Thursday, 28 August 2014

Doctor who: Deep breath

I am so over Doctor Who that I can't even be bothered to do a proper review / deconstruction of Saturday's Season 8 premier, but that's not going to stop me ranting about a few things.

Firstly, how is it that even in the very first episode they failed to create a coherent plot? Perhaps I missed a few salient details when I was rolling my eyes, but if the robots were incapable of functioning at all when the humans weren't breathing, how come nobody said "Hey, guys, we're slightly outnumbered here so if it starts to get overwhelming, just hold your breath for a bit to give yourself a break, maybe back away from the pointy arms a touch"? How come Clara thought it was important to keep moving slowly and awkwardly like a robot while she held her breath, given that the robots were only awoken in the first place by hers and the Doctor's breathing? How come they didn't just - I don't know - hold their breath, leg it to the magic sofa-lift, and get out?

And don't even get me started on the 'kiss' between Madame Vastra and Jenny. It makes me sick to think of Moffat patting himself on the back for his peak time lesbian kiss, easily dismissed in case any dinosaurs start complaining, "what? of course not, they had to put their mouths together to share oxygen! it's perfectly acceptable family viewing!" Their constant harping on about being married does not stack up against that little trick, nor against Vastra's about-face on Clara's "judgement" of the Doctor.

To recap: When Clara is expressing concern about the 'new' Doctor, saying that she doesn't know him anymore, Vastra demands her veil, telling the room that she's among "strangers". Clara goes to speak to her, and Vastra tells her (not unreasonably) that Clara is being unfair, and that she should know that the Doctor is the same person, despite his wrinkly old face. Clara is terribly offended, and rants angrily for a while, finishing with "just because my pretty face has turned your head, so not assume that I am so easily distracted!" Instead of shooting this down as the lazily queerphobic bullshit it is, Vastra removes her veil, telling Clara that she hasn't really removed it, but that Clara has finally stopped seeing it. 

This is monumentally insulting. It's predictable that one of Moffat's two queer characters fancies Clara (the only other woman on the show), because Moffat probably can't imagine queer women who have tastes and preferences, and who don't fancy a random woman simply because she's pretty. This, however, is the lesser crime here: worse is that Madame Vastra, who has been written as a straightforward, intelligent and ethical character, apparently has lost perspective because she has a crush. Her removal of her veil is an admittance of her capitulation to Clara's version of events. I was hoping that she would shoot Clara's nasty little jab down, pointing out Clara's arrogance in committing the same logical fallacy that straight men do when they assume that gay men fancy ALL men, purely because they're men, and that would have been a pleasing way of dealing with the situation. But no, of course not, of course the queer woman fancies Clara, because who wouldn't fancy Clara? That's the whole point of Clara. 

I had other things to say, but I'm too mad. I'll just mention this, though: apparently, Peter Capaldi's Doctor refused to have a flirtatious relationship with Clara. I read about this before the series started and was quite hopeful, but from the first episode, it looks like since they can't have the Doctor and the Assistant flirting, they will just make everybody talk about flirting all. the. time. And other people flirt with each other. And ramp up some 'sexual tension' between Clara and Vastra, oh, and throw in another mad vampish dominatrix type to be all obsessed with the doctor. 

As Twelve says, tediously, during the episode, BORING. Come on Moffat, for goodness sake. Learn some new tricks.

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