rowanberries: (Writing)
[personal profile] rowanberries
Christmas!

Thaaaaat happened. I've got the traditional lurgy, so I'm taking it easy. But I've managed to eat plenty, and the reduced drinking has probably been a bonus, health-wise, so it is OKAY.

And yesterday there was the Doctor Who Christmas special!

That has to have been easily the best episode I can remember for a long while. It was spooky and pretty and creepy, and really made headway on the issues that usually make me facepalm!

Let's ramble as I rewatch (and drink Peroni now I feel a bit steadier):

Matt Smith remains a joy to me, his Doctor being constantly twelve and seventy years old at the exact same time. He utterly fails at card tricks where the Tenth Doctor would probably have been amazing and perfect, and it is so much funnier. When they're running down to get the ice box to save the shark, and in the background he just goes 'ooh, tree!' and runs to play with the baubles while the kid fetches a lamp - hee! Speaking of:

"There's a shark in my bedroom?"
"Oh FINE, focus on that!"

The kids cast were very convincing - I totally believed their performances. In fact, I believed pretty much everyone's, which is nothing short of miraculous. But little Kazran!

"She was trying to eat you."
"...She was hungry."

WHICH IS ADORABLE. And I really liked the cuts back to Michael Gambon (who is awesome) managing to echo the little boy's emotion perfectly. Bravo, sir. Double for playing the Trademark Evil Dad, too - and by the way, can we just mention the incredible creepiness of the casual mention of him offering loans of money in return for 'Security' of a family member? And the number of ice boxes down there? And the fact that they are all full, indicating that people can very rarely pay back the money? Okay, Katherine Jenkins (aha, Abigail is her name!) volunteered, but I highly doubt that was a common case. Waaaaaugh.

That poor little boy, though - it might seem the traditional Freudian excuse that he had an evil parent and became him, but the fact that he knew about the one girl who loved the fish (FISH IN THE SKY) indicates that he'd been down there before, and seen other last wishes left by the frozen people. Presumably Daddy made him come and see. SHIVER.

Anyway. Shark (FISH ON THE FLOOR), singing calms it down, Doctor can't resist being pedantic and gets bitten for his trouble, and damn that is a nice alternate melody for In the Bleak Midwinter. I had never really come across Katherine Jenkins before this episode, and I know a lot of people find her annoying? Or didn't want her cast? I don't know. But I certainly had no problems with her, and her voice is lovely. (Overproduced, but that's not her fault. Neither is the fact that her character is a liiiiitle on the sugary side, since she's fulfilling an archetype from the book. I can deal!)

I think the Doctor is still healing from the horror of the Time War - it's been noted many times that Eleven is gentler than Nine and humbler than Ten, and he's letting himself feel and join in more - like the way he sat down to Christmas Dinner with Abigail's family, whereas before that would have been too 'domestic.' And that lovely, lovely line about having never ever met someone who wasn't important before. Oh, Eleven. *Clutches*

(On kissing: "It's either this or going to your room and designing a new kind of screwdriver; don't make my mistake, now go!" HAHAHA IT'S NEVER TOO LATE, DOCTOR. AMY (AND RORY) WILL COMPLETELY HELP YOU OUT IF YOU ASK NICELY.)

AND NOW, we give it up for the Ghost of Christmas Present! Oh, Amy. (And oh, Rory! How I adore that they were completely having kinky sex games in the Honeymoon Suite just before this episode started. Either that or comparing how hot they each looked in their respective short skirts.)

Anyhow, I think I love this Ghost best of all - showing him the people that are in danger of dying right that moment? And singing creepily? I LOVE ME SOME CREEPY SINGING. ("Why are they singing?" "For their lives.") And then bringing him onto the ship where the people are still singing obliviously, and Amy and Rory are being awesome and the Captain calmly asking him to help them! <3!

And then of course, that directly causes the Doctor to break out the Ghost of Christmas Future.

"I am showing it to you. I'm showing it to you right now."

Um. I got chills.

"Dad?"

OH SNAP.

This is both poetic and beautiful. I had thought up until that moment that the Doctor would have woken Abigail up - that her last day alive would have been seeing what Kazran had become, then changing his mind with the Power of Love, but I'm glad they didn't do that - it would have felt cheap. What they did instead felt much more right, and I am impressed.

(Not to mention the dead-on use of the Doctor's Theme as soon as he has his epiphany about the screwdriver. God, I love that music - in previous seasons I have found the score a little bit anvilicious, but they've found a good balance here.)

The cuts back and forth in time - I don't know, I think they work. It's a bit shaky with previous adventures, where they've been stuck in one timestream, but this one is so self-contained that I think it works. And the Doctor has planned this more or less from the beginning, in general at least, and the Time Lords are meant to be masters of this kind of thing. It's not like the time Rose saved her Dad's life waaaay back in Nine's time, then swanned around chatting to her parents and holding herself as a child all while Time got eaten around them. Because the situation is already stable, I am not bothered that Kazran could touch his younger self.

And because they went that way, the standard woman in (literal!) refrigerator plot got that tiny bit more interesting - this part of the story wasn't about Abigail dying, it was about Kazran being afraid to let her live - a fear he shares with the writers of Supernatural - and how he came to set her free even if it meant losing her. What did she say - '...hoarding my days like an old miser.' Maybe more shows should try letting their ladies live sometime. They might end up with something even half as bittersweet but fantastic as this episode. (Yes, I know Abigail still probably dies - but it wasn't make the point. The point was that she got to live, rather than being frozen away to provide an excuse for Kazran to keep being his evil old self, which is what a lot of shows have as the STATUS QUO. Aaaaaagh words!)

Finally, I may just die a happy little musical death at that scene at the end when it begins to snow while Abigail sings and the ship lands safely and the Doctor builds snowmen and the fucking choir joins in and oh my god I am embarrassing SHUT UP.

Anyway.

Good form, show.



Halfway out of the dark.

Date: 2010-12-26 07:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] inappropriately.livejournal.com
Eeeee this was such a fun read. THIS EPISODE GAVE ME SO MUCH JOY *squishes Doctor Who to chest*

Date: 2010-12-26 07:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rowanberries.livejournal.com
IT WAS PRETTY AND SHAMELESSLY MANIPULATED MY TENDER FANGIRL HEART OMG.

*beamy*

Date: 2010-12-26 07:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] apiphile.livejournal.com
And that lovely, lovely line about having never ever met someone who wasn't important before.

I DIDN'T TEAR UP AT THAT AT ALL. NO SIR. NOT ME.

How I adore that they were completely having kinky sex games in the Honeymoon Suite just before this episode started.

I love that this was basically "happy Christmas, mum and dad, here's something nice for you to look at too: arthur darvill in uniform and karen gillan in her strippogram outfit".

"I am showing it to you. I'm showing it to you right now."

Um. I got chills.


NO SHIT.

Halfway out of the dark.

That's what sold the whole thing for me. Yes it was a shameless retelling of a very mawkish story by hackmeister Dickens, but even though there was talk of "spending time with family", there wasn't the anvil of FAMILY IS ALL. The Doctor didn't try to fix Kazran's relationship with his father, he tried to help him to fix himself after having to deal with that father; we weren't smacked repeatedly in the face with religious imagery as RTD (weirdly, for an atheist) kept doing, and the moral was "live, and don't be a dick to people", which anyone can get behind.

Mostly the "half-way out of the dark" thing, both as a statement of Kazran's initial state (trying not to be his father but not quite there yet) and of time passing, really resonates for me, on a stupid wanky personal level.

Date: 2010-12-26 07:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rowanberries.livejournal.com
Yessss.

The Doctor didn't try to fix Kazran's relationship with his father, he tried to help him to fix himself after having to deal with that father

That is an excellent point! No 'yes he's an abusive shit, but he's your Daddy you MUST FORGIVE HIM' for THIS Doctor! Man, that was annoying.

God. I know it still wasn't perfect, and after a few more rewatches, I'm sure I'll find a million things to pick at - but it was the first episode in a long time that I have watched and then sat back happily and thought of as good, you know?

Date: 2010-12-26 08:16 pm (UTC)
yakalskovich: (Tardis)
From: [personal profile] yakalskovich
It was incredibly brilliant! I really loved it, and bawled like a kid at the end...

Date: 2010-12-26 09:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] davegodfrey.livejournal.com
Because the situation is already stable, I am not bothered that Kazran could touch his younger self.

I am. Does the name Blinovitch mean nothing to these people? Nothing?

Date: 2010-12-27 01:10 am (UTC)
ext_6531: (DW: River (gun))
From: [identity profile] lizbee.livejournal.com
I really love your take on Abigail and refrigeration. Because I've seen a lot of complaints that this is more of Moffat's misogyny, and how DARE he not cure a terminally ill person on Christmas! But, although I am amused by the literal aspect of the refrigeration, I couldn't quite buy those arguments, and you've articulated why.

Date: 2010-12-27 01:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rowanberries.livejournal.com
I am glad! I probably wasn't as articulate as I hoped, due to many, many cold medicines - but I wanted to bring it up. Writers so often use women's deaths to spur a positive, or at least defining change in the lives of their main characters. (Helping them make a choice to fight/investigate/whatever if they are heroes; providing an excuse/convenient backstory for villains.) This was just something that was, and it wasn't even the main point of Abigail's character - it was that she loved the fish (IN THE SKY), and even though she was willing to freeze her last few days to help out her family in a bad situation, she wanted to live the rest of her life to the fullest she could. Which is pretty awesome.

/Ramble.

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