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And disappointing...

Episode two. It wasn't bad - it wasn't nearly the letdown that "Death in Heaven" was after "Dark Waters".


The intro was a lot of fun. I loved how Missy explained that it didn't matter - to her or the story - which Doctor was in the precarious situation. Of course, they had to do that so that no one important throughout the episode (or the previous episode) could possibly be actually killed by a Dalek blast. Now or forever, really - if the Doctor has a device which charges off the Dalek blasts and renders them useless, why doesn't he carry it with him always?

I again enjoyed the Master quite a bit, because again, she's showing the intelligence she's always had. And, of course, some of that insanity, too.

The discussion between the Doctor and Davros was fantastic, finally showing some depth to Davros' character and exploring concepts of friends and enemies and good and evil - until Davros asks, "Am I a good man?" I'm sorry, but that call back to Series 8 was a very clumsy parallel to the Doctor, just as bad as the monologue about the dinosaur, the monologue about the robot, and the mirror-finish serving tray in "Deep Breath". It wasn't good then, and it isn't good now. With deft writing, the audience is capable of making the parallels on their own; when you ram it down our throats, it loses all of its meaning and power.

The trap was great, but the resolution was terrible. We are really supposed to believe that the Doctor knew exactly what he was doing all the way? And, unfortunately, the concept of the Dalek graveyard, populated by vaguely sentient Daleks, beneath Skaro was stupid in the first place, and then you find out it was really only created there to be the deus ex machina. Not to mention, didn't we just have an episode in which all of the dead individuals of a species come back to life? Oh wait, no, maybe this was calling back to the piles of discarded Flesh. (I suppose Dalek-Clara brings up "Asylum of the Daleks" - this whole episode is just one big mashup of old ideas.)

Unfortunately, one of the main breaks in the episode for me was the scene where the Doctor is talking to Dalek-Clara, and he stops because, apparently, a Dalek shouldn't be begging for mercy. Of course, we've already seen a Dalek beg for mercy, in "The Big Bang".

RIVER: I'm River Song. Check your records again.
DALEK: Mercy.
RIVER: Say it again.
DALEK: Mercy!
RIVER: One more time.
DALEK: Mercy!

Yes, the Doctor wasn't there, but it does not ring true that the Doctor, the man who knows the Daleks best, would say such a thing when he's seen plenty of Daleks act in unusual ways, many of them during Moffat's tenure. Don't they have continuity people checking this stuff? It really breaks the story when they can't keep their own history straight.

So, bottom line, it was good for a while, broken at the end, okay on average.

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
a_phoenixdragon
Sep. 28th, 2015 04:09 am (UTC)
It was a teleporter (malfuntioning) that he got off of one of the androids chasing him. He needed a charge. He took a device that was of the same frequency/energy that the androids used and used it to get away. Missy was just explaining how she used the same principal.

I think Moffat likes to play with 'time'. Before him, the Daleks had no concept of Mercy (unless they were an emperor - and only to mock with), but whereas the alternate time-line, they had that concept (and it might not have surprised Eleven at the time), Twelve has no knowledge of that. Remember, Eleven never heard them ask for mercy. WE did, but he never did. To Twelve, the concept may be foreign, but for Eleven (whose timelines change according to the future, not the past), this would be a given...because he had always known them to understand that concept.

I'm explaining this rather badly.

It is a time-concept my husband and I like to bandy about, so I see what Moffat did there. Also? My kiddos are six and nine. If I ever get confused, I can ask them, lol!!

Personally, I loved the parallels within the parallels. The enemy who is a friend. The friend who is an enemy. The two bad guys telling truths, even as they come up with new tricks. The insight into the Daleks and how they function and behave. How they are trapped by what they CANNOT say, even should they wish to. The way things we saw a season or two ago can be explained currently.

As for continuity...I have a 'Discontinuity Guide' from the Classic series. It was printed in the middle of the Sixth Doctor's Era, I believe. And it shows how the whole show is RIDDLED with discontinuity, even within one doctor's timelines. In the end, they put it down to 'it's a show about time travel' and left it at that. Or (as Ten would say) wibbley-wobbley-timey-wimey. LOL!!

*HUGS*
shivver13
Sep. 28th, 2015 06:26 am (UTC)
Oh, that's right, it was a teleporter. Still, if that's a known concept, using energy that's fired against him, you'd think the Doctor would use that principal more. This is a common failing in sci-fi shows, actually - characters discover some universal principle to save themselves once and never use it again. See ST:TNG and multi-phasic shields. :)

Ah, yes, I forgot that that moment happened in the alternate timeline, you're right. However, that wasn't the first time that Daleks have on-screen begged the Doctor for mercy, just the most recent time. The mention of mercy was meant to call specifically back to "Genesis of the Daleks", when the Daleks say that they have no concept of "pity" (used in the same sense as "mercy").

There are certainly lots of discontinuities in DW, and you have to ignore a lot of problematic things. Most of them, though, are incidental. I just find that basing a major plot point on a discontinuity breaks the suspension of disbelief, just as much as a bad characterization or a heavy-handed theme does. I completely lost belief in the story as soon as Davros said, "Am I a good man?" and was unable to get re-invested in it, and that didn't help me get past the DalekClara scene.

Oh, the enemy/friend thing, the uneasy connection between the Doctor and Davros, all of that was great. I'm not sure what to think about the Daleks. The insight into how Daleks cannot say what they might want to is interesting, but now that implies that instead of being creatures who were genetically engineered to hate all inferior beings and want to exterminate them, they're perfectly capable of other emotions but are forced to kill. After all, the only reason to design such a system is that they were unable to wipe those emotions out and program the base creature the way they wanted it to behave, so they had to put it in a shell to make it behave that way. This could lead to a far more complex storyline, where the Doctor tries to free Daleks from their shells so that they can express themselves freely, but I'll bet you it's never brought up again.
cynthia2015
Sep. 28th, 2015 11:02 am (UTC)
At least there was a reason for the dalek's repetitive "exterminate". I wasn't expecting that. I don't know how I feel about the Doctor pulling Davros out of his chair. Yes it was fun seeing the Doctor riding it like some dodgem car, but it was like picking on a person with a physical handicap. Although Davros did get back at him by manipulating the Doctor psychologically, even if he failed at it in the end. Even if the Doctor still refers to the Master as his friend, he knows he can't trust Missy so that's why he hesitated with the dalek who we all knew was Clara. The Master's always been jealous of the Doctor's affection for "earth girls". Jenna's been in a dalek in some way or another three times now.
shivver13
Sep. 28th, 2015 07:34 pm (UTC)
I liked the tactic of pulling Davros out of his chair and using it to escape the chamber, though I saw that one coming a mile away (as soon as they said that Davros was moving, I knew it was the Doctor in the chair), but I can see how it might feel the way you described.
cynthia2015
Sep. 29th, 2015 04:44 am (UTC)
On the show The Last Leg, they were wondering how come in the James Bond movies the villains always have a physical disability or disfigurement. Like having these traits are associated with being a bad guy. It just made me more aware of it. It's that or it's done like in "The Crimson Horror", where the Eleventh Doctor said "Oh look. It's attack of the supermodels". It all comes down to how you perceive it. I don't really think it was made to look disrespectful, not on purpose anyway.
alumfelga
Sep. 28th, 2015 05:39 pm (UTC)
What would they need continuity people for? The Doctor lies, time can be rewritten and the Silence were there. *eyeroll* It worries me that S. Moffat remembers stuff from the very first episodes yet forgets his own writing from a season ago.

I liked the mirror-finish serving tray ;) but I agree, too much is being said loud and directly. Nothing has been worse than "The Beast Below" (he's last of his kind and he's good x100) but it's always better to let the viewers notice the parallels and jump to their own conclusions.
shivver13
Sep. 28th, 2015 07:32 pm (UTC)
Maybe I'm expecting (or wishing for) too much. After all, this is considered a family show, and a lot of people think that "family" or "child-friendly" means obvious and direct, so that children will get the point on first view. What I really want is something that I can think about and draw my own conclusions about, and something that, on rewatch, shows me something new. A good example is Neil Gaiman's Sandman graphic novels. I've read them countless times, and yet on each new read, I see many new themes and connections I didn't notice before. Your recent meta is another example - things that you don't see until you've really digested the material.

I've also found, in the twelve hours it's been since we watched the episode, that the more my husband and I talk about it, the more the plot just falls apart.

Maybe I need to just stop hoping for complexity and subtlety in Doctor Who, or coherent plots. Maybe I just need to squee along with the rest of the audience about the Doctor playing guitar on a tank, to try to enjoy this.
alumfelga
Sep. 28th, 2015 09:34 pm (UTC)
You're probably right about Doctor Who being a family show but I've started with Russell T Davies era and believed that complex characters, layered plots, parallels can be there, even if the kids don't get all of it. So now I've got expectations about Doctor Who and can't really help it.

I absolutely need an Alec Hardy icon for "I'm so disappointed" posts :D

By the way, I've been rewatching Broadchurch season 2 - there's so many parallels between Sandbrook and Broadchurch, and mirrors. This is a material for multiple screening, don't you think? You watch an episode again and you see things you haven't noticed before.

"Sandman" seems to be something for me then but "Neverwere" was a bit disappointing so I don't know if I want more Gaiman at the moment.
shivver13
Sep. 28th, 2015 10:00 pm (UTC)
I definitely need more Alec Hardy icons. :)

I suppose I wasn't clear. I meant to imply that Moffat is one of those people who thinks that "family show" means "straightforward, watered down, and obvious". I don't think it needs to mean that at all. Children are capable of enjoying episodes without having things forced in their faces, and then as they grow up, they start to appreciate the nuances as well. I also am spoiled by the RTD era. :(

I *need* to rewatch Broadchurch season 2! I honestly didn't understand all of the complexities around the Sandbrook case and people, so at the very least, I need to straighten that all out. And then I can hope to start picking up the nuances.

I liked "Neverwhere", but it's nowhere near as good as "Sandman". The first "Sandman" graphic novel is a bit difficult to stomach (there are some truly horrific scenes in there), but I think the series is completely worth it. If you want an easier entry into the series, I recommend the graphic novel "The Season of Mists". That's the first one I read (it's the fourth in the series), has a very interesting storyline which doesn't require much background knowledge, and it really prepared me for the rest of it.
alumfelga
Sep. 29th, 2015 11:46 am (UTC)
I got it :), I just think it's a popular point of view. So it's not only Moffat but also a lot of people working in television and a lot of viewers who share his opinion. Like you say, we got spoiled by RTD, we know how it can be done but I don't think it happens often on the television. Or am I wrong?
Still, just because something's a common point of view, it doesn't mean it's right.

Have fun with Broadchurch 2 :) I'm going back to my cave, to want for season 3 :D

Ups, not a big fan of horror... Doctor Who is the level of horror I enjoy :D Anyway, thanks for the recommendation, I'll look around.
shivver13
Sep. 29th, 2015 05:02 pm (UTC)
No, I don't think you're wrong. I think the majority of people think that children should be entertained, not engaged, and that attitude is probably the core of the idea that TV rots children's brains.

Well, "Sandman" is considered horror, but it's honestly more dark and psychological. I don't like horror either, but I enjoyed it and consider it one of the best works of literature out there. If you do start it, when you read the first volume, which is called "Preludes and Nocturnes", just avoid reading the chapter called "24 Hours". It's set in a diner - that way you'll know which one as soon as it starts. That chapter is extremely disturbing. Dream (the main character) goes there to retrieve an item, and he gets it by the end - you just don't need to know what happens in the diner. There is no other scene in the entire series that is truly horrific (in my opinion, at least).
alumfelga
Sep. 29th, 2015 06:37 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the advice! Not sure how long will it take for me to start reading, apparently life called and wants something from me, but I'll keep it in mind.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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