Tuesday, June 17, 2008

'round midnight

i have returned from paris, but am slightly behind in finishing the paris trip blog. it'll be done in a day or so.

meantime -- amid doing laundry, unpacking, sorting things out, returning emails, and recovering from jet lag -- there are big doctor who doings to discuss. will try to keep spoilers to a minimum, but there might be a few.

"silence in the library"/"forest of the dead" was an excellent two-parter by steven moffat (tapped to be the new who show-runner when re-envisioner russell t. davies steps down in 2010), who continues to do amazing things with the show. he manages to meld darkness and light, the sublime and the silly, in really creepy, emotional, and entertaining ways. which to me is what who is all about, and gives me high hopes for what he'll come up with when he takes over.

the character of river song (shown above with the doc and holding her xlnt TARDIS-esque journal full of spoilers) brought up so many questions -- and ended up being a lot more mysterious by the end, despite the revelations -- while showing the intriguing possibilities for what a companion of the future doctor could be. (and i want to say for the record that i correctly guessed what she whispered in his ear.) not to mention what he might be like in the future. as usual i have a ton of nitpicks about these notions as well, but i will spare you all that.

this story presented yet another paradox/looped-timeline tale for this season. can't helping wondering if that's significant for the final arc.

i also liked donna's experience in this story and how what she went through paralleled the doctor's own experiences in a way ... catherine tate in this role continues to equal love for me. i hear the best is yet to come from donna, and i really can't wait. but if that includes dying, i'm gonna be seriously bummed out. (i haven't heard that -- just feeling a bit nervous about it.)

the two-parter was followed by an RTD-penned ep called "midnight." it was both a big shift from and similar to the previous tale -- similar in that the monster was unseen, and there was a big element of psychological horror. in fact, "midnight" was very intense, like a scary play, and it was compelling b/c, despite the simplicity of the situation, it didn't really telegraph exactly what was going to happen or how things would be resolved.

it felt like a cross b/w the twilight zone and classic who, being comparatively low-budget, heavy on dialogue, and reliant on letting your imagination freak you out. it harked back to "the deadly assassin" a tad, in that the doctor was essentially companionless for this adventure (donna is seen at the beginning and the end, but that's it). and things go about as well for ten w/o a companion as they did for four. at one point he is totally helpless, and david tennant -- whose doctor is usually so expansive and garrulous and constantly in motion -- does a great job of conveying inner turmoil while remaining virtually motionless and expressionless.

so when the doctor sees donna again, there's a lot of relief on his part. but, though she was obviously glad he made it through his ordeal, i couldn't help thinking she still enjoyed her day spent w/o him babbling away.

anyway ... i've written before, at length, about the doctor's companions, and "midnight" underscored how important it is for the doctor to have someone around -- not just to share the thrills and chills of time/space travel and to keep him from talking to himself, but also to reassure others that he's really there to help. b/c not everybody gets him. and, without someone like that, as this episode shows, he may have a hard time connecting with people or making himself understood (not to mention coming across as a decent guy rather than a full-of-himself cock). at least for a minute, the events of this tale seemed to leave him feeling a little shaky about his love of and faith in humanity -- and i rather enjoyed that. for once, it was as dangerous for the doctor to be around humans as it can be for them to be around HIM. (as great as that was, however, i do have some issues with some of the choices the doctor makes in this ep WRT to what he reveals about himself and how he characterizes himself. from a certain POV, some things he does/says were slightly puzzling and really didn't ring true. oh, well. it was still a ripping yarn.)

as the UK gears up for saturday's ep, "turn left," there are tons of articles about the return of rose tyler. the radio times piece -- featuring interviews with RTD, billie piper (rose), freema agyeman (martha), and catherine tate -- was especially great. i had to feel gleeful that davies tapped the scene where martha laughs at the master as his fave martha moment, since i also loved that scene.

"turn left" is supposed to be donna-centric, despite rose's return, and i expect it to give me more to love about both donna and rose. then comes the two-part season finale, and the excitement is mounting as the spoilers fly. a while back i think i remember reading tennant describing it as something like the biggest, baddest, maddest, saddest one yet ... ulp and w00t!

anyway, things i think will be figuring into the next three eps are: the medusa cascade (refs to which have popped up a few times); the notion that time is in flux (and therefore even what seems to be established history could change); the prominence of paradoxes this season; and the sense that someone or something is tampering with timelines. the thing i noticed early on about planets being lost sort of faded into the background, but there was a ref to a lost moon in "midnight." so, hmmm. also, the question of the doctor's real name has come up more than once. and we've seen quite a lot of his severed hand bubbling away in its container this season. perhaps that means something. perhaps not.

finally, i think there will be daleks, at least judging by another big, recently revealed spoiler. but i really dunno. all i know for sure is, i cannot wait to see the rest.

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