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My reaction to this week's Who.



I loved last week's show, but I'd have to give Doomsday a sturdy "meh", with an aftertaste of "for God's sake, why?"

It was all far too handwavey. There were far too many things that I thought "Huh?" about, and though people in various online fora have offered answers to them, you shouldn't need to fanwank major plot points in the series finale, frankly. There were also too many coincidences, without which the world would be DOOMED, etc.

It's been threatened since the Christmas Invasion, especially in the last few episodes, but surely now Doctor Who is not set in our world at all, but an alternate universe itself? Everyone on their Earth now certainly knows about aliens, about Cybermen and Daleks and high technology. That means that Who canon is now such that the Doctor can never again acquire an Earth companion who's someone the viewer can relate to, someone normal who's never had anything to do with all the aliens and weird stuff. The Companion can never be shocked or naive or amazed by what's out there, because everyone on Earth knows now that there are others out there.

Some of the lines in the pissing contest between the Daleks and the Cybermen were cheesy as hell (though I liked the "Don't tell him your name, Pike!" bit) and I thought it could just as well have been written for the leaders of two opposing human armies. There was nothing alien about it. Nothing we've learned about the Cybermen or the Daleks seemed to flow into it - I wouldn't have expected the Cybermen to get angry and proud, and I wouldn't have expected the Daleks to stand around talking before they decided whether to exterminate. I did like "This isn't war - it's pest control" line.

We seemed to be expected to celebrate Rose being a spoiled brat, going "Nooo I'm going to stay with my booooyfriend" even when neither he nor anyone else wanted her to. Shut up, Rose. He could have saved the world much more easily if you weren't there (well, he seemed to think so anyway) and refusing to go and then coming back to die with him is just %&£$ing selfish and put a lot of other people you profess to care about in danger, including the Doctor, who would much prefer you to stay alive and keep carrying on the work he's shown you than for you to throw yourself away when you've got an escape route, and you're not needed to help him. That's not love, that's childish infatuation, and I object to being asked to care about it. If it had been as the spoilers suggested, and the Doctor had to send Rose to the other universe to save the world, or kill her to save the world, and had made that decision knowingly, that would have had an emotional impact on me, but not this farce.

I liked Mickey and Jake and co smashing through from the other universe to save the day. I guess that was a bit of a clue about Pete then coming through later on to save Rose, but really - he came through at exactly the right time in exactly the right place, when the plot had already strongly implied that time flows differently in the alternate universe? Again, Rose being trapped in the Void because of her infatuation and selfishness and the Doctor having to deal with that, I would have cried about, but not her last-minute deus ex machina rescue. Also on that line, when Pete did come through, and wasn't hanging on to anything, why didn't he get pulled into the void too fast to take them back? He's got VoidStuff, after all.

Other questions: Why could CyberChrissie turn on the others? There's plenty of fanwank theories around, but they should have shown us.

How exactly did the yellow buttons work? At one point, one person pressing the button sent the whole group through, but later it only sent the person pressing it.

So we still have one Dalek (Khan escaped). I know the Daleks are iconic and all that, but I'm getting a bit sick of the obvious "setting up for the sequel" stuff.

What happened to the people who'd been made into Cybermen on Earth? They shouldn't have been sucked into the Void. People's theory that the cybersuits came through the Void makes sense, but again, they should have shown that.

Why didn't the Tardis get sucked into the Void?

I wasn't keen on the Jackie/ Pete stuff - I thought they should have been more wary of each other. They're *not* each other's dead spouse, and they're going to have to work through that before they find happiness together. If they'd shown a bit of tension, I would have been so shipping them to get together in the end, but it was way too easy. Jackie's life as well as Rose's was determined by the men in this episode - did any women get to make their own decisions?

I thought the strength or the stiffness of the levers was totally mucked about. Rose shouldn't have been able to hang on to the lever without pulling it completely to the "off" position, if it was loose enough to move when she wasn't being dragged by a Void, and loose enough to slip out of "online" position in the first instance. And what was the point of the magnetty things? Nothing around them was being pulled into the Void, so they should have been able to hang onto anything nearby.

What did I like? I liked the Genesis Ark - what was in it made perfect sense, but wasn't obvious at all. I liked that the 3D glasses had a point other than wackiness, though I'd have preferred a point that wasn't blatantly plaigarised. I liked that the Doctor didn't bother trying to save Rose, cos the world was more important. (And he was getting annoyed with her puppy-dogness and wittering about mortgages and being together forever when he'd told her a million times he wasn't going to settle down and couldn't be with her forever, I like to think.) I liked Mickey, and I loved the look Mickey and the Doctor exchanged when Jackie said there'd never been anyone else. I liked the Bad Wolf reference, though the whole "shouting in dreams" thing was very handwavey.

I would go into the His Dark Materials stuff, but I haven't read the community's reactions yet and I'm sure other people have done it already.

Final comment: RTD was trying so hard to be emotional, and I didn't even have a lump in my throat. And I cry at *everything* on TV, including CSI.

Comments

( 39 comments — Comment )
parma_violets
Jul. 9th, 2006 09:58 am (UTC)
but surely now Doctor Who is not set in our world at all, but an alternate universe itself? Everyone on their Earth now certainly knows about aliens, about Cybermen and Daleks and high technology.

Surely that's always been the case, though? I mean, the show's been staging alien attacks on Earth since the 60s, not all of which have been set in the future. There are some fans who give themselves killer migraines trying to work out when the early Jon Pertwee episodes (which were clearly meant to be set in the early 70s, but had alien invasions and manned missions to Mars and female Prime Ministers) are set, but I've always shrugged this off; by this rationale, every show is set in a parallel universe, as there isn't a real place called Craggy Island, or a real hotel called Fawlty Towers, or a real human being called Davina McCall, etc.

I don't think it will impede the companion's relatability if the writing is good enough. For one thing, the old show had aliens and robots and savages and astrophysicists in the TARDIS, and they all lived and died on their character, not their experiences before travelling with the Doctor. Secondly, the people on Earth don't know that much - they know what a Cyberman looks like, and what a Dalek looks like, and I doubt that the powers that be will tell them anything more. Any companion faced with, say, an Ood, or a Slitheen, will still be in the dark.

And also I think Russell's message from 'Aliens of London' still holds true; if aliens tried to invade tomorrow, the politicians and the scientists and the philosophers would call it a complete overturning of our way of life, but that life would actually carry on, and people would still watch TV and have babies and have dinner with their families as if nothing had happened. Because what else can you do?
pickwick
Jul. 9th, 2006 10:22 am (UTC)
*giggles about Davina* She may well have been replaced by a robot, I'm afraid. I'm sure she used to have personality.

Probably it has always been the case - I'm a New Fan, I'm afraid! But I thought a lot of the point of having Rose was the "OMG, you're an alien! And you have a spaceship!" and so on.

Good point about the fact that people will still be people, watching it on TV and so on. I just feel that if everyone knows - the government, Torchwood, UNIT, plus all the "normal" people - then it would be weird for the Doctor to be slipping in quietly to save the world again, because there are so many people who could either save it themselves or help him.

(no subject) - parma_violets - Jul. 9th, 2006 10:59 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lordofthewheel - Jul. 9th, 2006 10:32 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pickwick - Jul. 9th, 2006 10:38 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lordofthewheel - Jul. 9th, 2006 12:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tanngrisnir - Jul. 9th, 2006 12:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
davidcook
Jul. 9th, 2006 10:12 am (UTC)
Nothing around them was being pulled into the Void, so they should have been able to hang onto anything nearby

Yup, or maybe even tie themselves on to something (magnetic grapple-thingies, or just some part of the building even), rather than relying on hanging on. Also, it always seems much harder for people in movies to hang on to things in situations like that that it should be ...

pickwick
Jul. 9th, 2006 10:22 am (UTC)
Heh, yes, tying themselves on would have been a good move!
(no subject) - surliminal - Jul. 9th, 2006 01:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pickwick - Jul. 9th, 2006 02:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - surliminal - Jul. 9th, 2006 02:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pickwick - Jul. 10th, 2006 09:05 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lordofthewheel - Jul. 9th, 2006 10:33 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pickwick - Jul. 9th, 2006 10:37 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kashandara - Jul. 9th, 2006 12:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pickwick - Jul. 9th, 2006 02:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - surliminal - Jul. 9th, 2006 02:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
dave_t_lurker
Jul. 9th, 2006 10:19 am (UTC)
The levers did seem to have some trigger type arangement. It looked like you neede to squeeze that to move the lever, don't squeeze that and the lever doesn't move.

Well that is how that type of lever works in the real world. I didn't really see if she was squeezing it when she was hanging on.
pickwick
Jul. 9th, 2006 10:23 am (UTC)
Ohhh, that would make sense. I didn't notice that.
(no subject) - surliminal - Jul. 9th, 2006 01:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lordofthewheel - Jul. 9th, 2006 05:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
thehornedgod
Jul. 9th, 2006 10:58 am (UTC)
the Doctor can never again acquire an Earth companion who's someone the viewer can relate to, someone normal who's never had anything to do with all the aliens and weird stuff.

Nah, he can just pick them up from the year before he met Rose, or an alternate Earth that never got invaded, or a commonplace New Earth.
pickwick
Jul. 9th, 2006 11:23 am (UTC)
Picking them up from a time before 2004 might work. Alternate Earth - doubt it, won't Hideously Bad Things happen if they try and go through the Void again? New Earth would be fine within the story but I was thinking more of outwith the story, the writers need someone who comes from where the viewers come from, someone who can represent them.
(no subject) - thehornedgod - Jul. 9th, 2006 11:33 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pickwick - Jul. 9th, 2006 12:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kashandara - Jul. 9th, 2006 01:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - surliminal - Jul. 9th, 2006 01:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pickwick - Jul. 9th, 2006 02:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
tanngrisnir
Jul. 9th, 2006 12:02 pm (UTC)
It's been threatened since the Christmas Invasion, especially in the last few episodes, but surely now Doctor Who is not set in our world at all, but an alternate universe itself?

That has pretty much always been the case. I mean, in our world, there never was a supercomputer at the top of the Post Office Tower which sent War Machines rampaging through London, Cybermen did not launch an attack on Earth from a new planet in 1980, a British expedition to Mars never returned with highly radioactive alien ambassadors — and so on.

You are dead right about the poor emotional appeal of this episode's ending. I can't help thinking someone should have been killed!
pickwick
Jul. 9th, 2006 12:11 pm (UTC)
Yeah, sounds like Who's always been doing mad public things in this world - I really have to get round to watching the old series before I start sounding off, I guess!
(no subject) - tanngrisnir - Jul. 9th, 2006 06:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
pickwick
Jul. 9th, 2006 02:21 pm (UTC)
Hee! Excellent. So many people going "It's not emo, it's just twoo wuv!" (Though they do all seem to be about 16, so...that makes sense.)

I've added you, hope that's OK!
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - kashandara - Jul. 10th, 2006 04:29 am (UTC) - Expand
redatt
Jul. 9th, 2006 02:02 pm (UTC)
Some of the lines in the pissing contest between the Daleks and the Cybermen were cheesy as hell

I agree! But everyone else seemed to really like that part. I especially hated that 'the only thing you're better at is dying' thing. I did like 'Together we will upgrade the universe' and (like you) 'This isn't war - it's pest control', though. Heee!

I don't know about angry, but cybermen are inherently proud as are the daleks, I think, because they are an 'upgrade' designed to be better than the 'dross'. And since those particular Daleks were a special bread (there purpose is to imagine), I'll accept their standing around talking about things rather than the traditional exterminating or other Daleks.

I disagree about Rose. It's her job to leave her mother's apron strings and walk her own path, and it's her mother's job to let her. It was Jackie that wanted to switch universes to be with a man and who demanded that Rose go to, after all. The only bit about Rose that narked me this week was the think-you're-'ard-enuff-chav type scene with the lead Dalek early on.

And what was the point of the magnetty things?

I wondered about that to.Yes, why didn't they all just hand on to something? Although, I suppose the Doctor and Rose were the only one's not taken by surprise ...

I'd've been really happy if they ended it with Rose being kidnapped by her not-father, but I didn't really like the dream business either. It was more-or-less compensated for by the Doctor not actually saying 'it', though.
pickwick
Jul. 9th, 2006 02:15 pm (UTC)
disagree about Rose. It's her job to leave her mother's apron strings and walk her own path, and it's her mother's job to let her.

Oh, I didn't think she should have just gone off with Jackie and Pete, but I didn't see it as walking her own path at all - she was just hanging on to the Doctor, even when he was trying to get rid of her to save her life, and the world.

I know the Daleks were special, so that was OK, but like I said, it just didn't seem alien at all to me, that fight.
tbmyoung39
Jul. 9th, 2006 04:53 pm (UTC)
We seemed to be expected to celebrate Rose being a spoiled brat, going "Nooo I'm going to stay with my booooyfriend" even when neither he nor anyone else wanted her to. Shut up, Rose. ... That's not love, that's childish infatuation, and I object to being asked to care about it.

Amen. During that whole scene, all I could focus on was how bratty she was being to her mother and about how all she seemed to care about was herself. To me, RTD took Rose right back to where she started which was being a selfish creature. Although, now that I think of it, that selfishness never really went away, did it? I liked Rose for the most part, but by the time this episode was over, I was more than happy to see her go.
eye_candy33
Jul. 9th, 2006 06:59 pm (UTC)
I apologise if this is a bit cheeky, but...
I've had a look at your user info. You might be interested in my new icon community fluidic_icons. Go along and have a peek. If you like what you see you could join or watch it. I would love to have some more people to share my icons with as I have such fun making them. Hope to see you there :)
pickwick
Jul. 10th, 2006 09:09 am (UTC)
They're funky, actually, I will join! I like the colours.
( 39 comments — Comment )

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