Ok that was ‘Wow’! Eleven is his own crazy, maladjusted, manic Timelord and the Moff has realised that Doctor Who doesn’t have to change; to be reborn and reinvented but in fact in contrast it has to stay the same, the who we know and love, developing, oscillating sometimes thrown for a complete loop the loop but ours, now and always.
‘Flesh and bone’ delivered a classically intense and gripping Doctor Who extravaganza. The Doctor was back at the reigns and there were so many in jokes and nods to the past (well past if you’re living the Doctor’s timeline) that for the first time, Matt Smith not only presented as alien and clueless and as the Emperor of Improvisation but as an incarnation, a 900 year old, face changing, Gallifreyian with a frayed rebel heart.
For once he was 10, he was 9 and the experience of long life was tangible in his reactions and imaginings. What are any of us if we don’t learn from our past? I guess doomed to devour and regurgitate time, rewrite it over and over only with more grey hairs and gravitacious, womanly lady lumps or manly hmmm…bloody men they just become distinguished but “NO!” as the Doctor often says “Onwards?”. And that’s the goal isn’t it? Moving forwards, remembering the backwards and appreciating the present.
Admittedly seeing aspects of both 9 and 10 by the device of in lines and facial expression makes me feel all warm and bubbly inside like death is not the end especially for my 10 (sorry but though I’m finally loving the show again, David Tennant is still my Doctor!). This is especially effective when you bring back brilliant characters from old Doctors like the effervescent River Song.
At the end on the beach, is it just me or did Matt Smith have the big ears of 9 and the messy hair of 10? And Amy? Oh Amy, Amy, Amy and Moffat oh oh Amy having the temporal significance of Donna (nice nod to RTD there), the charisma and passion of Rose and the wit to actually say something of Martha.
That scene in the forest/oxygenation chamber – and how cool was that by the way, very Narnia, with the angels surrounding a blind Amy – wow! I mean I feel alone and vulnerable when I’m trying to sneak down the stairs in the dark and my stairs are familiar, not in an alien techno-nature forest on a hunk of damaged metal with uber scary yet angelic assassins on the lose. I don’t think I breathed for a full 5minutes!
I love that we finally got to actually see the angels move and so well done and there we stand apart from the characters who literally can never see them in motion, very creepy watching animation in the conventionally inanimate!
So many brilliant lines, here to list just a few:
Doctor: “I made him say comfy chairs”
“Get a life Bob!”
Octavian: “Do you trust this man?”
River: “I completely trust this man.”
Oct: “So his not just some mad man?”
River: “I completely trust this man.”
Amy: “What wrong with me?”
River: “Nothing you’re fine.”
Doctor: “Everything you’re dying!”
The only (Weeeelllll…I say only…) fault I found was the audio during the Doctor’s techno-babbling. Did anyone else think you couldn’t make him out enough and that the otherwise quite humorous and tried and tested “Doctor talks to get himself out of trouble” scenario, in this case losing the jacket he nicked on the way (Oh clothes that reminds – didn’t like that he didn’t keep 10’s suit nor that we didn’t see the wardrobe room, but I don’t know, I guess I imagine that his massive walk in closet has impractically long technicolour knit scarves somewhere in it and dorky cricket gear and creaky old leather jackets…oops rambling tangent anyway where was I?) yeah that scene didn’t work as well as it could for me and without iplayer having loaded the subtitles yet actually everything up until the forest was a bit garbled and rushed but also plodding!
The episode soon got back on track though with the first emotional Doctor scene that Matt has had the fun to play and oh what a scene?
One thing I’ve always loved about the Doctor is the number of emotions he can shift through in one episode and FaB was great for that and none better than the first signs of heart. The Doctor taking time when there wasn’t time to realise the terrible, individual fears and anxieties of one young woman and provide her comfort, though we need did hear what she was supposed to remember.
Amy, the saucy, modern minx! Jack would love her! Loved the idiocy of the clueless Doctor who could solve the Stasis Paradigm if he could be arsed but doesn’t recognise flirting and innuendo. I loved that they included that. Oh I know there’ll be a lot of nah sayers, next thing we know DW will be shoved post water shed but it was so much more realistic. I mean you’ve just survived an extremely traumatic, adrenalin packed adventure and really who wouldn’t fancy the Doctor, it is psychologically predictable and right that companions should think like humans so thank you Stephen for embracing modernity and reality.
(Wow this diatribe’s all over the place) Antikudos however on the gung-ho, over sentimentalised, American, patriotic, Hallmark, and clichéd, noble death exchange:
“I wish I’d got to know you better.”
“I think you know me at my best.” (Anyone else see the ephemeral philharmonic orchestra behind them, very Homeric and just a tad homoerotic – oh I’m just getting cynical in my spinsterdom!)
Later all the emotion and love of every Doctor who adventure was brought back to me in River’s one line, “You, me, handcuffs, must it always end up this way?” In that moment I relived the anguish of bondaged Ten and admired the otherworldliness of the poker faced Eleven and glimpsed the vast complexity of Time Travel.
Then the hint, the hint that the whole episode was balanced and teasing out that of Dr. River Song? “You killed a man?” I love the arrogance of the Timelord that he would be the best man she’d ever known but we all know it’s true. She killed him and once again DW and the Beeb tease us with the question that David Tennant said he repeatedly got asked from the moment he joined the show, “When are you going to regenerate?” and once again the Doctor knows he’s going to die….(pause for poignant realisation)..But NOT THIS TIME! NO! HA! “Time can be rewritten!”