Monday, April 19, 2010

Doctor Who: The Case of the Jammy Dodger

I know that a lot of people are rutting tired of the Daleks. I'm not - I mean, I rather thought their appearance at the end of the fourth season was a little over the top, but I honestly didn't mind because of all the character interaction sizzling on the screen.

But this time, we learn something important: Amy doesn't remember the Daleks. I'm not sure if it's a personal thing or if something a little (a lot) timey-wimey happened on her earth. Interesting.

I love the emotion in this episode - when the 9th Doctor and 10th Doctor discovered the Daleks were not as dead as he thought they were - it was...well, the 9th Doctor tried to kill the Dalek while laughing gleefully (or maniacally), and the 10th doctor had a very emo moment, a "why do they always survive and I lose everything moment." But the 11th Doctor --


He knows these ironside canons are wrong and he knows they're Daleks even as they're asking, "WOULD YOU LIKE SOME TEA" (as opposed to their usual motto: exterminate, exterminate!) and he gets so angry - a cold, burning anger that gave me chills.

Finally he erupts - he whales on the Dalek with a force of hatred even as the Dalek ever so politely inquires, "You do not require tea?"

And then -- "You are everything I despise...I've defeated you time and time again, I've defeated you. I've sent you back into the void. I've saved the whole of reality from you! I am the DOCTOR AND YOU ARE THE DALEKS!"


And the Doctor's cleverness, his persistence, everything that makes him the Doctor - is his undoing. The Daleks win, the Doctor is defeated - all because he would not let it go, he wouldn't continue to pretend that they were brilliant weapons designed to win the war against the Third Reich.

And I love that because he's so clever and so smart that it could easily be used as a simple device -- I-Win-Button, Deus ex Machina -- but instead, it is the very thing that precipitates all the bad stuff that I'm sure will be coming up in forthcoming episodes.

Doctor Who also addressed the matter of androids - do androids dream of electric sheep? Winston Churchill demands of the professor/android - "I don't give a damn if you're a machine - are you a man?" Which is, of course, a theme Star Trek has explored in depth (only, in one 45 minute episode, Doctor Who handled it with so much more finesse).

But I love this thread because the writers chose to turn the Professor-Android into a metaphor, a symbol. The android may be a walking bomb about to detonate and destroy the earth, but it only takes him the realization that he is a man -- that he is human -- that the bomb is stopped; the Daleks have no power over him. He's the Tin Man with a human heart.

And, once again, Amy Pond - little Amelia Pond - saves the day. Her human-ness serves as a foil to the Doctor's alien-ness. Here he is, attempting to convince the android to become human by talking about war and death and friends dying in the trenches (really, the very worst of humanity) - but they aren't the right things to say - how could he say the right thing? And it is Amy who taps into the human condition with one simple question:

"Have you ever fancied someone you shouldn't?"

Isn't that just like us to want more than we have? And, at that same moment, it is the very thing that makes us so very very much alive.

Also, speaking of Amy Pond, I really love the relationship she has with the Doctor. For some reason, 9 and 10 were fixated on Rose, in love with her even though he refused to admit it. Yet, 11 shushes her at one point! And when he finds out she hasn't seen the Daleks, well:

Doctor: They invaded your world, remember. Planets in the sky, you don't forget that. [pause] Amy, tell me you remember the Daleks.

Amy: "Nope, sorry."

Doctor: "That's not possible."

And then he looks at her as if she's not quite human, but a puzzle to be figured out (which is a nice juxtaposition to how thrilled he is with her as he kisses her forhead when she initiates the android to the human race). I just loved this new dynamic they've added to the Doctor/Companionship relationship -- it's so much more complex and interesting.

(Other) Remarkable Moments:

[When the Daleks imply they are going to destroy London]

Doctor: This ship is a wreck - you don't have the power to destroy London.

Dalek: Watch as the humans destroy themselves.

Hello, Social commentary. It's so true. So who are the real monsters, eh? The Daleks who have been designed to be genocidal, genetic weapons -- or the people who destroy their neighbors, their friends?

[to the new and improved master daleks]

Doctor: Don't mess with me, Sweetheart.

11 is so much grittier and sharper and - I can't think of the word - a something. He's got it which, of course, is the hardest, most difficult thing to have.


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