?

Log in

Previous | Next

Doctor Who 5.13 The Big Bang

Right now, that episode seems close to perfect. I'm sure there are problems with it - especially if you object too much to fantasy in your SF - but it was just stunningly executed.
I'm pretty much guaranteed to love stories about stories, stories about narrative power, and The Big Bang was full of that sort of thing on several levels. The script talked about it openly, and also repeatedly dragged your attention to the meta-narrative, and how intricately plotted this whole season was, and how clearly this is part of a multi-season arc, too. Amy was less the audience's viewpoint character this season than she was Moffat's own viewpoint character - the universe was put together out of her head and her memories and the stories she told herself, and, eventually, told others.

There have been hundreds of theories flying around the internet, and I didn't see a single person guess that Amy was in the Pandorica. Everyone knew about Jacket!Doctor, of course, in the Angels episodes, and I wasn't surprised to see that was true - I wasn't particularly surprised either that the less obvious sightings of Jacket!Doctor people were suggesting didn't turn out to be him. It's all timey-wimey, of course - the Doctor gave Rory the sonic to let him out so that he could give him the sonic, etc - but complaining about time paradoxes in Doctor Who seems a bit pointless. (I saw someone complaining loudly that the episode BROKE THE LAWS OF TIME TRAVEL. Ahem.)

We were straight-out told that the Doctor was a big enough space-time event to close the crack, in the Angels eps. Such blatant, blatant foreshadowing, and again it wasn't something the theorists (including me) really picked up on. It was foreshadowed again about 15 minutes before it happened in this ep, and I spent that time going "Fuck. No. Fuck. GodDAMMIT, Moffat." I did think that Amy's parents had been eaten by the crack, because of the phrasing in the first ep when she said she "didn't have parents". And the different universes were kind of bleeding into each other through Amy's memory, or in Amy's memory, which presumably explains why the pond in crack!Leadworth was still a duck pond in her mind. (Speaking of Ponds - hello, Mr Rory Pond, you are made of awesome and win. And plastic.) And the Pandorica being able to restore things was explained early on and then extrapolated into the "amplify it using the TARDIS explosion" plan, so that all made sense in-story. The Vortex manipulator seems to be a much more reliable time-travel device than the TARDIS, they should keep that. Handy.

I'm still a bit ambivalent about River Song - sometimes I love her, and sometimes Alex Kingston seems to be ACTING, DARLING, and it's really bloody grating. But I liked how she fit into the story, and I am intrigued to see where it goes next season. Glad to see the little blue book back and playing a key part - how amazing was the slow unfolding of the Something Blue punchline? Beautifully done. And Amy crying because she subconsciously remembered the Doctor, and how we knew immediately what was happening because we saw it happen when she was subconsciously remembering Rory in Vincent and the Doctor. I keep marvelling at how well this season was put together. The base structure is mostly contained in The Eleventh Hour, the Angel episodes, Vincent and the Doctor and the final two-parter, but there were little finale shout-outs to all the episodes, like the approaching TARDIS being signalled by ripples in the drinks at the wedding (from The Beast Below).

Apart from River Song, all the acting was fantastic. Matt hit it not just out of the park but halfway to the moon in his portrayal of an old, old man and his weird box. Karen showed more range than she has all season, and Arthur Darvill gave a really solid performance as Rory. (Who is now older than the Doctor, by the way, and should totally meet up with Captain Jack for a drink.)

I have forgotten many things, I'm sure, and this is a bit all over the place. Because my head is. Still so much thinkiness! Some combination of the number of hints dropped and the faith the fans had in Moffat and his plotty timey-wimeyness gave this season the most intellectually involved fanbase I've seen for a while - as opposed to emotionally involved, like a lot of the reaction to Rose's story arc, and even Donna's - and I love it. I love that there were theories all over the place, and people debating and screencapping and comparing notes. And from what I've seen of the reaction, most people have been sastisfied with the resolution. We trusted Moffat, and he delivered with wit and heart and panache.

Analogy rating: Like being in the countryside on a clear night and watching the stars, when you rarely leave the city. And then watching them swoop and whirl like Van Gogh's Starry Night.

(x-posted to doctorwho)

Comments

( 20 comments — Comment )
momentsmusicaux
Jun. 26th, 2010 09:22 pm (UTC)
Yup. Good stuff all round, and I need to watch it again!

And somehow, even though the Doctor was brought back by something not dissimilar to the climax of the Master finale, it wasn't cheesy like when RTD had everyone going 'Ooh Doctor'.

Auton Rory: according to Doctor Who Wiki, which puts it better than I could:

> The Doctor succeeded by throwing the Pandorica into the heart of the explosion that caused the cracks undoing it and sealing the cracks. This meant that the real Rory was never erased, and the Alliance was never formed, thus the Auton Rory never existed. (DW: The Big Bang)
pickwick
Jun. 26th, 2010 09:29 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm having difficulty articulating in my head why this resolution works better and doesn't come out all deux-ex-machina-y like RTD's can, but it somehow does.

Oh, that makes sense about Rory, although having a tame Auton along could have been handy. But...does that mean the Angels are all "alive" again? And the soldiers, I guess. Now I'm trying to think who and what else was eaten by the cracks.
agnes_bean
Jun. 27th, 2010 06:03 am (UTC)
Here via who_daily
I'm having difficulty articulating in my head why this resolution works better and doesn't come out all deux-ex-machina-y like RTD's can, but it somehow does.

Me too. I have two theories:

1. Although there isn't really a scientific explanation for why being remembered = being brought back, themes of remembering and forgetting have been scattered through the whole season, and the specific remembering=brought back thing was set up in the last episode. Therefore, while the mechanics of the plot device might still be deux-ex-machina-y on the face, the entire concept makes sense thematically, and therefore doesn't seem random.

None of RTD's finales had the kind of set-up. Maybe a bit with the Doctor!Donna, but there was nothing in Season 1 that would lead us to believe looking into the Tardis means becoming godlike, or that telling stories = TinkerBell!Doctor (although I do like that concept in general, actually).

Basically, if there had been a major theme in Season 3 (for example) of stories having power to change the world, the ending there might have felt a lot more connected, and therefore less deux-ex-machina-y.

2. In RTD's stories, the deux-ex-machina-y devices are used as a resolution for saving the universe. In this case, they saved the universe on their own, without special powers that were previously unknown. The potentially deux-ex-machina-y memory device was only used to bring the Doctor back, not as a resolution to the entire main conflict.

Just my 2 cents, since I was also like "why does this feel like less of a cop-out?"
a_pawson
Jun. 27th, 2010 10:57 am (UTC)
Re: Here via who_daily
The whole series has been about fairytales. Fairytales are stories which were often never written down, just passed on from one person's memory to another's over the centuries. All they need to survive is for someone to remember them. That sort of makes sense to me, that you could apply the same to the Doctor, who is fast becoming a bit of a myth or legend throughout the universe.
agnes_bean
Jun. 27th, 2010 03:23 pm (UTC)
Re: Here via who_daily
Yep, that too. Basically, the whole thing REALLY tied into the series, and Doctor Who has never exactly been hard Sci-Fi with air-tight explanations, so tying in thematically/to more metaphorical explanations like "fairy-tales can be real" works fine for me.

Another way of putting it is: as soon as it was clear the Doctor was going to be erased from time, I was like "okay, and then they will remember him and that will bring him back." That wasn't me being clever; I think that was clear to anyone who had really been following and understanding the series, because it fit so well thematically. That's not deus ex machina, that's great storytelling (unless one is hung up on having a good sci-fi explanation, which I'm not).

That's what made it different from some of the RTD endings, IMO. I had no idea Rose looking into the Tardis was going to turn her into God!Rose and that she would spread Bad Wolf, or that everyone chanting Doctor would turn him into TinkerBell!Doctor, or even that there could be a human-timelord metacrisis (there's never been one before!). Therefore, when those things happened, they did seem a little like magical solutions that came out of nowhere, as opposed to magical solutions that fit right in, if that makes sense.

And I even liked those finales. But not as much as this one.
marrog
Jun. 27th, 2010 10:22 am (UTC)
The only thing that would have made it better for me is them somehow managing to keep Rory as a 2,000-year-old auton.
a_pawson
Jun. 27th, 2010 10:54 am (UTC)
I thought the Doctor flying off in the TARDIS leaving, Amy and Rory behind would have been a better ending. Their journey seems somehow to be over.
matgb
Jun. 26th, 2010 09:40 pm (UTC)
But he can still remember it all, right? That seems to be implied when he remembers who the Doctor is when the TARDIS reappears.

My biggest liking is that The Silence is next year, it's at least a two year story arc, no end-of-season reset, something else is still going on.

Plus, River effectively quotes Captain Jack near the end, so this icon comes back in use.
pickwick
Jun. 26th, 2010 10:04 pm (UTC)
I don't know if he can remember anything after he got killed, actually, now that you mention it. I don't see any reason he should be able to remember all the Auton stuff.

And yay for multi-season arcs! I was talking to someone on doctorwho about why this reset was OK, and that might be why - because it's not a total reset, they've beaten back this attack from the Big Bad, but it's still out there.
momentsmusicaux
Jun. 26th, 2010 11:20 pm (UTC)
Silence is next year?

And what did she quote?
matgb
Jun. 26th, 2010 11:34 pm (UTC)
In her last conversation with the Doctor, she says he'll find out who she is soon, she's sorry, and "that's when everything changes", or something very similar.

And yes, according to Moffat in the Confidential, next year's arc is the follow on, and we find out what the "silence will fall" stuff is; who was controlling the TARDIS, who's voice was it, etc.
dibsy
Jun. 27th, 2010 02:34 am (UTC)
At the 22 minute-ish mark, after the Doctor has turned up apparently dead they go back to the Dalek who is restoring itself. What does it say? It sounds to me like it says "Master", but I am probably wrong. What does it say?
pickwick
Jun. 27th, 2010 02:43 am (UTC)
"Restore", according to the doctorwho community, where somebody thought the same thing.
pickwick
Jun. 27th, 2010 02:42 am (UTC)
Yeah, I noticed the similarity of whatever she said to the Torchwood motto too.
(Deleted comment)
pickwick
Jun. 27th, 2010 02:47 am (UTC)
Oooh, crossover. I think River, Amy and Jack would be a terrifying combination, actually, and I want to see it.
kashandara
Jun. 27th, 2010 09:27 am (UTC)
I can't be alone in thinking that an awful lot of the shiny things River seems to have picked up look like shiny things Torchwood would pick up can I?
agnes_bean
Jun. 27th, 2010 03:29 pm (UTC)
I want to see that combination, and I also want to see Eleven's utter inability to control the three of them. There would be so much flailing on his part, and teasing on theirs!
sudge
Jun. 27th, 2010 09:55 pm (UTC)
Eleven is easily my favourite Doctor since the reboot, and maybe even backdated. Brilliant. I especially love that there he is, willing to erase himself from time, space and memory with barely a goodbye while Ten cried like baby because he had to regenerate. Moffat making a point?
(Anonymous)
Feb. 7th, 2011 12:26 am (UTC)
waandvrd cfgn
gbnq meqlc [URL=http://www.katesxxx.com]pornstars[/URL] cdgtwd c oo o kkl
( 20 comments — Comment )

Profile

bad wolf
pickwick
Notes from extinction

Latest Month

November 2010
S M T W T F S
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930    
Powered by LiveJournal.com