Monday, 26 December 2011

The Caretaker, The Sexist, And The Dishonorably Dischargeable

Well, that wasn't too bad at all.  Maybe a bit slow moving for a Christmas Special (I was all stuffed with meat, parsnips and wine, so staying awake was a definite problem) and a little to saccharin for my tastes, but it had some nice ideas (there has to be naturally occurring Christmas trees somewhere being my favourite), some great visuals, a typically excellent turn from Matt Smith and better child acting than the BBC is usually known for.  Also, I have to admit there did come a point where I realised to my own bafflement that I had a lump in my throat.

A few more unordered thoughts:
  • Man, Androzani Major's military must be permanently undergoing a funding crisis.  First they couldn't manage to clear a few dozen androids out of a cave system in order to secure their most treasured natural resource, and now they send overweight bunglers to guard their fuel sources.  Two soldiers in full armour can't overpower a civilian with a service revolver?  Please.  I presume they're only using acid rain to melt the forest because none of them can be trusted to swing an axe without disemboweling themselves.
  • I'd have hoped we'd moved beyond plot tropes like "only a woman is strong enough to commune with nature".  Doubtless it's well-meant, but at least as far as I'm concerned it always comes across as rather patronising.  "See, we respect you, life givers that you are!"  It's also slightly difficult to process a story in which the Doctor can't carry a sentient forest in his head, but Arabella Weir is considered fit for service.
  • Having said the above, it's nice to see a story in which the Doctor isn't the last-minute saviour everyone is praying for. I suppose one could point out that this deliberate (if exceptionally vague) aping of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe has swapped in the Doctor as a replacement for Jesus, of course.  Or note that linking your story to one of the finest moments in the entirety of the show's history isn't an act of humility and understatement.  But let's not search too hard to find things to raise our eyebrows over: it's Christmas, after all, and at least this time round no-one's told me people think killing the Doctor is worse than the Holocaust.
  • Speaking of the Doctor's death, having him refer to himself as "the Caretaker" was a nice idea - a way of dealing, at least for now, with the idea that he is now operating undercover.  It certainly helps me buy the idea that a time-traveller can fake their own death.   I'd be surprised if they keep it up for Season 7, but at least it's delayed the problem for a little while. 

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