Monday, May 31, 2010

Doctor Who: Oh A Green Man

I knew before watching this that Rory had died -- I hadn't even tried to find spoilers for this episode and yet they found me.

I really, really, really love Rory. There's just no real reason - he was just adorable. As such, I was really, really, really looking forward to seeing how his character developed as the season progressed (and I was even hoping he'd make it to the second season).

But no. Moffat pulled a Whedon and killed him. Just like that.

So when I found this out, I felt this reluctance to even watch the episode. And even the story itself was just -- okay. I think -- I might be biased, it's difficult to tell.

But I think it was obvious that things wouldn't turn out right. I figured that Ambrose would be the one to screw stuff up. And I knew when Alaya's sister appeared on screen with her hatred for the apes that there was no reasoning with her. She was like a harder, flintier version of Ambrose.

There was no way this would end well. And because I knew this, it felt like I was just waiting for the story to act out what had to happen, instead of experiencing the story unfolding. That's my round about way of saying that it was predictable.

But parts of it weren't (even though they were because I had been spoiled...but if I hadn't been spoiled I don't think I would have called it). For example, in Star Trek this kind of scenario would have played out exactly like it had in Doctor Who -- except nobody with a name would have died after the obligatory red shirt. But in Doctor Who, Rory did die.

In Star Trek, everything would have been neatly wrapped up with a neat little bow, everything nice and safe. But in Doctor Who, Rory just doesn't die -- he becomes a Never-Been (which is infinitely worse), with only the Doctor to remember him (and won't he just become a distant memory in the Doctor's mind who has seen so many people and things as he travels through time and space?).

Amy won't remember him. His parents won't remember him. Nobody will remember him -- except the mad man with a blue box. There won't even be any moments of amber because they're just...gone.

Forgive my crudeness, but that sucks.

I feel cheated or like someone's broken a promise -- I feel that I was deprived seeing Rory's character develop and his relationship develop. There was so much drama about Amy's choice, about her men -- and then it's just gone.

From a writer's perspective, I also have to protest the narration at both the beginning and end of the episode. I believe it sets up too much and impedes the viewer experiencing the story as it unfolds. The end bit, the bit about how the Doctor has so much more to lose, was especially aggravating. I'd like to punch the writer who wrote that because it sets up artificial expectations and makes it harder for the viewer to experience what the story has to say -- especially since he can't lose that much since there's a second season. As a viewer, I'm not an idiot -- of course Bad Stuff will happen because then there wouldn't be a story. If he has a lot to lose, it raises expectations and standards unnecessarily, severely limiting the effect of the story -- instead of telling the story as it needs to be told, they now have to live up to some character's promise. It's just ridiculous.

Anyway the beginning just about broke my heart.

Rory: I promise you, Ambrose, I trust the Doctor with my life.


I guess another bit of this episode that does make it different from the formula (despite its formulaicness), is that there really aren't any good guys. The homoreptilia -- except for a very few -- are like the humans. Too anxious to have a war. Too anxious to kill. And when the military commander shoots Malohkeii and Rory, both men of knowledge, doctors even (or, in Rory's case, a nurse) her violence destroys knowledge and reason. And that's so very sad.

And Rory was magnificent in this episode. When Restac wants the leaders of the "apes" to come forward he says,

I speak for the humans...some of them anyway.

And humble too. Reminds me of the Doctor Who episode -- Tennant's first stint as the Doctor actually -- where Harriot Jones, prime minister, spoke for earth.


I like Rory better. ;)

Then of course, we have the budding hope (which won't come to anything) that there will be an alliance, that people can work all this business out. The Doctor says,

The future pivots around you - here, now. So do good. For humanity, and for earth. Be extraordinary. Okay, bringing things to order. The first meeting of representatives of the human race and homo reptilia is now in session. Never said that before, that's fab.

Of course, we're not time travelers, and I don't know the philosophical issues of time and free will and I don't know if there are fixed points in time and space (though I rather hope there aren't) or anything like that -- but, what I do know is that we should try to be extraordinary because our decisions do affect the future. The things we do, the things we believe, they matter so very, very much -- and sometimes, caught up in the mediocrity, the routine, and the mundane business of every day, TARDIS-less life, I think it's easy to forget that.

And of course, because the future does pivot around decisions made in their then and now, Rory dies because he is so magnificent -- it doesn't matter that he saw his future self with Amy. That reality was re-written. Bah humbug.

I wonder if he would have done what he did if he knew that time was in flux, able to be changed.

And this was the scene I had in mind when I was comparing Doctor Who to The Forever War:

Doctor: We had a chance here. In future, when you talk about this you tell people that there was a chance but that you were so much less than the best of humanity.

And then, it just gets worse because Ambrose doesn't get it, just like Restac doesn't get it.

Doctor: You were building something here! Come on, an alliance could still work!
Ambrose: it's too late for that doctor.
Doctor: Why?

And then she goes on to tell them she's programmed the drill to destroy the air pockets. I just thought that the Doctor's face, his simple question - was so childlike. It was like he truly didn't understand that Ambrose would have found some way to screw it up because she was afraid for her family (fear generates savagery)...even though he's nine hundred and seven years old.

So sad.

Childishness seemed to a prevalent theme in this episode too. When the Doctor said that Amy and Nasreen could represent humanity in their efforts to come up with some kind of alliance, I didn't think that I'd want Amy representing me. I adore Amy -- she and Donna are my favorite companions -- but I don't think she's mature enough:

And even though she does contribute, I just feel that Amy is -- in many ways -- still a child. Which is another reason that Rory Never-Beening is such a problem for me. Whatever she learned from Vampire's of Venice, her choice in Amy's Choice and Rory's death never happened. Whatever growing up she did from that is gone. She's been rewound, and she'll never be the same again.

In the same way that I, as a viewer, feel cheated, so is Amy Pond cheated out of her life (which is interesting from a story point of view, and positively dangerous from a writer's point of view -- I really hope they don't bungle this) It looks like the next episode will be most filler (hopefully good filler), but I hope they'll put in some good character developments. Like I wonder how the Doctor's interactions with Amy will be influenced by his remembrance of Rory, that sort of thing.

Remarkable Moments

Doctor: Oh dear, really? There's always a military isn't there.

I started reading The Forever War after I watched this episode, but the parallels are staggering -- all subtextual in Doctor Who of course, but there nonetheless. The Doctor would not approve of the war with the Taurans. So would not.

Eldane: My priority is my race's survival. The earth isn't ready for us to return yet.

Doctor: No. But maybe it should be. So, here's the deal. A thousand years to sort the planet out to be ready. Pass it on. There's legend or prophecy or religion - but somehow, make it known. This planet is to be shared.

This is why I'm an English student. Literature and stories are so important for the development of humanity.

I'm not really sure what I think about this:

Amy: I still remembered the clerics because I am a time traveler.

Doctor: They weren't part of your world. This is different. This is your own history changing!

You know how you play little made up games with a sibling or some other kid and, when something happens that they don't like, they decide to make up a new rule so that they can have it their own way?

I kind of feel like that kid who got the short end of the stick. I call it rubbish, that's what. Still, maybe it makes sense. If life is like a tapestry, then when Amy was with the clerics in the angel episode, she was simply observing -- her life thread hadn't really woven in with theirs in a meaningful way because they were woven from two separate bolts of cloth. But with Rory - who had grown up with her (even dressed up as the raggedy doctor), his thread is woven in with her thread into a unique tapestry. If he becomes a never been, then his thread is gone, which means the tapestry of her life that he held together would unravel. Maybe it is really is that different.

I still call shenanigans, though. Because I'm petulant that way.

What is up with the ring? When Rory put it away in the previous episode, the camera made sure to linger on it, just as the camera lingers on the ring again after Amy forgets everything because the stupid TARDIS interrupted her.


And the shrapnel from the crack in the universe:

I feel that I should have seen it coming -- that of course it would be the TARDIS, but I really didn't see it coming -- it was actually a bit unexpected for me. The alien in the first episode taunted the Doctor because he didn't know who caused the cracks -- but how could he know if it's in his future? Oh well. Perhaps I just expect villains to be a little more reasonable.

I just like the way the way they filmed this scene - the shadows, the postures of the characters, the graveyard in the background. Powerful in its simplicity.

[when they find Mo's son]

Mo: Well, I gotta be honest with you, son. We're in the center of the earth, and there are lizard men.

Malohkeii: Hi.

I liked Malohkei tooi. Too many people I liked died in this episode.

Doctor: [regarding the sonic screwdriver] This is a deadly weapon stay back!

This made me laugh - it reminded me when he first met Captain Jack Harkness. Hee.

And finally:

Malohkeii: [after explaining how he had learned about the humans] I never meant to harm your child.

Doctor: Malohkeii, I rather love you.

This actually reminds me of Vonnegut's Sirens of Titan:

It took us that long to realize that a purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.

This Vonnegut-esque idea happens again at the end of the episode, when the Doctor speaks to Ambrose:

An eye for an's never the way. Now you show your son how wrong you were. How there's another way. You make him the best of humanity in the way you couldn't be.

And then he gives her this sad little smile:

Especially in contrast to his disappointment and anguish when he finds out she killed Alaya:

I just find his reactions complicated -- and I like that. I like how he doesn't rave at her, how he still cares enough to explain it to her, dialogue that, despite the disappointment, is filled with hope for a better future. And I find that very much a kind of love. I think Vonnegut would approve.


Overall though, I really don't know how I feel about these two episodes. I hope to have a better view of them when the season ends, when I see them in context with the other episodes of a completed season.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Doctor Who: Intergalactic Wag

This episode is titled Amy's Choice but the funny thing about it is that it really isn't about Amy, even though it frequently does seem to be about Amy.

After all, the episode is Captain Obvious when it comes down to it: the Doctor tells Rory to stop competing and when Amy is genuinely clueless over whom they are competing, they both turn towards her with these duh faces. Even the Dream Lord (aka the Doctor gone dark side) says,

Amy's men, Amy's choice

which of course puts a darker spin to the cheerful, happy-ish ending (before the silence bit) at the end of the previous episode when Amy happily pronounces that she's got her space ship and her boys.

But what I can't figure is why this point is belabored. Why does she have to choose and more importantly, why does this Dark Side Doctor Dream Lord feel the need to contrive a situation forcing her to choose -- when it's not really a choice at all because Rory is still with her in the frozen TARDIS - he'd just rather have a family. So perhaps the choice isn't between the Doctor and Rory, but whose happiness: Rory's or hers?

Personally, I don't think that's a choice anybody should have to make.

But, as I said above, even though the episode looks like it's about Amy (and it is in a lot of ways), I think it's more about the Doctor. He seems to be more concerned about the decisions his companions make. He wasn't that concerned when it came down to Rose choosing him over Mickey -- he actually seemed to take it as a no brainer. I just find it odd that his subconscious would contrive such a scenario for Amy.

I wonder what would have happened if the Doctor hadn't realized the frozen TARDIS was a dream - would they have just kept dreaming? If they had died through indecision in both dream worlds would they still have woken up in the "real" reality? If they did wake up in reality eventually (whether or not they died in both dream worlds or they died later on in the frozen one if the Dream Lord hadn't given himself away), then wouldn't that have rendered the situation of Amy's Choice pointless?

Personally, I think this is all symptomatic of the problem with Amy -- because there is something strange going on with her, something to do with the cracks in the universe.

Have I mentioned how much I like Amy recently? She does seem to know the Doctor quite well. Of course, when he first meets up with them "five years later" he says,

Doctor: you know me, I don't just abandon people who leave the TARDIS ... you don't get rid of your old pal the doctor so easily.

Amy: You came here by mistake, didn't ya?

Doctor: Bit of a mistake, yeah.

Of course, I, through my computer screen, was calling shennanigans the minute the Doctor started speaking. And yet, Amy gets it and, what's more, she seems fine with it (in comparison to Rose). She gets that they're two different people -- the Doctor's an alien! -- and she accepts that instead of wanting the Doctor to be someone he's not.

She also calls him out again:

Doctor: My mind isn't working because this village is SO DULL. I'm slowing down like you two have.

[Amy fakes labor; the two doctors panic]

Amy: Okay it's not coming. This is my life now and it has just turned you white as a sheet. So don't you call it dull again. Ever. Okay?

Perhaps life is only as dull as one makes it.

But then, she has a bit of an arrogant moment:

Amy: Who are you and what do you want? The Doctor knows you but he's not telling me who you are. And he always does - takes him a while sometimes, but he tells me. So you're something different.

Dream Lord: Oh, is that who you think you are, the one he trusts?

Amy: Actually, yes.

Dream Lord: The only girl in the universe to whom the doctor tells everything. So what's his name?

I actually find this an interesting moment because it invokes Professor Riversong and the fourth season implication that she was the only person to whom the Doctor had revealed his true name. And yet, also in Flesh and Stone, the Doctor wonders whether he should trust Riversong or not. I find the juxtaposition slightly...ironic. Even though I still think Amy is being a bit full of herself, which just reinforces her mature-ish child-likeness.

I also thought it was interesting how the ideas of child-likeness and growing up were being invoked in this episode.

The Dream Lord says,

Your friends never see you again once they've grown up - the old man prefers the company of the young

The Doctor says, way back when in the first episode,

Oh, god you never wanna do that

When Amy said she had grown up.

And Rory invokes it too in this current episode:

Amy: Don't you wonder, if that life is real, why did we give up all this? Why would anyone?

Rory: Because we're going to get married.

Amy: We're in a time machine. It can be the night before our wedding for as long as we want.

Rory: We have to grow up eventually.

Amy: Hm. Says who?

And I say, why is gallavanting around in the TARDIS saving the bloody universe Not Grown Up while settling down in some dinky village popping out babies is Grown Up? Even the Doctor described such an event a "terrible nightmare [. . .] that was scary."

Definitely scary (but perhaps I'm just not being particularly objective at the moment).

And maybe, like the scenario of Amy's Choice was ultimately pointless, the question -- the choice between growing up or not growing up -- is, essentially, pointless. Does it really matter if they decide to stay in the TARDIS or do what people expect other young people to do - settle down and procreate? Will the universe really end if people aren't forced into these traditional boxes:

A competition between men (a bumpkin competing with a Time Lord), the family or the universe.

What's needed is a re-definition: Amy chooses Rory not because he's somehow better than the Doctor, but because she loves him differently than she loves the Doctor. Her love for the Doctor is obvious, but it's also obvious that it's not the same kind of love -- and that that's okay too: she and the Doctor are in this together, despite whom she "chooses". And even though it's Rory she's kissing at the end of the episode, she still has a family right there in the TARDIS - just not the traditional kind. Not the nuclear kind. And I think it bears mentioning that even the way the Doctor interacts with Rory is more emotionally intimate than what's ever been portrayed with other male characters. So - in a way, they are emotionally bound to each other in new and refreshing ways, creating their own odd sort of family, redefining what it means to have what Rory seemed to desire and what Amy seemed to desire and ultimately reconciling them by accepting people as they are instead of who they want them to be.

What do you know. You can have your cake and eat it too.

So, all this time I've been saying this episode's been about the doctor, but I keep on rambling about Amy.

Doctor:The Dream Lord was me. Psychic pollen it feeds on everything dark in you - gives it a voice, turns it against you. 907 years - had a lot to go on.

Amy: But why didn't it feed on us too?

Doctor: The darkness in you two - it would have starved to death in an instant.

So, back in Flesh and Stone again, it was mentioned that Riversong had killed the best man she had ever known, and of course I (and probably a good many other people) feared she had been referring to the Doctor (which I believe would be dreadful from a writer's perspective). Personally, this episode gives me glimmers of hope that the writers will not go in that direction because it's obvious that even though the Doctor is a good man (for the most part) and a complicated one at that, I'm not sure he could be considered a "best" man -- even though he is extraordinary.

And really, what is a best man. Best men are boring.

Then there were two moments in the episode where both Rory and Amy ascribed a label or definition to the Doctor:

Rory: This is so you, isn’t it? A weird new star, 40 minutes left to live, and only one man to save the day?


Amy: Save him, you save everyone, it's what you do, it's what you always do.

Doctor: Not always. I'm sorry.

Amy: Then what is the point of you?

Which actually parallels a scene from the first season of Torchwood when Gwen asked the same question of Jack over the corpse of her dead fiancee...

I think these labels or definitions cause a lot of anxiety for the Doctor. I love 11's reaction to Amy's grief -- his face is stricken, and he wants to touch her, comfort her, but doesn't:

Very, very poignant.

And even though the Doctor does end up saving the day by realizing the frozen TARDIS, it's obvious that the Doctor isn't just the grand hero. Even though he's alien, he's "human". There's a darkness in him -- there's more to him than just what his companions have seen. There's more to him than his titular role as a protagonist.

He's a real boy.

Remarkable Moments:

Doctor: Ice can burn, sofas can read - it's a big Universe.

I like that. It's like -- I don't think the human race will ever stop discovering new and exciting things -- and that's okay. It's adventurous.

Amy: Shall I get the manual?

I threw it in a supernova.


Because I disagreed with it. Stop talking to me when I'm cross!

1. People should use the word "cross" more.
2. It's a good thing Amy wasn't wearing her mini skirt during this scene. All I'm saying.

Doctor: there's something that doesn't make sense. Let's go and poke it with a stick.


Doctor: They're scared. Fear generates savagery.

are possibly my two favorite quotes of the episode because they're so true. I also think that knowledge helps keep fear -- and therefore savagery -- at bay. Anyway, they made me very happy and warm inside, like hot cocoa on a blustery, wintery day.

One of my favorite (albeit brief) moments in the episode:

People look so beautiful when they sleep. 

Doctor Who: The Graves Eat People

  • Doctor Who: The Graves Eat People

    Spoilers below the cut

    I've decided that this is an odd little episode because of the parallels between Hungry Earth and Amy's Choice: In AC, they think they're dreaming of their future selves. In HE, they (supposedly), see their future selves. In AC, the Doctor dumps a lot of young people into a church. In HE, everybody takes refuge in a church. (And that's not even counting the other parallel in AC -- the one where the Doctor climbs through a window to help Amy and Rory like he did in the first episode.)

    It'll be interesting to see where this goes. If they are just weird little coincidences that's okay -- I don't think it means the writing is shabby or anything like that. I just think it'd be totally cool if the similarities are related to each other somehow. I probably wouldn't even have noticed it if I hadn't watched the episodes right after another.

    I admit, when I first heard the title of this episode, I thought for sure that it would be an environmentally themed one, something like: you push mother earth, she'll shove back, so I was pleasantly surprised in the direction the episode took. Anyway, I don't really like talking about two parters too much, so I think I'll only talk about what I thought was the most meaningful part of the episode - when the Doctor figures out who the...well, who the other people are.

    So Eliot says,

    Is it monster's comin? Have you met monsters before?

    Doctor: Yeah

    Eliot: You scared of them?

    Doctor: No, they're scared of me.

    And of course, this could be considered a bit of foreshadowing - but it's not really. The homo-reptilians aren't monsters -- they're just people.

    When the Doctor sees Alaya's face he says, "You are beautiful."

    Of course, this is in stark contrast to Alaya's view of homo-sapiens, whom she sees as "apes" or "vermin" -- essentially depersonifying those who are different than her.

    The Doctor calls her on it too:

    Doctor: Do we have to say vermin? They're really very nice.

    I think sometimes people forget that, despite all the bad and the faults, people -- the universe, really -- is a beautiful place. It's better to be comprehensive instead of narrow-minded - it keeps things more complex, more objective. It's easier to empathize with people when you realize and understand the similarities that tie people together:

    Doctor: They're not aliens! They're Earth...lians. Not monsters, not evil -- only as evil as you are.

    And yet, still beautiful (it tickles the humanist inside me). Maybe our flaws make us beautiful, or rather, overcoming our flaws...

    And then he continues,

    While I'm gone, you four people in this church, in this planet earth, you have to be the best of humanity. No dissecting, no examining. We can land this together. If you are the best you can be. You are decent, brilliant people. Nobody dies today. Understand?

    (I love how Nasreen does her little clap at the end of his speech) -- This speech just makes me happy on the inside. It's noble and hugely optimistic and the next time I hear about people committing a horrible atrocity I'll probably have a hard time believing it - but I don't think that should lessen the sentiment, or impede other people from truly attempting to be the best of all they can be.

    (Other) Remarkable Moments

    Amy: Doctor, it's a graveyard! You promised me a beach.

    I don't know what Amy's thinking, but I'd rather a graveyard over a beach any day.

    Doctor: The ground's attacking us! Under the circumstances, I'd suggest -- RUN!

    It's really quite a terrifying notion - ground attacking people, that is. I mean, it's not like you could ever run out of ground or climb away from it or hide from it...

    Rory: Can't you sonic it?

    Doctor: It doesn't do wood.

    Rory: That is rubbish.

    Doctor: Oy don't diss the sonic!

    Hee. Rory <3

    Doctor: [when Nasreen insists on accompanying the Doctor] It'll be dangerous.

    Nasreen: Eh, so is crossing the road.

    Which officially makes her awesome.

    The sunglasses are awesome too.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Wicked: A Discourse

I saw Wicked when I was in San Francisco.

It was amazing - high up on the balcony, a map of Oz serving as a curtain. Giant clockwork gears serving as a stage, more gears constructing the towers of the town, the castle, the Emerald City.

Tick-tock, tick-tock.

Surprisingly, Madam Morrible's Tick-Tock assassin did not make an appearance in the stage - nor was the Dragon Clock much a part of it. It leaves me wondering why the entire stage was composed of mechanical gears, grinding and grinding. Perhaps it's a metaphor of fate - which is odd because Elphaba, aka the Wicked Witch of the West, dodges her assumed "fate" with a lovely deus ex machina. After all, the opening number takes great pains to tell the audience that the wicked die alone (and they deserve it too, no doubt), thereby establishing a theory that features the world as black and white instead of shades of grey. Of course, the entire point of Wicked is complicating these assumed truths about wickedness and goodness and evil so I still don't see how the tick-tocky mechanicalness fits into everything. A clock is predictable - if the world was predictable it wouldn't be shades of grey - unless the very shades of greyness of everything is predictable.

Alright, now that I've given myself a headache overanalyzing one symbol I'll conclude with this: I really dug the set. It felt very steampunk. Even though it wasn't, of course.

Wicked The Play is vastly different from Wicked the Novel. Even though I believe that Maguire was too anxious to show off his SAT vocabulary (in ways detrimental to the story), I still love his revisioning of the tale. I also love elements of Wicked the Play's revisioning of the novel.

In the novel, the origin stories of the Tin Man and Scarecrow (though we do get a glimpse of the Cowardly Lion) are not addressed like they were in the Play. I prefer the Play's treatment of these characters. I liked that they were present in the musical, in comparison to their absence in the novel.

I particularly felt that the Tin Man was especially dark. Sure he's silver and a little adorable in the film with the saccharine powdered Judy Garland and, even though he has no literal heart, he has plenty of emotional heart.

Not so in the play. When Elphaba is painted as a wicked witch in need of a good old fashioned witch hunt (complete with pitchforks), he proclaims from the balcony --

And I will heartlessly murder her!

And the line thrilled me from my head to my toes and everything in between because it's so obvious and yet I've never really thought about it before. I mean - really!

As for the Scarecrow, in the novel Elphaba suspected (wrongly) that the Scarecrow could be her lost love, Fiyero. In the play, the scarecrow really is her lover -- and I really, really adored this because it just complicated things so much. There are threefold reasons why I adore this element to the play:

When he's on his knees in a cornfield with a red sky - surrounded by guards, confronted by G(a)linda, he is then carried away out of the foreground. Out of the spotlight, he and his captors become silhouettes. His hands are bound above his head to the shaft of spear, hands clawed over the piece of wood. The imagery, of course, foreshadows his fate to be the Scarecrow -- but for the brief moments he's silhouetted and bound, he's so fragile. I just found the image to be extremely powerful.

Elphaba turns Fiyero into a scarecrow because she was trying to save him, yet, at the same time -- a scarecrow is a thing. In the movie, the scarecrow wants a brain. In the play (and to a lesser extent the novel), Fiyero is, at first, quite frivolous and petty. Ultimately, Elphaba literally objectifies him when, before, her objectification was simply metaphorical when they both sang, "As long as you're mine" -- because, really, only objects can belong to someone. People shouldn't belong to people, even if it's in the name of love. And of course, whatever brains he once had is now replaced by straw...interesting how abstract heartlessness became concrete in the case of the Tinman but abstract brainlessness doesn't. Hum. Still, if someone took my brain away I would feel as if I had been obscenely violated -- of course, this isn't really addressed in the play. Too dark for show tunes, I suppose.

Despite the problematic conception of turning Fiyero into a scarecrow, I still understand why she did it -- I empathize with her:

Let him feel no pain
Let his bones never break
And however they try
To destroy him

This musical number was absolutely amazing. I need to see it again!

In the book, Fiyero actually died very abruptly. I prefer the play's vision (even though i disagree with their happily ever after bow). It's easy to feel guilty about being the cause of a lover's death, as Elphaba was in the novel -- it's more difficult understanding and experiencing the consequences of turning someone you love into a scarecrow. Death is the easy way out: it's final, it's inevitable. Everybody dies -- but not everybody ends up as a scarecrow.

Despite my fondness for the play, I really, really could not stand G(a)linda. She was a stereotypical blonde on steroids. It made me nauseous. I feel that her character -- even as it grew up a little towards the end -- could have been more complex. I'd also have liked a better reason for her betraying Elphaba (telling the wizard and the Madam that her weak spot was Nessarose) than the fact she was peeved that Elphaba had somehow taken Fiyero away from her. That is a very tired reason. I also think that Elphaba's, G(a)linda's, and Fiyero's relationships could have been developed more. It felt a little contrived: well, it would be cool if this happened so this could happen next!

Which is why I believe that a conglomeration of the novel and the play would make a most excellent tv show. Not a movie because a movie has to be too short -- but a tv show.

And I hated the ending of the play. Elphaba should have stayed dead, like she stayed dead in the book. The novel's ending was tragic. It was so tragic, I was a little shocked and numbed when I read it. I was all exclamation points and question marks and saucer eyes in a dumbfounded shake of the head. In the novel, Dorothy is attempting to go to the castle to apologize to Elphaba for killing her sister. But when Elphaba accidentally sets her broom on fire, Dorothy cries out, I'll save you as she dashes a bucket of water on Elphaba's head.

That's tragic and poignant and deeply heartbreaking.

But the play ended it with a cake that had too much sugar in its frosting and a bow too perfect to be real. My, what a convenient trap door (or should I call you deus ex machina instead?) that was.

Though I have to say, the way they had the "death" scene take place behind a curtain -- and Dorothy as a menacing shadow girl with pigtails -- was pretty brilliant.

But I still don't approve. The perfect little ending for the witch who had lost so much strips away the gravitas of the play, the seriousness of the question it posits at the beginning. A totally contrived ending about as real as a man made of straw.

Other than that, I loved it!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Problem of Slytherin: A Discourse

The Harry Potter series is an extensive fantasy journey about a boy fulfilling his destiny and vanquishing evil. There are two main poles of morality throughout the series. Harry Potter typifies concepts of goodness while the villainous Voldemort personifies evil. Surrounding these two poles are figures and ideas that usually occupy a morally grey space. Rowling threads these morally grey ideas throughout the story, but chooses to leave them unaddressed at the end of the seven book series by writing those characters with morally grey ideas into one dimensional villains. Her oversimplification of complex issues leaves the reader unsatisfied because she fails to follow through the multidimensional view of ethics that were expressed through the Sorting Hat songs and comments spoken by the characters themselves. Because Harry's role as hero fails to address concepts not typified by archetypal good and evil, it becomes clear that in order for Rowling to follow through the ideas she presented earlier in the series, Harry Potter needs an anti-hero.

Throughout the novel, readers are allowed glimpses into the mores of the Houses through the House Songs, sung by the Sorting Hat at the beginning of the school year. The Sorting Hat is a magical character within the story, created by the wizards and witches who founded Hogwarts. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the Sorting Hat sings one of the more important songs throughout the series, warning the Houses that “Hogwarts is in danger/From external, deadly foes/And we must unite inside her/Or we'll crumble from within” (206). Earlier in the song, the Hat addresses the history of Hogwarts, detailing how the founders were once united in friendship before “discord crept among us/Feeding on our faults and fears” (205). The Hat implies that they were weakened, perhaps corrupted, by fear and their own character flaws because they were no longer united in friendship. This conflict can be seen in Harry Potter's day because the Houses are still splintered, competing against each other instead of working together. This is mostly seen in the conflict between Gryffindor and Slytherin, but, to a smaller extent, the students are all in conflict with each other in order to win points for their respective houses. However, during the final battle at the end of the The Deathly Hallows, Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff are united against the Death Eaters. Only Slytherin gleefully follows the Death Eaters, delightfully torturing their fellow classmates. Their absence is conspicuously noted when Harry saw that “[t]he silver and green of Slytherin alone were absent (“Deathly Hallows” 577) in the room of Requirement, which was being used by Dumbledore's Army as a sanctuary from the Death Eaters. However, this splintering is fully realized when, as Hogwarts prepared to fight Voldemort, every single Slytherin “troop[ed] out on the other side of the Hall,” leaving “[t]he Slytherin table...completely deserted” (“Deathly Hallows” 610). Rowling effectively ostracizes Slytherin from the rest of Hogwarts, failing to address the Hat sorting song which urged for their unification. This would not matter so much if there were consequences with that decision, but there are not. Good still triumphs over evil and Slytherin is still exiled from the fold. Rowling also fails to address the Hat's observations that their conflict fed on their “faults and fears” (“Order of the Phoenix” 205). There is no shadow of those faults or those fears in the denouement of the series. By choosing to end the series the way she does, Rowling is inconsistent with her own foreshadowings, as well as remaining untrue to the characteristics of Slytherin as detailed by the Sorting Hat.

The songs about Slytherin state that “those cunning folk use any means/To achieve their ends” (“Sorcerer's Stone “118), that “power-hungry Slytherin/Loved those of great ambition,” (“Goblet of Fire” 177), and that “Slytherin/Took only pure-blood wizards/Of great cunning” (“Order of the Phoenix” 205). However, throughout the novel, Slytherins rarely portray these qualities. Instead they are obtuse, one dimensional, and all of them mindlessly racist against those who are not full blooded wizards. Rowling equates the thirst for power with racial genocide, completely ignoring that there are other kinds of power besides that of bloody dictatorship. According to Rowling, ambition becomes synonymous with heinous evil, when ambition can be used for good ends, evil ends, or morally grey ends. Ultimately, at the end of the series, Rowling equates being a Slytherin to becoming a Death Eater, or at the very least a lackey of Voldemort when they “[came] and join[ed] me [Voldemort], like the rest of the Slytherins” (“Deathly Hallows” 641), a stark difference between the other three houses who unanimously decided to fight against Voldemort.

Rowling's mistake with Slytherin is that she lacks the necessary subtlety to address their qualities, which do not typify either goodness or evilness but something in between. It is because of their moral greyness, as depicted in the House songs, that Slytherins lend themselves to becoming antiheroes, who do not typify characteristics that are considered to be good or heroic. Comparing the Slytherin qualities depicted in the house songs, one can easily see that Slytherins are not evil, villainous, mini-Voldemorts, but people who do not fit the traditional societal mores of goodness. Rowling admitted this in an interview when someone asked if she thought Snape was a hero and she replied, “Yes, I do; though a very flawed hero. An anti-hero, perhaps” (Leaky-Cauldron). With that quote, she mistakenly implies that flawed characters, or more unpleasant characters, can be considered anti-heroes instead of heroes.

However, though Snape is a Slytherin, Rowling was more correct when she said that he was a hero, instead of an antihero. Even though Rowling writes the text in third person, the voice is Harry's point of view. Harry, because he does not know the whole story, is an unreliable narrator. Throughout the texts, readers glimpse Harry's narrow perception of Snape, a perception which is ultimately flawed and negative. As the story ends and the readers learn Snape's true nature and function throughout the story, readers are able to more objectively judge Snape than Harry can.

It is logical to assume that Harry, as the archetypal hero of the series, sets the base line for what can be considered heroic. It is important to consider that Harry Potter himself is a flawed character. For example, Harry suffers jealousy when Ron is chosen as prefect (“Order of the Phoenix” 166), he uses his new found spells against people whom he considers his inferior, such as when he made it impossible for the caretaker to speak (“Half-Blood Prince” 238), and he has a superiority complex, as evidenced when he didn't want Neville and Luna helping him rescue Sirius, not because they would be in danger, but because they were not the people he would have chosen if he could (“Order of the Phoenix” 761). However, it is important to remember that even though he is a flawed and somewhat multidimensional character, he still functions as the hero throughout the story.

Snape, who in many ways is similar to Harry Potter, cannot be an antihero because he does not fit the definition of an antihero, a character “who lacks traditional heroic qualities such as courage, physical prowess, and fortitude” (Gale). One of his greatest flaws throughout the entire work is not treating Harry as if He Were the Boy Who Lived but as Harry Potter, son of James Potter, the boy who cruelly and incessantly tortured and teased him throughout his time at Hogwarts. This makes Snape a flawed character, much as Harry Potter is a flawed character, but it does not make him an anti-hero. According to Jessica Morrell in an excerpt from her book Bullies Bastards & Bitches, heroes are “motivated by virtues, morals, a higher calling, pure intentions, and love for a specific person or humanity” (Morrell). Though not much is known of Snape's personal morals, the reader does know that Snape repented of his Death Eater ways when Lily, Harry's mother, was murdered. This implies that all of Snape's actions throughout Harry's time at Hogwarts was fueled by Snape's “love for a specific person,” a quality found in heroes, but not anti-heroes.

Snape is everything that an anti-hero is not, according to the definition given above. Snape is very courageous as Dumbledore admitted when he said, “'You are a braver man by far than Igor Karkaroff. You know, I sometimes think we sort too soon...'” (Rowling, “Deathly Hallows” 680), perhaps implying that Snape should have been sorted in Gryffindor, a more heroic house to be sure. He faced Voldemort continuously as he spied upon his inner circle, reporting dutifully back to Dumbledore even though it endangered his life. In the context of Harry Potter, physical prowess can be equated to magical skill. Throughout the books, Rowling reveals that Snape is a powerful wizard, as evidenced by his superb potions, his spell crafting, and his skill in occlumency. Snape also possesses great fortitude because he withstood the scorn of his peers and the Death Eaters that doubted him.

Finally, both Harry Potter and Snape sacrifice themselves at the end of Deathly Hallows. It is also important to realize that Snape did not redeem himself with this sacrifice, but that he was redeemed in Harry's eyes as his true allegiances were revealed, and Harry fully understood that Snape had been a fellow hero during the course of Harry's years at Hogwarts. Though Harry devoted himself to destroying Voldemort because of his love for humanity, Snape devoted himself to doing the right thing because of his love for Lily, which are distinctly heroic attributes.

If Rowling wished to have an anti-hero within her universe, Draco Malfoy would have been the better choice. Unlike Snape, Draco is not distinctly heroic. His magical prowess is rivaled by Harry. Draco is also less courageous than Harry Potter, evidenced by the fact that he is constantly accompanied by his two goons whenever he confronts Harry. Unlike Snape, Draco is not “motivated by virtues, morals, a higher calling, pure intentions, and love for a specific person or humanity” (Morrell). Draco does not personify traditional or socially constructed goodness. Other characteristics of an anti-hero include “easily identified imperfections; be made understandable by the story events, meaning that the reader will come to know his motivations and likely will be privy to his inner demons” (Morrell), all of which Draco personifies. His imperfections are his philosophy of racism and his cruelty towards those who are weaker than he. Throughout the story, but especially in the sixth novel, readers begin to develop sympathy for Draco. As the story unfolds, readers understand that, unlike Harry, Draco is surrounded by parents who love him enough to care what and how he thinks, thereby indoctrinating him into their racist philosophies. Readers later learn that Voldemort threatened his parents in order to force Draco to murder Dumbledore as punishment for his parents' mistakes (Rowling, “Deathly Hallows” 682), encouraging further sympathy for Draco. These are anti-heroic qualities and, when he tries to summon the courage to murder Dumbledore, Draco is on the cusp of assuming the role of anti-hero when Harry observes “his [Draco's] wand hand still trembling. Harry thought he saw it drop by a fraction” (“Half-blood Prince” 592).

Other anti-hero qualities that Draco exhibits are “can be selfish and essentially bad people who occasionally are good; can be motivated by self-interest and self-preservation, but there is usually a line anti-heroes won’t cross, which sets them apart from villains” (Morrell). Draco has, occasionally, exhibited qualities that can be considered good. He warned Hermione of the Death Eaters in Goblet of Fire (121) and when he refused to identify Harry in the Deathly Hallows (459). The line that Draco refused to cross was when he lowered his wand when about to kill Dumbledore. In contrast, Snape is not an “essentially bad person” because, throughout his time at Hogwarts, he has been a devoted member against Voldemort. Insinuating himself as Dumbledore's spy into Voldemort's close circle of Death Eaters is neither in his self interest nor his self preservation. Therefore, Snape is not occasionally good, but always good, save for his flaw in continuing his grudge against James towards Harry. Anti-heroes can also “embody unattractive traits and behaviors, such as sexist and racist attitudes, and violent reactions when wronged” (Morrell). Draco is proud of his racist attitude against muggles and the muggleborn. However, Snape's attitude toward muggle born and muggles are not as hateful as Draco's. Granted, before Harry Potter's time, he seemed to convey a negative attitude towards the muggle born, but he was able to overcome it, something that is evidenced both by his continued devotion to Lily and when he rebukes Phineas Nigellus not to use the word “Mudblood” (Rowling, “Half-Blood Prince” 689), a derogatory remark about those born to muggle parents. This is a stark difference between Draco's philosophies and Snape's recurrent grudges towards those who wronged him.

When comparing Draco to Harry and Snape, it becomes clear that Draco is vastly different from the two of them. He has no ideals, whereas Snape wishes to redeem himself in Lily's name, while Harry wants to save the entire world from the evil of Voldemort. Draco is weaker both in character and magical skill than either Snape or Harry, fulfilling the requirement that an anti-hero “lacks traditional heroic qualities such as courage, physical prowess, and fortitude” (Gale). Though it could be argued that Snape also has identifiable imperfections, there is a difference between Draco and Snape. Snape is flawed in the same way that Harry is flawed, yet his actions, despite these flaws, are distinctly heroic in function, not anti-heroic. Snape's grudge against Harry, James, and Sirius is distinctly different from Draco's philosophies of racism and cruelty towards others which are reoccurring themes throughout books one through five. Because Draco is weak, because he holds nontraditional values and social mores, because he found the line he would not cross, and because he edged close to redemption, he should be the anti-hero instead of Snape, who is more like a hero than an anti-hero.

There are situations within the Harry Potter series that parallel Harry and Draco in their heroic and almost anti-heroic roles. In Order of the Phoenix, Harry undergoes an identity crisis when he realizes that he is acting like Draco, that he is not acting heroically (166). The juxtaposition Rowling creates in that moment paves the way towards Draco as an anti-hero, a contrast and foil to the obviously heroic Harry Potter. Having Draco as an anti-hero would at least partially redeem Slytherin because he would have completed the unification that Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw experienced, fulfilling not only the foreshadowing of the House song but also keeping Slytherin, as a whole, more in character than the obtuse, uncunning caricatures Rowling depicted instead of true representations of the House songs. If Draco had been allowed to fulfill his role as anti-hero, instead of edging around it throughout the latter half of the series, perhaps he could have fulfilled the other half of the House song which asked the rhetorical question, “For were there such friends/As Slytherin and Gryffindor” (“Order of the Phoenix” 204).

Slytherin's qualities, as enunciated by the Sorting Hat, primes them to be the perfect anti-heroes, not villainous, one dimensional cohorts of Voldemort. Though Rowling suggests that Snape is an anti-hero, he truly possesses more heroic tendencies than anti-heroic characteristics because of his bravery and strength of character. Instead of unfairly co-ercing Slytherin into a primarily villainous role, Rowling should have remained true to the Sorting Hat songs which outlined the characteristics of Slytherins, none of which included a desire to commit mass genocide against a certain population, which Voldemort had intended to do. Unfortunately, Rowling's one dimensional view of Slytherin not only turned them into caricatured loons, but also failed to fulfill the elements of foreshadowing within the text. The Sorting Hat songs which alluded to unification, the friendship of Slytherin and Gryffindor, and Harry's moment where he parallels himself to Draco are completely forgotten in Slytherin's mad stampede to join Voldemort. Sadly, Sirius Black once told Harry that “'the world isn't split into good people and Death Eaters'” (“Order of the Phoenix” 302), yet, ultimately, that wise observation remains untrue when Rowling does divide Hogwarts school into good people (Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw) and Death Eaters (Slytherin). A way she could have remained consistent to her own writing and fulfilled certain elements of the story that were never once more addressed would have been to allow Draco to fully grow into the role of anti-hero. As an anti-hero, Draco would make Slytherin more multi-dimensional while fulfilling elements of the story that were forgotten towards the end of the series.

Works Cited

"Glossary Of Terms." Gale Cengage Learning. Gale®. Web. 17 Apr. 2010.>.

"J.K. Rowling Web Chat Transcript." The Leaky Cauldron. July-Aug. 2007. Web. 17 Apr. 2010. .

Morrell, Jessica Page. "Defining and Developing Your Anti-Hero." Writer's Digest. Mar.- Apr. 2008. Web. 17 Apr. 2010. .

Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. New York, NY: Arthur A. Levine, 2007. Print.

Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. New York: Arthur A. Levine, 2000. Print.

Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. New York, NY: Arthur A. Levine, 2005. Print.

Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. New York, NY: Arthur A. Levine, 2003. Print.

Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. New York: A.A. Levine, 1997. Print.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Doctor Who: You Look About Nine!

Vampires of Venice was a really fun episode - not so much of a thinky one as some of the others, just a fun one.

Which is pretty awesome.

Spoilers below:

So I'm just going go through some of the ones I liked best - though really, the entire episode was just delicious and pretty so ya'll should just go watch the whole thing.

First of all, the villains -- well, not really villains, right? At the beginning of the episode where they are first introduced, Rosanna says,

Protecting the future of one's own is a sacred duty.

And, though she was saying it to the father who was attempting to secure a place for his daughter at the so called school, it is exactly what she was trying to do for her race. And you can see where she's coming from so it's difficult to condemn her all the same.

Also, when she's talking to Amy, Rosanna says something else that's interesting, but I can't quite catch it so I may be imagining this:

Where are you from? Did you fall through the chasm? I need to know what this girl is doing in the world of savages with the psychic paper.

World. Of. Savages (I'm pretty sure that's what she's saying but it wouldn't be the first time my ears have played tricks on me). But, if I'm hearing correctly -- maybe it's the English student popping up -- but I just find it a fascinating reversal of roles and perspectives that's still relevant even today. People really should take the time to get to know one another before they go off calling people names, which inevitably shapes how one views a person...rather disastrous if these things aren't closely monitored.

I do believe that Literature is more like time travel and space exploration every day. I love it.

Yay multi-faceted villains.

Also? They're fish people. Acting like vampires.



Fish From Space: Still More Real than Edward Cullen

And the Doctor bursting out of the stripper cake! I could not stop laughing.

Rory - we need to talk about your fiancee. [pause]. She tried to kiss me. Though you're a lucky man, she's a great kisser. [tenser pause] Funny how you can say something in your head and it sounds fine.


I love his smile. He does the Smile twice in this episode - sweetest thing.


Not a replacement for the brainy specs, but still made of win.

I also liked what he said about time traveling and how that affects relationships:

The life out there it dazzles. I mean, it blinds you to the things that are important. I've seen it devour relationships and plans because for one person to have seen all that -- to taste the glory and then to come back - it will tear you apart.

It makes me hungry just thinking about it. And I think it's amazing that the Doctor brought Rory along to stop that from happening to Amy -- instead of just doctoring the human race, he's doing it for his companions' lives as well -- and I don't think that really happened in the previous (new) series before.

First of all, love the image. It tickles me.

Second of all, love the dialogue: Stop talking -- brain thinking -- hush.

And last, but certainly not least, I adore Rory.

And he's not an idiot like Mickey (used) to be! He knew right away that the TARDIS was in another dimension, giving the Doctor a bit of a pause:

I like the bit where someone says it's bigger on the inside - I always look forward to that.

I like how we had the obligatory bit from Rory about it being dangerous - but it wasn't unpleasantly ridden with tired drama.

I like how Rory tries to be brave in the face of Fish People From Space Posing as Vampires, but it just doesn't quite work:

This way you freak! No, this - this - this way you big stupid great Spongebob!


Then of course, after he helps distract the Fish From Space so that Amy can burn it to cinders with a pocket mirror, this:

And all's right with the world again. It doesn't appear that Rory feels threatened quite so much by the Doctor (but I guess we won't be able to tell completely until the series unfolds some more) and he even seems to be quite willing to help save Venice and the Doctor (despite his former protests of danger):

The Doctor: Get out! I need to stabilize the storm.
Rory: We're not leaving you!
The Doctor: Right, so one minute it's all you make people a danger to themselves and the next we're not leaving you but if one of you gets squashed or blown up or eaten who gets - [earthquake]

Right. I approve. Heartily.

Amy: Stay with us please! Just for a bit. I want you to stay. Please?
The Doctor: Fine with me!
Rory: Yeah? Yes, I would like that!
Amy: I'll pop the kettle on. Hey look at this! Got my space ship, got my boys!

All I have to say is that the character dynamics/relationships look to be more fresh and interesting and new and hugworthy. Yay.

And I'm so glad it appears that Rory will be staying on with them (especially since it was all tired!drama free and very nice). And he wanted to come! That's amazing! Both Donna and Mickey were slow on the uptake when it was first offered to them (seriously - the chance to travel through time and space and you're not gonna leap at the chance?).

I'm really looking forward to next week's episode (which I won't see until after I come home in ten days time - I'm not sure I'll be able to take the suspense): it looks like an odd little mixture of the Sandman meets the Matrix.


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Doctor Who: I Made Him Say "Comfy Chairs"

River Song, River Song, River Song.

What are you up to? Oh yes, I have my suspicions about who it was you killed ("the best man you've ever known" - puhlease), but the thought is so unthinkable I daren't utter it. And besides, it would be a bit predictable - I would be very disappointed.

River Song, I find that I like you a helluva lot - but I don't trust you, despite your sexy red shoes.

There were a lot of elements I liked in this very dense episode - so much happened in this episode I think it's impossible to take in. I adore Matt Smith as the 11th Doctor. Emotion is always passing fluidly over his face - or sometimes in a torrent. It's so subtle and real - and when he gets angry (as it happened twice in this episode), I got shivers - he frightened me. And, even though I knew all the main characters had to survive, I was on pins and needles, eyes open wide, not blinking, afraid I'd miss a single thing.

I love what Moffat has done with the Doctor. He made so many mistakes in this story arch - it was nice. Gave him more dimensions.

And, the Doctor was put in danger. In the other weeping angel episodes, the Doctor never had to not blink, don't even blink.

And yet -

Sure the Doctor's been scared before - both 9 and 10 were scared. But they've never been so -- expressive about it. Like, here you can tell that the Doctor is scared: the crack in the wall (the end of the universe), being displaced in time without a TARDIS or outright killed when the entire universe is about to have never been --

I really liked Amy in this episode - she is so curious. I lost count how many times she demanded the Doctor to explain.

And then, when the angel is about to climb from her eyes:

Amy: So what's wrong with me?
Doctor: Everything. You're dying.
River Song: Doctor!
Doctor: Yes, you're right! If we lie to her she'll get all better!

So nice not having all that tired drama -- but even in the face of death, Amy Pond is so, so brave.

It turns out that, despite my puzzling over the angels in the last episode, they weren't really that important because time is being "unwritten."

Doctor: The angels can only kill you.
Amy: What does the time energy do?
Doctor: If the time energy catches up to you, you will never have been born. It will erase every moment of your existence. You will never have lived at all.

A never have been. That's terrifying - to just simply Not. No moments of amber for you! It's like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead:

Death is the ultimate negative. Not being.

Of course, Guildenstern was just talking about the regular angel death but that's besides the point! Time being unwritten is like that...not being and never been. No Tralfamadorians to see all your moments -- the good and the bad, at once. (Has the Doctor met the Tralfamadorians? I think he'd appreciate them - if they know that time isn't like beads on a string, that time is more or less wibbly wobbly - they could probably have some very decent conversations.)

Remarkable Moments

Doctor: A forest in a bottle on a space ship in a maze -- have I impressed you yet, Amy Pond?

First, I was just gonna say that I love the way he said this and the phrasing - it's like a nursery rhyme, which seems to be a central theme in this series (the mature childishness of Amy, the raggedy-doctor mythos she created, etc). Also, I love the idea of a forest on a space ship - when I saw the movie Sunshine I wanted glass walls with a little jungle inside them.

But, now I think the quote is interesting on another level. The Doctor mentions Amy's last name at least once per episode. 9 and 10 never or rarely mentioned their companions' last names (Donna's was mentioned more but it was "Noble" and Donna was noble so it was more making sure the audience got the metaphor, you know?). What's also of interest is in the first and this last episode, the Doctor has been obsessed with duck ponds without ducks.

There is something up with (P)ond(s), and I would very much like to know what it is.

Bishop: Dr. River Song, I've lost good clerics today. Do you trust him?
River Song: I absolutely trust him.
Doctor: He's not some sort of mad man then.
River Song: I absolutely trust him.

Ha! Never, ever forget that the Doctor is a mad man with a blue box!

Amy: Doctor I'm five! I mean...five.

Amy counting down was possibly one of the tensest moments of the episode for me - especially when she was smiling and or giggling while she did it.

Doctor: [On seeing the crack in the wall and being caught by angels] Oh that's bad. Ah, that's extremely very not good...Good and not so good. Oh this isn't even a little bit good.

No real reason to put this up, other than I love the language. It's so much cleverer than, this sucks.

Remember how I said that the 11th Doctor is so expressive? When he's figuring out what's wrong with Amy and he realizes that "There's an angel in her mind!" he

claps his hands over his mouth. I don't know why, I really liked it. He uses his hands very well.

Doctor: [trying to figure out how to seal the crack in the universe] A complicated space-time event should shut it up for a while.
Riversong: Like what, for instance?

This is the thing I was talking about with what kind of hero the Doctor is - he's genuinely upset and angry when he realizes this -- there's no heroic gestures for the greater good - because there really is no greater good. His death would be in vain and what would happen to the earth - not to mention the ENTIRE universe - when he Never Beens? When somebody has lived for nine hundred odd years, you do an awful lot of saving - an awful lot of saving that would be nonexistent.

Anyway, chills again.

Doctor: [when Amy wondered why she could remember the people who became Never Beens]: You're a time traveller now. Changes the way you see the universe. Forever. Good, isn't it?

This is what literature - Story -- is to me. Changing the way I see the universe.

River: You'll see me again quite soon - when the Pandorica opens.
The Pandorica - huh. That's a fairy tale.
[laughs] Aren't we all?

Oh Moffat you clever bastard - science fiction fairy tales? Oh dear deity, make it so.

Perhaps the most tender part of the episode:

Doctor: Amy - you need to start trusting me. It's never been more important.
Amy: But you don't always tell me the truth.
Doctor: If I always told you the truth I wouldn't need you to trust me...Now listen - remember what I told you when you were seven?
Amy: No...what did you tell me?
Doctor:That's not the point...You have to remember --"
Amy: Remember what?

And, even as he's comforting her - he looks so heartbroken. His eyes are wet, but he's not crying. And she doesn't remember. She doesn't remember!

The Bit that I Can't Decide is Remarkable Or Not:

And then the end of the episode made me eat my words. And boy did I hate doing that, especially since I was laughing while Moffat shoved them down my throat.

And it was hysterical. Hysterical.

I still haven't determined if the circumstances are interesting enough to warrant the kiss, but I still think the reason she did it is ... fresh.

Doctor: [as she's throwing herself at him] Amy, listen to me, I am 907 years old, do you understand what that means?
Amy: It's been a while?
Doctor: No, I'm 907 and look at me I don't get older I just change - you get older I don't and this can't ever work.
Amy: Oh you are sweet, Doctor - but I wasn't suggesting anything quite so...long term.
Doctor: But you're human! You're Amy! You're getting married in the morning!

Even though she wants to have a snog and a bit more with the Doctor, it's not like she's expecting him to have a relationship with her - in comparison to Martha and Rose. And I think Friends With Benefits can be a good thing (a la Stranger in a Strange Land) so...maybe this won't suck.


Especially since I listened to an interview where both the actors who play the two of them agreed that the Doctor and the Companion are best mates and that a romance between them is...tired. long this doesn't turn into a rom/angst fest I'm happy.

ETA: I know that there are some people who think there is more going on than Amy wanting a quick fling - I myself tend to lean in that direction as well because it is /so/ out of the blue, but I kind of want it to be a plot thing (not a mere device mind you) - a symptom of the something that is not right with Amy -- but at the same time, I kind of think it would be nice where sex can be more Stranger-in-a-Strange-Landish. Maybe as an asexual I just don't know what I'm talking about.