[personal profile] elvenjaneite
So, I feel the need to blather on about the second half of the latest Doctor Who series. I'm putting it behind a cut, both to save those of you who don't care, and because of spoilers (sweetie).

I will say this though: I think these six episodes may have been the strongest collection of Who eps since the new version started. Individually they're not perfect, but taken as a whole they're pretty amazing.

Also, did you all see those McDonald's ads for lemonade that ready "Pucker up, sweetie"? I couldn't help 1) hearing them in River's voice and 2) wondering if someone in the McDonald's advertising team is a secret Who fan.

1. "Let's Kill Hitler"
So I was super worried, both from the title of the episode and from the previews, that this was going to be a throw-away, a diversion from the main plot. I loved the fact that it wasn't and, in fact, turned out to be a huge plot point! I called that Mels was Melody--the name, the car, the attitude, the gun--but I wasn't bothered by that and I loved the way it played out. Also, one of the big things that I noticed in these episodes was the way they related back to Silence in the Library/Forests of the Dead, which are two of my favorite episodes besides being the ones that introduce River. Here, it was the fact that watching Melody-River (Melody in River's body, to put it a different way) was incredibly painful. It gave a new insight into the way River reacts when faced with a Doctor who isn't her Doctor yet.

2. "Night Terrors"
This was probably the least strong of the set. It was fine episode and I would have liked it in place of the pirate episode in the first half (sorry, I just really didn't like the pirate episode). However, it felt out of place amidst the unified plot and themes of the other six.

3. "The Girl Who Waited"
I absolutely loved this. It's true that the premise at the beginning is a bit thin, even for Who. (How many times have they ended up in the wrong place or time at the beginning of an episode?) However, it was beautifully shot and I thought the acting from all three (four?) was amazing. I was surprised by how strongly I was affected (yes, there were lots of tears) and how much I wanted Old Amy to get her wish, even as I knew she wasn't going to. Though it didn't directly relate to the overarching plot, it felt of a piece with the rest.

4. "The God Complex"
The beginning was just proper scary Who. The end...you guys, I started crying when they see Little Amelia and I don't think I stopped. I do have sort of a problem, I suppose, which is that the Doctor "breaks" Amy's trust in him, and yet that has no consequences outside of this episode--of course we hardly see her until the last episode, but I still wanted to this to be addressed. However, the whole end of this made me so sad, and yet it was a good sad. I think the moment that sums it up for me is the Doctor calling Amy, Amy Williams. Rory being Mr. Pond has been a great joke through the series, but it's not quite true anymore. Incidentally, I wonder if we do see the Doctor's fear, in the very last shot of the episode. Though that doesn't jive very well with the Cloister bell ringing. Thoughts?

5. "Closing Time"
I wasn't super wild about The Lodger last series, so I liked this one but didn't love it. Great acting from Matt Smith and some nice funny moments, but for me the ending tipped over from "this is ridiculous, but that's okay" into just "this is ridiculous!" I mean, he beats the Cybermen with love. Feel free to disagree, but this went back into that silly RTD "everyone believe in the Doctor!" territory for me.

6. "The Wedding of River Song"
Okay, I have a lot to say about this one.

It didn't feel like a finale to me. There were no big grand moments, and the plot was surprisingly subdued. Which I'm not complaining about, exactly--it certainly makes a nice change from RTD's rampant triumphalism (especially in s4). I'm still trying to work out exactly what I do think about it. The story did feel a bit mashed, though. It needed 10 minutes to give some pause in the action and fill in some leaps. But I do understand that they only had so long to work with.

I loved River. I've loved her since Silence in the Library/Forests of the Dead. And I've said since the beginning of s5 that whoever else she is and whatever else she did, she was someone who loved the Doctor and who (perhaps more importantly) he trusted. That proved true, and the wedding scene had me crying and cheering at the same time. It felt so right to have their relationship validated in a very real, but quirky way.

And part of my tears were because of those SiL/FotD echoes. Those two episodes broke my heart the first time I saw them, when I didn't know River. I do want to watch them again, now that we know more, but it's going to be that much more painful.

I'm really glad though, that the Moff did make this a coherent narrative. River might kill the Doctor, but she is someone that can grow into the River we see in SiL/FotD. That was my greatest fear--that he would write her into someone different and thereby wreck those two episodes. I think he's done the opposite, and that is fantastic.

I do wonder, partly because this episode so self-consciously echoes parts of those first two, if River is partly lying at the end. Because I assume that she does know his name and it makes sense that he would tell her then. And given that she had literally just finished saying that she lies sometimes, well...Though the fact that in this episode he knows what he told her and she doesn't does confuse things a bit.

I've actually been watching s5, and it's funny to notice the Amy/River interactions now, knowing (as River does) who Amy is. I really enjoyed their interactions at the end of this episode and the weird sweetness of their relationship. Also, the moment when Amy realizes she's the Doctor's mother-in-law. :)

It wasn't a perfect episode, but I think it was trying to be something different and yet good, and in that it largely succeeded. I do have a plot problem with the Tesselector, but eh...I generally just try to leave those aside because if you think about them too long, the show sort of falls apart.

Just as a general note--I love how much Eleven is not Ten. It's hard for me to put into words because so much of their characters sound similar. And yet, the way they go about things and the...I don't quite know, the reasoning behind it, maybe, is so different. And yeah, in a lot of ways I do prefer Eleven. Matt Smith is so great at being an old man in a young man's body, and also at being the Doctor. Which means not having to shout it all the time. (I enjoy the moments where he misunderstands something and goes all over the top "I AM THE DOCTOR, NOT THIS DAY NOT EVER" kind of thing, before he realizes what's going on. Heh.)

I'll be interested to see what happens in the next season. Is he getting a new companion? Will River show up in more of a companion role? Will Amy and Rory come and find him? I love Amy and Rory, but I could enjoy a new companion.

And incidentally, I agree with [livejournal.com profile] rj_anderson: Amy looked freaking amazing in this episode! I mean, Karen Gillian is pretty to begin with, but she just looked great.
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