tempestsarekind: (clara and eleven and shards)
The DVD set for Doctor Who season 9 was in at the library, so I decided to watch it, just to see if maybe I'd like it more than season 8… And at least this way I'd finally get to see "The Husbands of River Song."

I confess to being largely disappointed by the quality of the episodes themselves: a lot of ideas with potential, but the execution consisted of way too much running down dim corridors for me, while key elements of plot and character were left muddied and muddled and underwritten. (I mean, I wanted to like "The Girl Who Died" / "The Woman Who Lived" so much! Humans who become immortal are one of my favorite things! Maisie Williams was delightful! And yet…I never quite felt that I knew Ashildr well enough to be totally invested when she forgets who she is and becomes Me, to actually feel the loss of her. Maybe if we'd spent less time on broad comedy about Vikings who can't fight, and more time establishing who she was and why she loved her village, I would have cared more when she couldn't remember either one.)

But I think my overarching intellectual and emotional disconnect from the season - and the last one - has to do with the nature of the Twelfth Doctor, too. It's no secret that I think Moffat writes his best Who when he's writing it as a comedy. Not just when he's writing humor - although one of the reasons that "The Husbands of River Song" is a welcome breath of fresh air is that Moffat seems to be back on his game, writing those screwball rhythms for River and the Doctor. But comedy: comedy is about hope, about dancing faster than death can catch you, about our better angels winning out. And seasons 8 and 9 are mostly tragic. Season 9 in particular is all about the Doctor going too far and being justly punished, and that's Greek tragedy; even if Moffat can't avoid putting a little fillip of death-cheating on top, for Clara, the cherry can't disguise the makeup of the whole sundae.

And in Twelve, he seems to be trying to write a Doctor who has Rules About Time - temporal strictures that shade into becoming moral and ethical ones. And breaking those rules leads to tragedy. (This seems to be what's going on in "Under the Lake" / "Before the Flood": the Doctor is tempted to break the rules of time to save Clara, even though he won't even do that to save himself. But the episode is - again - muddy enough that I can't figure out exactly what rule he's tempted to break, since Clara, unlike O'Donnell, hasn't yet died. It feels, in retrospect, like the episode is trying for foreshadowing that the setup hasn't actually earned.) And when the Doctor breaks those rules, he is punished, and he declares, in the S9 finale, that this is right. Moffat even brings in the Sisterhood of Karn to declare that the Doctor, in trying to save Clara, is breaking every rule he's ever lived by - to give that statement narrative weight and grandeur (weight and grandeur that I don't think it earns otherwise, because…well, see below).

Except…? Not that long ago, the Doctor was Eleven - and while I'm sure that Eleven has rules about time, his entire tenure as the Doctor is about figuring out just when and where one can bend and break those rules. One could certainly argue that it's only when he accepts his own death that the universe allows him to cheat its way out of it, so there is a moral angle to his bending of the temporal rules. And there are, of course, things that even the Doctor cannot change or "fix," the death of Vincent Van Gogh being one of the most memorable. But Eleven's rallying cry is "Time can be rewritten" - comedy, not tragedy - and how do you go from a universe where that is true, to one where it isn't, without ever giving a reason? How do you go from a universe where Eleven can unhappen the destruction of Gallifrey, to one where no one can be saved from death, without explaining what changed? How can I believe that the Twelfth Doctor's only recourse is to break every rule he's ever lived by, when the Eleventh Doctor would have slipped merrily out of those rules' grasp? (Or at least he would have tried and failed: that's more or less what happens in "The Angels Take Manhattan.") It's like Moffat wants to write a story about someone like "Waters of Mars" Ten, full of hubris and engaging in reckless, selfish tyranny against the laws of time (even if we are moved by why he does it), having forgotten that in between, the Doctor has been far more trickster than tyrant.

There seem to be a couple of deliberate callbacks to Ten in this series: the finale also touches on Ten's decision to wipe Donna's memory rather than let her die on her own terms - only here, he is (again) punished for his arrogance instead. And Twelve finally "remembers" why he gave himself a familiar face for this regeneration, that of Caecilius from "Fires of Pompeii": it's supposed to be a reminder to save the people he can, even if he can't save everyone. Only that backfires too: has he really saved Ashildr, or condemned her to something terrible? I'm not sure - but what really puzzles me is the decision to say "I need to be reminded to save people" in this episode, only to go on throughout the season to suggest that saving people is impossible, could fracture the universe, and deserves punishment. What?

(I should say that I think the critiques of the Doctor's decision are spot-on: Me's "We have no right to change who she is"; Clara's own "Tomorrow isn't promised to anyone, but I insist upon my past." I just don't understand the need or the decision to make the storytelling decisions that got us to that point - where the Doctor needs the critique - in the first place.)

I can understand feeling the need to scale back on the idea that time can be rewritten - or even just to want to try your hand at writing something new. But you still need to set up the new rules in a coherent way, first, and I don't feel like that ever happened with Twelve.

Also…I'm just going to quote myself here, because it's easier. From my post on the S8 finale:
If season 5 ends with the myth of Pandora's box - as I said back then, "a box full of monsters and hope," so very like the TARDIS - season 8 ends with the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. If Amy is Sleeping Beauty inside the Pandorica (though waiting for her own childhood self, not the kiss of a prince), the promise of that story is that Sleeping Beauty eventually awakens. And Amy and Rory have always had "Tam Lin" echoes for me, because Amy loves and claims Rory so stubbornly that nothing can take him from her, not even time. But Orpheus and Eurydice is about the fact that the dead cannot return, no matter how much you try to win them back. The Ponds are miracle-makers, even if those miracles are sometimes imperfect (Amy and Rory do get to raise Melody in some way, even if it isn't the way they wanted), but there's no miracle for Eurydice. Clara doesn't get Danny back.


So what's the story of S9, then? In some ways, it's still Orpheus and Eurydice. And that's very much a story worth telling - but it's also definitely not a comedy or a fairy tale. And Moffat's telling that story in seasons 8 and 9 still feels like an arbitrary switch-flip - "okay, the universe is now like this" - rather than a set of situations carefully constructed so that these stories had to turn out this way. I'm sure I'd still be pretty Not My Scene about the change, but it would feel like it made more sense to me, at least.
tempestsarekind: (amelia pond (ready for adventure))
Someone on the internet mentioned that "The Eleventh Hour" was five years ago today, and now I am all sad and nostalgic. :( I loved Eleven and my Ponds (River, too) so very much, and while I know that it wasn't to everyone's taste, I miss that fairy-tale quality that seasons 5 and 6 had, with their girls being brave in the darkness of the forest, and people being separated from their loved ones by dislocations in time - but finding them again, too, because they never stop looking and loving even when they can't quite remember… Without any particular reason, I was worried that Moffat Who without Eleven would become (as I put it right before seeing any of S8) colder, and flintier, and less full of joy. What's odd is that even though I had no particular reason to worry about this - no spoilers or interviews or anything like that - I wound up being right.

Ironically, given how much I loved "The Eleventh Hour" right away and how much real and proverbial ink I spilled over Eleven, Amy and the gang over the course of their run, I wrote almost nothing about it on my first viewing - just this lonely little sentence from April 4, 2010: I've only been watching for fifteen minutes, and Amy Pond has already broken my heart once.

I have a pretty full account of my feelings about S5 in real time, because by the second episode, "The Beast Below," I was already in full meta mode. But I've only ever written about this first episode in little dribs and drabs here and there, on the way to something else - a post about Amy's abandonment issues here, a disquisition on Eleven and his interactions with children there. I've never really sat down to write about this episode, and how joyful it was, how it felt like we were turning a corner away from the Last-of-the-Time-Lords angst of Ten and toward someone who could call yogurt "just stuff with bits in," like a child himself; how we were meeting a Doctor who could come to a child's rescue and take her seriously within moments of meeting her; how we were getting a new TARDIS that looked like inside of a mad inventor's shop and a girl who could fly off with the Doctor in her nightie like Wendy with Peter Pan. I've never written about how much I love the awkward gangly grace of Matt Smith in this episode, the way he struggles against handcuffs or leans out of a hospital window like a spaniel straining against a leash; or how I fell in love with Karen Gillan's odd, airily furious delivery of "Twelve years, and four psychiatrists," or how she broke my heart all over again with the way she yelled at breaking point, "Why did you say five minutes?" I've never written about little Amelia eating ice cream off of the ice-cream scoop, or that first time Eleven tastes the name "Amelia Pond" on his tongue. Until now, I suppose.

It's always hard to talk about what this episode, and season 5 generally, means to me. Other people have much more dramatic stories about how the show has helped them through hard times, and fortunately that isn't the case for me. But "The Eleventh Hour" felt like getting reacquainted with the stories that had shaped me as a child, getting back in touch with that magic after feeling for a long time that I had to put that sort of thing behind me. It was a reminder that stories don't have to be Serious and Important in order to matter very deeply to someone, that a little girl getting her prayer to Santa answered could be moving and true. I'll always be grateful for that, for Amelia Pond and her Raggedy Man.

…huh

Jan. 17th, 2015 08:06 pm
tempestsarekind: (eleven is awkward)
wow, so I guess I still feel like crying when I come upon pictures or gifsets of the Eleventh Doctor unexpectedly; that's apparently a thing -

(seriously, I did not think it would be quite this much of an issue, and I don't know how to explain it or put words to it - it's just this little preverbal wail of missing him)

but if I were to aim for a very few words, they would be ones about how he crept up on me and made Doctor Who mean so much more to me than it did before his arrival - even though I loved the show before - because for a little while, he made the show a show about hope and family; because he let people love him, because he didn't glorify being the Last of the Time Lords, because he made friends with Vincent van Gogh and nursed a flatmate back to health; because he was always a little girl's imaginary friend first...

I just miss his little face, sometimes, and the kind of story that he was.
tempestsarekind: (amy and her boys)
And Eleven feelings, too:

The Eleventh Doctor's Legacy Was Loss and Failure
http://www.tor.com/blogs/2014/12/the-eleventh-doctors-legacy-was-loss-and-failure

I don't know that I agree with everything in this piece (or at least, I don't give the same weight to everything mentioned in this piece), but the first paragraph hit a little too close to home:

"Whovians have only had one season away from the Eleventh Doctor, and it’s rough for some to remember that this year isn’t a brief reprieve before his return. Fans are missing his childlike wonder, his comforting cadence, his attractive-science-professor fashion sense, his undeniable sweetness in the face of a universe worth of terrors."
tempestsarekind: (brighter than sunflowers)
So I mostly just feel like I'm glad to be done with that season? There were some bright spots, but man, it was grim. And I didn't like the episode, for reasons that have way more to do with what I like in stories than anything about the episode, probably, but it wasn't the note I wanted to end on. (Like, there were several things that, if they had happened in a different episode, I would have been all over, but instead I just felt like it all felt weary and hollow, to me. This is not objective! I hope everyone who wanted to love it was able to love it. I just didn't.)

And I really hate being That Person, but I miss Eleven and my Ponds more than ever now.
tempestsarekind: (amy eleven TARDIS)
- It's snowing. Boooooooooo.

- I just realized I forgot to listen to "Tam Lin" on Halloween like I usually do, and now I am sad. :(

- My mother was apparently looking at a Doctor Who book in a bookstore, and someone who worked there interpreted that as a sign of her own interest in the show. Apparently my mom had a whole conversation with this guy (although she did inform him that she didn't actually watch the show, her daughter did), and the subject of "favorite Doctor" came up. My mother couldn't remember whether my favorite was - her words - "the one with the floppy hair" or "the one who looks like him."

("…they don't actually look alike at all, but is the one with the floppy hair the one with the bow tie," I asked. Yes, yes he was.)

So I told - well, reminded - her that obviously, Eleven is my favorite, and now I am having all of these unwieldy Eleven feelings, which are helpful in no way at all.
tempestsarekind: (eleven is awkward)
Seven episodes in, we've now seen more of the season than we haven't, and it's official: I am finding it impossible to like the Twelfth Doctor. I find him not just gruff or irascible, but out-and-out mean and cruel. And the show seems to be aware of this, which means that it doesn't make me angry the way that it did with Ten (where the show always seemed to be in the position of ignoring his dark side and his callousness, selling the problems between him and Martha solely as "oh, she fancied him and he didn't fancy her - so awkward!" and ignoring his more hypocritical moments). When Twelve behaves appallingly to Journey Blue and Danny Pink just because they are (or were) soldiers, we're meant to see that behavior as limited and wrong, and about his own inability to face the soldier within himself, rather than being expected to laugh along, as the show seemed to want us to do whenever Nine and Ten were rude about Mickey. (Although his behavior toward Danny was so terrible - and so tinged with an uncomfortable racial dimension, as the Doctor kept insisting that this Black man couldn't teach anything as intellectually challenging as mathematics, and had to be the PE teacher - that I kept getting knocked out of the episode.) Every episode has forced Clara to look at this new man's behavior and wonder whether she actually *does* know him anymore. So it's a deliberate thing, rather than a weird, discordant accident, the way it was with Ten. But…I still don't really enjoy watching it, even though I appreciate that awareness.

Twelve was always going to have a hard row to hoe with me, anyway, because I while I like him just fine, I didn't love Peter Capaldi like some people do, and I wasn't particularly excited about his casting when it was first announced. And while I absolutely understand Matt Smith's desire to take on new challenges, and felt that he'd probably taken his version of the Doctor as far as he could, I wasn't ready to say goodbye to Eleven and welcome someone new. But I keep missing the Eleventh Doctor because of things like tiny spoilers for 'Kill the Moon' )
tempestsarekind: (eleven)
Hmm. one-sentence spoiler )

This morning I was thinking about episodes that, for whatever reason, feel to me to “belong” specifically to their Doctors – an episode with Ten that I can’t imagine Nine in, etc. The first of these to come to mind was “Vincent and the Doctor,” because I’d already thought of the episode in those terms before: I’d said that I couldn’t imagine Ten being kind to Vincent in the way Eleven is, not given the way he’d treated the people who should have been closest to him, like Mickey and Martha and Jack. And after “The Day of the Doctor,” I’m even less able to imagine Ten giving Amy Eleven’s “pile of good things” speech, because Ten can’t think that way; still mired in his grief over Gallifrey, he’s horrified by and scornful of the mere idea that Eleven has found a way to come to terms with that loss, because he can’t imagine a way of healing that doesn’t entail forgetting. How could he ever say to Amy that the bad things don’t make the good things unimportant, when he can’t imagine anything beyond the terrible thing that’s happened to him?

(Weirdly, even though I know that the plot was originally developed in a comic starring Ten and Mickey, I can’t imagine Ten in “The Lodger,” either – this time because so much of the episode is about how alien the Doctor is, and Ten spent so much time trying to pretend that he knew everything about humans and could easily “pass” for one. Can you imagine Ten racing to defend Craig still shower-slick, hair in wild disarray, wielding an electric toothbrush instead of the sonic screwdriver? Or saying, “Can you hold, please? I have to eat a biscuit”? Can you imagine him being so unselfconscious about how uncool he’s being in those moments? – It is also the case that I can’t imagine him gently taking care of Craig and telling him that he’s important, either, even when Craig has no desire to travel to London let alone the stars: not Mister “Not her; she’d only hold us up” and “You’re not special, or important,” but I am actually trying to let that go, despite appearances.)

The point of all of that, though, is that I can’t quite imagine Eleven in either “Listen” or “Time Heist.” stuff about Listen )


stuff about Time Heist )
tempestsarekind: (amy eleven TARDIS)
(I wrote this a little while ago, but then school happened.)

31 August 2014

I’ve been having a lot of tag-team feelings about both Amy Pond and Eleven over the last couple of days, which are only sort of tangentially related to the season 8 premiere (they started before that, but are probably related to the fact that I’ve been thinking about “The Eleventh Hour” and how quickly I fell for these two characters).

So…Amy. I guess the thing that’s breaking my heart about her at the moment is actually a realization that I had about “The Big Bang.” In “The Eleventh Hour,” Amy comments that she went through four psychiatrists, because she “kept biting them” for saying the Doctor wasn’t real. And that’s always absolutely informed the way I’ve thought about her character – both the stubbornness of her belief, which is a theme that runs right through her character arc (remembering Rory and the Doctor back into the world, being hunted by the Minotaur for her belief in the Doctor in “The God Complex,” believing in him in “The Wedding of River Song” and making all those drawings and notes so she won’t forget her memories, setting a place for him at the table every Christmas because she believes that one day he’ll come to the door), but also the sense that Amy is the odd girl in the village, that she’s thought of as a bit mad, a bit weird, a bit unstable. And so believing in the Doctor isn’t just about him; it’s also about the fact that she has to believe in what’s going on inside her own head, that all of those things are true, that she can trust her own mind. Which is actually an issue for Amy from almost her first words on the show: “There’s a crack in my wall. Aunt Sharon says it’s just an ordinary crack, but I know it’s not…” Already we see her fears being dismissed, and Amy having to hold on to her belief in what she knows to be true.

(This adds subtext to S6’s “Night Terrors”: Amy reacts to that message from scared little George by being determined to find him, while Rory brushes it off – there’s probably nothing wrong, kids just have overactive imaginations. Even knowing that Amy’s imaginary Raggedy Doctor and the crack in her wall were always real, Rory didn’t live that ridicule and rejection like she did – twelve years, and four psychiatrists – and his first instinct is to dismiss the child’s fears, not investigate them.) [I still wish they hadn’t switched around the episode order, because “Night Terrors” sits so uncomfortably after “A Good Man Goes to War,” in which Amy and Rory have had their daughter taken from them – and yet Rory has no reaction to a scared and hurting child. The Rory of that episode is pre-Melody Rory (it was supposed to be the third episode of the season), and his attitude would make perfect sense if the episode had fallen where it was supposed to. In his childhood, nightmares were just nightmares; they were never real.]

So, in “The Big Bang,” the Doctor never crash-lands in Amelia’s back garden, but she still believes stubbornly in the existence, the realness, of stars, even though they’re not visible in the sky. What struck me, when I was thinking of this episode, was how young Amelia is when she’s talking to that therapist – how quickly her aunt has decided that Amelia needs “help,” needs to be fixed. For the best of reasons, I’m sure – she says she’s worried that Amelia will grow up and fall in with “one of those star cults” – but Amelia is nevertheless a small child who hasn’t really done more than paint some stars in a painting from school, at an age when lots of kids still kind of think they can fly. And there’s so much disappointment in Aunt Sharon’s voice – “Oh, Amelia…” – when she sees that childish painting… This suggests that Amelia was put into therapy at the same age in the original-flavor, star-filled universe, after her meeting with the Doctor – when plenty of parents would still humor their child about an imaginary friend, not jump straight to professional help. I’d always sort of vaguely known that she must have seen those psychiatrists at some point during the twelve years that the Doctor was gone from her life, but I never stopped to pinpoint when that might have been. But it looks like Aunt Sharon didn’t waste any time. And even Amy’s parents, in the rebooted universe, did the same thing to her: on her wedding day, when Amy stands up and says that when she was a little girl she had an imaginary friend, only he wasn’t imaginary, her mother sighs – as if ashamed – “All those psychiatrists we took her to…” They didn’t know what to do with this little girl, so fiercely armed with her belief in something they couldn’t see or believe in, and it feels like – probably with all the love in the world – they just tried to shove all that away and make her “normal” as quickly as possible.

So, Eleven. Eleven lands in her back garden, hears about the crack in her wall, and the first thing he asks, intuitively, is, “Does it scare you?” That’s all he needs to know. Later he reiterates this; when Amelia protests that she’s not scared to be left at home all alone (oh, my girl: already so quick to put up that armor), he says, “Of course you’re not! Box falls out of sky, man falls out of box, man eats fish custard – and look at you, just sitting there! So you know what I think?...I think that must be one hell of a scary crack in your wall.” He hasn’t seen it, doesn’t know anything about it – but after a few minutes in her company, this stranger trusts her perceptions, trusts her, and doesn’t dismiss what she has to say. What a gift that is, for that little girl who’s been left alone with this terrifying secret. And I think this is one of the things that made me fall in love with Eleven so quickly, so that by the time he said, “Trust me, I’m the Doctor” a few minutes later, I was already on board. Yes, I warmed to his childish exuberance, his delight and mad energy in discovering the limits of his new personality (“Can I have an apple? All I can think about, apples…Maybe I’m having a craving! That’s new”), but the heart of that scene for me is the way he absolutely believes in a little girl. Small wonder that she grows up believing so absolutely in him.

I wrote way back during season 5 that children, and especially the Doctor’s interaction with children, had already taken on a more prominent role than in the RTD era. The reason I mention this is that Eleven is repeatedly on a child’s wavelength – and sometimes this means that he thinks bunk beds are the coolest (“A bed – with a ladder!”), and dances with all the kids at a wedding, and plays with toys in a department store. But it also means that he comforts a little boy who’s embarrassed about his dyslexia by saying, “That’s all right, I can’t make a decent meringue” – like it’s exactly that inessential to who he really is – and tells a frightened little girl that she is unique in all the universe; and when another little girl on a swing set, with red barrettes in her hair, gives him good advice, he takes it seriously, because of course good advice can come from children, why wouldn’t it? One of the things I have really loved about Eleven is that Amelia Pond is only the first child we see him believe in.
tempestsarekind: (eleven wears a fez now)
(I haven't seen the new Doctor Who episode yet, so there are no spoilers in this - just a few goodbyes.)

I was away for the weekend, so I haven't gotten to see the new episode of Doctor Who. Instead, when I got home yesterday, I went back and watched “The Time of the Doctor” again – and realized that yes, I have been digging my heels in about Eleven’s departure, just sort of pretending that it hadn’t happened even though I’d seen his last episode months ago with my very own eyes. Part of that – probably the greater part – is that Eleven is my beloved space idiot, and Matt Smith brought such wonderful shadings to the role; I’ve written so much about both Eleven and Matt that it would be superfluous to repeat that here. But some of it is that in my mind, the Eleventh Doctor is so closely associated with Moffat Who, and particularly the things I’ve loved and valued so much about Moffat Who: the way that the show has leaned back toward joy and hope and redemption and possibility – regeneration, recreation – instead of trying so hard to turn the Doctor into yet another Tragic Hero. It means so much to me that despite the fact that Eleven is a trickster who will dodge death when he can, he also, nevertheless, faces his death at various points with acceptance, with gratitude for what he’s experienced in his long life, with tenderness toward the people he’s cared about – from cleaning up Craig’s house so he won’t get in trouble at the end of “Closing Time” to wanting to protect Clara one last time in “The Time of the Doctor.” It matters so much to me to have been given a Doctor who can call life a pile of good things as well as bad things and try to offer hope to Vincent van Gogh; who can comfort a grieving widow by telling her that her children’s happiness still matters even if – especially if – they’re going to be sad later; who believes that time can mend us instead of just destroying us; who promises in his last moments to remember who he’s been before embarking upon a new self, instead of comparing change to death and whimpering that he doesn’t want to go. It’s so important to me that the strongest thing the Doctor’s companions and friends often bring with them is love: love strong enough to face down Weeping Angels, to remember lost people back into the universe, to scatter themselves throughout time and call an entire unseen planet of Time Lords to account. They don’t need to take on some other power outside of themselves; they only need their own fierce and willing hearts. (“I won’t let them take him. That’s what we’ve got.”)

Faith, hope, and love, right? Those are the big three, and Moffat Who, for me, has had them in spades. An abandoned little girl who’s always afraid that everyone will leave her learns to stop running and believe that people will come back. A plastic Roman keeps a centuries-long vigil outside of a box, with all the steadfastness of his plastic human heart. And a lonely old man finds a place set at the table every Christmas in expectation of his coming, a village of children to dance the “drunk giraffe” with, a young woman who will pull open the Christmas cracker for him when his hands are too weak to do it on their own. (Did you ever notice how RTD’s Christmas specials were disaster movies, and Moffat’s are It’s a Wonderful Life?)

Anyway. What I realized is that somewhere in my subconscious, I think I’m worried that the end of Eleven-era Who will somehow be the end of all the things I’ve valued about Moffat Who - that changing the Doctor will mean changing the show in ways that I don’t want to happen: that it will become flintier, and colder, and less full of joy.

I did want to say one thing about “The Time of the Doctor” itself, though, that occurred to me while I was watching. We’ve seen a lot of examples of the way the Doctor hops in and out of people’s lives in Moffat Who, while others are stuck on the “slow path”: “The Girl in the Fireplace,” of course, from whence that phrase comes; “The Eleventh Hour,” where the Doctor breaks little Amelia’s heart by leaving her for twelve years when he only means to be gone for five minutes; “A Christmas Carol,” in which the Doctor leapfrogs from Christmas to Christmas in Kazran’s life, playing an ageless Peter Pan to that young boy’s changing Wendy; and on the grandest scale, the way the Doctor casually moves from moment to moment of the earth’s decay, in “Hide,” like the pages of a flipbook. We even see this a bit in “Blink,” where it’s Sally Sparrow who has to remind the elderly Billy Shipton that the rain outside his hospital window is the same rain in which they met, so many years and also only a few minutes ago.

So one of the things I really love about Eleven’s final episode is that for once, the tables are turned – it’s not just that he takes the slow path this time, but that for Clara, those hundreds and hundreds of years are happening in the space of a single Christmas dinner. How long does the Doctor protect the villagers on Trenzalore? Depends on how you decide to frame your answer: several centuries, and also about as long as it takes to cook a turkey.
tempestsarekind: (amy and her boys)
Huh. Apparently I wrote something about the Ponds' leaving (and how they seem to "leave" several times before that point) last year, and never bothered to post it:

I’ve been thinking about the Ponds’ departure, and stories and un-stories. S5 has such a tightly structured arc, in some ways; I mean, it’s generically baggy in the way that Doctor Who seasons are always a bit baggy, because the episodes are so often individual adventures, but emotionally the narrative ties together quite neatly: Amy starts off opposing childhood (magic, adventure, the “Raggedy Doctor” who sounds like the childhood story, the childhood toy, that Amy makes him into) and growing up (marriage), and the end of the season – like “Amy’s Choice” – reveals that for the false dichotomy it is: growing up and getting married doesn’t mean leaving adventure and the Doctor behind. But it’s also true that no one can travel with the Doctor forever, and the Doctor both knows this and doesn’t want to know it, because he loves his companions and doesn’t want to give them up. (Amy seems, often, to know this far better than the Doctor, maybe because she’s waited for him for so long and so often; she’s the one who talks about the Doctor traveling without her: “long after the rest of us are gone,” she says in “The Doctor’s Wife,” and it’s a recurring theme of both the S5 and S6 minisodes, whereas the Doctor says things like “You’ll be there till the end of me” [in “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship”] – trying hard to believe that, at least for the moment.)

Moffat’s on record in interviews as saying that the Eleven-and-the-Ponds story is one about what happens when the Doctor stays in his companions’ lives too long, and it’s possible to see S6 as an answer to that question: his involvement in their lives past their “natural” separation point sees Amy and Rory’s daughter taken from them. So he tries, after that, to let them go, at the end of “The God Complex.” But Amy and Rory are his friends and his family, and Amy is ‘the first face his face saw,’ and so he can’t let them go after all; he comes back, at the end of “The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe,” when it looked like Amy’s story with the Doctor was finished, because relationships don’t end like stories do. And so, ultimately, season 7.1 winds up feeling formless, because it’s an un-story rather than a story: it’s about characters unable to find a proper ending, because they love each other too much to let go cleanly. If you find yourself thinking that the Ponds could easily have left – narratively, at least – after “The God Complex,” it’s because they could have. But in terms of their relationship with the Doctor...well, Amy was still setting a place for him at the table and listening for the sound of the TARDIS, and he was still picking up the phone to call them and leave them messages, hoping to hear Amy’s voice before facing down some danger. The narrative problem of the Ponds is precisely the (to me) delightful way that they mean so much to the Doctor, and he to them.
tempestsarekind: (eleven wears a fez now)
I’ll admit it: I wasn’t particularly excited for “The Day of the Doctor.” There is a 'but' coming )
tempestsarekind: (eleven wears a fez now)
I actually wrote this over the weekend, and have just been failing to post it for one reason or another (including feeling oddly sensitive about it after having written it, and I still don't know why). And I'm sure everyone knows about the spoiler by now, but just in case:

cut for spoiler and unseemly gushing )
tempestsarekind: (eleven and amy)
mild spoilers for 'The Bells of Saint John' and prequel )

Also: aww. I got home from my trip yesterday to find a lot of mail, including a manila envelope from my mom. She often sends me mail addressed to me that's been sent to her address, so I figured it was that. But instead I opened it to find a copy of last August's issue of Entertainment Weekly, the one with Matt Smith on the cover! I don't know where she got it from, but it's adorable that she sent it to me - she *so* doesn't care about Doctor Who, so this wouldn't have meant anything to her.

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