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18 April 2010 @ 06:18 pm
"Victory of the Daleks"  
So, "Victory of the Daleks." Fairly meh on this end, though I am pretty much always Meh About Daleks. (Which is, of course, the title of a short-running NBC show starring Paul Reiser and Nicholas Briggs.) (Not to be confused with My Two Daleks, which was a short-running show starring Paul Reiser, Nicholas Briggs, and Staci Keanan.)

Right, moving on! First things first:

Nobody owns blackout curtains in this episode?

Also, I'm thinking that taking a Dalek that doesn't remember it's a Dalek, and then banging on it and heckling it till it remembers, in a room full of people, is...not the best idea the Doctor's ever had.

There were some things I liked, though. Amy is still rather win, the Doctor continues to call her "Pond," and the Scottish Agenda continues (it amuses me to see people complaining about all the Scottish jokes, given how many jokes RTD made about Cardiff). And I particularly loved how taken aback Amy was, about really being in World War II: "It's...history." And I liked that the Doctor was aiming to get Bracewell to remember his humanity by remembering pain and death--the loss of his parents, the men he saw die--and Amy's like, "clearly this is not working. Tell me about the girl you fancied." It doesn't make a lick of sense, mind--how are feelings supposed to stop a bomb?--but they are pushing this "enough with the emo" thing quite hard, and I can't say that I'm displeased. I would have liked it more, though, if anyone in the episode had ever reached the stage of real human being.

And that, for me, is where it suffers in comparison to "The Empty Child" and "The Doctor Dances." Possibly it isn't fair to compare one episode to two, or a story that's all about war rooms and blueprints to a story that's about everyday lived experience, out there in the city streets, but one of the things that makes the earlier episodes so strong is that we believe in Nancy: her strength and resilience and sense of humor (I adore the way she twits the Doctor) make her someone to care about. She makes it possible for the episode to earn the Doctor's "damp little island" speech, because she's real. And her conversation with Rose--in which she can't even imagine a future, can't imagine that England wins ("But you're not German!")--breaks my heart in the best way. By contrast, "Victory of the Daleks" is only interested in the WWII paint-by-numbers: heroic fighter pilots, check. Air raid sirens, check. Plucky guard on duty, check. Woman whose young man "didn't make it back," check. But since she was never a person to begin with, beyond her exclaiming, "That's Reg's unit!" at the beginning, it never really resonated, and seems jammed in only as an afterthought. Same with Bracewell: interesting idea, but we didn't know him as a person before knowing him as an android, so it didn't mean as much as it could have. (I don't think that I'm only reacting to that bit in this way because of that odd dream I had the other day, but it's possible. I don't think I'm wrong, though, regardless. Because it could have been quite interesting--and I'm thinking back to John Smith, whose memories are dodgy and give him away because they're geographically accurate but not real. Scratch the surface and there's nothing there, for all that he believes he's more than just a story. Bracewell's memories are stolen, the episode tells us. What? From whom? What does that mean, if we're sending him off at the end of the episode to find Dorabella; should we assume that that's a lived memory rather than a stolen one? Is that why Amy's suggestions worked and the Doctor's didn't? [I suspect I'm overthinking that, rather: I think it's the contrast between pain and happiness--a good kind of hurt, as Amy says.] But there wasn't enough time to do anything with any of that.)
 
 
 
Emily-- Toppington von Monocle: eleven wall [doctor who]sadcypress on April 18th, 2010 11:42 pm (UTC)
Re: curtains, D'OH. I totally bought the horror of the moment IN the moment, but now that I think about it.... YEAH.

I would also have totally nixed the Reggie plot- not fleshed out in the slightest, could care less how it turned out except in the vaguest of ways. I was hoping that Danny Boy was Reggie, just so that we could put a face to him, but that doesn't seem to have been the case (ah well- it lets me assume that DB was Jack doing a silly accent, which is a-okay with me).

Man oh man I hope we're done with emo-Doctor. It could have been great, but was poorly handled by everyone but David Tennant. Let's move on and maybe if they earn it, we can explore it again one day. Eventually.
tempestsarekind: eleven and amytempestsarekind on April 18th, 2010 11:52 pm (UTC)
Yes. I'll always respect David Tennant for making the emo work even as well as it did, but it was time to move on ages ago. Because there's a difference between grief and emo--the former, you learn to live with somehow, instead of living *in* it. RTD never gave Ten that chance.

I admit, I was hoping for some kind of awareness of cross-over times! Where is Jack, for example: hasn't he now lived in WWII twice? (Seriously, I was thinking about this the other morning, for no reason AT ALL. I think I decided that he'd moved to Cardiff by then, to watch the Rift, but I don't know why.)
Constant Reader: doctor who - rainbow tardisskirmish_of_wit on April 19th, 2010 12:58 am (UTC)
I love My Two Daleks! My favorite episode is the one where Davy Jones from the Monkees shows up and tries to convince Dalek Joey that Dalek Michael is a bad influence. Wacky fun!

ANNNNYWAY.

BLACKOUT CURTAINS I KNOW. Although Big Ben still would have been lit up along with all the streetlights, right? So I chose to believe that most people were deploying their blackout curtains sensibly and the lit-up windows were all office buildings with no one in them.

I go back and forth on the heckling Doctor bit between being irritated with him for being so thick and being highly amused that he was allowed to be so thick, which is not really something the Lonely God was ever allowed to be that I can recall, at least not in the same way in which it is a genuine mistake/flaw.

I think returning to WWII was a really bad idea. Or, rather, if WWII had to be returned to (and what would have been AWESOME is if we got, like, the Charge of the Light Brigade + Daleks or something all steampunky that New!Who hasn't done yet), the episode should have been written by Moffat and not Mark Gatiss. "The Empty Child" and "The Doctor Dances" are so wonderful -- Nancy! bananas! slow-dancing in front of Big Ben! everybody lives! -- that it would have been next to impossible even for Moffat to live up to, but I feel like Mark Gatiss's episodes are always creative in concept but topple over under the weight of the plotholes and hollow characters. (That was an unfortunate metaphor given that holes and hollowness are absences and thus wouldn't weigh anything down. Sorry.) But this was the worst of them, I think.

I still find Eleven charming and Amy is wonderful -- although when she stood there with Churchill watching the TARDIS disappear I have to think that she totally wondered whether she would be stuck there until she was 40, given the Doctor's track record with her.

Disarming the bomb with ~*~The Power of L♥ve~*~ made me headdesk repeatedly. WHAT. I mean, seriously. WHAT. That was even more ridiculous than Spitfires!In!SPACE! which had already set a new bar for ludicrous.

Are we taking bets that the next episode turns out to be the first time the Doctor meets River?

(edited to fix that My Two Daleks joke which of course I botched, I am so awesome)

Edited at 2010-04-19 01:01 am (UTC)
tempestsarekind: TARDIS plus angelstempestsarekind on April 20th, 2010 03:43 pm (UTC)
Hee! I wonder whether, if My Two Dads were on TV today, people would have to choose between Team Joey and Team Michael. I would be on...Team Whichever One Was Paul Reiser. :) (I remember *all* the words to the theme song, but can't remember which dad was which. Odd.) Apparently I go for uptight fussbudgets over motorcycle-riding wild guys.

I think your way of thinking of things--that Big Ben et al would have been lit up even with the use of blackout curtains elsewhere--is a nice way to salvage my sanity. I shall adopt it forthwith.

And I totally agree about returning to WWII. The S1 two-parter is so fantastic that it seems like a very strange move to go back to WWII London, particularly with Moffat now in charge.

I saw someone post that the trailers made the episode appear more interesting than it actually was, and to some extent I agree: Daleks that had actually been repurposed for the war effort, and genuinely didn't know they were Daleks (as opposed to...waiting around for the Doctor to show up and yell "I am the Doctor, and you are the Daleks!" at them) could have been quite interesting. If a Dalek doesn't know it's a Dalek, does it have to be destroyed? Or, what if they really *weren't* Daleks, but somehow (maybe thanks to the crack in the universe?) information that humans shouldn't have was bleeding through, so they were creating machines that bore an uncanny resemblance to Daleks?

But yes--poor Amy! I would never let the Doctor get into the TARDIS without me if I were her.

Are we taking bets that the next episode turns out to be the first time the Doctor meets River?

For some reason I keep hoping that it's actually not River at all; it's, like, River's grandmother or something. I don't know why; I don't think I have any particular issues with River (well, except for the way she kept saying that her Doctor was "really" the Doctor, which is sort of not how this whole "same man, new face" thing really works).