Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Doctor Who: Series 9

Well that was unexpected.

Series 9 is like, good? It's actually really good and barely pisses me off? I'm stunned. Like they went from f***ing omnishambles to a good series? Wow. After the complete mental breaking that the series 8 finale inflicted upon me I was very nervous about this series. But they fixed it. It still has issues that make me just have an emotional fit bordering on rage but it's really nothing that major. We have Clara and The Doctor having adventures, really good adventures, Clara has apparently completely gotten over her one true love and is back to the fun and lovable Clara. So either she was still lying through her teeth at the last finale or she got over his death super fast. But I like her again! She's gotten a bit overzealous with the adventures and travelling far past how Rose was always game for something new and exciting, to the point where even The Doctor looks incredibly concerned but more on that later. I thoroughly enjoy almost every episode save one, they are written very well and give a lot of entertainment. What surprised me though was how many two-parters there were, literally every episode save for one and the finale are two-parters which make it feel very classic Doctor Who. I love that with Peter Capaldi's series, it feels very classic but modern, Peter was a massive fan of Doctor Who and his love for the classic series can be really felt here in many different aspects. The fact we have an opening episode based on Skaro with Dalek designs from both classic and modern eras is a real treat, The Magician's Apprentice is a great way to start the series with wonderful emotion and good writing. We then move on to Under The Lake which is a good little mystery with a bit of a spooky twist and has some good character moments in it. The Girl Who Died is an amazing story, if only for just the last 15 minutes, I'm serious watch this two-parter for the last 15 minutes of this arc. You will not regret it. Great writing, very good acting, and while it did introduce a character I grow to not like much I did enjoy her here, but it has a lot of good ideas and character moments. After that we have The Zygon Invasion, more Kate and Osgood so this episode gets two big thumbs up from me but seriously Peter Capaldi deserves 50 Oscars for his performance. I mean whoa, it made me just an emotional mess of tears. Sleep No More is a bit blah, but it's the standard filler episode before the finale. Speaking of which. Oh boy here we go. I have significant issues with the finale but it all lies on the back of the last episode. Face The Raven was really, really good with an emotional end and it has a deeper meaning than just another companion's goodbye which we'll talk about. However...Clara and Ashildr are not good, I don't enjoy their characters anymore and it kinda severely screwed everything over. Big time. Now before we discuss my utter disappointment and fueled rage of the finale it's time to talk characters. Now, I love Doctor Who. I really love it. It is a fantastic show with limitless potential, it is a show that could go on for 100 years, I truly believe that. But some people ask why, and the answer is very simple. The characters is what either makes or breaks the series whether classic or modern. It's so easy to just fall in love with Sarah Jane Smith because of such excellent writing and acting, she is kind, intelligent, a true and undoubtedly best friend to The Doctor, intrigued by the adventures and fully capable to take care of herself. And yet even with characters I didn't really go for like Harry Sullivan or Turlough, they grew on me as time went by. There was evolution to the characters, reasons for their decisions and personality, they grew and changed like real people. Clara was a character I quickly liked and enjoyed, she was so fun, she could flirt and joke but still be real and a true joy to watch. Yet through the entirety of series 8 she became a horrible person due to poor writing, but she came through again because she is back to being a joy to see, ready for adventures, light and funny, and becomes a complete character once more. Her death was tragic and emotional, but it had purpose because she falsely believed she was impervious to bad things and that she was on the same level as The Doctor. Now flawed characters is no major problem, no one is perfect, yet I feel this trait for Clara seems so off. She shouldn't be racing into these situations throwing caution to the wind, it seems so unlike her. But she tries to justify it and it kind of works but it does detract from her death because of her own hubris. But not in a clever or ironic way, just a stupid way. She acted how a child acts, well I saw how this person does this so I will do the same as them and be completely fine if not better. That is not how anything works. And she pays the consequences for that, she is killed, and it has a severe effect on The Doctor and you fully feel it. The problem with Clara is that her death becomes beyond pointless, she is rescued by being pulled out of time and if she continues to live time will break. I mean like, game over man game over! And she is completely ready to face her fate, her last words "Let me be brave." fully back this up, she knows she has to die and accepts it. And then the ending happens. She decides on a whim, like a leaf on the wind, that she should travel with Ashildr in a Tardis for awhile before then. No. That makes Clara's death pointless. Modern Doctor Who does not have the sheer will to kill a companion, they subvert it in any way possible. Oh Rose Tyler isn't dead despite that's what she said in the intro of Army Of Ghosts, she's just in a parallel dimension! Oh Donna Noble didn't really die, it was purely a symbolic death because her memories were wiped, she's alive and well! Amy and Rory didn't die, they were zapped back in time and had a long life together, they're totally fine! River didn't die, her conscious is in a super computer matrix so her spirit lives on. Oh Clara's not dead you silly bean, she's travelling in time and space in her own Tardis! Because death isn't a thing in life! Death doesn't exist and never has to be faced, pain and grief and loss never has to be felt for really realsies! Now if you will permit me I will quote a different sci-fi series, "Damn it, Bones, you're a doctor. You know that pain and guilt can't be taken away with a wave of a magic wand. They're the things we carry with us, the things that make us who we are. If we lose them, we lose ourselves. I don't want my pain taken away! I need my pain!". That's right kids, death is something you never have to face, you never have to face the no-win scenario, everything will be fine always no matter what. Imagine if they even attempted that in classic Doctor Who, oh Adric didn't die at the end of Earthshock, nooooo the ship he was on actually had an escape pod that inexplicably also had time travel capabilities, he's back in his own time doing just fiiine and dandy!

You do not ever get to do that. You have completely betrayed and ruined Clara's story beyond comprehension because of this. It kinda takes away the emotional crux and performance of Peter Capaldi in Heaven Sent which I can fully say without even batting an eye is the best Doctor Who episode of the modern era. The absolute best. It is a masterfully crafted, written, acted, and directed episode. I cannot love it enough, absolutely well done! And the finale isn't bad for the most part until the end but the writing in Clara's case just completely ruins it. Oh but I'm forgetting someone, Ashildr is harboring on my nemesis list, now when we first meet her I really liked her! Just a girl with an imagination and Viking blood in her veins, wonderful! I can see why The Doctor did what he did which is essentially implant her with an advanced medical chip that makes her pretty much immortal. Never aging, never changing, the second immortal we know of. They could have done so much with this character. Instead they make her an apathetic, bitchy, angsty, pathetic child. She lives from Viking times to the end of time itself, and she has no growth. I'm sorry what? In every single last piece of media I have ever digested, in terms of immortals, they change. Now I'm not saying she can't be bitter and all angsty after a few hundred years. That makes sense! You get tired of seeing everything and everyone you hold dear just fade in front of your eyes, you'd get pretty bitter and have a shitty attitude about everything after that. But that's the problem, she's always the absolute **** who doesn't care about a damn thing, and it could have been amazing. We learn that her memory can only go so far, she has written a library of volumed diary entries recounting her story, we learn she has had children and they were killed during the Black Plague, she's been in wars, saved people, and can't retain it in her memory because she is that old. That's an incredible idea. You could have done anything and decided to do nothing. Have her grow bitter and disconnected from humanity by the time she meets The Doctor again in the 1600s, and she realizes she made a mistake by teaming up with a villain and she accepts her fault but then dedicates her life to help people, to have a new lease on life and follow in The Doctor's path but here on Earth. You could even have a conversation between them reminiscing of the conversation he had with Jack when they were fixing the rocket in Utopia, that she's a forever fixed point in time and that he just can't take her but she understands and stays on Earth. That would have been incredible character moments in dialogue. To have The Doctor connect with this woman, and understand how she feels about her prolonged existence and past lives. There was excellent material here for a character and they didn't do anything with her. It is a colossal waste. Just absolute wasting of great character potential, that is what I hate most of all. I can rage against the ruining of the Cybermen but those can be fixed and changed, but it's the characters that stick around that have the biggest impact. It hurts the show, it really does. Not just in my eyes but in the actual world of the show. So instead of Clara having one last bittersweet talk with The Doctor before she returns to face her death, she's travelling about with an immortal in a ship they can't possibly know how to fly. Great. Perfect.

Whatever, just....whatever.

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