Wednesday, December 25, 2013

'The Time of the Doctor' -- DX 2013 Xmas Special

Warning: Spoiler Alert

I just saw the mini-episode "The Night of the Doctor" (which should be watched before the 50th anniversary special "The Day of the Doctor"). I don't know how I didn't hear from someone that it was out there. It's not really necessary to understand what is going on with "The Day of the Doctor," but adds a little bit of filler, and finally lets us see the death of the 8th doctor. And even if I don't count 8 as my doctor (since it was 10 that actually got me into the show), he was still my first doctor, and it was nice at least be able to have a visual to see what had happened to him.

This year's Xmas Special ...

I don't know if I have just gotten so used to the Uncle Rusty years and how 9 and 10 regenerated that I was expecting something long those lines, but ... I thought that this episode was rather disappointing. It felt like there was all kinds of build up and no real pay off. Sure, it was cool to see the Weeping Angels, the Silence, the crack in the wall, and Amy again, but ... it just didn't quite live up to what I thought that it could have been.

Also what didn't live up to what it could have been ... how the doctor got more regenerations. And I kind of wanted to scream at someone that they were counting the creation of Tinkerbell!10 as one of the regenerations (and having 11 say that 10 just kept his face, cuz he was vain). Turning 11 into 13 and having the Time Lords just send him some regeneration energy through the crack so that he could turn into 12 seemed far too much like deus ex machine. I wanted there to actually be something to him getting a new life that we might have bee sure that he wouldn't have been able to have gotten before without it feeling like the writers were cheating (and maybe hadn't really thought the whole thing through, or that they just couldn't figure out an answer for how he would have gotten more lives).

11 sending Clara away every chance that he got, I get that the writers were wanting us to see it as the doctor being selfless and wanting to help people, but also wanting to make sure that his companion didn't get hurt, but that isn't how it came off. It may have a bit to do with the fact that up to this point, we haven't really gotten to know Clara all that well (she's still relatively new to us), but the way that it was written felt much more like a bit of misogyny (making sure to keep the little woman away from the danger, cuz she wouldn't be able to handle it, and the big, strong man needed to protect her from it). I'll fully admit that I have a bit of an issue with Moffat's writing of women and that may be part of why I am completely dissatisfied with Clara in general, but she seemed a bit useless and helpless in this episode (which made me feel even more dissatisfied with her than I normally am).

I'm not sure if the Dalek's turning everybody into Dalek's was supposed to be a nod to the fact that when we first meet Clara, she's been turned into a Dalek (and doesn't realize it), or not, but it didn't quite work for me. It felt like a combination of overkill with the trying to make nods to other things that have happened in 11's tenure, and having something happen within the story that didn't quite make as much sense as it could have (if that particular ship was as powerful as 11 was making it out to be, I want more than an, "Oh, BTW ... psyche! Everyone's a Dalek!"

Also, what is with saying that every companion is the doctor's best friend? Ever since Donna (at least, that's when I first noticed it), the writers have some sort of comment made (whether it's in canon, or in blurbs about the episodes) about how the companion that he's with at the time is his best friend. Not every one is going to be bestie materiel. He might like some of them pretty well, but that doesn't mean that they are BFFs. Rose was BFF for 9 (even if neither of them said it), and she was true love always for 10. Martha was a good friend and someone that 10 could trust, but they weren't besties (partly cuz he was still trying to get over Rose). Donna was BFF. Period. End of sentence. If 10 could have grown old, Donna was the he would have shared a flat with, and the two of them would have grown old together (while driving each other crazy). Can you tell that Donna is my companion? Amy was very special to 11, but I don't know that I would have called them besties. The fact that he came into her life when she was a child changed the dynamic of their relationship, so that there was a paternal vibe there (or at the very least, he was that crazy uncle that she liked to spend time with). Clara is/was the mystery. Yes, 11 was fond of her (and I'm sure that 12 will be, too), but the mystery dominated too much of their relationship in the beginning (and they were together, as far as we have seen, too little for there to be any bestie feelings. They haven't known each other long enough, or have the connection that 10 and Donna had from almost the beginning).

ETA: I have to agree with the timey-whimey of what happens to the other incarnations of Clara that are put forth here, as well as some of the other things that were lacking in this episode.

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