Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Review: Doctor Who 7.α: The Time of The Doctor

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The Doctor and Clara's relationship is as stiff as ever.
Finally, Season 33 comes to an end. It's only been two years or so, you know. And with it, ends the tenure of Matt Smith's Eleventh Doctor, an incarnation whose initial good beginnings were later soured by a devilish inconsistency and a nasty streak in which he happily committed genocide, rewrote time to fit his own needs and committed so many unreprimanded cases of sexual assault that I'm surprised there have been no angry letters on Points of View. I've really reached the point with Doctor Who where I can't be bothered to use objective analysis, and even if I was going to I'd still be using this article to point out how much crap Moffat just served us instead of actual Doctor Who. So, with our bellies full of Christmas cheer and seasonal indigestion, we'll get started. I'll also be doing a drinking game of sorts for all of the standard features of each Moffat episode - see if you can join in. (I don't drink, so luckily I won't get liver poisoning.
     There's a planet surrounded by a force field, set up by the Space Pope, who is of course a feisty, flirty woman who has the hots for The Doctor. (Drink.) Clara asks The Doctor for help with a mundane family task, upon which The Doctor turns up naked for some reason and smacks Clara on the arse without her consent (Drink.), leading to him taking her along to the planet to find out what's below the forcefield that's powerful enough to lead all of the Doctor's enemies to assemble above it. (Drink.) It turns out to be Trenzalore (Drink.) where a time-space crack (Drink.) containing retcon Time-Lords (Drink.) can only be released if The Doctor speaks his real name. (Down the bottle.) He then spends 300 years or more defending a town called Christmas from repeated invasions from all of his worst enemies, and it turns out that the Silence were working for The Pope but the nasty ones from before were part of a stupid sect and in the end the Pope and The Silence really want to stop the Universe from going kablammy and eventually, after lots and lots of confusing nonsense (Drink, if you're still capable.) The Doctor uses magic energy from the Time Lords to bypass his regeneration limit and become Peter Capaldi.
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Matt's final hour is as ridiculous as his first.
     I'll get my social justice stuff out of the way here, so that those who wish to cover their eyes can just skip to the next paragraph. Where to begin with this, eh? Well, The Doctor makes a joke about OCD, which is a real condition and not something people say to be trendy (or at least shouldn't be saying to be trendy, because it doesn't mean what they probably think it means.) Then we have at least three cases of clear sexual assault (an arse-smack, a naked rub-down and a forced kiss), all of which go without reprimand. And then there's our characterisations. Not a single Person of Colour or member of the GSRM community in sight, as per the standard, and our two main female characters are either robbed of agency or hyperfetishised. Or both, on one occasion. Let's not get started on every single distasterous scene with Tasha Lem the Space Pope, let's focus more on Clara Oswald. Because character development is apparently too good for Moffat to deliver, she spends the vast majority of the episode lacking any agency, thrown about time when necessary for Moffat to time-skip in that non-adorable way he does in lieu of showing actual characterisation. And, when she does get to do something, it's using her girlish charm to convince The Time Lords (you remember, the ones that want to destroy the Universe) to give The Doctor a new regeneration cycle because, and I shit you not, because they love him.
     The Time Lords switching from obstructive beaurocrats/genocial maniacs into hidden, unseen carebear gods is one of many, many plotholes brought up by this episode. There are far too many to mention here, especially as this episode seems to be a reactionary piecemeal of explanations for all of the various Moffat plots which he forgot to finish because hey bowties are cool, let's go demean yet another demographic. One of the biggest ones is the whole paradox thing that Moffat has created over this past season, and intentionally or not he's written a massive great paradox which makes his entire era totally moot. He has, in effect, retconned his own retcons - both of them. The Doctor doesn't die at Trenzalore, so the Tardis is never at Trenzalore to be his grave. Clara never jumps into the past, The Doctor never meets Clara in the first place, Clara isn't at Trenzalore to help him and thus The Doctor dies. And then doesn't. And then does. It's an eternal paradox, and quite a twisty-turny one.
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Space Pope Tasha Lem allows closure for that Silence crap.
     The Time of The Doctor is the end of a trilogy of stories, each more outlandish and more nonsensical than the last. It's arguably been something of a magnificently tragic fall - not for The Doctor, who's been a complete arse for the past three years or so, but for any tolerance I had for Moffat's scruples. If he can't try, why must I? While I enjoyed The Time of The Doctor as an exercise in sheer madness, it's reached the point where as long as this guy is in charge of the show, I'll never be able to really invest in anything that's going on. Moffat's Who is one of no consequences, a complex sci-fi show written with paper-thin, offensive characterisations and a continuity more lax than that of the most terrible sitcoms (including Moffat's.)

Thanks. Merry Christmas.

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