Sunday, May 3, 2015

Aragon vs. Anderson: Let's Kill Hitler




Author's Note: Before I put in my traditional intro to these spoofs, I should state that I believed A Good Man Goes to War and the following episode Let's Kill Hitler were a two-part story.  This was due to the "To Be Continued..." bit at the end and because Steven Moffat wrote both.  I now think I might have been wrong, but don't feel the need to change that.  Therefore, there is only one review for these two stories under the umbrella title of River's Secret Parts 1 & 2

Now that I have a few minutes free, I thought I'd go back to one of my great passions...bashing The Whorist (or as it's generally known, The Nerdist), in particular their Doctor Who reviews by one Kyle Anderson.

Mr. Anderson (now doesn't that sound sinister) in my view, has rarely if ever met a Doctor Who post-Rose story that he hasn't loved.  I don't mean liked.  I mean L-O-V-E-D, to where that particular episode is the Best Doctor Who Episode of All Time...until the next episode when THAT becomes the Best Doctor Who Episode of All Time.  It's gotten to be almost a point of parody to see how Anderson rarely finds fault with a Doctor Who episode.  I don't mean just to nitpick on a few things.  I mean give a bona-fide negative review.  Even I, someone who has been vociferous in my condemnation for many NuWho episodes, do admit when I see a good one (like Flatline or Mummy on the Orient Express).  Anderson, however, will almost always find something to wax rhapsodic about, even on something as atrocious as In the Forest of the Night

I was intrigued by this, so a little research was required.  I went as far back as I could regarding Anderson's Doctor Who reviews, and the earliest one I could find was the Series/Season Six opener, The Impossible Astronaut.  What I've done is taken Kyle Anderson's review verbatim, and offered my own 'translation' to the text to see what Anderson is, in my view, really saying.  I also throw in my own thoughts as to what is being said.

I hope this will be a fun and informative journey into the strange mind of the Functioning Nerd.

I present Part 5.2 of The Nerdist as Whore: Let's Kill Hitler* .  My 'translations' are in red.




You have to love a show that isn’t afraid to do something different, and Doctor Who in the Moffat era certainly does things differently.
 
You have to hate a show that isn't afraid to destroy all that came before, and Doctor Who in the Moffat era certainly does things destructively.

Expositional episodes are a necessary evil of season-spanning arcs, but there are ways to do this in an unboring way. While some shows give you an info-dump of people talking in a room (*cough* Torchwood *cough*), others surround exposition with off-the-wall craziness.
 
Instead of trying to integrate exposition into the story (which a good writer would do) or go the easy route and basically tell you things (a Torchwood flaw), we're going to throw things in a clearly bonkers way.
 
It’s pretty clear from watching “Let’s Kill Hitler” that the Moff sat down and said, “Okay, I want to answer a whole bunch of River Song-related questions; how can I do that in the most outlandish way possible? Hmm.”
 
Never trust a reviewer who refers to the person he's reviewing by a cutesy nickname.  It suggest the reviewer is partial/prejudiced towards his subject, more a fan than a, what was it, 'analytical critic'.  It's pretty clear from watching Let's Kill Hitler that "The Moff" sat down and said, "Okay, I want to expand on the unimportant self-important character of River Song and make her the focus of Doctor Who; how can I do that in the most outlandish way possible?  Hmm."
 
And it’s true; we get all kinds of answers about River Song and wrapped up a few mysteries from “The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon,” but we also get shrink rays, shape-shifting robots, and Rory punching Hitler in the face.
 
It's not true; we got all kinds of nonsense about River Song and muddied up more about both her and the show, but we also get shrink rays, shape-shifting robots, and Rory punching Hitler in the face.  In short, a whole pile of steaming shit. 
 
Oh, Doctor Who, I sure did miss you.

Oh, Doctor Who, I sure do wish they'd cancel you.

I usually like to save the things I didn’t like about the episode for the end of the review, but since it began the episode, I see no reason not to lead with it. The whole “Mels” idea is really, really stupid.

I usually like to throw a few negative comments to suggest that I'm writing a balanced review, but since something so stupid that even I couldn't go along with it began the episode, I see no reason why not to start.  The whole "Mels" idea is really, really stupid (even for me).

Sorry, Moffat, good try, didn’t work for me. Felt like a cop out. She’s Melody Pond’s second (I’m assuming) iteration after we saw her regenerate at the end of “Day of the Moon,” and so we’re supposed to believe that Madame Kovarian & Co. spent huge amounts of time cultivating this plan, a human/Time Lord hybrid to kill their sworn enemy, the Doctor, but instead of waiting until she’s a grown up and sending her to kill him at some various point in his history, she’s just allowed to go grow up with her own parents on the off-chance that the Doctor might come back?

Sorry, Moffat, it was inexplicably bad, and if it didn't work for me, can you imagine for those who don't suck up to "The Moff"?  It was beyond a cop-out.  It was obvious, idiotic, and nonsensical. 

First, she would be Melody WILLIAMS (why do people insist on going along with this "Pond" nonsense?), and we now have to accept that humans (or human/Time Lord hybrids) can regenerate. Second, this would not be her second iteration after we saw her regenerate at the end of Day of the Moon.  The dialogue from that episode clearly states that it's happened before.  How many times before we don't know, but the little girl from Day of the Moon (who is the future River Song) apparently regenerated before (otherwise she wouldn't be conscious of the transition.)  I think I'm going to get ahead of myself, but I ask for a little leeway.

OK, let's go over some things here.  Sydney Wade, the little girl from Day of the Moon, was between nine and ten when she was on the episode.  "Mels" (how clever of Moffat to point out how close this name was to "Melody", who in turn was the Pond/Williams' own daughter River Song) grew up with her own parents.  That means that somehow, the little girl would have to a.) travel from New York, where she regenerated, to Scotland, b.) regenerate into a baby to match the ages of Amy and Rory, and c.) maintained control over her aging process as she, if we go by chronology, would have been old enough to be her own mother's mother by the time Amy and Rory themselves were born. 

Let's remember that the little girl regenerated around January 1970 or December 1969 at the earliest if we're generous (the regeneration having taken place six months after the Egg Landing on July 20, 1969).  Amy and Rory were clearly born in the 1980s, a good ten years minimum from their 'daughter's' regeneration.  How would "Mels"/Melody/River be able to control her own regeneration to that degree?  What would be the chances of her growing up with her own parents (and being a constant source of trouble for them)?  No one, not even I, Kyle Anderson, who usually happily goes along with a lot of nonsense because you wrote it,  can possibly give a rational answer as to how someone who regenerated in 1969/1970 New York could then regenerate at an unknown time from a little girl to apparently a baby in 1980s Scotland with a gap between the two where we know nothing of what came between.

OK, on the baby thing, maybe she wasn't one when she met her mother (and sperm donor), but she still would have had to have been close to their age.  She also, despite what we saw, have somehow to be conscious of the fact that she could regenerate.  It can't be a surprise to someone who by her own admission in a regeneration prior, is fully aware of it.

Or am I missing too much?       

They’re from the future, they would know exactly when he’d come back, which we saw in “The Eleventh Hour,” and she’d have been there waiting for him. But not only does she completely seem to miss the events of that episode, the one where giant EYEBALL THINGS come from the sky and say stuff about destroying the Earth, we’ve never even heard of Mels until just now, when we see a ridiculous set of flashbacks showing us she’s been there all the time, but just out of our frame of knowledge.

The Moff just forgot his own already convoluted timeline in order to give us some sort of wild twist.  He thought he could paper over things by suggesting that this "Mels" was there all along, even though she never showed up or was mentioned until now, because he thinks his audience is stupid.  Normally we are, but sometimes he goes one too far for even us to accept.   

And just because the Doctor comments on never having heard of her, it’s still not okay. Mentioning how it doesn’t make sense isn’t the same as it making sense.

And just because the Doctor comments on never having heard of her, it's still not okay.  Pointing out the obvious is not the same as providing an actual answer. 

And “Mels,” for some reason, wants to go kill Hitler… Why? Just so there can be the title line, “Let’s Kill Hitler.” End of. Explanation over. Just for the ever-loving fuck of it.

Dear God, this is too stupid even for me.  She wants to kill Hitler because...she wants to kill Hitler?  Even I, most sycophantic of creatures, can see through something so patently stupid that I'd lose what little credibility I have by not pointing out the fallacy of all this.  We don't get an explanation for something we know will never happen (here's a spoiler, Hitler wasn't killed), and this time, I'm really angry that I don't get an explanation for things. 

It would have been much more likely, and less hokey, if they’d have just accidentally crash-landed in Berlin in 1938 because she shot the TARDIS (which I rolled my eyes at, but whatever, it’s fine) and then they could have gotten mixed up with the tiny pilots of the robot people and that, which is something I thought was a neat idea.

I could come up with a better way to get Hitler into this story.  We could get something like we did back in the early days of Doctor Who, when the Doctor would find himself involved in the past by accident, like in that almost forgotten story The Aztecs (something we NuWhovians wouldn't bother with because it's in black-and-white...and no one really remembers anyway).

However, to please my Lord and Master, his little robot people was a great idea. 

I’m not just crapping on Moff’s parade to be contrary;

I'm just crapping on Moff's parade because a broken clock is right twice a day, and this is my time of day.

it just seemed like a huge convenience to explain something he didn’t feel like thinking about anymore.

Even Moffat got tired of building up this legend of River Song, a secondary character that could have worked but which he got too enamored of.  A lot of Let's Kill Hitler was extremely convenient.

I LOVE the idea of seeing Melody Pond in an earlier regeneration, and some crazy woman coming in and acting River-ish only to reveal she is, in fact, River Song herself earlier in life is fantastic.

I'm into cougars (though for me, Grandma Moses is a cougar).  I HATE the idea of seeing Melody Pond (and again, shouldn't it be Melody WILLIAMS?) in an earlier regeneration because...HUMANS CANNOT REGENERATE.  Just because she was conceived by the Power of the Holy TARDIS (aka Moffat declared it so) does not make it plausible, let alone real within the confines of the show.  Wow, some crazy woman coming in and acting River-ish only to reveal she is, in fact, River Song herself earlier in life is beyond stupid. One thing we do learn, though: River Song, regardless of whatever regeneration she is, maintains the same personality: obnoxious bitch.  I guess the idea that the Doctors change personalities a bit at each regeneration kind of goes out the window now, right Moff? 

I just think the entire “Mels” thing was a way of making it so they can stop looking for baby Melody, because, oop, wouldn’t you know it, she’s been safe and sound with her parents the whole time.

I just think the entire "Mels" thing was a way of making it so they can stop looking for baby Melody, because, oop, wouldn't you know it, it would be a waste of time and would turn Doctor Who into The Master (Lee Van Cleef version): every week they search for the girl, only to find she 'just left'.  It's already bad enough that Doctor Who has now become about The Companion, but even the eternal search for River Song would have been too much to bear. 

Anyway, despite all that griping I just did, I actually, overall, quite enjoyed the episode.
 
SHOCKED that Kyle Anderson liked a
Doctor Who episode!

Once the regeneration happened, I was well on board.

Once what was clearly impossible and a destruction of all Canon happened, I was well on board to continue metaphorically rimming Steven Moffat.

The idea of weird future vigilantes driving a shape-shifting robot is pretty brilliant,

The idea of weird future vigilantes driving a shape-shifting robot is pretty brilliant...even if a variation of this idea came from that Eddie Murphy vehicle Meet Dave.

and going back in time to make war criminals experience “hell” is a very interesting notion, though I don’t think I’m crazy about River being a worse offender than Adolf Hitler, implying killing the Doctor is far worse than exterminating millions and millions of innocent people.

Gee, that moral equivalency thing is getting out of hand.  However, I'm now genuinely debating whether one of the most vile, repulsive creatures in history deserves to be compared to Adolph Hitler.  However, if you want to talk about the person who killed the Doctor, I think we need look no further than the current showrunner.  OK, he's not Hitler and there shouldn't be any comparison, but he did kill the Doctor.

Hitler and Berlin itself were completely superfluous, but I guess it was worth it for me simply to have Rory punching Nazis.

Hitler and Berlin itself were completely superfluous, but I guess I won't mind so long as my avatar gets to do something we all have wanted to do.  So what if Hitler in Let's Kill Hitler had nothing to do with the plot?  Weren't you impressed with Rory Pond?
 
No two ways about it, Rory is a badass.
 
 

And what about Matt Smith? He’s nothing short of great.

Oh, was Matt Smith in this?  Hardly noticed given how River Song-centric Let's Kill Hitler was.  Oh, and what about Matt Smith?  He's nothing short of awful.

How difficult must it be to play like you’re slowly dying in agony for half an episode?

It isn't too hard, given the audience has slowly been dying in agony for half an episode.  Then again, I'm pretty sure a good actor can pull it off.  For the moment, we're stuck with Matt Smith, so we get what we can take.

This episode expressed all that the Doctor represents, and it’s his compassion for his friends that allows Melody/River to begin to realize that he might not be such a bad guy after all.

Well, since this is suppose to be one of the great love stories of all time, we have to get it started somehow, but now I do wonder, when exactly is her first meeting with The Doctor?  After all, isn't her first meeting his last?  How long can timey-wimey cover all this?

It also plays up the notion that the Eleventh Doctor, deep down, does not like himself,

Join the club.

as evidenced by the scene in the TARDIS where the voice interface activates using a hologram of himself. This has been hinted at many times over the last season and a half, most notably in my favorite series 5 episode, “Amy’s Choice.”

I liked Amy's Choice, and it was definitely used to great effect via the Dream Lord.  However, bet that thread will get dropped before Smith departs.   

I also liked the going-through of previous companions as holograms and his response that he feels guilty about all of them. The joke maybe only needed to be made once, but you can’t show Rose and then not show Martha and Donna, to be fair. Also, he did the “Doctor Who?” joke. Cute.

Having been a long time since we've seen River's Secret Parts 1 & 2, but I don't remember the previous Companions popping in, so I'm not going to fight this point.  However, did we see Ian or Barbara, or Polly and Ben, Jamie and Zoe, Tegan, Adric, Nyssa, or Ace?  Oh, wait, that was pre-Rose, and who really cares about that?

Also, he did the "Doctor Who?" joke.  Stupid.

The end of the episode featured River transferring all the rest of her regenerative energy (forever and ever it seems) to the Doctor to save him from the poison. That’s another big question answered: If River can regenerate, how come she didn’t regenerate at the end of “Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead?” Cuz she ain’t a Time Lord no mo’. That’s definitely also a plot convenience, but one I can live with.

The end of the episode featured River transferring all the rest of her regenerative energy (forever and ever it seems) to the Doctor to save him from the poison.  That's another big question raised: since when could Time Lords, even human/Time Lord hybrids, transfer their regenerative energy to someone else?  It does make me wonder if this was possible, why didn't the Doctor do this for the Master at the end of Vengeance of The Master Part III (The Last of the Time Lords)?  If he was so weepy about this, why not just sacrifice one of his regenerations for him?  Come to think of it, why didn't he sacrifice one of his regenerations to save Peri in Caves of Androzani, rather than go through all those hoops to get some little elixir to save her? 

Granted, it does give an explanation as to why she didn't regenerate in Forest of the Dead Part 2 (Forest of the Dead), but I think the easiest answer is usually the correct one: no one, not even Steven Moffat, considered River Song a Time Lord, or a human/Time Lord hybrid, when the episodes aired.

It is highly instructive to learn from history.  A quote from Kyle Anderson's Day of the Moon review on the potential identity of the little girl regenerating: "She’s River Song, though that seems less and less likely the more we know about River, i.e. she ain’t a Time Lord." 

How the worm turns.  Now we happily go along with something a few weeks ago, you dismissed out of hand as impossible.  We've gone from "she ain't a Time Lord" to "she ain't a Time Lord no mo'".  

Kyle, buddy, seriously ask yourself this: can River really be a Time Lord?  Does she have two hearts (I doubt she has one, but that's irrelevant)?  Did she in her current state ever give any indication pre-Let's Kill Hitler that the possibility of her being a Time Lord or human(?)/Time Lord hybrid?  Steven Moffat declaring River Song a Time Lord (or human(?)/Time Lord hybrid) doesn't make it so.  No producer can arbitrarily make a declaration that alters Canon to such a degree without providing some logical explanation.  No, being conceived by the Power of the Holy TARDIS isn't an explanation.  It isn't even logical.  Did we get any sense that River was a Time Lord or part-Time Lord in Forest of the Dead Parts 1 & 2?  No. 

Then again, even though you think it's a plot convenience, you'll go along with it because...    

Now, I really doubt her saving the Doctor will entirely undo the brainwashing done to her as a child, but now she has an inner conflict which is quite interesting.

Now, I really doubt we'll touch on much of anything having to do with her brainwashing, a plot point which is now hopelessly in tatters.  Let's see: she grew up with Amy and Rory as an obnoxious and crime-prone black girl (no subtle racism/sexism there) while also being controlled for decades by Madame Kovarian and the Silence simultaneously.  I say "simultaneously" because even accounting for regeneration, can you really go back to being the same age in two different time periods in two different places at the same time?  Remember, "Mels" grew up with Amy and Rory, so it stands to reason that she would be their age, including nine.  Nine is also around the same age the girl in the spacesuit is when she calls for the Doctor and Richard Nixon's help. 

Every time the Doctor has regenerated, he may look younger (or older) than his predecessor, but the ageing process continues (i.e. he doesn't get younger but older).  He isn't Merlin (probably).   If Regeneration A was 456 when he stared, when Regeneration B comes around five years later, he's now 461.  If we accept that the regenerating child in Day of the Moon and Mels are one and the same, then we also have to accept a lot that doesn't hold up.

We have to accept that River is so powerful she can freeze and control the ageing process (even though she herself is not fully aware that she is part-Time Lord, at least I think she isn't aware). 
We have to accept that River can be abducted as a child by a group of aliens plotting the assassination of the Doctor and that she is growing up with her parents at the same time, putting a character in two different places at once.
We have to accept that Time Lords can be created by two humans having sex aboard a TARDIS.     

The sad thing is, though, River has now completely lost all of her mystery.

The sad thing is, though, we won't be able to make up a sensible backstory for River.  She's used goods, and all that fanfiction, not to mention the idea of a sensible explanation for things, kind of went out the window with this nonsensical stab at spectacular. 

We know everything about who she is, where she came from, how she knows the Doctor, and why she’s a criminal. The only thing we don’t know is if she is the person in the astronaut suit who kills him. My instincts say that’s still too easy. We’ll see.

Always listen to your instincts.

“Let’s Kill Hitler” brought Doctor Who back with some continuity-thrashing revelations and some crazy-weird ideas, but for the most part, it was a solid 48 minutes of fun.

Let's Kill Hitler brought Doctor Who back with some continuity-obliterating nonsense that makes a mockery of not only established Canon from the 1960s, but from the revived series as well.  For the most part, I was pleased with 48 minutes of blanket stupidity.  Then again, I would be pleased with 48 minutes of the Indian-head test pattern if it had Doctor Who in the place of Sitting Bull, which in reality would have been better television than Let's Kill Hitler. 

Really glad Doctor Who is back on our telly screens and we can watch and talk about a show that consistently entertains. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I still have Friday’s Torchwood to watch…

Really depressed Doctor Who is back on our "telly" screens (don't I sound so British) and we can watch and talk about a show that consistently enrages and disappoints.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I still have Moffat's check to cash...

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Aragon vs. Anderson: A Good Man Goes to War


Author's Note: Before I put in my traditional intro to these spoofs, I should state that I believed A Good Man Goes to War and the following episode Let's Kill Hitler were a two-part story.  This was due to the "To Be Continued..." bit at the end and because Steven Moffat wrote both.  I now think I might have been wrong, but don't feel the need to change that.  Therefore, there is only one review for these two stories under the umbrella title of River's Secret Parts 1 & 2

Now that I have a few minutes free, I thought I'd go back to one of my great passions...bashing The Whorist (or as it's generally known, The Nerdist), in particular their Doctor Who reviews by one Kyle Anderson.

Mr. Anderson (now doesn't that sound sinister) in my view, has rarely if ever met a Doctor Who post-Rose story that he hasn't loved.  I don't mean liked.  I mean L-O-V-E-D, to where that particular episode is the Best Doctor Who Episode of All Time...until the next episode when THAT becomes the Best Doctor Who Episode of All Time.  It's gotten to be almost a point of parody to see how Anderson rarely finds fault with a Doctor Who episode.  I don't mean just to nitpick on a few things.  I mean give a bona-fide negative review.  Even I, someone who has been vociferous in my condemnation for many NuWho episodes, do admit when I see a good one (like Flatline or Mummy on the Orient Express).  Anderson, however, will almost always find something to wax rhapsodic about, even on something as atrocious as In the Forest of the Night

I was intrigued by this, so a little research was required.  I went as far back as I could regarding Anderson's Doctor Who reviews, and the earliest one I could find was the Series/Season Six opener, The Impossible Astronaut.  What I've done is taken Kyle Anderson's review verbatim, and offered my own 'translation' to the text to see what Anderson is, in my view, really saying.  I also throw in my own thoughts as to what is being said.

I hope this will be a fun and informative journey into the strange mind of the Functioning Nerd.

I present Part 5.1 of The Nerdist as Whore: A Good Man Goes to War* .  My 'translations' are in red.






For an episode where a lot was going on, nothing really happened until the last few minutes.

Yet again another long stretch of filler until the 'big reveal' at the end.  Just like last time. 

An entire hour to set up a situation so outlandish and insane that when we get to it, won't make much if any sense.  I get orgasms through Moffat. 

Yes, I said the same thing last week but given how we did the same thing over again figure why not repeat it. 

“A Good Man Goes to War,” the mid-series finale of Doctor Who, was full of action and cool new characters, but there wasn’t, strictly speaking, a “plot.”

This episode was just a lot of running around and cool lights (and a hot Karen Gillan) but there was no actual story.  Who needs story when you've got Karen Gillan and Alex Kingston looking all hot and smug respectively?

Yet this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

All cool.  I don't need a 'plot' on Doctor Who.  It's not suppose to make sense anyway.  It's British. 

The whole episode was leading to the big reveal at the end, indeed a game-changer like Moffat had been saying all along, which worked well, I think.

As I said, a whole hour for a big set up.  Moffat gave us a 'big twist' all right, which didn't work well, but I don't think.  I have my thoughts created by "The Moff".  Actually, I don't think it worked well at all, but I can't say that out loud for fear that a man shorter than me will cut me off from the whoredom I so nakedly seek. 

Truth be told, this episode did not need to be about a grand plot or a timey-wimey event. This episode was all about characters and how characters relate to and perceive the Doctor, and how he perceives himself. To do an episode like that as the midseason finale was a bold choice, especially for Steven Moffat, whose whole bag has been complex plots and stuff.

Truth be told, this episode could have been about monkeys throwing feces at each other for a whole hour and I would have thought it the Citizen Kane of television.  This episode was all about how Steven Moffat can make the simple complex, the sensible idiotic, and a good sci-fi show all about his own ideas of his own genius (which I happily support). 

And still, questions ARE answered in a satisfactory way.

And still, questions ARE NOT answered in a satisfactory way.

At the beginning of the episode, we know Amy and child, called Melody, are being held by Eye Patch Lady, who is leading the Clerics, militarized Anglicans whom we last saw in “Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone.” The Eye Patch Lady’s name is “Madame Kovarian,” but I’m going to keep calling her Eye Patch Lady.


At the beginning of the episode, we get a throwback to a previous episode, showing how "The Moff" thinks far ahead and plots things so well he'll forget where he was.  The character now has a name, but I'm not going to bother remembering it because it really is irrelevant. 

There’s a moment in the prologue, while Amy is telling Melody they’ll all be okay because her father is coming to save them, that we think yet again she’s talking about the Doctor,

So who here thought she really was talking about The Doctor?  I sure wasn't.  It would invalidate the entire idea that Amy loved Rory (which Anderson went on about in The Doctor' Wife).  And what does he mean by 'yet again'?  Did this happen before and I just slept through it? 

but, of course, it’s Rory.

But of course.  Who else?

Rory, The Last Centurion. Moffat loves creating heroes, real proper superheroes, and I think it’s really great that Rory went from a sad sack, a pushover, to literally being awesome enough to stand up to a fleet of Cybermen. Also, the fact that Cybermen are in this episode simply as a way for Rory to look badass is pretty cool.

Moffat loves creating idiots, real proper idiots, and since I identify with Rory, I have to say it's genius.  Also, the fact that Cybermen are in this episode simply as a way for Rory to look badass is pretty stupid.  So what if they serve no plot purpose...oh, I forgot: there is no plot in A Good Man Goes to War.  Also, who thinks Arthur Darvill could ever pass for 'badass'?

I like Rory.





The Clerics have a whole army waiting for the Doctor, and they’ve even brought in the Headless Monks, who are basically Jedi with no heads. They don’t make sense.

Great minds steal.  Remember what I said about Doctor Who making sense.  It's not.  However, even I question this bit. 

Are we supposed to believe that their faith is so strong they can exist without heads? If that’s the case, how do their hoods stay up? Don’t say “the Force,” because that’s your answer for everything.

Star Wars fans can be just as stupid as Doctor Who fans, only they use 'The Force' to explain things away versus Whovians 'timey-wimey' plot contrivance.

We’re also introduced to Lorna Bucket, a cleric who has met the Doctor before when she was a child.

Is her father named...Charlie?



Lorna Bucket?  Seriously?!  Oh HELL NO!

I've always felt Moffat listens to music when he writes, which is why he comes up with remarkably ridiculous things.  However, maybe he wasn't listening to Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory while writing this.  Maybe he was thinking of something else...

Lorna's Grandmother?


She doesn’t want the Doctor to be harmed, but this is the only way she can think of to see him again. Kind of a dumb plan if you ask me, but it works. Lorna is another in a long line of companions who never were.

Oh look, another plot device in a story that has no plot.  It is a dumb plan, but it has to happen because Moffat can't come up with anything better.  Who wants to sign a petition to make Lorna Bucket the next Companion? 

While they wait impatiently, the Doctor is compiling his own army, comprised of people who owe him a debt. I feel like the Doctor wouldn’t collect debts because he wouldn’t keep track of them. “Favors for favors” doesn’t seem to be his bag, but it’s really just a means of getting more cool characters together.

I feel this is another dumb decision to shoehorn characters into the story.  It may be out of character for the Doctor to do what he does, but Doctor Who is whatever Steven Moffat says Doctor Who is, and I cannot question it.  Steven Moffat is the Rod Serling of Our Generation and I will always defend him no matter what, even if he came out in praise of Stalin or The Islamic State.  "Favors for favors" is really just a means to get characters we've never met into this. 

How else would we get a Silurian samurai from the 1880s and her human life partner and a helpful Sontaran in the same place at the same time?

I don't question the logic of same-sex interspecies romance.  Note that I didn't bother to learn the names of the Silurian samurai from the 1880s and her human life partner, but who cares?  It's not like we'll be seeing them anytime soon.  Only an idiot would think they've achieved Doctor Who Icon status after just one episode, right?  We need more same-sex bestiality on family television.

He also recruits Dorium Maldovar, the big, bald, blue guy whom River barters with briefly in “The Pandorica Opens.” He definitely does not want to go fight, but he does, evidently because he also owes the Doctor something.

And what about River? Rory goes to collect her, on her birthday *wink wink*, right after the Doctor had taken her to the early 1800s and had Stevie Wonder sing to her.

All on the same day?  I would have thought Elton John would be a better fit.  He could sing her theme song, The Bitch is Back.  At least Stevie Wonder has the excuse of being blind, but why of all the women in the universe would the Doctor fancy THIS? 



You can't see me right now, but I'm beating myself like crazy over a woman old enough to be my mother.  So let's spend a few minutes talking about this dirty River.  

Doctor Who managed to do quite nicely for a good forty-plus years without this obnoxious creature who now is the center of attention.  What exactly IS it about River Song that people like?  That she's a smug know-it-all who thinks catchphrases equal a great character?  A woman whom we're told is highly intelligent and whom the Doctor thinks the world of when her only attributes is to flirt like your drunk aunt and spout gibberish?  I cannot believe that with such women in the Doctor's life as Romana he'd think RIVER would be the ideal life-partner.  Ugh, why does it have to be all about River?  Oh yes, Steven Moffat created her, so it's an avatar: it's all about him. 

River is visibly stunned to see Rory and tells him she can’t go with him, because this is the day the Doctor finds out who she is. More on that later. Spoilers.

Oh aren't I clever?  See what I did there? 

I like and have always liked the idea of teams of good guys and moreover the idea of recruiting them. This episode really felt like Doctor Who’s answer to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (the book, of course, not the abomination of a film they made).

That movie was such crap even I can't dress it up.

The Doctor himself doesn’t actually appear for 19 minutes, and he does with a boom. The Eleventh Doctor has an interesting way of dealing with large threats which is to act like he doesn’t give a shit.

"Interesting" is code.  The Eleventh Doctor has a stupid way of dealing with large threats which is to act like an idiot who is unaware of how things work.

He’s supremely confident and doesn’t need to bluster or shout (until later). Maybe slightly too confident? He almost immediately makes the Clerics look like fools, despite their persistent assurances that they are not, and his “army” takes control of Demons Run in 3min 42sec.

We could have ended all this quickly, but we needed forty more minutes to fill.  And if the Doctor is an idiot, imagine what kind of enemies he must have if HE was able to defeat them.

While I can totally buy and enjoy the fact that the Doctor can gather a Silurian samurai and a Sontaran nurse, I have a hard time believing he’d be able to mobilize an entire legion of Silurian warriors and Judoon officers just like that. It’s a cool visual, but the logistics of it are a bit off.

I can't buy and enjoy the fact that the Doctor can gather a Silurian samurai and a Sontaran nurse (note I haven't named the Silurian samurai because the character was so unimportant no one needs to remember what its name is). I have a hard time accepting more of the premise.  It has pretty pictures, but like a lot of Moffat, doesn't make sense.  Did I mention the pretty pictures? 

I liked the small throwback to “The Curse of the Black Spot” with the quick shot of Captain Avery and Toby implying that his ship of space pirates has taken control of Eye Patch Lady’s ship.

I liked the shout-out to an episode I myself called 'underwhelming'. 

I did NOT appreciate the return of the Spitfires in space from “Victory of the Daleks.”

WOW!  A Doctor Who episode Kyle Anderson didn't like?!  I AM genuinely shocked.  Still, I think there's a 'negative' review quota Anderson has to fill to show he's not a sycophant, and curiously, I was unable to find his Victory of the Daleks review. 

I can maybe, MAYBE, understand Spitfires in space in the context of that episode because they’re pretty close to Earth, but here they’re light years away and hundreds of years in the future. Did the Doctor fit both of those Spitfires in the TARDIS? And where do they go once they’ve blown up the communications array? Anyway, hairs split.

Oh yes, the Spitfires showing up was beyond stupid, but things like logic or continuity are not things I think about when watching Doctor Who, especially if Moffat writes the episode.  This man is a genius (and my Overlord) so I'm going to jump on that and I'll let it slide because I'm an 'analytical critic'. So what if it doesn't make any sense whatsoever.  Hair splits. 

One of my favorite scenes happens when the Doctor tells Col. Manton to leave, in what has come to be known as “The Col. Runaway Speech.” Matt Smith is truly wonderful in this moment and it displays this Doctor’s short temper quite nicely.

Another damn speech created to appeal to NuWhovians.  Is that ALL Moffat can do?  Matt Smith is truly awful in this moment, attempting to be important but unaware how his characterization has undercut the Doctor's authority.  Granted, he's an actor who does what the script and director say, so he's not totally responsible.  Still, when you come off looking like a goofball, it's hard to take you seriously.

I am, however, growing slightly tired of him always saying “That’s new,” after he experiences some emotion. He’s not Data, he can emote once in a while. It worked in “The Doctor’s Wife” because he truly didn’t know what to do which he surely never felt before, but he’s angry ALL THE TIME, why would he be surprised at being angry?

Repetitive, repetitive, repetitive.  They've turned the Doctor not only into an idiot, but into a useless one.  I'm the opposite: I'm at least a useful idiot. 

It’s been hinted at a lot lately that the Doctor, above and beyond being a time-traveling do-gooder, is the most feared thing in the universe. Last year’s “The Pandorica Opens” illustrated this beautifully, with a combined group of all of the Doctor’s worst foes banding together to stop him.

Why the Daleks would join forces with ANYONE has never been specifically answered, especially given that with this golden opportunity to destroy him once and for all, they decided just to lock him up.  No wonder the Daleks kept losing.

Now, it seems, it goes beyond his stable of monsters. The Clerics and Eye Patch Lady seemingly have no reason to fear the Doctor other than that he is something to be feared.

The Clerics and Madame Kevorkian...Kovarian...I Don't Care... seemingly have no reason to fear the Doctor other than plot contrivances.   

There’s a moment when Lorna mentions that to her people, the word “Doctor” means “Great Warrior” because of their brief time with him. He has to come to grips with the fact that, while he always tries to do good from his and our point of view, he’s universally known as a threat.

Except on Earth, where Martha went on and on about how many times the Doctor has saved the invasion-prone planet in her "I Do Believe in Doctors" Speech. 

It’s like Richard Matheson’s original novel I Am Legend, where (SPOILERS) at the end the lead character is captured by the vampire people and accepts execution because, to them, HE is the monster. The Doctor is being forced to accept the same thing. To the Daleks, Cybermen, and, I guess, the Clerics, he is the monster. I think he’ll start to make amends for this soon.

Don't hold your breath.  How exactly will the Doctor make amends to the Daleks?  He spared them from being destroyed in Genesis of the Daleks!  Personally, I'd take being a monster to these evil creatures as a badge of honor, but what would I know?  I don't have an 'analytical critic's mind', just average intelligence.

Everything seems fine very quickly and Amy and Rory are reunited with their daughter Melody Pond.

Oh how well I remember how Amy basically dismissed the father's role in his own daughter's life by stripping her of the one thing he gave her and brought into her life: his surname.  Amy's kind of a bitch, isn't she?  I mean, she just told off her baby daddy by saying in essence 'screw you, she's taking MY last name so everyone thinks she's a bastard rather than take YOUR name because I say so and that's how it's going to be, Mr. "Pond".  I also like how much of a milquetoast our 'badass' character was by not standing up for himself and telling off this loony bird.  Oh yeah, Rory Williams, Last Centurion, can intimidate an entire fleet of Cybermen but can't stand up to one redhead.  Real badass there.

Like mother, like daughter I guess...   

There’s a very funny exchange with the Doctor where we learn that he speaks baby (of course he does),

Didn't we already establish that the Doctor 'speaks baby'?  Oh look, more example of the Doctor being an idiot.  Can anyone picture Pertwee's Doctor saying he 'speaks baby'?  Of course, the worse is yet to come... 

and he gives them his cot from when he was a baby.

Which he would have because...

They won! The Doctor begins to learn what they’d been doing to Melody. Apparently, because Melody was conceived on the TARDIS, she was born with some sort of strange time-energy in her DNA, which it seems the Eye Patch Lady has been enhancing for quite some time. So the child is partially Time Lord, which makes sense in context, but we never knew it could happen.

Melody "Pond" was conceived by the Power of the Holy TARDIS. 

What an extraordinary coincidence that Amy and "Mr. Pond" happened to do the nasty while inside the TARDIS.  Just imagine what could have happened if they had done it in the back seat of a Ford Mustang.  Melody would have turned into a HORSE!  If they'd done it on the beach, she would have turned into a crab.  Yeah, of course being conceived inside the TARDIS would give you Time Lord DNA.  Makes perfect sense.  I wonder why we never knew it could happen.  Here's a theory: it couldn't.  No one thought of it because frankly not only would it be a thoroughly stupid idea, but no one could conceive of such utter nonsense (pun intended). 

Really, wouldn't Amy and What's-His-Name have had to have thrown themselves into the TARDIS' core to make this even plausible?  How exactly does this work, this absorbing of time-energy by two naked people screwing in the TARDIS?  Are all part-Time Lords (part-Timers...how clever) conceived this way?  Why would anyone be 'part Time Lord'?  Boy oh boy are we coming up with really nutty ideas. 

Of course, there’s no precedent for it. To our knowledge, no child has ever been conceived on the TARDIS.

Of course, there's no precedent for it...because we've never seen this, let alone entertained the idea.  To our knowledge, no child has ever been conceived by the Power of the Holy TARDIS...because again, we've never seen or conceived of such a patently stupid idea (pun unintended).  Still, screw continuity or logic.  Steven Moffat can do whatever he wants, because Canon is whatever he says Canon is. 

It lends to the theory that not all Gallifreyans are Time Lords.

I'm sure we've seen this before, but that was Classic Who. Then again, Classic Who's connection to NuWho is purely coincidental.   

It’s an enhancement they’ve done to themselves through “billions of years” being exposed to the Time Vortex and the Untempered Schism. I think that stuff is super fascinating and I’m excited to see where Moffat goes with it.

I think that stuff is super stupid and I'm terrified to see where Moffat goes with it.  It'll probably be into the gutter. 

But, of course, Eye Patch Lady has another trick up her sleeve, and, once she is long gone, the Headless Monks attack the small remaining heroes. EPL tells the Doctor that they plan to use Melody as a weapon against the Doctor. She also informs the Doctor that he’s been fooled a second time, leading to the horrible realization that the baby Amy has been cradling is actually a Flesh duplicate.

Well to be fair I'm pretty sure fooling this Doctor is quite easy.  If the Doctor had thought things through, he could have given Flesh Melody to Flesh Amy so they could then get into the TARDIS and become human.  After all, the TARDIS not only creates part-Time Lord hybrids, it also turns Flesh into Humans.  It slices, it dices...it does all this and more. 

It’s one of the most heartbreaking reveals the show has ever created and Amy is understandably despondent afterwards.



Right.  "It's one of the most heartbreaking reveals the show has ever created."   No moment in Doctor Who history has ever made one cry as much as finding out Melody Pond is a wax figure.  Then again, many NuWhovians measure the quality of the episode by how much they cried, so in that respect perhaps this was a success. 

The Monks are eventually defeated, but Dorium, Lorna, and Sontaran nurse Strax are killed in the process. As Strax dies, he tells Rory that while he looked like a warrior, he was just a nurse, something that hits Rory like a punch in the sternum.

This we should note is when the name of the Sontaran is used, but we've yet to hear the name of the Silurian samurai and her human life partner.  I'm sure many NuWhovians cried when Strax died, because we'll never see him again...

And then River arrives.

...to spoil the fun.

She’s finally here to tell the Doctor, and us, who she is.

Ask us if we care.  Go on, Kyle.  Ask us if we care.

The answer lies in the cot. For a moment we, or at least I, thought she was going to say she was the Doctor’s mother, but that would have been gross and ridiculous.

As if the actual resolution could be or would be any less gross and ridiculous.

The Doctor realizes the truth and sort of cheerfully heads to the TARDIS. Amy is still totally unaware and River calmly explains it by showing the whatever-that-thing-is that Lorna had sewn. It’s Melody’s name in the language of her people.

Gallifreyan I believe, because in the words River Song told the Doctor when she took his virginity, "Anything you can do, I can do better..."

They don’t know the word for Pond, because the only water in the forest is the River. YES! River Song is actually Melody Pond. She is Amy and Rory’s daughter!

 

If HITLER saw it clearly, imagine those of us not blessed with an 'analytical critic's mind'. 

I think that was a wonderful reveal, personally.

SHOCKED that Kyle Anderson would think
it a wonderful reveal!

From Anderson's own review for Day of the Moon, on who the regenerating little girl could be, and I quote, "2) She is Amy and Rory’s daughter, but the Silence (or some other alien?) took her and did weird experiments on her. I still think just because there’s a picture of Amy holding a child doesn’t necessarily mean she’s holding THAT child OR that that child is hers. 3) She’s River Song, though that seems less and less likely the more we know about River, i.e. she ain’t a Time Lord." (emphasis mine). 

Well, how the worm turns. 

Kyle Anderson, you've been wrong on your idea that The Gangers would name-check the Sontarans.  You've been wrong on your suggestion that Omega would be part of A Good Man Goes to War.  And now you've been wrong, in a way, about the identity of River Song.  You said she ain't a Time Lord, but now you say that her being part-Time Lord is a 'wonderful reveal'.  You go way past pathetic.  This was so patently obvious that people had speculated about the possibility openly for months, yet here you are, shocked, SHOCKED that Moffat would take the most obvious route.  You even now think what you thought was 'less and less likely' now turns out to be a 'wonderful reveal'.  Have you no sense of decency, at long last?

I sort of saw it coming, but at this point it’s nice not to have to speculate. Why would she be some kind of strange third-party character when the most poignant and pertinent thing would be that she is the child of the Ponds (Williamses)?

Yeah, pretty much EVERYONE saw it coming, and they aren't analytical at all.  Why would she be some kind of strange third-party character when easiest thing would be to make her the most obvious thing? At least we got a tacit acknowledgment that Williams would be the actual name for everyone: Rory, Amy, and Melody.  Yet more on that later.

So the little girl we saw in the space suit is likely River Song and she can regenerate. But, there are a few questions that need answering and things that don’t quite add up yet.

Only a few.  Well, aren't we generous.  What an amazing turn-around, given that just a few weeks prior to this, you said the chances of the little girl in the space suit being River Song were "less and less likely".  Now they are more and more.  Curious that.

1) If the little girl we saw in the suit and regenerating is River, why wouldn’t River have remembered it while she was investigating it? Unless she’s just “spoilers”-ing again.

Or unless Moffat can't wrap up storylines logically and kind of just makes things up as he goes along. Sometimes the most logical answer is the best.

2) I don’t think River is the one in the space suit that kills the Doctor in “The Impossible Astronaut,” BECAUSE grown-up River looks genuinely shocked and sad when the Doctor dies. However, this could just be her lying again, or it could be the Silence making her forget. I just think it’s someone else entirely we haven’t met yet.

Well, you're in for a big surprise, one that is so obvious that of course it would escape your 'analytical critic's mind'. 

3) The scene in Stormcage at the beginning of this episode where River looks really surprised and wistful about seeing Rory. This is what I think:

We've already hit the point of science-fiction with the phrase, "this is what I think", because 'think' is something Anderson rarely if ever does. 

River, at that point in her life, hadn’t seen Rory in a very long time and I believe that’s because Rory is the “Good Man” whom River kills. She says she kills “The best man she’s ever known,” and that HAS to be her dad, the Last Friggin’ Centurion.

DOES "the best man she's ever known" really HAVE to be her Dad, the Last Friggin' Centurion?  Now that River can regenerate, and Time Lords are basically hermaphrodites, why couldn't she kill herself?  Wouldn't River think herself as 'the best man she's ever known?'

Yes, it's stupid, but who's going to stop me from writing things to make this any less silly?

The whole series has been making us think someone’s talking about the Doctor but are actually talking about Rory. It only stands to reason that this is just the last instance of it.

Nothing on Doctor Who in the Moffat Era has ever stood to reason.  Why start now?  Oh Kyle, stop embarrassing yourself by trying to sound intelligent when clearly you are so out of your depth.

While I don’t want to see Rory get killed, it will probably be in some heroic fashion and it will inform River’s whole life and relationship with the Doctor and Amy.

While I want desperately to see Rory killed (again, what would this be, his fifth death?), it will probably be in some idiotic fashion (like slipping on a banana peel) and it will have no affect on River or her relationship with the Doctor and Amy.

4) Who blew up the TARDIS? I know this is an old question, but the TARDIS exploded in “The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang,” and we still don’t know who caused it or why. What does it have to do with the Silence falling?

Really, at this point I wouldn't bother with an answer to that question, let alone a logical one.  That ship has sailed.

Now we have a good few months to wait and watch Torchwood while we mull over these and other important questions. Boy, for an episode I claimed didn’t have much plot, there was a whole lot to talk about.

Boy, for an episode I claimed didn't have much plot, there was a whole lot of shit I could spread around. 

Kyle, son, let me ask one more question, unimportant as it may be to you and all the other NuWhovians.  Does this make actual sense to you?  Seriously, does it?

For that whole 'the only water in the Forest is the River' thing to work, we would have to accept that Rory did not give his own child Melody his last name because his wife ordered it so.  If she were River Williams (which legally she would be), the whole thing falls apart.  Yes, Melody Pond=River Song, but don't you, even with your 'analytical critic's mind' think you are all overstretching plausibility, let alone believability?

Even if we left that aside, the whole "Conceived by the Power of the Holy TARDIS" makes no sense on any level unless you force it to.  Rather than say, 'this doesn't make sense', you all instead go through all sorts of mental gymnastics to make this the actual reason with no regard to whether it is remotely plausible.  It don't make sense, but because you can't contradict Moffat, you'll damn well force this square peg to fit. 

Later this week, I’m going to be featured on an episode of the excellent podcast, Two-Minute Time Lord, with two other fantastic bloggers/critics talking about Series 6.

Shameless self-promoting with other people who like Hardwick and me, go beyond ass-kissing and into straight rimming.

Follow me on TWITTER and I’ll link you once it plops.

Until next time, Whovians!

If it were never, it would be too soon.

-Kanderson speaks nerd.

-Kanderson speaks crap.