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02 May 2010 @ 02:14 pm
slightly more proper post on "Flesh and Stone"  
Right. Now that I'm not fangirling the costuming in the trailer for next week, let's talk about the episode itself. Bullet points, because my brain is all over the place right now:


- the jacket: continuity error, or Actual Thing? As I was saying on someone else's post, I want this to be an Actual Thing so badly, but do not want to let myself get caught up in the idea that it is--or that if it is, it will make any sense. My head still hurts from the headdesking I did during the whole Saxon affair: it's an elaborate setup that actually has no results. The Master gets Tish hired, and gets Francine to report on Martha for him, but he already knows about Martha from meeting her at the end of the universe, so the whole air of foreboding--that someone is trying to track the Doctor by tracking the companion--just winds up being an elaborate game the Master is playing for no reason. Which, okay fine, but not that satisfying.

- Regardless of the whole jacket thing, I adore the Doctor's hands on Amy's, the panic and worry in his face.

- "Time can be rewritten." I'm very intrigued, and possibly a tiny bit worried (especially after "The Waters of Mars"), by the way Eleven said this line near the end--hopeful and speculative. What is he thinking of?

- "Yes, because if we lie to her, she'll get all better!" LOVE. Also, "I made him say 'comfy chairs.'" I don't know if it's the Monty Python aspect that makes me love that bit, but I do.

- Had some uncomfortable "Doomsday" flashbacks at the solution to the problem, although I did think this bit made more sense than "Doomsday." Possibly I am just a sucker for Time Events and give a bigger pass for timey-wimey than void stuff.

- Amy Amy Amy! I'm about 85% YAY with her, and 15% aw man, really? Did we have to? The 85% first: I love how brave she is, and also how frightened--as the clerics disappear one by one. But my favorite Amy moment from this episode is probably when she chooses to open her eyes to see the crack in time: because she needs to know, needs to see the worst. She could keep her eyes closed and not find out--but Amy can't resist a keep-out sign, she can't resist knowing what's forbidden. And she needs to know what could happen to her; over and over she asks the Doctor, "what's going to happen to me?" She asks the clerics, what's out there? tell me, even though there's very little profit to be gained from the knowledge. And looking at the crack in time is part of that. [ETA: Amy chooses knowledge. And she is symbolically linked to apples. I'm just saying.]

Now, the other 15%. As I was saying to sadcypress, I quite like that Amy doesn't see sex as the be-all and end-all, as a permanent commitment, but on the other hand, she is about to make a commitment that at least has the hope of permanence with someone else, which is really not the time for this sort of thing. *And* I was really hoping we just wouldn't go there, at all.


It's interesting (for certain small values of "interesting") that my "issues with consent" button gets pushed by the whole Doctor/River relationship, but didn't get pushed by the last scene, where Amy launches herself at the Doctor. I find Doctor/River to be coercive, in ways that are interesting, but unsettling: the Doctor is always forced into a relationship with River because it will happen in the future--and where does that leave the will of any specific regeneration? (I find this more disturbing with Eleven than I did with Ten, I think because Ten seemed wary and distrustful, but Eleven seemed, at least in "The Time of Angels," to be unhappy with the relationship, mulish and unwilling.)

But Amy is clearly not taking the Doctor's no as a no. So why didn't that ping? I could say that I was distracted by my argh no not the romance response, and that would be partly true. I could say that it's because the scene is played for laughs--which in and of itself might be problematic. I could say that it's because the Doctor's protests are of a decorous, "we could never make it work" sort, rather than the "I do not want to have sex with you" sort--but the sort of reasons given shouldn't validate or invalidate a "no." I don't think it's because the Doctor is a man, and a man being taken advantage of in some way is "funny": I know that's often the case, and I think thepresidentrix and I had a conversation about this once, with regard to due South and Fraser, where we are meant to laugh--at Fraser's haplessness, at any rate, because we "know" he's not in any real danger. (And that's true here, at least for me: I never felt that the Doctor was under any genuine threat...but is that a conditioned response?) But those kinds of scenarios *do* usually ping for me--speaking of Paul Gross, I'm remembering that one episode of Eastwick I attempted to watch, in which a woman casts a spell on a man to make him want her, and the whole thing is played for laughs ('cause hey! Turns out he's actually gay! Double hilarity!), and I sat there feeling sick. And the less extreme versions of this usually present problems as well. So why not this one?
 
 
 
Constant Reader: doctor who - rainbow tardisskirmish_of_wit on May 2nd, 2010 08:31 pm (UTC)
I didn't notice the jacket. When does the jacket turn back up?

I could say that I was distracted by my argh no not the romance response, and that would be partly true. I could say that it's because the scene is played for laughs--which in and of itself might be problematic. I could say that it's because the Doctor's protests are of a decorous, "we could never make it work" sort, rather than the "I do not want to have sex with you" sort--but the sort of reasons given shouldn't validate or invalidate a "no."

Yes, all of these.

I think for me the scene also defused consent-based squickiness because it's so obviously playing with tropes: the trope that when there's a seduction going on, the seductee (why can I not think of a real word?) says no as a prelude to yes; the trope that one character is having a brainwave while the other just wants to have sex... But that shouldn't gloss over consent, just like the physical comedy with the suspenders shouldn't.

I also feel like there's a measure of safeness in Doctor Who itself: I never really believed that they would end up doing anything because it's Doctor Who, and when I don't believe that the act is even going to take place, I tend not to think about consent in the same way, if that makes sense?

I don't know. Now it just sounds like I'm rationalizing and that's not what I mean to do at all.
tempestsarekind: TARDIS plus angelstempestsarekind on May 2nd, 2010 09:04 pm (UTC)
I also feel like there's a measure of safeness in Doctor Who itself

I know what you mean, and I think that was a part of my reaction as well. And the reason I wrote the second part of the post was partly because I *did* feel like I was rationalizing, but at the same time I didn't react to the scene while watching it--so why not? Was it my lack of awareness, or something about the scene, or both?
tempestsarekind: facepalmtempestsarekind on May 3rd, 2010 10:46 pm (UTC)
Also: just realized that I totally forgot to answer your first question! I didn't actually notice this, but the Doctor is (apparently) wearing his jacket when he comes back and puts his hands over Amy's.
Constant Reader: doctor who - winkskirmish_of_wit on May 4th, 2010 12:42 am (UTC)
Ohhh! INTERESTING! So the Doctor is crossing his own timeline? Re-writing time, eh? Hmmmmm, that would be a VERY HANDY retcon...

Also, writing those Martha posts is making me feel kind of guilty for having so many Tenth Doctor icons. There are these warring factions in my brain: "Ten is such an asshat!" vs. "But David Tennant is adooooorable!" :(
tempestsarekind: world in peril? have some teatempestsarekind on May 4th, 2010 04:28 pm (UTC)
I know--you could rewrite all the bits you hated from the last few seasons, and just say they never happened!

I think you should not feel guilty about your Ten icons. I have quite a few of them as well! And you could always claim to be using them ironically if necessary. Like trucker hats. :)
looking through the fishbowlinanaquarium on May 4th, 2010 03:38 pm (UTC)
re: the last thing, I know in my case I was too busy thinking "haha Doctor, you deserve one who's not afraid to just go for it, you tease" to be thinking about anythig else. Which is a nice testament to MS, now that I think on it, that while in many ways 10 & 11 are different he's solidly convinced me his character is the same as DT's deep down. (Whether Russell wants to believe that about the Doctor or not, whatever, that whole I'm dyyyyying! no really it's deaaath! angst at the End of Time really didn't work for me). you keep rocking, boy!
tempestsarekind: eleven and amytempestsarekind on May 4th, 2010 04:31 pm (UTC)
True--there is a bit of comeuppance there, for the Doctor if not for Eleven all on his own.

that whole I'm dyyyyying! no really it's deaaath! angst at the End of Time really didn't work for me

I *still* don't even know what that was about. I could have sworn that the whole point of "The Christmas Invasion" was to showcase the fact that a new regeneration is still the old Doctor.
clean all the things!!!: vogon poetrythepresidentrix on May 9th, 2010 08:49 pm (UTC)
Man, whenever I read your posts on Stuff, I always end up thinking 'I wish when I watched tv, I thought of Fancier Stuff.'

You and Fraser were totally the first people in my mind when Amy came at Eleven and shoved him up against the TARDIS. Um, not as a pair - that is, not that I think you want to shove Fraser up against his TARDIS... You and your concept of Fraser? Is that better?

It's true that I never thought Ten was in any real danger from Amy - no danger of anything more than discomfort and awkwardness, anyway. But that scene still *did* bother me. I think *because* it was played for laughs. Because it's not clear to me that it should be funny, and I suppose it bothers me that all rape-narratives get confused when some (essentially) rape-narratives are treated as innocuous. I wish Amy had, at the very least, shown some kind of compunction afterwards, some kind of recognition that she'd violated the Doctor's personal space. But all that I remember from her was a kind of exasperated OH WHYEVER NOT kind of sentiment. Which, I guess, bothers me, too. Someone shouldn't have to explain to you or convince you why they choose not to kiss you... and then some. (Maybe pretty girls don't understand that. Maybe they are accustomed to require an explanation? SOMETIMES SOME PEOPLE JUST DON'T WANT TO KISS YOU, OKAY? EVEN IF YOU ARE PROFESSIONALLY TRAINED. *is petty*)

I wonder why River, on the other hand, *doesn't* bother me so much? (Note: you make reference to a gesture involving the Doctor's suspenders, which I don't remember. If she manhandles him, then I'm definitely peeved at her for that. It's crossing a line). You're right about Eleven seeming unhappier around River than Ten, but I took that to be in part circumstantial and less Eleven's unhappiness at the prospect of River in his life at some time in the future (or at any lack of volition River implies, from Eleven's timeline-situated perspective on things), and more unhappiness at the discomfort of being tangent to his future but not permitted to know it. (I read somewhere that Time Lords are typically only granted twelve regenerations, which might make curiosity about future regenerations more loaded for the latter Doctors than it did for the earlier?) Plus, from what I remember of Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead, Ten's interaction with River was more fortunate in this regard than Eleven's has been, so far. Ten got to spend almost the entire time of the far easier (emotionally, that is) tasks of investigating River and trying to save her life. I think I'd find those modes of relating to a (probably) future wife more bearable than having to put up with her teasing. And crowding me in the TARDIS.

Anyway, despite the fact that River *was* making a nuisance of herself, and Eleven *was* unhappy about it - at least some of the time - it somehow didn't bother me as much as them making Amy come at him like that. I still love you, Amy, but *shudders* whyyyyyy?
tempestsarekind: fraser: oh deartempestsarekind on May 9th, 2010 09:12 pm (UTC)
that is, not that I think you want to shove Fraser up against his TARDIS... You and your concept of Fraser? Is that better?

LOL. Thank you for the clarification! (Even if I *were* the type of person who is comfortable with shoving people up against stationary objects--which I'm not, which is probably why I have sympathy for Fraser and his need for deflection and privacy--I would feel intensely uncomfortable doing that to Fraser.)

I totally agree with you. I wish Amy had shown some compunction, too, instead of just annoyance. And yes--she shouldn't need convincing, or any reason at all. That's why I found it so odd that the scene didn't register in the way I would have expected it to, until rather later when I went, "hey, wait..."

I think the thing with River unsettles me because it's an established relationship, even if we don't know the parameters of it yet. It's funny, because I think most of the people I've talked to about Eleven's reactions to River have all been under the impression that he's thinking about his knowledge of her death, or worried about having too much knowledge of his future, and I totally failed to read it in this (perfectly logical) way at all. I read it very personally (that is, as a very personal reaction on Eleven's part), and I think it's to do with Eleven's relative youth. He comes across as very young much of the time, and so I'm protective of that: yes, he's an old, old Time Lord, but his reactions to things code as young. But he also hasn't been Eleven as long as Ten had been Ten when he met River, and I think I'm responding to that as well.

Ten got to spend almost the entire time of the far easier (emotionally, that is) tasks of investigating River and trying to save her life. I think I'd find those modes of relating to a (probably) future wife more bearable than having to put up with her teasing. And crowding me in the TARDIS.

But it's this, too. River is trying to get into Eleven's personal space in a way that she didn't with Ten, and that makes me very thinky about what it must be like for Eleven to deal with that.

Edited at 2010-05-09 09:13 pm (UTC)