eve11: (dw_eleven_books_specs)
[personal profile] eve11

Well, I quite enjoyed that episode. I found parts of it a bit silly, like the barking and the over-the-top staring at the aliens and such, but it was also a good character story for Clara, telling us more about her life. It was a way of humanizing her to a character who isn't just "the mystery to be solved." I thought it did a good job of introducing her parents in such a short time and I liked the backstory of "page one". It may seem creepy that the Doctor was following her life, but in the context of "who is this girl and why is she living over and over" I think it makes sense.

I found a lot of parallels to "the Beast Below" in the mood of the episode. The market scene and the first trip wonder. The contained nature of the story despite its attempt at large-scale trappings. The child in distress. This time around though, it's Clara who discovers the child and intervenes while the Doctor is swanning off enjoying glowy fruit. So it was interesting that while we see her back story as both mundane and fantastic in the way that Who always sets up human lives as both ("the most important leaf in the world"), that because of Clara's storyline in this episode, I found myself making comparisons with her to the Doctor. She's afraid a lot, but not of being lost. She sees someone who needs help and she goes after them. She's good at telling stories and motivating people. There is a contrast too: She saves the world with an infinity of what could have been, when all of what was, in the Doctor's past, is not enough to sate the Big Angry Sun God. And of course the Doctor says he came here with his granddaughter, so perhaps that is why Susan is stuck in my perceptions here. I am wondering if there is a connection though.

So, like in the Beast Below, it's the companion who saves the day. But in this case I think it was more an equals relationship than between the Doctor and Amy starting out. I think last time the Doctor got angry and just told Amy he was taking her home. He wanted nothing to do with her. She saved him from becoming something not himself by his actions. In this story Clara saves him after he gives everything of himself, and it's not enough.

There was again that feeling I had with The Beast Below, that this story was trying to be big and grand and not quite doing it. I think this has to do with the pacing and the trappings of television more than anything else. Only a few sets that can be used. Quite a bit of dialogue that needs enough time to go through. It wanted to be longer; it felt like a play even with the "Are you joking, it's massive!" bad guy. But despite that "smallness" to it, I still enjoyed the aesthetic. I liked the banter between Eleven and Clara, especially when she says, "You're going to fight it, aren't you?" and he answers with "Unfortunately, yes." I have to just handwave the plot aspects. The sonic was magic. The civilization was technologically indistinguishable from magic. The bad guy was a metaphor, and magic. And reminded me too much of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man set afire in Ghostbusters to be truly scary. But I imagine he would scare the pants of five-year-old me.

I liked the refrain of "we're all stories in the end", reiterated again with the notion of souls as stories, the singing to an angry god (And ah, I don't go to church but for funerals and weddings so I really do empathize with the "O-kay, we're gonna try and sing along now..." awkwardness, LOL), the Doctor's Carrol-Sagan-esque story to Marie, and the telling of a story to the beast. I like the line about "when we're holding on to something precious, we run as fast and as far as we can to get out from under the shadow." I liked that the Doctor was mad and brave and shouty and just a bit wrong.

And I think he should come clean and tell Clara exactly what is going on with her life (lives), and not just leave it at "you remind me of someone who died." Good for her saying, "you're traveling with ME now" but what happens when more of the pieces come together?

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