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12 April 2009 @ 05:33 pm
in which I have very little to say about "Planet of the Dead"  
"Funny thing is, I don't often do Easter--I can never find it." Oh, Doctor. Your craptastic TARDIS driving skills will never be less than squishable.

--"You look human." "You look Time Lord." Okay, I admit it. I liked that. I am clearly quite easy. I also liked the bit where the Doctor remembered his friend who used to call him "space man," even though I *also* feel protective of the phrase in someone else's mouth, in much the same way that it used to set my teeth on edge whenever Ten would say "fantastic" early in season two.

--Lady Christina was fine--I think I would have gotten annoyed with her in the long term, but for one episode, she worked pretty well. The ending was a bit, well--that never actually *works*, does it? When the Doctor says he's never taking anyone else on board ever again? There must be some other way to keep guest stars off the TARDIS. Maybe they could *not* all want to come with him, for a start. (I liked Donna's not wanting to come with him in "The Runaway Bride," for example. Here, his sudden, stark "no, you can't come with me" feels completely out of left field after the ton of flirting he's been doing with Christina, all the "perfect team" and "made for each other" stuff. Not that Ten isn't perfectly capable of running hot and cold on an individual with no provocation, of course. Still, something about the scene felt tacked on.)

--Everyone on that bus was about a million times less annoying than the group from "Midnight."

...That might be it, actually. I liked it, but I don't really have anything to say about it. And it's a sad day when I have to be pleasantly surprised by who *didn't* die, but there we are. Oh, no, one other thing--Ten giving a pep talk to the people on the bus. That was nice. I always like it when he actually seems to mean that whole "there's no such thing as an ordinary human" thing, but so often the Lonely God stuff gets in the way of his offering comfort to people on adventures with him, and then there's also the threat of "Not her--she'd only hold us up," too. So good on you, Ten.

And in conclusion, the real problem with having so few episodes is that I have entirely too much time in between to think about how much I like David Tennant. I mean, really. How is that helpful, considering?
 
 
 
stoplookingup: doctor in portholestoplookingup on April 12th, 2009 10:43 pm (UTC)
I agree completely that Ten telling Christina she can't come with him felt very contrived, and yet it was predictable, not just because we know this is a one-off companion, but also because she's the strong, independent type who doesn't "need" the Doctor.

I liked the pep talk, too. He should have kept it in mind himself more than once, not least when he was Nine and Rose just wanted to have dinner with her mother.
tempestsarekind: ten and marthatempestsarekind on April 13th, 2009 07:27 pm (UTC)
Yeah--as I tend to say about the Doctor and companionhood, you don't have to work for it if you're lonely.

I guess the difference with Nine is that at least we were meant to acknowledge that he was screwed up? (Rose yelling "I know how sad you are!" in "Father's Day," for example. That's kind of a dysfunctional scene all around, really.) With Ten there's this air of hero worship that makes it all the more frustrating for me when he says things like "she'd only hold us up" in "Smith and Jones": by all means, let's respect Martha for keeping a level head, but why dismiss someone for having a normal human reaction to an intense situation? Which is why I really liked that Ten actually took time out to reassure that one woman who was freaking out (Valerie? Maybe?).
stoplookingup: doctor in portholestoplookingup on April 13th, 2009 08:35 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it seems like Ten inherited all of Nine's emotional problems, but he has more of a superhero persona rather than anti-hero, so it grates.
tempestsarekind: ten has a secrettempestsarekind on April 13th, 2009 09:37 pm (UTC)
Nine does get his big speech about being the Daleks' only fear at the end of season 1, but Ten gets more and more mythic, it seems, as the series progresses. ("He burns at the center of time. He's ancient and forever.") And coupled with Ten's amazing lack of self-awareness...

I find Ten really, truly fascinating, because he's so screwed up, but the narrative often seems to insist (aside from the emo Time Lord pain, which gets laid on top of the Ten persona) that he's a straightforward, unproblematic hero. It bends my brain a little.
stoplookingup: doctor in portholestoplookingup on April 13th, 2009 10:39 pm (UTC)
It would be nice if Ten had a bit of humility to show that he has a clue about how messed up he is. Or better yet, I wish he'd been given a character arc in which he comes to see it and either pays a price for arrogance or in some way atones for it. (Listen to me -- I sound like a broken record. I've been saying this since early S3.)

I don't understand why Rusty gave us a Doctor so plagued by darkness if he wasn't going to DO something with it. Well, actually, I do understand, I think. He's trying to play the story on two levels, the dark version for the adults and the straightforward hero for the kiddies. A better writer would develop a transition or an intersection between the two, but Rusty just jumps wildly back and forth between them. He should hand out seasickness bags.
tempestsarekind: ten and martha have three hearts betweentempestsarekind on April 13th, 2009 10:59 pm (UTC)
And then, too, there was that comment where RTD had planned to have some acknowledgment that Ten's actions with Harriet Jones had paved the way for the Master, but he took it out because the Doctor "had suffered enough." Which is shooting yourself in the foot, as far as plotting is concerned. Don't set up the pins if you don't want to knock them down, dude.

Instead he piles on the suffering and the angst, but it's mostly external: Rose being lost to the void, the Master refusing to regenerate, Donna and the metacrisis, the Daleks the Daleks oh my god the Daleks again. (I wonder where Martha fits into this: interestingly, she does get an explicit "It was all my fault." But it's not a loss on that same scale, and it gets ignored, really. Ten drove her away, but the focus is on how her life got "destroyed" by having to be a hero through knowing him. Not really the same thing...)
stoplookingup: doctor in portholestoplookingup on April 13th, 2009 11:07 pm (UTC)
Sometimes I wonder if Rusty thinks the subtext in his brain is more obvious than it is, because what it looks like to the rest of us is that everyone ELSE pays the price. As for Martha, I think she gets "It's all my fault" simply because he out-and-out rejected her in such a painful way. But still, there was no price to pay and nothing made right between them.
tempestsarekind: keep calm and rock ontempestsarekind on April 13th, 2009 11:21 pm (UTC)
One "hey, I'm sorry about all that" in S4 would have done a lot, true. It's frustrating, because part of the time I'm thinking, "oh, but it's *so* Ten to run off and not deal with anything!" (this is a character who admits to wanting to pretend that his whole planet never got destroyed, instead of facing it, and being one of "the ones who ran away"). It makes sense to me that that would be his attitude toward Martha. But I still hate it, too, because it's not fair to Martha--that she never gets what Donna gets in terms of trust and openness, and not for anything *she's* done or anything about who she is. And that she doesn't seem to *know* that.

I think RTD is just inconsistent in weird ways. I remember reading something about Martha's return in S4 in which he described her relationship with Ten as "a friendship of perfect trust" or something like that--and yeah, sure, some of the time, but did he miss the rest of the season? That he mostly wrote? Did that friendship get in the way of the story he'd decided to tell about unrequited love (which is my theory)?

But I think he also thinks that suffering--Ten's grief and guilt--IS the price. It is the terrible and eternal price of being The Last of The Time Lords and ending up alone. Which is so circular--because even when Sarah Jane gives him a metaphorical slap upside the head and reminds him that he's got tons of family, if he'd just reach out for it, all RTD needs to do is add another tragedy, in this case Donna, and we're back where we started.
stoplookingup: doctor in portholestoplookingup on April 14th, 2009 12:57 am (UTC)
that she never gets what Donna gets in terms of trust and openness, and not for anything *she's* done or anything about who she is

Yes, that's it exactly! It's the randomness of the way he bestows his openness and affection that's so frustrating. If this were a story about a guy who couldn't open up to anyone, he'd be less annoying than the guy who opens up to certain people who don't seem to intrinsically deserve it more than others. He's just arbitrarily handing out cookies to his favorite students.

And yes, too, regarding Rusty's mistaken idea that the suffering is the price -- because as you say, the loneliness is to a large degree self-imposed, and even more, it's elitist, implying that the non-Time Lords around him just aren't good enough company. The way he was more upset about the Master than anything that happened to Martha or Jack drove that point home. And yeah, I know, genocide is a Big Deal and the loss of your people is a Big Tragedy, but from a dramatic point of view, we've got to watch this guy with these companions, and if the chemistry is irksome, and the hero is a jerk, it's just no fun at all. Even a guy like House is less frustrating, because at least there's explicit acknowledgment that yes, I am a son of a bitch.


tempestsarekind: martha londontempestsarekind on April 14th, 2009 03:55 pm (UTC)
At the *very* best (which I think is generous), Martha's treatment by Ten winds up being all about timing, and that's incredibly frustrating to watch.

And yes, House--it's not that watching disagreeable characters is always impossible, but when the character seems to be veering back and forth between closeness and being closed-off, you start to wonder why we keep getting the same cycle. Surely at some point *something* should change?