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17 December 2014 @ 05:36 pm
Dark Water/Death in Heaven  
Interesting, I'm sort of in a mixed mind about this one.

Having got to the end of the season, I've liked what the show has been trying to do with the Doctor-Companion relationship. I'm not sure it's done it particularly well, but having a companion who is like the Doctor, including mirroring his flaws, is an interesting idea and not one that has been done before. It also turns on its head all the issues surrounding the way the Doctor tends to manipulate people, because Clara is happy to be there manipulating him right back. However, for all I think it's a nice idea, I've found it really hard to buy the strength of the bond between Clara and the Doctor that is supposed to underpin all this. In general I think Clara has been much better served character-wise this season though. I originally thought that they'd basically wiped the previous character and started over, but in retrospect things like her lying were there from the outset so its seems more likely that her character just wasn't very well expressed in the writing last season - possibly because it was overshadowed by the more abstract question of the impossible girl. That said, her super computer skills seem to have been forgotten, which is a shame. It would have been nice if Clara were the Maths teacher and Danny the English teacher.

I was genuinely surprised to discover Missy was the Master. In retrospect I shouldn't have been, but it is nice to know the show can still surprise me. Again, although I like lots about the idea, and prefer the Michelle Gomez Master to the John Simm one. I don't really like the characterisation of the Master as, basically, destructively crazy and out-of-control. Obviously that has been pretty much canon since Anthony Ainley, if not Peter Pratt, but I preferred Delgado's Master who generally appeared to have some reason behind his plans. However, if we have to have a mad Master, I prefer one who is more clearly motivated by a desire to get the Doctor's attention than one who appears just to be mad because.

I was sorry to see Danny go, though I think that love affair was doomed from the start for several reasons. I certainly disliked fandoms interpretation of his actions as controlling. They seemed to me to be more the actions of someone very traumatised trying to work out his own boundaries for interacting with the Doctor. I thought his interactions with Clara from the afterlife were great, one of the high points of their story.

I didn't like the Cybermen. They've always been one of my favourite monsters, but the production team seem to have got trapped in some cycle of making them even scarier each time they appear. So in Nightmare in Silver they got magic instant upgrade powers so an attack can only ever succeed on them once and here they got magic infect people/dead bodies/possibly both powers. I feel the Daleks have been suffering the same problem the last couple of seasons since they also now have magic infect people powers. I would prefer it if stories stuck to just using the original concepts.

And lastly, I kept feeling a bit antsy as I watched. I think the two episodes were deliberately paced to have the action sequences interspersed with much slower contemplative segments. This should have been a great idea but, somehow, they seemed to go on a bit too long for me.

However, I did love the final appearance of the Brigadier. That was great.

So, yes, I can't really make up my mind about this. Intellectually there is a great deal I like about the story, but I have a lot of niggles and a vague sense that it was ultimately a bit dull.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/133820.html.
parrot_knight: MummyIconparrot_knight on December 18th, 2014 07:17 am (UTC)
I rewatched this last night, and would agree that there is a problem with the second episode in that it doesn't have room, somehow, to live up to the promise of the first episode. There are a lot of avenues which were open to exploration. but which for one reason or another, principally time and budget, the story couldn't meet.
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on December 19th, 2014 12:43 pm (UTC)
I think it was trying both to be an all-out action finale and a fairly introspective piece about the the core character shared by both the Doctor and Clara. It was never going to be easy to marry those to desires. I do like that the series tried it, and I like that Moffat has attempted a season arc that was driven by character rather than a puzzle.
a_cubeda_cubed on December 18th, 2014 01:39 pm (UTC)
I didn't like Danny's denouement. This kind of ponderous speech is rarely done well. To be pulled off it requires superlative writing, acting, directing and editing to all come together. I'm not sure which was off on this, though I think it started with the writing. I was somewhat reminded of Sheridan's "Who's with me" speech in Babylon 5 which is similarly supposed to be Churhill-esque but falls equally flat for me.
I agree with the Brig reference, though. That was a nice touch, I wonder if the cyber-brig will appear in the background in a future story or two? I also wonder if Nicolas Courtney's estate got paid for the appearance :-)?
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on December 19th, 2014 12:50 pm (UTC)
I would get the Courtney estate wasn't paid. The rights to the character are jointly owned by the BBC and Haisman and Lincoln I think (certainly the new Brigadier book line has been licensed by the Haisman estate and, as I understand matters, can only feature characters created by Haisman and Lincoln). The Beeb may have had to pay for the use of the Brigadier's image but I would guess not since it was based on one of the photographic images which I think they own.

I'm not an expert on how the rights in Doctor Who play out, beyond that the Beeb has become increasingly more canny about it over the years. Certainly rights to characters and monsters were joint with the Beeb and author into at least the late 70s, though I think only the Nation estate essentially has controlling rights over his creations.
daniel_saunders: Leekleydaniel_saunders on December 20th, 2014 06:17 pm (UTC)
I don't know the rights situation either, but the creators of a lot of old characters and monsters have had an on-screen credit in post-2005 Who, which didn't used to be the case.

I haven't otherwise commented on this post, because all I can remember of the story is that I thought it disappointing and that it reminded me of RTD's season finales, which I didn't like, although I preferred Gomez to Simm as the Master. That I can remember so little such a short time later is telling in itself.
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on December 21st, 2014 11:43 am (UTC)
I'm not sure it was much like RTD's finales - at least his later ones which seemed to be all about spectacle with character beats focused on a kind of mawkish sentimentality. This had a touch of that, but it had more interesting things to do with the Doctor and Clara than RTD has had since Bad Wolf/Parting of the Ways.