Thursday, October 2, 2014

Doctor Who: Intergalactic Janitor

Let me just clean up this spoiler section..

      In another universe, we got a string of episodes which showed us in great detail the events of the opening montage, culminating in an epic season finale battle against the cybernetic Turian that was sadly and quickly dismissed... twice. What we got in this universe, instead, was hands down the most hilarious episode that I've seen in quite some time. This was the level of comedy 2006's Love and Monsters was trying for, but fell flat on its face. Where everyone was praising the humor of Robot of Sherwood, this is where I feel the real, smart humor is to be found.

      I complained earlier this week that the premiere of Gotham had some of the worst dialogue that I'd ever seen on television. It didn't help its case that I'd seen this only a day or two prior. This episode is so dialogue-heavy, and very little of it is wasted. The lines come fast, snappy, and before you've realized it a joke's flown past your head and another one's headed your way. And servicing this is the performances of virtually everybody from Capaldi and Coleman all the way down to the assistant principal and Adrian, the Shakespearean Matt Smith clone, with everyone hitting pretty much every mark. The main strength of this particular episode is the performances and dialogue.

      Which isn't to say the episode is perfect. Really, the adventure here is all of 5 minutes long, and only serves as an excuse to pull the focus away from Clara's adventures in time and space with The Doctor and on to how those adventures affect her life outside the TARDIS. Which, while frustrating (as I'd LOVE to see more of that crazy mech), actually turns out well.

      Last year, I was ambivalent towards Clara. She seemed pretty flat. Kinda boring. Most of her development was based around “The Impossible Girl,” which worked as a plot device, but not as character development. Companion characters tend to be one of two types for me. Like Rose, whom I started off liking as she was spunky and fearless, but turned into obnoxious by the end, or Amy who started off perfect (shouty Scottish redhead) but turned into terrifying and borderline-abusive by her end. Or they turn out like Donna. I couldn't stand Donna, but she turned into such a great character by the end that I truly didn't want to see her go, and openly wept. Clara, thanks to the character development she's getting this year, is turning into one of the latter characters.

      And I am really liking Clara even more. Apparently she's made peace with the TARDIS, as she can snap the doors close in response to Twelve snapping them open. Her 'control freak' tendencies, as previously mentioned, are serving her well. As she seems to be the only person in recent history to effectively rebuke The Doctor, dressing him down to an extent even River Song couldn't manage, when he snidely and sarcastically remarks “Why do I even keep you around?” and she replies “because the alternative would be to develop a conscience of your own.” 

SIR YES SIR courtesy of BBC
      Now, if no one minds me pulling out my unfinished Psychology minor, I think I've finally figured it out. Twelve has been very, even unnecessarily, harsh on the subject of soldiers. From snide remarks, to disrespectful dismissals, to outright hostility, from the human soldiers fighting the Daleks to Danny Pink himself, Twelve has been blatantly hostile towards the idea of soldiers. This episode has finally given me enough to extrapolate. He's projecting. He recently had some emotional wounds re-opened when he was reminded of a time when he was the most effective, most deadly soldier in the universe. The time when he had to get his hands dirty, and contrasting against the rest of his life spent waging war against the universe's nightmares, turning his companions, his family, his friends, and even bystanders into soldiers themselves. He's racked with a tremendous amount of guilt, centuries of it, and he's really not handling that guilt well at all.

      Courtney Woods is quickly becoming my favorite bit part. I sincerely hope, a few years from now, she comes back and gets a year in the TARDIS herself. The Doctor needs a disruptive influence every now and then, and Woods strikes me as a modern-day Ace. Maybe if Thirteen is a manipulative chess-player, he and Courtney would make a great team.

Next week: Frikkin Moon Spiders!

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