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Opinions/critiques please: "Fear Her"

I was thinking earlier today. "Fear Her" is one of the most hated DW episodes - the lowest rated on IMDB, below "Sleep No More", "Love & Monsters", and "In the Forest of the Night". My question is why?

Now, I've seen the episode twice, and not at all recently, though I did read through the transcript last month. I remember not liking the episode, but I didn't hate it. I felt that the attack of the girl's father was superfluous to the plot and that the Doctor lighting the Olympic flame was cheesy and out of character, but that's not enough to make a story bad.

So, my question, what is it about "Fear Her" that makes it a bad story (besides the two things I mentioned above)? I am asking from the point of view of a writer, because I want to know what to avoid in my own stories. Thanks very much for any opinions and insights you are willing offer!

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( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
alumfelga
Feb. 8th, 2017 10:04 pm (UTC)
I really like that episode (I even included it on my list of underrated DW episodes) so I can't answer your question. It might not be the best Doctor Who episode, but - unlike "Love and Monsters", which I'm also fond of - I never understood why fans hate it so much. So I should probably wait and see what other people will answer :)
shivver13
Feb. 9th, 2017 09:08 pm (UTC)
"Love and Monsters" is in the same category for me, to some extent. I thought the first half of it was brilliant and it was on track to being one of the best episodes ever. Then the Abzorbaloff appeared and ruined the episode for me. It was a terrible, embarrassing monster, and too cheesy. There aren't many stories that are ruined by a poorly-conceived monster, but there are others. "Sleep No More" falls into that category. The concept of a monster formed from dream energy is actually fascinating, but explaining that they were formed from "eye boogers" (is there a better phrase for this?) made them stupid. Then, they were described as being highly intelligent, but basically behaved like every other shambling, destructive monster (which have been so common in the last couple of seasons). Sigh. But I'm getting off-topic. :)

So far it seems like everyone agrees that "Fear Her" isn't really all that bad, destroyed by the last ten minutes of cheesiness for the most part.
alumfelga
Feb. 12th, 2017 06:54 pm (UTC)
So far it seems like everyone agrees that "Fear Her" isn't really all that bad, destroyed by the last ten minutes of cheesiness for the most part.
Okay, I'm in the minority then. I really loved the Doctor with the Olympic Flame, partly because Ten has so little moments of pure fun, and partly bacause I love when the Doctor interacts with our reality. My favourite joke is from Voyage of the Damned when the Doctor says he got the last room when Jesus was being born :) Also, I don't mind the scene with the father/monster coming out, the whole story about helpless mother and scared daughter was touching. If I was to point out some weak parts of the episode, I'd say maybe the action was a bit too slow, the girl could perhaps act better and the idea that you can trap the whole Earth inside a piece of paper that is a part of Earth trapped inside a piece of paper... makes me dizzy :)
louisedennis
Feb. 9th, 2017 09:03 am (UTC)
When I rewatched it with the Teenager a couple of years back I felt its problem was it didn't know where to stop. I think it is pretty good up until the point where the Isolus craft is fixed but then, as you point out above, we get two further climax-resolutions in quick succession both of which seem superfluous and both of which are more than a little cheesy. I don't really get the hate either, but I think its final act is pretty terrible and that does rather undermine the rest of it.
shivver13
Feb. 9th, 2017 09:16 pm (UTC)
This is very interesting. I actually really liked the Isolus (one of the few DW antagonists who aren't actually evil, but instead are simply trying to survive - I prefer stories like that), and the trapping of the people in the drawings was an interesting mechanic.

After reading your and others' responses, I think you're right, that the episode is destroyed by two superfluous resolutions. I feel like the writer felt that he needed to tie up the girl's story of being abused by her father, by giving her some resolution, in this case having him attack again and finally laying him to rest by accepting her mother again. It probably would have been a lot more powerful if he had left that open, since in reality, that kind of thing never truly leaves.
frelling_tralk
Feb. 9th, 2017 06:29 pm (UTC)
It's been a while since I've seen it too, but I remember the general consensus being that it just got really cheesy towards the end when Rose was saying, 'feel the love', and the doctor grabbing the Olympic flame. Maybe people were disappointed that it wasn't scarier?

Edited at 2017-02-09 06:31 pm (UTC)
shivver13
Feb. 9th, 2017 09:19 pm (UTC)
Oh, I forgot about the "feel the love" thing. It was a fitting resolution to the problem (the Isolus being alone), but the execution was cheesy. It could be the scariness factor, but there are plenty of non-scary DW episodes that were received well. I think it really is the cheesiness at the end that just killed it.

Edited at 2017-02-09 09:23 pm (UTC)
shyfoxling
Feb. 9th, 2017 07:46 pm (UTC)
I'm not fond of it because, well, I just don't think the little girl is a terribly good actress? I find her kind of hard to watch. But I wouldn't say that I "hated" the episode.
shivver13
Feb. 9th, 2017 09:38 pm (UTC)
Ha, that's one of the main reasons why my husband hated the episode - he didn't like the girl. On the other hand, he in general dislikes children in stories - to him, children either trivialize an otherwise adult story, introduce children's issues which he's not interested in, or are used to evoke the feels by putting them in danger (as in most of Moffat's episodes with children in them). I think the one IP that he enjoys with children in it is HP.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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