September 30, 2012

Doctor Who 7.1


Last night wrapped up the seventh season of Doctor Who for now, until we pick it up again with the Christmas special, and then again with the rest of the season sometime in the spring.  Until then, we have five episodes to watch and re-watch and re-watch again.  I've neglected to write out reviews after each episode came out, but here are my brief (and not so brief) thoughts on each of the five episodes so far.

The season started off with the episode "Asylum of the Daleks".  I was not entirely thrilled when I heard that the Daleks were coming back... in my humble opinion  they had been used too many times and were no longer scary.  I was prepared for an episode that I was sure I would enjoy, but would probably be "just another Dalek adventure".  It was not long before I found myself to be proved wrong.  Yes, the Dalek's came back but Moffat managed to make them scary again with the zombie/human Daleks in the asylum.  And then there was Oswin Oswald.  Her introduction in this episode was probably the best kept secret in the Whoniverse, ever.  And the ending... oh, the ending!  Such a heart wrenching twist, and the best introduction of a companion yet - if, in fact, Miss Oswin Oswald is our new companion...

"Asylum of the Daleks" was followed by "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship", the episode that was promised to  be "the fun romp that "The Curse of the Black Spot" wasn't".  I was pleased to discover that the episode lived up to that promise.  Admittedly, there was not much of a strong plotline... but dinosaurs.  On a spaceship!  Along with Queen Neferetti and Inspector Lestrade - I mean... that hunter guy, whose name escapes me but was quite amusing to watch.  Then we had Brian Williams, or rather... Brian Pond, as the Doctor called him, yet again denying that anyone connected with his little Amelia could be anything other than a Pond.  Brian Williams was brilliant.  Only Rory's dad could be whisked off in a Tardis and planted on a spaceship with aliens and be a little bewildered, but take it all in stride.  The ending has sparked a bit of debate as to whether or not the Doctor letting Solomon die was out of character.... but let us remember, this is the man who ended the Time War by killing his entire race, who has let whole civilizations die.  The Doctor prefers to save, but can at times let people die.

Ah, "A Town Called Mercy".  The Doctor gets to wear a stetson again! Stetsons are cool.  So is anachronistic electricity  keep out signs, and unfriendly stares.  The Doctor was adorable as he swaggers into a saloon, puts on his best American accent and orders the strongest tea that they've got.  The fun of being in the Wild West turns serious, however, as the Doctor and the Ponds realize that the other alien Doctor - Kahler-Jex - that they are trying to save from the Gunsligner isn't quite the innocent victim he seemed.  We get an thought provoking quandary here as the Doctor has to decide what to do with someone who is at once kind, and genuinely trying to help people while at the same time a war criminal responsible for hundreds of deaths.  I feel it was resolved a little too quickly, but it was interesting to see the Doctor snap and decide hand Kahler Jex over to die before Amy talks him out of it.  This sort of anger is something more familiar to Tennant's Doctor, but Matt Smith showed that this Doctor is still capable of that burning rage.  I was disappointing in the ending of this episode though... Kahler Jex deciding to commit suicide rather than a judgement being made on his life seemed to me to be the easy way out.  Hardly an "honorable" course of action, as the Gunslinger claimed it was.

In this episode we got to see an adventure with the Doctor from the Ponds point of view, and how traveling has impacted their lives.  I enjoyed getting their side of the story, and the glimpse of their "other life", their life without the Doctor.  It's a side that you don't usually think about, because you only see the Ponds when they are off having adventures.  We got more Brian (horray!) in this episode, and we see where Rory gets his dedication and patience from as Brian watches the mysterious black cubes tirelessly for over 60 days at the Doctor's request.  The drawback with "The Power of Three" is that the plot of the mysterious black boxes ended up really only being a plot device, leaving us with a lot of loose ends and sloppily wrapped up story lines.  I do understand that the point was to focus on the Ponds and the conflict of their two lives, however I feel that that focus could have been maintained, while still delivering a satisfying plot and resolution.

And finally... "The Angels Take Manhattan".  I absolutely loved the introduction to this one... the paperback, 1930s novel style which permeated the majority of the episode.  It drew me in, and I was overjoyed to find that the Weeping Angels had returned with all of their original "Blink" creepiness.  I had to laugh at the fact that the Statue of Liberty was a Weeping Angel, after all the internet speculation and joking... though it was a bit unbelievable.  Really?  In the city that never sleeps, how does something as big as the Statue of Liberty manage to ever move?  Statue of Liberty aside... the Angels were terrifying, and the baby angels even more so.  I enjoyed the aspect of the Doctor finding and reading a book, which turned out to be the events really happening... and it was so sweet that the Doctor loves River so much that he even fell in love with the book version of her!  River and the Doctor are so perfect together.  I realized that this is the first time we've seen them together since they were married... and they are just the perfect married couple.  Before this short review gets too long - I wasn't terribly sad to see the Ponds go, because I am ready for the new companion and really... for them it's not a sad ending.  They get to live out their lives together, and they were happy.  The poor Doctor though... my heart did break for him, and for River, having to let her parents go forever.  Those last few minutes though, were perhaps the sweetest, dearest moments of any of the seven seasons so far... as the Doctor returns to tell little Amelia Pond stories of her future, and we find out that her Raggedy Man wasn't in her imagination after all.

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