?

Log in

No account? Create an account
parrot_knight [userpic]

Doctor Who XXXI.7: Amy's Choice

May 17th, 2010 (01:32 am)

"You're probably a vegetarian, you flop-haired wuss," said the Dream Lord in his butcher's smock. Did Simon Nye write this, I thought, or pennypaperbrain, who once used similar language (affectionately) of me? There was a lot here to prey on the mind of anyone who has ever suffered self-questioning or self-doubt; though it was not until the very end that I realised who the Dream Lord was, obvious though it should have been.

I'm not going to manage an essay this time round, but my observations would be:

- Still not greatly happy with the conceptualisation of Rory, or Arthur Darvill's apparentlyn superficial reading. He's less annoying than Noel Clarke's first reading of Mickey (and as [personal profile] purplecat|louisedennis has ably demonstrated, Rory is something of a commentary on Mickey's development) but comes across as suffering from arrested development. In defence of the script, for much of the episode Darvill is playing a Rory who is behaving perhaps as the Doctor fears the Doctor sees him - hence clowning, ineffective pretension, ineffective husbanding. Bearing this in mind I'll be annoyed if his development over the next two episodes is insufficient.

- Good use of a smaller speaking cast than is usual; and good (from a particular fannish perspective) to see that one of the pensioners was Nick Hobbs, sometime Aggedor of the Pertwee era's Peladon stories.

- One of those watching with me observed that this story might see the transition from an Amy character arc to a Doctor character arc. That hadn't struck me, though he might be right given that both dream settings represent the Doctor's fears for and about Amy and Rory as much as himself. The Doctor clings, at the end, to the lack of darkness in Amy and Rory, but this only bears out that the Dream Lord's earlier jibe, that the Doctor gives up on his friends once they have grown up, is one of the Doctor's constant fears about himself.

- "Sofas can talk" - all Doctor Who is a dream, and so it allows itself wilfully bad science. We have come a long way from the kitchen sink of the early Hartnells.

- Not only is it a dream, it's also a little bit of Tom and Jerry, hinted at a little in the musical response to Rory's whacking of Mrs Hamill.

- The specials are again treated as foreshadowing the new as much as they wrapped up the old: Elizabeth I is mentioned again (just as I thought there was going to be a reference to Donna) and there was I think just a little Waters of Mars music as the Doctor said that his travelling alone did not end well.

- I wondered whether the Dream Lord would turn out to be the Toymaker, or a projection of a regenerated Master, reaching out from inside the Time Lock; or else (and I thought most likely) left ambiguous. The Valeyard did not occur to me, though we are but two regenerations away from his creation.

- Generally a story which successfully reconciled the need to be straightforwardly entertaining with 'doing something different', but frustrating for those hoping for something more complex.

Comments

Posted by: segh (segh)
Posted at: May 17th, 2010 06:34 am (UTC)

I thought he might turn out to be the Toymaker too, much to the mystification of the two young people watching with me. I should have got it from "There's only one person in the universe who hates me as much as that!"

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 17th, 2010 09:12 am (UTC)

I hadn't thought of the Doctor as someone hating himself as such before this episode, I admit!

Posted by: Becky (beckyc)
Posted at: May 17th, 2010 09:30 am (UTC)

Why do people think that vegetarian is a good insult?

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 17th, 2010 09:48 am (UTC)

I wonder whether it's more powerful among men than it is among women?

Posted by: http://elevatormusic.space (sebastienne)
Posted at: May 17th, 2010 10:31 am (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 17th, 2010 10:36 am (UTC)

Posted by: widsidh (widsidh)
Posted at: May 17th, 2010 11:14 am (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 17th, 2010 11:16 am (UTC)

Posted by: sharaz_jek (sharaz_jek)
Posted at: May 17th, 2010 08:03 pm (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 17th, 2010 09:35 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Virgers! How are we doing with those explosives? (tree_and_leaf)
Posted at: May 20th, 2010 05:56 pm (UTC)

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: May 17th, 2010 05:54 pm (UTC)
Doctor Who

I wondered whether the Dream Lord would turn out to be the Toymaker, or a projection of a regenerated Master

I thought of the Toymaker and the Master, and also the Black Guardian and Fenric. I need to get out more.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 17th, 2010 06:09 pm (UTC)
Sylvester

Fenric did occur to me too... *blinks at sunlight*

Posted by: Virgers! How are we doing with those explosives? (tree_and_leaf)
Posted at: May 20th, 2010 05:58 pm (UTC)
Tardis

I thought of the Master of the Land of Fiction, so am no better.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 20th, 2010 08:26 pm (UTC)

Posted by: widsidh (widsidh)
Posted at: May 17th, 2010 06:09 pm (UTC)
K9

(just as I thought there was going to be a reference to Donna)

So did I, but in hindsight (with the knowledge of this being about his dark side), I assume he has a guilty conscience about Elizabeth, but not Donna :-)

There was a lot here to prey on the mind of anyone who has ever suffered self-questioning or self-doubt

It also implies that he regards himself as his own worst enemy, which is borne out by his helpless anger in Flesh and Stone, and which endears him to me...

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 17th, 2010 10:29 pm (UTC)
DavidIcon

I think he knows that he has done the best he can for Donna in the circumstances; we know from The Shakespeare Code that things didn't end well with Elizabeth I (perhaps that's why the Doctor appears more asexual to some eyes this year, though David Tennant's performance would be less fey than Matt Smith's).

Posted by: widsidh (widsidh)
Posted at: May 18th, 2010 05:56 pm (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 18th, 2010 08:48 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Matthew (emperor)
Posted at: May 17th, 2010 10:35 pm (UTC)

I was pleased that I spotted the "both a dream" bit, although I was thinking "Master" as to the Dreamlord's identity.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 17th, 2010 10:38 pm (UTC)

I'd been prepared for the Master to return - in the second edition of The Writer's Tale RTD said that the Master had to survive, so he could be brought back by a future production team played by another actor. It's difficult to tell in Who Kremlinology what is code for what is being planned, and what isn't.

Posted by: Zelanite (zelanite)
Posted at: May 17th, 2010 11:20 pm (UTC)

Didn't like this one much – it did have some good moments, but I'm putting it in the "lousy idea, executed well" category.

If I want to watch people angsting about who fancies who, and worrying about how they feel about the way that they think that somebody else feels about them, and all that kind of stuff, well, the TV schedules appear to be adequately provided with a selection of soap operas. I would like Doctor Who to be about saving the planet / base-under-siege / colony from invading monsters / a megalomaniac mad scientist / evil-from-the-dawn-of-time, please. If we must have all this "character development" business to keep the "mainstream audience" happy, can we at least put it in a sub-plot rather than making it the focus?

Also not thrilled to see the return of the "it's alright to like Doctor Who, just so long as you grow out of it" sub-text (and that's "sub" as in "just barely"), which I really, really hoped was gone for good with the passing of the RTD era.

Oh, and for the record: I did wonder if the Dream Lord was the Toymaker (too obscure, though, surely, to be brought back), or possibly a re-imagined Guardian of some kind (didn't Craig Hinton add a Guardian of Dreams in one of his BBC books – something about having six Guardians to match the six segments of the Key To Time?), but didn't think either of those could really be said to hate the Doctor more than anybody else. Neither Fenric nor the Valeyard occurred to me, and for some reason I discounted the Master as a possibility immedeiately. In the end I decided that his identity would be left unspecified until the end of the season.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 18th, 2010 08:16 pm (UTC)

I didn't notice very much 'soapiness' about this one, really - insofar as it dealt with the interactions of the TARDIS travellers it was very much in a direct line of succession from Inside the Spaceship.

I don't think that there is a subtext there such as you describe, though am prepared to be proved wrong depending on how this season plays out. Again, what's there isn't too different from old Who, such as Victoria's unhappiness with the Doctor's lifestyle in the last three episodes of Fury from the Deep; and if anything this series has softpedalled the subtext (and I think it could treat it more consistently) compared to the RTD seasons.

Posted by: Zelanite (zelanite)
Posted at: May 19th, 2010 11:01 pm (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 20th, 2010 11:48 am (UTC)

Posted by: Zelanite (zelanite)
Posted at: May 20th, 2010 11:06 pm (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 20th, 2010 11:36 pm (UTC)

Posted by: widsidh (widsidh)
Posted at: May 21st, 2010 05:36 pm (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 21st, 2010 05:55 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Zelanite (zelanite)
Posted at: May 21st, 2010 11:17 pm (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 21st, 2010 11:25 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Penny Paperbrain (pennypaperbrain)
Posted at: May 18th, 2010 01:12 pm (UTC)

I did not write this episode. But now Ponder wants to know what exactly I said of you.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 18th, 2010 08:17 pm (UTC)

"Vegetable-sucking wuss" was the phrase which the Dream Lord's comment recalled...