This is a really late review, I know, because it became a big tretise on how I’m feeling about Doctor Who in general lately. Spoilers for Seasons 6, 7, and the Christmas special ahead. (Also, oddly, spoilers for Six Feet Under, because that’s how I roll.)

Overall, I thought it was a pretty enjoyable episode. I loved the reference back to the Great Intelligence from the Abominal Snowmen and the Web of Fear series in Classic Who and the implication that the 11th Doctor sort of set up the whole situation in the Web of Fear. (I’ve not seen these episodes as all but one episode of each series is lost, but I’ve read synopses online). I loved that Madame Vastra and Jenny and Strax were back. (Although I’m curious to see how Strax is alive. Come on and give us that story Moffat!)

I’m rather torn on Clara as companion. I’m really, really intrigued by her story. I want to find out the mystery of her. And I like the actress just fine. She’s cute as a button and I really like her. I’m just not sure I can stomach another young girl companion who has feelings for The Doctor. Okay, look, I get it. I’ve always told Ron that the only man I’d ever leave him for is The Doctor, because who can turn down all of space and time? But it’s tiresome when every. single. companion. wants to bang The Doctor. I love Donna precisely because of the friendship that she had with The Doctor. I loved them being best mates who were going to travel together. It was awesome.

My biggest problem with Clara is that her death felt really rushed. We’ve met this girl twice, she’s died both times, and both times I didn’t care. And this is the problem I have with Moffat as a showrunner. He forces epic moments; he doesn’t earn them. Everything feels way too rushed; we have no time to see things develop slowly and naturally. “Here’s Rory and Amy’s childhood friend Mel, whom we’ve never met. Surprise! She’s also River!” All in the space of an hour. I feel like Moffat is too impatient to wait for there to be a payoff. And when he does try and set up something over the long run, I feel like he rushes the conclusion and there isn’t enough payoff. It doesn’t feel thoughtful.

I think the most egregious example of this is with the Amy/Rory divorce storyline in “Asylum of the Daleks.” In the very last “Pond Life” webisode, we saw the indication that life was not going swimmingly for the Pond/Williams family. Then we see them getting a divorce in “Asylum.” And then, they magically patch things up in five minutes, and we never hear of it again. It’s frustrating. How much better would that plotline have been if we had seen the cracks and the tension in their relationship for all five (or was it six) of the episodes before they left the show. How much would it have raised the stakes in “Angels Take Manhattan” if they had both been trying to work through their difficulties, but were maybe ambivalent about staying with each other? How much more meaningful would their choices have been in the episode if they had still been dealing with the fact that they were having problems?

I’m not saying that I want Doctor Who to be a soap opera, by any means. But if you’re going to have storylines revolve around a relationship, it’s much more interesting for me when the storylines are messy and complicated, just like in real life. One of my favorite storylines ever was the Six Feet Under arc where Nate’s wife Lisa disappears (and, you later find out, is murdered). Their relationship is a disaster, he’s ready to call it quits, and then–BOOM–she’s dead. And the show did a wonderful exploration about how it feels to lose someone you maybe secretly wanted to lose, and how guilty you feel and how awful it is. It was messy and complicated and brilliant.

I really don’t mind one way or another what the focus is in Doctor Who–be it looking at friendships, romantic relationships (with the Doctor or otherwise), playing out morality tales through space and time, or just going on ridiculously fun adventures in space and time, or any or all of the above. I just want it be with interesting, well-thought out characters who act real around each other and aren’t ciphers or Maguffins. Moffat has so disappointed me on that front that it’s really hard to be excited about Clara, as intrigued as I am by her. I’m cautiously hopeful that I’ll like her and her storylines more than Amy’s though.

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