Sunday, November 15, 2015
In Which I Review Doctor Who (9x9)
If you sit and ponder the way it was set up, I'm not so sure it was different from other Doctor Who episodes. You still had the Doctor as a mad man in a box who fell from the sky and tried to save the day. Again, whether or not he succeeded seems up to each individual viewer. Rasmussen wants us to believe that the Doctor failed and abandoned the ship and let the Morpheus transmission go out, but the universal truth of the Doctor is that he wins and saves the day. Always. Perhaps those elements--the mad man, the box, the hero complex--are also simply universal truths wherever the Doctor goes (and my blog has largely argued that to be true over the years). At the end of the day, I think what Gatiss was really trying to do was challenge his audience. He doesn't want us to love the story and, while I'm sure he doesn't want us to hate it either, the writer in this case wants us to sit and ponder whether or not we loved it or hated it. Gatiss wants this episode to be an earworm, something we can't stop thinking about, even after the credits have rolled. He wants us--like Rasmussen--to share it with someone and see what they think. Our answer to whether we loved it or hated it comes down to individual perspective on what makes a good story. In that regard, with the concept (somewhat) firmly in place, then we might call this episode a stroke of genius at the most and something very new after fifty-years at the very least. The problem is that it's a terrible episode. In other words, Gatiss succeeds but Rasmussen fails (but does the latter mean that the former is incorrect? Or does the latter being true mean that the former is definitely correct? See! This episode is a challenge!)
--I always rank the episodes of Doctor Who at the end of each season, so it'll be exciting to see where this one ends up because I honestly don't know right now.
--Not having any opening credits is a nice touch, reminding us that what we're watching isn't an episode of Doctor Who but supposed to be "found footage" of "real events" that "actually happened." The credits at the beginning would take us out of that moment.
--"What happened?" "From the beginning of time? That's a very long story."
--"Hold my hand." "I'm fine." "I'm not." The fact that Clara will be gone soon made the Doctor wanting to hold her hand even more poignant.
--Rasmussen's final explanation is a final break in the fourth wall that sounds almost too much like a Gatiss-insert: "I hope you enjoyed the show, I did try to make it exciting. All those scary bits, all those death-defying scrapes, and a proper climax...compelling viewing"
--Clara never gets to name things. Only the Doctor gets to name new creatures the duo stumble upon. How God-like of him. (Stay self-aware, Doctor Who!)
--One final Gatiss-insert: "I did tell you not to watch." So was that advice we should have taken? What, my dear readers, really happened?