Thursday, October 30, 2014

Doctor Who is Eyein Mah Lemon Drink

Spoilers are often found in the deep, dark Forest.

     Every now and then I have to stop and remind myself that Doctor Who is, at its core, a children's show. A family show. It always has been, even through its darkest periods, it's a show friendly for kids, especially very clever kids. The writing can be snappy, the themes mature, the visuals gruesome, and the namesake irascible, but it's not until you literally fill the TARDIS with children that I am reminded who the target audience is. It's comforting that I still don't feel out of place watching it, surrounded as I am by action figures and video games and for some time now being technically an adult.

     Speaking of, I can't stand children. I really can't. I consider myself childfree, barring a period of my life I'd rather not at this junction discuss, and as such tend to avoid any and all interaction with anyone not out of their teenage years. And then some, usually. Taking this into account, I was quite surprised at just how much I enjoyed expanding the character of the class of Coal Hill School. Maeve especially. Her interactions with the Doctor were quite the highlight of this episode, and her creepy posessed singing voice fantastic. But more on her later. And poor, dear Rubi, who has no imagination. Just ask Miss Oswald.

     We did finally get an explanation to why the Sonic Screwdriver doesn't work on wood, which is nice. Only took them, what, 5 years? Up until now it's just been “doesn't work on wood.” No circuitry or moving parts. When you think about it, it really does make sense. The science in this episode was an interesting case, and I feel it's a pleasant blend of fairytale mysticism and pulp science. Usually an episode is one or the other (like the retro80s SF we've seen earlier this year or the SF Fairytale feel of a number of the Eleven/Pond episodes). The entire premise of this episode essentially re-tells M Night Shyamalan's The Happening, but without all the hilarious suicides and shots of prop fans just off-camera blowing grass. Mysterious forest grows overnight, obscuring the world and casting everything in shadow that turns out to be an unexplained planetary defense system against catastrophic solar events. It's more solid than Kill The Moon, but far more outlandish than Mummy. I did cringe a bit at “small human broadcasting to the world” bit, though. Didn't we already do that in Kill The Moon, and find out it didn't work then, either?

     I think I'm finally getting a read on exactly why Clara's character is getting more and more interesting. From the direction her character is going, she seems to be the Anti-Donna. When we first met Donna, She was vapid, loud, and shallow. Over the course of her time with the Tenth Doctor, she calmed, became more rational, more clever and more competent. Clara started out as a cipher, and we can pretty much discard her entire first year as far as character development goes, but if you look at her starting with Deep Breath, she started out as caring, clever, and competent, but as she's gone on she's starting to keep secrets, starting to become a bit more careless and cavalier. Overconfident, even. I have a feeling, starting with next week's finale, we'll see some interesting events in Clara Oswald's life. 

He Is Groot appears courtesy the BBC

     A little bit of mild social commentary was noted and appreciated here. Poor Maeve, who hears voices unless she's taking medication, turns out to actually be hearing voices, and by not medicating away this 'problem', she's able to help the Doctor figure out what's going on. And the Doctor snarls some appreciation by with a very clear message of “let children be children.”

     And speaking of the finale, I really would have thought there would be more development on Missy and this afterlife, but aside from a few people being greeted that have fallen along the way this year, We still know next to nothing. Aside from she's got an iPad and a vested interest in Clara. This finale really has its work cut out for it across the next two episodes.

Next week: Clara plays chicken with Cybermen.

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