Saturday, May 14, 2011
Oh, You Sexy Thing
SPOILERS FOR "THE DOCTOR'S WIFE" BENEATH THE NEIL GAIMAN QUOTE GIF!
I've only seen this episode once, but I had so many thoughts about it that I wanted to get them all down. I didn't quite catch all the witty and brilliant lines, so I will have to go back and rewatch to get everything (oh, what a pity...)
If had to describe this episode in one word, it would be GORGEOUS!!! (with three exclamation marks, caps lock and everything).
First off - I had only heard of Neil Gaiman when I learned he would be writing for "Doctor Who" this year. I hadn't read anything of his, but I knew that many a geek was over-the-moon for his work. I'd even had people tell me I needed to read his stuff and I just never got around to it. Earlier this year, I saw "Coraline" without even realizing he'd written it and I absolutely loved it. Then I read "The Graveyard Book" and loved that as well. So, I was in much anticipation for "The Doctor's Wife" (just like everyone else in the world).
Imagine my surprise at first when I wasn't completely sucked in. At first, I was a little unsure - it just looked like "The Graveyard Book" with the Doctor and companions thrown in. At that point, I wasn't too concerned about all my extended family creating so much noise and chaos behind me while I tried to watch. This wasn't going to be anything special...
Oh... how very wrong I was.
Let me get this out of the way first:
Never mind that it took a fanboy like Neil Gaiman to finally put it in the show. Hell, Steven Moffat is fanboy extraordinaire. IT WORKS!!
People (myself included) freaked out when the title of this episode was released. What convoluted and complicated thing could this mean? What off-the-wall, dingbat theories could we conjure out of this one? Why wasn't River Song in this episode? "The Doctor's Wife" - surely that must be her.
Well, duh. Of course it's the TARDIS.
(I wonder how many fans had that reaction throughout the world.)
The beauty of it is that the idea is so simple. I've said before that I'm not much of a shipper - but that TARDIS has been through everything with the Doctor. Companions come and companions go, but that crazy blue box has always, always, ALWAYS been there. If there is any one person "for" the Doctor, it's the TARDIS.
In other news - I had a complete fan-flip-out moment when Amy and Rory started wandering the TARDIS corridors. Because I had seen the trailer and there's part where Amy screams in the trailer. At the time, I had thought "That background looks like it would be part of the TARDIS." And I was right!!!
Okay - other things:
- Idris called Rory "The Pretty One." This shall be his nickname until I decide otherwise.
- Actually, Rory got so much "Be Awesome!" time in this. Neil Gaiman, I thank you.
- The TARDIS corridors weren't that creepy back in "Castrovalva"! Then again, the TARDIS wasn't being possessed by an angry not-asteroid-monster in "Castrovalva," either.
- You know what I just realized? We never saw the "monster" in this episode. We heard a menacing voice, but never saw anything. I love it when they do that!
- They killed Rory - AGAIN! But this time, it was a fake-out. Amy was being fed some stupid illusion. Maybe that's the punchline of the joke (maybe that's why "The Curse of the Black Spot" was moved to Episode 3) - we've killed Rory so many times, so here's a time when it's for-really-not-real (and I appreciate that).
- "I wanted to see the universe, so I stole a Time Lord and ran away. You were the only one mad enough." How perfect is this?
- "I took you when you needed to be" YES. YES YOU DID, TARDIS. YES YOU DID!! (another theory of mine gets validated)
- (Those were the only two lines I caught on the first viewing, by the way).
- IT'S THE NINE AND TEN TARDIS CONSOLE ROOM! SHE KEEPS THEM ALL ARCHIVED!!! AAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!! (and that little makeshift TARDIS the Doctor and Idris flew in on looked like an amalgamation of all the TARDIS Console Rooms from the Classic Series - almost like some of the pictures of the TARDISes from The Doctor Who Experience I've seen). Who else but a hardcore fan would write something like this? Honestly.
- The good-bye scene between the Doctor and Idris was the saddest thing ever! It was weird - I was sad, but I knew that the TARDIS was still going to be around... but not in the way that the Doctor could talk to her. It was as sad as any regeneration scene I've watched (and I've seen some doozies).
- I'm so happy they didn't try to throw in any season-arc references at the end. They got that in briefly at the beginning and let the whole story work the way it was meant to. Because then, we got this beautiful little moment where the Doctor and the TARDIS are alone and he's walking around the TARDIS console with a new appreciation for the old girl. I FREAKING LOVE MATT SMITH!!
End Summary - This is the kind of storytelling that made me fall in love with "Doctor Who." I've always loved the idea of the TARDIS being a sentient creature and she's the one constant in the Doctor's life. Sometimes my "hopeless romantic" gene would kick in and I think I would like a story exploring the Doctor and the TARDIS's relationship, but then my logic kicked back in and I shoved that idea back in the file under "Stuff to Leave for Horrible Fanfic Writers." However, Neil Gaiman hit it out of the park.
With any fandom, I suppose there's a risk involved with giving creative license over to a fan. Maybe they try to shove in too much continuity or obscure references to the past that only a handful of people will understand or that has no real relevance to the actual story (I'm looking at you, "Attack of the Cybermen"). That risk is certainly involved with "Doctor Who," with nearly 50 years of material to draw from. I can see why Moffat wants to get away from using the Classic monsters too much and introduce new things - which, I'm glad that he's taking the show that direction.
However, if nods to the past are done well and with the respect they deserve, something special happens. Even the newest fan can appreciate the love and care the creator-fans put into this remarkable show, without knowing every detail of the show's past (not to belabor the point, but that was my reaction to "Time Crash" last summer). There's a certain magic to that. A magic that happens when someone finally gets to pay homage to something meaningful and special to them. "The Doctor's Wife" is such magic. Glorious, beautiful, wonderful, gorgeous magic.
Bravo, Neil Gaiman. Bravo to you, sir.
(Okay, I need to go watch this again!)