?

Log in

No account? Create an account
 
 
10 April 2010 @ 10:32 pm
non-spoilery reaction to The Beast Below  
I was having a conversation with thepresidentrix the other day about "Gridlock," among other things, and it reminded me that there are some Doctor Who episodes that I love all out of proportion to their actual quality as episodes, because they work for me as meta. (Which is not to say that they are bad, necessarily; it's just that I love them for reasons other than their quality.) "Gridlock" is one of those, because it is all about Ten going through heroics for Martha (which doesn't happen all that often in S3), and then all about Ten needing therapy at the end. (Er, and because he's totally coming on to her near the end, all "It's been a long time since I saw you, Martha Jones." I am shallow.) "The Lazarus Experiment" is likewise one of those episodes (though it also pushes my person-outside-of-time buttons hard in Southwark Cathedral), because Martha Jones Is a Star and also Never Really Just a Passenger. And so are the Sontaran episodes in S4, because they're all about how Ten has always seen Martha, despite "he never even looks at me."

I wonder whether, upon my finishing the season, "The Beast Below" will be one of those. I suspect that it already is, in some ways (see previous post).
 
 
 
viomisehuntviomisehunt on April 11th, 2010 09:18 pm (UTC)
Kind of like what I've heard although the Creature sounds like the Creature from one of the DW Martha/Ten novels. And I would watch almost anything with Sohpie O.
tempestsarekind: martha + ten + TARDIStempestsarekind on April 11th, 2010 10:16 pm (UTC)
It's peculiar: the more I think about it, the more I think that it's not a very good episode. But I still like it, for some reason.
Constant Reader: doctor who - rainbow tardisskirmish_of_wit on April 12th, 2010 12:57 am (UTC)
I have to say, this episode made me really like both Amy and Eleven. I mean, I liked Amy in the first episode (fake backup! awesome) but she was pretty freaking outstanding in this one. I dunno, I just felt like the episode was well written as opposed to the RTD OVER! THE! TOP! stuff. It was still the definition of insular -- England has become the whole world, essentially (and where is Wales in all this? Do they have their own ship, like Scotland does, or did they just get left behind?), and so the show was still "Doctor saves the world!" but I loved even the "can't stand to see children crying" bit that if described to me I would have called deplorable sentimentalism. I mean, who likes to see children crying, other than psychopaths? But it was just really well done: well written, well acted, touching and charming. I was so prepared to despise Matt Smith and his freaking "Geronimo" (which still annoys me!) but I found myself liking him quite a bit, especially since the Moff is playing up the Doctor's kindness rather than his Lonely Godhood, which in retrospect ONLY David Tennant could have made appealing to watch AT ALL. It's like Moffat is reminding us of all the stuff that RTD forgot about: just as, oh hey, there's a library and a swimming pool in the TARDIS, remember? there's also the basic kindness of the Doctor that is occasionally in conflict with his basic high-handedness, whereas for RTD kindness melded with high-handedness into Lonely God Savior Complex which really wasn't a good look, frankly, even on David Tennant's face.

ANYHOODLE my point is that I am really liking this season and Moffat is living up to my expectations! Even though I still think no episode will ever be better than "Girl in the Fireplace."

I'm a tiny bit tipsy right now so I'm sorry for not organizing these thoughts any more clearly!
tempestsarekind: david tennant is pleased and surprisedtempestsarekind on April 12th, 2010 09:22 pm (UTC)
It's like Moffat is reminding us of all the stuff that RTD forgot about: just as, oh hey, there's a library and a swimming pool in the TARDIS, remember? there's also the basic kindness of the Doctor that is occasionally in conflict with his basic high-handedness, whereas for RTD kindness melded with high-handedness into Lonely God Savior Complex which really wasn't a good look, frankly, even on David Tennant's face.

*gigglesnort* This is trufax, basically. I love David Tennant and will miss getting to watch him act on a regular basis, but the Lonely God stuff I will not miss at all!

I definitely think I reacted to this episode as a "clearing the decks" piece, and in that respect I was totally on board with it. But yes, "Geronimo" is not growing on me!

I suppose Wales must have been somewhere, else why call it "Spaceship UK" rather than "Spaceship England"? But I don't remember seeing it (and I sort of wonder, now, if that was deliberate, even if for no other reason than not wanting to *seem* like they were making pointed comments about Wales after RTD's departure).
viomisehuntviomisehunt on April 14th, 2010 06:50 pm (UTC)
I was so prepared to despise Matt Smith and his freaking "Geronimo" (which still annoys me!) but I found myself liking him quite a bit, especially since the Moff is playing up the Doctor's kindness rather than his Lonely Godhood, which in retrospect ONLY David Tennant could have made appealing to watch AT ALL. Show hasn't hit the US yet. I'm certain someone from the Indigenous Nations watch group will send a note saying something along the lines of: "We Don't Yell: HORNBLOWER! when taking a dive." Or not.

whereas for RTD kindness melded with high-handedness into Lonely God Savior Complex which really wasn't a good look, frankly, even on David Tennant's face.

Nine was kind, except to Mickey. Nine could be very gracious, polite and that bit of charm was uber sexy (for me) because of Chris E's tough, Northern, working class exterior. Who can forget Nine's words to that couple in Father's Day, or when he breaths on the Tree Lady--talk about seductive...Yummy. Didn't Nine have a cuppa with the Villian in one episode while Rose was off Mickey at the motel? I like subtle, and Chris was subtle, and I think Matt has that quiet, subtleness too, in what I've seen so far on YT.

In interview, Matt comes off as a very young, bright, but shy guy, trying to remain normal under a awesome scrutiny. I like him.

I liked David in interview too -- wicked, sweet, and funny. David seems, as Moffat insists he is, a very different, kinder, quieter more polite person than his portrayal of the Tenth Doctor. And unfortunately, I had seen David's stint in Secret Smile before I saw Ten, so I kind of expected a dark, twisted nasty side; still I was a bit stunned when I actually saw it in the Doctor on the show.

Even the Classic Doctor could be a bit blustery, and overwheling, (Eliza's motorbus comparison to Higgens) when meeting new people, but he was rarely cruely dismissive, and Ten was dismissive of people he didn't care deeply for -- as was pointed out in Midnight. The Hostess didn't appeal to Ten's physical and intellectual aesthetics and he dimissed her and never asks her name. When she gives her life to save his and that of the others he realizes it. The thing about Ten's insensitivity-- Tennant plays it it so well, we forget that he is "Playing it". As an he is fully that he is projecting a particularly unattrative trait of an otherwise very attractive man.
David admits early on during season Three that his behavior towards Martha is shocking in it's insenitive and unforgiving quality. He says, that his is not the behavior we expect, (or should expect) from the Doctor -- so putting us off Ten a bit seems to have been RTD's and David's intention. Have to ask why they would think this is what people wanted to see in their hero? But then again, we can't escape David's overwhelming popularity, It is obvious lot of people found that dark edge very attractive. I wasn't one of them. From a purely artistic sense-- David was fascinating to watch, but after a while, I was very glad that the Doctor was a being capable of a complete change of face and personality.

tempestsarekind: all the world's a stagetempestsarekind on April 14th, 2010 07:18 pm (UTC)
Well, I've always liked David Tennant, and that's separate from his role as Ten. (I don't think I'd seen him in anything else except He Knew He Was Right, but I only learned that he was in that after I'd been watching him as Ten for some time.) I admire the performance even more, in fact, because he's always come across in interviews and Confidentials as a sweet, thoughtful person. (And a complete fanboy, but that's neither here nor there.)

And yes, he seemed to have an awareness that the Doctor's behavior was wrong. I think the problem stems from RTD's inability to follow through: you could, conceivably, have a dark hero (though one might question whether that's an appropriate thing to do on Doctor Who). But what RTD frequently did was to take the Doctor into dark places, and then act as though they weren't dark at all. Which gets us back around to Martha: we see Ten dismissing her and ignoring her, leaving her to fend for herself and pick up the pieces as he's falling apart, but Russell tries to sweep all that under the rug, as though the only problem is that she has "unrequited" feelings for him, isn't that sad?

I loved season 3, painful as it was, because I thought it was actually going to lead somewhere--that the Doctor was going to learn something. And when that didn't really happen, I went off Ten a bit. I loved watching him interact with Donna, but at the same time, it really bothered me that their relationship was just magically "better" than his with Martha, all that "I just want a mate" stuff," like *that* was the problem.
viomisehuntviomisehunt on April 14th, 2010 08:35 pm (UTC)
that the Doctor was going to learn something. And when that didn't really happen, I went off Ten a bit. I loved watching him interact with Donna, but at the same time, it really bothered me that their relationship was just magically "better" than his with Martha, all that "I just want a mate" stuff," like *that* was the problem.



I have the same love/hate relationship with Seasons Three and Four.
What I don't like about the entire story arc from Season Two on, was that good or bad, right or wrong, we were supposed to attribute the Doctor's behavior to whether or not the women in his life supplied him the kind of relationship he wanted with them.

Huh?

We are "told" that Ten would have behaved better with Martha, if she had swallowed her crush and told him daily "You'll find Rose again." She was perfect except she loved him and he didn't want her love. We're punishing people for falling in love now?

Why the hell should she have done anything of the sort?

Hurt/Comfort can get pretty irritating, especially when you realize, as with Ten and Martha, the person who is getting all the sympathy and care is never going to be there for someone like Martha. He's a user.

According to blog, she was afraid the entire time she was with him, that he was going to take her home. Thing is, at some point she should have wanted to go home -- medical school, loving family????? Freema did well, as RTD gave her very little to work with as far as character development. A woman is more than who she loves.

The Doctor might save her life, but listen to her troubles, recognize she is lonely, no. In Human Nature she was talking to the TARDIS -- and there was no reason that she should have been lonely and spiritiually abused, when he was having a ripping good time.

Wake up RTD -- Moffat too, if he's falling into the "right woman can make everything better trap-- Ten is the type of self-involved, whatever makes 'me" look good male, mothers tell their daughters to run, not walk away from.

I disliked that Clive is kept ignorant of the Doctor's treatment of of his daughter. I had a strong father figure and I can imagine my own Dad's response to someone like Ten. I think Francine saw right away what he was, yeah, a Dad saying: you're not pimping off my daughter... was very much needed.

For me it wasn't just a matter of not liking Ten as much as not liking the idea of Ten being entitled to these women's company just because... There was no suggestion ever, than other than "Being the Doctor" Ten had any mutual responsiblities in his relationships with his companions. I have to remind myself not to take the Doctor/Companion relationship on Doctor Who any more seriously now, than I did the classic show. This is King Kong and Ann Darrow -- it's not even Lancelot and Gwen. The Doctor saves the damsel from the Dinos and giant roaches and all is required of the woman is to You stand there, look pretty, priase my skills, say something witty or cheeky, and dance and grin to keep him amused.
tempestsarekind: free radicals and tanninstempestsarekind on April 15th, 2010 03:33 pm (UTC)
There was no suggestion ever, than other than "Being the Doctor" Ten had any mutual responsiblities in his relationships with his companions.

Which would have been okay, I think, if the relationship had been more along the lines of "two people having adventures in time and space." There isn't the same sense of engagement, on either side. But with RTD's Doctors, both Nine and Ten, there's an unhealthy dependence that doesn't get repaid. Nine dangles adventures in front of Rose so that she won't stay for a simple dinner with Jackie after Jackie thought Rose was probably dead; Ten practically tries to commit suicide on Martha's first day with him (and in the Dalek episodes), and Martha has to take care of him time and again. Which is why the smartest thing Martha can do is "get out" of that relationship... I don't think Rose ever recognizes how unhealthy it is.
viomisehuntviomisehunt on April 15th, 2010 10:04 pm (UTC)
I'm reminded of the old Shirley McClain movie "My Geisha" where she portrays a gifted comic actress, whose husband is a director, and wants to do a serious movie "Without HER". Emphasis on the Without HER!. He does Madame Butterfly (talk about racial stereotypical tales!!) so she pretends to be a Geisha and gets the lead role. She gives an amazing dramatic performance (in the script) It's a comedy film. "The Geisha" wins the Academy award, but the Geisha who train Shirley's character pursuades her not accept the award to perserve her husband pride. I was truly torn at the end. I was raised by mother to think like the Geisha: My Husband before all things.... and I think that is the right way to approach a marriage unless he's physically, spiritually, and emotionally abusive and you need to protect yourself and children!!!! However, I was also taught by my very strong father that any husband of mine better believe My Wife before all things. That sense, that the husband would sacrifice as much for his wife's sense of accomplishment or share accomplishment with her is not there. There is no admission from him, that maybe he could have been her partner, rather than her "dupe" and he is.

And that is what we see in Doctor Who, at least with Martha and Ten. He's not the dupe, though, Martha is. He seduces her onto his ship. She was going on with her life, and there he was at the end of the street, with that come hither swagger inviting her along. Nine at least was honest with Rose. She was welcomed even when she invited Adam, and nearly ended the Universe to see her Dad. Ten invites Martha in and then literaly tells her she's imposing on his privacy before she can find a place to sit down.

Ten cares about Donna. He compliments Donna's appearance, but when Martha as a similar question: do I look alright, he ignores her, doesn't even look at her. Which is why the smartest thing Martha can do is "get out" of that relationship... I don't think Rose ever recognizes how unhealthy it is.
With Martha and Ten I always say it could have been worst; Six strangled Peri, as well as constantly made her feel a great deal dimmer than they wrote Nicola's role. (Good sport that Miss Bryant!) To RTD: "Okay, you wanted to write a story of unrequited love, we get that..." But Ten is a sentence short of abusive with Martha. Ten spiritually wounds Martha especially in Human Nature (Not by falling in love with Joan, but by making her his servant, [While he enjoys comfort and admiration] and then asking her that horrible "What do YOU do FOR HIM....") That was a betrayal that was NOT in the novel, and it made Ten look a complete user, and Martha looks and becomes enabling. Now -- if RTD intended the Ten/Martha tale as a cautionary one to young women (or men) who get swept away with their admiration for a gifted but selfish person -- he wrote the perfect arc in Season Three. Martha Jones, a lovely, sexy, independpent, assertive, accomplished young woman is shoved in the path of this force of nature, and suddenly she's forgotten herself, her goals, her self worth.
And now we have Amy, whose life is also disrutped by the Doctor when she's very young.
I wonder if Moffat intends of showing this emotional dependence that makes the Doctor a bit ruthless and manipulitive when it comes to keeping his friends close.
tempestsarekind: keep calm and rock ontempestsarekind on April 15th, 2010 10:30 pm (UTC)
I've seen that film, and, argh, the problematic racial elements! But I did think Shirley Maclaine was quite good.

You're right: that sort of relationship only works if there's mutuality, if each person puts the other first, and it doesn't happen with Ten and Rose. Nor does it happen with Ten and Rose, I don't think, but Rose's story isn't *about* that lack of mutuality in the way that Martha's is, because Rose seems to get what she wants, or thinks she gets it: there's so much she doesn't know about the Doctor, but she thinks they're in it together.

Ten invites Martha in and then literaly tells her she's imposing on his privacy before she can find a place to sit down.

Argh, I know. The thing is, that whole first scene in the TARDIS is written as classic "protests too much." As Martha points out when Ten says "Don't think you're replacing her," she never said she was. It's *Ten* who's worried about that, who comes back for Martha when he could have just sailed away. The reasonable arc is that the Doctor does indeed move on from Rose--not *forget* her, but accept Martha. And RTD has to break every rule he's set up to tell a story that utterly contradicts itself.

It's probably too early to say, regarding Amy, but while Amy's life is certainly shaped by the Doctor, it's accidental, and it seems like Eleven is less dependent on her than Ten was on Martha. They seem like friends, basically.
viomisehuntviomisehunt on April 16th, 2010 03:39 am (UTC)
I was thinking more of the emotional dependence Ten had on Rose. And yes, Ten did seem to give Rose the big balloon, when she cried for the moon. It's rather insulting to women in general to suggest she's content with a substitute.
tempestsarekind: bananas are goodtempestsarekind on April 16th, 2010 03:24 pm (UTC)
I don't even know what Rusty was thinking, with that ending. Granted, he doesn't seem to have the strongest sense that people in relationships should actually know one another, and not (say) the version of that person from a parallel universe, in which he would have had very different influential life experiences. But still, 10.5 is very clearly *not* an exact copy of Ten, because he's at least a little bit Donna. You can't just fob a different person off on Rose and expect that to be unproblematic.