sholio: (Who-Rose)
Sholio ([personal profile] sholio) wrote2011-06-05 10:20 am

More on Doctor Who 6x07

All in all, I found this episode very "meh" for a pre-hiatus cliffhanger.

There was stuff I liked! I loved Amy's little speech at the beginning to Melody, how you start off thinking that she's talking about the Doctor and then it turns out that when the chips are down, her knight in shining armor is Rory. D'awwww. ♥ And I am ridiculously fond of Rory running around in the centurion armor (even if the "last centurion" thing makes NO SENSE AT ALL) and getting to go all hero-mode -- I love Rory for similar reasons to why I loved Mickey in the first couple of seasons of New Who, and I think his character arc is rather similar. In general, I am desperately fond of reluctant heroes who discover their inner hero-ness. And the lizard lady and her maid are too awesome, really, though it wasn't until the Doctor mentioned her avenging her sisters that I realized where we'd seen her before.

I am awfully fond of doomed last stands, too, so I loved that bit -- though I wish it had been set up better, and that it hadn't come about because everyone just stood around dithering for ages after finding out they'd been led into a trap, rather than retreating to the TARDIS Iike sensible people (and like I'd been loudly informing them for several minutes that they SHOULD HAVE BEEN DOING, but no one on TV ever listens to me).

And there were lots of little character-focused bits and pieces sprinkled throughout that I really liked. The Doctor asking Rory if he's okay with the Amy-hugging was a bit that made me squee in particular. I think he still doesn't understand Amy and Rory's relationship (I loved all the bits where he's embarrassed and/or confused about human sexual reproduction/courtship rituals; personally I don't need the Doctor to be asexual, necessarily, though I prefer him that way, but I loved the hat tip to the fact that, even if he looks human, he's not, and he's still going to be confused by some of the things humans do), but even if he doesn't quite get it, I loved that he acknowledges that it's important, that it matters to them -- to both of them -- and that he's willing to tread a little more lightly than usual to accommodate it.

But the rest of the episode, well ...

It just felt like they tried to stuff in too many things, and for having had the entire season to set it up, it just didn't feel very well set up at all. This episode felt to me like a whole lot of random stuff all thrown together, spending way too much time on bits that turned out to be extraneous to the plot, like the entire character of the female Marine who got killed at the end -- I liked her, but I think in terms of the episode as a whole that it would have been much better served by spending less time with her (a random OC who dies at the end) and more time on the main characters setting up the rescue. The jerky stop-and-start time-jumps and frequent scene changes made me feel like they really needed to have spread this out over two or three episodes rather than shoehorned into one. Many of my problems with this episode are similar to problems I had with the second half of the two-parter at the beginning of the season. Moffat is really good at the tightly focused horror and character stuff, where he takes a single creepy or character-centric idea and spins it out over an episode, but I don't feel like he does "epic" nearly as well -- his "epic" episodes tend to feel like he's trying to write the same kind of ep that he normally does (small-scale, taking-place-in-your-living-room kind of episodes) but set against a sweeping backdrop of interstellar war and it just doesn't work. For me, anyway. This episode felt draggy and disjointed and like it was in need of either a really good edit (trimming the extra characters' scenes; giving us more setup for everything that happened) or a couple more episodes to spread out the interactions of all the characters and let the action scenes breathe a bit.

RTD was not by any means perfect, but he was much better at balancing the character vs. the epic in his larger-scale episodes, I think. This episode felt like the result of someone who really doesn't think in terms of big-picture, splashy space battles trying to write one, and kinda falling down at it.

And then there's the River revelation, which ... I am still figuring out how I feel about that. I'd actually guessed all the way back in episode 2 that the little girl regenerating in the alley was River ( ... which makes me wonder why she didn't regenerate when she died in the Library episodes?) and I guessed as soon as "Melody's" name was mentioned that she'd turn out to be River in the end, as she did. I don't know if I'm happy with how the setup was written for that, either -- I am just about 100% sure that they didn't plan it before this season and even in this season, I never, ever got the sort of vibe from Amy and Rory's interactions with her that would have laid the groundwork for this. (Though I do need to rewatch River's earlier episodes to be sure about that.)

One aspect of it that I love is that she was raised to be a weapon (I love it when we get a plausible in-canon explanation for characters' badassery skills) and, even better, that she was raised to kill the Doctor and ended up befriending him instead. I am really looking forward to seeing how that plays out, especially since she's almost certainly the person in the spacesuit who shoots him at the beginning of the season. (Oh, and now I wonder if River's nausea in the season opener was caused by getting so close to herself, or crossing her own time stream? SPECULATE!)

But I dislike having so much of the mystery around River stripped away in one blow. I loved her as a cipher who kept you guessing, and anything that "explains" who River is ... inevitably is going to be a little bit of a disappointment when the character has been set up as this mysterious adventurer who could be anyone or anything. Not that there isn't some mystery around her still, but I'm unhappy that we've lost that fundamentally cryptic, "why is she helping us?" aspect of her, which I had really loved.

And this episode really did sideline Amy quite badly, reducing her to little more than a damsel in distress. I am always quite fond of one character, gender aside, being saved from a dangerous situation by others who love them, so I'm not necessarily hating the fact that she needed to be rescued at all, but the way she wasn't doing anything to rescue herself bugged me a lot. I loved, at first, the bit where she asks the Marine for her gun, and then it's just a tossed-off joke and not actually an attempt to free herself, which, grrrr. I would have loved that exchange if it had gone along the lines of "Can I do anything to help?" "Yes, help me get out of here!" but it wasn't really that at all, because she's not trying to escape, just waiting passively to be freed. Gnarr.

I don't think this is precisely OOC for Amy -- I've complained earlier about how much it bugs me that Amy does have this passive streak in her character that comes up in particular where the Doctor is concerned. The character had an uphill road with me in the beginning because of the way that she arranged her entire life around him in the first Eleven episode, basically waiting her whole life in a holding pattern for him to come back; I don't think this would've bothered me so much if there'd been some kind of in-text acknowledgment that this was not entirely a good thing, and I think a lot of the later Rory stuff did a lot to fix it in my head (that she wasn't just sitting around taking dead-end jobs and waiting for the Doctor to rescue her, that she did go ahead and fall in love and start to build a life and so forth). But still. It does still come up occasionally (like the way that when the Doctor is supposedly dead in this season's premiere, she just stops trying to find solutions) and it's my least favorite thing about her character by a long shot, so I wasn't happy with the episode handing us a generous helping of wet-dishtowel!Amy, especially when the whole stolen-baby-in-a-lab plot (a trope I hate) was the catalyst for it. Do not want, show; do not want.

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