Sunday, June 13, 2010

Fish Custard (6)

Moffat is doing rather more bleeding of stories into other stories than Davies did.
Davies seasons had running plot arcs, but they never amounted to much more than easter eggs for the more earnest bus enthusiasts to spot. It was quite fun to see the words "Bad Wolf" in the graffiti in Episode 1.4 and remember that the same words had been used by the clairvoyyant girl in Episode 1.3, but it didn't really have much bearing on either story. (The resolution -- that the word "Bad Wolf" appeared in every episode because when Rose became a demi-god she dropped the phrase Bad Wolf into every episode in order to give herself a clue that she should take the name Bad Wolf and drop that name into every episode when she became a demi-god was not very satisfactory. Couldn't she have just tied a knot in her hanky?)
This year's story arc is about Amy's crack. Er, the Crack in Amy's wall. In the first story of the season a Baddie said "The thingy will open! A bad thing will happen!" very much like baddies have been saying "He will knock three times on the window" and "You will soon die, metaphorically at least" pretty much since the show rebooted. I thought the Crack was going to turn out to be another case of the Bad Wolves. I thought it would appear in every story and that it's meaning would be revealed in the final two-parter, which would feature the end of the universe, the Daleks, and Amy temporarily becoming a demi-god.
But then, in the one with the statues, the back story came to the front. The Weeing Angels were feeding on a Crack in the space time continuum through which weird-crack-in-the-space- time-continuum energy was pouring. The question which had been set up the previous week (why doesn't Amy know about the Daleks, given they invaded earth only last Tuesday?) is more or less resolved. Things have been being sucked into The Crack, and things which are sucked into The Crack aren't merely destroyed, they never existed to begin with, so not one remembers them (except when they do.) That's why Amy Pond knows that the Pond in her village is a Duck Pond, even though it has never had any Ducks on it. (NOTE: Leadworth is an anagram of Dr Who Tale.) That's why everyone has forgotten about the giant Cyberman from the year before last's Christmas special. (I have certainly been trying to forget it.)
And The Crack was started by a Big Bang which the Doctor traces to the the day of Amy's wedding, which is also the day she joined him on the TARDIS and also (by a staggering coincidence) the day that the final part of Doctor Who Season 5 will be transmitted. And all this leads us straight into a huge odd soap operatic thang. Amy tries to kiss the Doctor, a scene which the Daily Mail thought was sordid, sexy and possibly a cure for cancer. This, in pretty short order, makes the Doctor decide that his preventing Amy's marriage is what has caused the The Crack and that it's his job to ensure that she and her fiance, the gorm free Rory (indistinguishably from Larry, Sally's boyfriend in Blink) should get back together, whereupon....
"Everybody" complained that Davies' plots were too rushed, but I rather like the speed with which Moffat is advancing the back story. Oh, it's clear enough what he's doing: Amy's sudden urge to kiss the Doctor, and the Extremely Unexpected Twist Ending to the one with the Silurians don't arise particularly naturally from the action which preceded them. They could have been dropped into any story and they would have made just as much sense. Amy kisses the Doctor because a bad scary thing has happened in which she nearly died: but bad scary and nearly fatal things happen to Doctor Who girls every week. It's an occupational hazard. I think that there may be a subtext about the way in which childhood dreams shade into wet dreams and imaginary friends turn into erotic fantasies. Poor Rory is, in every possible sense, in competition with the man of Amy's dreams.
I could have done without the "You, Amy Pond, are the most important being in the universe" speech. We've already had a "You, Donna Noble, are the most important being in the universe" speech and Rose actually being the most important being in the universe. Martha had to content herself with being the most important being on earth. What happened to companions who failed general science A level?
The Doctor says that for him, every day is a big day: he skips the little ones. In the same way, Moffat jumps over extraneous material and transitions. This works rather well: much better than Davies squishing long stories into small spaces. We go straight from the Angels to Amy
declaring her love for
revealing that she'd like to sleep with the Doctor; and straight from there to the Doctor popping up on Rory's stag night; thence to Rory already being a passenger on the TARDIS (and then to a point when he has been travelling on the TARDIS for some time).
And note, by the way, that there were no spoilers about Rory being a new member of the supporting cast – no press calls for for Arthur Darvil, no interviews with Peter Purves or Matthew Waterhouse about the weight of expectation about being a Doctor Who "boy", no articles about whether or not he is "something for the Mums". Okay, he doesn't get star billing, but he is very clearly a companion. Is this because Moffat is working hard to keep Doctor Who spoiler free (the man in the Grauniad keeps moaning that he doesn't get preview discs) or just because newspapers are irredeemably sexist?


If you have enjoyed this essay, please consider buying a copy of The Viewers Tale or Fish Custard which collects all my writings about Doctor Who to date.

Alternatively, please consider making a donation of £1 for each essay you have enjoyed.


Greg G said...

"We go straight from the Angels to Amy declaring her love for the Doctor"

I certainly don't recall Amy declaring her love for the Doctor post Angels. She just wanted to sleep with him - yes, because of stress but also because she thought it might be fun. I was very impressed that this was not treated as a Bad Thing for which she needed to be punished.

This had to happen at the end of this episode because she was... not exactlyjealous of River... but a combination of jealous and rather pissed off and fed up.

Greg G said...

Also, trying to kiss someone when there's sexual tension in the air is - despite RTD's thoughts to the contrary - something adults tend to do sooner rather than later, love or no.

Andrew Rilstone said...