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May 2, 2011 5:41 PM   Subscribe

How Dangerous You Make People: A Boldly Violent New Side to the Doctor discusses who, or what the Doctor (who?) is becoming.

Warning, may contain traces of spoilers
posted by blue_beetle (725 comments total) 49 users marked this as a favorite

 
Interesting article, but there should be a big spoiler warning right before the link, not inside the fold. I had already seen the new episode, but that's a pretty dangerous post you've got right there.
posted by Rinku at 5:47 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hm, well, I suppose so, but ultimately it's a episodic serial so no matter what wackiness he goes through to save the world, it always ends up back where it began the next episode. It's fun to invent a new baddie every week but at some point you have to wonder how all the potential invaders of the Earth keep from stepping on each others' toes.

For example: why didn't Captain Jack already deal with these guys? Somehow they never ran across these guys in the other bajillion adventures the Doctor has had on earth? Although I suppose the latest episode did leave some questions unanswered about bad guy motivation here, so maybe it will get a reasonable explanation at some point.
posted by GuyZero at 5:55 PM on May 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


For example: why didn't Captain Jack already deal with these guys?

He forgot.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:02 PM on May 2, 2011 [15 favorites]


Afaik, these new guys really are new,created by Moffat.I guess the explanation is that if Torchwood or anyone else had run into them they would have forgotten. I really don't want to spoiler anything but what the hell did they do to deserve what happens? New Who has The Doctor wiping out entire races left and right.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:04 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, but if the doctor's buddies figured it out, why not someone else?

Alternately, why did they never show up before if they've always been here?

I'm trying to avoid spoilers here, but the problem with shows like Dr Who is that at some point you're tripping over the show's own history. I don't really have a problem with it but it always bugs me about episodic shows that they're a little stateless.
posted by GuyZero at 6:06 PM on May 2, 2011


New Who has The Doctor wiping out entire races left and right.

But only ones that invade the earth, right? Or did I miss one?
posted by GuyZero at 6:06 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


The whole of history was rewritten since the "Big Bang" thus Amy has no idea about the "Stolen Earth" or the "Army of Ghosts" so we have to assume that the reason Capt. Jack and Torchwood haven't dealt with The Silence is they simply haven't come across them, period.
posted by NiteMayr at 6:07 PM on May 2, 2011


Hey, when the doctor wondered aloud as to why the Silence ship from "The Lodger" was abandoned, don't you think that it was Abandoned because the Silence simply had to leave?

Remember, the upstairs flat that had a ship that was pretty much identical to the Silence bases they found in the USA, same coffin shaped control surfaces?

Then there is baby river song there, the girl who can regenerate....
posted by NiteMayr at 6:09 PM on May 2, 2011


I really don't want to spoiler anything but what the hell did they do to deserve what happens? New Who has The Doctor wiping out entire races left and right.

I'm really not sure what their plan was/is, but the Doctor isn't sentencing them to death. It shouldn't take long for the Silence to realize that humanity poses them a threat, and with that in mind, they can find some other planet to haunt in a vague way.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:13 PM on May 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah I guess manipulating the course of human history is reason enough to destroy them.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:13 PM on May 2, 2011


Dr. Who jumped the shark for me (a term not even invented then) when Colin Baker replaced Peter Davison. Before Baker, the Doctor had been making a progression from the original self-absorbed, irascible, and aloof Hartnell Doctor to being ever more engaged and concerned with the fates of beings not so privileged as himself. But Baker reset this, replacing Davison's thoughtful and considerate Doctor with a brash asshole whose taste in clothing reflected his contempt for other living things. I lost the habit of watching the series and never quite got it back.
posted by localroger at 6:14 PM on May 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


I really don't want to spoiler anything but what the hell did they do to deserve what happens?

And in classic fashion they were first given the option of simply leaving, but no, of course they didn't.

They taunted the Doctor, that's what they did. Do not taunt the Doctor.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 6:14 PM on May 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't have much to comment on the article as I just started watching Doctor Who last season. BBC America had been promoting the new season fairly heavily, and I convinced a bunch of friends to come over and watch it. These weren't the type to normally watch a sci-fi serial, but Doctor Who coming to America was enough to get them to watch.

Unfortunately this was a terrible season to start a new group on. The first 10 minutes had a lot of crazy back story stuff going on, "The chick from ER is his wife ... from the future, yes just go with it ... well usually when he dies he turns into a new actor I think, so not sure what is happening here ... no ER lady's not like Doctor Who, I don't think she's a time lord ... no he doesn't carry a gun, he has this screwdriver ... I don't know why Amy and Rory are following him around, they're like his best friends, he usually picks pretty girls but Rory kind of came along this time. No he doesn't pick pretty girls to fuck them, he's sort of asexual I think, just fucking go with it!"

So lesson to BBC America. When you're trying to promote Doctor Who to a bunch of Americans who never have seen him, don't start it with a super convoluted plot. At least play lip service to your new audience. Everyone did get a big kick out of "how British" Doctor Who was.

And another thing, Nixon with a black secret service agent? Hey, I've been to Shakespeare in the Park where you'll have like a black Hamlet and that makes sense. You can't have a well known racist being totally cool with a black bodyguard.

Bonus Question: Is this the first time that a Doctor Who plot took place in America? I don't mean actually shot on location, but an America-centric plot?
posted by geoff. at 6:19 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


he's sort of asexual I think

Not if Elizabeth I has anything to say about that. Allegedly.
posted by katillathehun at 6:21 PM on May 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Relevant fanvid. That video made me first realize how chilling and scary the Doctor can be. And certainly, I think that has been ramping up with Eleven. The Day of the Moon may be the extreme so far (or not, if they just bail instead of all getting killed) but it's not much of a surprise, considering past episodes. Like the one where he wiped out those Venice fish-people and just kind of shrugged and wandered off without, apparently, feeling bad about it hardly at all? Wow. Not what I expected from the Doctor. Ten would have moped about it for ages!
posted by mandanza at 6:22 PM on May 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm just here to say I couldn't sleep last night because I kept thinking about The Silence. God help me if I ever wake up with talley marks on my arm.
posted by gc at 6:22 PM on May 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Bonus Question: Is this the first time that a Doctor Who plot took place in America? I don't mean actually shot on location, but an America-centric plot?

No -- the First Doctor had The Chase, where they a) visit the Empire State building and b) watch Lincoln deliver the Gettysburg address, and The Gunfighters, which dealt with the OK Corrall. Then the Tenth Doctor had Daleks In Manhattan.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:26 PM on May 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Bonus Question: Is this the first time that a Doctor Who plot took place in America? I don't mean actually shot on location, but an America-centric plot?

No. The Ninth Doctor episode "Dalek" was supposed to be in America. It was unnecessary to shoot it on location since the episode took place entirely underground.
posted by helloknitty at 6:26 PM on May 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Nah, somebody else probably knows a lot more but a few years back they had the two part "Daleks in Manhattan" that I remember as having pretty good Dalek lines.

I like to get people to watch Blink or The Girl in the Fireplace, but most people don't take to it.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:27 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


No he doesn't pick pretty girls to fuck them

Ohhhhhhh yes he does. Anyway, you couldn't have told me any different when I was watching Peter Davison be the Doctor when I was in junior high. Now he kind of explicitly isn't fucking Amy, wasn't fucking Donna, probably wasn't fucking Martha, and almost certainly was fucking Rose at some point, or at least I hope so, for Christ's sake.

So lesson to BBC America. When you're trying to promote Doctor Who to a bunch of Americans who never have seen him, don't start it with a super convoluted plot. At least play lip service to your new audience.

I've been watching this thing since forever, and even I think the current storyline's just too damn convoluted. I should note, though, that this is exactly the kind of Christopher Nolan meets M. Night meets Lost shit that I really don't enjoy at all, and also that I seem to be in the serious minority in this regard among Who viewers. People seem to dig this stuff. I don't know why. (But I don't think BBCA has any control over it at all.)

Bonus Question: Is this the first time that a Doctor Who plot took place in America? I don't mean actually shot on location, but an America-centric plot?

No.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:31 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Unfortunately this was a terrible season to start a new group on. The first 10 minutes had a lot of crazy back story stuff going on, "The chick from ER is his wife ... from the future, yes just go with it ... well usually when he dies he turns into a new actor I think, so not sure what is happening here ... no ER lady's not like Doctor Who, I don't think she's a time lord ... no he doesn't carry a gun, he has this screwdriver ... I don't know why Amy and Rory are following him around, they're like his best friends, he usually picks pretty girls but Rory kind of came along this time. No he doesn't pick pretty girls to fuck them, he's sort of asexual I think, just fucking go with it!"

I had to do just this, only with my mother. I was home for Easter Weekend and was talking this up so much that Mom said she wanted to watch some with me, but when the show was about to start she wanted to wash up for bed first and told me to just catch her up when she came back "in a few minutes." I gave her the basics ("okay, he's this time-traveling alien on a joyride, the spaceship looks like a police phone booth because its cloaking device is stuck, and he has a couple of Earth sidekicks just for fun; I'll explain the rest when you come back,") and off she went.

Then after the first 20 minutes, with River Song and the threat of time paradoxes and Amy seeing things and Nixon, and Mom still hadn't come downstairs yet, I waited for a commercial and then trooped into the bathroom, where Mom was washing her face, and began: "Okay, let me hit you with some of this now...."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:32 PM on May 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


geoff: The Hartnell-era episode "The Chase" featured the Marie Celeste and the Empire State Building as locales. The Colin Baker/Patrick Troughton pairing ("The Two Docors") was originally intended as a Peter Davidson episode which was to have actually been shot in New Orleans, but budget issues/development hell intervened.

The only "canon" epsiode first shot in the States was the pilot segment featuring Paul McGann, which was in San Francisco.
posted by Smart Dalek at 6:36 PM on May 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


*pours the empress half a Coke*
posted by Smart Dalek at 6:36 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


This isn't exactly a new direction. The reboot started with the Doctor having commited genocide on both the Daleks and the Time Lords, previously he's exterminated the Vervoids, Jaggaroth and Osirans (small populations, but he definitely destroyed their species).

So I count 5 species more or less exterminated by the Doctor before Matt Smith gangled onto the scene.
posted by Grimgrin at 6:40 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


is exactly the kind of Christopher Nolan meets M. Night meets Lost shit that I really don't enjoy at all, and also that I seem to be in the serious minority in this regard among Who viewers. People seem to dig this stuff. I don't know why.

I'm boggled too. It really doesn't feel like Who to me. Granted, i started watching with Arc in Space, at a young age, on PBS which for us showed the entire story, not the parts. Re-watching them, it's interesting how he seemed to care less for individual planets (even earth) and just keeping things the way they "should be", and his own safety of course. I lost count of how many times when something bad was looking to start, he tried to bail with or without his companions. It was a nice nod to the fact that he really was an alien.

Now we have season long arcs that start out "universe ending" threats, but then has him goofing off in unrelated things, even though he knows there is a threat. It's getting annoying, personally i'd prefer arcs that resembled the older ones better, two to four episodes linked, then moved on. It's feeling like Superman syndrome, bigger and bigger threats, but now, why not just recreate the universe no matter what happens? (half joking, but really, if he has the power to do that, nothing is a serious threat)

Also, they need to get the eff off of earth, i miss the odd cultures and such that made it more fun back then (even though my favorites were the Tom Backer Hammer inspired eps)
posted by usagizero at 6:53 PM on May 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


I was confused by the action set-piece at the end of the latest episode. River Song is shooting everyone, and the Doctor is...screwdrivering them? Making sparks? What?

Anyone have any ideas what he was doing?

The point that the Doctor is a hypocrite is well made - River is blowing the Silence away left and right, but the Doctor claims he is peaceful because he won't pick up a gun. Claiming that he carries "no weapons....never any weapons" is just a flat out lie. He travels with bodyguards, but then condemns them for using their weapons.

But then again, when you commit well meaning genocide all the damn time, and sacrifice your friends and allies on a near-daily basis in the name of the common good, I imagine you need a little bit of denial just to stay sane.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:54 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anyone have any ideas what he was doing?

I think he was either sabotaging bits of their ship, trying to bluff that he was shooting at them, or both.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:57 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]



So I count 5 species more or less exterminated by the Doctor before Matt Smith gangled onto the scene.


Don't forget the Cybermen. He killed them good - sucked into the void with the Daleks.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:58 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Geez, and I was disappointed in the Silents/Silence because of the lack of resolution of the actual storyline at the end of the second episode (and that is how they solve it? And don't do anything to follow up to make sure the aliens actually stop doing what they're doing? really?). I just thought the Moff had pulled a neat trick by distracting us at the end with the little girl. Of course, I also don't think that story is over, since the Doctor basically ran away for an adventure after that, but that's just me.

But the overall point about the trigger-happiness of the Doctor in Nu Who was well taken. We had a real "is this the Doctor, the same guy who gave us the speech about whether or not he he had the right to destroy the Daleks in Genesis of the Daleks?" moment during the Family of Blood/Human Nature ending. I was hoping the Moff would get away from that tendency, which was one of the issues I had with RTD's showrunning. Not so much the violence itself--of which there was plenty back in the day--but the casualness of it, and the not caring about it.
posted by immlass at 6:59 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Side note, i wrote a script a few months ago (for myself really, not sure they even got it) that had the doctor shot in a very similar way. I was tired of him giving these dangerous species long winded speeches and just standing there. So in mine, he started a speech, *bang*. Regenerates, *bang*, this goes on for a while. ;) All the while the companions are helpless, weapons don't work, etc. Mine was end of season, not beginning, with hints laid as to who it was (had a previous character following the Doctor around, defeating enemies before he could, and taking parts of them to augment himself. I had written it so it could be either the one i intended, but as he was from first season of reboot, also wrote it to be River). So anyway, at each regen, the baddie was stealing them by not letting them "finish", and becoming a timelord himself.

So imagine my surprise...
posted by usagizero at 7:01 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I guess Cybermen and Daleks are now to Who what the Goa'uld are to Stargate. We need ever more powerful supervillains to challenge our ever more powerful heroes to the point where the supervillains of season 1 seem like, well, wimps.

And Dr. Who has gone through several iterations of this.
posted by localroger at 7:02 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Like the one where he wiped out those Venice fish-people and just kind of shrugged and wandered off without, apparently, feeling bad about it hardly at all?

They were going to kill everyone in Venice, after he offered them a peaceful way out - makes it hard to feel sorry for them.

Also, the token black guy blew up all the lady fish people, not the Doctor. The boss lady fish person suicided. Presumably the off-screen savage non-sentient boy fish died eventually of old age and sexual frustration.

Therefore, the Doctor didn't directly wipe out any fish people.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:02 PM on May 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Not reading for fear of spoilers, but over here the first season finale of Dexter aired right after the season finale of nuWho season 4, 'Journey's End'. Both episodes had a scene where the villain did a 'not so different' speech and pointed out the hero of the show was a mass murderer.

The scariest things were that the Doctor seemed to have a higher body count and, since Doctor Who's premise wasn't 'you're watching a show about a serial killer', Davros speech was much more chilling.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:05 PM on May 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Regarding his hatred of guns, in the above mentioned episode "Dalek" he sorts through a pile of alien tech to find a working gun, not very gun-hater like.

Who what the Goa'uld are to Stargate
Did SG1 face anyone after The Ori? There isn't much chance of topping an entire race of ascended superbeings.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:06 PM on May 2, 2011


Ad hominem, they went on in Atlantis to face the Wraith. A whole galaxy full of vampires is a pretty good match for the race of ascended superbeings.
posted by localroger at 7:10 PM on May 2, 2011


I'm just here to say I couldn't sleep last night because I kept thinking about The Silence. God help me if I ever wake up with talley marks on my arm.

And if I were your room-mate and I knew of your post, you totally would. That's just how I roll (heh)
posted by Poet_Lariat at 7:10 PM on May 2, 2011 [15 favorites]


And if I were your room-mate and I knew of your post, you totally would.

And if I were room-mate and you tried this, you would totally end up in the hospital. That's how I roll.
posted by localroger at 7:13 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


The eradication of The Silence seemed off to me too, for the same reasons mentioned in the article and above.

Didn't 10 really ring his hands over wiping out the Daleks? Maybe 11 is just at peace with being a killing machine. Maybe River Song takes him out because he goes too far.
posted by drezdn at 7:14 PM on May 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Regarding his hatred of guns, in the above mentioned episode "Dalek" he sorts through a pile of alien tech to find a working gun, not very gun-hater like.

I can also recall at least two occasions in which the Doctor has handed guns off to Leela. While he may dislike guns, he doesn't seem to mind people getting shot.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 7:14 PM on May 2, 2011


Can i say, aboslutely dreading the appearance of the new 'improved' iDaleks (from the WWII ep in the last seasons). Can't see how the Moff is going to make strawberry jam out of that particular pile of shit.

Of course, they might have been written out of existance like the other amazing things that Amy doesn't remember.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:15 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Regarding his hatred of guns, in the above mentioned episode "Dalek" he sorts through a pile of alien tech to find a working gun, not very gun-hater like.

Yes, but in that episode, he is literally frothing at the mouth and screaming at the Dalek to "JUST DIE". Ideals tend to take a back seat at such points.

I'm such a pathetic fanboy
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:18 PM on May 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


For those that don't know, the current season of Doctor Who is also being discussed in this thread here. Spoilers abound in there, obviously.
posted by inigo2 at 7:20 PM on May 2, 2011


The Silence are a race of alien beings who have been manipulating humanity throughout history, using them to do their dirty work.

Remind you of the analysis of a certain Time Lord we've been talking about? No wonder he had no problem with letting The Silence be killed-- they're poaching on his turf. I've commented before about an underlying madness to Eleven, something he seems desperate to keep in check but is going to be his own undoing, and that of everyone around him.
posted by KingEdRa at 7:22 PM on May 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have to wonder if the Doctor didn't intend the A11 broadcast message as more of a decoy to save Amy than as a way to exterminate the Silence once and for all. If nothing else, its pretty clear that we're not done with the Silence (Amy saw one in 2011, and there's the spacesuit-girl-thingy, plus all of the last season's buildup.) I wonder if they'll show us more about how humanity's new kill-on-sight directive actually works out (maybe not-so-well, although humans are very good at killing.)

It strikes me that the Silence are incredibly similar to the Weeping Angels: (1) To defeat them, you have to not take your eyes off them. (2) They can transmit their power through cameras/images. (3) One could be behind you right now.
posted by Wulfhere at 7:23 PM on May 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


One could be behind you right now.

Nope, I just looked.
posted by inigo2 at 7:25 PM on May 2, 2011 [40 favorites]


Someone earlier today that the Doctor didn't kill the Silence, the Silence gave the order to kill the Silence. This fits with the basic idea of the linked article.
posted by drezdn at 7:28 PM on May 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Yes, but in that episode, he is literally frothing at the mouth and screaming at the Dalek to "JUST DIE". Ideals tend to take a back seat at such points

Yeah he had just wiped out the Daleks and his own people, only to be confronted with a Dalek. He kinda lost his shit in that episode.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:35 PM on May 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


New Who has The Doctor wiping out entire races left and right.

This is all timey-wimey, hand-wavy stuff. Some of these races didn't really exist except in anomalous little dead ends in the time stream, or should not have existed in this time line except for an accident by the Doctor. Let's consider these genocides might be "corrective."
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:36 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Christopher Eccleston was really good at conveying that desperate, ragged edge underneath the Doctor post Time War.

Such a shame he only had one season.
posted by Grimgrin at 7:39 PM on May 2, 2011 [20 favorites]


Yeah, how exactly did that first damaged Dalek survive to meet 9? Given that all the Daleks were erased from history? It wasn't in a plot loophole time bubble like the later ones.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:40 PM on May 2, 2011


Yeah, 9's manic episodes had the same kind of frantic energy. Do we know WHEN he regenerated from 8? Who pulled the trigger on the Time Lords?
posted by leotrotsky at 7:42 PM on May 2, 2011


I missed the part where he wiped them out. I got the impression that some - perhaps a lot - were set upon by the unFNORDed populace, but the rest fled. I mean, I don't have anything to back up that last bit, but I'm wondering what the 'wiped them out' crowd saw that I missed.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 7:42 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:42 PM on May 2, 2011


The Silence scared the hell out of me. An army of Slendermen. Of course they deserved to be exterminated. Good job, Doctor. I hope I've taken out a bunch of them myself.
posted by painquale at 7:46 PM on May 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm just here to say I couldn't sleep last night because I kept thinking about The Silence. God help me if I ever wake up with talley marks on my arm.


We can't be the only parents who end up with kids in our bed after Doctor Who airs. It took months after The Library . . . ."Who turned out the lights?"
posted by Euphorbia at 7:46 PM on May 2, 2011


"...are you my mummy?"
posted by leotrotsky at 7:49 PM on May 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah, 9's manic episodes had the same kind of frantic energy. Do we know WHEN he regenerated from 8? Who pulled the trigger on the Time Lords?

No idea on when the regeneration was, though the implication always has been that he pulled the trigger on the Time Lords and the Daleks. I'm not sure we'll ever see the war that led to that chaotic event.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:50 PM on May 2, 2011


For the record the Doctor is Time-Lord Sexual, meaning he only has sex with Time-Lords. Humans are just smart monkeys as far as he is concerned. He loves them like I love my dog. And any writing that says otherwise is just FanFic.
posted by MrBobaFett at 7:51 PM on May 2, 2011 [7 favorites]


We can't be the only parents who end up with kids in our bed after Doctor Who airs.

That's the perfect time to draw little hatch marks on their arms.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 7:52 PM on May 2, 2011 [38 favorites]


Frankly, I like that the eleventh Doctor doesn't dither around trying to resolve moral dilemmas before acting. He's had a lot of experience thinking about when it is appropriate to wipe out a race, and he has honed it to a science. So now he's not just clever about quantum physics and time travel and stuff like that; he's gotten morally clever too. He didn't hesitate when moving to kill the Star Whale. He just went for it. He hated that he was forced into it, but instantly figured out that it was the thing he should do (he happened to be wrong, but moral dithering wouldn't have helped. He needed empirical insight about the whale's intentions.).

Moral dilemmas are for young'uns like 4 or emo Doctors like 10. 11 is a scholar. He has it figured out. He sees what needs to be done and does it. No regrets. Regrets are for people who make mistakes.
posted by painquale at 7:57 PM on May 2, 2011 [13 favorites]


Yeah, how exactly did that first damaged Dalek survive to meet 9

I think the Dalek said it was at the edge of the battle and was only damaged. But I'm queuing that episode up on instant watch because it was so awesome and I have to know for sure.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:58 PM on May 2, 2011


MrBobaFett: I suspect Rose and human 10 would disagree.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:58 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I saw the two new episodes, sort of by accident. I haven't been a regular watcher since 197mumble. The new season pilot was just starting when I tuned in and I couldn't stop watching, although I was getting more and more scared (I was home by myself). It was much more compelling than I was expecting.
posted by rtha at 8:00 PM on May 2, 2011


He's had a lot of experience thinking about when it is appropriate to wipe out a race, and he has honed it to a science.

Well, that's what the Time Wars do for you. It is always appropriate to commit genocide rather than permit the universe to be destroyed.

Somewhere, I saw a wiki that contained all the canonical data, plus extensive documentation of written works and audio plays. The Time Wars rewrote the time stream so many times, I hope they never actually put it in a TV episode, because it would be incomprehensible.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:02 PM on May 2, 2011


I have an odd feeling that the business with River Song is going to be a self fulfilling prophecy. She's told him they're married enough that he starts acting like it which makes the 'younger' her fall in love.

Also that she's going to murder him at some point. They as much as said so in "The Time Of Angels". Which would make for an interesting start to a relationship.
posted by Grimgrin at 8:03 PM on May 2, 2011


This isn't exactly a new direction. The reboot started with the Doctor having commited genocide on both the Daleks and the Time Lords, previously he's exterminated the Vervoids, Jaggaroth and Osirans (small populations, but he definitely destroyed their species).

So I count 5 species more or less exterminated by the Doctor before Matt Smith gangled onto the scene.


OK I have to defend the Doctor here. He didn't exterminate the Jaggaroth, he only stopped the last Jaggaroth from going back and altering the time line after the last Jaggaroth had already wiped out the last of his own species. He stopped him because to alter the time line would wipe out all life on Earth, so he was stopping genocide.

The Vervoids were like a population of two dozen and were an experiment in bio-genetically developing slaves. Instead they were murdering everyone. That's a rather special circumstance.

As for the Osirans he only "killed" one, the last one who hadn't died out with the last of his race because of how he was imprisoned by his people for his own acts of murder. To prevent him destroying the Earth and moving out from there, he just shunted him off into the distant future. During which he died of old age.

And I choose to ignore the whole lame time war genocide crap because it's a lame story.
posted by MrBobaFett at 8:09 PM on May 2, 2011


So I count 5 species more or less exterminated by the Doctor before Matt Smith gangled onto the scene.

Oh, newfans. This started with the goddamn Macra. He genocided the FUCK out of the Macra. He genocided them so hard they felt the need to halfass retcon it forty years later. But mark my words: The Doctor is not nearly as friendly as he likes to appear, and we've known it since the goddamn Macra.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 8:34 PM on May 2, 2011 [8 favorites]


The Doctor is not nearly as friendly as he likes to appear, and we've known it since the goddamn Macra.

In An Unearthly Child episode 3 (The Forest of Fear), the Doctor is about to brain a wounded man because his companions want to help him and the Doctor is afraid he'll slow them down. You were warned in 1963 that the Doctor was not nearly as friendly as he likes to appear...
posted by Mad_Carew at 8:47 PM on May 2, 2011 [9 favorites]


Then there is baby river song there, the girl who can regenerate....

Well, my mind is now officially blown.

(And does that mean that she's sitting inside that library, waiting to regenerate? Is River Song a female regeneration of The Master? Egads.)
posted by schmod at 8:52 PM on May 2, 2011


Yeah, 9's manic episodes had the same kind of frantic energy. Do we know WHEN he regenerated from 8?

According to Wikipedia, the Eighth Doctor died as a result of exposure to the Time Vortex when he use it to try to destroy the Cybermen in the early 21st Century.

Although, as with all things Doctor... WHEN is a relative term.
posted by hippybear at 8:58 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh please. Humans ARE weapons. We always have been. The Doctor doesn't make anybody into a weapon. He mostly just says, "Hey, look, bad guy, doing bad things," and then we figure it out from there.

Really, we should have left the Silents be? That's a good idea? I'm proud to have possibly killed some beings I can't remember, if that's the case. Some folks need killin. (Okay, I wasn't born in 69, so probably not. But it's a cool idea.)
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:02 PM on May 2, 2011


I don't know if anybody's mentioned it yet, but the Rancross Empress, at the end of "Runaway Bride". When the Doctor drowned the Rancross Empress the looked like he ENJOYED IT. So much so that Donna was practically begging him to stop.
posted by FireballForever at 9:04 PM on May 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


It strikes me that the Silence are incredibly similar to the Weeping Angels.

Me, too. I also wonder how these two species would interact. You could tie them up for a long time (or perhaps an incredibly short time that seemed like forever) in a Sontaran/Rutan sort of war...
posted by Mad_Carew at 9:06 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't know if anybody's mentioned it yet, but the Rancross Empress, at the end of "Runaway Bride". When the Doctor drowned the Rancross Empress the looked like he ENJOYED IT.

That struck me as unfair. They were here first. Hell, they caused the planet to form.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:17 PM on May 2, 2011


Then there is baby river song there, the girl who can regenerate....

Where did you get the idea that the girl is River Song? I saw nothing whatsoever to indicate this. And she (Dr Song) couldn't regenerate in Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead, which is where it would have been handiest.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:33 PM on May 2, 2011 [8 favorites]


I also wonder how these two species would interact.

The Angels would freeze to stone anytime the Silence were looking at them, and then forget who they were trying to attack every time the Silence looked away. The Silence, on the other hand. could easily work their way around the Angels because they're not bound by who they're looking at.
posted by hippybear at 9:34 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


The part with the Racnoss was meant, I believe, to show that the Doctor was unhinged and unmoored. RTD used that to hasten the Doctor's decision to take another companion after losing Rose (since Donna was like, "You need someone to watch after you and stop you from genociding spiders, etc."); in his scripts, a violent Doctor was an unhealthy Doctor and the Doctor's increased recklessness was always eventually addressed and corrected.

Since Moffat is a different showrunner, I can't tell if the same will happen and the Doctor's less pacifistic tendencies will later be shown to have been in grave error and result in some huge catastrophe that resets his moral compass, but I'm not discounting that the genocide of the Silence isn't headed the same way Nu Who usually goes. That is to say that it may have some plot purpose.
posted by pineappleheart at 9:35 PM on May 2, 2011


Ad hominem: “Afaik, these new guys really are new,created by Moffat.I guess the explanation is that if Torchwood or anyone else had run into them they would have forgotten. I really don't want to spoiler anything but what the hell did they do to deserve what happens? New Who has The Doctor wiping out entire races left and right.”

The Doctor in the Old Who wasn't such a cuddly guy, either. He was positively a bastard. Hell, the twelfth and thirteeth episodes of the first season were as scary a story arc as ever existed, with the companions (still) trying to figure out if they should trust this alien who didn't seem to care at all whether they lived or died.

Granted, maybe the Doctor's total ambivalence toward human life when he first came to earth was preferable to his being involved and willing to kill off whole races. Who knows.
posted by koeselitz at 9:50 PM on May 2, 2011


This is the first time I've wanted to go back and re-watch a whole season of Who (I'm a newfan, so counting only from Eccleston). I've really enjoyed the last 5 seasons, but not enough to obsess over them. But the Day of the Moon makes me want to go back and re-watch all of the last season so I can a) get the timeline straight in my head, since it got messed around towards the end of the season and b) look out for any clues.

It's a big difference from the Bad Wolf foreshadowing, which didn't amount to anything particularly interesting in itself.

And although I believe the Doctor intends to be a pacifist, he's shown plenty of times that he's not always the most self-aware or introspective person. So I've never been surprised that he instigates killing sprees on a semi-regular basis.
posted by harriet vane at 9:56 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Remember, everytime the Doctor pops offscreeen with the Tardis, he's off making an audiobook.
posted by Catblack at 10:14 PM on May 2, 2011 [14 favorites]


So... and this may be an overly broad generalisation here, but after a few threads like this I get the impression that the British in generla wildly approve of the Moffat Who whilst Americans are pining for the RTD years?

(But then again, the Americans really, really liked Torchwood. Jesus.)
posted by Artw at 10:39 PM on May 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I also wonder how these two species would interact.

"Dude! What does mine say?"
"I don't know. Turn around."
"No. You first."
posted by obiwanwasabi at 10:52 PM on May 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


I kinda wish Moff had moved the Silence's message by just one word. There's been some debate about whether the correct phrase is (ROT13) "Bar fznyy fgrc sbe zna" or "Bar fznyy fgrc sbe n zna." I like the idea that he did say the latter phrase, but that one letter gets tangled up with the immediately following part, so none of us ever remember hearing it.
posted by painquale at 11:03 PM on May 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


Also, the token black guy blew up all the lady fish people, not the Doctor. The boss lady fish person suicided. Presumably the off-screen savage non-sentient boy fish died eventually of old age and sexual frustration.

This, in a nutshell, is why I can't get anyone who doesn't already like Doctor Who to start watching Doctor Who.

And for what it's worth, I'm loving this season so far. Team Mrs. Robinson and Delaware!
posted by bibliowench at 11:12 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Genocide? More like immunization, with the proviso that if the alien virus stays away from the human race and stops killing/manipulating/leeching off them like they have for the last couple of hundred thousand years and instead develop their own independent means of survival, they'll be perfectly fine. Quite sporting, if you ask me.

Seriously, if it had been Seven doing this, the Silence would not have had a chance of even getting away after the solution was enacted. Eleven is a kinder, gentler Seven.

And thus it has ever been. Because the Doctor keeps us safe from horrible monsters and nightmares. Thast's what he does. (Ten is the really disturbing Doctor for me.)
posted by frog telepathy at 11:13 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Doctor's always brought about the destruction of the bad guys one way or another, so that in itself did not bother me.

What bothered me was that we're now to imagine that in every previous Who story on Earth, there were Silence wandering around in the background manipulating everything. That makes no sense at all, and makes a mockery of the the earlier stories.

But I guess maybe when the whole arc is done, we'll find that the Silence have unhappened.

Presumably episode 1 has to get unhappened somehow, otherwise no more Doctor.

Also I was not too clear on how they first managed to figure out that there was something they were forgetting which needed to find a way to handle. That discovery seemed to happen by unexplained magic between the two episodes.

All of which smacks more of RTD than Moffat.

But the way the Doctor found to defeat them was pure Moffat though. Surprising, ingenious and convincing all at the same time.
posted by philipy at 11:24 PM on May 2, 2011


(But then again, the Americans really, really liked Torchwood. Jesus.)

So so fond of Torchwood.

Still suffering mild PTSD from Children Of Earth, however. Christ, that was brutal.
posted by hippybear at 11:33 PM on May 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


Although it doesn't reflect well on his heroicness, I suspect that the Doctor was getting carried away the way you do when you're trying to impress someone you fancy. I mean he was trying to shoot aliens with a screwdriver, he didn't have a gun. He was getting into the game of it, without thinking it through. I suspect the whole "kinda-liking River shooting people" thing will come back to bite him in the arse. It's one of those balls in the air. Remember River's line after all the shooting - "My old fella didn't see that, did he? He gets very angry."

I'm enjoying the romance, actually, which I didn't think I would. The fact that it's been done slowly (in television terms, where things are usually wrapped up within the hour for fear of cancellation) gives it a lot more resonance, and I do believe it. Yes, self-fulfilling prophecy, but then it's not one he's going to fight against, because he wants it to happen.

I'm also enjoying Alex Kingston's performance, and the way she modulates between the different Rivers - very similar to the Doctor. Flamboyant River is a persona, in the same way that mad-professor Doctor (or shouty, cocky Doctor or whatever) is. When she gets serious, the mask slips, either totally (River with a gun, shooting lots of Silence) or partly (the slightly sing-song voice she goes into just before falling off the 50th floor). It all fits very nicely with the River we see even back (or forward) to the Library, when no one really knew what was going on, not even Moffatt.

The best place to start with all this is The Eleventh Hour, which was designed to introduce the 11-verse. This series is explicitly taking that stuff and shaking it up. This is a shame for new viewers. Apparently there's a rule at BBCA that no good idea is allowed out unspoiled. The principle of the new series has been that anything that goes back further than the current reboot, you'll be told about.

If you do want to introduce people to the show - which is a good instinct that years of disappointment and embarrassment have purged me of, but it might work for you so go ahead - perhaps the best way would be to find some kind of means to show them the key episodes from the last series - Eleventh Hour, the Byzantium and the last two. If they don't like Eleventh Hour even a bit, they're probably not going to like anything else.

Considering my earliest TV experience is watching Tomb of the Cybermen when I was about three, I'm worryingly into this show.
posted by Grangousier at 11:35 PM on May 2, 2011


kittens for breakfast: " Now he kind of explicitly isn't fucking Amy, wasn't fucking Donna, probably wasn't fucking Martha, and almost certainly was fucking Rose at some point, or at least I hope so, for Christ's sake. "

If the Doctor, Rose & Jack weren't using the Tardis as an omnisexual love nest then something is wrong with the universe.
posted by pharm at 12:08 AM on May 3, 2011 [12 favorites]


[Spoilers about that last episode]

I'm also enjoying Alex Kingston's performance

I got something in my eye when Song kissed the Doctor, quite naturally, then is suddenly upset this is the first time they've kissed.

Because, of course, that means that is the last time she'll ever kiss him. Which has got to make you quite sad.

So that's why she's never tried to kiss him "before" - she knows that will never happen again.

And that's why, in the Library episodes two series back, she is distressed when she can't find any common history and he doesn't know who she is. That means this is the last time she'll ever see him.

It's so awesomely sad and clever that I can forgive these last two episodes being all X-Files-y!
posted by alasdair at 12:30 AM on May 3, 2011 [10 favorites]


I did detect a more murderous tone in the latest. I know exterminating aliens is hardly new for Who, but I seem to recall that in the Tennant era he was supposed to have been taught the error of his ways, and now sought to help erring aliens reintegrate into the community as useful members: he kept telling every monster it was beautiful and was now so disappointed when somehow they always ended up fleeing or blowing themselves up.

In the new episode we were unambiguously back with the more traditional set up of him using a tiny manipulation of events to get the aliens wiped out of existence. We didn't give a shit any more where they came from or what problems they might have had, or whether there were 'good' ones among them who might have been open to negotiation, or any of those milder angles which had started to become regular features.
posted by Segundus at 12:57 AM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Angels would freeze to stone anytime the Silence were looking at them, and then forget who they were trying to attack every time the Silence looked away. The Silence, on the other hand. could easily work their way around the Angels because they're not bound by who they're looking at.

Its the viewer that forgets the Silence are there when the viewer turns away, the viewer doesn't forget when the Silence turns away. Thus if the silence turned away then the Angel would have them.
posted by biffa at 1:08 AM on May 3, 2011


Well, I guess he learned his lesson from GENESIS OF THE DALEKS. Get them before they get you.

Also, I reckon the Time War was started by the Daleks not to take over the Universe but to stop the Time Lords doing the same. And the reason the Doctor had such a traumatic Time War was that, in the end, he thought the Daleks were right and destroyed both species...
posted by alasdair at 1:09 AM on May 3, 2011


To those saying River can't be a Time Lord cos she doesn't regenerate in Silence in the Library, the reason she's in the chair is that she mugged the Doctor to stop him sacrificing his own life -- in a non-regeneratable fashion.

So that's not proof either way, really.
posted by coriolisdave at 1:30 AM on May 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


As had been said the doctor has wiped them out, all of them on several occasions and for the most part they were silmy/crunchy/metally alien super-nazi bastards that deserved it.

The only time it really didn't really work (for me) was Family Of Blood which just seemed overly and pointlessly sadistic. He's the Doctor not fucking Jack Bauer.

And yeah the new series don't take no prisoners plot wise, but as David Simon says: 'Fuck the casual viewer. Seriously, who wants a casual viewer? If you’re a writer do you want a casual reader? I don’t want those people. Don’t want ‘em. Throwing them back. They’re like little fish on the hook. Throw ‘em back. I want the guy who’s come in who wants to be told a story. A story has a beginning, middle and an end.'
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:55 AM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


These are some great rationalizations. Have you considered the possibility that it's just not a very well written show?

Seriously. Doctor Who is pretty much plotted to hit some emotional high notes, give fans what they expect, and clean house enough to reset for the next plot, except for a thin thread to add gravitas to a story timed to important periods in the British TV year.

That's it. The actors are pretty good, though. They're breezy because they know their parts don't make any sense, but that looks ironic to the fans. The show is repetitive, but fans interpret it as useful consistency.

Here's a fact: The Doctor is nobody in particular. He has beaten the shit out of people and shot them. He's been into cool cars. He's been the type of old man that beat your older English relations blue. He's been a pacifist and a fop. He's been whatever compromise the production of the day can come up with.

What's unfortunate about the current trend is that is doesn't acknowledge this dynamism and limits itself to some rather rigid fanon about the character. This does not make the Doctor interesting. It makes him boring. It means that the writers have to aim for the same big beats over and over again. Ask yourself: How many episodes have concluded with a twist similar to to any "Everybody lives!" moment? How often have you been asked to ruminate upon some dark underbelly of the character? How often has there been an tone-breaking scene with River Song and a gun?

Yes, lots. Lots and lots.

I have to admit, I watch it for the high notes, because that's fun to share with my wife. But I lose concentration when I'm alone. What's the point? In any event, I strong suspect the Doctor is not a character evolving across decades of portrayal so much as one justifying all-but-catchphrases through earnest callbacks. Sorry.
posted by mobunited at 2:02 AM on May 3, 2011 [9 favorites]


Coriolisdave stole my first point about River and the possibility of regenerating in the library. Or read it and went back in time to get there first.

I don't think you can add the current story to the genocide list. It's putting the Silence in a situation where they either have to stay permanently out of sight or flee the planet. The message wasn't 'there are these big scary alien things, remember them at all times, hunt them down and exterminate them'.

On guns - it's hardly new that the Doctor hangs out with people who use weapons and relies on their use occasionally. Ok, so Unit may have famously only ever came up against creatures immune to bullets, but they still expended a lot of firepower. In many many shows allies of the Doctor have shot people (largely in direct self defence) without too much Gallifreyan disapproval. The Doctor himself fired weapons in the old series from time to time. Pertwee and to a lesser extent Baker liked the odd fist fight. To believe the 'never use them' idea is to believe the Doctor's own hyperbole - he has a strong distaste for them, not an absolute refusal to touch them.

I'd be concerned if there were too many more scenes like the shoot out at the end of the last programme though - there has been a general emphasis of brain over brawn that has been a hallmark of the show.

Not carrying weapons is partially moral but also partially pragmatic - there's a Tom Baker episode where he tells Leela that by not carrying a gun people won't treat him like an enemy. I think this was a comic set up for him to walk out the Tardis and be surrounded, but on the whole he's probably escaped a lot of summary executions because people were confused as to his intentions. Harder to shoot down a tall man bearing jelly babies than one with a plasma rifle.
posted by spectrevsrector at 2:24 AM on May 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Well, I guess he learned his lesson from GENESIS OF THE DALEKS. Get them before they get you.

Also, I reckon the Time War was started by the Daleks...


I'd argue the time war was started by The Doctor right there in the very episode you mention.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 4:29 AM on May 3, 2011


John Kenneth Fisher:I'd argue the time war was started by The Doctor right there in the very episode you mention.
I'm pretty sure you're correct, and also that it's been directly referenced onscreen as being the case. Possibly in the silly Tow-U-Tardis episode.
posted by coriolisdave at 4:35 AM on May 3, 2011


So... and this may be an overly broad generalisation here, but after a few threads like this I get the impression that the British in generla wildly approve of the Moffat Who whilst Americans are pining for the RTD years?

It's hard for me to say, in part because (while they're underrepresented here) I think there are a lot of American fans who are seeing it for the first time under Moffat; anecdotally, I seem to have encountered a number of people who have only become aware of it since BBCA put a lot of money into advertising the hell out of the show. For me, I'm feeling like there's a bit of a left brain/right brain thing going on -- RTD was better with emotional beats and character arcs but lousy with actual plotting (which led to terrible things like the Doctor getting applauded back to full health like Tinkerbell at the climax of S3 and a certain character being resurrected in a scene that might have been an outtake from Charmed), and Moffat is better with science fiction ideas (by FAR) and elaborate storylines, but his characters are relatively weak and insubstantial and it's harder to care what happens to them. THAT SAID, it's easy to forget just how really fucking dire an individual RTD episode could be. I'm quickly losing patience with storylines that ran out of gas for me a year ago and just keep going and going and going, but Moffat sure hasn't crucified me with awful stuff like "Daleks in Manhattan" or "The Lazarus Experiment" or game shows in space or...or...or...or...or...or...!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:36 AM on May 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


RTD is like the Star Wars prequels. Yeah, he happened, and I can't do anything about him, but I don't have to like him. If he wrote the last two episodes they'd have been 90 per cent 'ooh, don't we all fancy one another, and our pants could come off at any moment, and doesn't that make us all terribly adult and risqué and intriguing, and not at all like some pathetic slashfic I wrote purely for my own gratification?' and 10 per cent boring, pointless uber plot arc I couldn't give a fuck about.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:45 AM on May 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


It strikes me that the Silence are incredibly similar to the Weeping Angels.

Me, too. I also wonder how these two species would interact.


I wondered this last night. The answer is nothing. The angels would stop moving once they were spotted and the Silence would not be remembered once they were out of sight. They could encounter one another with nothing coming of it, whatsoever. The Silence would think they were statues, the angels would not know they had the encounter.
posted by piratebowling at 4:47 AM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Eh?

Silent sees angel statue. That's odd, it thinks, and turns around to walk away. Angel, which has never lost sight of Silent, eats Silent with mushy peas and malt vinegar.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:52 AM on May 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'd agree with your overview kittens, with the exception that I think Moffat is better at the emotional stuff than you do. But the basic comparison I'm on board with. I find it hard to criticize RTD too much because he succeeded in bringing the show back and managed to find just the right tone for those who follow to work with. Not stick to, necessarily, but work with. I will say that my general feeling is that RTD's strength was the big picture stuff of show running, as I tend to feel his run got everything right except the actual episodes. (Which is not the backhanded compliment it may seem. Managing what he did with the property after this much time seemed almost destined to fail, and yet here we are.) Even then, some episodes are great, but there are indeed ones I find myself a bit embarrassed about, and the ones he actually wrote tend to be at the bottom of my list.

In other words, yeah, the more the Moffat era runs the worse the RTD era looks, but the man still brought us back the Doctor in a way I thought no one ever would. If you're going to corner him in a bar and yell at him for Daleks in Manhattan, at least buy him a beer first.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 4:54 AM on May 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


Count me as one Brit that thinks the feel of these first two episodes of the new series is "off". The dark creepiness of many of the scenes, the revelling in the genocide of an entire race after only encountering a few of them, the implicit baby-in-peril angle, the deliberately obfuscatory plot and the slight feeling of compression from changing the length of each episode all combined to make it feel rather different from the Doctor Who that I know and like. That's not to say that I won't end up knowing and liking this take on the show as well but at the moment... the jury's out.

And there's a lot more to come from the Silence. They hang out in ships that are rip-offs of TARDISes after all; they're likely to be fairly savvy about the timey-wimey stuff as well. Why else would one of them instruct Amy to tell the Doctor "what he must know and what he must never know" or tell her that she "will bring the Silence" unless they're mixed up in some timeline shenanigans? Even lines like "Silence will fall" are suspect - does it refer to them falling upon races/planets and taking them over, or is it a reference to their fall from power at the Doctor's hands?
posted by MUD at 4:57 AM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


And I choose to ignore the whole lame time war genocide crap because it's a lame story.

I'm not sure the Time War counts as a "genocide", because they're not dead as such. Gallifrey is alive. It's trapped in that weird "time lock" state, which I'm picturing as something like that big floating glass frisbee in space that they had at the first Superman movie, but it is alive, and all the Time Lords with it. And The Doctor did that because the Time Lords were going to "ascend to be creatures of pure conciousness" or whatever the fuck, and kill all of reality to achieve that.

Anyway.

I have the funny feeling, in reading all this back-and-forth about Old vs. New Doctor and genocide, that I'm seeing the beginnings of someone's pop history dissertation ("Wibbly-Wobbly: The Effects of Current Events on the Ethics Code of Science Fiction in British Television").
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:04 AM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


There's an episode of Dr. Who I saw a great many years ago, so my memory of it is spotty and I may be getting a lot of the details wrong. But I believe that it was a Tom Baker episode.

What I remember is that someone, not too long previously in the episode, has just died horribly, and the Doctor is preparing the Tardis to move on somewhere else, displaying no emotion about it whatsoever.

His companion of the era (Sarah Jane? Someone else?) is staring at him as he calmly walks about, and says, "Honestly, Doctor, sometimes you don't seem ..."

He stops, looks at her, and still with no trace of emotion whatsoever, says, "Don't seem what? Don't seem human?"

Then he goes back to doing whatever he was doing.
posted by kyrademon at 5:18 AM on May 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


I strong suspect the Doctor is not a character evolving across decades of portrayal so much as one justifying all-but-catchphrases through earnest callbacks. Sorry.

Those are 'I'm making a video of me under a sheet sobbing with mascara running down my face' words.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 5:43 AM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just jumped to the instant assumption that the Silence recently (in Doctor continuity) retconned themselves into human continuity since they appear to have a skeletal TARDIS. But, this particular season opening isn't my favorite because they've just telegraphed what it's all going to be about, rather than pepper every third episode with breadcrumbs that eventually make sense. I get the feeling that when everything is wrapped up, it's just going to confirm fan speculation without offering any surprises.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:44 AM on May 3, 2011


Because, of course, that means that is the last time she'll ever kiss him. Which has got to make you quite sad.

So that's why she's never tried to kiss him "before" - she knows that will never happen again.


Thank you for saying this, because it made me realize something I hadn't thought of before. I've been casually debating River's timeline over the past few days* - specifically, whether her timeline is literally back to front with the Doctor's or not. People arguing against the literal-back-to-frontness have said that if this was the case, there would be no need to compare diaries. But, it certainly looks like they've been at least mostly back to front (the only time I recall them having memories in common on screen was when River met the older-version-Doctor in TIA).

So I think that at this point in River's life, she's set up this expectation in her head that they are back to front. It may or may not be completely true, but it fits with at least the majority of her experiences. From her perspective, he knows a little less about her every time they meet. So now it's become a self-fulfilling prophecy, because she believes that his firsts are her lasts, she acts accordingly. So, as you say, when he says this is his first kiss, River then never tries to kiss him again, because she believes it must be her last - even though she can't actually know that two time travellers will always meet completely back to front. As far as we've seen, she's right - she only meets a younger and younger Doctor from here on out (just based on the other River episodes we have) - but this River can't (or at least shouldn't) know that yet.

Sorry if this makes no sense, I'm still working on my morning coffee. I just needed to write this thought down before it escaped me entirely.

*Because obviously I have nothing of importance to be doing. Apparently.
posted by pemberkins at 5:53 AM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I strong suspect the Doctor is not a character evolving across decades of portrayal so much as one justifying all-but-catchphrases through earnest callbacks. Sorry.

I have the funny feeling, in reading all this back-and-forth about Old vs. New Doctor and genocide, that I'm seeing the beginnings of someone's pop history dissertation

Metafilter: Your favourite Doctor generates considerable vacuum.

(And all the others, too, maybe. 'cept mine.)
posted by Herodios at 6:13 AM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is Buffy all over again. The show gains in popularity as it gets weaker and weaker stories. Moffat is reading from the Whedon playbook and it's breaking my heart, because I don't want this show to become Buffy. I don't want it to be more interested in making "true fans" go "fuck yeah!" and "squee!" in lieu of genuinely interesting characters and stories.
posted by Legomancer at 6:43 AM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


How on earth could River and the Doctor's first kiss be their last? Yeah, yeah, diverging timelines and that, BUT... In the library two-parter she mentions she came to the library more or less directly after the Doctor took her to the Singing Towers, for what would be their final night together. I feel pretty confident that their final night together included not just kissing, but vigorous, vigorous copulating.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:53 AM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I believe that all those adventures that have been hinted about have already happened now in River's timeline. In the first episode this season she and the older doctor compare notes and it looks like they've done it all, no?
posted by nobody at 7:00 AM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is Buffy all over again. The show gains in popularity as it gets weaker and weaker stories. Moffat is reading from the Whedon playbook

Really? Man, I'm getting the total opposite impression. This show is getting more and more complex with each passing turn - I mean, the level of planning detail that M. is obviously putting into the whole thing (including the total arc of the last series, which I think is just brilliant) is really impressive to me. Whether or not it's losing some of its whimsical feel, that's a separate conversation, but I really think the first two episodes were very strong.

As for the whimsical feel thing ... it's pirates this week! So there's that.

And as for the gun thing ... I just finished watching "The Talons of Weng-Chiang" last night (my first doctor was the 9th, and I've spent the last few years catching up on classic Who), and there's a scene where the doctor not only uses a rifle enthusiastically, he knows the make and model and gives off a strong sense of knowing his way around guns. His relationship with firepower is ... complex.
posted by jbickers at 7:06 AM on May 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


The show gains in popularity as it gets weaker and weaker stories.

Indeed. I was astounded the show wasn't cancelled after the second season with the worse than shit writing we got from RTD. The new show has not only been weak, but awful for years, and it got worse and worse. Cancellation would have been welcome but they came up with a better solution. Boot Davies, replace with Moffat. Now Moffat has to deal with the horrible framework Davies placed the show in. He has failed to reshape that framework in a single season. Maybe he'll succeed with another season or two or maybe RTD's framework has condemned the show. It's kind of hard to write yourself out of multiple seasons of worse than fan fiction.

Moffat has reduced it to an extent, and has more entertaining stories, and far less melodrama, but I was disappointed that he didn't unwrite the RTD nonsense out of existence.
posted by juiceCake at 7:07 AM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


He did, though - The giant cyberman and the stolen Earth were officially eaten by the crack in Amy's wall. Conveniently.
posted by Grangousier at 7:17 AM on May 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


I find it hard to hate RTD all that much. Yes, I'd rather watch just about any other series of Who than his, and I don't even think of him as being that hot at character development, but the sheer amount of gay agenda he packed into Who and Torchwood, some of the most popular shows on British TV, and in Who's case something heavily marketed by the BBC as everyone-round-the-Christmas-Tree family entertainment, means I'm grateful that it was him who rebooted the show. His episodes, particularly the later ones, were fuckawful, but for teaching a generation of British kids that gay and bi people are perfectly fine thankyouverymuch he's got a special place in my heart.

Moffat writes a better show, though.

But I was pleased to see a little gay agenda sneak in at the end of the most recent episode.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 7:31 AM on May 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


Having Moffatt take over full time has left the show (for me) in an odd place. He's created characters that I genuinely like--Rory especially--but the plots are ho-hum at best. Moffat's just as schtick-y as RTD, he just has a different schtick that's more palatable to scifi nerds. I know there's no point in getting invested in the cliffhanger set up in the first episode of the new season because it will eventually be disposed of with the usual hand-waving. The stakes become increasingly preposterous but it never really feels like anything's at stake. At the conclusion of the second episode I felt a real pang for Jon Pertwee. Might have to watch 'Inferno' again this weekend.
posted by orrnyereg at 7:38 AM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nope, I just looked.
And as of this writing, you've got 28 tick marks on your body.
posted by PapaLobo at 7:38 AM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


KingEdRa : I've commented before about an underlying madness to Eleven, something he seems desperate to keep in check but is going to be his own undoing, and that of everyone around him.

Grimgrin : Christopher Eccleston was really good at conveying that desperate, ragged edge underneath the Doctor post Time War.

One of the things I so loved about Eccleston's 9 was the veneer of happy goofiness hiding the boiling rage which he brought to the Doctor in a way that I had never seen before. Most of the time he looked fine, but when he got angry, you could really see a creature that would commit two genocides to finally stop a war. I think that the subsequent Doctors have done wonderful jobs of continuing this theme.

Mad_Carew : I also wonder how these two species would interact.

The moment I saw what the mechanics of the Silents were, I thought of the Weeping Angels and how they would interact. I wouldn't be at all surprised to find this is a plot point in a later episode this season.
posted by quin at 7:39 AM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


My latest theory (one that comes from reading multiple "Crisis on ...." parallel worlds stories in DC Comics) is that Big Bang II didn't do the job correctly and that the universe in series 6 is unstable and nothing is set in stone, even when you account for time travel/ers.

Basically, Amy's crack is still a problem.

Ouch, sorry about that.
posted by PapaLobo at 7:42 AM on May 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


pharm: “If the Doctor, Rose & Jack weren't using the Tardis as an omnisexual love nest then something is wrong with the universe.”

The fact that Rose and Jack existed means there is something wrong with the universe. Rose was the single worst companion the Doctor has ever had, and I am including the god-awful Melanie Bush in that estimation. And RTD's constant and incessant habit of holding on to her and bringing her back at every opportunity made Doctor Who almost impossible to watch for seasons on end.
posted by koeselitz at 7:48 AM on May 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


He did, though - The giant cyberman and the stolen Earth were officially eaten by the crack in Amy's wall. Conveniently.

Do we still have the ridiculous Time War? It may have been preposterous to wipe out all of the RTD dead ends that RTD was free to not make into dead ends when it suited him but no more preposterous than the dead ends themselves.

I find it hard to hate RTD all that much.

Who hates him? I can't stand his stories. Know very little about the man other than he writes awfully and his commitment to writing is awful and he thinks very highly of his own writing, which is awful.

Science fiction, and I do realize it's fiction so I don't demand realism, and I couldn't care less really if the science is realistic at all either, but it can tend to use an over the top EVERYTHING is this model. Whole planets have a dominant eco-system, like planets that are all desert, all snow and ice, all close to naked women, all close to naked and really dumb men, as well as wars that go on for "countless centuries", etc. So I found the Silents to have been manipulating mankind for centuries to be more of this sort of tripe, which I don't personally respond to. Davies was a master of at this. Thousands of Daleks, Cyberman, or little metal balls that can kill people aren't enough. There has to be bazillions sort of thing.

That sort of model is ok in terms of symbolism and metaphor when well written but this has not been the case with Who. Northrop Frye wrote about how Science Fiction was in many ways cycling back to mythology in terms of theme and structure. But RTD went for melodramatic bad ghost stories instead of Gilgamesh.
posted by juiceCake at 7:51 AM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


RTD pulled off some good one-shot episodes. Midnight is a nice and tight lifeboat story. But, IMNSHO, the series works best in one-shots when it's not burdened under the weight of its own mythology.

I'm re-watching the early Eccleston episodes, and something I'm missing is the whole first-contact culture clash. Too many people are meeting The Doctor for the first time and just going along with it. While I was willing so suspend my disbelief on just about everything about the Silence, I couldn't swallow The Doctor dragging Richard Nixon all over the place.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:01 AM on May 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


According to Wikipedia, the Eighth Doctor died as a result of exposure to the Time Vortex when he use it to try to destroy the Cybermen in the early 21st Century.

Although, as with all things Doctor... WHEN is a relative term.


My take on it is Christopher Eccleston is the 8th Doctor and anything ever touched by that git Paul McGann should be scrubbed from you memories of Doctor Who.
posted by MrBobaFett at 8:13 AM on May 3, 2011


KirkJobSluder raises a good point. Remember how X-Files episodes could be divided between Monster Of The Week and alien conspiracy? Despite its popularity the series eventually collapsed under the weight of its own mythology. I think that show's experience could serve as a warning to NuWho.
posted by orrnyereg at 8:16 AM on May 3, 2011


I wrote a long bit on my blog about how I really don't want to see this show turn into a ponderous, "mature" behemoth like so many other "adult" shows. I don't want complexity and stretched out storylines solely for their own sake, and that's what I'm getting.

What incarnation of the Doctor before now would have said, "A child is in peril? Ah well, let's go have adventures!"

(I mean, a child other than Adric.)
posted by Legomancer at 8:17 AM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


RTD is like the Star Wars prequels.

This, a thousand times this.

Yeah, he happened, and I can't do anything about him, but I don't have to like him.

Not true, you throw out the stuff that doesn't fit in the universe and only take the good stuff that is worth keeping. Moffat should totally feel free to ignore any of RTDs crap in moving the story forward.
There is no Paul McGann and no lame Time war, just like Boba Fett is not a clone, he is a god damn journeyman protector from Concord Dawn with the real name of Jaster Mereel.

*steps of soap box*
posted by MrBobaFett at 8:20 AM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


See, my introduction to RTD was "The Second Coming" which I really liked. I thought that he was at his strongest when playing with themes of salvation, grace and sacrifice, and at his worst when he let his "I want to make a point and to do it I will beat the viewer over the head with a 20 pound glittery sledgehammer" instincts take over.

The problem is as the series went on I found there was more of the latter and less of the former. The one example that sticks out was "Voyage of the Damned" where he literally had the doctor being carried out of the fiery pit by a pair of golden angels to save the earth. In a Christmas episode, which is bad theology to boot. I remember watching it and wanting to scream at the screen "Really? You're really doing this?"

Anyway, I'm not someone who dislikes RTD, and I'll always be grateful to him for helping get the show brought back, but by the same token, I'm very glad he's gone.
posted by Grimgrin at 8:27 AM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thousands of Daleks, Cyberman, or little metal balls that can kill people aren't enough. There has to be bazillions sort of thing.

The thing about Daleks and Cybermen (and Sontarans and so on and so forth) is that one is scary and a handful are scarier. Millions of them in the sky over London, repeatedly, is either horrific or, more often, just plain silly and likely to break suspension of disbelief. This is exactly my problem with the Silence and their 0wnz0ring of human history: it's too much and too big. The larger episodes of Classic Who had this problem sometimes, but the way we've needed to reboot repeatedly to solve the fact of too many people knowing about stuff they're not supposed to know about has been a problem with Nu Who for me all along.

And while I'm grumbling, I love the Moff's style, which I think does hearken back to the era of Classic Who I love best, but to go with that, I'm tired of everything having to be the the scariest monster ever. Stop telling us they're scary! Do the Hinchcliffe/Holmes thing and just show us!
posted by immlass at 8:27 AM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Stop telling us they're scary! Do the Hinchcliffe/Holmes thing and just show us!

Or, ironically, don't show us. The Weeping Angels were way, way scarier when we didn't see them move -- where one minute they were just a statue at the other end of the field and the next time you looked back it was two feet from you and about to eat your neck.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:36 AM on May 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


As far as the Doctor making people dangerous, he was responsible for the events of The Face of Evil, so, while that was unintentional, it's not entirely a new thing.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 8:46 AM on May 3, 2011


*SPOILER* Since there's a Whovian thread here.... Did anyone else wonder what happened to the second TARDIS? If a time-lord's body is a 'miracle' that needs to be burned, did they just leave one of the TARDISes sitting around? Did I just miss something?
posted by jardinier at 8:48 AM on May 3, 2011


*SPOILER* Since there's a Whovian thread here.... Did anyone else wonder what happened to the second TARDIS? If a time-lord's body is a 'miracle' that needs to be burned, did they just leave one of the TARDISes sitting around? Did I just miss something?

Nope. Moffat threw a lot of plot devices in the air, and a great many won't come back down for episodes, possibly the season finale late this year.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:54 AM on May 3, 2011


My biggest complaint about the RTD Who is all the ROSE ROSE ROSE ROSE OMG ISN'T ROSE AWESOME SHE'S THE BEST LET'S BRING HER BACK AGAIN AND AGAIN ROSE ROSE ROSE HEY LET'S HAVE HER BE THE LAST PERSON TEN VISITS AS HE GOES THROUGH HIS GOODBYES THAT TAKE, LIKE, A FULL EPISODE, and Donna Noble, who is totally awesome, gets her mind erased and she can't think about how awesome she was, or her head will explode.

Moffat episodes are creepy as hell. I love them.
posted by Lucinda at 8:55 AM on May 3, 2011 [10 favorites]


Also, Eccleston rules out return to Doctor Who, once again. Just as well, I suppose.

The Weeping Angels were way, way scarier when we didn't see them move -- where one minute they were just a statue at the other end of the field and the next time you looked back it was two feet from you and about to eat your neck.

That's as much good direction and editing as it is writing and acting.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:57 AM on May 3, 2011


Donna Noble, who is totally awesome, gets her mind erased and she can't think about how awesome she was, or her head will explode.

I will second22222infinitythis about how awesome Donna Noble was and how piss-poor she was treated. Catherine Tate would have rocked as 11. Not that Matt Smith isn't doing fine. It's just that Donna Noble was MADE OF AWESOME.
posted by PapaLobo at 9:05 AM on May 3, 2011 [9 favorites]


I just want to say w/r/t that last link that I hope we can all agree that the only person who would be excited to see John Simm return as the Master is John Simm.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:05 AM on May 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


Oh, you reminded me about Donna and the memory thing. Now I'm depressed.
posted by jardinier at 9:08 AM on May 3, 2011


I think that Dr. Who could pull off something with the David Icke/Whitley Strieber global conspiracy theory of multi-dimensional aliens, but the last two episodes didn't succeed at it.

I'll also agree that the small-scale evil is really creepy. The Weeping Angels (and also the Creepy Santas) are scary not because they boldly plan to take over the planet Earth, but because they could be anywhere.

jardinier: *SPOILER* My pet theory: The Silence abducts Amy's potential child, who grows up to be River Song, and kills The Doctor using the suit fulfilling her prophesy of them living opposite lives. The Skeleton TARDIS is the abandoned blue box.

Lucinda: They stuck so much crap onto the back of that finale, that the first half didn't make a lick of sense.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:09 AM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


We started watching with Eccleston. It was good cheesy fun, and we started to get attached to some of the characters. Most of the episodes were either pretty good or laughably bad, so we kept watching. When RTD left, I started actually liking almost all of the episodes.

Except the Venice one.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:09 AM on May 3, 2011


Also, Eccleston rules out return to Doctor Who

I'm ok with him not coming back to Doctor Who, since I'm now convinced that he'd be the best candidate to play Sam Vimes (as I see him in my head,) in the upcoming Discworld TV show. (Note, he won't be, but he could do it so well.)
posted by quin at 9:10 AM on May 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


KirkJobSluder, I'm totally with you. Amy is River's mother.
posted by jbickers at 9:17 AM on May 3, 2011


Blink was just one of the best pieces of television, period. From the editing down to the writiing, it was a masterpiece of minimalist terror. Think about it: It was an Doctor Who that barely had the The Doctor in it, and then for the most part, seen only on pre-recorded video. The monsters were generic garden statuary for Chrissake! I figure they shot that episode for about twelve bucks.
posted by KingEdRa at 9:26 AM on May 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


Amy is River's mother, bringing her up with stories about the Doctor until the impressionable child is fixated on him. River grows up to be an outwardly normal-seeming person but is in fact a Fatal Attraction-style stalker who has deluded herself into believing that she's actually Mrs. Doctor. Her psychosis is so well developed that she creates a fantasy world that draws the Doctor in, making him halfway believe her stories. He finally realizes she's actually a dangerous lunatic who has manipulated him, and time and space, to live out her fantasy. So he rejects River, sending her into a fit of rage. Unable to cope with permanent separation from the object of her fixation, she kills him!

That's my theory. It's the only way I can think of to make River anything but insufferable.
posted by orrnyereg at 9:35 AM on May 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


Blink was just one of the best pieces of television, period.

Truth.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:36 AM on May 3, 2011


Think about it: It was an Doctor Who that barely had the The Doctor in it, and then for the most part, seen only on pre-recorded video.

And not one, but two t-shirt-ready catchphrases:

"The Angels have the phone box!"

and

"It goes ding when there's stuff."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:36 AM on May 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


There is nothing wrong with the 8th Doctor, just like there is nothing wrong with the Time War. Doctor Who has continuously changed the paradigm to freshmen things up (remember War Games?) I actually like this just so it gets all the stuffy Time Lords out of the show for a bit. Might not be your cup of tea, but it is mine.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 9:42 AM on May 3, 2011


RTD knew exactly what he was doing. He said numerous times in interviews that his made-up-as-was-going-along style was (in his opinion) exciting and fun. I happen to disagree with him, but there it is.

And if anything is predetermined in this universe it's what happens in the next eleven episodes of Doctor Who, so we might as well sit back and enjoy it as much as we can.

Personally, I think I'm going to enjoy it a lot, but then this series seems to be designed for my tastes (which is usually a way to lose a lot of money).
posted by Grangousier at 9:43 AM on May 3, 2011


I liked some of the more "fantastical" episodes from RTD, I think they are exciting and fun, I particularly like "The Satan Pit", "Gridlock".... Maybe I just like the far future ones, I miss the cat nurses and the Face of Boe
posted by Ad hominem at 9:50 AM on May 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Alternative theory. * SPOILERY*

What did the Silence do that was bad? They zotted that one lady, but other than sitting there being menacing, they didn't do anything bad that I can tell.

"The Silents will fall" could potentially mean that the Doctor is going to destroy them, not that the Silents will invade the earth.
posted by Lord_Pall at 9:50 AM on May 3, 2011


God, I love River Song.

That is all.
posted by Windigo at 9:52 AM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


*SILLY SPOILER*
Oh, I see, so maybe River is Amy's daughter, and the Doctor is the father - but earlier in the Doctor's personal timeline River and the doctor have a daughter, which she hides from him, and that's Amy, so Amy is her own Grandmother but no....body....knows...
posted by jardinier at 9:53 AM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


....and Rory. I love Rory. Personally, I'd just kick Amy's ass towards the Tardis door and leave her and her Magic Hair behind. The Doctor and River and Rory are plenty enough for me, thank you.
posted by Windigo at 9:56 AM on May 3, 2011


This is the first time I've wanted to go back and re-watch a whole season of Who (I'm a newfan, so counting only from Eccleston). I've really enjoyed the last 5 seasons, but not enough to obsess over them. But the Day of the Moon makes me want to go back and re-watch all of the last season so I can a) get the timeline straight in my head, since it got messed around towards the end of the season and b) look out for any clues.

A few nights ago, I rewatched all the River episodes in reverse-order. I talked about it on the last Who thread, but it was both heartbreaking and awesome and I understand River as a character much better now.

Still not sure about a bunch of things--who she kills (the Doctor or Rory) and whether or not she might really be Amy's daughter (which . . . i THINK she is). But yeah.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:01 AM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I love Rory. I also miss the gun-hand. It was just so goofy and over the top.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 10:01 AM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wonder if the Doctor's "daughter" will make a reappearance this season.
posted by the_artificer at 10:05 AM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


It'd be interesting if Rory was an Auton again. The doctor comes back, and because of it everyone's memories are restored, but since a human being can't have been alive for 2000 years to accumulate those memories, the Doctor returning also turned Rory back into an Auton just to reconcile the time lines.

Rory is living in denial since it means that he's immortal and plastic, and more importantly, Amy Pond isn't.
posted by Grimgrin at 10:07 AM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wonder if the Doctor's "daughter" will make a reappearance this season.

She might be too raising the Doctor's daughter.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:22 AM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


There is nothing wrong with the 8th Doctor, just like there is nothing wrong with the Time War. Doctor Who has continuously changed the paradigm to freshmen things up (remember War Games?) I actually like this just so it gets all the stuffy Time Lords out of the show for a bit. Might not be your cup of tea, but it is mine.

There are massive problems with the so called 8th Doctor. First of all his entire premise of his existence is that god awful piece of crap TV Movie by FOX. Which suggests among other things that he is half human, the he goes around falling in love with and kissing human women, the Master has become some snake thing with a penchant for hissing. On top of it all Paul himself is bore of a person.

Yes the Time War is lame because it is just that, a plot device to get rid of the TimeLords because RTD didn't like them. Because time and time again RTD has shown that he doesn't like Doctor Who. He like he idea of what Doctor Who should be and writes his fan fic to suite him even if it undermines the original series.

Yes I remember War Games, where we finally got to get more definition to his race and his home world. We finally got to see the Time Lords. That is developing what already exists in the story, not throwing out what has already been defined.
posted by MrBobaFett at 10:23 AM on May 3, 2011


Oh oh oh! I think i just figured it out, of course based on a clue that's right out there in the open but seemed besides the point.

SPOILER (mouseover to read if you REALLY want to know):
Ebel unf gur zrzbevrf bs na Nhgba ng yrnfg cneg bs gur gvzr. Bgure gvzrf ur qbrfa'g. Na Nhgba jbhyqa'g or noyr sngure puvyqera. Nzl vfa'g gur bar va syhk, vg'f Ebel.

That's pretty clever, Mr. Moffat.
posted by Artw at 10:27 AM on May 3, 2011 [24 favorites]


Artw: That's so crazy it Just! Might! Work!
posted by orrnyereg at 10:29 AM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I find that theory plausible. I DO remember reading somewhere in some interview that Rory was supposed to have some sort of pivotal role this season.
posted by Windigo at 10:32 AM on May 3, 2011


There are massive problems with the so called 8th Doctor. First of all his entire premise of his existence is that god awful piece of crap TV Movie by FOX. Which suggests among other things that he is half human, the he goes around falling in love with and kissing human women, the Master has become some snake thing with a penchant for hissing. On top of it all Paul himself is bore of a person.

Have you listened to the audio dramas? Because the 8th Doctor is actually one of my favorites, in light of them. In fact, I love how he's initially a dick to Lucie Miller in them (ooh--not unlike his initial reaction to River). Those kinds of nods show us that the Doctor is never really One of Us, no matter how fond he is of us.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:32 AM on May 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Artw: Oooooh. Neat! I like that idea a lot.
posted by Grimgrin at 10:34 AM on May 3, 2011


PhoBWanKenobi's right. The 8th Doctor is a top-tier Doctor when you listen to the audio dramas (Chimes at Midnight ftw), it's just a shame that he never got an actual TV series. I really hope against all hope that he'll turn up in Series 6 somewhere - Paul McGann is just older enough such that he could play a grizzled version of himself very well - but that's wildly unlikely.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:37 AM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm gonna plug the Peter Davidson audio "Spare Parts" again, which is like Genesis of the Daleks but with Cybermen and a really neat story to boot.
posted by Artw at 10:39 AM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


PhoBWanKenobi, I haven't listened to the Audio Dramas outside of Dalek Empire and the first season of the Gallifrey series. I plan on finishing out the Gallifrey series, I Davros looks interesting, and I may even try some of the non-spin off stuff. But I won't try anything from Paul McGann, to accept any of it, is to accept the premise. Which is that the TV Movie is actually Doctor Who, and it's not.
posted by MrBobaFett at 10:39 AM on May 3, 2011


Chimes at Midnight is my favorite audio drama. I really do like the 8th Doctor. It's hard to compare him to the others without seeing him though.
posted by painquale at 10:40 AM on May 3, 2011


Yes I remember War Games, where we finally got to get more definition to his race and his home world. We finally got to see the Time Lords. That is developing what already exists in the story, not throwing out what has already been defined.

All of which is dramatically ignored and changed by Deadly Assassin, Which throws out what war games defined.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 10:43 AM on May 3, 2011


Which is that the TV Movie is actually Doctor Who, and it's not.

I've only seen bits of the TV movie, and while I have no desire to complete the experience, it doesn't seem any worse than a lot of the garbage we saw the 6th and 7th Doctors go through. I'm also fine with kludgey post hoc explanations as for his thinking that he's half-human.

And, as always, remember: when it comes to Doctor Who, there is no canon.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:44 AM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't know if the TV movie committed any crimes worse than RTD's run, necessarily. In fact, it had probably bigger nods to Gallifreyan culture and a more complex acknowledgment of the Doctor's past. Whereas RTD saw the 10th Doctor giving Rose a half-human Doctor action figure (and, possibly, a TARDIS) to play with.

It's cheesy, but McGann is an excellent actor (do you really care if actors are boring people? because I sure don't), and has a steampunk TARDIS. As for the half-human stuff, since Moffat has indicated that he considers the 8th Doctor canon, I still hope he'll explore that someday, but that could be just because it works with my favorite fanwankery (which is that Donna is the Doctor's mother).
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:44 AM on May 3, 2011


Also, Paul McGann is absurdly good looking. Did anyone see Collision? Phwoar!
posted by orrnyereg at 10:49 AM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I really don't understand the view of Ten as mopey and super-pacifistic as compared to Eleven, but I think that's just because I've watched the show and remember that Ten was a mass-murdering asshole who got positively gleeful about his genocides. He only ever got pissy about it when somebody else made the choice. Like the Prime Minister doing something completely rational given her position, and him impetuously destroying her career over it (in the most sexist way possible.)

Don't get me wrong, I liked Tennant enough. He made for a very solid Stock-Model™ Doctor. But the more Moffat writes, the more trouble I have with the RTD era, especially seasons 2-4.

With a show that's gone on for as insanely long as this one has, however, everybody's going to like different aspects of it, and I'm just happy that right now is when it feels like it was written special for me. I love the season-stretching arcs and mysteries. I love the dark overtones. I love The Eleventh Doctor like fucking crazy. And I love Rory and River and I love Amy, and not just because she's played by the most attractive woman on Earth. That's just gravy.

Anyway, I'm blowing off any "The Doctor's Daughter" theories out of hand right now because Moffat has made it clear that he's not using a damn thing from the RTD years that he didn't write himself. Introducing a stunt-cast character from a meaningless one-off episode from that era really isn't his style.

What I believe is happening is that there is a timeline paradox afoot. The little girl is Amy's daughter, I'm pretty damn sure, but I have no reason to believe that she is River Song. I do believe, however, that she is Amy's daughter by The Doctor.

Yes, I know, everyone hates this idea. Yes, I know she's married. Yes, I know that for The Doctor to fuck her would go against what we think we know of his character.

Something in the events of the first two episodes of this season (and possibly stretching back into last season) has caused the quantum pregnancy. To wit: when we were in monument valley in 2011, The Silents were present, and controlling our lives unseen. Then they went back to 1969 and started messing with The Silents, eventually driving them away. Thus, Amy, Rory, River and The Doctor are now products of a timeline they have very significantly altered.

This is enough for me to make sense of pregnant/not pregnant, and the photo in the bedroom makes it seem like the girl is Amy's, and the girl's regeneration makes it seem like she's a Time Lady, so how do we get around the fact that that would never happen?

Well, The Silents, of course. They don't create anything new, as we've seen. They get others to do it for them so that they can steal the technology, and what they're currently working on is building a TARDIS.

And what they need, as we saw in The Lodger, for their final piece of the TARDIS, is someone to fly it.

Humans work okay, but they learned there that a Time Lord works WAY BETTER. So they started messing with things in that time, before The Doctor came back from way the hell down the line in his future and invited them all, including his past self, to go back and fix shit.

The Silence got Amy and The Doctor to "mate," and Amy kind of knows this, which is why she's been acting the way she has about the "pregnancy," because if she is pregnant, than The Doctor needs to know and Rory can't know. If she isn't, then it makes no sense why it wouldn't be Rory's and her mind has to rationalize why she would have acted the way she did.

Just my two cents.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:50 AM on May 3, 2011 [11 favorites]


Anyway, I'm blowing off any "The Doctor's Daughter" theories out of hand right now because Moffat has made it clear that he's not using a damn thing from the RTD years that he didn't write himself. Introducing a stunt-cast character from a meaningless one-off episode from that era really isn't his style.

IIRC Moffat made a specific request she not be killed off.
posted by Artw at 10:53 AM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Having recently rewatched it, the Doctor's rejection of Amy at the end of Flesh and Stone was pretty clear and firm. I don't think he'd ever fuck her, though I wouldn't be surprised if the Silence did some genetic tinkering.

Alternatively, we can just use the perfectly plausible explanation we were given in the episode, which is that time traveling in the TARDIS will probably screw a baby up, and that Amy was worried about that.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:59 AM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


MrBobaFett: "I won't try anything from Paul McGann, to accept any of it, is to accept the premise. Which is that the TV Movie is actually Doctor Who, and it's not."

There wasn't a Highlander 2, either. And it would be nice if Lucas would ever film Star Wars episodes 1-3.
posted by charred husk at 11:02 AM on May 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Is there a good, comprehensive guide yet of people going back through the first Matt Smith season and detailing all the instances of "The Silence?"
posted by gc at 11:05 AM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


and what they're currently working on is building a TARDIS.

posted by Navelgazer at 10:50 AM on May 3 [1 favorite +] [!]

And there's what I haven't been able to put my finger on. I thought it was no coincidence that the Silence's ships looked like the TARDIS on the inside, I just couldn't figure out why. We're going to see The Silence again, and I'm terrified.
posted by gc at 11:12 AM on May 3, 2011


Ok gang, here's my crackpot theory: TimeBaby IS Amy's daughter (I'm open to ideas about the identity TimeBaby Daddy. I like the phase shifting human/Auton theory Rory thing advanced up thread myself, because I can see Moffat trying to reconcile the "now you see it, now you don't" nature of Amy's pregnancy by having the TARDIS throwing some hand-wavey chronal energy somethingorother her way to stabilize the pregnancy).

And in a nod to the aforementioned Awful FOX Movie where McGann says his Mother was human, Timebaby is the Doctor's MOTHER (think about it: human baby, but with enough Galifreyean nonsense floating in her DNA to make her the equal of a Time Lord). I have had a sneaky suspicion that strange things were afoot at the Circle K regarding Doctor number eight when I saw this a couple of weeks ago. Maybe we'll be seeing Paul McGann show up somehow this season?
posted by KingEdRa at 11:14 AM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


We're going to see The Silence again, and I'm terrified.

As mentioned upthread, the silence are essentially an army of slenderman (slendermen? slendermans?).

As such, they need to be killed with fire and/or nuked from orbit, just to be sure. I really shouldn't be talking about killing Slenderman though. You never know what coul
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 11:17 AM on May 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


I have had a sneaky suspicion that strange things were afoot at the Circle K regarding Doctor number eight when I saw this a couple of weeks ago. Maybe we'll be seeing Paul McGann show up somehow this season?

OH MY GOODNESS PAUL MCGANN LOOKS HOT IN THAT PICTURE!

Ahem. Yeah. Hope that happens.

On a related note: cute trock song. I really need to put together a trock post one of these days.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:17 AM on May 3, 2011


I have had a sneaky suspicion that strange things were afoot at the Circle K

How much would I give for The Doctor to run into Bill & Ted?

(Apparently B&T were originally going to have a time-traveling Van, but because of Back to the Future they chose a phone booth instead. Which is hilarious to me.)
posted by Navelgazer at 11:26 AM on May 3, 2011


Having recently rewatched it, the Doctor's rejection of Amy at the end of Flesh and Stone was pretty clear and firm.

The Dream Lord claims otherwise, and he's privy to some pretty private information. Plus, we've seen how The Doctor reacted to his "first" kiss with River, and it's clear that Eleven has no idea what to do in that situation.

And by the way, I think that the "old Doctor" we see at the beginning of TIA is trying to stop this from having happened. He knows that Amy and Rory are supposed to be together. He knows that He and River are supposed to be together. But The Silents made something go horribly awry, and he invited the group to watch him die in order to prevent it.

I believe we're going to see River kill Rory in episode seven as well. Just a hunch.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:33 AM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Dream Lord claims otherwise, and he's privy to some pretty private information. Plus, we've seen how The Doctor reacted to his "first" kiss with River, and it's clear that Eleven has no idea what to do in that situation.

He looks kind of squirmy there (adorably so), but he doesn't shove her away and start lecturing her on how he's a Time Lord. "Not sure what to do," and "DO NOT WANT" are pretty different.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:38 AM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


10 after all, was the Doctor who developed creative methods of eternal torture for the Family, just for cockblocking him. This stands out as one of my favorite examples that the Doctor is something of a jealous monster in his own personal zoo. And I thought we had this exact conversation at the end of season 4 when Davros pointed out how The Doctor tends to weaponize his favorite humans, further blurring the line between The Doctor and the Daleks.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:40 AM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Not sure what to do," and "DO NOT WANT" are pretty different.

And perhaps that's what we were seeing, and of course I could be very, very wrong about all of this. But if I am, is there really a reason to delve back into the Amy/Rory/Doctor triangle from last season which was seemingly put to rest? Especially with River around now?

Any's monologue about who she loves was deliberately back-and-forth between references to Rory and to The Doctor as well. In the final scene of TIA, she acts as if she just learned that she's pregnant, and the information must go to The Doctor, and it is urgently relevant right now. I think my theory makes some sense of that.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:44 AM on May 3, 2011


More to the point of the article. Season 5 was entirely built around this idea of him being responsible for countless deaths, with The Doctor not comprehending that the Pandorica was innumerable species' way of protecting themselves from him.

In this fashion, I like the idea that Season 6 is all about a very old version of The Doctor manipulating all of time and space after his own death in order to undo actions that he never should have taken.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:48 AM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Waitasecondwaitasecondwaitasecond.

River Song's first episode is Silence in the Library, right? Maybe it's a coincidence, maybe not?
posted by orrnyereg at 11:50 AM on May 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


Any's monologue about who she loves was deliberately back-and-forth between references to Rory and to The Doctor as well. In the final scene of TIA, she acts as if she just learned that she's pregnant, and the information must go to The Doctor, and it is urgently relevant right now. I think my theory makes some sense of that.

. . . that's because the Silent told her to tell the Doctor, and because they place post-hypnotic suggestions in the brain of the viewer.

It's not that I want to dismiss your theory out of hand--more that everything you're raising as needing explanation was actually addressed within the episode.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:50 AM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


River Song's first episode is Silence in the Library, right? Maybe it's a coincidence, maybe not?

Yup! Been thinking about that quite a bit, too.

I wonder if the revival of the love triangle is simply to show that Rory is still an insecure mess over the Doctor.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:51 AM on May 3, 2011


Finally, I've read many people assert that the Silents were responsible for leading everyone to the Pandorica in the first place, which of course would make the Doctor's actions in "Day of the Moon" a bit more appropriate, but I've seen nothing to suggest, much less confirm this for me so far.

Did I miss something?
posted by Navelgazer at 11:51 AM on May 3, 2011


. . . that's because the Silent told her to tell the Doctor, and because they place post-hypnotic suggestions in the brain of the viewer.

Yeah, I'm not dismissing that either. But the way The Silent puts it is still maddeningly vague. "What he must know, and what he can never know."

Are these the same thing, or two different things? (i.e. that she's pregnant, and that they watched him die)
posted by Navelgazer at 11:55 AM on May 3, 2011


Oooh ooh ooh! What if Rory kills the Doctor? The good man going to war, and all of that.

And River kills Rory? And Rory is River's father? And and and . . .
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:56 AM on May 3, 2011


But The Silents made something go horribly awry, and he invited the group to watch him die in order to prevent it.

Can we make the assumption that the Doctor killed the Doctor? If he's that down on manipulation, why not do it himself?
posted by gc at 11:58 AM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's possible...

SPOILERS

What little we know of "A Good Man Goes to War" is that's it's the mid-season cliffhanger, and that it involves Rory and The Doctor together on a mission to rescue Amy from... something.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:59 AM on May 3, 2011


An assumption would also work.
posted by gc at 11:59 AM on May 3, 2011


Sorry, gc, I was responding to PhoBWanKenobi.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:00 PM on May 3, 2011


Something else that wasn't clear to me: Amy getting sick to her stomach in the Oval Office. Is that meant to indicate morning sickness? If so, what's the significance of River Song getting sick to her stomach when she and Rory go into the tunnels in Florida?
posted by orrnyereg at 12:03 PM on May 3, 2011


Navelgazer, I was responding in general. I'm just throwing ideas out.
posted by gc at 12:04 PM on May 3, 2011


On post, oh, I see. Carry on.
posted by gc at 12:05 PM on May 3, 2011


This is where the idea of River being Amy's daughter comes in: at this point, she'd be crossing her own time stream twice, as both a fetus and a little girl. So that's a possibility. Maybe.

Or maybe not. Maybe there's a better/easier explanation.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:05 PM on May 3, 2011


Something else that wasn't clear to me: Amy getting sick to her stomach in the Oval Office. Is that meant to indicate morning sickness? If so, what's the significance of River Song getting sick to her stomach when she and Rory go into the tunnels in Florida?

I thought that this was a reaction to the memory fiddlery? I'm pretty sure they mentioned it when they were re-explaining the silence in the beginning of the last episode.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 12:06 PM on May 3, 2011


thsmchnekllsfascists, I thought that too at first, but then why didn't any of the other characters have similar physical response? I could be reading too much into this, I suppose. On TV (if not in life), everything happens for a reason.
posted by orrnyereg at 12:09 PM on May 3, 2011


PhoB, while I'm not sold on any reason why the little girl is necessarily River, that reasoning I find intriguing, as well as the Moffat-style-fucked-uppedness that would occur if sshe were to kill Rory, her own father, which you presented in the other thread.

Very curious to see how this works itself out.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:09 PM on May 3, 2011


Also, it's weird that of the few times total that Doctor Who has visited America, they have significantly spent time in Utah twice. And, of course, The Doctor went to Manhattan once and River later, but neither of those were actually shot in NY, nor was DC in DC or Florida in Florida.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:11 PM on May 3, 2011


I was thinking Canton was in the space suit for a while. Besides River, he'd be the best person to handle killing future!Doctor. But now, would the Doctor want to force someone else to do the deed? No, he would do it himself, to save others from the guilt...

Oh, on an unrelated topic? When Canton said he had to leave the Bureau because he was getting married I assumed it was because marriages killed careers. Married agents didn't get promotions or choice assignments, as then-Director Hoover thought agents should not have such distractions (of course he had his own distractions...). When he said it was because he wanted to marry a man? Same-sex marriage was nowhere near an issue in '69-this is a year after Stonewall. Being out was an emerging issue-to be publicly married? It's an anachronistic issue.
posted by Not The Stig at 12:12 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, it's weird that of the few times total that Doctor Who has visited America, they have significantly spent time in Utah twice.

If you're european of any stripe, there is no landscape that says "America" quite like Monument Valley. Enough of the West looks like bits of Europe (think spaghetti westerns) that if you're going to go on location, you might as well make it iconic.
posted by hippybear at 12:14 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not The Stig, I had the same reaction, but I liked it anyway. Having an anti-miscegenationist like Nixon willing to stretch his boundaries on account of Canton's actions, but...

"I think the moon is far enough, don't you?"
"I thought it might be."

That was perfect, shutting down the corrupt, gutless politician in the midst of his pretending to act magnanimously in order to make him face how cowardly he truly is.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:17 PM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sure, but what is The Doctor if not anachronistic, especially when his two primary companions are from 2011 and a country that has same-sex unions?

It's something I've loved about how The Doctor has been written. He treats LGBT people and couples like every other intelligent monkey (or cat as the case may be). It's the mortals around him who get weirded out about the situation.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:33 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, it's weird that of the few times total that Doctor Who has visited America, they have significantly spent time in Utah twice

Hippybear probably has it, but I wonder if Utah offers large tax breaks for filming there.
posted by drezdn at 12:35 PM on May 3, 2011


Is there a good, comprehensive guide yet of people going back through the first Matt Smith season and detailing all the instances of "The Silence?"

This is a pretty good list.
posted by Lucinda at 12:35 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


just because it works with my favorite fanwankery (which is that Donna is the Doctor's mother)
SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
posted by PapaLobo at 12:36 PM on May 3, 2011


I wonder if Utah offers large tax breaks for filming there

Utah Film Commission incentives page
posted by hippybear at 12:48 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is a pretty good list.

Mind: Blown.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 12:59 PM on May 3, 2011


Another recommendation in defense of the Eighth doctor: You MUST listen to "Relative Dimensions," which is effectively the Eighth doctor's Christmas special. And it is really, really great.
posted by jbickers at 1:01 PM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Self-link, but I just wrote out a rambling treatise on my theory for the season.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:32 PM on May 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


In a lot of ways, the Seventh Doctor is still my favorite. Sadly, hardly anyone watches him, and he was sometimes cursed with bad writing, but he was always wonderful.
posted by koeselitz at 1:51 PM on May 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


I was really encouraged by this season's first two, despite the rather bad bit about the Silents having manipulated all of human history. I'd be pleased if they came to tune that sort of hyperbole down. They got rid of RTD. Next up, get rid of the hyperbole (or reduce it), get rid of the incidental music style and replace it with something more subtle, and get rid of River Song, the second worst thing to happen to the series after RTD.

It's cheesy, but McGann is an excellent actor (do you really care if actors are boring people? because I sure don't)

He is a superb actor. Great in everything I've seen him in, from Withnail to Hornblower to that awful show with the guy from the Wire who played Stringer Bell. I think he would have made a great Doctor. I'll have to check out the audio episodes. I'm one of those blokes who knows nothing about actors as people unless I hear about it through a third party so I know nothing about McGann, Baker (other than he drank), Smith, etc. I simply don't give a fuck but I do remember someone being very upset with McGann because McGann wasn't a fan of the franchise. I don't think that is at all important. RTD was a fan, and look what drek that got us.
posted by juiceCake at 2:08 PM on May 3, 2011


The Doctor and Amy - Moffatt said in an interview (yes, another one, look sorry, I just read them, I should have bookmarked them or something) that as far as the Doctor is concerned, Amy is always seven years old, and he just wouldn't. For example, when Amy gets him to swear on fish fingers and custard, he says (something like) "My life in your hands, Amelia Pond." Amelia is a reference to the seven-year-old Amy, and that's who he's talking to.
posted by Grangousier at 3:30 PM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's rather nice to be watching something where it feels like the writer is ahead of me, and not just because he's pulling random stuff out of his arse and pointing at it shouting "Woo! Mysterious!"
posted by Artw at 3:33 PM on May 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


"My life in your hands, Amelia Pond."
I adore the relish with which Matt Smith adorns "Amelia Pond", every time he says it.
posted by coriolisdave at 3:39 PM on May 3, 2011 [11 favorites]


>>This is a pretty good list.

>Mind: Blown.


Don't let it be. I just checked every one of them and a large chink of them are nonsense. Let me go through.

While hanging from the TARDIS, the Doctor looks up into it and for a couple of seconds has a confused look on his face.

No he doesn't. He's trying to scramble in.

When Rory and Amy exit the elevator on the second floor of the hospital, Rory glances behind him at something, but when he looks back towards Amy, he shakes his head like he forgot something. It is about 42:49.

The description isn't inaccurate, but it's the most casual move in the world. If that's a hint then every time a character ever looks offscreen is a hint. It isn't,

In the scene at the end of the episode where Amy goes into the TARDIS for the first time. there’s one point where she leans back on the console and is looking around the room. The camera is pointed towards her face, so we can’t see what she’s looking at. She looks around with a sort of awe-struck smile, but then her eyes linger over something and her expression turns into a look of horror. She starts breathing really quickly and turns as if to get the Doctor’s attention, but as soon as she’s facing him she just asks, perfectly normally, “Why me?”, as if she’d completely forgotten about what she’d just seen. Also, she flicks a TARDIS button/switch/lever at this point. Accidental Amy or something meaningful?

Meh. It also fits perfectly with Amy being caught between awe and overwhel...ment (not a word) at the TARDIS and the offer. As for her pressing buttons, true, but she was doing that before that point too.

The Beast Below - At around 9:25 a black figure walks past Amy, she looks confused/scared for a couple of seconds then shrugs it off.

Not really. She's just looking around at her first visit off-planet. And the timing between that and someone casually walking past doesn't match anyway.

Victory of the Daleks - Near the end after the Daleks escape, the Doctor moves slowly backwards, as he gets near to the green framed window/doorway he looks to his left with a shock. The camera then switches to Amy and Churchill who both stare to the Doctor’s left with a look of shock before Amy continues on as normal with the line “Doctor, it’s OK you did it, you stopped the bomb.”

Not. at. all. The Doctor is in horror that the Daleks are back, really back, for the first time since the Time War. His reaction is simply that. And as for Amy and Churchill, I don't even see that reaction at all, let alone being able to explain it in context.

The Lodger - At 21:47 for a couple of shots Amy looks in the distance or at the screen and gasps, then shouts for the Doctor’s attention but he doesn’t listen. She looks away and shakes it off.

This one is a solid maybe. The acting seems odd, in that she doesn't really look.. away.. exactly... She may just be responding to the Doc excitedly and Gillan did some odd 'excited' acting we're reading into. I'd actually be willing to say this might have been an attempt at it, maybe, but at best it's awkward.

Vampires of Venice - At the end when Rory, Amy, and the Doctor are standing by the TARDIS, the TARDIS door is open and then shuts on it’s own.

Seems to me that the Doctor opened the door, which we can hear, and then it closes behind him after he stops entering to hear Amy and Rory talk. In fact, I would dismiss this solidly as major nonsense except that she then seems to have to unlock the TARDIS to enter it. But still a solid meh.

The Big Bang - There are cloaked figures behind the Sarcophagi in the museum; a third figure moves out of shot at the edge of the screen at about 13:31

There do seem to be things behind the sarcophagi, though it COULD be shadows... which aren't there when we come back, and seem to come and go a bit. Could easily just be some odd continuity of things filmed out of order. And while there is some corner action, it's so immediately pulled back out of frame and not dressed like the Silents... This is the sort of thing that I'd think was a clumsy 'crew started to drift into the shot' if it wasn't very clumsy. Might still have been. They might go back to this one, though it doesn't seem like any part of it says 'Silence' more than any other characters.

So really, most of that list? Nonsense. I see two maybes, only one of which fits the Silence modus operandi
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 4:01 PM on May 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


chunk of them, chunk of them. Jesus.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 4:01 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Does anyone else wonder why humanity isn't tripping over dead silents? Or at least wondering what's stinking up the place?

I'm just sayin', is all.
posted by stet at 4:23 PM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


For your viewing pleasure, a video consolidating all of the putative Silence viewings in season 5. I agree with John Kenneth Fisher that most are nonsense, and I think even the maybe-credibles ones are probably not really Silence sightings, on balance.
posted by pemberkins at 4:42 PM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's rather nice to be watching something where it feels like the writer is ahead of me, and not just because he's pulling random stuff out of his arse and pointing at it shouting "Woo! Mysterious!"

Art, it's not that I think you're wrong about this -- I think Moffat has, perhaps to a fault, plotted the fuck out of this thing -- it's just that the lame red herrings and bullshit that hamstrung something like BSG were only incidental to why that particular show wound up being so disappointing at the end. As it transpired, the problem was that the Cylons never needed to have a plan, and there never needed to be prophetic dreams and scrolls of etc., because what was actually interesting about the show was the characters and the situation. That stuff was too good for all the bullshit that Moore built into the show; that stuff chafed against the bullshit, and the whole show suffered for trying to pay it off, in a total wag the dog scenario.

Anyway, I say all of this to say that Moffat's Who is brilliantly crafted on a plot level, but I at least don't really ask much of my plots other than they don't get in the way of the story. I feel like this show is all plot, though. I mean, I look at what John Kenneth Fisher is doing up above, and it's like...what the fuck, I don't even know where my keys are. Am I really expected to pore over every episode of this show, slowing it down to frame-by-frame, in hopes that I might catch some idea from an episode that ran eleven months ago of where this season will end up, sometime six months from now? And more to the point, if I don't do that, what's really in it for me to follow along? Because I don't care about the machinations of the plot. I don't care about what Van Gogh's visions mean w/r/t the Silence, though I do care about Van Gogh painting Amy's name into a picture; I don't care about the homemade TARDIS in "The Lodger," but I do think it's funny to watch the Doctor playing football. I think it's great that obsessive sci-fi folk have the Who they've been hungry for since '05, but -- much like RTD Who -- this is only the show I've been hoping for now and then. I think it's a better show in many ways, and a worse show in some others, and...y'know, there you go.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:45 PM on May 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


For your viewing pleasure, a video consolidating all of the putative Silence viewings in season 5.

well... googling for that would have saved me a lot of time an hour ago. :-p
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 4:52 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, TBH I think the lot of the complexity you're seeing there is incidental or people just making it up for themselves ("River song is the Doctors Daughter and also the Rani! Amy Pond is pregnant with Dracula!")

though I was rather pleased to see that the Lodger set wasn't just a reuse.
posted by Artw at 4:56 PM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I mean, I look at what John Kenneth Fisher is doing up above, and it's like...what the fuck, I don't even know where my keys are. Am I really expected to pore over every episode of this show, slowing it down to frame-by-frame, in hopes that I might catch some idea from an episode that ran eleven months ago of where this season will end up, sometime six months from now?

Fair point. To me, that's half the fun though. Though it can be done poorly, and I think you're right on the money with how it hurt BSG, so far I don't feel it has hurt DW, and I see it as, well, bonus. IMO, they balance decently the 'if you get the reference, awesome, if not, you're fine too' way of doing it. But then I also giggle like a schoolgirl when he flashes a Hartnell library card, and that's referencing episodes that are 15 years before I was born, so I may not be the average viewer.

And on preview, Artw is right. I mean, you used my breakdown up above as an example of having to be obsessive to follow it, but keep in mind my point was most if not all of these aren't actually references and plotpoints at all.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 4:59 PM on May 3, 2011


Well, TBH I think the lot of the complexity you're seeing there is incidental or people just making it up for themselves ("River song is the Doctors Daughter and also the Rani! Amy Pond is pregnant with Dracula!")

If Amy Pond is pregnant with Dracula, this is the best show that will ever be.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:02 PM on May 3, 2011 [11 favorites]


If Amy Pond is pregnant with Dracula, this is the best show that will ever be

Okay, I'm confused now. River Song is Dracula's Daughter? Then who is The Wolfman? And how do Abbot & Costello fit into all of this?
posted by KingEdRa at 5:08 PM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


well... googling for that would have saved me a lot of time an hour ago. :-p

But I applaud your effort! Had I not come across the video I would have done the same thing.
posted by pemberkins at 5:20 PM on May 3, 2011


And how do Abbot & Costello fit into all of this?

Didn't anyone tell you? Who's on first.

Oh, never mind.
posted by philipy at 5:41 PM on May 3, 2011 [9 favorites]


I think the most important plot development in the second episode was the woman with the eyepatch-thingy.

Because there is no way we've seen that last of her/whatever-that-was.
posted by meese at 5:56 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Didn't we already cover this scary, dangerous, manipulative Doctor thing back in the mid-90's in the New Adventures series? The one that both Moffat and Richard Davies wrote for?

Oh right, nobody read those. Carry on then, noob fans.
posted by davros42 at 6:13 PM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


If the Doctor, Rose & Jack weren't using the Tardis as an omnisexual love nest then something is wrong with the universe.

I always find this sentiment puzzling when I hear this. First, the show goes for the family demographic, so surmising sexual trysts seems out of form. But moreover, the Doctor is less a sexual character as he is a romantic character. The Doctor's sexuality seems something that he never seems that eager to discuss; Time Lord mating habit are probably not talked about with outsiders (except perhaps River Song). However, he is a romantic in all senses of the word. He kisses Grace (from Doctor 8), and Rose (from 9 and 10) and a smattering of kisses here and there. Even as far back as the 3rd and 4th Doctor, that romance towards his female companions like Sarah Jane and Jo Grant exists though it also manifests in a fatherly sense towards them too. He's a swashbuckler in his way, and swashbucklers kiss girls. That romance is totally keeping in the tradition of the character. So no, I don't think he's banging Amy.

By the way, I still think there's a lot to like about the 8th Doctor even if the made for TV backdoor pilot is uneven. Steampunk Tardis! The Master as a promoter of high Gallafreyan culture! Regeneration! Kiss to a pretty girl! Sorry it's not your cup of tea, but you can see from the enjoyment from the audio plays that quite a few do (I'm even going to look up some that I missed). I'm very glad they didn't try to retcon him out of the fold and deliberately acknowledge him. Perhaps we'll see a bit of Paul McGann someday in Who again...
posted by Lord Chancellor at 6:18 PM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


To defend myself, I don't thin he's banging Amy either. But whatever Moffat says in interviews about the subject he wrote an entire damn episode around the fact that The Doctor kind of wants to but doesn't think it's right (well, fine, he didn't write it himself but he was the show-runner.)

And at the end of Flesh and Bone, he's freaking out about Amy's advances, yes, to be sure, but it's mostly in the Hartigan-towards-Nancy "there's wrong and there's wrong and then there's this" sort of way, and then he even relents for a moment, and begins to put his arms around her, kissing her back, before he figures it out, and stops it.

I'm not a shipper of any sort, and I don't want the Doctor and Amy together or anything, I just think it's more complicated than we're generally willing to admit.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:00 PM on May 3, 2011


Where did his beard go? I was trying to decide if I liked it.

I was a bit afraid it meant the Doctor in chains was an Evil Twin or anti-matter duppy, because that would suck.

Has there ever been facial hair on a Doctor?
posted by merelyglib at 8:32 PM on May 3, 2011


First, the show goes for the family demographic, so surmising sexual trysts seems out of form.

Yeah, that's what I thought, until I saw the TARDIS lurch and the 4th Doctor fell on top of Leela. He seemed to thoroughly enjoy being prone on top of her, and took his own good time to get up.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:35 PM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think he actually kind of liked it when she threatened to knife people... I guess that makes River the super-Leela-to-the-max.
posted by Artw at 8:42 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


So the second episode with the Silents airs this Saturday here in Australia. Would it cause too many nightmares if I snuck into the 10yro and 8yro rooms tonight and drew some tally marks on their arms while they were asleep, then pretended ignorance till they see the episode?
posted by bystander at 9:28 PM on May 3, 2011 [9 favorites]


bystander, kids need awesome nightmares. Do it.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:39 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Would it cause too many nightmares if I snuck into the 10yro and 8yro rooms tonight and drew some tally marks on their arms while they were asleep, then pretended ignorance till they see the episode?

As an adult I love you for thinking of doing this and highly encourage it.

As an 8 year old, I would probably piss myself if this happened and would end up in therapy 20 years later.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't do it.
posted by hippybear at 9:40 PM on May 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


You could also draw a few on yourself/your wife, and then express confusion (or total obliviousness) about them/their origin.



..you bastard.
posted by coriolisdave at 9:43 PM on May 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Seriously, though, those kids sound like their about at the "Robinson Age" where they crave some scares. Give them some fun, as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

At that age, I craved being involved in something scary and important like that.

But you're the one who knows your kids.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:48 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Draw a few on you and your spouse... wear them for a day or two and express ignorance about them... and THEN do the tally marks on your kids the night before the episode airs.

Be sure to have the number on you increase every day during the week.
posted by hippybear at 9:49 PM on May 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


The thing is, there obviously are a plethora of Doctors having adventures throughout Earth's history, sometimes concurrently, all throughout history. Realistically, by the 1600s, everyone in England should've been building their houses out of non-demposing daleks and cybermen, while the grass would start to take on a lovely blueish tinge, from all the decomposing aliens.

My favorite Doctor, btw, was the 43rd and her lover Romana (12th regeneration). Both had ginger hair, but the Doctor dyed hers, because she was tired of waiting.
posted by markkraft at 10:11 PM on May 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Davies was a master of at this. Thousands of Daleks, Cyberman, or little metal balls that can kill people aren't enough. There has to be bazillions sort of thing.

That -- apart from Eccleston's acting -- is what makes Dalek work so well for me. There's just one of them; it's not fast-moving; but it is unstoppable and pitiless.

(And the lets-have-millions-of-Daleks thing always smelled a lot of "let's show off our new special-effects budget".)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:51 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dalek was an episode that made made me understand the Doctors fear and hate for the Daleks. Later when the Dalek army showed up they were much too easily defeated, if one Dalek is so powerful then there should have been no way for the Doctor to defeat them without heavy losses to whatever population he is defending.
posted by Harpocrates at 11:02 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


re: Silents appearing in The Big Bang. There's definitely some movement on the right, that could be a black cloak. But the Silents wear suits, not fabric that has the opportunity to swing into sight then out again.

My own theory at the moment is that the timeline has split in two. When the older Doctor says he's been running his whole life, he means from the time he split from 'our' Eleven, possibly when the Silents exploded the Tardis during the Pandorica shenanigans. The person in the astronaut suit is the younger Doctor fixing the timeline. The Tardis is getting a weird pregnancy reading because in one timeline Amy is pregnant and in the other she isn't. The Silents are responsible for the pregnancy, possibly using Time Lord DNA, which turns the baby into the regenerating little girl at the end. The time in-between the split and the older Doc getting shot should include the lady with the eyepatch, wacky stuff with the spare Tardis, and the little girl in the astronaut suit, which will all be reset after the picnic shooting. River is along for the ride but not responsible for any of these events.

I hope I'm wrong though. I'd hate to have figured it all out so early.
posted by harriet vane at 11:08 PM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Neil Gaiman on his Doctor Who episode.
posted by Artw at 11:19 PM on May 3, 2011


But the Silents wear suits, not fabric that has the opportunity to swing into sight then out again.

Does anyone have any ideas about why they wear suits?
posted by weston at 11:35 PM on May 3, 2011


I just scrubbed through Ep2 again and.. Eyepatch lady?
posted by Kyol at 11:40 PM on May 3, 2011


I think Eyepatch lady will return in a later episode, since it's such a random scene otherwise.
posted by Harpocrates at 11:44 PM on May 3, 2011


Does anyone have any ideas about why they wear suits?

Because they have no technology of their own. They steal suits from us, walk around in our clothes.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:50 PM on May 3, 2011


Does anyone have any ideas about why they wear suits?
posted by weston at 11:35 PM on May 3 [+] [!]

Someone I follow on Tumblr reposted a comment that was essentially: Suits are theirs. They wear suits because that's their native dress. We wear suits because they told us to.
posted by gc at 11:53 PM on May 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


I just scrubbed through Ep2 again and.. Eyepatch lady?

Yeah, I'm confused too -- what "eyepatch lady" are people talking about? What scene was this?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:02 AM on May 4, 2011


She appeared just before Amy entered the girl's bedroom in Day of the Moon.

Eye Patch Lady entry at TARDIS index file
posted by Harpocrates at 12:11 AM on May 4, 2011


The eyepatch lady appears to Amy as she is wandering through the orphange. She opens a sliding window in a door and says "I think she's just dreaming" and then closes it. Amy goes through the door, but can see no sliding opening on the other side.
posted by Sparx at 12:11 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


what "eyepatch lady" are people talking about? What scene was this?

Amy's in the orphanage, poking around. She sees a (metal? red?) door with a viewport in it, which suddenly opens and "eyepatch lady" peers out. Amy talks to her, but she doesn't respond, and instead says something like "no, I think she's still dreaming", then shuts the hatch. Weirdly, when Amy enters the room, the door has no hatch.

(On preview, I'm drawing two tally marks on my arm.)

Seems notable to me as a bit beyond the displayed ability of the Silence to mess with your head -- they make you forget things that were there rather than see things that weren't. Something else is going on there.

They steal suits from us, walk around in our clothes.

Suits are theirs. They wear suits because that's their native dress. We wear suits because they told us to.

Kindof tickled by the later one. :)
posted by weston at 12:18 AM on May 4, 2011


BTW... has anyone seen any indication that Toby Jones (Dream Lord) is involved with Season 6?
posted by weston at 12:37 AM on May 4, 2011


Oh right. Her. Wasn't sure if this had gone meta.
posted by Kyol at 12:37 AM on May 4, 2011


Are the suits on the Silence also supposed to imply a connection to the Men in Black?
posted by drezdn at 6:40 AM on May 4, 2011


I also thought it was a MiB nod. And if they're going there, I wouldn't mind see a throwaway scene where the Doctor cooks pancakes.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:50 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Are the suits on the Silence also supposed to imply a connection to the Men in Black?

I thought so, yes.
posted by Windigo at 7:17 AM on May 4, 2011


First, the show goes for the family demographic, so surmising sexual trysts seems out of form. But moreover, the Doctor is less a sexual character as he is a romantic character. The Doctor's sexuality seems something that he never seems that eager to discuss; Time Lord mating habit are probably not talked about with outsiders (except perhaps River Song). However, he is a romantic in all senses of the word. He kisses Grace (from Doctor 8), and Rose (from 9 and 10) and a smattering of kisses here and there. Even as far back as the 3rd and 4th Doctor, that romance towards his female companions like Sarah Jane and Jo Grant exists though it also manifests in a fatherly sense towards them too. He's a swashbuckler in his way, and swashbucklers kiss girls. That romance is totally keeping in the tradition of the character.

You forgot the Master. Anyone who didn't feel like there was romantic smex vibes between 10 and the Master is oblivious, IMO.

Even my boyfriend, who doesn't even now what 'slash' is, yelled out at the TV during The End of Time, "OH FOR GOD'S SAKE KISS ALREADY!"
posted by Windigo at 7:36 AM on May 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ep2 seemed awfully rushed and disjointed. Cramming in too much too soon? It really could have used a few more points -- like Rory's conversation with the Doctor -- to slow down and breathe.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 8:35 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Definitive Linear DOCTOR WHO, TORCHWOOD, SARAH JANE Timeline
Part 1
Part 2
posted by PapaLobo at 8:44 AM on May 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


My wife and I watched "Silence of the Library" and "Forest of the Dead" last night. When they first aired, I found Professor (!) Song mildly intriguing, but thought the show was asking me to care too much about another Obviously Doomed Guest Star.

But now I know what a stone-cold badass she is, how she'd go to the end of the universe for the Doctor without blinking. I've seen how much she loves him, how much she trusts him; I've seen that he's eventually going to love her, in his own weird Doctor-y way. I love her, a little, the way I love the Doctor and Amy and Rory, the way I loved Donna (Donna!).

The first time I saw "Forest of the Dead" I thought "Oh, that's sad. But I suppose we'll see her again." Watching it after "Day of the Moon" broke my fucking heart.
posted by Zozo at 10:14 AM on May 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Thought of something else last night. Why is it that the Doctor trusts River less now that he knows her better? He was willing to trust her in Forest of the Dead but in The Impossible Astronaut he basically says, "Trust you? Fat chance." Why the change of heart(s)?
posted by orrnyereg at 10:21 AM on May 4, 2011


PhoBWanKenobi my bad, I didn't mean to call him a bore as in boring, I meant to call him a boor as in boorish. As for the steampunk TARDIS interior, that fine and all as an art project, but really I just want them to go back to a Pertwee/Baker era control room.

juiceCake yes McGann is not a fan of the franchise, he doesn't see being the Doctor as anything other than a paycheck. I don't think you can have that attitude and bring your best. As for RTD being a fan of Doctor Who, I take the bulk of his work on the new series as evidence that he actually hates Doctor Who.

As for the child being River Song, that sounds neat. But so help me if they make her a half human/half TimeLord I will personally burn down the studios. Same if they try to bring the fake Doctor back into it.
posted by MrBobaFett at 10:22 AM on May 4, 2011


*shrug* Eccleston was probably not a fan of the series either.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:26 AM on May 4, 2011


Eccleston was not a fan of the show as a kid, but he did believe in the product he was helping produce. That is my understanding from interviews with him.
posted by MrBobaFett at 10:35 AM on May 4, 2011


Eh . . . I'm not so sure about that.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:45 AM on May 4, 2011


juiceCake yes McGann is not a fan of the franchise, he doesn't see being the Doctor as anything other than a paycheck.

Really? I saw an interview with him where he was basically begging to be on the new show (albeit sans wig).
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:51 AM on May 4, 2011


I also wonder if Eccleston just wasn't into the lead of an FX-heavy TV show. I bet it's a hectic, time-consuming role, and he'd just rather have focussed his energies into more movie roles and one-offs. I hardly begrudge him for it.

Sidenote: I was watching the (very funny) Sarah Silverman Show, and Eccleston shows up in a funny cameo as "Dr. Lazer Rage," a sci-fi hero from a show that one character has on VHS. Was that meant to be a Doctor Who joke? Because if it was, it was hilarious.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:54 AM on May 4, 2011


HE really does seem dead sulky about it though. I guess we'll never really know why.
posted by Artw at 10:58 AM on May 4, 2011


Yeah, I have no idea how people come to the conclusion that Paul McGann is not a fan of Doctor Who. He's constantly talking about Doctor Who; he appears at conventions all the time; he has even said that he's "a bit bitter" at not appearing in the first episode of the new series for the regeneration. He's always doing Doctor Who projects; as recently as four years ago he was starring in new audio dramas.

Can anybody actually corroborate this rumor that Paul McGann is, in fact, "not a fan" of Doctor Who?

In any case, he's a great actor, and he was a great Doctor. People get all pissy about the TV movie. That's fair enough, but I don't know how they can justify jettisoning a Doctor over bad writing. If they did that, they'd have to jettison everybody all the way back to Tom Baker. Of course, the people that complain about the TV movie (which is admittedly horrible) being non-canon usually aren't fans of Sylvester McCoy like I am.
posted by koeselitz at 10:59 AM on May 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


On Eccleston: I get the sense, after reading these couple interviews, that he finally decided it just wasn't a good fit. Many of us have been in (or at least read AskMes about) people who take jobs that look great on paper, but after a while of being in them, they realize that the zeitgeist of the place isn't quite something they're happy about; our own jobs are great, it's definitely a field we're in, but something about the pace or the schedule or the management or something just seems "off". It's the sort of thing we couldn't have picked up in a job interview, but something we discovered after the fact. I get the sense this is what happened.

And yes, "Dr. Lazer Rage" was supposed to be a meta-joke about Eccleston being on Doctor Who.

On the other hand, I'd be skeptical of claims that Paul McGann isn't a fan of Doctor Who, since he's done a ton of radio plays as the Eighth Doctor. He may just not be a fan of the TV movie -- a sentiment I think many share. (Hell, that was actually my first foray into the Whoniverse -- my old roommate insisted I watch it, because he'd been a fan of the old series, and kept explaining references to me - but even without my having had any experience with the old series, I got the definite sense that it was a bastardization of something that was supposed to have been a lot better.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:08 AM on May 4, 2011


Yes he does go to cons, he gets paid to be there. He was at Chicago TARDIS 2 years ago. I didn't attend any of his Q&As for obvious reasons. But the people I talked to who did go said that he was not very interested in the show. The one time I did see him I just said "oh look, the fake Doctor," and walked by.

Sylvester McCoy was and is awesome.
posted by MrBobaFett at 11:09 AM on May 4, 2011


I sat across from Sylvester McCoy on the tube one time. Didn't say anything, because I;m pretty much the opposite of a fan of his.
posted by Artw at 11:11 AM on May 4, 2011


It's the sort of thing we couldn't have picked up in a job interview, but something we discovered after the fact. I get the sense this is what happened.

I've seen it speculated that perhaps he didn't agree with the liberal/political message of the first season, which sounds like a possibility. But who knows.

That being, said, man, I don't know how any of you could turn up your nose at any of the Doctors.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:22 AM on May 4, 2011


Hrm. Well, I always liked the prime-numbered doctors best. They seem to me to be the best of the series.

In any case, Sylvester McCoy's Seventh Doctor is worth talking about in the context of ethical implications. He is, after all, the Doctor who had a nasty habit of convincing baddies to commit suicide.
posted by koeselitz at 11:23 AM on May 4, 2011


Sylvester McCoy was a part of the Ken Campbell Roadshow which is something to be lauded for in itself. Or at least, quite mad, which is the same thing as far as I'm concerned.
posted by Grangousier at 11:28 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nice interview with McGann about the series. I mean, he watches it, if nothing else, and isn't getting paid for that. Only wanting to do the show if it would be a laugh and had a great script sounds pretty reasonable to me.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:29 AM on May 4, 2011


Whoops, same interview that koeselitz links to above. Still, he doesn't seem particularly haterish about the show. Nothing like, say, Nimoy was about Star Trek through most of the 70s.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:31 AM on May 4, 2011


I've seen it speculated that perhaps he didn't agree with the liberal/political message of the first season

Are you talking about Christopher Eccleston here? He is probably well to the left of any message in the show. If anything he may have found it too lightweight to spend years of his career on it. This piece may shed a little light.

The guy likes challenging, meaty. political scripts, but can't find enough of them.
posted by philipy at 11:51 AM on May 4, 2011


The guy likes challenging, meaty. political scripts, but can't find enough of them.

...and Heroes.
posted by Artw at 11:52 AM on May 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yes, he likes to mix it up with some lighter stuff.

But the point is that's not what he wants his whole career to be about.
posted by philipy at 11:55 AM on May 4, 2011


Well, what I've seen cited specifically is conflicts with John Barrowman/suggestions he might have been uncomfortable with the gay subtexts on the first season. But I don't think there's enough evidence in his statements on why he left either way.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:01 PM on May 4, 2011


Uncomfortable with gay subtexts? He joined the show mainly because of his previous work with Russell T ("Queer as Folk") Davies.

Some interview transcripts here.

From what little I can find, it looks like some people have taken a Barrowman comment that CE was "too serious on set" and interpreted it as "not ok with gay themes".

It's pretty likely that what it actually means is that CE imagined he would be working on something more substantial, and found it all too jokey in the end.

I also saw some mentions during my quick Google search that CE has gay relations, supports AIDS charities and auditioned for Queer as Folk. But not from any sources that could be considered definitive, so all of that could be noise on the net.

Anyway, that about exhausts my interest in this topic.
posted by philipy at 12:30 PM on May 4, 2011


McGann is not a fan of the franchise, he doesn't see being the Doctor as anything other than a paycheck. I don't think you can have that attitude and bring your best.

I think you can, especially great actors. McGann and any other actor can play a seafaring bloke in the British navy and not have to be totally into the British navy, historical or otherwise. McGann and any other actor can play the friend of an alcoholic and not be totally into being friends with alcoholics in real life. Paychecks are great ways to bring your best and a love the of the craft of acting.
posted by juiceCake at 12:32 PM on May 4, 2011


"And I was like: 'Whoosh!' and i blasted her into ash"
posted by Artw at 1:39 PM on May 4, 2011 [11 favorites]


I can cut Ecclestone some slack, considering that he's likely asked about Doctor Who nearly every interview, it has to get annoying.

Dr. Lazer Rage Behind the Scenes

Dr. Lazer Rage Clips
posted by Harpocrates at 2:29 PM on May 4, 2011


About all those "sky is falling" ratings stories...
posted by Artw at 4:43 PM on May 4, 2011


I'm American and I freakin' LOVE Moffat. I'm glad Davies brought the show back, and I did love Tennant, but by far - far - my favorite episodes were Moffat's four, even before I knew that the same person wrote them. Davies was great at set-up but couldn't end a story to save his life, and often aimed to write the show as a "kid's show," in the way that adults often talk down to kids. I won't bother to tie up all these endless loose ends, I'll just give you a video-game-style shootout sequence or some fart jokes! He did seem so genuinely enthused about it all that you really can't hold it against the guy, but there are an awful lot of episodes in the first four years of the reboot that I just can't bring myself to watch again.

Now, Moffat, Moffat. Some people may not like his intricate plots (really??!), but they work perfectly for me, and even then they're not all he's working from. The man writes love like I haven't seen done on the screen - you buy it, or at least I do, and his characters resonate with me. I have a good friend who's a writer, and she spent a while trying to figure out how he'd managed to do the flashback scene in Jekyll where the main character first met his wife: somehow within two or three minutes you feel that these two people have a connection that most TV shows never manage to create. It's incredible. What's happening with River has gotten even sadder and more breathtaking than it was in the Library... Moffat clearly plotted her arc out far in advance (and, apparently, told no one but Alex Kingston the details, the bastard), but he's also written the emotions in backwards, in a way that I just know is going to be crushing to watch backwards.

And the man can write scary - non-violent, non-gory, and unrealistic scary, which has got to be hard - like no one else. He's said that he bases the monsters on childhood games and fears, and maybe that's what taps into our nightlight-needing bits of the brain, I don't know. (Also, apparently, he was scared of sharks coming out of the water to get him as a child, hence the Christmas shark - 'fraid on that one you're alone, though, man.)

It's been satisfying and thrilling to watch him run with the full scope of the show. The last season had a few low points (I'm lookin' at you, Daleks), but on the whole it had a beautiful elegance to it, an intricacy that I adored, and it never once talked down to the audience. Not everything was waterproof, but it held together where it mattered, and the intricacy never got in the way of the story. You could usually count on major loose ends to be intentionally left that way, even if he was counting on your patience. The Big Bang was a masterpiece of storytelling. Davies would have done that season finale by going bigger and bigger, drawing in more screaming and crappier and crappier BBC CGI, but Moffat went small, shrinking the whole thing down to essentially a single museum and Amy's house and some colored gels - shrinking the universe down in a way that made the central events seem both bigger and more intimate, more real, the way our fears and dramas really are. It was about saving the whole of time and space, sure, but really it was about the Doctor sitting there quietly at Amelia's bedside at the end, talking to a sleeping child, and that worked.

As for the way the season'll be going, well, we'll see, but I bet very few of the issues raised in the original article here have gone over Moffat's head. Here's a bit from a recent interview:

Well we’ve moved through the funfair a bit – we’ve done the rollercoaster, now we’re on the ghost train. Last year, in a way, was all about saying, don’t worry, it’s still him, it’s still the same show, nothing’s really been lost. Losing a leading man like David Tennant is seismic – unless you gain a leading man like Matt Smith. It’s been the biggest joy to see him stride in and just claim that TARDIS for his own. But now he’s really here, and the part is his, and the bow tie is cool, he’s ready to lead us places we didn’t know existed. Last year we reassured you – this year, to hell with that, we’re going to worry the hell out of you.
posted by you're a kitty! at 10:10 PM on May 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


my favorite episodes were Moffat's four

I count six off the top of my head (The Empty Child, The Doctor Dances, The Girl in the Fireplace, Blink, Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead) but I'm guessing you were either counting the two-parters as single entities or else discounting the Eccelston episodes. No matter.

He's said that he bases the monsters on childhood games and fears, and maybe that's what taps into our nightlight-needing bits of the brain, I don't know

I'm still waiting for him to play around with the "Bloody Mary" game in some way. I like to consider myself a fully rational adult, but the idea of "Bloody Mary" still freaks me the fuck out. At 30 years old, I still won't do it.

I know.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:41 PM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


After spending too much time in this thread, I now really want Moffat to create a monster that reproduces like the surinam toad.
posted by jbickers at 7:47 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


As for Eccleston's politics, he was almost recruited to run against an unpopular Labour MP from the left -- for Salford and, uh, Eccles. He cited "working class" values when he was interviewed while playing the Doctor.

As for RTD being a fan of Doctor Who, I take the bulk of his work on the new series as evidence that he actually hates Doctor Who.

Ah, so JNT all over again, then.
posted by dhartung at 11:13 AM on May 5, 2011


RTDs reign spiralled into being every fanboyish excess writ large, so kind of the opposite problem.
posted by Artw at 11:18 AM on May 5, 2011


JNT was way better than RTD, he was the producer for the entire Peter Davidson regeneration. Nothing in there was that bad. Also what Artw said
posted by MrBobaFett at 3:01 PM on May 5, 2011


It's worth remembering, before we get too carried away...

... actually we got too carried away about ten days ago, didn't we?

It's worth remembering before we get any more carried away, that on Saturday we'll have a jolly story about pirates, then whatever Mr Gaiman has in store for us, then two weeks of something horror-ish, and only after that will we get back to the Whole River Thing and this year's Big Plot, though there'll doubtless be inserts at the end to keep us keen.

As for me, I've been delving into Old Who so that I don't just loop through the Library, Byzantium Pandorica and 1969 - in the last few days I've watched The War Games, Planet of the Daleks and Revenge of the Cybermen. I've enjoyed it a lot (in particular seeing the bit where he demonstrates the sonic screwdriver on the gun in The War Games, which I suddenly had vivid memories of having seen over forty years ago. Freaky. I also liked the bit were Zoe has to try to communicate with the sexist Mexican rebel leader through the medium of Jamie, but that's by the by), but, really, the current incarnation is the best the series has ever been.
posted by Grangousier at 3:05 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, and watching The War Games sparked in me my first piece of short FanFic,* a genre I don't usually have much sympathy with:

(ahem)
The Doctor was surprised to note, six months after the affair with the Cybermen on the Wheel in Space, the birth of one James Robert McCrimmon Heriot.

"The sneaky Scottish bugger," he thought. "No wonder Zoe didn't take her raincoat off for weeks."
Won't make any sense unless you've seen it, possibly not even then, but still.

*Not really, it's just a really obscure joke.
posted by Grangousier at 3:37 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


In addition to all the good stuff, JNT produced the nadir of 80's Who. Nothing is worse than the nadir of 80's Who. Nothing. Not even Fear Her.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:18 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


What, precisely, is the nadir of 80's Who?
posted by koeselitz at 6:08 PM on May 5, 2011


Almost all of Colin Baker's televised run (esp. Timelash) and pre-"just as planned" Sylvester McCoy. Baker's run is especially dire when you consider how great Baker was in the audio dramas and the comics - there's absolutely nothing wrong with that version of the Doctor or that actor, it was just awful writing and awful production that did him in. Even the rainbow costume wasn't nearly as bad as the writing usually was.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:34 PM on May 5, 2011


I've never actually watched any of the Colin Baker episodes – always been afraid to, honestly.
posted by koeselitz at 6:39 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Go for his audio dramas (Jubilee! Or that one with the pirates!) or the comics (Grant Morrison! Frobisher!).

As far as the TV stuff goes - I mean, Revelation of the Daleks isn't too bad, but that's only relative to other Colin Baker serials. You can see why people were upset, and Baker's arrogant portrayal certainly didn't play well when the show itself only got worse.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:50 PM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


"rainbow costumes are cool!" ZAP!
posted by Artw at 7:08 PM on May 5, 2011


Hugh Bonneville in a beard! Matt Smith in a stupid hat! Ooh, this one’s got it all. Brilliant Steve Thompson (he wrote a Sherlock last year - good show, I hear) hinted to me he’d rather like to write a Doctor Who. And he hinted it every single day for the next six months. When I finally agreed (and he was kind enough to release my family from his garage), it was one of the smartest decisions I’ve made on this show. This is Doctor Who in the grand tradition: spooky and clever and very funny. And new director Jeremy Webb did such a stellar job (on a real ship, by the way) that we locked the cutting-room door and told him he was staying to do another one straightaway. He’s still crying. Tears of joy, I expect.

- Steven Moffat’s Radio Times preview for the week.
posted by you're a kitty! at 8:07 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've heard that the next episode is cute but insubstantial and frustratingly unconnected with the current arc. I'm keeping my expectations lowered.

That said, Lily Cole is always fun, and Doctor Who tends to go well with pirates.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:10 PM on May 5, 2011


I'm not too optimistic, to be honest, but we'll see.
posted by you're a kitty! at 8:17 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


What, precisely, is the nadir of 80's Who?

Kamelion.
posted by Mad_Carew at 10:40 PM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've never actually watched any of the Colin Baker episodes – always been afraid to, honestly.

Peri helps
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:16 AM on May 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


'Even my boyfriend, who doesn't even now what 'slash' is, yelled out at the TV during The End of Time, "OH FOR GOD'S SAKE KISS ALREADY!"'

Aww, that's sad. They're more like brothers who've always fought. Not everything has to be SEXY SEX SEX at all times. There are other kinds of love.

'The one time I did see him I just said "oh look, the fake Doctor," and walked by.'

Wow, you're an asshole.
posted by Eideteker at 5:17 AM on May 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Aww, that's sad. They're more like brothers who've always fought. Not everything has to be SEXY SEX SEX at all times. There are other kinds of love.

I don't know. The whole "I like it when you use my name" thing had a distinctively un-philos feel. Since this is RTD we're talking about, I think this was intentional.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:34 AM on May 6, 2011


(The Empty Child, The Doctor Dances, The Girl in the Fireplace, Blink, Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead)

Holy shit those were all Moffat episodes? These where the only reason I kept watching every episode, back to back for like 3 months over this past winter. I'd get so disappointed after 3 or 4 clunkers, and then there'd be a decent one and I'd go "OH SHIT, maybe they know what they're doing again!". I was never right until RTD left.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 7:14 AM on May 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Matt Smith in a stupid hat!

I can totally buy him cocking it in a stupid way and saying, richly, "Stupid hats are cool."
posted by dhartung at 9:08 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was never right until RTD left.

Amen. Only stockholm syndrome & fond childhood memories of Who took me through a lot of the reboot.
posted by phearlez at 9:46 AM on May 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


I can totally buy him cocking it in a stupid way and saying, richly, "Stupid hats are cool."

You notice how this has become his "catchphrase"? At the beginning they were trying to use "Geronimo" the way CE used "Fantastic!" and DT used "Allons-y!"

But "geronimo" hasn't quite caught on, but in lots of episodes you now have MS saying some variant of "I wear a [blank]. [Blank]s are cool."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:10 AM on May 6, 2011


I'm grateful they quit trying to make 'Geronimo' happen. It just didn't feel right.
posted by orrnyereg at 12:29 PM on May 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


A new hat in every episode, it's like the TF2 team at VALVe took over.

(Yes, please, to a sonic screwdriver in TF2)
posted by Mick at 3:20 PM on May 6, 2011


A new hat in every episode..

..that River Song appears in. Shooting the hat off the Doctor is now her signature entrance. Did you not watch the recent Doctor Who Confidentials?
posted by charlie don't surf at 6:19 PM on May 6, 2011


I just realized that the Season 5 soundtrack is out, too, if anyone here is interested...

I love Murray Gold only slightly less than I love Steven Moffat.
posted by you're a kitty! at 10:04 PM on May 6, 2011


'The one time I did see him I just said "oh look, the fake Doctor," and walked by.'

Wow, you're an asshole - Eideteker


Meh, he was the one did that shit movie, I have no sympathy for him.
posted by MrBobaFett at 10:52 PM on May 6, 2011


Meh, he was the one did that shit movie, I have no sympathy for him.

By that criteria all the actors in the new Who don't deserve your sympathy. CE and DT are also "fake" Doctors then.

Several, indeed, I'd say most actors, star in badly written shows or movies and the ire of the audience is on them. Interesting. I once bought a dud food blender. I deserve no sympathy.
posted by juiceCake at 8:52 AM on May 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Especially since he's done such fantastic work as the doctor ever since. I mean, I think the first Peter Davison story sucks too. By the laid out criteria, no matter how many solid, even great (Caves of Androzani anyone?) stories he did after, I'm apparently supposed to spit in his face, at least metaphorically, and call him a fake Doctor.

Forgive me if I don't.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 9:33 AM on May 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


No Doctor, not even Tom Baker, avoided bad episodes. Also, it's not as if McGann wrote the TV movie.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:45 AM on May 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Thinking about what could have come out of the TV movie makes me appreciate what RTD acheived with the reboot more.
posted by Artw at 9:54 AM on May 7, 2011


Even the movie could have been a lot worse (The Hoff as the doctor with a rapping tardis... shudder)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 11:45 AM on May 7, 2011


'The one time I did see him I just said "oh look, the fake Doctor," and walked by.'

Um, I suppose you'd have to say that to Peter Cushing too. AFAIK he's the only major Doctor who is non-canonical.

That was a horrible thing to say. You had that attitude exactly backwards. My mom used to always tell the story of how she met Jack Lord in the Honolulu airport, right at the height of pupularity of "Hawaii Five-O. She said she went right up to him and said, "Hey, weren't you Stony Burke? Can I have your autograph?" She said he seemed a bit irritated, but gave her an autograph.
posted by charlie don't surf at 12:12 PM on May 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Peter Cushing is an alternate Doctor, in a universe where he is human. Those weree straight up William Hartnel stories redone as movies.

The new Doctors were a) doing a BBC TV series not a FOX TV movie, b) aren't total rubbish. Also there are plenty of new episodes that are rubbish and should be thrown out as well.

Anything Paul McGann did after the movie is crap, because they rely on the premise that the movie happened. Which is didn't outside of FOX studios.

Also what is wrong with the first Peter Davidson story? I'm sorry but no classic Doctor Who story was anywhere near as bad as that movie.
posted by MrBobaFett at 3:03 PM on May 7, 2011


The Hoff as the doctor with a rapping tardis.

That's a pretty accurate description of season two of "Baywatch Nights."
posted by drezdn at 3:14 PM on May 7, 2011


no classic Doctor Who story was anywhere near as bad as that movie

How much Dr Who before 1970 have you seen?

A Doctor Who obsessive and his wife watch from the very beginning (including reconstructions)
posted by Grangousier at 3:33 PM on May 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


The new Doctors were a) doing a BBC TV series not a FOX TV movie

I wonder where the goalposts will go when he finds out it was a joint production between four parties. BBC TV, BBC Worldwide, Universal, and Fox.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 4:41 PM on May 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


At least the Daleks didn't get turned into floating spider-bots.
posted by Artw at 4:48 PM on May 7, 2011


and almost certainly was fucking Rose at some point, or at least I hope so, for Christ's sake.

Eleven had sex with Rose... well, kind of.
posted by homunculus at 10:26 PM on May 7, 2011


That said, Lily Cole is always fun, and Doctor Who tends to go well with pirates.

When I saw her I briefly hoped Tom Waits would appear and challenge the Doctor for her soul.
posted by homunculus at 10:30 PM on May 7, 2011


AMY POND YOU ARE TOTALLY THE WORST AT CPR OH MY GOD WTF

That's not even in character for the episode. The same person does not challenge a pirate to a sword fight and then give up after five seconds of CPR seriously WTF.
posted by you're a kitty! at 11:10 PM on May 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


**SPOILERS FOR EPISODE 3**






That was, hands-down, the crappiest episode of Dr Who I have ever seen. And I say that as someone who's actually tried to watch Trial of a Timelord. I think the thing that most annoyed me is the lack of internal consistency within itself - the inexplicable water barrel in the supposed-to-be-dry powder room. The kid sure as hell didn't move it in, unless he too has super-human ChildStrength(tm). Also, why doesn't the Doctor help with the (definitely lamest) CPR attempt in the history of lame television CPR attempts? How the hell does a 17th-century ship's captain learn how to fly a space ship at the drop of a hat? Why is his crew able to just wander around the ship? Why is his kid still attached to the breathing apparatus and they aren't? How did the TARDIS safely leave the different 'plane'? Why was the TARDIS transported in the first place? Is it 'sick'?


**SPECULATION AND POSSIBLE SPOILERS FOR THE SERIES**






Even assuming that it's all an Amy dream (my best explanation for the oh-so-subtle eyepatch lady in this episode, and the better-done appearance in e2), it still leaves a lot of questions unanswered, and still totally lame. The only possibly-interesting thing I noticed was that Amy suddenly has blue fingernails. Has she always had blue fingernails? Is this a plate of beans, or could there be a clue hidden in the colour of her nails?
posted by coriolisdave at 2:48 AM on May 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Most of the recent series can be boiled down to four - six episodes which are essential and a couple more that stand out (Girl in the Fireplace, for example, or The Lodger) and others that are just there, and hopefully distracting enough to keep the kids entertained. It was fairly clear that this one was going to be one of those, so I didn't go into it with especially enhanced expectations.

Written by Steve Thompson, it seems to have been swapped in from the second half after the summer (originally the Gaiman episode was ep 3 and the Gatiss ep 4) where it might have stood out less - so I assume the eyepatch lady bit and pregnancy scan was a recent insert (as those threads are in ep 7, I think). Thompson also did the second Sherlock, and this was much the same - a sort of workmanlike-but... pastiche of the lead writer's style.

It would be nice for some of the writers of these basic episodes if Moffatt went out of his way to commission writers who weren't of the same demographic as him, just to throw in something different, but I can't think of any contenders off the top of my head.

No, it didn't really make any sense, but I sort of enjoyed parts of it. It could have been a lot better, but it wasn't so never mind, on to the next one. Old (60s-70s) Who stories are at least as big a mess as this, but because they go a lot more slowly you don't notice as much. This was sort of Troughton on fast forward. I'll probably never watch it again, let alone four times by Monday. At least it didn't take six weeks to play out.

I bet RTD loved it.
posted by Grangousier at 4:39 AM on May 8, 2011


I noticed The Doctor not helping with the CPR as well, and thought it was odd -- but now I'm wondering if that didn't have something to do with the whole eyepatch-lady-whatever-the-undercurrent-story-is thing. You know, the way that The Doctor coming back to Amy while she was sitting with eyes shut during the Weeping Angels story and suddenly saying she had to remember what he told her when she was seven, and she said, "what??" and we were all "what??" But then in the last episode we learned that THAT Doctor who said it was from the future and was the one going back in time after he got out of the Pandorica.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:40 AM on May 8, 2011


It was stupid but agreeable. I agree that it felt like the second episode of Sherlock, i.e. stupid but agreeable, which makes sense since it came from the same writer and all.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:02 AM on May 8, 2011


Why is his kid still attached to the breathing apparatus and they aren't?

He still has typhoid fever, no?
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:52 AM on May 8, 2011


That was, hands-down, the crappiest episode of Dr Who I have ever seen.

I take it, then, that you haven't seen "Love & Monsters"? Because "L&M" has pretty much made it so I could never call any other episode crappiest ever.

BEYOND THIS POINT THAR BE SPOILERS

I agree it wasn't good, though. It made me sad, because there was so much room in that basic plot for something awesome. I think the biggest problem was that it didn't go over any new ground. We've seen Rory almost die SO. MANY. times now that it's kind of ridiculous for us to get it again. It felt like the writer for the show just hadn't seen the previous season at all. It was totally disconnected from the characters as we know them. And it made such a big point of the Doctor being Not Right all throughout the episode -- he was totally wrong so many times, he lost the TARDIS, and he didn't help with Rory at all.... That better come back and be important for the plot. If it really was just "HA! The Doctor has an 'off' day!", well, that'd really suck.

I also would have really loved if the ending shot was of the Doctor, alone. We didn't need to see the pregnancy test again. Just give us the doctor, standing in the TARDIS, alone and looking worried.

And I think the TARDIS transported itself because it had accidentally landed right smack in the middle of two planes? So, it was in a really unstable place, and so it decided it needed to move itself to a location that was safely on just one plane, as opposed to two.

I did like that the Doctor got another hat, though. He loves his hats.
posted by meese at 7:06 AM on May 8, 2011


Yeah, I'd go ahead and rank this as the worst of the Who episodes of Moffat's run, but everyone's got to have a low-water mark, right?

I don't know what it was, exactly, except for a complete lack of any sense of tension. A bunch of pirates we don't know being "killed off" one by one in the exact same way almost like clockwork. And the direction was really odd as well. As I understand it, they used a real boat, but it appears that they had very limited budget to cover how you'd normally shoot in that circumstance (i.e., from another boat so that you can get a wide enough shot) and instead shot from the picture boat's rigging. It made the whole thing seem ironically faker than shooting on a soundstage would have.

And frankly, in that CPR scene, I don't know if that was Amy Pond giving up or Karen Gillan giving up because come on, a dramatic CPR scene? Really?

Still, much much better than the low points of the RTD era. I myself like 90% of "Love and Monsters," but "Daleks in Manhattan" is my go-to episode for "nothing can be worse than this."

Well, that or the stupid-ass satan episode.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:36 AM on May 8, 2011


As somebody commented on the AV Club board (I paraphrase): "Arrrrrrrr, and I finally realized that me real treasure was me family all along." Kinda weak all around, and stuff like the nonsensically disappearing TARDIS implies that there's either more long-game plot points in this episode (i.e., goofy moments that won't pay off for months, sending the internet into paroxysms of self-congratulation and most normal people into paroxysms of shrugging and declarations of "oh, yeah, I kinda remember that, I guess") or just some weak writing, but whatever...it was better than Victory of the Daleks, and mmm Lily Cole.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:42 AM on May 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Spoilers for Episode 3


Was I not paying close enough attention? Where did the last pirate go? He was last seen helping barricade the the door to the powder magazine and then when the Doctor and the Capitan come back in he's disappeared.
posted by the_artificer at 7:46 AM on May 8, 2011


As I understand it, they used a real boat,

They shot it on a boat in dock, on the boat or from they quayside with loads of black drapes hanging in front of the nearby buildings and back-lighting etc

I'm assuming this is this series' money-saving, limited sets and cast, bottle episode to off-set the cost of filming in the US etc
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:11 AM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I seriously had a clock going for how long it'd take the Doctor to put that crown on, and he never did. :(
posted by you're a kitty! at 8:53 AM on May 8, 2011


Yeah, that was a pretty crappy episode. The disappointing thing One of the many disappointing things was how little effort/money was put into the spaceship set at the end, when the below-decks set was really good; some slabs on strings and a net curtain didn't really sell "alien sick bay" to me at all.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 9:17 AM on May 8, 2011


There were a few pretty good lines, but many clunkers as well. Is it just me or are there more and more scenes with TARDIS or other roaring sound effects over seemingly important dialog? The Doctor generally seemed uncharacteristically obtuse, mentioning Freud to a fellow born two centuries earlier, for instance (and I think pirates actually used their guns as more than props). But then these pirates seemed pretty wussy as pirates go -- I half expected the denouement to be something like they weren't real pirates, they just found this ghost ship full of treasure and ....

I'm beginning to wish there were an organization giving out booby prizes to TV or movies that misuse CPR. And this is the fourth -- fourth! -- Death of Rory, like it's his thing or something. The more helpless and victimized Rory is, following companions like Mickey and Adam, the more I wish for a "real man" to show up. You can't play counterpoint all the time.

And yes, major plot holes, leaps of logic, enormously sagging hammocks of frayed dramatic tension. I was really hoping for a great goof on the PotC franchise, and instead we got a callback to Coma. Who's even seen Coma in this century?
posted by dhartung at 12:12 PM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


And this is the fourth -- fourth! -- Death of Rory, like it's his thing or something.

Maybe he should join up with Torchwood.
posted by the_artificer at 12:35 PM on May 8, 2011 [5 favorites]


Can't wait for next week's Gaiman episode.
posted by the_artificer at 12:36 PM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


That was, hands-down, the crappiest episode of Dr Who I have ever seen.

I too thought it was pretty bad. It was a great attempt to be as bad as RTD episode and nearly was so. I think recommending Doctor Who to anyone will now make me rather embarrassed. Sort of like those guys who find themselves caught in an orgy and then claim they really don't normally do that sort of thing, but in reverse. You'll occasionally get a good episode but normally it's just fucking nasty.
posted by juiceCake at 1:21 PM on May 8, 2011


Pirates. I'm getting so sick of pirates. I am so dreading watching this most recent episode.

Y'know, after going through all the David Tennant episodes a second time (which, by the way, he is my least favorite doctor at this point -- that whole whining about his death thing sunk my opinion of his doctor lower than Colin fucking Baker. I don't blame Tennant, but still), I found the 1996 movie to be halfway decent in comparison.

Well, time to work up the motivation to watch this stupid pirate thing. Grrr.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 1:27 PM on May 8, 2011


Pirates. I'm getting so sick of pirates.

Could be worse. Could be zombies. Or zombie pirates.
posted by Grangousier at 1:28 PM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Or Slitheen...
posted by the_artificer at 1:33 PM on May 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Zombie space pirates that fart all the time.
posted by Grangousier at 1:37 PM on May 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Y'all are definitely too close to it. That was by no means a good episode (thanks for nothing, AMY) but it was not the worst. Some folks haven't watched oh, I don't know, Aliens of London or The Age of Steel or The Doctor's Daughter or Journey's End or The Next Doctor in a while.

I love this show, I swear!
posted by you're a kitty! at 1:48 PM on May 8, 2011


SPOILERS FOLLOW

AMY POND YOU ARE TOTALLY THE WORST AT CPR OH MY GOD WTF

You know, for a moment when Rory comes back to life, I could swear there was a little glance between the Doctor and Amy, where she looks with a slight sense of terror like "oh shit I gave up, and Rory said I would never give up" and then the Doctor's glance seems to say, "Yeah, you gave up but it worked out anyway, but this is a secret you'll have to take to the grave." Or was that just me projecting into the scene?

There is too much emphasis on these little inconvenient secrets in this season so far. And for that matter, did anyone watch this and think of the exceptionally crappy old 5th Doctor series "Enlightenment?" When I first saw that series, I thought, "oh hell, the BBC is just phoning it in now, they used some nautical set from some other show." And they're doing it again now, but they're cannibalizing old bad Doctor Who episodes and remaking them, but worse.
posted by charlie don't surf at 2:05 PM on May 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Aw, I liked "The Doctor's Daughter."

Stupidest way evar to make the doctor a father.... But I thought the plot was good.

The weirdest thing about Doctor Who is how many people can be ravenous fans of the show but totally disagree about why.
posted by meese at 2:13 PM on May 8, 2011 [7 favorites]


Yeah, that's a great thing - means we'll all never totally agree, but it's a sign the show is working on multiple levels. Someday when I have kids and force them to watch Doctor Who and like it dammit, I bet they'll like it for different reasons too.
posted by you're a kitty! at 2:24 PM on May 8, 2011


You know, for a moment when Rory comes back to life, I could swear there was a little glance between the Doctor and Amy, where she looks with a slight sense of terror like "oh shit I gave up, and Rory said I would never give up" and then the Doctor's glance seems to say, "Yeah, you gave up but it worked out anyway, but this is a secret you'll have to take to the grave." Or was that just me projecting into the scene?

It may be, but if so I was right there projecting with you.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 3:18 PM on May 8, 2011


Rory is starting to come across like Charley from "Lost," where he's just supposed to be dead, and it's going to happen at some point as much as he keeps dodging the reaper.
posted by drezdn at 6:36 PM on May 8, 2011


It was a pretty bad episode, but not the worst. It was tolerable to watch and had some fun ideas but bad execution. I am also just waiting for Gaiman's episode at this point.
posted by MrBobaFett at 6:47 PM on May 8, 2011


Finally watched that piratey shit. Highly mediocre sounds about right.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:28 PM on May 8, 2011


Wow, that wasn't nearly as bad as comments here led me to believe. I'm old skool, though: I don't have a problem with episodes that don't have direct season arc plot, because I'm meh about the necessity of season arcs in the first place. It's not the best episode I've ever seen but not even the worst of Moffat's show run, although the ending was weak.
posted by immlass at 8:35 PM on May 8, 2011


Oh man, serious someone-just-noticed-this possibly-significant spoiler! But maybe just an error! But probably not! Aagh!
posted by you're a kitty! at 9:35 PM on May 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Actually, I think it's neither error nor spoiler, but simply stairs to the attic. You can see them through the window in the second screencap they provide!

Although, that being said, it would be kinda super-cool if it was a spolier.
posted by coriolisdave at 10:14 PM on May 8, 2011


Yeah, this episode was alright. It's standard filler, and reminded me of the few audio books I have listened to. They all follow the same rhythm of finding a mystery, discovering the alien behind it, and then solving the mystery of the alien. But doing so in a way that doesn't change any characters at all and can easily be moved around without breaking continuity.

It wasn't nearly as bad as Planet of the Dead, which added insult to injury by being the only Doctor Who episode in an eleven month stretch.
posted by Gary at 10:31 PM on May 8, 2011


Really disappointed in the latest episode. I expected Monster of the Week filler, so my hopes weren't too high but this - it was somehow too serious and too silly at the same time. And WTF was up with The Doctor? I don't recall him ever being so hand-flappingly useless.

Spoiler












Can we please stop killing Rory now?
posted by Space Kitty at 11:03 PM on May 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


So I went ahead and drew the tally marks on the kids (and me) in the nights leading up to the Moon episode. Just a few sets on each arm.
Much conjecture and questioning from the kids when they discovered them. After a couple of days my suspicious 10yro told the younger kids the tally marks counted out the days you had left to live, but they never connected them as being the same origin as the marks on the Who team.
During the episode they even commented the marks on the Who team were like those ones on their own arms, but in a tone that suggested it was a strange coincidence not in any way connected.
Kids these day, no sense of terror.
All the adults I told about it thought it was great.
My last hope is the kid of a Who mad friend that visited one morning when the marks were being discovered. We'll see if she drew the conclusion.
posted by bystander at 12:26 AM on May 9, 2011 [10 favorites]


How the hell does a 17th-century ship's captain learn how to fly a space ship at the drop of a hat?

"A ship's a ship."
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:36 PM on May 9, 2011


If we're talking about worst episodes, shouldn't the London Olympics episode be on that list? Oh, here: Fear Her.
posted by nobody at 2:58 PM on May 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


Can we please stop killing Rory now?

Oh god no. That's what he's there for, he's the third wheel, the Red Shirt. And he's the most annoying companion since Turlough. Can we please stop resurrecting Rory now?
posted by charlie don't surf at 2:45 AM on May 10, 2011


And he's the most annoying companion since Turlough.

I'd have a hard time saying any companion was more annoying than Peri or Mel.

Also, I feel sorry for people who don't get the awesomeness of Turlough. After Sarah Jane (RIP Lis Sladen), he's my pick for old skool companion to reappear in the Nu Whoniverse. I'd love to see him sniping with River Song.
posted by immlass at 7:58 AM on May 10, 2011


Meredith Vieira from Today Show visits Doctor Who Set – Meets Matt Smith

Horriffically cringe-worthy (also show Meredith's cameo in the show which may be spoilerish). Also Matt Smith gets a bit of Who lore wrong... I'm utterly shocked.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:28 AM on May 10, 2011


I, too, noticed the disappearing pirate.

How come the Doctor doesn't have a cure/treatment for Typhoid on board? You mean in all his travels, one of his human companions has never come in contact with Typhoid and needed to be cured? I mean, I can see all the other pirates healing naturally once they were out of stasis (like the one with the cut on his finger from the beginning; was anyone else critically injured?), so that bit worked.

Why bother moving Rory to the TARDIS before administering CPR?

So if they were on the brane between two dimensions, which dimension are they in now? Are they now in the same one they were in last episode? Or was the pirate ship? I'm guessing the interaction between the two planes has something to do with Amy's quantum pregnancy.

I feel like Dr. Who under Moffat is strong enough to survive without a damsel in distress. Even if that damsel is a man named Rory. Weak characters make for a weak story.

Did the Doctor seem unnecessarily callous in letting the pirate in the beginning die? He kind of weakly put his hand on the guy's arm, but made no real attempt to restrain him. I chalked it up to his curiosity (morbid as it is sometimes) getting the better of him. He wanted to see just how the mechanism worked.

How did our three heroes get across to the alien ship free and unencumbered when the others were (Rory especially) instantly stasis-ized? Shouldn't the Siren/EMH have at least been waiting for them?

Too many questions. I don't expect answers, but the fact that they're there is revealing.

Personally, I was initially hoping it was a neurological infection (with the spot as a corresponding symptom). The Doctor doesn't fight enough biological problems, or tiny enemies. Has there ever been a Grey Goo (nanotech von Neumann machines) Who, for example? I'd love to see him face a threat that couldn't be time-spaced or talked out of, where he'd really have to rely on his reasoning (and the help of those around him, in the research for a cure) to save the day. I guess Empty Child/Doctor Dances is the closest we've come to that, but even then it was about Victorian moral issues and teen pregnancy. I suppose a virus episode would turn into another "The Doctor is a Monster, possibly" story about him testing cures on those around him Dr. House-style and yadda yadda, instead of it being about the ability of people to work together in tough situations (which I think could make a good, non-trite, dramatic episode). The Doctor, needing to gain people's trust, needing to identify people's strengths and weaknesses to put them to use, and be a leader (which he hates). Force him out of his comfort zone. This episode was all comfort zone.
posted by Eideteker at 11:51 AM on May 10, 2011


In Defense Of: Martha Jones. I endorse this article.
posted by meese at 12:07 PM on May 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Nice article. I love how Martha totally got over the Doctor. The way he treated her was reprehensible, and one of my least favorite things about 10.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:29 PM on May 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


In Defense Of: Martha Jones. I endorse this article.

Yeah, I concur. My reaction to the Rose Tyler era: "Her?"
posted by Rock Steady at 1:01 PM on May 10, 2011


I feel like Dr. Who under Moffat is strong enough to survive without a damsel in distress. Even if that damsel is a man named Rory.

Actually it seemed to me that losing the Tardis packed a bigger emotional punch than potentially losing Rory although-of-course-we-won't. Again.

The Tardis is such a big part of his identity; taking it away from him throws him more into surviving on his wits alone. The Lodger explored that, although played it for laughs. And I always wanted to see more of the Doctor's side of the story in Blink, with him stranded Tardis-less in the sixties.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 2:43 PM on May 10, 2011


The other question I had about the CPR scene -- surely the TARDIS has a sickbay. In fact, I'm pretty damn sure it does... why not take him there? Or if not, why's the Doc not ripping out cables and rigging up a quick defibrillator? So many holes!
posted by coriolisdave at 2:47 PM on May 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


"The Tardis is such a big part of his identity; taking it away from him throws him more into surviving on his wits alone."

I meant the show, which is why I didn't say "The Doctor."
posted by Eideteker at 3:25 PM on May 10, 2011


Oh, I read that wrong then. Consider it more of a digression than it already was.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 4:20 PM on May 10, 2011


The other question I had about the CPR scene -- surely the TARDIS has a sickbay. In fact, I'm pretty damn sure it does... why not take him there? Or if not, why's the Doc not ripping out cables and rigging up a quick defibrillator? So many holes!

The Console Room has special properties, or at least it did before they screwed it up with all that stupid steampunk crap. You might remember Castrovalva, where the 5th Doctor's regeneration goes wrong and he retreats to the Zero Room. But later he ejects part of the TARDIS, including the Zero Room. So Tegan and Nyssa build a portable Zero Room "coffin" out of wall panels from the Console Room.

But yeah, I do recall mention of Sick Bay. They barely dumped him inside the door before Amy started CPR. Unfortunately, getting Rory through the maze of hallways in the TARDIS to one specific room before he dies of anoxia could be a problem. Well, it would be a problem for Rory, but I might enjoy seeing his permanent exit from the show. Also note that Rory (stupidly) told the Doctor to keep his hands off and let Amy do it, so no handwavy Sonic Screwdriver defibrillator or anything like that.
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:20 PM on May 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Couldn't they just put all their shiny shit in, like, a bag, or something?
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 4:42 PM on May 10, 2011


There's a spin off book about Martha's year spent wandering around telling the world how great the Doctor is, if you want to extend the fun of that.
posted by Artw at 4:54 PM on May 10, 2011


SPOILERS - Fgrira Zbssng ungrf lbh.
posted by Artw at 11:49 AM on May 11, 2011


"He said the majority of Doctor Who fans were 'spoiler-phobes' who refused to go online for fear of finding out any information in advance."

Well, I don't think that's true.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:58 AM on May 11, 2011


The two Dr. Who ideas that came to me in dreams that actually make sense in the waking world:
1: The fez is a trap.
2: Grace Jones needs a planet-sized starship to save the future of humanity.

#2 might actually be true.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:03 PM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


PhoBWanKenobi: Well, I don't think that's true.
It's true enough for me - I try to avoid spoilers in general, particularly for Who, cos I most enjoy the thrill of surprises. That being said, I also enjoy the thrill of speculation, and trying to find places on the intarwebs where it's safe to engage in a speculative conversation without anyone dropping major spoilers just for the shit of it is fraught with peril.
posted by coriolisdave at 8:30 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


True for me too.

I don't totally avoid sites, but I'm careful about not seeing spoilers, and I will avoid places where that's not going to be feasible.

I don't even watch the "Next week on...." teasers after the episode.
posted by philipy at 9:21 PM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't even watch the "Next week on...." teasers after the episode.
Ditto! I scramble for the remote, often singing "LA LA LA LA" loudly so I don't get the entire damned episode crammed into 30 seconds.
posted by coriolisdave at 9:59 PM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well it's good to meet a kindred spirit.

Now if we could only find a speculation-friendly, spoiler-free oasis somewhere...
posted by philipy at 4:42 PM on May 12, 2011


I'm sure those of you in the United States and the Antipodes will be pleased to know that tonight's episode is fairly enjoyable.

Oh yes.
posted by Grangousier at 11:15 AM on May 14, 2011


That's an understatement.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 11:32 AM on May 14, 2011


You know, I didn't really think the pirates one was all that bad... I wouldn't say it was good, but it wasn't half the disaster I was expecting from peoples moaning.
posted by Artw at 11:35 AM on May 14, 2011


Of course it's an understatement.

I believe the operative word is "squeee", but I'm not completely certain. I think that's what the young people say in these circumstances, anyway.
posted by Grangousier at 11:39 AM on May 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


In these situations, I often find it helpful to prefix the "squeee" with OMGOMGOMGOMGOMG.

It's a ymmv thing though.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 11:50 AM on May 14, 2011


Oh, I concur. OMGOMGOMGOMGOMG Squeee!!!! Definitely.

Although I'm usually proud to have hugely variant mileage, not so in this case.
posted by Grangousier at 11:52 AM on May 14, 2011


Oh, and watch the Confidential, if it's available. This one is necessary. Loads of Gaiman, for a start.
posted by Grangousier at 11:55 AM on May 14, 2011


I'm staying with my parents right now, and dinner was called during Confidential. I'm tapping my foot waiting for it to end so I can watch it on iplayer.

we never did get that spoiler tag, did we? the americans will talk about this episode while I'm in bed :(
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 11:58 AM on May 14, 2011


I wouldn't want to spoil it, not really. That would be too pantomime villain, this time.

This might be a bit spoilery, though, so I'll put a few blank lines in (though it just seems to highlight things when you do that):









I missed her last words the first time. Good thing, too, I'd have been in floods.
posted by Grangousier at 12:02 PM on May 14, 2011


If you can you should also track down the "Doctor Who Confidential" for this episode.
posted by the_artificer at 2:41 PM on May 14, 2011


(That line that I mentioned - it appears to have been mixed higher in the Confidential than the actual show. But it is there.)
posted by Grangousier at 4:19 PM on May 14, 2011


So, that was pretty great, eh? If only they could have stretched that out to two parts, but then again, I guess it told all the story it needed to, so maybe that's just me wishing Gaiman were a staff writer.

Looking forward to more eyepatch lady next time. I'm keeping my expectations low, however, since it's from the writer of "Fear Her".
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:29 PM on May 14, 2011


You know, I didn't really think the pirates one was all that bad...

I liked it too. It wasn't that good but it felt reassuringly Who-like, right up to the bit where they obviously ran out of money for the sets.

This one was pretty special though.
posted by permafrost at 4:48 PM on May 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Today's episode was one of my favourites, it was just beautiful. Great acting all around. I wish it had been a two parter, and the pirate episode had been axed.
There are some interesting extras on the BBC website.

The trailers for the next episode look good to me. I know Fear Me wasn't particularly well executed, but I though the basic idea was quite good. The yucky Olympic torch moment at the end seems like the kind of thing RTD loves, does anyone know if it was his idea?
posted by Harpocrates at 6:48 PM on May 14, 2011


O.M.G., that was awesome.

If I'd learned the plot ahead of time, I would have groaned and rolled my eyes and said that it ruined the whole mythos of Doctor Who. I'm glad to be proven wrong. That's the sign of an excellent storyteller: take a plotline that sounds ridiculous and show, instead, the beauty of it.

If someone gets a link to the associated Doctor Who Confidential, can it be posted? I'd like to know what Grangousier is talking about.
posted by meese at 7:04 PM on May 14, 2011


Interestingly, I just watched The Pirate Planet this week as well, and decided that pirates are much more fun for Dr Who if they have a cybernetic homicidal parrot on their shoulder.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:20 PM on May 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


O.M.G., that was awesome.

It really was.
posted by quin at 8:18 PM on May 14, 2011


WARNING Contains spoiler to ending of episode 4.

Here is the bit of Confidential Grangousier mentioned, it's the last line by Idris.
posted by Harpocrates at 8:20 PM on May 14, 2011


DAMMIT !!

rot13 spoiler:

TBQNZZVG gurl erfheerpgrq Ebel ntnva. Pna'g gurl whfg xvyy uvz naq yrg zr rawbl gung BAPR? Guvf vf trggvat evqvphybhf. Vg'f yvxr gung rcvfbqr bs Fgnetngr jurer Onny pncgherf Wnpx naq xvyyf uvz, gura erfheerpgf uvz, bire naq bire naq bire. Rira Onny trgf oberq jvgu xvyyvat uvz.

No, that was not really a very good episode. And not because of that. I kept looking at her and seeing Marla Singer.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:25 PM on May 14, 2011


Thanks, Harpocrates.

I need Doctor Who friends. :-( I really want to discuss this episode in a more spoilery than would be appropriate for Mefi.
posted by meese at 8:33 PM on May 14, 2011


I kept looking at her and seeing Marla Singer.

I suspect that was intentional, and personally I can't think of a more appropriate or awesome choice, all things considered.
posted by quin at 8:36 PM on May 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks for that clip, Harpocrates. You provided the things I needed to know in order to make an informed decision: this episode truly sucked. Now that I have heard Gaiman reading his own stage directions, declaimed so pompously and self-importantly as if it was fucking Shakespeare, I am so grateful to the BBC for cutting that crap down to make a real, filmable script. And I know there was one guy at the Beeb who really had a lot of trouble with this script, the guy who had to prevent this episode from turning into an rerun of Neverwhere: the Script Doctor.

Please oh please never let Gaiman come near Doctor Who ever again.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:43 PM on May 14, 2011


this episode truly sucked

I don't agree.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 8:53 PM on May 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


That was amazing. I could not be happier right now.
posted by you're a kitty! at 9:50 PM on May 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Ovgvat'f rkpryyrag. Vg'f yvxr xvffvat bayl gurer'f n jvaare."

Heh.
posted by homunculus at 10:25 PM on May 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


SPOILERS why are you still reading this thread, go watch it already

What's weird is that I was reading the regeneration Wikipedia entry on Friday and something similar happened in the short story "The Lying Old Witch in the Wardrobe". So I guess there really are no new ideas in the Doctor Who Canon.
posted by Gary at 12:52 AM on May 15, 2011


charlie don't surf: "I kept looking at her and seeing Marla Singer."

Sort of makes sense, considering Marla was like a Gaiman character dropped into Fight Club.

I honestly thought that was one of the best Who episodes since the reboot -- and possibly ever, although I have crappy childhood memories to rely on for six on down -- and I'm looking forward to re-watching it this afternoon on iplayer with a big cup of tea and an even bigger biscuit.

"jurer vf zl guvrs?" Beautiful.

TBQNZZVG gurl erfheerpgrq Ebel ntnva.

V unys-fhfcrpg gung Ebel'f arne-qrngu rirel rcvfbqr vf yrnqvat hc gb fbzrguvat, rfcrpvnyyl tvira gung vg jnf gur bayl cneg bs ynfg avtug'f gung frrzrq guebja va. Cebonoyl yvaxrq gb gur cunfvat va-naq-bhg bs uvf Ebzna yvsr/Nzl'f onol.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:27 AM on May 15, 2011


I'm keeping my expectations low, however, since it's from the writer of "Fear Her"

Who was also the creator / lead writer of Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes, to be fair.
posted by Grangousier at 1:42 AM on May 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Watched the first few minutes live then had to be elsewhere and my immediate thoughts were 'It IS Neverwhere!"... but then thought it was a bit better than that when I watched it much later on the Iplayer; though not quite the utter perfection which seems to be the general opinion... though that was after overdosing on Eurovision, so I'm not discounting that as a factor
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:39 AM on May 15, 2011


That was delightful. Quarries! Corridors! And not a single mention of humans or earth anyway! A proper job; stretch it out to five parts and you'd have a genuine fourth-doctor episode.
posted by coriolisdave at 2:44 AM on May 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Jung V yvxrq nobhg guvf jrrx'f Ebel-erfheerpgvba jnf ubj ur arire ernyyl qvq qvr va gur rcvfbqr - jung unccrarq gb uvz jnf n zvaq tnzr zrnag sbe Nzl, naq nyfb bar va juvpu boivbhfyl fur znqr uvz jnvg nabgure 2000 lrnef. V yvxr gur natyr gurl'er inthryl ohvyqvat hc gb, jurer Nzl'f guvefg sbe nqiragher vf boivbhfyl n qrsvavgr, perqvoyr guerng gb ure qribgrq, urebvp, ohg ntterffviryl qbzrfgvp uhfonaq. Yvivat yvxr gur Qbpgbe vf terng jura lbh'er n Gvzr Ybeq, ohg vg'f abg n tbbq yvsrfglyr sbe n zneevrq pbhcyr. Nzl'f Pubvpr vaqrrq.

N ahzore bs crbcyr, vapyhqvat zlfrys, unir orra zhfvat gung guvf jrrx'f rcvfbqr pbhyq unir orra n 2-cnegre. Rkcnaqvat gur nfgrebvq'f zvaq-tnzrf-sbe-Nzl frdhrapr jbhyq unir orra n terng ovg gb rkcnaq hcba. Vg'f evpu greevgbel.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:09 AM on May 15, 2011


It's interesting that they're inveigling more and more "legit" sf/fantasy authors like Gaiman and Moorcock to write for the Who. I wonder if this is something they'd like to see more and more of. Doctor Who isn't really an anthology series where you could just plunk other writers into the mix whenever you wanted, but it does has some features of an anthology series. There certainly are enough Whovian authors out there who'd be able to combine their own unique talents with genuine respect for the show's universe.

I guess this is all a long way of me musing that I'd like to see Grant Morrison come back to the Whoniverse to write an episode, as if that matters. Morrison seems like more of a Sixth Doctor guy anyhow. There probably isn't enough budget for him, or acid for them, to make that happen.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:26 AM on May 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Having now watched Confidential I totally didn't get the Gbggre'f Ynar reference first time around... which probably means I have to hand in my scarf or something.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:07 AM on May 15, 2011


Neil Gaiman will be answering questions here on Monday 4pm (UK time)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:10 AM on May 15, 2011


Sticherbeast: "I guess this is all a long way of me musing that I'd like to see Grant Morrison come back to the Whoniverse to write an episode"

I'd basically love for any and all of the big-name British comic writers to get an episode, as long as their name doesn't end in Millar. I think Ellis' technological sensibilities would make a fantastic (heh) counterpoint to the usual, often slightly magical, Who adventure (I'd like to see how Eleven would deal with something like the cyborg from Global Frequency).

You're probably right that Morrison would have difficulty sticking to budget while retaining his style, but I'd love to see Moffat consult with him since even his more prosaic ideas, when given to a more down-to-earth author to develop, can be delightful. I'm still disappointed they never went anywhere with Sue and Ralph Dibney's ghost detective agency.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 5:30 AM on May 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, if we're picking SF authors who we want to see write an episode then Gene Wolfe and MeFi's own John Scalzi would both be awesome for wonderfully different reasons.
posted by Mick at 5:35 AM on May 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Peter Watts!

Make it happen, Moffat.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 5:36 AM on May 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I didn't catch what the Doctor said right after [SPOILER] the TARDIS told him it was nice to meet him. Does anyone know what it was? It sounded like "Please, I should warn you, too" which doesn't make any sense.[/SPOILER]

Which, by the way, heart-wrenching exchange, oh my god. Suranne was absolutely delightful, and I thought the characterization of her as being just as excitable and, well, alive as the Doctor was fantastic.

I can understand why Gaiman may not be everyone's thing, but man, that episode was just sheer joy to watch.

Conspiracy theory time. Again, spoilers.

- Rory's died twice now in Amy's mind: once in Amy's Choice and once here. Given what we know about Amy's significance as having lived next to a crack in the universe, do these mindgames that are being played on her lead up to something more?

- If the only water in the forest (Forest of the Dead?) is River, what happens to Pond?
posted by Phire at 7:18 AM on May 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Please, I don't want you to..."
posted by Grangousier at 7:23 AM on May 15, 2011


The many deaths of Rory Williams-Pond
posted by Artw at 9:12 AM on May 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Jung znxrf lbh guvax V jbhyq tvir lbh onpx?"
posted by you're a kitty! at 9:18 AM on May 15, 2011


I'd basically love for any and all of the big-name British comic writers to get an episode, as long as their name doesn't end in Millar.

Wagner and Mills did some great ones back in the day, better than the Morrison ones.

My dream writing team picks would probably be Moffat, Gaiman, Paul Cornell (seems to have been absent since Family of Blood), Kim Newman (walking pop culture archive, author of Time and Relative, wears a cape), Mike Moorcock and Al Ewing (best of the new up and coming talent at 2000ad, did a Who-themed Dredd with Brendan McCarthy, and "the next Alan Moore" according to me).
posted by Artw at 9:21 AM on May 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


...gonna have to write that Rot 13 togglinmg userscript...
posted by Artw at 9:22 AM on May 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wagner and Mills - Way back in the day they nearly did a proper Who (after doing comics Who) 'The Song Of The Space Whale' which would have been the Turlough introduction story but they (well Mills, Wagner dropper out) could never thrash out something the script editor wanted at the time
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:37 AM on May 15, 2011


My dream picks for Who (knowing it would never happen) would be Alan Moore, Iain M Banks and me (obviously... I've got loads of great ideas, MeMail me Moffat!)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:40 AM on May 15, 2011


Has anyone ever written anything about the relationship between British comics and Dr Who? It seems like there's been a lot of cross-pollination both ways.
posted by Grangousier at 11:08 AM on May 15, 2011


Artw: "Kim Newman (walking pop culture archive, author of Time and Relative, wears a cape), Mike Moorcock and Al Ewing (best of the new up and coming talent at 2000ad, did a Who-themed Dredd with Brendan McCarthy, and "the next Alan Moore" according to me)."

Thanks, I have a new list of writers to check out :)
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 11:23 AM on May 15, 2011


I agree -- V fhfcrpg gung gur Qrnguf bs Ebel vf fgnegvat gb cbvag gb n Guvat.

I did enjoy this one and wish it had been a two-parter for the expansion of the Amy bit purpose. The first bit had me queasy it was going in a completely solipsistic, self-congratulatory Terry Gilliam direction, and I don't feel that was completely justified narratively in the end (discarded springboards to real stories and all that); imagine what a great cliff-hanger, though, the you-know-what would have been, and how much more time they would have had for the meat of the character arcs. In that respect the pirate ep was definitely something that could have been, uh, jettisoned.

Also, it was a shame gb ybfr gur fjvzzvat cbby, naq vs lbhe orqebbz trgf qryrgrq, jung unccraf gb lbhe pybgurf naq fhpu? Pbhyq or n ovg genhzngvp.
posted by dhartung at 11:38 AM on May 15, 2011


...gonna have to write that Rot 13 togglinmg userscript...

Or people could just, you know, NOT USE IT. I'm an adult, and managed to avoid this thread until I saw the ep. And it's a real pain to keep copy/pasting every other comment, or stray words in comments, into other websites to read about what I've already consented to read by being here.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 12:50 PM on May 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


Best line of the episode, "Did you wish REALLY hard?"
posted by the_artificer at 1:11 PM on May 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


Well, seems like a perfectly legit use for them to me, but if you really want to be a Moany McHaterpants about it there is a meta.
posted by Artw at 1:13 PM on May 15, 2011


[Hey folks, post mentions spoilers, please don't turn this into an unreadable ROT-13 thread, thanks. ]
posted by jessamyn at 1:52 PM on May 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


(bitching about rot13) Or people could just, you know, NOT USE IT.

Yeah, and people could just, you know, NOT READ IT. Nobody's holding a gun to your head and forcing you to read every comment. Or do you do that in every thread you encounter?

Sheesh. I knew someone would bitch if I used rot13. And I knew someone would bitch if I posted spoilers. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. If
posted by charlie don't surf at 1:55 PM on May 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hey folks, post mentions spoilers, please don't turn this into an unreadable ROT-13 thread, thanks.

Ah. Ahem. No. Post does not mention spoilers in relation to the epiode shown last night. This is exactly the kind of case where some method of dealing with spoilers is needed.
posted by Artw at 2:13 PM on May 15, 2011


Oh, come on. The post says "Warning, may contain traces of spoilers". And it's two weeks old and has been actively discussing the last few episodes shortly after each of them aired.

It's entirely reasonable for "some method of dealing with spoilers" to be "don't read the thread until you've watched the episode" here. Which is exactly what I did yesterday.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 2:28 PM on May 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


All this Rot13 makes it difficult for me to find the spoilers I so dearly need until I can watch the episode when it comes OnDemand tonight.

I realize that I'm the kind of person that Moffat thinks is a non-fan. But whatever. I loves me some spoilers.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:31 PM on May 15, 2011


It was an inoffensive little meringue of an episode--I'm not really familiar with Gaiman's oeuvre but he did a workmanlike job here. Loved the bit about bunk beds!
posted by orrnyereg at 2:33 PM on May 15, 2011


And me, We had a deal, Kyle. Twelve hours that file sat on my media center, waiting for my wife to be ready to watch it with me. All that time, unread comments piling up in this thread.

And lo, the universe survived! It did not collapse for want of my insightful commentary on an imaginary story! Shocking, I know, but true.
posted by coriolisdave at 2:35 PM on May 15, 2011


Well ask for a spoiler tagb you can set to always visible. Don't punish the people trying to be civil in their conversations.
posted by Artw at 2:36 PM on May 15, 2011


Also, I'd like to know why Rory and Amy are always dressed like lumberjacks. Did the UK never outgrow its grunge period?
posted by orrnyereg at 2:36 PM on May 15, 2011


Thought the episode was ok but nothing particularly special.

Don't care for the ROT-13 nonsense. I really don't feel the need to accommodate those who walk out into the rain without an umbrella and then demand that others provide them with one. This discussion is now for two groups of people, the ROT-13 cabal and everyone else. Your sentiment is truly wonderful and I suppose it's a matter of inconveniencing one group of people for another. The choice is ours but it appears the official word is not to use it, just like the c word for us Brits and Canadians if off limits.

I'd type in a spoiler but I found the episode not particularly interesting. Muddled even. But there are people with disparate body parts in it and it appears that Who is continuing to go into the faux horror direction, which is one I intensely dislike what with the hoarse growls, hissing, and evil coloured eyes. But such things, likes and dislikes, are, of course, subjective.
posted by juiceCake at 2:58 PM on May 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Now if we could only find a speculation-friendly, spoiler-free oasis somewhere...

Depends on what you mean by spoiler-free oasis. Closest I've found is Gallifrey Base, which has a decent sized no-spoiler speculation section. However, just like many other places online, once it's aired in the UK, it's fair game.

On the other hand, it has a superb spoiler section too. There were people coordinating through there to stalk visit the cast and crew in Utah.
posted by ZeusHumms at 3:43 PM on May 15, 2011


That was delightful. Quarries! Corridors! And not a single mention of humans or earth anyway! A proper job; stretch it out to five parts and you'd have a genuine fourth-doctor episode.

Quarries & Corridors: Low Budget Science Fiction Role Playing Adventures in Time & Space!

Anyhow, this was a nice "throwback" episode that Gaiman nailed. All it need was dramatic pan & zoom shots of the antagonist's hand threatening people with something just before each commercial break. I've read a lot of Gaiman, so SexyCrazyGoth lady is a trope of his that is beginning to wear thin for me in his work, but for Who, she was fine. It was very obvious that they spent a lot of money on the episode to make it look like they didn't spend any money on the episode. Guess there's no actual abandoned quarries left anymore, so you have scartch build them in a soundstage or something.
posted by KingEdRa at 7:06 PM on May 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


It balanced on the edge of twee, and could easily have been awful, but overall it worked. Definatly prefer the later corridor running bits to the earlier OMG-is-this-Neverwhere-oh-god-this-will-suck bits.
posted by Artw at 7:12 PM on May 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, and people could just, you know, NOT READ IT. Nobody's holding a gun to your head and forcing you to read every comment. Or do you do that in every thread you encounter?

I forgot that people would be discussing the new Who episode early Saturday evening. That's when I opened up Metafilter and found that this thread had popped up at the top of my recent history. I closed the tab right away, but not before having unintentionally saccadded all over the page. Luckily, the comments I read extolled the episode's creamy deliciousness in only the vaguest of ways. If I had accidentally come across some of the spoilery comments that have been posted since then, I would have been piiiiissed.

I hate ROT-13 with all of two hearts, and I know the Portal thread turned it into a sensitive issue, but I want to talk about the episode and speculate like crazy. I typed up a big bunch of speculation with the intention of encoding it and posting it, but it's ended up being a huge wall of ROT-13. I am torn. What should I do? Post the ROT-13? Some other encoding? Just forget about posting it altogether? I'm not keen on just dropping it in here in plaintext. I feel like gotta protect all the other idiots like me who accidentally forgot to avoid their recent history, including all the counterfactual quantum painquales who log onto Metafilter a day later than the actual painquale.
posted by painquale at 7:36 PM on May 15, 2011


Ahhh, finally my long exile from the blue and Recent Activity is over! (Fear of spoilers is the little death, fear of spoilers is the mind killer ...)

Definitely an improvement on last week: an interesting idea from a good writer, well-executed, with a number of elements that are part of your recommended seasonal allowance of Who (specifically, quarries and corridors!). Plus we touched on some Time Lord mythos. Very Fourish as someone noted upthread. Also the first episode this season with a proper ending, since the other two (the cliffhanger doesn't count) have both done the story equivalent of a 1970s vintage AOR song fadeout while singing the chorus over and over. More like this please!
posted by immlass at 8:03 PM on May 15, 2011


[There is an active MeTa thread for discussing how Metafilter handles spoilers if you need it. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 8:23 PM on May 15, 2011


So, um, SPOILERS:

Is this the first TV confirmation that a Timelord can regenerate into a different gender?
For me the

For me, this was a fun story if I detached myself a little bit, but the "magic TARDIS" stuff has been bugging me from the beginning of the new show. I try, I really really try, not to be THAT guy ("But a living TARDIS didn't occur until the Type 130, and the Doctor's TARDIS is only a type 40!"), but for some reason having the TARDIS be a LOT more than just a machine bugs me for some reason. The Doctor always poked holes at those who puffed up their technology with magic hokum, and now he seems to be puffing himself up with just as much hokum. I know its part of Moffat's "Doctor as imaginary friend and fairytale" theme, but still it bugs me.
posted by charred husk at 8:36 PM on May 15, 2011


Yeah, I always thought of it being like a tree or something, not a pseudo-cockerney waif.
posted by Artw at 8:40 PM on May 15, 2011


Is this the first TV confirmation that a Timelord can regenerate into a different gender?

It struck me as a fanservice wink at the "maybe it's time for a female Doctor" speculation that was going on when the role was being recast.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 8:42 PM on May 15, 2011


Yeah, I pretty much thought that too. Nice touch though.
posted by Artw at 8:53 PM on May 15, 2011


charred husk: "I really really try, not to be THAT guy ("But a living TARDIS didn't occur until the Type 130, and the Doctor's TARDIS is only a type 40!"), but for some reason having the TARDIS be a LOT more than just a machine bugs me for some reason."

I've found I've become much less of a stickler for canon since Moffat took over, largely because I've tended to find that where the show has made changes, it's done it in service of stuff I actually liked. And hell, Doctor Who hasn't been a bastion of consistency at any time in my life.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 10:19 PM on May 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


KingEdRa: According to the Confidential, the external shots in this episode were filmed in a real quarry.

ArmyofKittens: Exactly. Since when has Doctor Who ever cared much for canonic consistency?
posted by pharm at 3:59 AM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


ArmyOfKittens: "Doctor Who hasn't been a bastion of consistency at any time in my life."

It isn't really as much a canon thing for me as much as a thematic issue. The Doctor was always the one who showed up, saw someone pulling a Clarke's Third Law job on an unsuspecting populace and revealed the woo-woo as being fake. I know the new show is much more compressed than the old, and that usually makes for more entertaining storytelling, but just seeing gold glowy light come out of a woman and then fight a bunch of green glowy light without even an attempt at a technical explanation makes my teeth itch. I don't need it to be consistent or correct, I just need some acknowledgement that the Doctor and the TARDIS aren't magic.

I'm really enjoying Moffat's storytelling but I think a lot of my issues are stemming from these seasons revolving around Amy. The Doctor is her Peter Pan, he's the Madman with a Box to her. I liked that she seemed put off that there might be other Timelords around in this episode - she should be. If the Doctor found his own people he'd become rooted in reality again, bound back to his history and origins. No longer quite as special.

So, yeah, I am enjoying Moffat's run. I wish there was less stuff that feels like woo-woo, but I'll live and keep watching and enjoying anyways.
posted by charred husk at 6:30 AM on May 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I just need some acknowledgement that the Doctor and the TARDIS aren't magic.

After all we've seen with various magic-looking flames that had chemical reactions and so on in the old series (e.g., Brain of Morbius and Planet of Fire) I see no reason to assume the Tinkerbell looking energy stuff is anything but some kind of energy. It never occurred to me the glowy energy stuff that accompanies regeneration or that came out of the heart of the TARDIS--which is also what we got during the Bad Wolf stuff, so nothing new there--is magic. But I guess that's just where my expectations are set and my sense that Moffat really loves the Hammer period where a lot of those "it's not magic, it's aliens/time travellers/etc.!" comes from, and my sense that these episodes are so much like those that magic isn't even an option.

Personally I think this would have made a great four-parter in the old style, with cliffhangers and everything, and then we would have had time for more technical explanations. But we're stuck with the one-hour show, so occasionally things that would be cool get compressed out.
posted by immlass at 7:05 AM on May 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I know the new show is much more compressed than the old, and that usually makes for more entertaining storytelling, but just seeing gold glowy light come out of a woman and then fight a bunch of green glowy light without even an attempt at a technical explanation makes my teeth itch.

Finally watched it last night--didn't they say that it was the TARDIS's something something matrix? There was a reference to it in the very beginning being the TARDIS's "soul" (which I wrinkled my nose at; I don't really want my SF fouled up with souls!), but later explanations seemed more skiffyish.

Really enjoyed the corridor scenes. And the references to the Time Lords. And, oh god, Matt Smith in those steampunky goggles, doctorin' his TARDIS.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:16 AM on May 16, 2011


I hate ROT-13 with all of two hearts, and I know the Portal thread turned it into a sensitive issue, but I want to talk about the episode and speculate like crazy. I typed up a big bunch of speculation with the intention of encoding it and posting it, but it's ended up being a huge wall of ROT-13. I am torn. What should I do? Post the ROT-13? Some other encoding? Just forget about posting it altogether?

I'd like to read it! I think you should post it in plaintext with a spoiler warning on top. Because more convo is better than less.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:17 AM on May 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Seconded.
posted by you're a kitty! at 7:29 AM on May 16, 2011


Thirded. Please post your big bunch of speculation!
posted by harriet vane at 7:46 AM on May 16, 2011


Bring on the speculation!
posted by immlass at 8:03 AM on May 16, 2011


Nothing wrong with speculation. Let's hear it!
posted by orrnyereg at 8:47 AM on May 16, 2011


God I loved "The Doctor's Wife," ESPECIALLY after watching Doctor Who Confidential afterward. Confidential was just as awesome this week as the episode it was following. Tons of old old clips referring to the TARDIS and the Doctor(s). Neil Gaiman reads what seems like half the script to us. And damn it must be fattening to be a British television actor. GIVE ME SOME BEANS & CHIPS! I'm just bummed that Confidential didn't make ANY reference to Michael Sheen--or if they did, I missed it. His voice-only performance as House was hugely entertaining.

Also nice to see an Ood again, even though Nephew seemed to just be a placeholder. I love the Ood.
posted by PapaLobo at 8:49 AM on May 16, 2011


Also nice to see an Ood again, even though Nephew seemed to just be a placeholder. I love the Ood.

Yeah, ditto. Maybe we'll get more Oodiness soon.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:58 AM on May 16, 2011


I just need some acknowledgement that the Doctor and the TARDIS aren't magic.

But they are kind of magic, and always were, surely? The Doctor regenerates into different shapes; the Tardis travels through space and time; they're a given necessity for the show, but they're really just hand-wavey woo-woo.

It bothers me more when they lean too much on the Doctor's sonic screwdriver as a get-out-of-trouble-free device -- less a tool, more a magic wand? (See also: psychic paper, although they seem to have eased back on using that gag.)

The really interesting part of this episode for me was the suggestion that it's actually the Tardis, not the Doctor, calling the shots: it chose him? Not where he wants to go, but where he needs to go.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:08 AM on May 16, 2011


TARDIS Console Competition

At least the result was reasonable this time around and we didn't get an abomination like the Abzorbaloff (Don't worry Sad Tony... you'll forever have a place in my heart(s))
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:09 AM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


That has got to be the high point of that kid's life. Can you imagine? I'm an adult and I'd still be a total mess.
posted by you're a kitty! at 9:11 AM on May 16, 2011


Also nice to see an Ood again

And the Doctor's brief regret at another Ood he failed to save.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:13 AM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also nice to see an Ood again

Love an Ood!
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 9:14 AM on May 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


I liked Rory being racist.
posted by you're a kitty! at 9:17 AM on May 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


He has Ood friends!
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 9:20 AM on May 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


My first thought in seeing the Ood waybackwhen was that they were little bipedal Cthulhus. I still wish they had been--that pair of episodes was a HUGE disappointment.

Speculation for this season: the line about the water in the forest backs up my earlier suspicion that we're going to return to River Song's first two episodes and the Doctor is going to spring her out of that computer somehow. Maybe it's not that obvious, but kudos to Moffat for thinking ahead.

(Note: I, too, am completely unspoiled, so this is really just guesswork.)
posted by orrnyereg at 9:35 AM on May 16, 2011


Mr Gaiman has been doing Q&A in the Guardian

You'll have to scroll down and mine for the nuggets of answer.
posted by Grangousier at 9:41 AM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I loved the Doctor's line about the Ood when they showed up back in the TARDIS. It really hearkened back to the classic series in that victories are not won without sacrifice while at the same time going to the point that it's almost never the Doctor who makes them.

the line about the water in the forest backs up my earlier suspicion that we're going to return to River Song's first two episodes and the Doctor is going to spring her out of that computer somehow.

That took me to the Pond in the forest in the two-part Weeping Angel episode from last season.
posted by immlass at 9:50 AM on May 16, 2011


My previous Who experience has been reading this book when I was eleven and not knowing what the hell it was about and watching part of the McGann movie. Since then, I've picked up the gist from conversations here and scattered browsing. It sounds like the Davies-era isn't particularly worth watching (I did see some clips here and there, and it felt like a waste of perfectly good Eccleston), would I be able to start with the Moffat/Smith/Series 5 without being confused, continuity-wise?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:52 AM on May 16, 2011


That took me to the Pond in the forest in the two-part Weeping Angel episode from last season.

Ah! But the river is the only water in the forest, apparently.
posted by orrnyereg at 9:56 AM on May 16, 2011


Would I be able to start with the Moffat/Smith/Series 5 without being confused, continuity-wise?

Yep, you'd be fine - they treated it very carefully like a reboot. You'd also be safe skipping episode 5x03, the one with Daleks in WWII, which was the low point of the season and not important from a continuity perspective.

Personally, I'd suggest you watch the Moffat episodes: The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances, The Girl in the Fireplace, Blink, and Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead, then watch S5. They're all excellent, don't require major backstory, and especially the last two will turn out to be important eventually. But you could also go back and watch those after you do S5.

Enjoy, I'm jealous :)
posted by you're a kitty! at 9:59 AM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ah! But the river is the only water in the forest, apparently.

Yes, and River was there in that episode, in the forest. And that was where we already had one freaky continuity thing with the Doctor and the jacket that we later figured out was him on his way back through his own timeline. And now Amy is quantum preggers and the timelines are screwed up. This is another overthunk plate of beans, to be sure, but that was where my mind went with that: River, not Pond, and that forest.

Would I be able to start with the Moffat/Smith/Series 5 without being confused, continuity-wise?

I recommended that to a friend of mine recently, so I'd say yes.
posted by immlass at 10:11 AM on May 16, 2011


I'm almost certain the "water in the forest" line is typical Moffatt red herring.

which was the low point of the season and not important from a continuity perspective.
Except for one small scene in the first part of the season-ending two-parter. Also, Dr. Bracewell rocks. And there were cool explosions. IN SPACE!
posted by PapaLobo at 10:24 AM on May 16, 2011


And there were cool explosions. IN SPACE!

Not to mention World War II dogfighters in space.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:27 AM on May 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hit "post" too soon.

Yeah, though, the "Daleks in WWII" one felt thin; there was that one long stretch where it felt like the Doctor wasn't doing anything except stand there watching different-colored Daleks come slowly rolling out, like he was buying a car ("White is standard, but perhaps you want to try red....or blue....or green...or...")
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:29 AM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


there was that one long stretch where it felt like the Doctor wasn't doing anything except stand there watching different-colored Daleks come slowly rolling out

Well he did call them "swish" whilst holding a jammie dodger.....
posted by PapaLobo at 10:37 AM on May 16, 2011


It sounds like the Davies-era isn't particularly worth watching (I did see some clips here and there, and it felt like a waste of perfectly good Eccleston), would I be able to start with the Moffat/Smith/Series 5 without being confused, continuity-wise?

It was still a fun show, and there were some very good episodes in there. If those years were as bad as the internet would have you believe, they would have just re-cancelled the show. I'd say go ahead and watch them, and don't feel guilty if you skip any that get too dumb. Continuity in Doctor Who is not that important even if you miss something.
posted by Gary at 11:53 AM on May 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


But yes, you can also start with Series 5 and everything would be fine.
posted by Gary at 11:56 AM on May 16, 2011


It sounds like the Davies-era isn't particularly worth watching

I disagree. They're a mixed bag, but when they're good they're very good. Eccleston and Tennant both brought things to the role, in very different ways; and Davies deserves a lot of credit for pulling off a successful reboot of a series which had, by then, pretty much successfully dug its own grave.

(In addition to the Moffat episodes listed above, I'm fond of Human Nature/Family of Blood which contains both some wonderful acting from Tennant and some wonderfully over-the-top acting from the villains of the piece.)

But yes, you could very easily drop in at the start of Series 5 and play along from there. New Doctor, new companions, new story arc.

(Jumping in at the start of Series 6, on the other hand, would be very bumpy going.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:42 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, if you don't watch series four--and I believe I've expressed this before--you will miss the TOTAL AWESOME OF DONNA NOBLE.

I came into the re-boot of Doctor Who knowing next to nothing except what little PBS reruns I remembered. I was fascinated at first, a little distressed when I was almost immediately introduced to a two-episode arc about farting aliens in human suits. But that was balanced out by the TOTAL AWESOME of Penelope Wilton as Harriet Jones. If it weren't for farting aliens in human suits, I wouldn't have followed the TOTAL AWESOME of Penelope Wilton into Downton Abbey. So there's that.

I also happen to really like Captain Jack Harkness' unrequited love for the Doctor, so I'll watch episodes with him in them. Whereas the unrequited love Martha Jones had all through series 3 for the Doctor just turned me off because I felt she was meant to be "rebound girl" from the get-go. So there's that.

RTD could get very heavy handed emotionally. VERY. Series 5 was very strong overall, and in comparison there's a lot of pre-Moffatt I'd probably skip. However, it's not like the first four series and associated special are 100% crap. It's just that Series 5 is an easy jumping into point for the show overall.
posted by PapaLobo at 1:03 PM on May 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


I watched part one of the Library one recently - it still a great story, and the River Song stuff stands up well given all that's been done with her since, which is a minor miracled really given that it was all essentially unplanned at that point*.

* I am not sure I entirely believe Moffat on this.
posted by Artw at 1:09 PM on May 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


I disagree. They're a mixed bag, but when they're good they're very good. Eccleston and Tennant both brought things to the role,

The very first reveal of the new Doctor in RTDs pilot for example:

The Doctor: I'm the Doctor, by the way. What's your name?
Rose: Rose.
The Doctor: Nice to meet you, Rose. Run for your life!

The way Eccleston says "Run for your life", is one of his best moments and the thing that most endeared his character to me, right there 10 minutes into the show's start.
posted by quin at 1:11 PM on May 16, 2011 [7 favorites]


PapaLobo: "Also, if you don't watch series four--and I believe I've expressed this before--you will miss the TOTAL AWESOME OF DONNA NOBLE."

Donna is definitely the best of the RTD-era companions, and her episodes the strongest overall. The gooey eyes from Rose (and again from Martha) got so tedious after a while, and I don't think it's a coincidence that her best episodes were her earliest, before RTD got quite so into the whole 10/Wose! OTP thing. The level of mooning over her after her departure bordered on the creepy at times. Whereas Donna was pleasingly blunt and would take no shit from this besuited idiot.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:14 PM on May 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


A third vote for Donna Noble episodes here. Especially because the comedic chemistry between Catherine Tate and David Tennant is absolutely divine.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:58 PM on May 16, 2011 [7 favorites]


"I just want a mate."
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 2:07 PM on May 16, 2011


Umpteenth'ing the Donna love - she really was brilliant, and I say that as someone who detested her first appearance with the fire of a thousand burning Omega devices.

EmpressCallipygos: Yeah, though, the "Daleks in WWII" one felt thin; there was that one long stretch where it felt like the Doctor wasn't doing anything except stand there watching different-colored Daleks come slowly rolling out, like he was buying a car ("White is standard, but perhaps you want to try red....or blue....or green...or...")

Oh, I thought all the references to "that horrible Dalek one" meant the reprehensible Daleks in Manhattan. Personally, I enjoyed the WW2 Daleks, but mainly for the sight of an old-school Dalek asking:

"WOULD YOU CARE FOR SOME TEEEEeeeeaaAAAA??!?"
posted by coriolisdave at 2:34 PM on May 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


That would be very nice, thank you.
posted by homunculus at 2:39 PM on May 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Mark Watches review, complete with animated gifs a-plenty in the comments. (Totally spoilery of this episode, shouldn't be any spoilers there for upcoming episodes.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 2:50 PM on May 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


The Flickfilosopher regularly does spoiler-filled, detailed episode breakdowns as well, and since she is a huge Doctor Who fan, she tends to revel in delving into the finer points of the history and lore.

Happily, both she and markwatches commented on my favorite line (like kissing, but with a winner...).
posted by quin at 2:57 PM on May 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


From Whad,K's link (those animated gifs are fantastic!):

THE MANY DEATHS OF RORY WILLIAMS-POND.

Told you, bitches. :-P
posted by PapaLobo at 3:47 PM on May 16, 2011


The Donna Noble eps were the nadir for me and I was very close to stopping watching... but then I'm a traditionalist and like my companions to be feisty one-for-the-dads-tastic and not irritating foghorns.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:10 PM on May 16, 2011


I ended up rather fond of her, though Martha had more one-of-the-dads factor - Pitt she got uterly screwed over by RTDs thing about Rose.
posted by Artw at 5:04 PM on May 16, 2011


Amy is also a racist.

Now if we could only find a speculation-friendly, spoiler-free oasis somewhere...

DWO is an alternative to Gallifrey Base, as a recent email subject put it: "The Doctor Who Online Forums - Now 100% Spoiler-Free!".

The Flickfilosopher

That's a very well written recap, thanks for the link.
posted by Harpocrates at 6:39 PM on May 16, 2011


"I kept looking at her and seeing Marla Singer."

It was kind of odd that they let HBC wear her street clothes. Kinda like Drew Barrymore's anachronistic outfits in The Wedding Singer.

"I suspect that was intentional, and personally I can't think of a more appropriate or awesome choice, all things considered."

Esp. with the Time Lord/Dream Lord duality. Which one's "Tyler"?

"Now that I have heard Gaiman reading his own stage directions, declaimed so pompously and self-importantly as if it was fucking Shakespeare..."

I dunno, I kinda liked the narration. Given that Who's a Kids' program(me), and Amelia Pond doubly so, I feel like they should do an ep. like that. Doesn't have to be Neil. ;)

Did the "universe" they were leaving look like the crack in Amy's wall to anyone? Are we still outside the universe and in Pond's Pocket Universe™?

There were a lot of things in this episode that made me think there's some connection between Evire Fbat naq gur GNEQVF zngevk. She seems to xabj guvatf nobhg uvz gung bayl gur GNEQVF xabjf be fubhyq/jbhyq xabj (including ubj gb CEBCREYL qevir gur GNEQVF), and then, of course, there's the "ebznagvp" connection. We've already seen Ebfr naq Qbaan nofbeo fbzr GNEQVF raretl, fb vg'f ab vzcbffvoyr sbe Evire gb unir vagresnprq jvgu gur GNEQVF ng fbzr cbvag. Creuncf fur ibyhagrref gb "ubfg" gur GNEQVF sbe n ovg, fb gur Qbpgbe pna unir ure onpx sbe n ovg.

I have my theories about the relationship between the Doctor and River. I feel like it's entirely possible that their relationship is largely imagined (by her). It's sort of like one of those things where if you say something enough it becomes true, or at least, you start to believe it? Because when the Doctor meets her, she tells him all these things about how close they are/will be, and so he's like, yeah, ok, maybe. And they're closer right off the bat because she instantly trusts him. So he's more and more intimate (or at least friendly/trusting) with her each time he sees her, which just (self-)fulfills that prophecy about them being close. I almost feel like when she realizes in the library that it's the last time she'll see him, she understands, but keeps up the act because she also understands how it must be, because, well, it's already happened. That's kinda sad in a Donna-Noble-esque way, but could be really poignant if handled well.

There were some really great character moments for the Doctor here. The bit about wanting to be forgiven, his reaction to there being other Time Lords still alive, outside the universe (and his corresponding reaction to svaqvat bhg gung jnfa'g gur pnfr), and his whole interaction with Idris. I also loved the title. Gaiman really loves to get into the guts of myths, so it's no surprise he found somewhere to explore in the Doctor's mythos that was somewhat untapped. And, of course, I know it won't put a halt to any of the shipping/speculation that goes on, but it really does explain on no uncertain terms who/what the Doctor loves.

And I think it's a good testament to the story and to Smith that it's given me insight into Ten, as well. Because man, if you think about it, Ten was really like, the Doctor's mid-life crisis. Brash, flashy, romantic relationships (flings, really) with much younger women (at the very least, Rose and the nurse from Family of Blood). A bit of a showoff, and... well, maybe not 'obsessed' with his own power, but at least interested in it. Really trying to assert himself in the face of his own (and others') mortality. The 9th Doctor was the wounded Doctor, sorta like the middle-aged guy who's just lost his parents (the Time Lords), parents he didn't get along with, and now has to deal with all that unresolved angst on top of his grief. And he has to face being alone, and mortal. Speaking as someone who's lost a parent: you feel like your parents can do ANYTHING when you're a kid. Some of that lingers even as you grow up, but harsh reality sets in when you see your mother/father wither and die. I can't imagine what it must be like when you're the one who pulled the plug/trigger. So yeah, you've got this guy confronted with his own mortality, knowing that there's a good chance his best years are now behind him, and there's no one to protect him if it all goes wrong. If that's not a recipe for a mid-life crisis, I don't know what is.

Whereas 11's faced those demons (again, Amy's Choice). He's a more mature Doctor (and I have another theory about the Doctor's regenerations getting younger because he doesn't feel the need to impress others with age; crotchety old Hartnell was just a mask, a younger man playing older to seem more mature and maybe also a bit scary). He's not quite mastered his own mortality—you never do—but he's more accepting of it. He's at least stopped completely defying it (and maybe that's part of what happens when he "qvrf" 200 lrnef va gur shgher; he npghnyyl npprcgf gung ur zhfg qvr sbe K gb unccra). This is also where the bits of McCoy seep in; he's able to be a gamesman because he understands the long game more now; he's ok with setting threads up with the knowledge that only some of them will play out in the end. He doesn't need to be all dash and swashbuckling now; sure, that's still fun, but he understands that it's usually sound and fury signifying nothing. All hat, no cattle. Which is why the Stetson was kinda symbolic, I think. Sure, he still talks a lot because he's the Doctor, but underneath, this doctor is much more like a grizzled old gunslinger like Eastwood's Man with No Name, or one of Kurosawa's Seven Samurai (not Katsushiro or Kikuchiyo, more like Kambei or Kyuzo). But he's not a complete stoic (and is still vulnerable to his emotions, as Amy points out). He cares; he'll always care, and that's always been his weakness. But getting older is not about having no weaknesses (again, see above about the oooh scary Hartnell mask) but rather about accepting and acknowledging your shortcomings and learning to live with them (and hopefully finding people who can help balance them out).
posted by Eideteker at 6:53 PM on May 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


pastebin of the SPOILERY bits of that comment in PLAINTEXT here so you don't have to decode. (Everything after "There were a lot of things in this episode...")
posted by Eideteker at 7:18 PM on May 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


As someone who's just started reading your post and was brought up short, THANK YOU :-)
posted by PapaLobo at 7:22 PM on May 16, 2011


I have another theory about the Doctor's regenerations getting younger because he doesn't feel the need to impress others with age; crotchety old Hartnell was just a mask, a younger man playing older to seem more mature and maybe also a bit scary.

The Doctor/Moffat agrees (at 6:55).
posted by you're a kitty! at 7:42 PM on May 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


The confidentials appear to be on the BBC America site here - not seeing the one for this week though.
posted by Artw at 7:47 PM on May 16, 2011


"The Doctor/Moffat agrees (at 6:55)."

Ah, thanks for the reminder! That must be where I picked that up.

(That clip, of course, is also memorable for the final word, which is the perfect rendering of the internet "what" comment as discussed elsewhere on MeFi. 404 REALITY NOT FOUND.)
posted by Eideteker at 8:06 PM on May 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I only remembered the reference because I watched Time Crash again the other day :) And if I were about 5% nerdier I'd get "To days to come" and "All my love to long ago" tattoos.
posted by you're a kitty! at 8:25 PM on May 16, 2011


Also the crack in time. Not that I've spent any time thinking about this.
posted by you're a kitty! at 8:26 PM on May 16, 2011


It bothers me more when they lean too much on the Doctor's sonic screwdriver as a get-out-of-trouble-free device -- less a tool, more a magic wand?

I've been thinking exactly that -- it seemed to me the sonic screwdriver seemed to be mostly that (back in the days of 4 that I can remember, anyway), now it feels like a magic wand.

Which fits with explicit lines like "I hate good wizards, they always turn out to be Him" and Moffat's general fairly tale theming, and it does rankle a bit, but I like so much else about what's going on with the show right now that I don't usually find I care.
posted by weston at 8:29 PM on May 16, 2011


The way I take the reliance on the sonic screwdriver and psychic paper is that they're story devices to help rush things along to fit inside of an hour. In the old serial days it was fine to stretch things out and get all talky about minutiae, but now they've got to get it done a lot faster. Star Trek's transporter was invented so the show didn't have to spend time boarding, flying, and landing shuttles every week. Same thing here. Usually, even if it seems like a deus ex machina on the surface, it falls out of the equation, so to speak, of the real story.

I liked him using it to lock Amy and Rory in the TARDIS this week, though.

Eideteker, I take River Song too seriously for your hypothesis. I think she's right about the tragedy of their relationship -- they're going in different directions, and he actually knows her less and less each time they meet. It's sort of the Time Lord equivalent of "we grew apart".

I am probably way too easily tumbled for my age, but I've liked all three of the new Doctors quite a lot. Nine was wigged out by his role in the Time War; Ten was given a do-over and maybe was too aggressive in dealing with some of that stuff, and came very close to beating Four in my all-time ranking; and Eleven is turning out to be very squirrelly, alien, and thus unpredictable and surprising in a way that I really like. I haven't hated any of the modern Companions, either, at least not in the end -- I felt that Mickey was a really awful character to begin with, more of an anchorweight to create Earth-bound conflict for Rose, but was redeemed over time. Rose's story arc, yes, was largely tied to this romantic limerence with the Doctor, but I was always impressed with things like her simple courage facing up to the Sycorax, ways in which she was changed by being a Companion, even when he wasn't around. Martha and Donna were in some ways better rounded characters to begin with, but as Companions Ten had to face up to his increasing black mark collection of how he negatively affected their lives. I loved the initial few episodes with Amy, not so much the latter bits with Rory, but then they gave Rory a Job. To. Do. and you can't dismiss a character who waits 2000 years. Aside from the too-frequent-death problem, I think he's starting to get more of the hang of things and being less obviously thick and useless -- and where Amy's concerned, he is obviously motivation-level important. Story/narrativewise he serves a key purpose in giving Amy things to do whilst the Doctor is preoccupied with River Song or Idris or whomever, and so the whole shipping aspect is tamped down a lot.

Yeah, in general I like the Moffat era more than the Davies era already, but I give RTD his due in bringing the show back and making it a well-deserved smash success.
posted by dhartung at 10:34 PM on May 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


Heh. "deus ex machina" - literally "god out of the machine".
posted by Artw at 11:01 PM on May 16, 2011


In regards to the overuse of the Sonic Screwdriver, its been a problem since they first introduced it in classic Who. I seem to remember reading somewhere that back in the 70's the creative exec actually put a moratorium on the Sonic Screwdriver because he felt writers were using it too often as a deus ex machina when they had written themselves into a corner.

That said, Nu Who hasn't abused it THAT flagrantly. No, that dishonour is reserved for The Psychic Paper. I was quite happy when Moffat wrote that particular piece of bullshit out of the show in the beginning of Season 5.
posted by KingEdRa at 2:33 AM on May 17, 2011


I actually thought the other day that psychic paper seemed to have been quietly dropped... I always that made things too easy for the writers
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:55 AM on May 17, 2011


I see it as like the use of cooincidence in writing - fine for getting the characters into scrapes, terrible when used to get them out of them.
posted by Artw at 3:01 AM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I thought the restrictions they brought in on the sonic 'What you mean it doesn't do wood!' and 'deadlocks' where a horrifically clunky solution and a typical of RTD's inability to plot well/cope with sf tropes without resulting to magic 'fairy dust' solutions.

Though I had to admit I thought one of the problems with the last ep was the finale got damn close to a 'teching the tech' solution
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:33 AM on May 17, 2011


That said, Nu Who hasn't abused it THAT flagrantly. No, that dishonour is reserved for The Psychic Paper. I was quite happy when Moffat wrote that particular piece of bullshit out of the show in the beginning of Season 5.

For whatever it's worth, psychic paper figures very prominently in the new IDW Eleventh Doctor comic series written by Tony Lee (which is very, very good, BTW).
posted by jbickers at 5:49 AM on May 17, 2011


The psychic paper is best when used for comic effect (Vampires of Venice, A Christmas Carol). As far as actually being useful, it doesn't do much for the story that the Doctor's swagger wouldn't do anyway; for the rest of us, the most useful piece of paper in existence wouldn't do you much good until many, many levels of bureaucracy had been navigated. Sheer confidence works wonders, and is far more fun to watch than paperwork. "Just walk about like you own the place. Works for me."
posted by you're a kitty! at 9:48 AM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


The psychic paper is best when used for comic effect

"Is that a reference from the Archbishop of Canterbury?"

"I'm his special favourite. Shhh."
posted by Zozo at 9:53 AM on May 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Very short torchwood trailer (via). Guest Stars include Wayne Knight, Ernie Hudson, and John de Lancie. There's also a web series possibly including Eliza Dushku.
posted by Gary at 1:27 PM on May 17, 2011


I just watched the whole of the first Smith series again in one sitting. It's easier to cut episodes that didn't impress so much the first time some slack. The only ones that felt really sloppy were the Dalek one (of course, though I love the first few minutes, about until Bracewell's hand gets shot off) and the Silurians (though there's still a lot to like there, I think, it's just the script isn't quite up to it). Knowing that everything will end up being as groovy as the last two episodes are takes the pressure off the vampires one, or Amy's Choice.

But my head is spinning rather, I must confess.
posted by Grangousier at 2:45 PM on May 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Speculation for this season: the line about the water in the forest backs up my earlier suspicion that we're going to return to River Song's first two episodes and the Doctor is going to spring her out of that computer somehow.

Having rewatched the Library episodes last night: OMG I totally agree with the comments made (on earlier posts I think) that that's a poor ending for River. From swashbuckling time-travelling Doctor-romancing fugitive archaeologist to eternal fake nanny in the Matrix? Hrrumph.

The other odd thing about those episodes, which seems to me to leave the door ajar for the above speculation, is this: we don't see River's body after she sacrifices herself to save the Doctor. Is this an artifact of it being recut for BBCA's advertising slots, or the way it was intended? It cuts from River's sacrifice, to the handcuffed Doctor grieving, to the Doctor and Donna shellshocked in the Library. So was there a body left behind? Or did Cal teleport River into storage at the last minute, just as she did for the other Library saves and for Donna?
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:56 AM on May 18, 2011


Neil Gaiman's journal - Adventures in the Screen Trade
posted by Artw at 12:33 AM on May 19, 2011


(There's something weird and flash-based on that page crashes both Safari and Firefox for me - I've gone straight on to my phone to read it - lack of Flash support occasionally a feature rather than a bug! - but thought I'd warn in advance.)
posted by Grangousier at 12:59 AM on May 19, 2011


(Ahem, sorry, it seems it was something wrong with Flash on that computer - the Gaiman page was a symptom rather than a cause. Coffee induced panic attack. I'm a bit old for such N00b stupidity. Ignore me. Again.)
posted by Grangousier at 2:16 AM on May 19, 2011


*snerk* I giggled at Neil Gaiman telling Matt Smith he has "sensible hair".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:55 AM on May 19, 2011


I wonder if the showing of Season 6 has been spread out so that they can shoot Season 7 in peace? They started shooting Season 6 in July last year, so presumably begin on the next one in a couple of months.
posted by Grangousier at 3:27 PM on May 19, 2011


I always thought it was odd to show Who in late spring and early summer. It has to go out earlyish in the evening because of the younger audience, and people aren't home when it's warm and sunny out. Plus of course the monsters-lurking-in-the-dark atmospherics don't work quite so well when it's broad daylight outside!

Maybe, esp with a later than usual start this year, it's important it doesn't go too far into the summer. Perhaps they're even trying to sidle it over into the winter where it really belongs.
posted by philipy at 3:36 PM on May 19, 2011


What bugs me about the screwdriver as a plot item is when it's use is superfluous. So the doctor gets shocked out of complacency, waves his screwdriver around and says something that's visually obvious to the audience. It would be nice to fall back on some of the other examples of doctor kookiness, like figuring out that the aliens are evil by sniffing their armpits and delivering a bit of Doctor-babble.

And it was a terrible waste of an Ood IMO. The series needs more non-violent and manipulative tentacle-faced goodness. The Ood, even more than the Kitten Nurses, River Song, and Liz Ten, have the potential to do the most abominable things for the most noble of reasons.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:17 PM on May 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's been confirmed that The Impossible Astronaut was the most recorded British television event in history.
posted by Artw at 5:50 PM on May 20, 2011


Doctor Who is the most time-shifted.... some things are just meant to be...
posted by philipy at 6:25 PM on May 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


Loved the bit about bunk beds!

Heh
posted by the_artificer at 10:38 AM on May 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


My prediction for this week: Rory gets thrown through a thresher.
posted by Artw at 11:04 AM on May 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, The Flesh makes the beginning of The Impossible Astronaut a bit muddied then.
posted by Mick at 6:31 PM on May 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Finally saw The Doctor's Wife. I grew up with Gaiman and it was great. Two questions for long-time fans: is it okay for the show to be this dark? Did the TARDIS being personified as Delirium/Marla Singer fit with continuity?
The taunting in the TARDIS and the TARDIS lady reminded me of Portal.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 2:47 AM on May 22, 2011


Lovecraft, Doctor Who has always had it's darker episodes, even in the (good|bad) old days.

I don't think the TARDIS has ever been personified before, so there's no continuity to break there even if the show did care particularly about continuity — which it clearly doesn't given the number of times the various arch 'big bads' have been wiped out, only to reappear from (another dimension|a hole in spacetime|a backroom of the TARDIS|the Doctor's jacket pocket).

So, who enjoyed "The Almost People" then?
posted by pharm at 3:21 AM on May 22, 2011


I rather liked the last one for it's relative straightforwardness compared with all the cleverness of recent episodes.

(well, not so much the pirates one.)
posted by Artw at 6:12 AM on May 22, 2011


Just saw Rebel Flesh. So far the best episode of the season, I think. It's actually what I thought Moon was going to be (do you suppose Duncan Jones is getting royalties?). Couple of thoughts:

- The Doctor made that copy on purpose, didn't he? It sure seemed that way to me--why is he as gobsmacked as the rest of them?
- Rory! Being an action hero! Amy really is a lucky girl.
- They must have spent a fortune on this episode. The FX are unusually good.

Looking forward to next week!
posted by orrnyereg at 6:42 AM on May 22, 2011


A couple of stray thoughts about last night's show:

I really, really like the new confident Rory.
I really, really like seeing a touch of jealousy in Amy's face. Time she was taken down a peg.
Special effects were great.
Love the moral dilemma presented by the "he's my son"/"he's my son too" interchange. Wish they would explore that more (perhaps they do in part two).
posted by jbickers at 8:07 AM on May 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thirding the affection for confident Rory.

I went into the episode with very low expectations, and it was, admittedly, better than I expected. I'm reserving judgment until the second half airs, but I was surprised how little time they spent (so far) on mistaking the doppelgangers for their people and vice versa. It all seems to have been structured so that the gangers are emotionally distraught about their shared memories, but don't actually mistake themselves for fully human. I'm not sure if that's a missed opportunity or a really good storytelling choice. Guess we'll see next week.
posted by you're a kitty! at 9:33 AM on May 22, 2011


Very disappointed thus far. The first 2 episodes of the season made this season look promising. Since then it's downhill into an abyss. It was great to see Marshall Lancaster from Life on Mars in Rebel Flesh and I thought to myself it would be great if the writing was as good as Life on Mars. Unfortunately, for this episode, just the opposite. I'm so used to seeing the very best of British television. This isn't even close but then I'm just not partial to the horror genre in general and Who spends quite a lot of time in that arena now.
posted by juiceCake at 9:38 AM on May 22, 2011


I'm withholding my verdict on "Rebel Flesh" until next week. But I wasn't very impressed with part one. Seems like we're wasting a lot of time on a half-season that's supposed to MOVE. Instead we seem to be slogging through a lot of filler until the half-season-ender. While the first two episodes weren't perfect, they gave me that frenetic feel/pace that I thought informed the viewers we were going on one hell of a ride. At this point, I think I'm ready to get off. The ride, that is.

However YAY RORY for having more lines than Amy (or so it seemed), and the whole my son/no, my son may tie into Amy's quantum pregnancy so there's that
posted by PapaLobo at 9:47 AM on May 22, 2011


Also, what could you possibly need that much acid for?
posted by you're a kitty! at 9:59 AM on May 22, 2011


The 2490s are going to make the 60s look like the 50s!
posted by Artw at 10:13 AM on May 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


I dug the The Rebel Flesh. I won't know how I feel about the whole thing until we get the second part, of course, so the verdict will have to wait.

For better and for worse (mostly for the better), it occupies the same space in Series 6 as the Silurian stuff did in Series 5. For some reason, both of those arcs very much remind me of an attempt to bring back Classic Who, down to the pokey pacing and the cheap-ish set (monastery, quarry, same difference). The attempts to go back to Classic-style storytelling remind me of how much the show both has and has not changed.

It's interesting how the first two episodes of the season were very Moffat, very Big Bang. The next episode felt like an RTD leftover, with its fluffy 40-minute plot. The fourth episode was quintessentially Gaiman, but in a way that showed off how much Gaiman's vision intersects with Moffat's vision. This next arc is going for a more Classic feel, it would seem, but I guess we'll find out where it ultimately goes.

I liked the eerie undercurrent in this one. Some of the same atmosphere as Caves of Androzani. Flesh-Doctor could be a formidable foe or an interesting ally. There's potential here.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:40 AM on May 22, 2011


Flesh-Doctor could be a formidable foe or an interesting ally.

So far they seem to just be their normal selves, personality-wise, and we know the Doctor gets along with himself just fine. This sort of thing really doesn't seem to faze him at all, as I suppose it wouldn't if he were regularly changing his entire body.
posted by you're a kitty! at 10:57 AM on May 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


For me, the worst case scenario would be if Flesh-Doctor wound up being as benevolent as the real Doctor, helped save the day, and willingly gave himself up to die by the episode's end. That would be the laziest way to write it. I hope that they'll think of something knottier.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:08 AM on May 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


You're so right.
posted by you're a kitty! at 11:16 AM on May 22, 2011


I hope that they'll think of something knottier.

Maybe he'll run off with the Tardis--it is his, after all. Or, since the copy-Doctor wasn't animated by the power surge, he won't be able to remain stable like the others and will collapse into a puddle of goo. Cue angst!
posted by orrnyereg at 11:32 AM on May 22, 2011


Hey, you got your Autons in my Adipose! No, you got your Adipose in my Autons!

This is what I hate about "mashup culture."
posted by charlie don't surf at 1:15 PM on May 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


They have shown incredible restraint not killing off any cloned Rories yet. But I guess there is always next episode.
posted by Gary at 1:16 PM on May 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


I liked the monastery -- great use of a real location, and it isn't cheating something else, the way that they have a Cardiff stadium cheating a space prison and such.

I only heard one really good line -- Rory's "Welcome to my world." Nice lampshading of what has become a "thing". But then all of New Who is really noisy for my middle-aged ears and there's a lot of dialog I just plain miss. I'm seriously thinking of ways to filter the audio.

The setup is interesting, but I'm less happy with the exploration and execution. Feels like there's something more there but we're not going to get into that with a Doctor "Ganger". There was more reliance on expository fluff and "oh, by the way, two guys are going for the suits" than the existential dread that seems inherent in this concept.

We're also starting to rack up a TARDIS-not-available, please-try-again-later "thing". I hope these false obstacles don't add up to a whiz-bang Star Trek transporter that is, you know, always broken or malfunctioning. I thought the Doctor was mighty quick to gin up a perfunctory need to use the TARDIS as a lifeboat when he's been in plenty of danger before and hasn't bothered. Just focus on the damn problem, OK?
posted by dhartung at 2:16 PM on May 22, 2011


We're also starting to rack up a TARDIS-not-available, please-try-again-later "thing".

This has been an old Who trope for a long while, though. Considering the awesome power of the TARDIS, taking it out of the equation is one of the few ways to put the Doctor in personal danger.

That said, I could go for a few more episodes where there are other reasons why he doesn't just up and leave when the going gets hairy.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:48 PM on May 22, 2011


The two things that stick in my mind from this ep:
1) Well, now we probably know how they get around the Doctor dying in Episode 1
2) PVC piping carrying acid? For some reason I found all that PVC just massively distracting, and cheap-looking.

Otherwise, a resounding "eh" from me. Not as torrid as the Pirates shitastic, not as delightfully fanwanky as the Gaiman episode. I'd probably rate is just below the Silurian episodes so far, if not for actionRory. Also, can we please pretty-please stop looking at the quantum pregnancy scan? We've got the idea!
posted by coriolisdave at 2:53 PM on May 22, 2011


So there's 2 Doctors now, so which one got killed at the start of the season?
posted by Mick at 2:53 PM on May 22, 2011


I think the second Doctor is the one River Song kills.
posted by orrnyereg at 3:47 PM on May 22, 2011


Actually, I think I'm going to refer to him as the Cylon Doctor. There are many models, and he has a plan!
posted by orrnyereg at 3:48 PM on May 22, 2011


A plan? A PLAN?!? The Doctor NEVER has a plan. Or at least, never a good one.
posted by coriolisdave at 4:04 PM on May 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, he's definitely up to something. He went there deliberately, after all, do do something specific.
posted by Grangousier at 4:07 PM on May 22, 2011


I loved it -- it was total old-school Who, complete with slime (acid) lapping at the walls of the monastery :) (But that could be because Inferno's is my all time favourite original Who.)

I was surprised how little time they spent (so far) on mistaking the doppelgangers for their people and vice versa

This bothered me a little.
posted by prettypretty at 6:22 PM on May 22, 2011


This is going back a bit, but I'm rewatching - can anyone tell what Idris says at 10:50 in The Doctor's Wife? It almost sounds like she's saying something backwards, but I can't figure out a way to reverse it to check...
posted by you're a kitty! at 7:26 PM on May 22, 2011


The Doctors most implacable enemy - the shitty sound mix.
posted by Artw at 7:36 PM on May 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


A friend of mine pointed out that there have been creepy mobiles in every episode this season.
posted by you're a kitty! at 7:47 PM on May 22, 2011


you're a kitty!: Nup, doesn't make sense forward or back to my ear. Here's the file, first with that section played normally, then after a couple of seconds reversed.

Pity, I totally thought you were onto something.
posted by coriolisdave at 8:06 PM on May 22, 2011


A plan? A PLAN?!? The Doctor NEVER has a plan. Or at least, never a good one.

That's just what the Seventh Doctor wants you to think.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:04 PM on May 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


coriolisdave: "Nup, doesn't make sense forward or back to my ear. Here's the file, first with that section played normally, then after a couple of seconds reversed."

If you watch the Confidential that had Gaiman reading from his screenplay, he specifically mentions Idris making unintelligible sounds that might be words at one point.

I for one am enjoying the new episode - it feels more like Doctor Who to me than anything else so far this season. Slower paced with a more science fiction feel.

PEDANTRY WARNING!
In the Doctor's Wife, how could they have built a TARDIS without an Eye of Harmony? Or is the TARDIS powered by golden fairy dust instead of a stabilized black hole now?

posted by charred husk at 7:00 AM on May 23, 2011


NuWho is entirely, 100% powered by fairy dust. I think we are all going to have to just accept that and move on.
posted by Artw at 7:09 AM on May 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


A plan? A PLAN?!? The Doctor NEVER has a plan.

No, but he's got a Thing. Which is like a Plan, only with more greatness.

It's a Thing in progress. Respect the Thing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:56 AM on May 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Just saw The Rebel Flesh and enjoyed it, but I'll reserve final judgement until I see the second part. Much love for action!Rory though, and really hoping that the Doctor who got killed at the start of the season isn't the gooey one.
posted by harriet vane at 9:02 AM on May 23, 2011


Yeah, I'd see that as kind of a lame cop-out.
posted by Artw at 9:04 AM on May 23, 2011


You're awesome, coriolisdave, even if that turned out to be nothing. I knew I could count on MetaFilter.
posted by you're a kitty! at 9:20 AM on May 23, 2011


But then all of New Who is really noisy for my middle-aged ears and there's a lot of dialog I just plain miss. I'm seriously thinking of ways to filter the audio.

It can't be said enough, you guys: Murray Gold must be stopped.
posted by orrnyereg at 9:58 AM on May 23, 2011


Personally I'm wondering if we're seeing some kind of Genesis of the Autons type situation, though it's a bit biological for that. Or prototype regeneration technology, if this plays into the larger arc.
posted by Artw at 10:01 AM on May 23, 2011


I was sure an interesting twist was being set up during the part where everybody was passed out, like the ones we saw wake up were all copies who didn't know it, but that seems to not be the case. Though I'm still suspicious of the one "real" guy who kept coughing.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 10:33 AM on May 23, 2011


Was there an implication made by the doctor that he's encountered "the flesh" in the future?
posted by drezdn at 12:11 PM on May 23, 2011


Seemed that way. Didn't he call it "early technology" and briefly look mysterious and pensive?
posted by orrnyereg at 1:37 PM on May 23, 2011


Yup. I really hope it isn't the regeneration thing.
posted by Artw at 1:58 PM on May 23, 2011


charred husk, I think the implication was the junkyard contained everything necessary (although he might have wanted to actually check before confidently rallying Idris). Either that, or Idris herself was the vessel.
posted by dhartung at 2:28 PM on May 23, 2011


No, but he's got a Thing. Which is like a Plan, only with more greatness.

"Gray bits," I'd think, rather than greatness.

Actually, probably "grey bits."
posted by weston at 3:02 PM on May 23, 2011


Also, regarding Rory: the newfound independence and action is one of the things I've been hoping for. Having him go from tagalong/redshirt to Roman Centurion at the end of season 5 was great -- it's nice to have some character arcs to go along with plot arcs. Season 6 has seemed like a bit of a regression there, both in terms of his personal security regarding Amy's Choice and, well, dying in half the episodes. So I'm doubly happy to see him pick up again, and really hope that Moffat is going to do things which make this stick.

And, of course, it makes quite a bit of sense that Rory is highly sympathetic to beings who are part human memory/soul and part synthetic stuff.
posted by weston at 3:16 PM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I for one am enjoying the new episode - it feels more like Doctor Who to me than anything else so far this season. Slower paced with a more science fiction feel.

This is the only episode this year I've really, really liked; I have to be honest and say that while I could never give up on this show -- not this show! -- I was starting to wonder if maybe I shouldn't just wait for the midseason/series break and watch it all at once and see if I liked it any better then, because I've just not been feeling it. But suddenly everyone stopped shouting and it was all so relaxed and not a bunch of people pain-grinning through forced whimsy and plot convolutions, but instead...*ahhhh*...a story. With a plot! And cool concepts, too! And strong characters! And you kinda care about them! And even Rory's starting to get cool! It's all so...soothing.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:40 PM on May 23, 2011


Yeah, I was pretty sure we were seeing the birth of the Nestene, and I was expecting Rory to comfort Jen by telling her that he used to be plastic.
posted by painquale at 7:33 PM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Of course, the NuWHo Nestene were revealed to be (what else?) a big swirly light thing in it's very first episode...
posted by Artw at 8:07 PM on May 23, 2011


Brainwave: they blacked out in this episode for what they thought was a few minutes but may have actually been an hour. Similar thing happened to Amy in Day of the Moon when she was captured by the Silents -- thought she'd been blacked out a few minutes when it was a few days (according to the Silents). Hmmm...
posted by prettypretty at 8:09 PM on May 23, 2011


Finally watched the new episode last night. It was late and I was tired, and I'm going to need to watch it again to really get all the plot points. But: it felt like a proper Four Hinchcliffe/Holmes thing and I really liked that. Also, do not watch Moff episodes immediately before bed!
posted by immlass at 8:18 AM on May 24, 2011


But weren't the Nestene (I always think of delicious, refreshing Nestea whenever they're brought up) supposed to be sentient aliens? That is, not of human manufacture.
posted by orrnyereg at 9:49 AM on May 24, 2011


I actually don't know how much I liked this latest episode. The romantic tension they're setting up between Rory and Amy seems a little gimmicky to me; I mean, just when it seemed a bit as though Rory was becoming more of his own character, apparently it has to turn out that this is rebellious and cruel towards her. So I spent a lot of the episode groaning and saying "what? Why would you do this, Rory? Do you not know how this looks?" I guess he's not supposed to. And of course, as per the formula so far this season, I kind of expect that Rory and Amy will have their "relationship moment" where they reconnect in the next episode.

Actually, an interesting possibility for me would have a copy of Rory staying with Jen. That would give Amy and Rory some interesting complications to deal with down the road, and it wouldn't be a retread of the formula they've been using so far this season.

On the whole, though, that seems like the main tension right now - what will the copies do? Or: what will the originals do? Sure, there's this whole threat-of-violence action-sequence thing where they're threatening to kill each other, but as the Doctor always knows that's ephemeral and will be alleviated soon enough. The genuine conflict to be resolved was set up by the little conversation between the copy and the original about the family and the kid back home, and the unspoken question: who gets to return to claim that life?

Of course, if this were Russell Davies, it wouldn't really be a conflict. He'd just invent a few extra parallel universes and send the copies there. Pretty sure he actually did that a few times.

Hrm. Maybe I kind of liked this episode after all.
posted by koeselitz at 10:12 AM on May 24, 2011


Doctor Who Babies, and a flickr stream. (from reddit)
posted by Gary at 11:52 AM on May 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Who is babby formed?

(Sorry)
posted by orrnyereg at 1:57 PM on May 24, 2011


just when it seemed a bit as though Rory was becoming more of his own character, apparently it has to turn out that this is rebellious and cruel towards her

It seems to me that Rory's new non-doormatty behavior is rather like the Doctor's: recognizing alien life as worthy, and fiercely protective of that life's worth.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 4:31 PM on May 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


I might have missed it on first watching, but I didn't think that Rory was being at all cruel or even inconsiderate. He was being hit on, but made it clear that he wasn't interested.
posted by you're a kitty! at 8:24 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


A friend of mine pointed out that there have been creepy mobiles in every episode this season

That's because this season is a creepy-ass space/time nursery for Amy's quantum pregnancy. Said nursery is being overseen by eyepatch lady. That's my theory at least.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 8:38 PM on May 24, 2011


We had a deal, Kyle: "just when it seemed a bit as though Rory was becoming more of his own character, apparently it has to turn out that this is rebellious and cruel towards her

It seems to me that Rory's new non-doormatty behavior is rather like the Doctor's: recognizing alien life as worthy, and fiercely protective of that life's worth.
"

Yeah. I didn't get a "cruel" vibe at all. Remember that he's a nurse by profession, and easily the most empathetic out of the trio. Hugging a terrified girl to make her feel safe fits perfectly with his character, and says nothing about his loyalty to Amy.

I'm really glad that his character (like Mickey) has evolved from "Expendable dumb boyfriend" to one of my favorite members of the cast.

*Mind you, Amy might not feel the same way, which will almost certainly be a plot point in the next episode.

Also...I wouldn't mind a Martha/Mickey cameo, and for some reason, I'm starting to have a hunch that we'll eventually see David Tennant's face again. After all, there still is another copy of him walking around somewhere.

posted by schmod at 10:45 AM on May 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm starting to have a hunch that we'll eventually see David Tennant's face again. After all, there still is another copy of him walking around somewhere.

Nah, the other copy of him is in the alternate universe with Rose. (And David Tennant's tied up with being a new dad and doing Much Ado About Nothing in the West End as well.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:49 AM on May 25, 2011


Not reading anything about the most recent episode, but is it possible the TARDIS scenes in The Doctor's Wife were partly a tribute to House of Leaves? Name of the villain? Bigger on the inside than the outside? Messing with time and space? Or was House of Leaves partly a Doctor Who tribute?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:15 PM on May 25, 2011


I'm starting to have a hunch that we'll eventually see David Tennant's face again.

Well, we're rapidly approaching the 50th anniversary. If you don't think we're going to get some hard core Tennant action then, you're crazy.

(and by the 75th, we'll be able to have totally believable CGI Bill Hartnell yelling at the 17th Doctor for the waterslide installed in the console room.)
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 6:31 PM on May 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hard core Tennant action.
posted by you're a kitty! at 10:39 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I mean, just when it seemed a bit as though Rory was becoming more of his own character, apparently it has to turn out that this is rebellious and cruel towards her.

Like others said, I don't see it that way. I do, however, see Amy consistently upset and unhappy about Rory stepping up to be heroic... But not because it's heroic, and not because it somehow distances him from her. Instead, she doesn't like it because it means he isn't safe.

I see their relationship dynamic like this: Amy is the fiery, exciting, adventurous one, Rory is the quiet, gentle, peaceful one. He is supposed to be the rock that keeps her tethered to the earth, and she is meant to be the powerful guardian that protects the safety of that rock. But, nowadays, he's not sitting still. He's not staying at home, under her protective eye. Amy doesn't want him going off and rescuing some other woman because there is ACID AND DEATH waiting around every turn, and if he's not right by her side or in the tardis, she can't be assured that he'll be okay.

Some people show their love by saying it, but Amy is too guarded to do that. Instead, she shows her love by protecting. She wants to protect Rory, always and ever (she's just not as explicit about this goal as, say, a Centurion standing guard over a 'coffin' for 2000 years is). She feels lost and confused when he runs off, taking his safety into his own hands. She worries about him.

That's how I read the tension between them in this episode, at least.
posted by meese at 7:51 AM on May 27, 2011 [9 favorites]


Hrm. Didn't Rory tell Amy to shut up at one point?
posted by koeselitz at 8:36 AM on May 27, 2011


Just saw the first part. Reminded me a bit of David Brin's Kiln People. Anyone think this opens up the possibility that the Doctor in The Impossible Astronaut is a Ganger?

I was in a relationship that was a bit like Amy and Rory's. I had pretty much no self-esteem by the end of it.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 3:49 AM on May 28, 2011


Also, I wondered why they didn't call the Gangers 'clones'. Seemed like it would be easier on the audience. But in Impossible Astronaut they specifically the dead Doctor isn't a clone...
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:00 AM on May 28, 2011


Also: what kind of idiot at BBC America decided that for Memorial Day weekend we'd prefer a marathon of old episodes rather than the second part of the two-parter that started last week? I mean really.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:11 AM on May 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


Thank you, meese -- I like that explanation a lot.

It wouldn't really be correct to call the Gangers clones, would it? A clone is a genetic copy, which may or may not physically resemble the original, and which would have it own mind, personality, experiences, and so on. The Gangers, by contrast, are something else: Jenny's Ganger, for example, IS JENNY, only made out of that gooey stuff. So, if the dead Doctor isn't a clone, he might still be a Ganger.

Which brings me back to the term they use, Doppelganger. Wikipedia calls it "a tangible double of a living person in fiction, folklore, and popular culture that typically represents evil." I couldn't find it on the Wikipedia page, but I remember reading somewhere that one of the interpretations of the Doppelganger was that it eventually kills/takes over its original.

Not sure how far the DW people are going to go with this (I am remaining studiously unspoiled) but it would be an interesting idea for the show.

All of which is to say, really looking forward to Part 2!
posted by orrnyereg at 10:12 AM on May 28, 2011


I think it's fair to say I didn't see that coming.
posted by Grangousier at 11:35 AM on May 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I know! I though it was brilliant, next weeks episode should be superb. I enjoyed this weeks episode much more then the first part, I think the only real flaw is some dodgy cgi.
posted by Harpocrates at 12:54 PM on May 28, 2011


I'm snagging this now. Looking forward to it.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 1:40 PM on May 28, 2011


Well they certainly ramped up the nightmare fuel this episode...
posted by the_artificer at 2:22 PM on May 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


AGHHHH WTF.

Also, my previous theory was a little bit off.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 3:25 PM on May 28, 2011


Still. Body horror on BBC1 at half past seven. That's a sort of breakthrough.
posted by Grangousier at 3:38 PM on May 28, 2011


At this point, I'm giving up on trying to construct intricate theories. They just come along and bash them to pieces.

I have to wonder though.....

SPOILER~

So a big part of this was about the humanity and right to live for the gangers, right? And once in the tardis, the Doctor mentions the ganger have been stabilized and are fully human.

....and so then he goes ahead and kills Amy's ganger just easy as you please. In cold blood, you could say.

(Also, why did she collapse into goo? They had just said the gangers were stabilized!)
posted by Windigo at 3:47 PM on May 28, 2011


Different generation of Ganger. They were living things - this one (a later model without that glitch) was just a projection - dissolve it with the sonic screwdriver (as the otherdoctor and whatsherface had just demonstrated) and the projectee wakes up. It's all there, but maybe elucidated a bit more quickly than was helpful. Have another look.

I realise I should have translated that into gibberish, but, as Yoda would say, arsed I could not be.
posted by Grangousier at 3:56 PM on May 28, 2011


Oooooo, ok. Yeah, I'm gonna have to give the episode a second watch (which I like to do anyway, because Matt Smith zips his lines off so fast I often miss all the funny clever bits the first time around)
posted by Windigo at 4:05 PM on May 28, 2011


No, really, it does make sense - the whole story was the Doctor doing research into the Flesh to be sure of what will happen when he does that thing at the end.
posted by Grangousier at 4:09 PM on May 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


Without going back to watch, I'm assuming the switch time has to be while in the custody of the Silence, yes?
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 4:15 PM on May 28, 2011


Great to hear some of the old(Also, wondering if the Cybermat mention was one of those "got that, audience? Cause OG Cybermen be a-coming." type references. If only hearing Tom Baker's voice meant we'd be seeing him again soon. Damn you, CGI, catch up.)
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 4:17 PM on May 28, 2011


Yes, that was a tad squeee, wasn't it?
posted by Grangousier at 4:19 PM on May 28, 2011


Solid episode, deft plotting. Great use of misdirection. I was so foolishly impressed with myself for predicting so many other plot points that I didn't even anticipate there being another twist, let alone a last one like that.

Sidenote: I saw this image comparison on another board and I'd like to share it. I wonder if this has something to do with those weird dolls we saw in the series 6 preview.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:34 PM on May 28, 2011


I'm starting to have a hunch that we'll eventually see David Tennant's face again.

We get his voice in this one, does that count?
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 4:46 PM on May 28, 2011


Sticherbeast: I found that balloon really jarring. Where'd it come from?!? I can see the Doc keeping vials of useful first-aid gear under the console - I mean sure, why not? - but random balloon from nowhere??

John Kenneth Fisher: Without going back to watch, I'm assuming the switch time has to be while in the custody of the Silence, yes?
Actually, I think not. Remember that Amy first sees eyepatch-lady before being taken by the Silence. I'd wager that she was switched either during the season break, in the currently-unexplained earth baby-making holiday, or sometime back in Season 5.
posted by coriolisdave at 5:23 PM on May 28, 2011


Could her kidnapping be linked to her body being put in the Pandorica so that it could be reborn with the universe in "The Big Bang"?
posted by Rock Steady at 7:49 PM on May 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I thought that episode was about Amy learning a valuable lesson about racism, and it turns out the whole season was about us all learning a valuable lesson about racism. Holy crap.
posted by you're a kitty! at 11:14 PM on May 28, 2011


I suspect the swap was between eps 1 & 2 - after all, everything we know about what happened we saw in flashback via someone's memories, a notoriously shaky thing around The Silence.
posted by Grangousier at 1:59 AM on May 29, 2011


On Doctor Who Confidential one of the producers said the swap happened before episode one of this season.
posted by Mick at 4:31 AM on May 29, 2011


(*Spoilers* probably goes without saying)

If Amy was a ganger, what's to say the doctor isn't his 1103 (or whatever) year old version? I'm not entirely sure how that would work, but this doctor does know stuff before it happens. It seems a little bit confirmed in the rebel flesh and when the solar storm hits the doctor talks about rerouting the wiring of the cockerel/solar power router before all hell breaks loose and then says "I never thought I'd get to say thta again" before reminding Amy to breathe (just rewatching again now). He also doesn't seem all that surprised when Amy told him about his death.

(my this is so much fun.... can't wait for next week :)
posted by prettypretty at 5:35 AM on May 29, 2011


On Doctor Who Confidential one of the producers said the swap happened before episode one of this season.

I have to confess that seems a bit cheaty.
posted by Grangousier at 6:11 AM on May 29, 2011


Well, it looks like Amy was wrong about the Silence making you feel sick when you see them. That was just her pregnancy.

So why did they make River feel sick?

He also doesn't seem all that surprised when Amy told him about his death.


Plus, he mentions getting an invitation to his own death.
posted by painquale at 12:18 PM on May 29, 2011


Stupid BBCA won't show part 2 until next week! This is a travesty!

Well, goodbye cruel thread: you've been a lot of fun but I don't want to ruin the surprise. See you next week...
posted by orrnyereg at 1:42 PM on May 29, 2011


Well this Doctor thread is about to die anyway. I wonder what the new regeneration will look like.
posted by the_artificer at 2:03 PM on May 29, 2011


You can't just change what I look like without consulting me!
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 3:27 PM on May 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


"PuuuuuuuusssssshhHHHHHHHHHH!"

Goddamn scariest thing I've ever heard in my life.
posted by PapaLobo at 3:47 PM on May 29, 2011


My goodness, that was awesome.

Mefi needs some TWOP-like subsite, so we can discuss this without threat of the threads disappearing.
posted by meese at 4:06 PM on May 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


Goddamn scariest thing I've ever heard in my life.

Ahh, then you've not heard Nickelback yet. Fortunate.
posted by juiceCake at 7:28 PM on May 29, 2011 [5 favorites]


Awesome, awesome episode.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:50 PM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


painquale: “Plus, he mentions getting an invitation to his own death.”

Yes, but that's just because Amy told him about that earlier in the episode.
posted by koeselitz at 7:56 PM on May 29, 2011


prettypretty: “It seems a little bit confirmed in the rebel flesh and when the solar storm hits the doctor talks about rerouting the wiring of the cockerel/solar power router before all hell breaks loose and then says "I never thought I'd get to say thta again" before reminding Amy to breathe... ”

No, wait – what did he say just before he said "I never thought I'd get to say that again?" I thought it was something he'd actually said before.
posted by koeselitz at 7:58 PM on May 29, 2011


prettypretty: “It seems a little bit confirmed in the rebel flesh and when the solar storm hits the doctor talks about rerouting the wiring of the cockerel/solar power router before all hell breaks loose and then says "I never thought I'd get to say thta again" before reminding Amy to breathe... ”

I believe he said something similar in the Venice episode, when he had to climb to the top of the tower to break the weather machine. That's what I thought he was referring to.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:36 PM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


After watching this episode we went back and re-watched bits of it to confirm the following things (which are probably obvious yo you all... and SPOILERS)


  • The Doctor knew about the invitation to his own death at the end because when Amy thought she was talking to ganger Doctor about that, she was actually talking to the Doctor since they had switched places.
  • What seemed like the Doctor had already been there/knew what was happening was because he had come there to investigate the ganger tech - he knew it was there, but shenanigans happened...
  • Amy probably got switched with the ganger between where she announced herself to be pregnant and then said that she was wrong. I think the Silence kidnapping occurred then.

  • posted by charred husk at 8:46 PM on May 29, 2011


    Damn I forgot about the Venice episode :\

    charred husk I like your theory better :)
    posted by prettypretty at 8:48 PM on May 29, 2011


    I recall Gillan (I think) saying suggesting that there's a throwaway line of Amy's in The Impossible Astronaut that's critical to the season - I wonder if rewatching it now would make it stand out...
    posted by you're a kitty! at 8:51 PM on May 29, 2011


    Actually I stand corrected - the 3 months between Impossible Astronaut and Day of the Moon is probably where the switch occurred since the Silence abducted her after she said that she wasn't pregnant.

    But why did the Silence kidnap her after she was swapped? And they led the girl (presumably her daughter) to her. And they told her to tell the Doctor she was pregnant, alerting him to check her out and become suspicious...
    posted by charred husk at 8:59 PM on May 29, 2011


    The first episode was meh. Loved the second one, except I'm annoyed that Ganger Doctor, Ganger Cleaves and Dickens' deaths were completely avoidable. Lazy writers.
    posted by nooneyouknow at 9:03 PM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


    I loved the Doctor repeatedly addressing Rory in crisis situations as Rory Pond.
    posted by you're a kitty! at 9:10 PM on May 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


    Does anyone know what the first thing is that the FleshDoctor says in part 2? It sounds like, "It's a wonder we all get back... yes... one day."
    posted by you're a kitty! at 9:20 PM on May 29, 2011


    To steal a comment from the new Dr thread and bring it here to spoilerville...

    His thoughts were red thoughts:
    The entire reason for going to the acid factory was to research the Flesh, learn how to turn off the Flesh, and what would happen if he turned off the Amy Ganger.

    His point that the electrified Gangers, with independant personalilties, are people worthy of their own lives still stands.

    But the Amy one was was just a shell into which Amy's mind was being projected - it could not function on its own. The argument that you shouldn't impose personalities on the Flesh is also still valid, but not at the cost of Amy's life and safety, I guess.


    My confusion here is that the Flesh seem to be self-aware without the electric shock - they show that pile of discarded, still-sentient gangers downstairs. The gangers also talk about remembering all the deaths, and the eyes that never quite dissolve...
    posted by coriolisdave at 11:17 PM on May 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


    By the way, charred husk - somebody earlier said that in this week's Confidential it was confirmed that Amy's pregnancy happened before the first episode of this season. Which, yeah, is frankly less satisfying than your theories.
    posted by koeselitz at 11:32 PM on May 29, 2011


    (Er, Amy's switch with a ganger I mean...)
    posted by koeselitz at 11:33 PM on May 29, 2011


    My confusion here is that the Flesh seem to be self-aware without the electric shock - they show that pile of discarded, still-sentient gangers downstairs. The gangers also talk about remembering all the deaths, and the eyes that never quite dissolve...

    The point is that they can't function on their own, I think. The reason why using the Flesh for Gangers is bad is because you are creating sentience, cripped life that can't operate independently, and then dies in agony and without understanding why (once you finish using the Gangers, that is).

    The Doctor feels compassion for the Flesh. But that compassion doesn't extend to allowing the Flesh to be used to brutalise Amy. He chose the fully sentient friend (restoring her conciousness to her body so she could fight back) over the semi-sentient parasite lifeform (which couldn't survive on its own in any case).

    That's the best rationalisation I could come up with, in any case. I thought it was fucked too. He's the freaking Doctor - he couldn't have thought of a way to sever Amy from the Ganger without destroying the Ganger? It would have caused issues with Rory, but that might have been interesting.
    posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:40 PM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


    ... Which actually makes sense - all the time when Amy thought she was pregnant, she was just having flashes of reality from her real body.

    charred husk: "But why did the Silence kidnap her after she was swapped? And they led the girl (presumably her daughter) to her. And they told her to tell the Doctor she was pregnant, alerting him to check her out and become suspicious..."

    And they told her to tell the Doctor what he must never know - that she watched him die. Which she just did. Except they didn't exactly tell her to - they said "you WILL tell the Doctor what he must know (that she's pregnant?) ... And what he must NEVER know (that she watched him die)." It's as though what that Silence said in the bathroom at the White House in 1969 wasn't an order or a command, but a prediction. A prediction which came true.

    One thing that would be interesting would be if the Silence turn out to be much more benevolent than they seemed. At this point, looking back, they do seem to be the only ones warning the Doctor and Amy of these things that are to occur; and even at the time, they seemed intent on caring for Amy's child. The eye-patch lady is much more sinister to me now than they were.

    That would, of course, make it quite... unfortunate that the Doctor sort of set up the extinction of the Silence.

    Anyway, there's always the likely possibility that the Silence and the eye-patch lady are in cahoots. But something in me really wants to see the Silence's low, monotone dronings as not evil but neutral. Guess that's tough, the way they were set up, but they obviously had more going on than anybody in the Tardis seems to remember. That distortion field around them is very strong.

    And, though it kind of goes against my little benevolent-Silence theory here, I have to say that that scene in the bathroom, and the dark, dark humor of it. When Amy, flabbergasted, asks the Silence why he had to kill that woman, and he replies darkly: "Her name was Joy." Ha! Brilliantly, blackly hilarious.
    posted by koeselitz at 11:50 PM on May 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


    Immediately before dissolving OtherAmy, the Doctor says something like "I'll make this as humane as I can, given what we've just learned", which means that he's still doing something not-nice, but he knows it's not-nice, and it's the least-worst option (perhaps because Amy going through labour and birth remotely and then being cut off from her child might be worse than being at the tender mercies of eyepatch lady.
    posted by Grangousier at 12:09 AM on May 30, 2011


    I want one scene, just one , in the Tardis where Rory and Amy ask the doctor if they can borrow his sonic screwdriver before going off to their bedroom
    posted by Poet_Lariat at 12:11 AM on May 30, 2011 [11 favorites]


    One thing that would be interesting would be if the Silence turn out to be much more benevolent than they seemed.

    I agree and I got that distinct impression from the scene in the White House bathroom. The way they were cowering in the Florida cave that led to the other Tardis also seemed to suggest this (basically, I'd be willing to take a bet either way on neutral-or-possibly-good/evil)
    posted by prettypretty at 12:14 AM on May 30, 2011


    He's the freaking Doctor - he couldn't have thought of a way to sever Amy from the Ganger without destroying the Ganger? It would have caused issues with Rory, but that might have been interesting made up for being plastic for two thousand years.
    posted by fullerine at 12:41 AM on May 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


    I'm fairly sure the AmyGanger had no independent mind, and when the Doctor severed its connection to the real Amy it lost its form.
    posted by Harpocrates at 12:51 AM on May 30, 2011


    Pretty sure he had to do it in order for Amy to become conscious in her original body.
    posted by Coaticass at 2:03 AM on May 30, 2011


    Does anyone know what the first thing is that the FleshDoctor says in part 2? It sounds like, "It's a wonder we all get back... yes... one day."

    "One day, we will get back. Yes, one day." It's the First Doctor, from An Unearthly Child. 17:30 in the video.

    He actually misquotes himself a bit, but I think we can forgive him under the circumstances.
    posted by maqsarian at 3:25 AM on May 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


    Impressively done, masarian!
    posted by you're a kitty! at 7:08 AM on May 30, 2011


    So the point of this last episode is that, surprise, it has been gangerAmy since episode 1, but we never should have bothered to try to guess, because there were no real clues other than the highly ambiguous pregnancy scanner one? (I refuse to say that eyepatch woman was a clue to this.) And gangerAmy is a full ganger? Is a sort of hologram thing, with realAmy speaking and acting through it? Does realAmy remember the things she did as gangerAmy?

    I am more confused by this season than enjoying it, though this may be because it is the first season I have watched as it aired instead of all at once. I feel if I rewatched all of the Matt Smith episodes things would make more sense, but it's summer. Still, the Amy plot feels like a huge cheat, given that it appears that the entire season will be somewhat about this.
    posted by jeather at 7:24 AM on May 30, 2011


    I think she does remember everything that's happened, given the events of the opening scene in part 1.

    Wild speculation:

    It felt like they put a lot of effort at the end into the Doctor & GangerDoctor stating something about molecular memory, and how dissolving into grey goo wasn't necessarily the end. I wonder how certain we can be that any of the gangers are gone for good.

    Also, Prisoner Zero: "The cracks in the skin of the universe, don't you know where they came from? You don't, do you? The Doctor in the TARDIS doesn't know."
    posted by you're a kitty! at 7:51 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


    eyepatch woman was totally a clue to this. It made me and people I watch Who with feel Amy was in fact dreaming or something, but being looked in on by someone she had no control over. We couldn't [be expected to] figure out exactly what, but it was a really strong clue.

    realAmy was driving gangerAmy and thinking she *was* gangerAmy. Their connection apparently stays stable even as gangerAmy travels through time and space, which is parTICularly trippy, if you ask me. Moffat's got some 'splainin' to do.

    He had to break the connection to let Amy go through labor in the right body--probably a good idea. He's also been telling her to *breathe* a lot this season, which now slots right into place.
    posted by clauclauclaudia at 7:57 AM on May 30, 2011


    My question is when did the Doctor figure out that Amy was a ganger? There were some obvious clues in this episode (he scans her, he works to figure out the "rules" of gangerdom, Amy is more drawn to GangerDoc) but I don't remember seeing any before this two-parter, other than moodily staring at that pregnancy scan.
    posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:16 AM on May 30, 2011


    Amy is more drawn to GangerDoc.

    I definitely thought that was because she thought he was the original Doctor.

    He did say the screwdriver could sense gangers, but I suppose he'd have to know what they were to begin with.
    posted by you're a kitty! at 8:25 AM on May 30, 2011


    I definitely thought that was because she thought he was the original Doctor.

    Pretty sure that was deliberate misdirection, as was the screwdriver bit. He notes at some point that it's interesting that she was more drawn to OtherDoctor. The screwdriver stuff also happens as he scans her, then looks at the screwdriver significantly.
    posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:29 AM on May 30, 2011


    Also, why was the (presumably real) Doctor screaming "WHY WHY WHY" at Amy?
    posted by you're a kitty! at 8:49 AM on May 30, 2011


    that the Doctor sort of set up the extinction of the Silence ... Silence's low, monotone dronings as not evil but neutral

    I guess the Silence survive after all. At least to the 31st century.
    posted by PapaLobo at 9:09 AM on May 30, 2011


    jeather: "Still, the Amy plot feels like a huge cheat, given that it appears that the entire season will be somewhat about this."

    Well, take hope - I don't think the whole season will be about this. Remember that next week's episode is the 'midseason finale,' and that, if things are anything like last year, that will mean that, at the very least, the major theme of the season so far will take a dramatic turn and become something quite different. It certainly doesn't seem to me that we'll be dealing with the Amy side plot past next episode, and we may even see the resolution of the 'Doctor knows he's going to die' thing, since now he, well, knows.
    posted by koeselitz at 9:58 AM on May 30, 2011


    I think the major plot point in the second part of the season will be River Song.
    posted by Windigo at 9:59 AM on May 30, 2011


    Has anyone rewatched Impossible Astronaut and come up with some of Amy's lines that might be the one in question that clues us in?
    posted by Windigo at 10:07 AM on May 30, 2011


    Steven Moffat on the identity of River Song:

    That’s absolutely coming. You’re going to find out very soon, and that means we have to do it next series, really… The critical thing here is I want to explain who she is, not explain away who she is. If you don’t deliver on most people’s expectations, and you just say, ‘Ooh, she’s a specially programmed android who believes she’s the Doctor’s wife,’ people will go, ‘That‘s a cheat.’ You can’t do that… It’s a really good story, and it’s sort of the story of next year.


    Also, Trailer for next week.
    posted by you're a kitty! at 10:07 AM on May 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


    Rewatching the Impossible Astronaut picnic scene and just figured something out:

    It's not the "timehead" line that's the throwaway spoiler. When they're all gathered around the (presumably dead) Doctor, Amy says "maybe he's a clone, or a triplicate or something."

    !!!

    Such a throwaway line that no one even remembered it...
    posted by laconic titan at 10:35 AM on May 30, 2011


    Speak for yourself, laconic titan. ;-) But I thought of it when we watched the end of episode 5, because hey! Duplicate doctor!

    I really think Amy ought to be not yet gangerAmy in the picnic scene, because the Doctor comments that she's gained a couple pounds, and hey, pregnancy. But we shall see....
    posted by clauclauclaudia at 11:07 AM on May 30, 2011


    I wonder if the Doctor's ganger can regenerate too. I'd expect not, but who knows....
    posted by you're a kitty! at 11:27 AM on May 30, 2011


    Clever you, clauclauclaudia. Yes, I've been going back and forth over what it means when the Doctor comments that she's gained a couple of pounds--is it a reference to the pregnancy, or an oblique acknowledgment that she's the ganger of a captive pregnant Amy? When Amy sees the first Silent of the episode that appears on the cliff during the picnic, is that when the switch is made?

    And why is the Amy of Almost People wearing the same outfit as the Amy at the picnic? Exactly the same, down to the shoes and hairstyle? Rory is wearing something completely different.
    posted by laconic titan at 11:52 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


    PhoBWanKenobiMy question is when did the Doctor figure out that Amy was a ganger?

    I'm wondering if it's when Amy is kidnapped and somehow the hand-implanted bug is left behind. She's made of Flesh, not meat and cartilage and such that the bug expects to link to.

    Also, why - just outside of Amy's bedroom in the house she grew up in - is there a set of stairs leading up to the third floor of a house that (in multiple exterior establishing shots) has only two floors?
    posted by rmd1023 at 2:16 PM on May 30, 2011


    rmd1023: I'm wondering if it's when Amy is kidnapped and somehow the hand-implanted bug is left behind. She's made of Flesh, not meat and cartilage and such that the bug expects to link to.
    Only, she sees the eyepatch lady (for the first time) before she is kidnapped and the bug left behind - "She's still dreaming". This would imply that she's already a ganger at the point where she enters the child's room.

    Also, why - just outside of Amy's bedroom in the house she grew up in - is there a set of stairs leading up to the third floor of a house that (in multiple exterior establishing shots) has only two floors?
    I'm fairly comfortable in saying that's just the stairs to the attic level - in at least one exterior shot that I've of the house (last time it was raised on mefi) you can see those stairs through the first-floor window.
    posted by coriolisdave at 2:23 PM on May 30, 2011


    Right -- she's already a ganger when the bug goes in, and so it's left behind because it's not melded to her the way it would be to a human made of meat. So I'm wondering if this is when the Doctor figures out something is weird about Amy - the bug didn't follow her.

    If she is already a ganger at the start of the season, I'll be annoyed because (at the moment) I think it will feel like cheating to have it take place *completely* out of the main narrative.
    posted by rmd1023 at 3:12 PM on May 30, 2011


    rmd1023: I'm wondering if it's when Amy is kidnapped and somehow the hand-implanted bug is left behind. She's made of Flesh, not meat and cartilage and such that the bug expects to link to.

    coriolisdave: Only, she sees the eyepatch lady (for the first time) before she is kidnapped and the bug left behind - "She's still dreaming". This would imply that she's already a ganger at the point where she enters the child's room.

    Right. The question (well, PhoBWanKenobi's question) is not when Amy was swapped but when the Doctor knew. He said that those bugs bonded permanently to the cartilage, so it being removed from her is a good clue *something* hinky is going on.

    Hm. Did he tell her to breathe before that point?
    posted by clauclauclaudia at 3:19 PM on May 30, 2011


    Presumably she can't have been gone for more than nine months unless the baby isn't Rory's...
    posted by you're a kitty! at 3:20 PM on May 30, 2011


    Presumably she can't have been gone for more than nine months unless the baby isn't Rory's...

    I doubt very much the the baby is Rory's, what with the implication that it is a time lady.

    I don't have much in the way of guesses here (I had just rewatched "The Beast Below," and was working on a theory about how when scanned in the future in that episode, the machine knows her name and birthdate but cannot come to a conclusion as to her marital status, but then, well, this episode aired and now I'm back to square one.) We seem to assume that The Silence are key to the pregnancy, which makes sense, though the preview for "A Good Man Goes to War" doesn't feature them at all, but does imply that the baby can be used as a weapon (which makes sense if the baby is the same as the little time lady from "Day of the Moon.")

    My best guess is that during that time that The Doctor was running around through all space and time while Amy and Rory were domesticating themselves, The Silence hit upon a plan to breed a new Time Lord/Lady, and manipulated them all to get them in the same place, then stealing some time from them in order to kidnap and replace Amy and get her all time-lord-pregnant. Then we had a period of indeterminate amount of time passing: "Curse of the Black Spot" and "The Doctor's Wife" both occurred outside of larger temporal context, and when we first see our little TARDIS family at the beginning of "The Rebel Flesh," with that jarring sound of the Muse song playing in the background and Rory getting pretty good at darts, it would appear that the three of them have been traveling around for quite a while by this point.

    Anyway, excited for next week. Always psyched to see Rory be a badass.
    posted by Navelgazer at 5:33 PM on May 30, 2011


    I must say I'm impressed that they managed to do "redheaded main character is kidnapped by aliens and has an unconscious pregnancy" without really invoking The X-Files.
    posted by you're a kitty! at 5:42 PM on May 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


    A little research supports my above hypothesis a little, at least as far as the timing is concerned. Amy is wearing the same clothes through the season so far (red plaid flannel button-down shirt, dark blue jeans) and we know that the Flesh recreates what the person who touched it was wearing at the time. (We also know that beings made of Flesh can remove said articles of clothing, which just raises further questions as to why Flesh!Amy would never have changed her clothes, but no matter.) The only scene where she is wearing anything different is her first, in "The Impossible Astronaut," where she's wearing a different colored shirt and a denim skirt. She is wearing the red plaid and dark blue jeans for the first time when they arrive in Monument Valley, where they are promptly met by The Doctor and thereafter we soon get our first sighting of a Silent.
    posted by Navelgazer at 5:57 PM on May 30, 2011


    Sorry Navelgazer.. I just flipped through the first two episodes (to try and support my 'fingernail' theory, that's looking increasingly unlikely), and Amy is wearing a suit in the spooky-house, wherein she first sees eyepatch-lady and is subsequently Silence-napped.

    I also suspect that the kid is a time-lady by dint of Tardis-effect rather than DNA-manipulation, but that's pure speculation on my part. Also, I noticed that the Tardis-soul visual effect is very very similar to the timelord-regen effect (only more gentle). Whether that's merely coincidence or not....
    posted by coriolisdave at 6:28 PM on May 30, 2011


    coriolisdave: You're right, she is wearing a suit there, and given that she sees Eyepatch-Lady is most certainly a ganger by then. Still, we know that they can change clothes if they wish (as The Doctor and Ganger Doctor do) but that in a way they are "born" in the clothes of the original at the time of contact. Almost all of the time that we've seen Ganger Amy she's been in that same outfit, which she did not wear until Monument Valley. I feel that it is silly to disregard this fact.
    posted by Navelgazer at 6:53 PM on May 30, 2011


    I wonder if having her wear the same clothes when we learn she's a ganger is a trick to subconsciously remind us of the Monument Valley bit, so that we assume that was where the switch was made. I agree that it's intentional - it's not like switching up Amy's clothes would put a dent in the budget.
    posted by you're a kitty! at 6:58 PM on May 30, 2011


    I wonder if the Doctor's ganger can regenerate too. I'd expect not, but who knows....

    According to DW logic, yeah, he could. He's supposed to be a copy down to the molecular level. IDK if moffat will take advantage of that or not, but I bet he will.
    posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 7:02 PM on May 30, 2011


    I wonder if the Doctor's ganger can regenerate too. I'd expect not, but who knows....

    He's supposed to be a copy down to the molecular level.


    On top of which, ganger Doctor was shown to go through all of his regenerations -- or at least their voices -- as his neural something-or-other settled down (forget the exact wording they used).
    posted by prettypretty at 7:09 PM on May 30, 2011


    Intriguing. The interrupted regeneration at the beginning of The Impossible Astronaut was the most convincing evidence that that was, in fact, the Doctor.
    posted by you're a kitty! at 7:18 PM on May 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


    Also, if the baby is a Time Lady because of exposure to the TARDIS I'm going to feel really cheated, for some reason. Moffatt is just generally better at playing within known rules than that (yes, I know Amy mentioned her fear of TARDIS effects in episode two, but I don't care. That doesn't make for good drama.)

    Frankly, I'd be happier if it were a result of growing up with the crack in her wall, or having the universe recreated from her memories, or anything but exposure to the TARDIS. DOn't know why, exactly.
    posted by Navelgazer at 7:28 PM on May 30, 2011


    What if the Real Doctor dies, but the Flesh Doctor lives on?
    posted by Sticherbeast at 7:38 PM on May 30, 2011


    I'm rewatching the season premiere, and I noticed that River used the phrase "dropped out of the sky" to describe the Doctor's arrival in her life. I wonder if that's a coincidence, given the second episode.
    posted by you're a kitty! at 7:52 PM on May 30, 2011


    It's possible, I guess, that the death we saw in Monument Valley was of the Ganger Doctor, but I hope not. I'd like a more satisfying explanation than that. Still, even if it is, it leaves open the question of why, exactly, he invited them all there to make sure they were in Florida in 1969 (if that is indeed what the goal was.)

    I'm more and more liking the idea that perhaps we don't understand the Silence much at all yet. Because of their appearance and the creepiness surrounding their methods and nature we assume that they are evil, but they have also been guiding all of human history, it seems. Aside from killing Joy, we really don't see them act maliciously. In fact, they state outright that they don't carry weapons and have no need of them (reminding one of the Doctor himself.)

    The Silent in the White House ladies' room in fact seemingly orders Amy to tell the Doctor two things: 1. That she is pregnant, and 2. that she watched him die. As the modus operandi of the Silence is to have their movements remain unseen and unknown, it stands to reason that these are two events with which the Silence were not involved, but need to be attended to, as they are portents of doom. It does appear, in fact, that the Silence are the ones who have led The Doctor and Rory to the point where they are heading off to rescue Amy.

    This is the Xanatos gambit of the season, but they key thing to remember is that the Silence and The Doctor might not really be so different after all.
    posted by Navelgazer at 8:04 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


    The first thing the eyepatch woman says is, "No, I think she's just dreaming." Is it possible that she's not aware that Amy is (mentally) walking around in a ganger?
    posted by you're a kitty! at 8:28 PM on May 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


    Well, the Silence don't think that they're particularly beneficial to us -- consider the Silence who was injured and then treated. It expressed surprise that Delaware had treated its wounds and suggested that humans should kill all Silence on sight instead.
    posted by rmd1023 at 4:43 AM on May 31, 2011


    I just had an idle thought that River Song is The Rani. Maybe she regenerated and he doesn't recognize her? Nah, probably not. I would like to see The Rani return though. I guess we'll find out next week. I'm just registering my loony idea here in case it happens. Putting Amy in a tank to give birth to a baby grown under controlled conditions, that sounds like something The Rani would do.
    posted by charlie don't surf at 9:34 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


    Any implications at all to the fact that, while Amy's body (and mind) have been inert in one place this whole time, her consciousness has been flitting about through a five-hundred-year timespan, at least, including a trip outside of the actual confines of the universe?
    posted by Navelgazer at 1:21 PM on May 31, 2011


    I just had an idle thought that River Song is The Rani.

    It's a semi-popular theory, but it seems to me it requires some pretty significant personality shifts. Perhaps not unheard of during regeneration, but perhaps not.

    My idle Rani speculation is more along the lines of Eyepatch Lady. Willing to go up against the Doctor? Interested in experimenting? Familiar with Time-Lord technologies (including regeneration)? Check.
    posted by weston at 1:22 PM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


    Well at least we now know that there will be no Daleks this year.
    posted by Navelgazer at 3:00 PM on May 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


    Amy pregnant and neither the Doctor nor Rory admit to being the father. Grar... how typical! I expect these the Doctor will have to take the Tardis to a Maury Povitch show within a few episodes.
    posted by Poet_Lariat at 3:17 PM on May 31, 2011


    there will be no Daleks this year.

    Suppose that rules out Davros as the source of the "silence will fall" voice.

    But it's a little funny considering all the trouble to *yet again* revive the Daleks in Victory last season. I guess to have 'em show up at the Pandorica imprisonment party? Doesn't seem all that important, particularly when coupled with their ostensible reason for banding together -- that the Doctor was going to destroy reality -- given that Daleks seem to have considered it themselves as an extension of their plan to kill everybody.
    posted by weston at 4:57 PM on May 31, 2011


    Oh, btw:

    this thread inspired me to rewatch season 5. There's a silence appearance in the first episode. It's in an establishing shot, near the beginning, in Amy's kitchen. Something walks in front of the camera and the music gets all creepy.
    posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 5:59 PM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


    So the tough question in my mind at this moment is:

    Why are the Silence intent on revealing Amy's pregnancy and the Doctor's eventual death to the Doctor?

    I've said that I share Navelgazer's sense that the Silence are somehow neutral; and somehow it doesn't appear the they were involved directly with Amy's pregnancy. I mean, at the very least we know that they haven't appeared with Eyepatch Lady in any of her flashes. And I think it makes sense for them to be silent background actors in history. However, it does seem pretty clear that they were the ones who ended up raising the girl in 1969. They seem to go to extraordinary lengths to protect her; initiating a space program just to procure a suit for her? Wow. And aside from the general creepiness of that orphanage, she seems to be incredibly well guarded, residing in one of the apparent resting places of the Silence themselves.

    In fact, the Silence would seem to be spectacular guardians of a child for one reason: because they are uniquely gifted at hiding people. Which is particularly good if there's someone or something powerful you need to hide a little girl from.

    It's possible that they're hiding the girl from the Doctor; and of course it would seem that someone at least hid the pregnancy from him. However, via the power of hypnotic suggestion, the Silence are apparently responsible both for Amy's confession to the Doctor that she is pregnant ("what he must know" - of course, how did she know?) and, in "The Almost People," the revelation to the Doctor that he will invite himself to his own death. So, at least at that point, they seem intent on making sure the Doctor finds out the truth of what is happening.

    So maybe the Silence have taken on the duty of protecting the girl from someone or something else. Apparently against her will, at this point. And now she's escaped from them...

    At this point, what bothers me is the vague similarity I see between River Song and Eyepatch Lady. But I might just be imagining things.
    posted by koeselitz at 6:04 PM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


    Something walks in front of the camera and the music gets all creepy. I believe they've said that was to be Eleven, from the final episode visit back, but they tweaked the timeline a bit later and didn't really have a place to slide that in.
    posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 6:33 PM on May 31, 2011


    I hope that River Song's big surprise is not that she's Amy's child (as some have speculated). Not so much because I hate the idea (it has its merits) - but because we've already considered it. I want it to be something that leaves me going, "Wow, I never even THOUGHT of that!"
    posted by Windigo at 8:24 PM on May 31, 2011


    Personally, my guess is that the little girl will be named "Melody Pond" not because of any relation to River Song, but as an homage to her, because of some part she wll play in the upcoming two-parter.
    posted by Navelgazer at 9:34 PM on May 31, 2011


    The fact that River also felt sick in the first episode is, I think, a clue that she is also pregnant. Or linked to the pregnancy. Or something. In any case, a cue that was used to show Amy was pregnant was also exhibited by River.

    I liked the speculation that the good man that River kills is Rory. But why would River feel so strongly about Rory that she would call him the best man she ever knew? Amy is the only one who feels that way. He waited millennia for her, after all. But why would River share that sentiment?

    Idris said that "the only water in the forest is the River." I don't know which of the many possible referents she meant by 'the forest', but it's pretty clear that the other water you might think is in the forest is a Pond. So: you thought there was a River and a Pond in the forest, but nope, there's just a River.

    All of these lead me to think that River is some kind of... version of Amy. I don't think she's the same person, or a future version of Amy or anything like that. I don't exactly know what I mean. But there's an interesting duality between River and Amy. River is what Amy would be if she weren't encumbered by a domestic life with Rory. She'd be an adventuress in love with the Doctor. She's what Amy would become if she were forced to leave Rory behind, or kill him for some reason.
    posted by painquale at 11:23 PM on May 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


    However, it does seem pretty clear that they were the ones who ended up raising the girl in 1969. They seem to go to extraordinary lengths to protect her; initiating a space program just to procure a suit for her? Wow. And aside from the general creepiness of that orphanage, she seems to be incredibly well guarded, residing in one of the apparent resting places of the Silence themselves.

    I was under the impression that they were holding onto her because they needed her to operate their TARDIS. I think they said in The Lodger that only a Timelord could do it.
    posted by painquale at 11:37 PM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


    painquale: All of these lead me to think that River is some kind of... version of Amy. I don't think she's the same person, or a future version of Amy or anything like that. I don't exactly know what I mean. But there's an interesting duality between River and Amy. River is what Amy would be if she weren't encumbered by a domestic life with Rory. She'd be an adventuress in love with the Doctor. She's what Amy would become if she were forced to leave Rory behind, or kill him for some reason.

    Wow, painquale... you gave me an idea. There was discussion during season 5 of a shot in 5e1 of Amelia sitting on her suitcase, and an offscreen effect suggesting the TARDIS returning.

    What if River IS the version of Amy from the other side of the crack1? What if River is the version of the Amy who went with the Doctor when she was 10?


    1Or this side of the crack? I dunno, I never figured out how that was resolved.

    posted by coriolisdave at 11:51 PM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


    And the next episode is episode seven. This series is nothing if not information-dense. And how many times have I watched each episode?

    (Apart from the pirate one, of course).
    posted by Grangousier at 4:45 AM on June 1, 2011


    they needed her to operate their TARDIS. I think they said in The Lodger that only a Timelord could do it.

    The proto-TARDIS in The Lodger needed a pilot somewhere between a human (who would have been burned up) and a Time Lord (who would have overloaded the system so badly it would have obliterated the solar system).

    Maybe they're looking to split the difference and create a human–Time Lord hybrid.
    posted by Zozo at 2:57 PM on June 1, 2011


    "Maybe they're looking to split the difference and create a human–Time Lord hybrid."

    8th Doctor? =D
    posted by Eideteker at 5:07 PM on June 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


    I think this thread closes up tomorrow. I like reading what you all write here. Will you be moving over to this other thread, perhaps?
    posted by nobody at 10:12 PM on June 1, 2011


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