“The Doctor’s Wife”, or “The Mad Woman who IS the Box”
The beauty that is the essence of Doctor Who was reflected in this episode last night. “The Doctor’s Wife”, written by Neil Gaiman is hands down the best episode of Season 6 so far. Not just a personal opinion…you don’t have to look far on the internet to see it as a universal consensus on Facebook, Twitter, LiveJournal and well, everywhere! Fans are lauding this episode and with damn good reason.
It is impossible to convey the appropriate enthusiasm The Doctor’s Wife so richly deserves without getting spoilery, so if you haven’t seen the episode yet, get off the ‘net RIGHT NOW and go see it. I refuse to dampen my high spirits coming off seeing it, so read on at your own risk.
If you have been starved for magic this season so far, you, like many of us, have probably had a vague dissatisfaction with the past three episodes, but wasn’t sure where the feeling was coming from or even indeed why. I believe last night rammed it home for fans.
While in many ways Doctor Who is a story about the companions, the “strays” he “brings home”, we rarely get such a satisfying peek into the relationship between the Mad Man and his box. Old school Who fans know the Doctor stole the “magic box”, his TARDIS, but we have NEVER been privy to the other side of the story until now. How the “magic box” stole the Doctor. How it wanted to see the universe as badly as its pilot. With the many classical Doctor Who themes crammed into this episode – fear, a villain to fight, the Doctor’s need to be forgiven for wiping out his own people, the one that will absolutely bring you to tears is the centuries-long love and bond shared between a Timelord and one who shares his adventures and keeps him safe throughout all his lives.
Thank you so very much, Neil Gaiman and Steven Moffatt, for sharing that with us.
Review of “The Impossible Astronaut”
There were so many reviews the morning after the Season 6 premiere of Doctor who, they made my head spin. I don’t see much sense in a thousand reviews and reading them all unless people caught something different that someone else will then read and go, “Oh wow, I hadn’t thought of that.”, so that is what I attempt to bring you in this review.
Yes, it was definitely visually gorgeous and epic looking, no doubt about that. It’s a nice change to the regular scenery and things do need a shake up/mix up ever so often. Living in America, I love seeing the British countryside, but it really does show how far the series has come that the BBC let them do a romp in America.
The dedication card to Lis Sladen made us all tear up in our house. Yes, Nick Courtney deserves one as well, but Lis’s has been the most recent death. There might be another dedication to Nick in a future episode they had already put in the can. Guess we’ll see.
There are no River haters in our house and Stormcage going to alert because she is merely packing elicited the first, biggest laugh of the evening and rightly so. It got even a bigger giggle than the Doctor being in the buff, under a lady’s skirts, (though it was a close second).
Something that struck me the morning after (a lot of speculation was expanded aggressively in the discussions between the eight of us after the episode ended) was that since River’s timeline is running backwards, everything we have seen her do she hasn’t done yet in relation to her current self in this current episode, THEREFORE, she has broken out of Stormcage a few more times that we haven’t even seen yet. Ah, what a lady!
I know rule two is supposed to be that Moffat lies, but I have yet to recall a case of when he actually DOES LIE, but if anyone knows of a case when he does AND CAN QUOTE IT FROM AN ACUTAL INTERVIEW (proof, heavens!), please tell me. It is entirely possible that he does, somewhere. Remembering all the insane speculation last year of how in the world the Doctor would get out of the Pandorica and how would River get out of an exploding TARDIS and how would they bring Rory back and Amy back to life, in the end, it was a simple case of Moffat’s mind being three steps ahead and to the side of everyone else’s. He brought in elements we hadn’t seen yet (i.e. the Doctor’s future self, bringing it to our attention that the Pandorica box keeps you alive and/or in stasis, etc.). Again, he probably has much simpler explanations for the things that are baffling us at the moment in this new season (how does the Doctor get out of the inevitability of his own death, who is in the astronaut suit, what the heck does a little girl have to do with ANYTHING, etc.).
And yes, why in the world does he say, “I’m sorry”? Was it his fault his companions were put in the position of watching him die? It’s going kill us waiting to find out!!!
Sometimes a line is just a line, and personally I think River saying “Of course not” will be an innocent, sarcastic line until proven guilty in a later episode. It didn’t strike any of us that it was anything more than that. There is already too much to question in the episode and my brain can’t crowbar in another question at this point. The line didn’t ring much in the way of warning bells, or at least not as much as other things, surely.
Someone on Live Journal asked if River knew about the Doctor’s death and inability to regenerate before it happened. She’s upset, slaps his younger self over it, tells him it’s “cruel, even by your standards”, but I doubt she knows how this situation is going to pan out. She is flirty and funny about the “spoilers” she does know, but she treats this completely differently. One thing is certain, however, since again, her timeline is running backwards to the Doctor’s, she HAS already seen him alive and older than he currently is at 903. Whether those future-yet-past-now-for-her encounters are within the 200 years between his present self and dead self, is anyone’s – maybe even River Song’s – guess.
While it has been fun to speculate, I have to admit I am very much a gut-feeling gal and judge the success of an episode on the merits of how it made me feel, not so much how outwardly exciting or splashy-looking it was. I watched The 11th Hour a zillion times for the magic and tingly feeling and emotional joy and wonder the outward excitement gave me. I felt no such feeling with this episode during the first two times I watched it. I watched it a second time to get all the things I missed the first time, but I did not watch it because it stirred up any feelings of wonder, magic and/or fear or excitement.
The bombardment of questions Moffat throws into this episode overwhelms the Doctor’s death in the end. Not enough time was given to that momentous event. It was treated as a quick, let’s-get-this-out-of-the-way-so-we-can-tell-the-story event, which is a travesty beyond travesties. I am not asking for a full episode of mourning over his passing, but even Amy’s shock and reaction at losing Rory to the time crack was treated with better respect than this! There was precious little of Murray Gold’s beautiful musical accompaniment, compared to the “Sad Man with a Box” moment he and the sleeping Amelia Pond had before he sacrificed himself to the crack in her wall. The Viking style funeral was nice, but not even a line from any of the characters about how inappropriate it was that a man who wanders the fourth dimension should not be buried in space, sent into the heart of a sun. And for some reason, I can clearly picture Rory of all people bringing this point up!
There are some moments which I did love, of course. The intensity of the scene when the Doctor is asking his companions what is going on and getting no answers. Alex Kingston plays the best poker fac I have ever seen on a being – human or otherwise! We didn’t expect the Doctor to walk into the diner and we probably should have. That DID have the proper and fun amount of WTF is going on-ness about it, along with the humor of River slapping him. Ah, relationships and their bumps and turns. Not even a Time Lord is immune to them! It is nice that for once that the audience is in on the secret. Maybe Moffat hopes that humor like that and hiding under a skirt will balance out the over-abundance of questions. Sadly, in the end, it just doesn’t quite do it for me to the degree I was wanting it to.
The creatures are a good and proper scary Doctor Who monster. There is something especially sick and weird about those above ground running around in a Men in Black suit, as if their heads and hands are concealed behind a perception filter to most everyone else. The ones scuttling around underground are like cockroaches in the dark. You don’t want roaches in your kitchen, so you tell yourself they are so scary and fast that they aren’t really there – hence the forgetting them. “Out of sight, out of mind,” taken to the nth degree.
Yes, there is too much going on…so much that I don’t have time nor the desire to nit-pick the rest of the episode. I plan to give it a few more days and watch it again and hopefully it will grow on me, but the fact I didn’t love it from the get-go is worrying. Moffat forgets that we don’t have Time Lord brains and that when juggling a hundred questions at once does not make for the best story it could be – yet.