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06 May 2011 @ 11:50 pm
Doctor Who - Day of the Moon  
I know we have new who in a day but I just couldn't let the clusterfuck that was last episode go. Word of warning - this reaction post really, really long. I mean really long. I sort of just intended to make a few points and then came to paragraphs later.

Look, everyone's gone over pretty eloquently how morally repugnant the Doctor's plan was. But what I want to explore? Is the ways in which it was just plain stupid.

* LIGHTNING HANDS. THEY HAVE LIGHTNING HANDS. Unless you have a gun in your hand and fire as soon as you see them, you're fucked. Because of FUCKING LIGHTNING HANDS.

* Even if they didn't have lightning hands, they're giant aliens! With claws! If you're weaponless/a kid/physically incapable of hand to hand combat/not trained in hand to hand combat/alone when there's a fuckload of of them there ... you're fucked. NOT ONLY DID YOU JUST COMMIT GENOCIDE DOCTOR, BUT LOGICALLY THE RESULT SHOULD HAVE BEEN THE GENOCIDE OF THE HUMANS. Or at least a really bloody war they have little chance of winning.

* Hypnotic suggestability yeah? Whyyy don't they just say 'Don't kill me'. Doctor your plan can be immediately reversed.

* OK so 1 and a half billion people saw the moon landing according to the Doctor (wiki says 600 million). And people for a ... thousand thousand generations are going to see it? Really? (OK maybe in movies.) But even if we're talking about the ubiquity of television sets not being quite as certain as people seem to be assuming (Ireland apparently really didn't do television til the seventies, who knew?) I have a degree of skepticism regarding the possibility that every single country would be broadcasting that with breathless excitement. Did China or Russia? East Germany? Frustratingly I can't get hard data, but I'm doubting China a lot, from what I know of the period. Not even going near countries I don't know that much about. So, the Silence are defeated! ...in some places. A bit. Unless they reverse it. Yeah what?

Also both eps were just filled with oven logic about the Silence.

* Not even 'why have they been wearing the same slim-line suits for at least five decades' but how the hell did they get those slim-line suits on over their ENORMOUS HANDS?? Seriously. That. That doesn't. I don't. What? Are they sewn in? Current best theory is that it's crepe or seaweed - they're sushi, the white is the rice and oh god oh god I'm horrified.

* Following on from the above - when they're hanging upside down why don't their ties fall in their faces IT IS RIDICULOUS. YOU CAN'T HYPNOTISE GRAVITY.

* How do the Silence know what a spacesuit is if they don't already have the capacity to make one or have access to one themselves? Allllso they have spaceships why can they not do any of this shit themselves? Or go to a more technologically advanced society and leech off them?

Also re the lightning hands - this is a deathtrap either way from what I can see, but it goes one of two ways. Either they don't/can't use the lightning hands effectively (in that they told Canton they didn't have weapons/they had to get pretty close to that one lady they killed/they were pretty terrible shots against River and the Doctor, so you can probably extrapolate that it's primarily cultural/it's fallen into disuse as they don't really need to fight a people who can't remember them/it may need a lot of energy/buildup to use or drain quickly (see: Dead Lady)) in which case well done destroying a defenceless species Doctor, or they do have lightning hands and what the hell was that logic hole Moffat!?

OK that was getting into the morals a bit but. Really. Reeaaallly. How can you not? Fandom has really saddened me on this one. I know that someone was saying they handwave stuff they can't accept. Fair enough. I handwave Eight being half-human. But handwaving this? Or going from handwaving it to cheering for it? 'Yay the Doctor wiped out people with his head held high'?! What show have you been watching? What show do you people want?? As Erin reminded me, every generation apparently gets the Doctor they deserve and that .... that's depressing guys. That's just depressing. If we want our Doctor to espouse these virtues, we should be ashamed of ourselves.

Frustratingly I expect that Moffat's going to turn around later and make it all about timey bs where at least one of the Doctors/other characters we saw were crossing their own timeline and therefore had information the audience wasn't privy to that justifies all of this. That's a bad way to tell a story Moffat. This is a clusterfuck.

It's very much what Tu said regarding why Moffat's a great writer to have on your team and a terrible one to have as Captain. Because he's a dude who cannot forget that the Doctor has a time machine. Not in a 'oh shit that's a plot-breaker better shrink it/get it stolen/have the Doctor stranded on Earth for a few years' way but in a 'ISN'T THAT FRICKIN' AWESOME!?!?' way. Which is great to play with once or twice a season? But not so fun to twist your entire season up in. Twice. And most eps you've written. And your Christmas Special. And that Seven short story. And even Curse of Fatal Death. Moffat really really needs to get his priorities in order, or this is not going anywhere pretty. And it's not going there fast.

On one final note, it's also making me incredibly sad to see everyone say 'oh well Seven did it, it's ok'. I really really hate to say 'you don't get it' because who am I to invalidate someone else's experiences/understanding, but I'm not trying to say I know a greater truth than anyone else. I'm trying to say that if you can really equate what Seven did (I'm assuming people here mean with the Daleks) and what Eleven did, you don't get what my problem is with what Eleven did.

There were three essential things, I think, that made me flinch and cringe at Eleven whereas with Seven I went 'BOOYAH'.

1. Attitude. Seven never enjoyed it. True, he played with Davros, his lifetimes foe. He joked about with people, as he's wont to in that and many incarnations. But we're shown repeatedly over Rememberance of the Daleks that he's struggling with this decision, that he's unsure. He knows how weighty it is and he's not sure it's right. That is tension, that is interesting. That's not Eleven having the time of his life with no reflection or doubt.

2. Enemy. The audience knows the Daleks. Even people who don't Who are vaguely familiar with them. They are the epitome of evil, the arch-nemesis of the Doctor and all that is good and right and free and living. We know, and had explained again to us in the episode, exactly what their goal is. The death and destruction of every living being not like them, even within their own species. We've seen, over six lifetimes prior, the Doctor attempt other solutions. In a way Rememberance is Seven paying for the sins of his Fourth regeneration's decisions. It's still not necessarily the right thing, but it's certainly not a situation where I can sit there going 'but what do these aliens want', 'what else have we tried first to stop them', 'why are we trying to stop them', 'how are they explicitly hurting us' and come back with 'I have no idea, and apparently neither do the protagonists', 'um. nothing. and actually this isn't a case where their backs are pressed against the wall and they're out of time for a better solution, the TARDIS keeps getting shoved in our faces and they have all the time. YOU HAVE ALL THE TIME DOCTOR.', 'I don't know, again, due to question one not being answered, and also because the answer to question four is:', 'um. they're not? I mean clearly by our own cultural paradigm this situation should be rectified because we value free will, but from what I can see they're symbiotes? they've been around since the wheel and we've survived, in fact they seem to operate by pushing our evolution forward and need us as much as we've been helped by them, so it sort of seems against their own best interests to kill us en masse and ... murdering them all seems a bit of an overreaction?'

3. Choice. Ironic, really. Aside from one person we see the Silence kill no one. It seems to be much more of a Star Trek-y 'FREE WILL AT ALL COSTS' (thanks tu) situation. Which, fine. But what did the Doctor do? He took that away. He took that away in a way that no other Doctor ever has done. And you can make all the bullshit little lists you want about how the Doctor fired a gun here or made a witty comment after murdering some people there or even, heaven forbid, committed genocide, but the reason last week's episode made me nauseous? Is not because he killed some dudes. The Doctor's a pacifist in his ideals at best, it's ridiculous to argue that he doesn't perpetrate violence. It's that in all those examples people have been giving? He either committed the act himself or, while acting like a catalyst, still gave people the choice. No Doctor before Eleven has ever done something so cold as to turn every human into a murderer, to give them no choice, and to never let them know. And that's disgusting. He shouldn't be laughing and crowing, he should be the man who can come up with the Dream Lord, and the audience should be able to see it.

Ok, um. That got vehement. Also another problem with being cryptic, why can't these dudes be treated the same as the Silurians? Why no cohabitation? They've been around millenia. All the things wrong with this are just so .... tiring.

And please fandom, please, can we get over Six strangling Peri? Seriously? It's dull now, and it shows a woefully poor reading of the text. Attempting and failing to spontaneously injure an individual whilst suffering heavy shock and out of your mind is in no way worse than, or even equivalent to, plotting and carrying out genocide through unknowing hosts whilst in full possession of your faculties. And enjoying it. Hell, I'd hardly say it's even worse than shooting a threatening alien in terms of what it says about your moral capability and culpability. So can we drop it? Yeah. That would be nice.
Current Location: Canberra
Current Mood: disappointeddisappointed
Bagheera: sunbagheera_san on May 6th, 2011 04:00 pm (UTC)
I agree heartily with everything in here. The whole Silence concept makes no sense at all, and you've pointed out several very glaring plotholes that I hadn't even thought about.

What this proves, imho, is that Moffat will sacrifice absolutely everything, and mock his audience's intelligence just to be "scary" and "cool". And the sad thing is - this may be scary for eight year olds (poor kids, poor parents) but it shouldn't be scary for adults BECAUSE IT MAKES NO SENSE.

I care less about what Moffat does with the Doctor's character (it sucks, but if I can accept the Valeyard, I can accept this) than what he does with the audience and that people go along with it. The only way you can enjoy Moffat's television is if you deliberately turn yourself shallow: if you accept that you'll have to handwave and ignore stuff and have "faith" in Moffat's genius and pray that it'll all make sense in the end.

Also, another point about Seven: Seven (ostensibly) had a plan and a goal that (to him) justified his more ambiguous choices. Eleven doesn't look like a man with a plan to me, and why would he need one? He clearly almost never pauses to justify what he does. In a way, Eleven is a lot like Moffat's dream audience, in that he doesn't look too closely at anything problematic. More often than not, he seems pretty clueless.

And the taking away of free will is shaping up to be a thing Eleven does, Day of the Moon isn't the first example. He did a very similar thing in A Christmas Carol. If you compare Eleven Era with, say, Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords, then Eleven is a lot more like the Master than like Ten in terms of methods. The way the Master used the Archangel Network and the way Eleven used the moon landing - pretty damn similar. Ten, otoh, told Martha to get people to *choose* to think something else. The whole "faith in sparkly-jesus doctor" thing seemed a bit scary then, but it's positively benign with what we've got now.

ushas42: thinkingushas42 on May 6th, 2011 06:07 pm (UTC)
Just a few points.

How the hell did they get those slim-line suits on over their ENORMOUS HANDS??

*shrug* Why do fly aliens have earpieces on board in Planet of the Dead? Yeah, it’s dumb, but it’s dumb I can live with. (Though you’ve made me want fanart of a sleeping Silent getting fwaped in the face with its tie.)

I’m not going to even get into debating character interpretation and moral implications and such because obviously that’s a hugely personal thing, but I will talk about one point of plot structuring you brought up.

Frustratingly I expect that Moffat's going to turn around later and make it all about timey bs where at least one of the Doctors/other characters we saw were crossing their own timeline and therefore had information the audience wasn't privy to that justifies all of this. That's a bad way to tell a story Moffat. This is a clusterfuck.

I’m a bit more tolerant of this type of storytelling, but I can tell where it falls down. There are so many things I’m letting slide for the moment because I expect them to be cleared up later. The Doctor seems to be privy to more information than he’s letting on (“I’ve got another lead I’m following”), how and why we got from the end of The Impossible Astronaut to the start of Day of the Moon isn’t at all clear, etc. I suspect there's a lot waiting to be filled in there, but if I’m made to wait too long for answers I might just forget about some of these things that bugged me that never gets resolved. Hoping that I’ll forget about minor inconsistencies because I’ve put my discontent on hold until the major ones get cleared up is not a good thing.

But from what I can see they're symbiotes?

…Yeah. At some point I do want to see some evidence that these guys are more dangerous than digestive bacteria.

Long story short, I have “The Faith”, as you put it, that this will all work out for the best in the end but I’ll be hella pissed if that faith is abused.
alex_e_smith: sandwichalexwearspants on May 8th, 2011 01:21 am (UTC)
Why do fly aliens have earpieces on board in Planet of the Dead? I had to wiki that episode, I'd forgotten it completely. And I know, there's a lot of ridiculous nonsensical stuff in Who that doesn't seem to fit necessarily. I think it's the interaction of human and alien that always trips me up, and this one just was a dealbreaker and I couldn't resist commenting on it. It amused me, in a boggling way. I couldn't be scared because I just stared at them wondering how they got dressed in the morning. Also I want that fanart I really really do.

Yeah, that's cool, I think that you can discuss what happened and whether there's a precedent for it in a purely 'has this action or its equivalent occurred before' sense, but what that means and whether it's a positive/excusable is very much coloured by individual perspective.

Mmmn, yeah, I'm really not good with that kind of storytelling? It's ok in things like Big Bang because you know it's going to be resolved in the next episode, similarly in the old six-parters, sometimes an episode would wander off entirely and it'd all be a bit 'what' but there's an implicit promise there that by the end of that story-arc the plot will be wrapped up, and you knew how many episodes that would take. I think this series makes me uncomfortable because it's so openended. Moffat's made no guarantees that he's going to fulfil this any time soon, or even at all. I mean he's had the River thing running for seasons now and he didn't tie up everything from last season either, he kept that ticking over too. And that's not a story telling style I prefer? It makes me uneasy when it's big, plot integral things that are left hanging (instead of say, throwaway things like Ace being in that painting in Silver Nemesis), where if the show got cancelled tomorrow we'd just never know. I never watched Lost simply because I don't like that kind of structure, and it's traditionally not what I expect from Who? It's especially difficult when he's showing what (to me) is really unpleasant characterisation and I'm sitting through it week after week hoping that in hindsight it'll be ok? I don't want to suffer through it the first time so I can enjoy on a rewatch, if that makes sense.

And yeah, I don't think I used the term 'the faith', but I know what you mean. I've just been cock-teased one too many times to be certain that this'll turn out, so I'm more wary and it's frustrating. But I'm glad you're able to hold on? It's good to be able to enjoy your show at a structural level.
a_final_hit on October 8th, 2011 04:54 am (UTC)
I love this. So much. And favoriting.

"No Doctor before Eleven has ever done something so cold as to turn every human into a murderer, to give them no choice, and to never let them know. And that's disgusting. He shouldn't be laughing and crowing, he should be the man who can come up with the Dream Lord, and the audience should be able to see it. "