Sunday, 14 April 2013

A New Ice Age

Just a random assortment of thoughts about last night's Doctor Who.  Of course, once my thoughts enter your thoughts, there may be trouble if you have no thoughts of your own.  You know, because you haven't watched it.  Or you're an idiot.

OK, so:
  1. I can't decide whether the incredibly un-Russian Russians in this episode (and no, remembering to say "comrades" from time to time doesn't count" is either spectacularly lazy and/or a further strike against Mark Gatiss' ability to realise not everyone is a middle class English person, or a sly comment about how the thought processes of the Cold War managed to convince millions of people that the millions of people on the other side were utterly incomprehensible Others, when really a bunch of people inside a Russian tin can are pretty damn similar to a bunch of people inside an American tin can.
  2. Maybe the second possibility is more likely when you consider that Gatiss seems to have taken some inspiration from the American submariners in Crimson Tide, namely the idea that when considering a submarine captain and the submarine's first mate, there must always be one character convinced of the folly of nuclear war, who'll go to great lengths to keep the peace even potentially in the face of official censure, and there must be one character who's a bloodthirsty prick.  What the fuck was Comrade Nukehugger's end game, anyway?  Step 1: help alien creature to annihilate all life on Earth, Step 2: ?????, Step 3: Profit! Victory!
  3. Speaking of borrowing from feature films, the decision to re-run Alien on a submarine is utterly inspired, especially the idea of making the homage child-suitable/clear of copyright claims by having the monster explode out into the ship from within its own body (though what the unholy hell the Russians were doing whilst the Ice Warrior slipped into something more comfortable, I've no idea).  Further marks may be awarded for moving into the Cameron oeuvre by adding in the military trappings and higher stakes of Aliens, and for, er, having people get wet a lot while things sink.  Those wishing to point out that the end result would have resembled Titanic more had Jenna-Louise Coleman taken her clothes off should immediately take a cold shower, however much I might agree in principle.
  4. This was something like Mark Gatiss' third "power of love" ending, and at least the sixth one in total since the show returned to the air, but this one gets far more credit than the others because it didn't rely on the idea that love can conquer machine code/robotic systems/rewritten biology, but rather on the idea that someone grieving over the death of their daughter might both be tempted to lash out and to ultimately conclude the destruction of a billion families might not be the best idea. I wasn't particularly blown away by the ending here, or anything, but it did its job competently enough.
  5. The captain of that Ice Warrior ship was a bit of a dick, weren't they?  How hard could it possibly have been to pick up the phone any say "Message received"?  Someone's for a quick court martialling, methinks.
  6. Should I be concerned for Liam Cunningham?  Does two salt-of-the-earth sailors in a row constitute typecasting?  Is that the sort of thing someone can be typecast as?  Either way, Davos is a much cooler character, but then Gatiss seemed to use up all his characterisation time on David Warner and, interestingly, the Ice Warrior himself.

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