Doctor Who: The ambush

The story:

The doctor and his companions take forever to escape from the Daleks while the Thalls get ambushed and Ian takes way too long to warn them.

Thoughts:

This episode moved very slowly. Everything takes ages to do. It takes the Dalek ages to get through the door and then ages to stop the lift. It even takes ages for the Daleks to attack the Thalls in which time Ian could have easily warned them.

He’s stood right there watching them. He could have signaled to them. I don’t think he likes them very much. I don’t think the writers do either. Or at least they don’t like pacifism and they’ve set the Thalls up to lack common sense.

The Thall with the hat turns out to be the biggest idiot ever (I refuse to learn his name). He thinks the best weapon against war is going unarmed and that being cautious is an unreasonable response to an enemy you know has wanted to kill you in the past. He had his death coming.

The problem is they make the Thalls very easy to argue against. I don’t like the argument being so one sided.

I’m not much a pacifist. Like Ian says I think pacifism is only effective when everyone is a pacifist or if your enemy is reasonable. Otherwise your enemy is getting their own way or killing you rather easily.

Pacifism vs. Unreasoning hatred. Pacifism loses. It’s like in Xena you’ve got the nice warriors so the pacifists can be pacifists (I’ll have to look that episode up to remember the title).

That being said I think you need to represent both sides fairly or you’re just setting up a strawman to defeat. There’s no challenge to winning an argument when the other side doesn’t have it’s full argument. I don’t think pacifism means you’re stupid or lack self preservation.

How they escape from the first Dalek in their cell is a bit silly. But I’m looking back at the Daleks from a place where they are the Doctor’s most feared enemies. Instead of this new alien species that runs on static electricity and can be defeated by a coat and some mud. Everyone has to start somewhere, even the most evil species in the universe.

The doctor manages to continue his being mean streak this episode by not wanting to warn the Thalls even after they gave them the radiation medicine.

Ian is still acting like the doctor and is the one who reasons with the Thalls. But then they realise they’ve got to go back to the city and I love that moment. At least it’s Ian messing up this time and not the doctor screwing around with them.

The writers do like their cliffhangers.

This episode moved too slowly at the beginning and then all the discussions of pacifism felt one sided. It didn’t feel like a true discussion. More like propaganda. But I guess they’d have different attitudes back then considering the war wasn’t that far away.

Doctor who: The survivors

The story

Barbara has been taken by the Daleks and the others find a room filled conveniently with Geiger counters telling them about the radiation. Elsewhere the Daleks have exposition conversations.

Thoughts

The doctor admitting to sabotaging the Tardis so he could see the city made me laugh. It takes Ian a moment to realise how mad he is about this even though he’s just laid out how awful the situation is.

And they’d just had a conversation about what forms intelligence can take. Ian being worried about the intelligence of the unknown beings in the city and the doctor saying it doesn’t matter. It seems he should have been more worried about the form the doctor’s intelligence takes considering the doctor has all the knowledge and Ian very little. It’s how you use your intelligence that matters. In the doctor’s case that’s to get what you want regardless of everyone else.

They have to send someone back to the Tardis to get radiation drugs and the obvious choice is to send Susan. Or at least that’s the choice the writers want because she’s not as badly affected as the others and Ian has been injured by the Daleks after making a bit of a pathetic run for it.

Susan’s running through the jungle to the Tardis is tense. With all the strange shapes, it being in black and white and the flashing light of the lightning it’s hard to see what’s what and we don’t know what a Thall looks like. Although I could have done without the hysterics and the strange head movements.

You do feel for her though when she reaches the Tardis and then realises she’s only completed half of her journey and she needs to go back through the jungle in the dark. She may be terrified but she’s quite brave.

This episode was quite good considering not much happened in it. Susan runs through a jungle and the others wait around getting sicker.

Previous Doctor who episode – The dead planet

The day of the doctor

I loved this episode even though there were a few things I couldn’t stand. I just want to get out of the way the thing I hated the most so I don’t have to talk about it again. And it’s such a small moment.

It’s Clara clicking her fingers to open the Tardis door’s. I have no words for how much this makes me dislike Steven Moffat (this is worse than River flying the Tardis and the noise it makes being because he leaves the breaks on). I might actually devote an entire post to why I hate this.

That aside this didn’t really celebrate all of doctor who only the new series. Although there was a cameo in there I loved and I haven’t even got to that part of classic doctor who yet.

David Tenant was brilliant. The jokes about him always kissing women were funny and him delivering a warning speech to a bunny he thought was a Zygon. His doctor’s my favourite but I loved them making fun of him.

The little double act Matt Smith and David tenant had going was great. They are very similar doctors. Probably because of all the energy they put into it.

We got some more insight into both versions of the doctor. The man who regrets and the man who forgets. Steven Moffat does summarise quite well (Amy Pond was the girl who waited).

And John Hurt’s doctor being confused by them and critiquing aspects of the new series. I imagine it’s what some of the older fans think. I know my friend’s dad has some issues with where the series is going.

So the parts I was looking forward to was seeing David Tenant again, Ten and Eleven interacting, John Hurt as the doctor and seeing Billie Piper again. What I was not looking forward to was the time war.

I like the idea of the time war being bigger than anything else and maybe being a bit incomprehensible to those who don’t understand time like the Time Lords do. So really I liked the time war existing in my imagination. Sparked by descriptions we hear from the doctor but never actually seeing it.

Another reason I was not looking forward to it was I’d lost all faith in Steven Moffat’s ability to tell stories in Doctor who. This was because of Season 7 mostly.

I hadn’t loved the series the same way since he took over. I think it was mostly to do with the fairy tale aspect and I just didn’t connect with it. But then Season 7 happened and he had to write introducing John Hurt as the doctor on the screen because he wasn’t able to be clear enough in the story about what was happening. Not a good sign.

He seems to take on these really big ideas and then it all goes wonky somewhere.
So I didn’t have faith that he could pull off the time war.

He solved the problem of showing this epic battle on screen by having it be no different from any other battle.

It doesn’t look unique. It could be any battle anywhere. The entire thing boiled down to Daleks firing on Gallifrey.

I won’t spoil what happens but the solution, while it is an awesome moment, takes away all sense of grand scale from the time war. What happened to all the Time Lord weapons?

The rest of it is quite clever though. I liked the time lord art that was a moment of time.
It looked beautiful at the cinema and was actually worth seeing in 3D. I don’t say that very often.

The plot with the Zygons didn’t really get a proper ending and getting Clara into the past was a bit forced. I saw what was coming a mile away. Kate Lethbridge-Stewart is always good and I liked her assistant.

Both plots reflected each other well if a bit obviously but I can’t complain seeing as how I’ve criticised Steven Moffat for writing incomprehensibly complicated plots.

I’ve got to buy it on Dvd now so I can watch all the special features. I hope there are lots because lately Dvds have been lacking in that department.

If you like the new series of doctor who then you’re going to like this but if you don’t like the new series then you’ll probably hate it.

A very good day

Two things happened today. One the doctor who 50th special didn’t suck, in fact it was quite good, and  two I bought the extended edition of the Hobbit from Sainsburys.

First doctor who

I saw it on Sunday so I spent Saturday staying away from social media so I didn’t ruin it for myself like I’ve ruined other things in the past (I’m always behind on stuff).

The only word I can use to describe it was awesome and I don’t use that word a lot or ever really. I won’t spoil anything in this post but Steven Moffat did as he said he would and has given Doctor who a new direction to go in. Which I am all for.

I did get a bit worried half way through because I didn’t like season 7 that much but this has got me excited for the Christmas special. Although I know what I’m going to be like with Matt Smith leaving. It took me so long to get over David Tenant and now I’m getting all nostalgic over Matt Smith and he hasn’t even gone yet.

I want to write more about it later but it was good.  My dad who knows next to nothing about Doctor who managed to follow it and he fell asleep half way through. He didn’t get any of the references but he enjoyed it.

Second the hobbit

I bought the Hobbit. I love the film but I didn’t buy the DVD because there was no point. it had no special features and I could watch it on Netflix.

The extended edition is what I’ve been waiting for. I’ve got all the Lord of the rings films extended edition and the normal films because back when I bought them DVDs still had special features (I will never get over that DVDs rarely have special features anymore).

So now I’ve got nine hours of bonus features to watch and an extended version of the film. I can’t wait till I have all the extended versions of the hobbit and I can watch the Hobbit and Lord of the rings together.

Episode reaction: The forest of fear

I like that the titles of the episodes are so straight forward and descriptive of the episodes.

There’s a lot of fear surrounding the forest because of the animals that live there and the fact that’s it night. The cavemen fear the dark which is why the guy who can create fire gets to be in charge.

One of the cavemen chase the doctor and his companions into the forest and he gets mauled by an animal.Then Barbara has a little break down. I’ll accept that it’s the woman having the panic attack because they are from the 1960’s and Ian probably wouldn’t show his fear but women are seen as weak.

And really if you’ve just been captured and put in a cave full of the evidence of past victims and are now fleeing through a forest in the dark then you’re going to be scared.

I like that they aren’t enjoying themselves. Unlike modern companions who travel with the doctor for the fun and the wonder of seeing the universe (at least until Steven Moffatt took over and the companions became plot devices.). These companions are terrified.

They don’t want to be there and being in danger is not fun to them. Later companions acknowledge the danger but also ignore it. Rose ends up stranded in a parallel universe, Martha and her family are tortured and Donna forgets everything.

The doctor at this point is completely opposite to what the later doctor is. Here he doesn’t care about someone suffering and even wants to bash the guy’s head in with a rock. All he wants to do is run. Which is I suppose is a very doctorish thing to do. After all his instinct for flight is what gets them into this situation.

It’s strange to watch the doctor be made a better person by his companions. In the newer series they do stop him from doing some horrible stuff. For example Donna and the Racknoss, that’s the only one I can think of at the moment. But those sort of acts are all against creatures that are a threat, have murdered a lot of people or have the potential to do a lot of damage.

Here the doctor just wants this man dead so he can escape more quickly. If he kills this man then there will be no argument with the others about staying to help because there will be no one to help.

The doctor wants to kill out of convenience. Nothing more than that. I love it. It’s such a different doctor than I’m used to.

And really leaving is the logical decision. He’s got his granddaughter to think about and as he later describes them, these people are very unpredictable.

They’re not quite human yet, still only animals with only base level reasoning skills. This danger is proved later when the man they save refuses to let them go even after they save his life.

I like that the doctor is this selfish and only cares about results. He doesn’t care what his companions will think of him if kills the cave man.

It gives him room to change. I don’t know how soon this change happens. If it happens with William Hartnell’s doctor or if we have to wait for the second doctor to see more compassion or even less of a willingness to kill. Either way I’ll enjoy watching a doctor that is so different from the one I know.

 

Celebrating doctor who

In anticipation of the 50th anniversary of doctor who I’ve decided to watch as many episodes from the beginning as I can.

The 50th anniversary is on the 23rd November. That’s 133 days away. There are many more episodes of doctor who than that.

I’ve seen a few episodes of the older series but not very many so I’ll just have to see how far I get.

What I’ll post here will just be my reaction to the episodes. I might write reviews later but for now I just want to enjoy watching and record my thoughts.

I’ll try to watch an episode a day and post a couple of times a week. These posts will contain spoilers so go watch the episodes before you read the posts.

There are lots of other things going on for the anniversary. There’s a book of reviews I’m enjoying at the moment. Celebrate Regenerate is made by fans for the fans and some of the money goes to charity.