Saturday, October 1, 2011

Merlin: The Darkest Hour - Part One (Spoilers)

First: *SQUEE* Colin Morgan, I've missed your face and doofy Merlin grin!

/me clears throat, adjusts shirt, pretends that didn't just happen.

So, it's only the first episode of a thirteen episode series, and we know that the show's been picked up for a fifth. Merlin's not dead.

I don't really like Colin's "Old Merlin" makeup. It looks really, really fake and shoddily done. I'm also not diggin on the new intro - John Hurt seems to have lost the majesty that the old one had.

I like the way they're going with the legend. The sword's in the stone, Uther's in his decline (Awesome job by Anthony Stewart Head! Why don't they put him in more stuff?), the Knights of the Round Table are mostly gathered, and Gwen's openly got Arthur's heart. We're right on track. But what's this? Is it a plot that will force Arthur to deal with the use of magic? Put him in a position to not only condone, but order its use? I foresee a "Lucy, you got some 'splaining to do!" moment when Merlin walks back in the door - and it's going to be HILARIOUS! - right before it all becomes brown trousers time.

Doctor Who: The Wedding of River Song (Spoilers)

"What happened to time?"
"A woman."

"A record? Good Lord, man! Have you never heard of downloads?"
"Said Winston Churchill."

Told ya.

While we're all cheering because the Doctor survives, it's a hollow victory. This abuse of time, if it is absolute that he will be where they say he will and that he must never answer the question, shows us just how far the Doctor has fallen.

Doctor Who: Anticipation of Series 6 Finale

Tick, tock, goes the clock
He had a Pond that wasn't.
Tick, tock, goes the clock
I'm willing to bet he doesn't!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Doctor Who: Closing Time (Spoilers)

Good gravy on a pogo stick at Easter! Cybermen? Really? Haven't we killed Cybermen and Dalek more times than Southpark's killed Kenny? One of these days we're going to find out that these persistent bastards have Time Lord DNA because, quite frankly, it seems they're the only species as resilient as Gallifreyans!

Amelia Pond, I knew that wouldn't be the last we saw of you, and I'll admit to getting a little misty seeing you and Rory in the store. I doubt this is the last we've seen of you... again.

We get to see little bits like the stationary and the hat. There are moments where it all feels a bit indulgent with all the things nestled in that only long time, probably obsessive, fans will really notice. On the other hand, this is the "farewell", so indulgent is the word of the day I suppose.

In terms of what happens next, we know exactly where this is going. In terms of the overall story arc, I feel like this is going where previous farewells have gone: the Doctor's done with us, with getting us killed, with always having to save us, and he's tired. Time to holiday and leave us to it. But there's always that one moment, that one visit he makes on his tour that restores him, brings back his faith in us and in what he's doing - THAT is when our good man goes to war.

Quote of the episode:
"He always needs someone."

I'm thinking this post is far closer to what I originally intended in terms of reacting and posting: quick, immediate, and to the point, even when that point's slightly disjointed. I'm much happier with this post. Let's see how it works when I change programs.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Doctor Who: The God Complex (Spoilers)

TL;DR: This episode was about saying goodbye to Amy and Rory, the seventh and eighth companions of the Doctor since the revival, as well as keeping the Doctor on his path to ruin.

Overall, the episode is very tight. The visual cues are quick and clean, immediately telling us that this is all a bit Hotel California had a love child with Stephen King. Even though everything progresses on a predictable path, it's forgivable as the story hurtles forward. For me, the pacing evoked a sense of River Song's statement/command: "Love the running".

At episode's end, Amy receives a very Sarah Jane send off. So much so that I was compelled to go back and watch Sarah Jane's departure. Had Elizabeth Sladen not passed away this year, we wouldn't have had such a soft adieu for Amy. Our spitfire would have stayed with her raggedy man til the bitter end, forsaking her marriage and, eventually, her own life. The most tragic part of that is that had the metaphorical mallet not been brought down on the Doctor's head, he might have let her.

The Doctor's interactions with Rita show us that he has already prepared himself to move on. Knowing what we know of the TARDIS (The Doctor's Wife), I have to wonder if bringing the Doctor to this place had more to do with pushing him to finally let Amy go than it did with saving anyone trapped there. We've seen the Doctor travel alone before, nearly always ending in recession, the part of the three "r"s every hero must cycle through. At some point, though, he will have to follow that recession to ruin before truly finding redemption.

With so many things swirling through my mind at the conclusion of The God Complex, I nearly forgot the placeholder image for the episode: the sad clown with the red balloon. While he is seen in the episode, he's never really interacted with and seems to be little more than a distraction to keep viewers off guard until the end of the episode. He's a visual slight of hand, if you will. Personally, I hope he comes back to haunt us later in the story arc as the visual is teeming with potential, and he has a bowtie. Bowties are cool.

A list of things that caught my attention:

In reception the Doctor states "I tell a lie", and 'fires' Amy. Moments earlier, he bites into an apple without complaint while in The Eleventh Hour he had spit out an apple, calling them rubbish and claiming to hate them. Before they leave reception, he pockets an unsolved Rubik's cube - another item that he proclaimed rubbish (Night Terrors). Towards the end of the episode, the Doctor calls Amy by her proper, married name.

Rita is not only a medical professional but her Who-worthy predicament nabs her at the beginning of her shift, similar to Martha Jones. When the Doctor fires Amy, he gestures for Rita to call him. For the rest of the episode, she is essentially a third companion, complete with her calling the Doctor out on his shit and the Doctor offering to show her all of time and space once they escape. Later, the Doctor dials '311' to communicate with her. She is also the third corpse, and dies on the third floor. (We'll skip the staggering mathematics behind 311.)

The rooms have their own importance and portent. Amy's room is 7, while in the intro Lucy's was 214. The Doctor's room is numbered 11, and, when we first see them, both the Doctor and Amy's rooms are end rooms.

Rory tells us over and over again what's coming. His 'room' is a fire escape. He talks about traveling with the Doctor in the past tense, and while looking over the photos in reception he notes that not all victories are about saving the universe.

More random foreshadowing: Joe quotes "Oranges and Lemons". The Doctor is hostile about Gibbis's cowardice. In the salon, the Minotaur says he's lived so long his name is lost. In the escape from the salon, the music takes on elements of Torchwood's theme tune. Before Amy begins to worship, the Doctor's Rubik's cube is solved. The last thing from the hotel to disappear is the Doctor's room door. Amy can't tell what the Minotaur is saying as it dies. The Minotaur says "I wasn't talking about myself" during the death scene.

Finally, prisons! The ship the Doctor and crew land on is a prison. Since Eleven began, we've seen prisons over and over again. The crack leads to a prison, River's in one, the Pandorica, and Demon's Run.

Quote of the Episode:
"Well, it is all right there on the internet."
"No, amazing that you've come up with a theory even more insane than what's actually happening."

The idea of reacting needs some polishing. Feel free to comment at length.


I have an issue with my writing. Namely, I write responsively, taking whatever has occurred to me at that moment, spewing it out, and never keeping track of any of it. My writing is spread over an unknowable number of comment sections and I'm tired of it. So, my reaction is to steal and modify 2MTL's idea: I'll react, but from now on it will be within the confines of my own blog.

What I expect will end up here is immediate reactions to whatever I happen to be watching or reading at the time.

TL;DR - Mainly science fiction/fantasy, with some literary thrown on top for good measure.

I hope I enjoy it, as I also expect that I will likely be the only reader.