Sunday, 29 May 2011

Popcorn and Peril

There's a little bit of a problem with Who at the moment, namely that people keep dying and not staying dead. The "just kidding" element has manifested in a variety of ways, often imaginatively, but nevertheless making things not scary any more. Throughout the series, of course, everybody's been killing Rory all the time - once Amy resuscitated him, once it was just an illusion created by 'House', etc, etc. But it's not just him. Last night's episode ought to have had a fairly high body count. Four independent gangers, two humans, and a load of discarded ganger bodies died, but in the end, it was kind of 'ok', because humans and gangers just replaced each other. Nice and neat, no confusion, no need to worry about anyone suffering the loss of loved ones. Even versions of the Doctor and Amy got killed, but it was fine. And, after spending the whole episode telling the miners that they couldn't go on destroying the gangers because they were actually real people, he went on immediately to destroy Amy-ganger. And of course, now we know that the future death of the Doctor, as witnessed by Amy, Rory, and River, is probably not really the future death of the Doctor. Even if it's not his ganger who gets it, we've seen enough to know that there are plenty of ways to survive dying.

It's not a recent thing, however. Moffat's always preferred to have it so that "everybody lives" from way back in the days of eccles cakes and empty children - a near-flawless couple of episodes, of course, and I'm not fundamentally opposed to the idea of everyone being saved, and nobody dying. The problem comes when people start dying and coming back to life, or being locked in parallel universes and then coming back through. We stop believing that anybody can die, that there is any kind of finality to anything, and perhaps worst of all, it smacks a little of (dare I say it?) magic.

According to my mum, River Song's been getting it in the neck a bit in DWM for sending out the wrong message to kids about death. I can see the point. In the second Silence episode, the Doctor was pretty cool with her sexifying murder (even if it was the murder of an evil controlling super-race who wipe people's minds) which is wrong in a family show. Not only is death not death, it's also being made cool. Fix this, Moffat.

Magic's not only been bothering me in supposedly non-magical shows, however. Even within the wizarding world, I think there ought to be a degree of internal sense and logic. Last night, I rewatched about half of HP and the Deathly Hallows, part 1, and was rebothered by Ron's reunion with Harry and Hermione, which is achieved by him following Hermione's voice, which comes out of a machine for switching lights on and off....It's most annoying because I think, other than that, that HPatDHp1 is probably my favourite of all the Harry Potter films - fast-paced, dark, intelligent, even a bit political. But in that particular scene, I found myself doing my typical moan that I do whenever anything inexplicable happens in Who - "It's just magic", or as they've said before in The Simpsons, "Whenever you see anything like that, a wizard did it". Then I realised that in this particular case, it really was magic, and a wizard did do it. Nevertheless, these things shouldn't ever be turned into convenient excuses to allow you to do anything you like. Rule-bending should only occur within reason, otherwise, there's never anything to worry about, and you might as well skip straight to the happy ever after. That's the part I'm least looking forward to in the last film next month. I'd be happier if they left it where everybody dies, with no 19 years later.

Sorry for being a goth.

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