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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Doctor Who Review - Episode 6x13: The Wedding of River Song

Dialogue Triumphs

Winston Churchill: “Tick-tock, goes the clock, as the old song says… but they don’t, do they? The clocks never tick! Something has happened to time – that’s what you say, what you never stop saying. All of history is happening at once, but what does that mean? What happened? Explain to me in terms that I can understand, what happened to time?

The Doctor: “A woman.”


Churchill: “But what was the question? Why did it mean your death?”

The Doctor: “Suppose there was a man who knew a secret – a terrible, dangerous secret that must never be told. How would you erase that secret from the world, destroy it forever, before it could be spoken?”

Churchill: “If I had to, I’d destroy the man.”

The Doctor: “Then silence would fall. All the times I’ve heard those words, I never realized it was my silence, my death. The Doctor will fall.”


The Doctor: “Why Lake Silencio? Why Utah?”

Dorium: “It’s a still-point in time; makes it easier to create a fixed point, and your death is a fixed point, Doctor, you can’t run away from this.”

The Doctor: “I’ve been running all my life, why should I stop?”

Dorium: “Because now you know what’s at stake, why your life must end.”

The Doctor: “Not today.”

Dorium: “What’s the point in delaying? How long have you delayed already?”

The Doctor: “Been knocking about, bit of a farewell tour. Things to do, people to see, there's always more. I can invent a new color, save the dodo, join the Beatles! [on the phone] Hello, it's me! Get him, tell him we're going out and it's all on me, except for the money and the driving! [to Dorium] I've got a time machine, Dorium. It's all still going on, for me it never stops. Liz the First is still waiting in a glade to elope with me. I can help Rose Tyler with her homework. I can go on all Jack's stag parties in one night!”

Dorium: “Time catches up with us all, Doctor!”

The Doctor: “Well it has never laid a glove on me! [on the phone again] Hello?”

Nurse: Doctor, I'm so sorry. We didn't know how to contact you. I'm afraid Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart passed away a few months ago. Doctor?

The Doctor: [shocked, stuttering] Yes, yes.

Nurse: It was very peaceful. Talked a lot about you if that's any comfort. Always made us pour an extra brandy, case you came round one of these days.

Dorium: Doctor? What's wrong?

The Doctor: Nothing, I...just...[hanging up the phone, sighing, and pulling out the blue envelopes from his pocket]'s time. It's time.


Amy: “Why do you look older? If time really isn’t passing, then how can you be aging?”

The Doctor: “Time is still passing for me. Every explosion has an epicenter – I’m it. I’m what’s wrong.”

Amy: “What’s wrong with you?”

The Doctor: “I’m still alive.”


Madame Kovarian: “Amy, help me…”

Amy: “You took my baby from me, and hurt her, and now she’s all grown up, and she’s fighting. I’ll never see my baby again.”

Madame Kovarian: “But you’ll still save me, because he would, and you’d never do anything to disappoint your precious Doctor.”

Rory: [to Amy] “Ma’am, we have to go, now.”

Amy: “The Doctor is very precious to me, you’re right, but you know what else he is, Madame Kovarian? Not here.”


Dorium: “But you’re a fool, nonetheless. It’s all still waiting for you – the fields of Trenzalor, the fall of the Eleventh, and the Question.

The Doctor: “Good-bye, Dorium.”

Dorium: “The first question, the question that must never be answered, hidden in plain sight! The question you’ve been running from all your life! Doctor Who? Doctor Who? Doctor Who?”

Dialogue Disasters


Double Entendres/Sexy Talk

The Doctor: “River Song came twice.”


River: “Cuff him.”

The Doctor: “Ugh, why do you always have handcuffs?”


Dorium: “And Doctor Song: in prison, all her days?”

The Doctor: Her days, yes, her nights... well... that's between her and me, eh?

Dorium: “So many secrets, Doctor. [chuckling] I'll help you keep them, of course.”

The Review

The episode begins with the Doctor stuck in a strange, alternate reality in which all of time seems to have been condensed into one day – April 22nd, 2002. He relates to his close friend, Winston Churchill, how all of this came to pass, while they both fend off the pursuing Silence. The day that the Doctor was supposed to die at the hands of the “Impossible Astronaut” didn’t go as planned, which has screwed up time, and threatens to destroy reality if the Doctor doesn’t set things back in order by sacrificing his life. It’s up to the Doctor to navigate through this bizarre world and find the only person who can help him make things right – River Song.

I’m always so very apprehensive when it comes time for the season finale of Doctor Who. The show has been known to use the finales to throw a few curveballs our way, and so far, season six has had no shortages of plot twists. However, this time around I wasn’t so much wondering what twists awaited me in this finale as I was concerned on what plot threads would finally be resolved. Traditionally, a Doctor Who finale (in the new series) is usually two or three episodes long. “The Wedding of River Song” is the first time since the series was resurrected (or regenerated) that the finale was only one episode. This was unnerving if only because I didn’t think one episode would be enough to satisfactorily wrap up a season which mostly revolved around the death of the Doctor.

The episode manages not only to wrap that up in a way that surprised me, but it also teases us with a very interesting tidbit of what is to come next season (spoilers!). Speaking of spoilers, if you haven’t watched the episode yet, this is the part where you skip everything I’m about to write. Since this episode has been available for several weeks, what the hell are you waiting for? Go watch it, then come back.

Did you watch it? Okay then.

The reveal at the end that the Doctor faked his death by using the Tesselecta (the Meet Dave inspired shape shifting spaceship piloted by tiny people) was surprising, but not entirely unexpected. I had my money on the Doctor using his Ganger double from “The Almost People”, as that made more sense. The Ganger was a complete match of the Doctor’s genetic make-up, and could, presumably, even regenerate. The Tesselecta though… how did it mimic regeneration? Also, how did it survive two point blank blasts of energy AND being set on fire? Just how indestructible are those things? My reaction to the Tesselecta revelation was literally to go: “Oh, well, that makes sense… huh???” I’m thankful it wasn’t as weak as, say, having everyone on Earth think the Doctor back to life (“Last of the Time Lords”) or having Amy remember him back to existence (“The Big Bang”), but still… it was mildly disappointing. Still, the main plot of the episode itself, about time colliding together into one day, was clever, and immediately engaging. The only bad aspect of it was that I never felt a sense of worry for any of the characters, because I knew this was a reality that would be aborted as soon as the Doctor figured out how to make things normal.

Performances were great, especially Matt Smith, as the Doctor goes through a gamut of emotions throughout the episode. The scene where he tries to call his friend, and regular returning character from the old series, Brigadier Leftbridge-Stewart, only to find out that he passed away, was touching, made all the more so by the reality that Nicholas Courtney, the actor who played the Brigadier, actually did pass away this year. It was a wonderful send off and a neat way to make the Doctor face the reality of his own impending demise. My only regret is that the Brigadier didn’t appear in the new series at all, although at least he was in a couple of episodes of The Sarah Jane Adventures. The other regular cast members did a fine job. I especially enjoyed Amy and River’s moment together in the garden. All things considered, it was a fun season finale… but not a great one. I still have faith that Moffat knows what he’s doing, and I absolutely love the idea of the Doctor lying low instead of being an intergalactic demigod. Here’s waiting for the Christmas special!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Doctor Who Review - Episode 6x12: Closing Time

Dialogue Triumphs

The Doctor: “Oh, you’ve redecorated! I don’t like it.”

Craig: “It’s a different house. We’ve moved.”

The Doctor: “Yes, that’s it!”


The Doctor: “Craig, mind Yappie!”

Craig: “What?”

The Doctor: “Yappie! The robot dog… not as much fun as I remember.”

Dialogue Disasters

The Doctor: “Whoever you are, get off this planet!”


The Doctor: “Yes, he likes Alphie, but personally he prefers to be called Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All.”

Craig: “Sorry, what?”

The Doctor: “That’s what he calls himself.”

Craig: “How do you know that?”

The Doctor: “I speak Baby.”


Craig: “The Cybermen… I blew them up. I blew them up with love.”

Double Entendres/Sexy Talk

The Doctor: “Just keep looking at me, Craig, right at me, just keep looking.”

Craig: “Why?”

The Doctor: “Because… because… because I love you.”

Craig: “You love me?”

The Doctor: “Yes, Craig, it’s you, it’s always been you.”

Craig: “Me?”

The Doctor: “Is that so surprising?”

Craig: “Doctor, are you going to kiss me?”

The Doctor: “Yes, Craig, yes I am. Would you like that? I’m a bit out of practice, but I’ve had some wonderful feedback.”

The Review

The Doctor stops by to visit his old roommate, Craig (from last season’s hilarious episode, “The Lodger”), who is now married and a father. Craig immediately suspects that there is more to the Doctor’s visit than meets the eye, and his suspicions are confirmed when he discovers the Doctor investigating a series of disappearances surrounding a nearby department store. Together, Craig and the Doctor find out that a group of Cybermen have been slowly converting the staff of department store in order to help repair their ship, which had crashed and been lying dormant underground for years. Now the pair must figure out a way to stop the Cybermen from taking over the world… or at the very least this department store.

As mentioned before, this episode is a follow-up to last year’s surprisingly delightful, “The Lodger”. However, I found this episode to be severely lacking in the natural charm that made the “The Lodger” so enjoyable. The Doctor’s goofy interactions with Craig worked so well because the Doctor was totally out of his element. This time around, everything feels so forced, as if the writer is trying to recreate the magic of “The Lodger” without really understanding what made that episode so good. Strange, considering Gareth Roberts did write “The Lodger”. I don’t know, this episode just feels so much more madcap and silly than the last one, and not necessarily in a good way. A lot of the humor fell flat, or was just painfully awkward to watch (such as the Doctor's faux "seduction" of Craig in order to distract him from an approaching Cyberman, which made no sense, and was just... weird). Although, I will admit, I was a little nervous for Craig when he nearly gets “assimilated” into the Cybermen collective.

There’s just not very much to like about this episode. The plot is pretty average, and I have never cared for the Cybermen, old or new. Besides, it’s pretty clear that the Cybermen story is just a backdrop to set the stage for Craig and the Doctor having another zany adventure together. It was nice to see the return of the “Cyber-Mats” from the old series (little cybernetic worm things that Cybermen use as reconnaissance/saboteurs). I can see what the point of the episode was supposed to be – one last stop for the Doctor to make before confronting his demise, and one last stop for wacky fun before the series goes back into heavy drama. Nevertheless, it was executed somewhat clumsily for my liking.

Next time... The Wedding of River Song:

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Doctor Who Review - Episode 6x11: The God Complex

Dialogue Triumphs

The Doctor: “They’re not doors, they’re walls – walls that look like doors. Door walls, if you like, or ‘dwalls’ – walls even, though you probably got it right when you said they’re not doors. I mean the windows are… (Pulls curtains to reveal brick wall) …right! Big day for a fan of walls!”


Rita: “It’s not just that. The rooms have… things in them.”

The Doctor: “Things? Hello! What kind of things? Interesting things? I love things, ask anyone!”

Rita: “Bad dreams.”

The Doctor: “Well, that killed the mood.”


Rita: “It’s no more ridiculous than Howie’s CIA theory, or mine.”

The Doctor: “Which is?”

Rita: “This is Jahannum.”

The Doctor: “You’re a Muslim!”

Rita: “Don’t be frightened.”

The Doctor: “Ha! You think this is Hell?”


Amy: “Don’t talk to the clown!”


Rory: “Not all victories are about saving the universe.”


Rita: “Why is it up to you to save us? It’s quite a God complex you have there.”

The Doctor: “I brought them here. They’d say it was their choice, but offer a child a suitcase full of sweets, and they’d take it. Offer someone all of time and space, and they’d take that too. Which is why you shouldn’t… which is why grown ups were invented.”


The Doctor: “I can’t save you from this. There’s nothing I can do to stop this.”

Amy: “What?”

The Doctor: “I stole your childhood, now I’ve lead you by the hand to your death. The worst thing is, I knew – I knew this would happen. This is what always happens. Forget your faith in me. I took you with me because I was vain, because I wanted to be adored. Look at you… glorious Pond, the girl who waited for me. I’m not a hero. I really am just a mad man in a box, and it’s time we saw each other as we really are. Amy Williams, it’s time to stop waiting.”


Amy: “Even so, it can’t happen like this, after everything we’ve been through Doctor... everything. You can’t just drop me off at my house, and say good-bye, like we shared a cab.”

The Doctor: “And what’s the alternative? Me standing over your grave, over your broken body, over Rory’s body?”

Dialogue Disasters


Double Entendres/Sexy Talk


The Review

The TARDIS lands in what appears to be a replica of a hotel from the 80s. The Doctor, Amy, and Rory meet with a disparate group of people who have been transported to the hotel from different timezones and planets. The hotel is quickly revealed to be more than meets the eye after it swallows up the TARDIS within its constantly changing, mazelike hallways, leaving the Doctor and his companions trapped along with everyone else, and at the mercy of a mysterious creature who seems to pray on people’s fears, before possessing them, and then killing them one-by-one. It’s up to the Doctor to find a way out of the maze before he, Amy, and Rory are next on the menu.

It’s episodes like this where Doctor Who is truly at its best – when the Doctor is thrown into a mystery that even baffles him for a time, before he finally figures it out… but not after a considerable death toll. I’ve never liked how previous showrunner Russell T. Davis, and now Steven Moffat, would get into the habit of portraying the Doctor as some kind of omnipotent being who never loses a confrontation, nomatter how poor the odds. That was the most interesting feature of the episode “Water of Mars” – for once, the Doctor was in a situation where he was powerless to help, and his attempt to help only made it worse. I like episodes like this because we get a chance to see beneath the happy-go-lucky veneer the Doctor so often uses to hide his true nature, nomatter the incarnation.

So it goes with the cleverly titled “The God Complex”, which aptly describes the setting, the plot, and an unfortunate personality trait that has always been the Doctor’s worst failing. The episode deals with the latter aspect really well, as the Doctor ends up having ot humble himself before Amy in order to save her life, which is a sobering moment for them both. Matt Smith and Karen Gillan have always had a great chemistry in scenes like this, and the scene in last year’s season finale with the Doctor’s monologue to a sleeping Amy Pond to never forget him as he fades from existence.

I liked the setting of the episode, as the hotel was very reminiscent of the creepy hotel from The Shining. The characters that are trapped with the Doctor are all interesting in their own ways, especially Rita, with whom the Doctor flirts with the idea of picking up as a new companion. The Doctor and Rita’s interactions are great, especially the scene in which he laments on how guilty he feels about constantly exposing Amy and Rory to danger, then offers to take Rita traveling with him in the nearly the same breath. It really shows the reckless, impulsive nature of this particular incarnation of the Doctor, which I imagine will ultimately be his undoing whenever his number is up.

Overall, it was a very enjoyable episode, though it must be said, that the monster was kind of lame. There is a cool, throwaway classic Who reference regarding the monster at the end of the episode (that his species is related to the Nimons, a race of aliens that the 4th Doctor confronted in the episode “The Horns of the Nimon”), but other than that, it’s your average Doctor Who “Monster-of-the-week”. However, I do appreciate the effort to come up with new monsters besides the traditional stand-alongs, such as the Daleks or the Cybermen…

…speaking of which, the next episode I’ll be reviewing… Closing Time.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Doctor Who Review - Episode 6x10: The Girl Who Waited

Dialogue Triumphs

The Doctor: “Appalapachia, voted number two planet in the top ten greatest destinations for the discerning intergalactic traveler!”

Rory: “Why couldn’t we go to number one?”

The Doctor: “Tedious! Everyone goes to number one – planet of the coffee shops!”


Amy: “Have you seen my phone?”

The Doctor: “Your phone?”

Amy: “Yeah.”

The Doctor: “Your mobile telephone? I bring you to a paradise planet two billion light years from Earth, and you want to update… Twitter?”


Robot: “Will you be visiting long?”

Rory: “Good question, a bit sinister – what’s the answer that won’t get us killed?”


Old Amy: “In fact, now I think I can definitely say – I hate him. I hate the Doctor. I hate him more than I hated anyone in my life, and you can hear every word of this through those ridiculous glasses, can’t you Raggedy Man?”

The Doctor: “Ah… yes…”


Rory: “This is your fault.”

The Doctor: “I’m so sorry, but Rory…”

Rory: “No, this is your fault! You should look in a history book once in awhile, see if there’s an outbreak of plague or not!”

The Doctor: “That is not how I travel!”

Rory: “Then I do not want to travel with you!”


Old Amy: “Right, okay, so this is big news, temporal earthquake time, I’m officially changing my own future. Hold on to your spectacles. In my past, I saw my future self refuse to help you. I am now changing that future, and every law of time says that shouldn’t be possible.”

The Doctor: “Yes, except sometimes knowing your own future is what enables you to change it, especially if you’re bloody minded, contradictory, and completely unpredictable.”

Rory: “So basically if you’re Amy then.”

The Doctor: “Yes, if anyone can beat pre-destiny, it’s your wife.”

Dialogue Disasters

Old Amy: “Macarena.”

Young Amy: “Macarena.”

Rory: “She’s doing the Macarena.”

Double Entendres/Sexy Talk

Rory: “Can you stop flirting with me? You’re old enough to be my mo--!”

Old Amy: “I’ve known you my whole life. How many games of ‘Doctors and Nurses’?”

Rory: “Shush!”

Old Amy: “Don’t get coy now.”


The Doctor takes Amy and Rory on a much needed vacation to a paradise planet called Appalappachia (I have NO idea if the spelling is correct). As is tradition whenever the Doctor tries to take a vacation, things go horribly awry. It turns out that, in the particular era that they happened to travel to, Appalappachia is in a state of massive quarantine due to a disease that only affects beings with two hearts (aka, The Doctor). The TARDIS lands in the quarantine center, which uses time pockets that allow loved ones to visit the infected and watch them live out their lives without risk of catching disease. Amy gets caught up in one such time pocket, forcing Rory and the Doctor to use the TARDIS to hone in on her time stream. However, by the time they arrive, roughly 36 years have gone by for Amy, who has grown into a bitter old woman, battle weary from all her years battling the medical robots who benignly try to inject her with medication, despite the fact that it would kill her. The Doctor and Rory want to save their Amy, still stuck in the past, but Old Amy won’t help them unless the Doctor agrees to take her along as well. With a risk of causing a paradox even the TARDIS can’t handle, it ultimately comes down to Rory to choose between his beautiful young wife or the older, battle scarred one.

Seems like an easy choice to me, but what do I know, I’m shallow.

This episode serves as a nice counterpoint to last season’s “Amy’s Choice”, which was about Amy having to decide between not only what man she truly loved, but between realities as well. After so many episodes of Amy and Rory pulling “run and scream” duty, it’s nice to see them featured in an episode, while the Doctor, who is forced to stay in the TARDIS to avoid disease that would kill him instantly, takes the backseat for a change. Don’t worry, though, the Doctor still has plenty of screen time to keep things interesting.

I had some issues with Karen Gillan’s performance in season five, but she has improved by leaps and bounds this season, especially in this episode. She was convincing as a bitter, older version of the Amy Pond we know and love. She also kicked ass with a samurai sword. I also enjoyed some of Rory and the Doctor’s back-and-forth, especially the more tense moments, such as the end, when the Doctor forces Rory to choose between both versions of his wife. There has always been a certain tension between the two characters, due to Rory’s mild jealousy of Amy’s open admiration for the Doctor (something that is dealt with nicely in the next episode…). It’s great to get to see Rory finally vent his frustrations a bit, and do it without wearing a Centurion uniform.

The setting of the episode was interesting, though somewhat reminiscent of the video game Portal. I liked that the “bad guys”, the med robots, were just simple automatons doing what they were programmed to do – apply medication to the sick. They were just too stupid to realize their meds would be fatal. It’s an original way to keep the episode moving along, and provide a baddy without really having one. Overall, the episode was good, with plenty of tender Rory/Amy moments to satisfy the fans.

Next week…oops, oh wait, I guess I mean, last week… The God Complex