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The end of one, the beginning of the other

Here I am at home, having had a bad enough night that I'm headached and bodyached and exhausted and not going to be much use at work. So what do I do? Sleep? Nah, I'm posting on LJ. It was quite a momentous weekend in my fandom life, so of course I'm talking about it. I'm also hoping to catch up on all of the comments and such, which I've been putting off for the last month.

Doctor Who series 10 started on Saturday and Broadchurch series 3 (and the whole programme itself) ended last night, so there's lots to talk about.


Overall, I liked "The Pilot", but you're going to read the rest of this section and think that I didn't. The episode was fun, and it was definitely story-driven, without any major thematic points to be made dragging it down. I'd say it was good, and that I will probably like it a lot better on rewatch (I usually do for most episodes), but I'd say it's the weakest of the companion-introduction episodes in the new series. That doesn't mean it's bad, though - I think that all of the companion-introduction episodes have been great.

That said, the episode definitely suffered from ambiguity and from hyperbole. The first part of the episode, showing Bill's life over an extended period of time, jerked around without communicating well to me how quickly time was advancing. For example, Bill meets Heather in the pub, then the next scene, they meet again and it only becomes clear later in that scene that it's not the next day, but rather some time later. I had problems trying to process that and piece together again exactly what I'm picturing of Bill's life while the next scene comes on and adds more material. I am also not at all sure what their relationship was. It's not clear what happened when they met - we don't even see them talking to each other - but it's implied that they don't see each other except for those few times we see them on screen. Thus, it was difficult for me to feel they had more than a physical attraction for each other, and therefore it didn't make sense to me that Bill would want to go with Heather at the end. On the other hand, I'm pretty romantically-challenged, so maybe it worked for everyone else.

As I think about it, this is a common problem I have with Moffat's storytelling. He tells us a lot, but shows us little. Heather tells Bill that she wants to leave, but we don't see it. Compare that to all of the people who were consumed by the ship in "The Lodger". Few had any lines beyond "Help you?" but their costuming and attitudes told you enough about their backgrounds that you could see that they wanted to leave or travel. I think that the opening to the episode could have been much better spent building up the relationship between Bill and Heather, so that we can feel why Bill wants to go with her and partake in the tragedy.

As far as the hyperbole goes, we have yet another super-powerful being. A sentient drop of oil that can take over another sentient, defeat Daleks, time travel, and cross the galaxy in an instant? This thing is basically a TARDIS, so imagine what the rest of that spaceship must be like.

I'm also not fond of the recycling of ideas. The puddle trying to replace the parts of the spaceship that were lost: my first thought was "The Girl in the Fireplace". Then the concept that it's trying to find a suitable pilot, one that wants to leave: and we're back to "The Lodger" again.

On the other hand, Movellans!! It was fantastic seeing one of the many other races that fight against the Daleks!

Then we come to Bill. Sorry, I do not like her so far, though I'm not sure if it's that I don't like the person or I don't like the characterization. Let me explain (like you have a choice - it's my journal). ;) First off, I want to say that my objections to the character from the trailer didn't hold true and that was great to see. In that trailer, she continued to ask stupid question as the Doctor told her to shut up because they were in danger, and I had thought to myself, "Great, she's stupid." That didn't happen in the episode and she was definitely far more intelligent than the trailer made her out to be.

Basically, I find Bill to be creepy as hell. Maybe it's because I am not attracted physically to people - I've never looked at a guy or a girl and thought, "Oh, he/she's hot! I think I just creamed my pants." - so I just don't understand her, but on the other hand, I know that almost everyone else does and it doesn't bother me that they do. But Bill did bother me. It's one thing to think, "Hey, I'd like to sleep that person" and then give that person extra chips every day because of that - I have no problem with that. It's a completely different thing to tell that story to a university professor to stall for time during an interview (or really, to tell that story to anyone you just met). If this character had been male, this would have been offensive (or, I suppose, given the attitudes of our current President, laughed off as "a thing that boys do"), but since she's female, we're supposed to accept this as cute and quirky.

Of course, this is par for the course for Moffat's women. Amy tried to force herself on the Doctor. Clara stalked and harassed Danny Pink at school. River's behavior is way too common to list all of the examples here. It's all in the name of creating women who are clever and empowered, but they really aren't - they're just not labeled as sexual predators because they're not male - and I don't like it. Now, I'm not sure which way I want this to go. He can keep Bill consistent, perving after every sexy woman they meet, and I would love to see that; just like with Rose, who I dislike as a person but whose characterization and consistency were fantastic. Or Bill can morph into whatever character they need for the episode, like Clara did, and I might like the character (no guarantees) and hate the characterization. I lose either way, I suppose.

But, like I said, I did enjoy the episode and it gives me some hope for a good series. I both love and hate the idea that the Doctor has been living on Earth and teaching at uni for fifty years, but I won't go into that complicated mess. It's pretty obvious that the vault is the season arc, so I'm prepared for random glimpses of it every episode that tell us nothing until the finale reveals all (hmm, must be about the Simm!Master, then). I am interested to see how the Doctor and Bill manage to travel while guarding the vault at the same time. And more Nardole, please! He was fantastic in the Christmas special, but nothing here - please make him a character again and not just comic relief!


One of the more fascinating things about my boss is that he tries very hard to learn about your interests and check them out, to find out what you enjoy about them and to see if he might enjoy them as well. I've never before seen anyone do so like he does. A lot of people will talk to you about your interests, but taking that extra step and trying them out is, as far as I've observed, a rare trait.

So yesterday, he was chatting with my husband, and this is how the conversation went. Note that my husband did not know that both DW and Class were shown back-to-back on BBC America.

Boss: Gloria (wife) and I watched the pilot of Doctor Who Class last night.
Husband: [stunned for a moment] There is so much wrong with that statement.
B: Oh? What's wrong with it?
H: Well, first, there's no such show as "Doctor Who Class". There's Doctor Who, and then there's Class, which is a spin-off of Doctor Who. Which one did you watch?
B: I don't know. The Doctor was in it.
H: That doesn't help. The Doctor shows up in both.
B: He had curly hair.
H: Nope, nope. Doesn't narrow it down.
B: It was the pilot.
H: Still doesn't. The first episode of Class is indeed the pilot of the series. However, the first episode of Doctor Who this season is named "The Pilot".
B: It was set in a school.
H: Nope, still doesn't help. Was it about a bunch of teenagers fighting aliens and learning about time?
B: Yup.
H: That's Class.

Sadly, he didn't like it: neither he nor his wife made it through even half the episode. No opinion on that, though - I haven't seen the show at all.

BC (with spoilers):

I wrote a number of weeks ago, after the second episode of Broadchurch series 3, that the show had really lost its punch. I planned to keep watching it because I wanted to see how it turned out, but I was disappointed that it was now a police procedural and not a drama about how the crime affected the lives of the people of the town.

Well, I am glad that I stuck with it. I mean, there was no way that I wouldn't have, because Hardy and Miller, but the show completely turned around, and it was utterly fantastic.

Once the secrets started coming out, Trish and her world solidified. Trish and Cath's friendship dissolves, but events lead them to make up. Jim and Cath's marriage exploded under the weight of the suspicion, and then reformed. Ian transformed from creepy ex to socially inept, rather clueless, and timid possible reunion. Ed is still definitely a stalker, though he remains firmly on the right side of the decent line. And then Leo throws them all into high relief: you can see that compared to him, though each of the other men are suspicious and questionable, they all still hold themselves to a standard. Jim in particular is a good example of this: though he is an incorrigible philanderer and there's a huge gulf between him and Hardy's high standards, he is not a rapist and does not view women as meat or conquests. It's very telling that his statement to Hardy is that he's always willing to sleep with a woman who wants to sleep with him.

Mark's and Beth's story, though given little screen time, was as compelling as the main case. It doesn't turn out well, because it can't, not with Mark still in his state of mind, but it gives hope that maybe they have a future if he can work through his grief. Beth is plenty strong enough to keep the family going while he does. I've never liked the character of Mark Latimer, but this series really brought him home to me.

Then there's Leo and his story. First, his monologue during the interrogation was beautiful, a rapist telling us why. It wasn't a villain self-aggrandizing, but a person explaining his thoughts and feelings to an audience that mostly wouldn't understand or sympathize with him. It was moving and disturbing, especially when you think that yes, there are people out there like that.

His story was made all the more interesting by the parallels between him and Mike and series 1's Joe and Danny: both are cases of a man taking a boy, who was neglected by his father, under his wing. In a way, Joe and Danny's story becomes even more tragic, because here in this series, we see that Joe is truly penitent, even if he's not brave enough to serve time, and Leo and Mike's story underlines that Danny's death really was a horrible mistake, rather than the willful act of a disturbed man.

And lastly, we have the conclusion of Hardy and Miller's story. Their partnership is really what drove the show over the three years, and it was perfectly depicted in the scene where they work through the case files. The ending of the episode, with Hardy's tactless "No!" and their parting to go back to their own lives, with the implied promise of their future working relationship, was gold. A man and woman can work together, be best friends, respect each other, rely on each other, have each others' backs, without romance or sexual tension, and their story can be compelling. This is really what I'm going to miss about Broadchurch. Thanks, Mr. Chibnall and company, for three wonderful seasons.



( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 18th, 2017 07:50 pm (UTC)
At this point I would happily just an hour of Miller and Hardy bickering at each other, without any police case. They feel so - real. I'll really be missing them. My only hope is that the UK seems to revive TV series after ten years. Just to give us a look what they look like now and are up to now.

I had read a fan theory about how it happened which was pretty close to the reveal. So I wasn't THAT surprised. But it certainly was a good and compelling show. My main suspect changed every minute ;)

Apr. 18th, 2017 08:23 pm (UTC)
I completely agree - I would watch and enjoy that! I suppose that's what fanfic is for. I should get writing... I also entertained the idea of there being one-off specials sometime in the future. Maybe when Chibbycakes (that's what my husband has taken to calling him) is done with Doctor Who, he'll return to that tiny West Dorset town.

I think they did a really good job of making every suspect plausible right up until the end. I think the only person that the police considered that I was pretty sure didn't do it (based on the evidence and his reactions) was Ed: though he certainly could have been an expert liar, I felt that he really did love Trish and that he was too bewildered and lost to have really orchestrated the crime and the cover-up.

It took a lot of courage on the writer's part to make the perpetrator a sixteen-year-old boy. I do like that each of the three seasons followed a different pattern: series 1 had the killer being someone no one suspected at all; series 2 had a group of killers and accomplices that everyone suspected but you couldn't figure out what the real truth was; and series 3 had the rapist being someone no one suspected but had been coerced into the crime by one of the first suspects.
Apr. 19th, 2017 07:48 pm (UTC)
Jim, at the end, too. The waitress's comments about her refusing in the end and leaving him sexually frustrated precluded him from being the perpetrator. Why? Because the whole series was about how rape is definitely not about the sex at all; if Jim had done it because he was frustrated, it would have undermined the whole message.

Truth be told, I threw Michael Lucas' name into the hat about halfway through when I was emailing someone about it... just on the theory that it was the one everyone (well, the police, anyway) ignored that would commit the crime. Yet I had the feeling someone else needed to be involved. The light Trish saw possibly being a phone, and the feeling that Michael wouldn't have done this on his own; he always seemed to need someone else to goad him into things like viewing the porn, bothering Daisy, etc. Seemed highly uncomfortable with it.

Speaking of Daisy, we never got any idea of why she would have taken such a picture of herself. Was someone trying to groom her as well? My kids all know never to put anything anywhere that they wouldn't want the public to know, and I have one around that age. She's very careful, but I did reiterate it.
Apr. 25th, 2017 12:14 am (UTC)
I hadn't thought of Michael Lucas at all, probably because I hadn't really cared about the two teenagers (Mike and Tom). I suppose I should have thought about it, since the first series was all about the one guy no one was looking at turning out to be the perpetrator. But yes, I agree with you that someone else had to be involved. Mike's whole story was about being unable to stand up for himself, and it would have been very unbelievable to have him express his suppressed self-power in rape.

I thought the same thing about Daisy's picture! She doesn't seem to have any friends yet, so she didn't take it for them, unless she did it for a friend back at her old school. However, though both of her parents are detectives, neither of them seem to be attentive parents and I can imagine that they didn't take the time to teach her to be careful. I have a feeling that Hardy has learned that lesson and will be helping her now.
Apr. 25th, 2017 12:23 am (UTC)
Well, I figured out that Joe was Danny's killer about halfway through first season. Same reason about being ignored by the police, and add to that it would be the most devastating choice to Miller, and that was it.... It couldn't have been Tom at the time because it was a large adult hand that made the marks. Tom was too small, even if it looked bad for him at one point.
Jun. 17th, 2017 03:40 pm (UTC)
Yes, I absolutely agree about Ed. I never mistrusted him. I pitied him as it was shown very well how easily you can end up on the wrong side of the law, even if you are innocent, just because of circumstances and being black, maybe. And whatever you try to say and do only makes it worse. I easily could see myself in such a situation. Knowing that you are innocent and communicating that are two different things.
Apr. 19th, 2017 01:02 am (UTC)
I admit I haven't seen Broadchurch (but I know a little about thanks to tumblr). But as far as the new episode, I liked it as well (though I may need to watch it again due to not catching everything, background noise). YAY Movellans!! Loved the little nods to the classic series. I like Bill (mainly because in the trailer I thought she'd be kind of like Ace).

Glad to see Nardole get some love! He seemed fun in the Christmas episode. I wonder what this TARDIS team's dynamic will be like.

Edited at 2017-04-19 01:15 am (UTC)
Apr. 19th, 2017 11:52 pm (UTC)
Broadchurch is really very good, especially the first season. It's really not about the crime that the detectives are investigating each season - it's about the way that serious, violent crime affects the lives of everyone.

I just loved seeing the Movellans! When it became obvious that the Doctor was luring the monster to some Daleks, I rolled my eyes - you know, there's always gotta be Daleks. But then I was very pleasantly surprised with the Movellans, seeing one of the other races that battle the Daleks that we never hear about.

I really do hope that Nardole develops into a character on his own. I'm very pleased to see more than one companion here, and two very different companions. I'm of the opinion that Amy and Rory don't really count as two companions. ;)
May. 3rd, 2017 09:02 pm (UTC)
It's a completely different thing to tell that story to a university professor to stall for time during an interview (or really, to tell that story to anyone you just met). If this character had been male, this would have been offensive (or, I suppose, given the attitudes of our current President, laughed off as "a thing that boys do"), but since she's female, we're supposed to accept this as cute and quirky.
You're right. I watched it with subtitles and the translation changed the meaning from sexual to more romantic so I thought it was cute. Now when I listened to what she actually said, it isn't anymore. Why would she say it to a professor? Why would anyone?

And then Leo throws them all into high relief: you can see that compared to him, though each of the other men are suspicious and questionable, they all still hold themselves to a standard.
It's interesting and I agree with you when it comes to Jim, but with Ian, I feel like he stepped way out of the line and I'm bothered he didn't answer for it in any way, and moreover, Trish agreed to meet him. He didn't even seem like he was sorry. Am I judging him too harshly?

So do you think Ellie's proposal had a romantic or a sexual meaning? I interpreted it as a lack of bonding (as real friendship) and was sad about it, but now I think maybe your interpretation is what Chibnall was aiming for - it would make sense. Still, I'd like it if there was something that assured us about their strong bond, something outside work because work is what bonded them from the very beginning.
May. 10th, 2017 04:45 pm (UTC)
No, I don't think you're judging Ian too harshly. He did step way out of line, but he's on the boundary of forgivable, especially by Trish, who seems to still love him. Mind you I don't think it's a healthy relationship at all, but I think that part of the point of the show and the male characters depicted within it is that no one is perfect (except possibly Hardy - I still think they created him as too angelic; I used to call him "the paladin" back in series 1, and I think it suits him even more now) but even though these people are deeply flawed, they are not criminal, no matter how objectionable they appear.

I don't think Ellie's proposal had a romantic meeting at all. To me, it was a perfect reiteration of their relationship: the optimist extrovert and the pessimist introvert having a dry, friendly moment and moving on. Maybe it's because I'm a lot like Hardy - I prefer going home and not seeing or talking to anyone at all if I can help it - but it makes me happy to see two compelling characters that bond strongly over work and respect, rely on, and confide in one another but continue their own lives separately.
May. 11th, 2017 07:19 pm (UTC)
even though these people are deeply flawed, they are not criminal, no matter how objectionable they appear.
I'm pretty sure spying on someone is against the law... But I get your meaning, Trish could have forgiven him even if it freaks me out.

it makes me happy to see two compelling characters that bond strongly over work and respect, rely on, and confide in one another but continue their own lives separately.
Oh, I understand now. Interesting how interpretations of entire scenes can depend on how we are. Now I want to ask Chris Chibnall and David Tennant what they think of that scene.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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