I remember when the Doctor Who 2010/2011 Christmas special came out, I saw a headline in the Guardian that made some comment about the show “jumping the shark.”
And, to coin a phrase, “Spoilers.” Not really huge gigantic brain-sucking ones, but still.
|Sardik’s machine that controls the sky.|
I haven’t seen a single commentary that talks about how disturbing the Doctor is in this story. Hello? Anyone? Anyone else out there think what he does is totally freaky and a little unokay? Lets just have a brief review, shall we? Amy and Rory, on their honeymoon, as organized by the Doctor. Their ship — the standard super-luxurious space cruise-liner — is crashing. The only man who can stop the ship crashing is Kazran Sardik, the self-nominated ruler of the planet who “controls the skies.” The Doctor goes down to ask Sardik — quite nicely — to clear the cloud layer over the planet and allow the ship to land. Sardik — not very nicely at all — refuses.
This is very similar to what the Doctor attempts, as 10, in Waters of Mars except this time — major point here — he gets away with it.
|Sardik and the Doctor face off.|
Yes, some of what he does for Sardik is wonderful: when talking to the older Sardik, the Doctor mentions that perhaps Sardik Senior was a bit of the not-good kind of father. Perhaps Sardik Junior has an opportunity to be a different man and wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing? And even when forcibly rewriting Sardik’s memories, he takes him — and Abigail; mustn’t forget Abigail — to some wonderful places, shows them glories of the universe including his own unscheduled wedding to Marilyn Monroe.
And the Doctor’s original reappearance back in Sardik’s memory as he recalls being a sobbing boy in his room is absolutely in keeping with the tenor of the rest of the season: don’t interfere…unless there’s a crying child. Sardik’s line that leads into the quick TARDIS jump to the past is something the Doctor could never resist: “…no-one comes.” Well, how could he ignore that? I mean, c’mon! He’s been trying so hard to be good and I think that’s possibly why I find what he does with Sardik’s past life so disturbing: he tries so hard to be good and talk to him in the here and now and when he can’t change things that way…
But on the whole — I get uneasier and uneasier every time I watch the show. What the Doctor does is just not good and he gets away with it which is bad.
So there. I’ve made my point about what I feel is the “worrying” bit of Christmas Carol and we can finish by talking about what the “perfect” is which is everything else including the “worrying.”. If I wasn’t a little bit worried, I would think Steven Moffat wasn’t doing his job (and, by the way, Moffat? We need to talk about the proposed Sherlock seasons and where you need to be putting your effort in the next few years. Just whenever you have a few minutes…).
|Because you have to have snow.|
Rory and Amy are great as the honeymoon couple (“Eyes off the skirt!”) and I could have even done with a little more Rory — but I feel that way a lot. I can’t wait for the episode I’m sure he gets in Season 6 where he just steps up, sheds the flannel’y outside, and goes for it — in whatever form that takes.
Abigail is a lovely, sweet, absolutely charming character. Her voice is…revelatory. The British press talked about her casting as a huge give-away but I had no idea who she was; in the promo photos, she was just the blonde lady holding a lamp. Her rendering of “In the Bleak Midwinter” is gorgeous.
The fish — the fish are great. The fish are…just so great. They make me smile uncontrollably every time I watch the show.
The Doctor’s entrance is fantastic (“My whole brain just went…what the hell!”) and Matt Smith doesn’t really stumble once in this — neither does anyone else in the cast. They pick up what could have been a thin, unconvincing story with far too much schmoop and transform it into brilliant Doctor Who and a great story.