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 classic...um, "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.)
- REALLY DOCTOR, YOU'RE CARRYING NOTHING THE LEAST BIT SENTIMENTAL? And Clara had to give up her ring and her leaf? JUDGEY AT YOU.
- 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.