hazelk: (star baby)
[personal profile] hazelk

There was a comic book feel to this two-parter. Comic book not graphic novel. American superhero comic book, leaping over one big image to the next, faster than the speeding mind, dazzling the audience into believing it can fly. Visually it was effective, the orphanage scenes in particular were very scary and disquieting in anew and visceral way. A very American type of monster both in appearance (the greys) and in having the essential paranoia be based around free will being an illusion. Very Manchurian Candidate and its legacy not entirely put to rest, since the Doctor’s solution was to turn the oppressed human race into triggerable killers, still none the wiser about their world.

A little passive aggressive in mocking American rhetoric (pretty much every line of Nixon’s) and their gun ho-ness but without Canton Delaware III’s “Welcome to America” the wounded (not killed) alien would never have conveniently uttered the fatal words about being killed on sight. It was a superficially clever twist but horribly contrived if given any thought.

RTD’s writing was accused of ambivalence about older women and Moffat seems to have a similar love/fear relationship with little girls. He does appear very fond of the idea of a special little girl meeting the Doctor as an impressionable child. Madame de Pompadour, Amy and now River. The show assiduously courts them, Amy is blatantly every little girl’s wish fulfilment grown-up and River the cool aunt to kill all cool aunts but give a little girl a Time Lord’s bodily powers and “Silence will fall.” At the beginning (and Moffat is nothing if not a Chekovian writer). River tells us:

A Time Lord’s body is a miracle. Even a dead one. There are whole empires out there that would rip this world apart for just one cell.

The other thing I think River is there to draw attention to is the “my last is your first” pattern and I suspect that this is going to be structural. The season will end by re-visiting the Doctor’s final death scene, the one he’s been running from. There’s an Arthurian ring to the whole spaceman in the lake image that makes me also think of the backwards living Merlin in The Once and Future King. Or is it in all the legends that he knows who Nimue is when she comes to send him to the big sleep.

Date: 2011-05-01 06:04 pm (UTC)
londonkds: (Default)
From: [personal profile] londonkds
Good thought about the space man in the lake and the Doctor/River parallels to White's Merlin. I must admit, I really don't like the retcon of River and the Doctor meeting in perfect reverse because it risks undoing all the good stuff the earlier episodes did in terms of undercutting RTD's tendencies to Apostolic Succession-based morality and hatred of non-family-centred women.

Quick note though: "decompression" is the opposite of the way you're using it, it refers to 1990s and 2000s superhero comics that are deliberately written to be slow-paced and closer to film/TV drama.

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hazelk

May 2012

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