Friday, 3 June 2011

A Good Man Goes to Have a Good Lie Down

Oh America. Why must you turn even fringes into something rude? It's been a few days now since I saw them, but listening to girls talking about 'the bang area' and 'doing the bangs' on Youtube hair tutorials is still funny. I discovered this whilst looking for ideas for what to do for the Gilbert and Sullivan ball which, as it happens, was a lovely evening. It was even worth missing Doctor Who for!

As for that, now that I have watched it - well, it wasn't too bad an episode, and I did enjoy all the little bits of Star Wars homage but, as ever, I did a few issues:

1) Unlike almost everyone else, I don't take exception to River being Amy's daughter. That's fine, consistent, it makes sense to me. My problem is actually that it makes too much sense to me. Rather than seeming, as one person I know has suggested, like it was decided at the last minute, I felt like it had all been a bit too obvious for a long time. I realised what was going on with River, Amy, and the little girl, right from the first Silence episode. Quite the opposite to "making it up as he goes along", Moffat plans his stories meticulously. Which is all fine and dandy - until plot arc starts to take over from the individual adventures, which suffer and become weaker by comparison. It also means that every series (or even half-series as it is now) ends up building to a massively overblown apocalyptic climax. Most of all though, if I'd worked it all out already, I just didn't buy that the Doctor, supposedly the most intelligent man in the cosmos, needed to be told outright by River herself.

2) What was the point of the Cybermen? They served no useful plot function. If they're going to come back into it in the next episode, fine, but why not wait and surprise us with them then instead of bringing them in now to do nothing. Furthermore, while I applaud the decision to go a whole (half-)series without Daleks, I feel a little disappointed that he had to fill the gap with the next most obvious monsters. Also, weirdly, they seemed to be working for people - they mentioned a "cyber fleet". Which I suppose could work if the Cybermen have got a secret plan in mind that they haven't let on about yet, except for one thing....

3) The Headless Monks. If they've already got emotionless robot people working for them, why do they need emotionless headless people to fight for them as well? I did hope that we might be offered a better reason for them being there. When I first saw them in the preview, I expected it to be the Silence, getting revenge on Amy, Rory and the Doctor, and covered with hoods so that people wouldn't "kill them all on sight". What they turned out to be, however, was little more than an excuse for the gimmick of the Doctor dressing up as one of them and jumping out on the baddies. The other thing they could have been used to explain, of course, was the cleric soldiers from the earlier Weeping Angels episode (in which Amy encounters River for the first time).

Other than the above, good show, Mr Moffat! Bravo! Clever and witty as usual :) The grumpy, lactating Sontaran nurse was excellent, especially his interaction with Rory - that is, a soldier taking on the role of a nurse talking to a nurse dressed up as a soldier - and I liked how this linked in with the Doctor (a healer) as warrior and hero (picked up on by Lorna Bucket - in the language of the people of the Gamma forest, 'Doctor' has come to mean a great warrior).

What is definitely neither clever nor witty, however, is a new fad called "planking" that I heard about from my uncle today, which basically involves lying down in strange places. So in essence, I said, teenagers are so bored now that they're even bored with lying around doing nothing, and have to find novel ways of doing that. He seems to thinks it's great because adults have been telling them to stop it, but they're carrying on anyway, and he likes to support anything he sees as rebellious. Personally I'm not too sure. It is just lying down, after all. Mind you, they'd better watch out doing it in Westminster at the moment, since it's recently become illegal to lie down in public places there. What on earth else the House of Lords will find to do now is beyond me. Funnily enough, I was recently lying down in public myself in protest against this very silly rule, which is basically a way of getting rid of all the homeless people from central London in time for the Olympics. It's also become illegal to distribute free food or drink in an attempt to stop soup kitchens reaching out there: anyone else have visions of mothers being arrested for giving their children sweets?

Oh well. I suppose it's better than happy slapping.

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