Thursday, June 24, 2010

Doctor Who: Graffiting History One Cliff Face at a Time

I really, really liked that the beginning was about the episodes that seemed to have little to do with the Crack in the Skin of the Universe theme -- Vincent Van Gough, Bracewell and Churchill -- Liz 10, brilliant as always. And I'm the bloody queen.

What do they call that -- spunk?

And speaking of spunk -- and pure cheekiness -- what about Doctor Riversong?

(and what about that corset she was wearing when she stole the painting?)

I got a very Indiana Jones feel from her this time around -- only very much cooler. Seeing her in prison, putting micro-explosives in people's wines, not having an apparent qualm in purchasing a

A vortex manipulator - fresh off the wrist of a handsome time agent.

I'm pretty sure Riversong is a Slytherin -- if the Harry Potter 'verse and the Who-verse collided. But really! The poor Time Agent - I felt my latent desire to write fan fiction stir -- I need more time!

But what I really loved about this episode was its core theme of perception.

Even the hallucinogenic lipstick is all about perceptions - and I'm pretty sure I could add in some comment about how Riversong uses her sexuality to muddle things up a bit - but I love how she's so much more than that. A true adventurer.

But what about the big perception, the nice, juicy twist at the end of the episode.

I know last week I mentioned that there were rumors that the thing in the Pandorica was the Doctor because the way the Doctor described the thing inside seemed to be descriptive of the Doctor himself (or so people said).

I never really got that.

River: [The Pandorica] was built to contain the most feared thing in the Universe.

Doctor: And it's a fairy tale, a legend - it can't be real!

[. . .]

Doctor: If the Pandorica is here, it contains the mightiest warrior in history.

[. . .]

Doctor: There was a goblin or a trickster or a warrior - a nameless, terrible thing soaked in the blood of a billion galaxies. The most feared being in all the cosmos - and nothing could stop it or hold it or reason with it. One day it would just drop down out of the sky and tear down your world.

Amy: How'd it end up in there?

Doctor: oh you know fairy tales - a good wizard tricked it.

Maybe it's because I haven't watched Classic Who - but I don't really get that sort of vibe from the New Who Doctor. Except for the fact that he's a trickster - he after all tricked the Daleks by threatening to blow up the TARDIS with a pastry (seems a bit ironic now). But a warrior? A thing that destroys worlds? I mean, the Doctor does has blood on his hands - but he usually attempts to help them (unless they're just downright nasty like daleks) first (I'm thinking of 9's Slitheen, 11's attempt to keep the Vampire-Fish lady from throwing herself into the water, etc).

I think that "Amy's Choice" really hinted at the darker bits of the Doctor rather nicely - and I don't think it matches the description of what he thought was in the Pandorica. Or even the second episode with the space whale - how he said he'd have to change his name from "Doctor" -- and doctors are the opposite of warriors. Anyway, I wasn't expecting to find the Doctor inside - one way or the other. So the twist was really surprising and jaw dropping for me and omg wtf-ery -- especially because of how it's playing with this idea of perception.

The Doctor and who we might consider the "good guys" might not think that the Doctor is a blood-soaked warrior -- but the people on the losing side would be more inclined to paint him differently, especially if they've been manipulated by the person who keeps on saying "Silence Will Fall."

(I also like how the Doctor's perceptions of his enemies blinded him to figuring out why they weren't just attacking him outright -- because, though I really enjoyed his speech and all -- Guess who! -- and generally thought it was brilliant, there was just no way they wouldn't blast him off that rock unless they had ulterior motives -- and, since I was thinking of these people as the typical big bads -- and hoping against hope we wouldn't have another shoot out like seasons 1, 2, and 4 -- I also didn't think they'd be working together.)

This depiction of the Doctor in different roles seems to be another ongoing theme. Vincent being even more intense than the Doctor, the Doctor living a domestic life as a lodger (positively nightmare-ish), the so-called Dream Lord -- it continues here by putting the Doctor as the most feared man of the cosmos and positing the Big Bad of the Season as the good guy/wizard (from a purely character based point of view of course). Gods, I love this exploration of character!

So who's the Good Wizard that out-tricked the trickster?

(May I take this moment to point out that if the Writers-That-Be wanted John Simms to reprise his role as the Master it would have been better to have brought him back for this story line rather than that ridiculous-let's-pretend-it-didn't-exist two part Christmas special that was just absurd and not in a good way. Also? It would have added a bit more irony since Ten wanted to lock him up in the TARDIS, nice safe and out of the way, though not quite so dramatic a statement as the Pandorica.)

But I honestly have no idea who the "Good Wizard" might be. But then again, I try not to predict stories - I feel it's sort of like those people who try to finish your sentences and sometimes they get it right but it's just annoying (especially since predictions come with pre-conceptions which can sort of miss out what the story might be saying - but that's just my personal opinion).

I'm pretty sure the Good Wizard is the voice that says "Silence will fall" - but then I'm not really sure why he's using the usual bad guys to lock the Doctor up safely out the way. They're doing it to save the universe from the cracks (some of which have silence on the other side from the vampire-fish-from-space episode), so why does he say that silence will fall in such a confident, prophetic manner unless he's using the cracks to manipulate the Daleks, Cybermen, and everybody else in order to gain other ends? If he knows that Riversong threw a stick in master scheme to keep the TARDIS from going kaplooie then why wouldn't he let her out if his intention was to stop the cracks and therefore the silence? I'm hoping this means there's going to be even more complexities to this already complex season. =}

Speaking of fairy tales -- the Pandorica, Amelia Pond, whose name is just a bit fairy tale -- perhaps the next episode will address duckless duck ponds?

And speaking of Amy - the perception of memory? And the return of --


*Happy dance of glee!*

I had seen his name on IMDB before the first episode - but I had honestly thought he'd just return as a flashback of some sort.

I was so, so happy because I love Rory and his presence was more than I had expected.

I loved how it was a unpredictable reaction to his re-appearance both from the Doctor and from Amy.

Doctor: Romans! Good, I was just wishing for Romans. Good old River. How many?

Rory: 50 men up top, volunteers.

Doctor: 50 -- not exactly a legion.

Rory: your friend was very persuasive - but uh, it's a tough sell.

Doctor: Yes I know that Rory I'm not exactly one to miss the obvious but we need everything we can get. Okay! Cyberweapons! This is basically a sentry box - the headless wonder here was a century. Probably got himself duffed up by the locals - never underestimate a celt.

Rory: Doctor -

Doctor: Hush Rory -- thinking -- but leave a cyberman on guard unless its a cyberthing in the box but why lock up one of their own okay no not a cyber thing but what, what -- noooo missing something obvious Rory, something big something right slap in front of me -- I can feel it.

Rory: yeah I think you probably are.

Doctor: I'll get it in a minute. [pokes Rory] Hello again.

Rory: Hello

Doctor: How've you been?

Rory: Good. I mean, Roman.

Doctor: Rory! I'm not trying to be rude - but you died.

Rory: Yeah I know I was there.

Doctor: you died and you were erased from time you didn't just die you were never born at all you never - existed!

Rory: Erased, what does that mean?

Doctor: how can you be here?

Rory: Well -- I don't know. It's kind of fuzzy - well, I died and turned into a Roman - it's very distracting.

And then, and then - this heartbreaking explanation the Doctor provides Rory for his existence:

The universe is big - it's vast and complicated and ridiculous and sometimes, very rare, impossible things just happen and we call them miracles. and that's a theory - in nine hundred years never seen one yet. but this would do me.

And it's not miraculous at all - it's just heartbreaking and sad and tragic because Rory's an Auton - a "thing" as he called it -- oh my god, poor Rory.

It makes this end even more tragic because there's no clapping of the hands and a sweet I do believe I'm human, I do, I do like there was with Bracewell.

Crying out, I'm Rory, I'm Rory! isn't enough - it just isn't. Amy remembering him isn't enough. The ring isn't enough.

Oh my poor Rory (is it just me, or are the companions having a rougher time than usual this season? Not that I mind, it's just so incredibly sad in a good way).

Other Remarkable Moments (though the whole episode was pretty much remarkable)

So he's seen the fragment of TARDIS, he's seen the painting - and he's still so excited to go poke something unknown and weird with a stick. I love it, I love his child like wonder...(I think Wordsworth would approve...)

I loved the way the Doctor used his hands in this episode - the thumbs up to danger, the exaggerated hand movement when he whispered to Rory, "how are you here," the multiple times he bopped his head with his sonic screwdriver. I really think the emotional tone they hit here with his body language and physical dialogue was just right -- the music when they dragged him to the Pandorica, his intense pleading (that didn't sound desperate or weak) combined with his tangible fear -- very good (and I liked they focused more on the less predictable emotions that would have been involved).

Amy: Oh I know. My favorite topic in school. Invasion of the Hot Italians. Yeah, I think I got marked down for the title.

As a future English teacher, I want to say that I wouldn't have marked her down for it (if the essay itself was good) but on the other hand, I could see why they would have marked her down for it...bloody school! Sucking all the fun out of everything. ;)

Doctor: That's a memory. Friend of mine, someone I lost. Would you -- mind? People fall out of the world sometimes, but they always leave traces. Little things we can't quite account for: faces in photographs, luggage, half eaten meals -- rings. Nothing is ever forgotten not completely and if something can be remembered - it can come back.

More on the perception thing - very nice.

When you fight barbarians what must they think of you? Where do they think you come from? Where do I come from? Your world has visitors. You're all barbarians now. A fool would say the work of the gods - but you've been a soldier too long to believe there are gods watching over us.

I don't want to beat my hobby horse too much - but I do like this quote an awful lot.

Yeah it's just like being an organ donor only you're alive and sort of... screaming

Also? The Cybermen reached a new level of creepiness - my skin crawled when the face split down the middle, and then it crawled even more when it flapped it's little metal face-cupboards at Amy -- *shiver*

Rory, I'm sorry but you're going to have to be very brave now.

*sniffle sniffle*

Still -- if the Pandorica is a play on Pandora's Box - then, though Amy referred to it as holding all the "worst things in the world," there really was only one thing left in it when it was closed again -- Hope.

Oh, the different perceptions of Pandora's Box combined with the different perceptions of Doctor Who is very interesting.

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