We were away for the weekend, but we still managed to watch Doctor Who on Saturday – I just didn’t get round to writing it up till I got home 🙂
SPOILERS AHEAD! Hover mouse over text to read, or read on entry page:
Anyway, age-related-wibbling aside I enjoyed that episode. The ghost story was pretty well done, even if it felt a lot like it was also the figleaf for the season-arc stuff that seemed to be going on underneath (in an understated way). I liked that we got all the proper ghost story things – things moving around in the corner of your eye, strange noises, cold spots, holding hands only that’s not my hand, psychic connections and more. And then because Doctor Who is science fiction (well, science fantasy) we got our reason for it all in a science-y sounding fashion. I loved the idea of the Doctor going and taking snapshots throughout the whole of the history of Earth to see if the ghost really was standing still. And Clara’s reaction to the end of the world … mmm, I guess that’s part of the “she’s normal” thing? I dunno. I guess I’m personally a lot less phased by the idea that even the planet has an expiration date? So it just felt weird that she freaked out that much, but then Rose did too, and I don’t remember anyone rolling their eyes at that in the gestalt of (the bits of) online fandom (I read). So mebbe it’s me out of step here.
(Also – 6 billion years ago for the first one? Er, no, the Earth is supposed to be 4.5 billion years old. Dunno why that bugged me when so much of the science is way off base & I can roll with it, but it did bug me.)
Lots of paralleling going on – I like the way the Professor & the Doctor were so explicitly set up as matching. (Particularly as Ace called the Seventh Doctor “Professor” and Ace was my favourite Old Who companion). Not just the “here’s you the boffiny scientist thing, and here’s your ‘companion'” (incidentally – I guess the “oh it’s the 70s she’s your ‘assistant'” is a 3rd Doctor (UNIT era) reference). But also the thing about how he’d sent people to their deaths, done dreadful things for his country (people) (universe), and that changes you. And you need to find something or someone to live for afterwards. I’ve a feeling there was more I wanted to say about that conversation in the darkroom and their introduction conversation, but it’s gone from my mind now. But there was a lot of talking where both are talking about the Professor, but they could be talking about the Doctor without changing any of the words.
Also the love stories. Professor meets assistant (clearly reproduce see exhibit A of the ghost/great-umpteenth granddaughter). Boy-monster meets Girl-monster. And, er, was it really wise of the Doctor to bring them both to this world? What do they eat/do? Where are they going to live? Not that they did anything except accidentally terrify people. It’s a bit of a loose end tho.
And so, so, so NOT a love story = the Doctor & Clara. He’s still suspicious, the TARDIS doesn’t like her (and the feeling is so utterly mutual). And that arm over her shoulder while talking about true love is nothing significant, no no no. To be fair I’m not sure where that’s going – is it just that he’s relaxing into her company (coz she is, after all, his type) and has to keep catching himself because there’s still that mystery about the multiple Claras? And then the TARDIS uses another image of Clara to talk to Clara? Previously we saw that system work with Amelia-TARDIS talking to the Doctor so what’s the significance of Clara being the choice to talk to Clara?
Also – the “splinter of ice in his heart”. Is that the suspicion he has for Clara? Or is this misdirection (of both us & Clara) and what Emma picks up is actually the lingering effects of the Doctor’s actions in the Time War (and the sort of characterisation that the Seventh Doctor had, the manipulation & trickster-god thing)? (And J pointed out that there’s another parallel here – the “heart of the house” is where the cold spot is.)
Speaking of misdirection – the Doctor waxing lyrical about first the Professor, then talking about the ghost. But really, it’s all about that one short conversation with Emma where she confirms (again) that Clara is just what she seems. And that’s why he doesn’t seem to pay any attention to Emma – he doesn’t want anyone else (Clara) to notice what’s important here, so we get all the babbling and stuff to keep us (Clara) focussed on the wrong thing.
Between writing the rest of this & it posting I’ve read some other reviews: The “blue crystal from Metebellis 3” is also a Third Doctor reference. So we do continue that theme.