Sunday, November 2, 2014

Bet No One Saw THAT Coming!

Recap/Review of Doctor Who 8.11 "Dark Water" - Spoilers!

Fandom is a funny thing sometimes. We have the most bizarre, cracked-out theories that we "know" will probably never happen. But then with a show like Doctor Who, where the majority of people now working on it were once fans themselves - those assumptions go flying out the window. Because now, the inmates are running the asylum (I mean that in the nicest way possible) and all bets are off.

"Dark Water" has now given us the following from the fandom wish-list (again - SPOILERS!) -

- a female Time Lord that was once a male Time Lord.

- the return of the Master

- some kind of strange romantic relationship between the Doctor and the Master (which, I am personally glad to see the Doctor doesn't reciprocate because it's just kind of weird on all levels when I think about it too long).

And, I'm fairly certain that fandom will find something of this to complain about. That is wasn't done properly, they didn't like the execution, there was something just "wrong" about it - it's Doctor Who. The fans are nothing if not entitled and whiny. There's no pleasing them, even when you give them what they say they want.

Anyway - the episode. I'll be honest, I was a little bored of it until about ten minutes left in the episode. Mostly because I knew the Cybermen were coming and I just kept waiting and waiting and... nothing. Maybe if that hadn't been spoiled by, well, everybody (including the BBC), I wouldn't have been waiting for it and yelling "Where are the Cybermen??" at my computer. Which is a shame, because there were some interesting things going on that I wish I would have been able to pay more attention to. The idea of someone taking control of the dead and using them as a army to take over the earth. The whole concept of the Nethersphere and where it came from and why (Time Lord technology. Because of course it is). And, of course, Danny and Clara's relationship. Which took a HUGE turn here.

I have enjoyed this entire story arc of Clara and Danny this season. I love how the timey-wimey-ness of Clara's travels with the Doctor has meant that we've kind of hit the highlights of their relationship - the key points of what they've gone through, as it pertains to the overall Series 8 story. Basically, this is a companion losing a loved one and having that loved one fall into a Doctor's nemesis's schemes, thus making the stakes that much higher and have greater consequences.

When I saw Danny walk out into the road, I kept thinking "Dude - you're gonna get hit." And... then there was nothing on the other end of the phone. Clara kept talking. Then the old woman picked up the phone and that's when I knew (I don't know if Moffat's just been the showrunner this long and I know what he's going to do, or if I'm really that perceptive. Or maybe that's what Moffat meant to have happen - the audience realizes what's happened before Clara does and we all have that much more time with the dread of her finding out).

(PS - I'd just like to point this whole scenario out as an excellent example of Fridging. Just this time, it's the guy getting killed off so the girl has to deal with her "womanpain." And the only reason I'm making this connection is because fandom would be howling with indignant-yet-manufactured rage if it had been Clara who got killed off so Danny would have his angst. But because it's the guy that died and the girl is mourning this loss - I doubt there will be even a peep from the "Sexism is Everywhere! All Men Are Horrid Animals Threatening To Enact Harm To All Women, Girls, Babies, and Small Dogs!" crowd *insert weary eye-rolling here* There's just been some really cracked-out ideas floating around this season that Danny's a terrible boyfriend because he wants to protect his girlfriend and he offers to be there for Clara if things with the Doctor get too dangerous - even though that is not only acceptable but expected behavior from a guy toward his significant other. I unsubscribed from a couple of podcasts this week because of some really bizarre attitudes about Clara and Danny. These attitudes have been going around all season, but this week reached a boiling-over point with me and it resulted in an epic rant-to-no-one on the way home from work because I just couldn't stand that kind of bullshit anymore. Excuse me - cowshit. "Bullshit" is probably sexist).

(Yeah, I think I'll leave that paragraph in here. I've deleted too many such sentiments this season and I'm tired of censoring myself. I just don't understand the whole concept of "census box storytelling" where these characters are not seen as people, but as the census boxes they represent. How does that make for good storytelling or even enjoying good storytelling? I hated that stuff in my Literary Criticism class in college and I hate it even more now. Treat people [and characters] like people - not like ticky-boxes that you check off to make yourself feel better about the shows you like).

On some level, I understand Clara's reaction. Threatening the Doctor to make him go back in time to save Danny. And I also understand why Clara's plan wouldn't work. The Doctor is, well, the Doctor. He sees all kinds of crazy-weird crap coming a mile away. And it's likely that he already knows that Danny's dead - he just wants to see how Clara will choose to tell him. And the way she tells him is - demanding that he take her back and fix this problem. Which he was willing to do, even if the telling of it didn't go quite as well as the Doctor probably would have wanted.

So, the Doctor plugs Clara into the TARDIS telepathic circuits and they're off to find Danny in whatever version of the afterlife he ended up in.

Fishtanks in a Mausoleum. Welcome to Doctor Who, Everyone.

I don't really know what else to say about this part of this episode. Missy's crazy, but I expect that from the Master (the longer this whole Missy thing went on, the more I thought that particular theory held more weight). Poor Danny can't get a straight answer from anybody. And neither can the Doctor. In fact...

"Can You Just Hurry Up Please Or I Will Hit You With My Shoe."

There was a lot of talking in this episode. For the most part, it was all right. We got the Danny-as-a-Soldier story - that he accidentally killed a young boy in the midst of a battle. We got a lot of good stuff between Clara and the Doctor. But damn if the 3W people weren't the most annoying and cagey and draw-everything-out people in the whole episode! I was so glad when the Doctor finally threatened that one goofy kid that wouldn't finish his stupid sentence because I was feeling the same way at that point. And then these mystical, magical three words were... "Don't cremate me."

Um... anti-climactic much? (is cremation really that commonplace? I honestly do not know).

Okay, so the dead people are communicating with the living, but the living don't hear them. And the dead can feel what's happening to their bodies on Earth. That's creepy.

Then again, once they divulged one secret - the plot actually started moving! Like, the Cybermen finally showed up! Clara and Danny started talking - even though that was Heartbreak and a Half (good grief, girl! What the crap do you think brought you here? Danny has to be somewhere in this place! Ugh - she took that admonition to be skeptical a little too far). Missy was revealed as the Master/Mistress (and bookies in Vegas collected bank, I'm sure). And I still can't find a "Next Time" trailer for "Death in Heaven."

Well - cliffhangers and spoilers, I guess.

It's hard to talk about this episode with it only being the first half of a story. It was kind of slow, but then again, it's been a while since we've had a proper two-part episode, so I'm a little rusty on all this. I'm sure once I can watch it all together it'll make more sense and I'll have a better grasp of what's going on. Until then -

Felt appropriate

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