Archive for the ‘Companions’ Category

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The Doctor has companions!

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Bradley Walsh, aka Token White Guy, has been rumored for some time. Per Twitter people either love him or hate him: he’s great, he should have been the Doctor, he’ll ruin the show, never watching again, blah blah blah. Having never seen him in anything I couldn’t say. While I do feel that his type has had plenty of representation on DW and elsewhere, I was intrigued by the potential of this dynamic:¬†the typical figure of power and authority playing intellectual and executive second fiddle to (someone appearing to be) not that. I don’t hate the idea.

The other two are a surprise. Mandip Gill and Tosin Cole are soap opera stars, previously known for something called Hollyoaks. Cole has also appeared in the Star Wars universe. Gill’s Yasmin will be the Doctor’s first South Asian companion – impatiently awaited since the too-brief appearances of Rita (The God Complex) and Nasreen (The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood). It’s nice to have some color and gender balance aboard ship – and I kinda hope Walsh turns out to be an alien. ūüôā Just for variety, you know.

I’m surprised at how strongly people are reacting to the number of companions. Three is apparently a crowd for some, in spite of¬† Ian/Barbara/Susan, Ben/Polly/Jamie, Tegan/Nyssa/Adric, etc. I think it will be a nice change of pace.¬†A single companion is more susceptible to an annoying romantic subplot. A team can tackle a story from a number of different, brilliant angles. (“Boom Town” comes to mind as a fun example.)

I am also intrigued by the inclusion of Sharon D. Clarke. Everyone seems equally confused by the “returning role” bit, since we’ve never seen her before; in fact it seems to have sparked rumors of a return of the Rani. But I think they actually meant “recurring” not “returning.” (Or is that what I’m meant to think?) Either way, looking forward to it.

If only we didn’t have to wait so long.

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Posted October 30, 2017 by Elisabeth in Companions, Speculation, Squee!

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The Doctor is IN…   Leave a comment

… my city!!

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Yes I was miles from the stage, and the lines to ask questions streamed past me out the door, so I was content to sit in my seat and take terrible pictures. It was worth it. The Doctor and Bill were delightful, sweet, good-humored, and generally everything you want the Doctor and his companion to be.

Highlights:

  • When asked his favorite Doctor, “except yourself,” Capaldi replied “Jodie Whittaker.” The crowd went wild.
  • One small child, maybe 6 years old, came to the microphone trembling in terror and unable to speak. Recognizing the situation, Peter and Pearl both did their best to put him at ease. “We did a photo, didn’t we?” Peter asked. “You’re cool.” They asked his name, allowing him to find his voice, and then he was able to ask his question.
  • The final question, also asked by an under-10, was “Who is your favorite companion?” In the photo above, I attempted to catch Pearl’s look as she waited to hear his answer. Instead, I captured her reaction when he said, “K9.”

Rose City is quite a good convention. The guest list was impressive; I might have seen more if the event didn’t directly conflict with my dragonboat team’s final race of the season. My husband saw Katie Sackoff, the Weasley twins, and William Shatner. My sister did very well in Artists’ Alley. My DW meetup group hosted a panel. I may reconsider participating in the race next year, if these two events continue to share a weekend.

Especially if they bring back the Doctor.

 

ETA some (better) coverage from Digital Spy

Posted September 12, 2017 by Elisabeth in Companions, Conventions

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It takes all kinds   Leave a comment

I’m seeing lots of posts about “now little girls can see themselves as the Doctor” which is totally great btw until they add “instead of the sidekick/arm candy/also-ran/companion” which I think is massively unfair to the companion.

It’s okay to be the companion: to retain your humanity, to expand your mind, to try new things, to have a home and a family, to become better than you know yourself to be. It’s awesome to be the companion.

It’s also awesome to be a genius and a little bit mad, to crave adventure, to always step in when someone needs help, to be alone, to be alien.

It’s not that little girls get to be the Doctor instead of the companion. It’s that they now get to be ALL THE THINGS. Anything they want to be.

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Just as it should be.

Posted July 17, 2017 by Elisabeth in Commentary, Companions

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Hero Time   Leave a comment

At the end of last month, a new trailer appeared:

Since her introduction Bill has reminded me of Rose, and never more so than in this trailer. The look on her face as she speaks of danger is the same one Rose wears in her first episode, as the Nestene’s hiding place comes crashing down around her. That love of risk. That sensation of aliveness at the edge of death. That youthful invulnerability.

This season is going to be a lot of fun.

 

Posted March 9, 2017 by Elisabeth in Companions, Season 10, Video

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Pride Goes Before   Leave a comment

It is interesting to note that the three-episode arc of “Tooth and Claw,” “School Reunion,” and “The Girl in the Fireplace” has instigated more of my writing than anything else, anywhere, ever. (For example, this is the 4th post resulting from one conversation about one of the three episodes.) The reason for this I think is how much great character stuff happens in these three stories.

Across this arc we see the best and the worst of Rose. In “Tooth and Claw,” we see her compassion for the frightened maid, and her courage and leadership in helping the women escape the barn. But she’s also at her most callous in this story, provoking the Queen and joking with the Doctor in the face of others’ fear and grief. In “School Reunion” we see her petty jealousy, but we also see her overcome that jealousy for friendship and a unique bond with one of very few women who understands her experience. In “The Girl in the Fireplace,” we see the depths of her compassion and her commitment to help others, as she sets aside any feelings she may have about the Doctor in order to comfort and save Reinette.

This arc sets up Rose’s downfall. Rose spent S1 learning to trust the Doctor and herself, and expanding the boundaries of her own capability. In S2 she’s out to have a good time. She has stopped worrying about the risk, having perhaps too much faith in hers and the Doctor’s abilities. She never considers the real danger posed by the werewolf, and cares too little for Lady Isabel’s loss.

These three episodes are Rose’s last hurrah. Fans on rewatch can see the darkness gathering ahead. I don’t doubt the Doctor sees it too, though he’s happy to ignore it as long as he can. But not until “Rise of the Cybermen,” when she¬†faces finding and losing her family all over again, when she loses Mickey, does Rose¬†begin to understand the cost of her adventures. She’s young enough to think she’s invincible, and that the good times will last forever. After S1 she may even think she’s earned it. The balance of S2 serves as a nasty surprise.

Rose isn’t the only one who gets rearranged this season. “School Reunion” sees the Doctor face the consequences of his lifestyle. It sees Sarah Jane learn to accept what has happened to her, to¬†see the good as well as the bad – setting her up for her own televised Adventures. “Reunion” and “The Girl in the Fireplace” set up Mickey’s final transition from idiot to savior of worlds. None of these characters is¬†ever the same again.

There’s a quote from “The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe” that feels relevant here:

“Every time you see them happy, you remember how sad they’re going to be. And it breaks your heart. Because what’s the point in them being happy now if they’re going to be sad later? The answer is, of course, because they are going to be sad later.”

They’re going to be sad later.

The Doctor’s Big Love   Leave a comment

The Verity! Podcast on “The Girl in the Fireplace” brought up an idea that I had never seriously considered in the context of Doctor Who, but which is clearly relevant: polyamory, or the ability to love more than one.

American society is fixedly monogamous. Any type of relationship veering from the man-woman-marriage-children prototype gets a raised eyebrow at best, violent discrimination at worst. “Soul mates” are a trope many people attempt to apply to real life, often with painful results. Yet many people love more than once. The widowed or divorced person who remarries doesn’t (necessarily) stop loving their original¬†partner. A person may love a long string or collection of people, each one different and unique.

It may not have been intentional on the part of either showrunner, but modern Who definitely pushes the boundaries.

In “The Girl in the Fireplace” (and in real life) Reinette is a married woman who is lover to the King. In the story she also falls in love with the Doctor. In her world of eighteenth century France, this is normal, as the Doctor tries to explain to his companions. But it’s also normal in the Doctor’s world. The Doctor loves Rose, but he also loves Sarah Jane. The Doctor marries River, but he also mourns Clara. The Doctor loves the TARDIS, but he equally loves his companions. The Doctor had a family once: does he ever stop loving them?

In a long life one may love many times, or many people all at once. Love for one isn’t diminished by love for another. The Doctor has two hearts and dozens of lifetimes: it seems natural that he would love a lot. It seems natural too that anyone of his courage, compassion, and charm would be easy to love. (All of us have fallen for him, right?) And in this world, can too much love really be a bad thing?

All it takes is a big enough heart(s).

Posted February 11, 2017 by Elisabeth in Commentary, Companions, Piffle, Speculation, Themes and Ideas

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Favorite friends   Leave a comment

As a combined result of visiting a recent Star Trek exhibit at the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle, and of listening to Verity! Podcast discuss “The Girl in the Fireplace,” I’ve been re-thinking what makes characters like Rose and Dr. McCoy my favorites. Earlier I theorized that it’s their courage and forthrightness that endears them to me. Now, though, I think it must at least equally be their compassion.

McCoy’s key trait on Star Trek is his humanity. His emotion balances Spock’s logic as the two help their Captain make his decisions. Caring for his patient comes first on his list every time, whether the patient is a friend, a Vulcan ambassador, or a lump of sentient rock. He risks his life to save others. He’s rough-edged, bombastic, sometimes¬†unkind, but he is a doctor first in all things.

Rose, too, is defined by her humanity. Her first move in so many of her adventures with the Doctor is to comfort the fearful, from Gwyneth the maid to Toby the xenoarchaeologist. She allies herself with a damaged Dalek and the enslaved¬†Ood. If she feels any jealously over the Doctor’s relationship with Reinette, she sets it aside in favor of saving a life. She is no more flawless than McCoy, but her heart is her dominant feature.

Compassion fatigue¬†is a common problem. The modern world is full of suffering: there are so many causes to support, so many things to care about, that it’s easier for most people to just shut it off. It’s certainly a problem I have. To watch these characters fearlessly care is inspiring. It reminds me of the thousand starfish washed up on a beach: it’s true I can’t save them all, but maybe I can save *that* one.

And to that one, it makes all the difference.