. It’s so Doctor; of course he would rob a bank, to save a single individual or to save a race from extinction, or even to save an old woman her regrets. It’s definitely Leverage in space; sometimes bad guys make the best good guys. The character of the villain was much better and more interesting than I expected. I liked the new characters, I liked that they didn’t die (yay!) and the WAY they didn’t die, the way the episode plays with expectations. I love the ‘schwarma’ scene with Chinese food; I love the alien couple walking hand in hand on a pristine planet; I love the background with Danny Pink and poor Clara trying to have a life. It’s good fun and great Doctor Who.
More please!! 🙂
What is it that is less than fulfilling about these episodes?
I think most of it has to do with changing established characters. The Daleks, River Song, and the Weeping Angels are portrayed differently than before. Now, the Daleks are often portrayed differently; it’s a fact of life for them. And for folks who started with Eleven, none of this is relevant. They didn’t fall in love with River in the library, nor did they hear the Tenth Doctor’s description of the Angels to compare with the Eleventh’s. So, non-issue for many watchers.
Victory of the Daleks has a larger problem. I can accept (easily) Daleks falling through time, lost and damaged, after ‘Journey’s End.’ I can accept their finding a Progenitor. With some effort I can accept them needing the Doctor’s testimony. The Daleks have been utterly destroyed so many times in new Who: obliterated in the Time War, except for one (‘Dalek’); rebuilt from human DNA by the Emperor and then obliterated by Rose (‘Parting of the Ways’), except for those stuck in the Void (‘Doomsday’) which were then freed and almost immediately un-freed; except for the Cult of Skaro, which initiated an emergency temporal shift, and ended up in 1930’s New York (‘Daleks in Manhattan’). Again one escapes by emergency temporal shift, rescues Davros and loses its mind; Davros’ new Daleks are again obliterated (‘Journey’s End’) except apparently these four. So, in continuity (such as it is), these Daleks have been rebuilt so many times that the Progenitor no longer recognizes them.
Okay. I can buy that.
To stop the Daleks, the Doctor turns to the Dalek-built scientist Bracewell. He has imagined some sort of gravity thing that would make it possible for vessels to leave Earth’s atmosphere. Somehow this idea goes from paper to execution in less time than it takes for German bombers to travel from the Channel to London and bomb the city.
That, I can’t buy. It’s too much even for Doctor Who.
I also can’t buy KitchenAid Daleks. Why would the Progenitor, vessel of original Dalek DNA, dress them up in different brilliant colors, never before seen in the continuity of the show? Yes they are exciting and pretty, but if these are supposed to be original Daleks, they should really be original Daleks.
Plus they just look stupid.
Overall it’s an okay episode. I don’t hate it. I like the interaction among the Doctor, Churchill, Amy, and Bracewell. I do find helpful Daleks incredibly creepy and wrong. (And hilarious: ‘WOULD YOU CARE FOR SOME TEA???’) I’m interested in Amy’s missing memory, though from my recollection it isn’t handled well in the end. I’m not sure how convincing Bracewell he’s human switches off the bomb, but I can accept it because it’s a lovely scene.
Onward to Angels. As a first look at River or the Weeping Angels, it works. River is badass and the Angels are terrifying. The episode overall – especially given that it’s only part 1 of 2 – is good. It’s edge-of-your-seat creepy – maybe not as much as Blink but certainly not bad. The problem is if this isn’t your first look at River or the Angels. What happened to the brilliant, competent, down-to-earth archaeologist? There is little of her in this new woman, little of the chemistry Kingston had with Tennant, little I recognize at all as the same character. I wanted more of River from the Library, and what I got was something else. Also, what happened to Angels who ‘kill you nicely?’ How are they suddenly so all-powerful and evil? Again, it’s fine if they’re new to you, but if you have expectations of ‘Blink’ you might be disappointed.
In addition, once again Amy seems to know the Doctor better than she should after 3 adventures. I know many fans assume there were trips between the trips, but when she lists off things she’s seen she only mentions things we’ve seen. So her intimate knowledge and trust seems a bit much. I understand that might just be me, but all the same it bugs me. I miss Rose and her well-constructed storyline.
I do like that River’s position as the Doctor’s wife is made a bit more vague. We guess it in ‘Forest of the Dead;’ Amy guesses it here; River slightly denies it; and of course we know what happened in ‘The Wedding of River Song’ was not actually a wedding. I get that some fans love the idea of them as a couple, and there are parts of the story where that works, but I’m just as happy to gloss it over. Especially if she doesn’t come back in S8 or 9. I’m content for Twelve to forget Rose, and I’d be content for him to forget post-Library River as well.
Still. Good horror, good excitement; good job figuring out the two head thing – I still felt it was a bit obvious but throwing in the perception filter thing helps, esp. since I’m not sure I noticed the first time around. Overall a good story and I can see why Eleven/Moffat fans consider it among the best. Looking forward to part 2.
On second thought, it’s possible I shouldn’t watch DW drunk.
I just added Eyebrows as a banner. If you’re lucky it’ll come up for you. I don’t know why, but it just makes me laugh. I love it.
Definitely a top 5 50th Anniversary moment! 😀