carmen_lj: (babs/ian; never stop running)
[personal profile] carmen_lj
I bloody loved this, and I've the horrid desire to write meta about it.

  • I was on the verge of TEARS, which is bad enough, but doubly so because it was during a PET HATE. I do not, as a rule, like the New Who speeches the Doctor gives that are meant to be COOL and EPIC. This one was one of the less cringey ones, but still. I think the singing helped. And there was a TEAR ON THE DOCTOR'S CHEEK. But, yeah. I did not wish to be moved by irritating New Who Speechifying, but I was. (None of the New Who stuff really stands up to the much rarer, but rather better ones in, "well-prepared meal" aside. Most Doctors say something quite lovely and grand about the universe at some point, though Six's one in The Mysterious Planet is my favourite.

  • OH META STUFF. I wouldn't normally indulge, but...the Doctor mentions he was there with his granddaughter before and OH MA WEE HEART, A SUSAN MENTION! Gratuitious but lovely, I thought. Until they started referring to the Old God as grandfather, which invites a comparison. And though I'm sick to ALL THE THINGS of the Doctor being described as any sort of god, I'm not so judgey here because we're not being asked to look at the pair of them and draw the "oh, isn't the Doctor so dark and terrible and eats his companions' souls? Gosh, how EDGY" crap. This Old God sits around in the same place for years upon end and feeds on the stories people tells him. He demands a sacrifice, a young girl who has learned all the stories, and he feeds on her soul, which is made of stories (that I rather love). The Doctor, clearly opposed and having no sympathy for this parasite, stands firmly against it. He too is old and has been named both grandfather and god. But he doesn't consume stories, he creates them. (I also like it's Consuming vs Creation rather than Destruction vs Creation.) The Doctor explores the universe, he changes it, he tries to make things better. People don't sing to him, but they do sing about him, in memory of his deeds (Planet of the Ood), they tell stories about him (Forest of the Dead and lots of other stuff) and make prophecies (The Pandorica Opens, New Earth, Battlefield). He doesn't ask for a sacrifice, he asks for companionship. And he doesn't feed on his companions stories or lives or souls, but gives them the opportunity to create their own, to make their souls and lives and stories bigger, deeper, more complex, stranger. He inspires them to be more than they have been. Clara, a week ago, could she have guessed she was going to ride in a moped across space to offer a malevolent parasite the size of a star an old leaf because the memories of all the things that could have been would destroy it and save the people of nine worlds (or seven, I forget)? And now she has. That's pretty cool.

  • I think we're now three for three on Bechdel passing. Love how good Clara is with kids and that it's relevant again so soon. It's a lovely character trait and one that's never really come up before in a companion.

  • ALIENS. SPACE. ASTEROIDS. SPACE PYRAMID! Oh, all that stuff! Brilliant! I loved the look of it, the aethstetic. They did a bloody good job getting in such a variety of alien designs and barely a bumpy forehead in sight. It might be the after-episode glow, but I think there's finally been a New Who ep that makes me go "spaaaaaaaaace!!!" and tops The End of the World.

  • I confess a slight disappointment that the whole Akhenaten thing turned out to have nothing to do with Nefertiti. (Akhenaten was the earlier name of Amenhotep, her husband.)


  • Running around the marketplace, what I was reminded of most in terms of chemistry was One and Vicki. It's the grandfather mention, instantly making me think "and they're not the least bit like One and Susan" but they do have that sparky, bantery, friendly feel of One and Vicki. (Who would, btw, be totally shippy to ALL THE PEOPLE if Hartnell had looked twenty years younger.)

  • And the companion thing again. I LOLED. Clara is all "I'm not competing with some ghost, I'm me" and yeah, the Doctor's thinking about the other Clara here, not Amy. But it is pretty lolarious that we do have things set up a bit Smith and Jones "you're not replacing her" ickiness, except the person Clara's saying 'I'm not her' about is herself (kind of) and the Doctor isn't acting like a git.

  • All that stuff about uniqueness ("you are unique...just like EVERYONE ELSE," nobody in this episode says) I might have been eyeroll-y at, but it does tie into the Doctor's curiosity issues in needing to solve how Clara is not impossible. Which is a season theme I can get behind because it lets us have all these nice standalone adventures without ever feeling that the ARC PLOT needs to be tacked on because the plot is literally character.

  • That wee girl was lovely. Sweet without being sickly. Smart without being irritatingly precocious. Thumbs up.

  • I WANT CLARA'S SKIRT AND BOOTS. Wouldn't half mind the bag either.

  • I will SIGH at anyone who says anything about ATMOSPHERE and EXPOSED TO OPEN SPACE and YOU CAN'T MOPED BETWEEN ASTEROIDS. Clearly there were invisible forcefields everywhere to keep the atmosphere in.

  • In conclusion, a better and deeper episode than last week, quite a bit of fun, rather moving, the new team are definitely well keen. MOAR PLS.

  • Next week! ICE WARRIOR! We saw A CLAW in the trailer! I may have flailed. Also I spotted Liam Cunningham and Tobias Menzies in the cast, which I am none too displeased about.

Date: 2013-04-06 07:32 pm (UTC)
nonelvis: (DW Eleven (blue))
From: [personal profile] nonelvis
I'd like to offer a more useful comment than "YES, ALL OF THIS," but the latter covers things pretty well. There was something in my eye at the Susan reference, probably. That must have been it.

Okay, one more note: I'd normally find this sort of group singing plot element cheesy as hell, much as I did in "Gridlock," but here it felt like a completely sincere expression of everyone's faith that if they just sang hard enough, they could placate the god. Maybe it's that it was more well-integrated into the plot than Gridlock's moment of random hymn recital, or maybe it's my own issues with the explicitly Christian imagery of the hymn -- but regardless, I was really relieved neither the singing nor Eleven's speech tipped over into eyerolling territory the way they did in one or two previous episodes. *cough*The Satan Pit*cough*
Edited Date: 2013-04-06 08:13 pm (UTC)

Date: 2013-04-06 10:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I felt I should have been struggling with the singing because that sort of thing does normally also set my teeth on edge, but I don't think I was... but since it wasn't that, or the girl, or the look-at-all-the-aliens, or anything else I can easily put my finger on... arg, I don't know. I'd already run out of eye-roll by the time we got to that speech, and then when we got a second one from Clara I was just wishing for the whole thing to be done with. So maybe the singing was unsettling me after all, at some subliminal level.

Date: 2013-04-07 01:05 am (UTC)
nonelvis: (DW Eleven (blue))
From: [personal profile] nonelvis
I was really surprised that the singing didn't bother me, but like I said, it was the level of sincerity I thought came across that made it feel natural and appropriate, given the circumstances. It definitely seems like an episode that either really worked for people or really didn't; sorry it wasn't your thing.

Date: 2013-04-07 04:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I've been trying to work out what it was that did get me on edge, and I think it might have been all the sentimental monologueing, and especially its combination with how little the two main characters know about each other yet. Clara's dad's speech with the leaf already felt wrong and then every one on from there piled it on further. It was an episode made of grand stories, but of sets of stories being told side by side and mainly to the viewer; the characters weren't telling much to each other. What the Doctor's learnt of Clara he's overheard or spied on, like the story of the leaf, and half of what we've learnt of Clara the Doctor wasn't there for, like the story about getting lost. We've had Eleventy do a very Tennish 'look at all my pain' but Clara wasn't there, so doesn't she know that yet? Is it important that she knows? Was it particularly important to remind us, without telling her? Which raises the prospect, and I really hope not, but, are we going to have to sit through another one of those later?

Date: 2013-04-07 06:00 pm (UTC)
ext_17485: (river; unicorns and rainbows)
From: [identity profile]
Worked for me in em both. In fact, from the singing to the end of Gridlock was my falling in love with Martha moment. CLEARLY I AM V CHEAP FOR GROUP SINGING. And also Christian. Omg, my religion has tricked me into loving cheeeeeese.

I don't remember The Satan Pit one (I'd probs forgive, it is The Satan Pit). My go-to oh dear no for Ten is Voyage of the Damned. Just one more dump of NOOOOO in a big pile of Wtf. Eleven's is The Pandorica Opens. Nine....he had a couple, but totally gets away with it. Or they were better written.

Date: 2013-04-06 07:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I liked that she refuses to be anyone's replacement. But otherwise it was a bit dull. And do we have to go and pick her up from her house every week? That does not leave much space for porn :(

Date: 2013-04-06 08:12 pm (UTC)
nonelvis: (DW Eleven)
From: [personal profile] nonelvis
Nonsense! It leaves plenty of space for booty calls where Clara just happens to need him to drop by at midnight! "Bring a bottle of something festive, Doctor. No, no need to dress up. You won't be wearing anything for long anyway."

Date: 2013-04-06 08:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Whyyyyyy does she go home every week?

Date: 2013-04-06 08:27 pm (UTC)
nonelvis: (DW blue TARDIS)
From: [personal profile] nonelvis
Maybe she's not quite ready to make a complete break with things yet? After all, she wasn't willing to just jump in the TARDIS and go with him the first time around.

Date: 2013-04-06 10:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wouldn't it have been nice if this was the sort of episode that made enough sense to care about a question like that?

Date: 2013-04-07 06:02 pm (UTC)
ext_17485: (river; unicorns and rainbows)
From: [identity profile]
I would go so far to suggest it was Hartnellesque in its pacing, which I like, cause plot gets in the way of wandering around and poking stuff.

(To me, that's a comment on "just one trip." Clara too gets just one trip, for first tme out, and it's not messed about with or emotionally ick or whatevs.)

Date: 2013-04-07 06:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
He would totes let her have many trip and let her sleep in his a bed and they could eat breakfast and stuff!

Date: 2013-04-06 07:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Bah. When laid out like this I can see all these good points, could see at least some of them on the way past to be fair, but I feel like much of it had to be extracted afterwards from its heap of sentiment-drowned narrative mess. (The wee girl was sweet without the sickly, smart without the precocious, true, and many a thumbs up I would give her, but why, for example, could she suddenly give Clara purple glowing mind-handcuffs, exactly?)

Date: 2013-04-07 06:07 pm (UTC)
ext_17485: (river; unicorns and rainbows)
From: [identity profile]
Cool alien powers? I like cool alien powers, but I can tots see how that coming out of the blue is a bit "hrrm."

Thing is, it *is* totally drowned in sentiment and the plot, I'm fairly sure (I ain't great re plot) is barely there, and worked for me. I enjoyed it, I was moved. I cared about the characters, I found myself contemplating stuff about it afterwards. There was a Space Pyramid.

Date: 2013-04-08 07:15 pm (UTC)
tau_sigma: (gen - breaktime)
From: [personal profile] tau_sigma
Everything is better with Space Pyramids - and this episode is now inextricably linked in my mind with Pyramids of Mars, and the Nefertiti thing would have fit brilliantly with that, omg. <3

Date: 2013-04-06 07:54 pm (UTC)
ext_23287: (barbara)
From: [identity profile]
I never usually like the New Who speeches either, but this one really worked for me, too. Possibly because the rest of the episode had already made me somewhat emotional.

Love how good Clara is with kids and that it's relevant again so soon.
Yes! That scene was so lovely, it made the whole episode work.

I WANT CLARA'S SKIRT AND BOOTS. Wouldn't half mind the bag either.
Half an hour into the episode I cracked and started looking at red satchels on ebay. /o\

Date: 2013-04-07 06:09 pm (UTC)
ext_17485: (river; unicorns and rainbows)
From: [identity profile]
Yes! That scene was so lovely, it made the whole episode work.

I'm kind of excited cause it's a NEW THING. And being handled so well.

Half an hour into the episode I cracked and started looking at red satchels on ebay. /o\

Date: 2013-04-06 09:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It WAS Tobias Menzies! Thank you, I thought so.

Date: 2013-04-07 06:10 pm (UTC)
ext_17485: (rome; atia victorious)
From: [identity profile]
I am SUPER GOOD at spotting actors what have been in Rome, yes.

Date: 2013-04-06 10:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I really expected the Doctor to have to give up Amy's glasses at some point. (Assuming they're hers, those ones he keeps wearing.)

Date: 2013-04-06 11:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
So did I! Seems a bit harsh to expect Clara to give up her (dead) mother's ring on the first jaunt out ...

Clara is all "I'm not competing with some ghost, I'm me" and yeah, the Doctor's thinking about the other Clara here, not Amy. But it is pretty lolarious that we do have things set up a bit Smith and Jones "you're not replacing her" ickiness, except the person Clara's saying 'I'm not her' about is herself (kind of) and the Doctor isn't acting like a git.

YESYESYES THIS. I loved that part. All Martha's storyline ultimately made me do was feel like I wanted to kick Ten somewhere tender. Eleven, on the other hand, I've pretty much always been OK with the way he's treated his companions, nicking Clara's ring notwithstanding (he did get it back, after all).

I've seen a few folks on tumblr compare this to an RTD era episode. If that were true for me I wouldn't have enjoyed it anywhere near as much as I did - in large part due to the reasons you mentioned, Calapine - the monologue was actually moving and not some massive shouty look-how-big-mine-is ego-trip, and while there was spectacle it still felt small and intimate as far as character went, while still giving us hints about backstory that promises to be the usual level of Moffat-clever. I've loved the Moff's tenure. Can't understand people wanting to go back to RTD!
Edited Date: 2013-04-06 11:07 pm (UTC)

Date: 2013-04-07 06:11 pm (UTC)
ext_17485: (river; unicorns and rainbows)
From: [identity profile]
THE TOTAL....I am so even moar judgey. FORSHAME DOCTOR.

Date: 2013-04-07 12:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Is it just me or is there a dead-mother theme developing? I am admittedly sensitive to those, but Clara is staying where she is because the mother of the family died, and her mum being dead makes more sense of that, but... well. (Also, in my experience, the headstone hasn't been in place in time for the funeral, but that's just a quibble.)

Date: 2013-04-07 06:13 pm (UTC)
ext_17485: (river; unicorns and rainbows)
From: [identity profile]
If there is, I appreciate that we're getting to know Clara's mum as a character, and the importance she held in Clara's life. Cause dead mothers are so often just invisible.

Date: 2013-04-08 04:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thaaaank you. The new who speeches tend to be trying too hard and wincey (though this one was better than usual, and as a former choir girl I really liked the singing). My favorite I'm the Doctor speeches tend to be offhanded things that make you draw your own conclusions about how old and awesome he is. I think my absolute favorite is from Seven, I think in the joy patrol, when someone asks him something like "quiet enough for you?" and he answers, " I can hear the sound of empires toppling." And the delivery is just so nonchalant and wry and I SWOON.

Though I'm confused about the thing eating the Doctor's memories. So does he have bits of his life missing now? Will that be addressed or did it just eat some more of Eight's so he'll never notice?
Edited Date: 2013-04-08 04:30 am (UTC)

Date: 2013-04-08 04:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hurray for the Ice Warriors! I like that they haven't changed the overall look for them as well. Unlike the new Cybermen. I want my sparkly moon boots, dammit!


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