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Doctor Who 4.08 Silence In The Library

Hurray for Steven Moffat!


I can't even remember everything I loved about this episode. I mean, A LIBRARY PLANET. Dude. I really wanted the books to be sentient, bah. Donna went so far down in my estimation when she'd rather be on a beach than in the biggest library ever. (But I may be abnormal.)

Moffat's got a definite "type" of episode - spooky, genuinely atmospheric, shippy, better on Plot than Character. Makes me wonder how many episodes he'll write of season 10, and whether he'll be able to branch out. There were bits and pieces of character work I liked this ep, but Donna seemed to have regressed to Runaway Bride form again, not listening to the Doctor and being too slow to believe the weirdness. But she's so doomed anyway.

I liked River Song - I like Alex Kingston, for a start - although she's surely doomed too, because she knows the Ten incarnation over a period of years. That's not going to happen in the broadcast show, anyway, though it would be interesting if they managed to set it up in a way they could have an entire series of spin-off books (or audios) about the Doctor and River.

References! A very timely Indiana Jones one - big library with a star pattern in the middle, and the Doctor asking River's crew if they're Grail questers. Unless I imagined that. The whole River Song and the diary, her love story with the time traveller, is very reminiscent of The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Which made me grumpy because I didn't like the end of that book, but I'm assuming this one won't have the same problems for me. River has Captain Jack's type of sonic blaster as well as a sonic screwdriver - unless she had one device doing it all, but anyway, the square fire pattern was straight out of Empty Child. From the Banana Scene, which made me laugh because I read something recently about Moffat saying he wasn't going to do his trademark banana references any more, and now I'm getting them in my head anyway... Doctor in the telly is similar to Blink, now I come to think of it, though at first it reminded me more of the puppet episode of Angel.

I was beautifully confused by the girl/computer, and having a traumatised computer imagining it's a little girl is somehow fabulous even though it's also a little bit ludicrous. (Yeah, yeah, I know.) The flesh eaters in the shadows - that's just being mean to kids, really, isn't it? Hee. And Evil Stig! Hurray.

I wasn't sure what to think of this episode in relation to Moffat's possible sexism. I didn't like the way he showed Donna for the most part - stupid, and apparently crushing on the Doctor (*headdesk*). And the other women in the episode, we had love interest (although admittedly kick-ass), dead bimbo, and one other who failed to have any sort of personality, yet gave me the vague impression she'd been written as a male character and swapped to female late on. I know it's not possible to flesh out all the characters in 45 minutes, but the Proper Dave and Other Dave thing was a nice hook.

Dead bimbo - Miss Evangelista - was really familiar to me all the way through, so I checked wiki and she was in the Phoo Action show I was going on about in February, also directed by Euros Lyn. Her acting style seemed like it belonged in a different show, very possibly Phoo Action, which is much more hammy. (More hammy than Who? Good God. But it is.) And yet I liked her anyway.

A whole week to wait. There must be some lovely screencaps from this episode - maybe I'll make icons.

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Comments

( 15 comments — Comment )
dakegra
May. 31st, 2008 05:17 pm (UTC)
I missed the first 15 minutes or so, but it looked like an absolute corker. EB was terrified, and had to go to bed with all the lights on. Then he had to watch the Confidential, to be reassured it wasn't all real.

Off to watch it all from the start now. :-)
pickwick
May. 31st, 2008 05:46 pm (UTC)
Yay for a proper Doctor Who Terror moment :D
sloopjonb
May. 31st, 2008 05:28 pm (UTC)
I don't suppose there's any danger that Donna has been Killed Off For Real, is there? *hopeful*

(Yes, yes, I've been reading TV Tropes. This is all your fault).
pickwick
May. 31st, 2008 05:47 pm (UTC)
Apparently the Confidential was all "The people in the nodes are dead. DEAD, I tell you!" which I suppose means the Doctor will save them all. But I reckon she'll be Killed Off For Real by the end of the season.

(Hurray for TV Tropes! I tend to get stuck in it for days.)
donbert
May. 31st, 2008 05:30 pm (UTC)
An archeologist with a diary who (ahem) *knows* the Doctor?

It's Prof. Benny Summerfield!

(I wish!)
pickwick
May. 31st, 2008 05:48 pm (UTC)
Ha! There are so many different theories floating around about who she is, and I hope Moffat pulls something out of the bag that nobody's thought of (but that makes sense).
momentsmusicaux
May. 31st, 2008 05:39 pm (UTC)
Was ace.
Computer as little girl has sort of been done (Red Queen, wasn't it, in Resident Evil) and computer going pyschotic... HAL. Still, it worked.
Loved Alex Kingston. Kick-ass indeed. Can actually imagine her and the Doctor as a couple. Wow. Finally he stops going for chavs, eh?
I thought it was a bit slow at first. There was actually one bit of Doctor/Donna dialogue where I said 'get on with it', as it was just too exposey.
Oh, and too many 'so sorry' lines. I thought we'd done that one already -- wasn't it season 2's catchphrase?
pickwick
May. 31st, 2008 05:50 pm (UTC)
And weren't they calling the computer in the library Cal? There was a Cal somewhere, anyway.

If the Doctor was going to have an on-screen relationship, I'd mind her less than most people, indeed. She was great.

And the sorrys, yes. But you've reminded me, did we have any of this season's themes at all? I don't remember missing bees or missing planets or the Medusa Cascade or Rose... (And we have too many themes, clearly.)
sovietkiki
May. 31st, 2008 05:50 pm (UTC)
Re: Donna's characterisation (my take):

1. Wanting to go to the beach - they have been running around a lot, perhaps she just wanted to go to the beach? (:

2. I don't think she was crushing on the Doctor, from the looks she gave between River and him - I think she's grown to be a bit protective of him, and she was scouting out the situation. She didn't seem particularly hostile towards River after she got her to admit what was going on.

Screencaps are already up!

And I really think this is a case of River splitting reality by summoning the Doctor too early, thus creating a co-tangent reality where she can die. (Terry Pratchett: Johnny and the Bomb & Jingo, "Trousers of Time" theory.)
pickwick
May. 31st, 2008 05:56 pm (UTC)
Beaches are good, but...library!! All the books ever!!! *flails*

2, you're probably right. Or she'd already realised the "Hang on, if you know him from the future but you don't know me..." thing.

And yes, Trousers of Time seems the most likely theory here - their meeting now will definitely stop things in the Doctor's timeline, in this universe, happening the way they did in River's timeline/ universe.
blue_condition
May. 31st, 2008 05:58 pm (UTC)
One doesn't need all the books in the world to be in the same place.

That's what abebooks is for.
sovietkiki
May. 31st, 2008 05:59 pm (UTC)
Maybe she was thinking they could grab some books and boogie on down to the beach! :D

Yep. Either that or it's like The Time Traveller's Wife - spoiler separation:
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IIRC, the first time Henry is present in the heroine's time line, he's being shot by the heroine's father.

Edited at 2008-05-31 10:00 pm (UTC)
blue_condition
May. 31st, 2008 06:00 pm (UTC)
I'm utterly indifferent to beaches save for where they're near racing circuits. I like the sea. I like the land. The damp bit in between rather annoys me ;)

(Though if you must, Carmel-by-the-sea is about as good as it gets, and very handy for Laguna Seca ;))
londonkds
May. 31st, 2008 06:13 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I thought Donna was more abrasive and less clever than usual in this ep.
mind_expander
Jun. 2nd, 2008 10:21 am (UTC)
okay, here it comes:

We had a quote of 4022 saved, no casualties. Donna has been saved. As in saved to the archive. Someone has done something rather clever with the teleporter system and the archives, all 4022 (plus Donna) are still kind of alive, albeit as data right now. The little girl is one of them.

anyone seen the star trek TNG episode where they find Scotty from original trek stuck in the pattern buffer of a crashed federation ship? Like that.
( 15 comments — Comment )

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