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bear by san

March 2017



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sf doctor who meant to be?

so good to be alive when the eulogies are read.

This is going to be a long blog post full of Doctor Who fanwank.

You have been warned.

Also? SPOILERS!!!!!


So, after skipping the last season and a half of 10, and nearly all of 11 that wasn't written by Neil or a Christmas episode, I came back, like a strayed lamb, for the fiftieth.

...and I surprised myself by in general, without nitpicking (I could nitpick), liking it a lot. The Doctor being generous of spirit. Check. (A thing I felt often lacking in 10's tenure--a writing, not an acting, issue) Structural and narrative integrity? Check. The beautiful play of the sonic screwdriver joke into the deadly serious climactic reveal? Check. Archive footage?

Oh god. I made a noise, you guys. A NOISE. 

God bless CGI, you guys. My heart.

I wanted to see 8.5 regen into 9, but I guess the powers that be aren't over fucking with the honorable Chris Eccleston yet, so fuck them sideways. And that is Not Elizabeth Tudor, you motherfuckers. Not in any parallel Earth.

Although yes, I laughed at the deconstruct of the "Body of a weak and feeble woman" quote. Well played, sirs. Well played.

But anyway, what I want to talk about is Osgood. Osgood, yes. And Osgood's scarf. And Four.

Where did she get that scarf, I ask you? Why is she the girl who calmly (and compassionately) hands her Zygon impersonator her inhaler when it has an asthma attack? Why is she the person who, when the world is falling down around her ears, screams, "Doctor, help me!"

People. This is not Osgood's first rodeo. And she's not screaming for 10, 11, or 8.5 for that matter. She barely knows any of them.

...Perhaps I should put it this way.

What is Tom Baker not wearing, when he shows up at the very end, stepping out of his retirement for a word with his future self? (Yes, we once saw him regenerate at a much younger age... but Time heals paradoxies, do it ain't?)

I say ye, Osgood is not just one Osgood's daughter*. She is Four's last Companion.

You doubt me. I see it in your eyes.

But what gesture does young Osgood make, in her scarf, when she hands her Zygon counterpart the inhaler, preserving its life--and by not revealing themselves, protecting the pact the younger (older?) Doctors have forced upon her (both of her) colleagues?

...the prosecution rests.

*Tom by name


Loved Osgood. Loved the archival footage. Loved the idea of bringing Gallifrey/Time Lords back to the show. Hated the retcon more than anything I can remember watching on television.

(You have a neat theory, though, although I'd lay my bets on the curator as a future Doctor, rather than a past one.)

Edited at 2013-11-29 08:54 am (UTC)
Curiously, what you refer to as the retcon, I would call the Clever Plan, and it was the bit that made the while thing work for me. I LOVED that. It's so perfectly Doctory, and it changes his sacrifice to a personal one rather than the sacrifice of countless others.

Edited at 2013-11-29 09:59 am (UTC)
I entirely agree about it being a most Clever Plan. The Doctor(s) had to fool everyone into thinking that Gallifrey was destroyed, and obviously the best way to insure that this is true is for everyone (including the Doctor(s)) to be fooled, at least until is was time to let it loose, now that pretty much all the remaining Daleks were mopped up.

Interesting theory about Osgood, I like it a lot.
It's so perfectly Doctory, and it changes his sacrifice to a personal one rather than the sacrifice of countless others.

Yeah, that's what I hate about it. I was invested in the previous interpretation. I didn't want a Clever Plan; I just wanted to know that the story I'd been watching for several years was real, and actually meant something*. I know that there's a lot of Doctor Who history, and that series 1-4 are only a small part of that. I know that the characterization of 9 and 10 is pretty wildly different from previous Doctors. But they were my introduction to the series, and I loved them, partly because they often faced impossible choices and hard losses, and above all, consequences. And a lot of the emotional weight of that stemmed from this one huge morally questionable sacrifice at the outset.

If we're moving past that period in the show, that's okay. I won't (I don't) like the show as much, but it's a return to a more classic feel and conception and characterization, and I understand why people would be happy about that. But please don't undercut the previous era to do it.

*With the caveat that I am all for any Clever Plans on the part of 11 that save Gallifrey/some Time Lords, but that do not undo the initial decision on the part of the War Doctor that forms the basis of my understanding of the show I've been watching for the past seven series. 10 and 11 can be clever! Just not John Hurt.

Edited at 2013-11-29 10:47 am (UTC)
You've no idea how happy I was to find your comments here - I've been feeling very alone with that opinion!
Actually, here's a way of putting it that, of all of the people I know, will probably only make sense to you.

You know, on Farscape, the writers had a motto? "When you get punched on Farscape, it hurts."

I feel like for the last couple of years--and especially with this past episode--the motto of Doctor Who has been, "When you get punched on Doctor Who, don't worry, in a few episodes it will be revealed that you were never punched, you only dreamed you were punched, and all the pain has been psychosomatic."

I don't want that. I want to trust the show not to fuck with me, and not to fuck with the characters.
*g* Yeah, that totally makes sense to me.

I have the benefit of having no real emotional investment in either of the current Doctors, in large part for that reason. Well, I have an emotional investment in The Doctor, but Tennant's Doctor was such an ass--above and beyond the usual Time Lord galloping egotism, which is a feature rather than a bug--that I broke off pretty cleanly. I am invested in Nine, however.

But I'm also okay with the irony of the Illusory Sacrifice. All that suffering, for naught. It gives me feels in a way that none of the "Pray to the Doctor!" solutions have done.

But I haven't bothered to watch most of the previous few seasons (In part because of too many Tinkerbell Endings), and I was in a good place to appreciate a narrative solution that was, for a wonder, actually set up, made sense, and wasn't just last-minute handwavium.

(I haven't trusted the show since 2006, I think. So I'm just pleased it didn't make me feel like I had stupid all over me again. I think I at least get where your sense of betrayal is coming from, though--I feel that way about later seasons of Buffy.)
Oh, well, I never trusted Doctor Who to make a ton of sense, or to set up its endings particularly well. (For the most part, it still doesn't do that. The last three seasons have had a lot--a lot--of "Everybody lives!" endings, and every single Moffat-run season finale has involved somehow rewriting or reimagining the timeline of the season that preceded it. So I'm also a little tired of the device.) But once upon a time, I did trust it to care about its characters (even if 10 was an ass, which he of course was), care about what it was saying, have consequences for actions, and not undo anything that happened more than an episode or so in the past.

Anyway, I'd actually be cool with the illusory sacrifice if the suffering that was all for naught wasn't...60-70% of the past seven seasons. Irony's great, but I don't want to build a series on it. And Doctor Who in particular invites emotional investment.

Okay, sorry for my incredibly long-winded Doctor Who thoughts. This keeps happening, lately.

I think I at least get where your sense of betrayal is coming from, though--I feel that way about later seasons of Buffy.

I don't know what you're talking about. Season five of Buffy is great, and everyone knows that Buffy ended after season five.

Edited at 2013-11-29 12:02 pm (UTC)
Fair enough. Season 5 IS pretty great, and I'm glad they were smart enough to end there, with the exception of that musical reunion episode with the bizarre retcons ;). But Season 4 is made of hate, except for Tara.
Even a terrible, terrible season full of Riley could not hold Tara's awesomeness back.
When you get punched on Doctor Who, don't worry, in a few episodes it will be revealed that you were never punched, you only dreamed you were punched, and all the pain has been psychosomatic."
Yes. And aaargh. This was one of the big problems I had with the episode (and...much of Moffat's tenure), as well.