I don't usually do this kind of thing, post reactions/reviews for episodes, but seeing as this is Doctor Who and it's finally back, I need to get thoughts out into the open. A week later than everyone else, mind you, because I promised my sister. (I don't even know why. She doesn't even want to talk to me about them now. Huh.)
I've been so excited. After I watched TIA for the first time, I had to stop to breathe and calm down first. It was everything I'd hoped for. But ten minutes into the episode, I was having that feeling, you know that feeling when you're thinking "oh, I'm not going to like this... WHY am I not liking this?"
It's not that I didn't enjoy the episode. I mean, it's DOCTOR WHO. But things in it niggled me the wrong way. Of course, a lot of things were awesome, such as that River quote about the 3rd Reich. So here's some things I'm thinking.
(Disclaimer - have only seen the episode once, twenty minutes ago. I may need to rewatch it. I will, several times probably.)
Crop circles to get the Doctor's attention? Brilliant. Using his own tactics against him! I loved lots of the details - Melody giving the Doctor her regenerations (because that's an explanation whose implications work, even though I imagine some older who fans might not like it too much), the Tardis being the one who taught River to fly her (also, I wrote a fic that had the Tardis seeing River as a sister a while ago!), that one moment of outrage when the Doctor (doesn't) ask the justice people inside the teselectra who they think they are for torturing people whom they think should be tortured. The banana gag. *giggles* The info on the Silence, and that they're a religious order rather than a species. (Well, the bit about the question was a bit strange.)
I think the main thing about this episode that made me have that "why am I not liking this" feeling is Mels. I mean, she's loud, brash, violent for no reason, and makes no sense. How did she get into Amy and Rory's childhood in the first place? Who does she live with - as a child, she'd have to have a home of some sort, otherwise it's a bit suspicious. For someone who's been brainwashed into wanting to kill the Doctor, she's not really that effective an assassin.
I liked how Amy and Rory got to raise her, in a way, after all. But did she have to be so obnoxious
? Really? The first half of the episode just had me cringing at her. Then it all got a lot better, with some truly beautiful scenes towards the end, especially the "who is River Song" question. I mean, I do think that her brainwashing tuned out too quickly, but I have to say, the scenes were touching at the end. Although I was expecting the Doctor to have told River (the River he knows and who loves him) to come and fix him, and she'd zap in with her vortex manipulator and then save him, while Melody-River watches. So she got better. But seeing as she failed to kill him in the end, and actually help him, does anyone else think there are going to be repercussions for her? When Korvarian and the Silence (etc, whoever it is really) find out that she failed?
I love River. I love her to bits so much, I literally get butterflies when I see her. But this early River? Didn't do it for me. I expected her to be a bit more angsty and driven early on in her life, I guess. Maybe if I rewatch it, I'll like her more. I hated her in SitL/FotD at first as well.
The implications for River from this episode are kinda problematic though. She's been strong, feisty, a leading female character with real agency, a career, a focus. But everything about her is just becoming more and more tied to her relationship to the Doctor. I mean, she becomes an archaeologist just to find him. Is it just me or is her agency getting lower? (I've been reading a lot of gabrielleabelle
's meta/feminism stuff lately, so agency is on my mind a lot.)
Also - why on earth did Amy disable her own authorisation thing, not the other people's? That just doesn't make sense. The antibodies were cool though. And the idea of the people being inside the teselectra. Tee hee. I saw that almost immediately. I actually did like the fact that Hitler was just shut in a cupboard though, because the plot wasn't really about him. They didn't plan to land in WW2 and lecture Hitler. So that fitted, I thought.
One last thing - the greatest war criminal idea. Obviously we haven't seen the entirety of River's crimes yet, but it doesn't really fit with me. I mean, the Doctor did kill an entire two races in the Time War. I have trouble seeing River as worse than that. I don't know.
Anyway, all in all, it was a good episode - but problematic. And it wasn't what was expecting. I guess it's mainly Mels fault. Maybe if she hadn't been so utterly obnoxious, I would have liked the episode better. Maybe Moffatt should just stop throwing in random characters without prior warning, characters whom we're meant to accept have been there all along, but hey, we just never saw them. (It's like JKR and the whole horcrux thing. Seriously? Major plot device at the end of the sixth book of seven?)
It's still a whole lot better than Torchwood: Miracle Day though. I mean, it's Doctor Who. I love it to bits just for that. But I'm just feeling a little let down, I guess. *sigh*
Back to ritualised marine midden formation essays, then.EDIT:
I have been meaning to say this for ages, but never got to actually posting. The very first time I saw the comic con released trailer for the second part of series 6, I noticed that the scene on the beach, where the astronaut shoots the Doctor, is different. There are three versions of it, used in different trailers and in the episode. In one, he pretty much drops close to the feet of the astronaut, in the other, he if thrown back quite a distance. In the scene in the episode, she staggers a couple of feet. What coult this mean? There is definitely more to that scene than we think.