Eleven

The Almost Plot

Jun
04

Review of The Almost People
Warning:  This review contains episode-specific spoilers and wild speculation about future episodes.

OK, I'll be honest:  the specifics of the ending surprised me.  As for the general shape of it, though, I totally called it (see my previous speculation regarding the Creepy Eyepatch Lady). That part wasn't as heavily telegraphed as the events of either the previous episode or this one, but it's all there if you go look for it ("breathe, Pond").

What was just as obvious as in The Rebel Flesh was the "mistaken" identities. I already pointed out last time that there were almost certainly two Ganger Jennifers (poor Rory - finally grew a pair, only to discover he'd been led around by them). The further hints laid out here were again copious (e.g., the machinery won't recognize her as a valid operator), but hardly more so than the hints that Amy was saving her affection for the "wrong" Doctor. I'm not even sure how we were supposed to get fooled by that, since just about the only time we see the "distinguishing" shoes is the initial close-up on them; all we have to go on is the other characters' reactions to the supposed DoppelDoctor. The only surprise would have been if they hadn't mixed them up. After all, what's more cliché than the Beast really being a Prince (unless it's the inverse)?

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It's Just Gunge

May
25

Review of The Rebel Flesh
Warning:  This review contains episode-specific spoilers and wild speculation about future episodes.

Derivative much?  It's been a long time since I saw a story so predictable; I knew the major plot points by the time last week's trailer was over.  Great:  some sort of it-could-be-human-except-it's-not-alive technology becomes self-aware and gets in a fight for its life with "real" humans.  ~yawn~

Not only does this echo countless science fiction/horror classics from Frankenstein to Blade Runner to Who's own Robots of Death (fear of the nearly-us-but-clearly-Other is deep-seated), the story is a ripoff of other, newer Who stories.  There are obvious parallels with stories as recent as The Waters of Mars and The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood, not to mention smatterings of The Doctor's Daughter, The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit and just about every Auton or base-under-siege story ever made. And did anyone not see the "cliffhanger" coming from the instant the Doctor first touched the Flesh?  If that had been any more heavily telegraphed, viewers would've had to set up little cable offices in their living rooms (or wherever they watch their Who) to take the messages down.

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Sexy Is As Sexy Does

May
18

Review of The Doctor's Wife
Warning:  This review contains episode-specific spoilers and wild speculation about future episodes.

Oh, me of little faith.

Even knowing Neil Gaiman's work both by reputation and by example (e.g., the rather dark novel American Gods), I still doubted the likely quality of the episode he had written once I learned some of the details.   Specifically, when the news of Episode 4's title came out, I groaned inwardly.  OK, sure, I was 99.9999% certain it was a red herring - nothing "new" and "notable" would be learned about the Doctor's personal history, and there was going to be some tricky way in which there was and yet wasn't an actual wife (spot on there) - but just the suggestion was enough to turn my stomach, especially since I knew there were going to be fans out there somewhere saying, "I knew it! Here's where we learn about River!"

And then there was the Ood.  Now don't get me wrong - the Ood are an interesting enough race, and they certainly have their place (I happen to believe that place is firmly in the RTD era...).  Regardless, the sight of an Ood at the end of last week's trailer was enough to reduce my appetite for this episode by about an order of magnitude.  Thank goodness all of that was totally irrelevant.

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In the Manner of a Sorbet...

May
11

Review of The Curse of the Black Spot
Warning:  This review contains episode-specific spoilers and wild speculation about future episodes.

I have to admit, I like a good pirate story as much as the next Deppophile, and what genre doesn't get better when you add Doctor Who?  Well, maybe a pirate story...

I'm not saying there was anything wrong with Black Spot, but it was a rather run-of-the-mill, overall unremarkable kind of episode.  It was a classic romp - nice and fluffy - something to cleanse the palate between that meaty season-opener and the much-anticipated Gaiman-penned episode coming up next.  I've read that it was originally intended to be aired in the episode 10 slot, and I can see that working; there's clearly no major story arc here.  There are, of course, a few nods at what has come before (e.g., a flashback to the Doctor's death) and a few hints at things yet to come, like another appearance of Creepy Eyepatch Lady (CEL).

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A Pregnant Silence

May
04

Review of Day of the Moon
Warning:  This review contains episode-specific spoilers and wild speculation about future episodes.  It also contains profanity.  Proceed at your own risk.

This being the first story of the series, I wasn’t expecting resolution for many of the dangling plot threads in the second half of the two-parter. However, I don’t think I expected as many new ones to be woven in, either. And frankly, I’m not convinced that the threads that seemed to get tied up really are. Oh, what a tangled web Moff weaves...

Starting things off in style with a beautifully wrought mind-fuck allows the production team to squeeze in a few more shots of the good ol’ US of A (I have to say, it’s slightly amusing in Confidential to watch the Brits wax poetic about the American landscape; I suppose it’s a grass-is-always-greener situation, since I find the backdrops here beautiful but almost blasé in their familiarity, while I’d be walking around London and surrounds like a slack-jawed yokel, myself), and puts the viewer off-kilter for a beat.

But soon we’re back to the more familiar, with the Doctor having done something incredibly clever (watch him *snap* the TARDIS open), and River having trusted him with her life yet again. A little bit of exposition later, and it’s on to a truly hide-behind-the-sofa-worthy haunted house. I have to say this is one of the creepiest (darkest, if you will - that seems to be the adjective the production team is using) episodes I’ve ever seen, from any era.

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