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25 April 2010 @ 10:58 pm
DW 5x04 The Time of Angels  
No spoilers in this post; no guarantees for comments.

Now that is what I was hoping for from the new season!
In contrast, Behind the Sofa's Neil Perryman nails one of the greatest problems I've had with the series before this point. (This point was made in specific reference to "The Beast Below", but it applies to various extents to all three initial episodes.)
Ah, but it's all a fairytale, isn't it? It's not supposed to make any sense. Er, well, in that case stop trying to weave intricate plot threads that are supposed to lead to logical conclusions - and stop imploring us to pay attention to these details in order to work it all out. It's not working.
To be honest, my greater problem has been the way the show has served as an object lesson for why "show, don't tell" is one of the most basic writing directives ever, but the "it's okay because it's a fairytale!" defense is one I've expected to hear in response to both that and the completely incomprehensible plotting. (TWoP's Jacob has used that defense before, but to my surprise, he seems to have the same problems with the early episodes I've had, which is a surprise.) But I don't have nearly that reaction to this latest episode, so — at least for now — I have hope that they just needed to get their feet under them.
sophia_sol on April 26th, 2010 03:13 am (UTC)
I will DEFINITELY agree that this ep was more tightly plotted than a number of the other eps we've seen so far. AND it felt more like a fairy-tale, if that's what they're aiming for. So I can see how it makes you (and most other fans whose reactions I've read) happy).

And yet...it left me cold. River annoyed me, and Amy annoyed me more often than not (though she did have some good moments too), and I actually found myself getting bored and wishing for the episode to just get on with things. Preferably things not involving River. I dunno. I feel like I'm not being properly appreciative of the things the ep did do right, but I just didn't enjoy watching it in the same way I have the other eps.

I mean, I enjoyed the DALEK EPISODE more than this one! And that's just...wrong! Daleks are something to be accepted for the sake of the superior episodes!

I'm hoping my problem is just a visceral reaction against River, and once she goes away (...please let her go away) they will indeed -- as you say -- have their feet under them and I'll enjoy the eps.

What was your opinion of River, btw? (I seem to be alone in the wanting-her-to-get-out-of-my-Who camp, as far as I can tell)
michelel72michelel72 on April 26th, 2010 03:59 am (UTC)
Wow, you're fast! (I'm still catching up on episode posts, and I hadn't even reached yours yet, but I've now rectified that. Fish custard?!)

I wasn't actually annoyed by River, though given what you point out, I should have been. Maybe those heels shocked me into complacency? (Those heels were awful. How can anyone do any proper running about in those?) She waltzes in and pretty much acts out the Mary Sue handbook (in all but the bizarrely colored hair and eye categories). But they had already established her as having knowledge the Doctor didn't have yet, and I think that was a big part of why that didn't bother me. The Doctor's mixture of refusing to answer anything Amy asked and petulance made it hard for me to side with him; maybe that's a factor. And I don't mind seeing his pomposity punctured just a bit every now and then.

(How devastated would you be if she turned out to be a regenerated-into-human, genderswapped (or post-gender) Master? That idea popped into my head about half an hour ago, as I pondered what she might be to the Doctor if not his once and future wife, given that she knows his true name and that's a huge thing.)

Long-term, I don't see a need for her, but the concept of her doesn't necessarily actively annoy me. Given that she's one of Moffat's pet creations, that's a good thing, though I suspect you'll be gritting your teeth in future. Sorry ....

Amy didn't annoy me either, honestly, except for yet again knowing more about the Doctor's ways than she should. (The script makes it explicit that they haven't even done a planet yet, but she knows he usually never lets anyone call him "sir"? The hell?) She refused to remain behind — and being left behind for safety is not the companion's role, Dalek episode — but she stuck with the Doctor or in the supposed-to-be-safe bunker thing. She actually annoyed me less this time around.

They still had the problem of stating what we should be allowed to register for ourselves, but that was diminished; and they didn't take what was supposed to be ALLEGORY and make it EXPLICIT TEXT (*cough* DALEK EPISODE *cough*). I think what matters most, though, is that it wasn't nearly as incoherent and random as the prior episodes. Once a narrative actually gets my attention and lets me stay on, I tend to enjoy the experience far more.

I also liked the casual worldbuilding. A militarized church? Controversial, and yet potentially cool — what's behind that? And I had just a flicker of thought about the two-headed extinct civilization and single-headed statues, but it went right out of my head again until it became a plot revelation. That's a refreshing change from the blinking obvious plot turns of the prior episodes.

It could all go to hell in the second part; the franchise has a history of that. But I'm no longer actively dreading disappointment.

I mean, I enjoyed the DALEK EPISODE more than this one! And that's just...wrong! Daleks are something to be accepted for the sake of the superior episodes!
Heh ... and yet wow, man. I'm just as happy to say the Dalek episode never happened, because it actively and aggressively annoyed me, where this one didn't. How very strange, that we had such differing reactions!
sophia_sol on April 26th, 2010 04:49 pm (UTC)
Fish custard is tasty, I'll have you know. I like it a lot better than custard on its own!

I don't mind seeing the doctor's pomposity punctured sometimes too, but I'd much rather it be from someone I like. Also, you're right about her knowledge is just stuff the Doctor doesn't know yet, but apparently he learns these things from her. Like how to use the blue boringers, or the fact that he's been leaving the parking brake on. I'm totally down with him having not known these things -- after all, he did steal the TARDIS -- but the way she told/showed the Doctor that she knew these things that he didn't was so...ooh, it got on my nerves.

Your suggestion of River actually being the Master...hmm! I think that actually has a lot of merit, and would go a long way towards me feeling better about River. Because then there's a reason for her/him being smug that I can appreciate: s/he's pulling one over the Doctor! I'm down with the Master being smug because, well, he's got issues that he's trying to paper over. River, on the other hand, shows no weakness. She's all, I'm the awesomest awesome person that ever awesomed. Giving her the backstory of being the Master would mean I could then appreciate her smugness on the same level. And that would actually be kind of cool. AND I could then totally get behind the Doctor/River romance that the show seems to be trying to push.

OH GOSH YES the 'sir' thing bothered me SO much! HOW DOES AMY KNOW THAT? Someone wasn't thinking, and was just throwing her into the role of 'generic companion' there, methings.

I have a theory about the being-left-behind thing. I've been reading a bit of speculation that the Doctor brought Amy along for a purpose, and not because he felt lonely like he claimed in the first episode. Something to do with those cracks that keep showing up, which he first saw in Amy's bedroom wall. And he took her along because she's somehow involved/connected and he needs her to figure out what's going on. So he needs her to stay absolutely safe, and as a result treats her as less a companion and more a person to be protected. Or something.

The militarized church fascinates me too, and I really hope they go a little more into that in the next ep, but somehow I doubt we'll get more about it (because of the potential for controversy)!

With the Dalek episode, I was basically going, dude, it's kinda stupid, but it's rather hilarious so I'll enjoy it anyways. It is indeed interesting that we responded so differently to these episodes! I wonder if our disparate reactions will continue through the rest of the series, or if this was just a crazy random happenstance.
sophia_sol on April 26th, 2010 04:50 pm (UTC)
Oops, apparently I fail at responding to a comment instead of a post....