It doesn’t have to bend to what I want. It doesn’t become lesser by me not liking it. It just is. It has it’s ups and downs and however far up or down it goes, I’m there. I can become enraptured, I can bitch and whinge.
The Doctor remains.
And I love him just for being there.
This season has been difficult, for me, at least. Nowhere near as difficult as the “Trial of a Time Lord” season, mind you, but difficult, none the less. There have been what I consider to be some poor decisions in story, direction, scripting, etc., but there have been two constants.
The Doctor and Clara have been brilliant throughout. I mean just brilliant. They, like Matt Smith in the last season, have given performances that far outstrip the quality of the scripts. I mean they are orders of magnitude better and have forged an amazingly spiky relationship.
One of the things I’ve been frustrated with this season, is the obsessive inclusions of nods and winks to previous stories. This episode has been full of them, too. Once or twice per season is a nice nod. Three or four an episode gives me the uncomfortable feeling that either someone, somewhere is trying too hard to be clever, or are trying to hide the fact that they are running out of ideas, or just not really bothered anymore. Perhaps.
But the episode. THAT episode.
I’m mean that’s what you want from Doctor Who isn’t it? It had pretty much everything you could possibly want and for 99.9% of the programme I have absolutely no problem with it at all. This season, that is quite a thing to say. Even the nods and homages were relevant and wonderfully done, my favourite being the banks of bodies mimicking “The Tomb of the Cybermen”. I spotted the ‘cyberman’s eye’ design in the 3W logo and door designs some weeks ago. I quite liked that, too.
The direction was wonderful. I’ve always had a bit of of soft spot for Rachel Talalay, ever since her movie of “Tank Girl”. No way was that anything approaching the comic Tank Girl, but it was a good, well told, well made story. She did an excellent job. But she has done so much better here. Mind you, he’s had 20 years of practice, so I suppose that’s reasonable.
But what utterly made it, was the writing. I mean, scratch what I said about getting bored with Who, Moffatt pulls an absolute blinder here. The dialogue glows with both humour and horror; difficult to pull off. Missy, is gloriously mad, the Cybermen in the Dark Water are suitably scary. “Don’t cremate me!” Bloody horrifying! The two set-up scenes, Danny’s death and Clara’s despair, were simply beautiful. I mean, I can’t find anything wrong with *anything* . . . except . . .
I kind of disappointed at the revelation of who Missy actually is. There were a million possibilities but The Master seemed to be the most obvious. I was hoping for something a bit more left field. A bit more inventive.
I also have this sneaking suspicion that this is a way of shutting up the “why doesn’t the Doctor regenerate into a woman” crowd. It seems a bit . . . I dunno . . . dishonest? Whatever. That’s not really the point. The point is that The Master had been given a noble death in the End of Time. That should really have been the end of him. Having him show up again, even as a her, is something of an anticlimax.
However, Missy is fantastically realised by Michele Gomez and I can’t help but cheer at her performance. She sorts of allays all qualms about bringing the character back. Sort of.
Paradoxically, I’d have preferred another homage; a character from the past that hasn’t been rebooted in New Who. Romana? Perhaps Susan! Maybe even Jenny from season 3 but . . .
All this, as I say, this is a ‘problem’ that makes up 0.1% of the programme.
And we had a cliffhanger. A CLIFFHANGER!!!! Oh, god, how I’ve missed the Cliffhangers!
Cards on the table . . . I bloody loved it. It’s up there in the top ten episodes of the new run.
Can’t wait for the finale! And I can’t wait to find out who the mysterious Dr Skarosa is. Skaro-sa? Hmmmmm . . . .