Saturday, September 29, 2012

You And Me, On the Last Page

My thoughts of "The Angels Take Manhattan" beneath the video. Spoilers (maybe?)

I can't really describe what this story means to me.  I didn't even realize that it would mean so much to me.  And every time I try to put it down in words, it sounds hokey.  I almost don't even want to listen to the podcasters review it because someone is going to have problems with this stupid little thing or that one dumb line (they'll come up with something - they always do) and I don't want to hear anyone run this story down.  It's like having a very special and sacred experience and then trying to tell someone else about it and they just laugh at you.  And you berate yourself because you should have known better because the other person wasn't there and it's just stupid to them and there's no way they can fully understand it.  Not the way that you do.

I can't step back from this one and be a cold-hearted reviewer, nitpicking all the "Well, there the Angels were looking at each other and how could the Statue of Liberty get there so quick and Moffat didn't explain this thing very well and blah, blah, blah, whatever..."  I can't do that - not for this story.  Not when I'm saying goodbye to someone who helped me clearly outline my own problems and define what was wrong with me - what I needed.  And what I needed was a friend or two or three - even if they were fictional - to take me out of my own sorrows and difficulties.

Two and a half years ago (more or less), I was introduced to Amelia Pond.  My introduction came at the end of mainlining all of Doctor Who (at least, everything since the 2005 revival).  As I've said before, my introduction to Doctor Who came at a really tough time for me.  I had no job, I was working through a Master's degree, I was still living in my parents' house (which at the time was a source of great disappointment and shame for myself) and I really didn't have much to look forward to in my life.  I didn't know what to do with myself and I felt terribly alone.  I cried a lot in those days.

Amy's story resonated with me almost immediately.  In "The Eleventh Hour," she mentions that she had to go psychiatrists and people didn't believe her that she met the Raggedy Doctor who had promised to take her traveling (I seriously cannot watch the scene with little Amelia running out of her house in her coat and hat with her little suitcase to wait for the Doctor without tearing up).  In "The Beast Below" - a story much maligned by Who fandom at large - Amy saves the star whale by realizing that something so old and so kind could only ever want to help a sad lonely child.  That resonated with me so much because, at the time, I was a pretty sad lonely child (compared to the Doctor and his 1000+ years, mid-twenties is like a baby, really).

Like so many other people, I ran away with the Doctor.  I ran away with him and Amy (and Rose and Martha and Donna and Sarah Jane and everyone else).  Their adventures were my adventures.  For a time, I am a companion.  Whatever is going on in my regular life and whoever is causing me grief doesn't matter - we have Daleks to defeat and corridors to run through.  But the adventures end.  They must, of necessity.  Companions leave, get left behind and a few die.  Even the Doctor dies.  But then he comes back and starts running again, finding other lonely children to amaze, entertain and change for the better (always for the better).

Amy was a lonely little girl for most of her life.  Then the Doctor returned and things seemed brighter.  Still, she wasn't sure how she wanted to go through her life.  Even when she was with Rory, she wasn't sure if he was what she wanted.  It took her quite some time to decide on that, but she did.  And she was happy.  As we saw last week in "The Power of Three," she had both her normal life with her husband and her adventurous traveling with the Doctor life.

Now, it's 2012.  I'm out of my parents house, I have my MLS, I have a job.  I've seen my share of joys and my share of disappointments and I've had my share of betrayals.  Amy had many different jobs, it seems.  She had a pretty good marriage and she had great things happen to her.  She also had some very difficult things - kidnapped and pregnant, much?  But in the end, would she trade it?

There have been days I wanted to run away from life.  That, if I heard the TARDIS engines groaning in my backyard, I would drop whatever I was doing and tear out after the Doctor (hoping, of course, that he would let me in).  Amy wanted to run away at first.  Even when she had reason to stay and even when she said she didn't want to run away anymore - she ran.  She ran after that Raggedy Man who took her away.  In the end, she ran after that Roman who stole her heart.

This season of Doctor Who began on September 1, which was the hardest day I've endured in a quite a long time.  I haven't let on that there's anything wrong because there's nothing I can do about what happened and it does no good to wallow in self-pity.  So, I keep calm and carry on.  Stiff-upper-lip and all that stuff.  I've done more than my share of crying lately.  It's almost like I'm back to that summer in 2010 when everything was falling apart and I had nothing to hold onto.  And then I watch Amy willingly walk into a Weeping Angel, complete with her name appearing on a gravestone next to her husband's.  It's almost too much - then again, it's almost the right time for it.

I've been told to grow up and quit watching all those silly sci-fi shows and spending my time reading fantasy books.  But that's how I cope with my troubles.  Stories are how I deal with my life.  That's how it's always been.  And when I find someone, even in fiction, who I can relate to (who can relate to me) - why would I let go of that?  Stories define us.  The stories and characters that pull us through our rough patches and our good times become part of us and part of our lives.  I would no sooner forget these people than I would my own parents and siblings.  Even ones that later disappoint me... well, I won't go into that here.  But the person that claims you never need to re-read a book or re-watch a movie, I would call them crazy.  Out and out looney.  You can't live your life bolted down to one time or one place and never experience things - even if it's just through fiction.  Well, maybe some people can.  I can't.

Amy Pond - well, she helped me.  She was a friend.  She and Rory.  All I can hope for is that they lived out a wonderful life in 1930s New York (hopefully the Angels were gone for good).  They deserve it.

I know this wasn't much of a standard review, but this wasn't a standard story.  Oh, maybe in the weeks and months to come I'll find plotholes to dig at or whatever, but for now, I can only be grateful for it.  Because it reminded me of something so dear and precious to me.  Something I'll never be able to put into words.  Nor would I ever want to.

The only way I could close this is with Amy's afterword.  Most of it is for the Doctor of course, but there were a few nuggets that I took to heart.  I hope you all don't mind -

Hello, Old Friend. Here we are. You and me, on the last page.  By the time you read these words, Rory and I will be long gone. So know that we lived well and were happy. And above all else, know that we will love you, always. Sometimes, I do worry about you, though.  I think , once we're gone you won't be coming back here for a while.  And you might be alone.  Which you should never be.  Don't be alone, Doctor.  And do one more thing for me: There's a little girl waiting in a garden.  She's going to wait a long while, so she's going to need a lot of hope.  Go to her.  Tell her a story.  Tell her that if she's patient, the days are coming that she'll never forget.  Tell her she'll go to sea and fight pirates.  She'll fall in love with a man who'll wait 2,000 years to keep her safe.  Tell her she'll give hope to the greatest painter who ever lived.  And save a whale in outer space.  Tell her, this is the story of Amelia Pond.  And this is how it ends.
                                                                    - Amelia Pond Williams

Thank you, Pond.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Chrissy, it's the old lady, Brenda from Atlanta. I have so enjoyed your feedback on TTV over the past several months that I came looking for your blog. I have only read this first entry, and already I know that I'm going to visit here often. You remind me a lot of me, only a few decades ago. I look forward to getting to know you better through your wonderful writing. Take care.