Saturday, 12 November 2011

Advent Of Destruction

After I returned from voluntary exile on Arran, I stopped in to visit lyndagb and James, along with their gorgeous spawn.  In between games of "Who's phoning Thea?", it was brought to my attention that I haven't passed judgement on the season finale of Doctor Who.  Even my Supernatural post wasn't so tardy. 

We therefore jump in our SIDRAT (what? They're much more reliable!), and consider the conclusion to Season 6.  Spoilers, obviously, follow.

Actually, and sorry for all the effort you went to clicking on "Read more", there's really not a lot to say.  By my lights, this was by some distance the least irritating season closer since the show returned, but that's faint praise, given that a) it didn't include a Bill and Ted temporal get-out clause in order to disguise having written oneself into a corner, and b) it wasn't written by someone who holds their audience and logic itself in equal contempt. 

It should also be noted that after five years of being disappointed by the new series (though in fairness Season 5 was a massive improvement on what had gone before), I've made the conscious choice to watch the show in as dispassionate a manner as possible, viewing it as a weekly curiosity rather than the continuation of what was for much of my childhood unquestionably my favourite show.  Has Doctor Who improved over the last two years, of have I simply stopped caring?  It's difficult to say.

Still, we all bring something by way of baggage and training to any show we return to, so perhaps it doesn't matter all that much. "The Wedding of River Song" was fast-paced, funny, and gave us as many answers as we could have possibly expected (again, this is training: Moffat will feed us tidbits at the end of a year, RTD will explain it all, but it will be shit and make no sense).  It seems from looking at the explosion of internet traffic that followed the finale that for the majority of people, whether or not one enjoyed the finale was almost perfectly correlated with whether or not one considered the Doctor's escape from certain death a BS swindle.

Personally, whilst I completely understood why so many people were annoyed, I was OK with it, because as convenient as the Tessalector's sudden arrival was (and how come it was suddenly able to fake the Arton energy that surrounds a regeneration these days?), this mattered less than the realisation that the Doctor was planning to fake his own death.  Compare that with, say, the Season 4 finale, in which the Doctor suddenly claims he doesn't have to change his form if he doesn't want to so long as there's a severed hand around and that hand can then turn into him so he can fuck Billie Piper.  At least Moffat's dodge was motivated by coherent characterisation, and not the apparent desire to write a show's slash fiction into the programme itself.

I suspect, in fact, that I would have forgiven much worse under the circumstances, because Moffat was doing exactly what a good showrunner should: finding the most interesting and entertaining way possible to fix a serious problem with the narrative.  That problem, of course, was the evermore ludicrous "lonely God" angle to the Doctor's character, that was fascinating when it was nodded to during the McCoy yeas, and absolutely unbearable when RTD took it and, like everything else, smashed it into our skulls with a mallet.  Moffat is not blameless himself (witness "Forest of the Dead"), but he saw a problem, and now he's fixed it, and managed to have fun doing so.

All in all, then, it was a pretty good conclusion.  The real problem now is where to go next.  If the Doctor is now believed to be dead by the universe, what's going to happen the next time he fights the Daleks?  Is he going to have to wear a disguise? ("I wear a Groucho Marx mask now.  Groucho Marx masks are coo - wait, forget I said that").

I hope not.  Indeed, I hope the Daleks remain in blissful ignorance of his survival from this point on.  Not just because their latest designs are utter shit, but because I love the idea that the scions of Skaro have believed since the beginning that they only had to weather "The Oncoming Storm" until he hit his eleventh incarnation...

How is he even blowing that thing?

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