The (half) series finale of Doctor Who aired in the US last night. I am finding it difficult to gather my thoughts about this one, partially because I swear to god the damn thing just came back on. FIVE episodes? I don’t think it can possibly count as a season (or even half a season) if all the episodes took place during the same month. I do not like this half season now and half season in January thing. It didn’t used to be like this. There were usually episodes in April, May, and then there would be a break for the summer, and then it would come back in fall. Right? I’m confused by this schedule. Also, normally there are 6 or 7 episodes before the long break. Five barely feels like enough. But, okay, I can’t do anything about their scheduling decisions. I assume things didn’t air in Spring-Summer because of the Diamond Jubilee and then the Olympics. It doesn’t make me happy about waiting until Christmas for more, but moving on!
I have to say I really wasn’t that impressed with this season, which makes me sad. I love Doctor Who, but for whatever reasons these episodes didn’t have the same quality as the previous seasons. Excuse me while I ramble, Virginia Woolf-style, about this meh season.
Asylum of the Daleks– This one was a pretty bad start to the year. Why would the Daleks have an asylum for their crazies? They have never had a problem with destroying weaker members of their species in the past. Also, I saw the twist coming quite early on. Well, maybe not early, but well before it was actually revealed. And the Rory and Amy problems are getting old. They love each other, but …even though Amy shows again and again that she loves Rory, I still find it hard to believe. Maybe it’s because her chemistry with the Doctor is much more potent than hers with Rory. Which is crazy, because I think Rory is adorable, especially this season when he doesn’t have a ridiculous pony tail or whatever. But when Amy looks at the Doctor, you can see light in her eyes, and it’s just not there when she looks at Rory. Maybe it’s just because the only time we see them together it’s when one or both of them are near death. They are always fighting or not together, and then the Doctor fixes all their marriage problems within one 48 minute episode. Pfft.
Also, the Doctor is really violent in this episode! I know they keep pushing the fact that he shouldn’t travel alone, but jeez!
Dinosaurs on a Spaceship– I had really high hopes for this episodes. Dinosaurs are cute, two people from Harry Potter are in it. What more could I ask for? Well, I could ask them not to kill off my favorite dinosaur. Also, it just was…meh. Maybe I should re-title this review “Meh”. I loved Mr. Weasley (Mark Williams) as Rory’s dad, and found that to be totally believable. On the other hand, I’m never going to like a big game hunter, and think he should have been punched in the face for killing defenseless animals as a career. That’s just me, though. And probably the animals are on my side, but I digress. I just found that, once again, it didn’t have as much of an emotional impact as I thought. Am I growing cold-hearted and cruel in my old age or something? I’m starting to think maybe it was the music. You know how music can trigger emotions in you? I’m wondering if the music was different in this season and it kept me from having the connection. Also the pacing was a bit too quick, which meant that by the time it occurred to me to start caring about someone or something, they were usually dead or the episode was over. Doctor Who is always a fast-paced show, though, so it seems odd that this would just bother me now. I really don’t know what it is.
A Town Called Mercy– This one is more or less a blur. I like the Doctor with his Stetson back on, but that’s about it. I think this was the weakest of the episodes, perhaps because I didn’t really care for anyone in it. We didn’t even learn the names of anyone, except for the sheriff and the evil doctor. I also remember the Doctor has guns. What’s with the violence this season?
Similarly, I hardly remember anything about The Power of Three, except for the corny final line about cubed…oh wait, now I remember. I think this story had a ton of potential. It’s always amusing when the Doctor has to stay in one place for very long. To be patient. Because he is, essentially, a 10-year-old boy inside. And they did show that, but once again it wasn’t as funny as I felt like it should have been. I sort of would have enjoyed some bits about the Doctor not cleaning up his dirty dishes or something. Something to make it seem like he was really living there, and they were almost a family. Plus the plot seemed mostly unexplained. Okay, the cubes are observing us and infiltrating our homes, etc. Why did some of them play music, or take blood, or trigger emotions? It either doesn’t make sense or wasn’t explained well enough for me to get it. Maybe true Whovians know the back story of the villain for this episode, and perhaps that makes it easier. On the other hand, in the past the show would at least ensure the plot made sense for those who hadn’t been watching Doctor Who for 40 years.
And The Angels Take Manhattan? *sigh* I am scared to death of the weeping angels, I will freely admit that. They scare me more than every other DW villain combined. Every episode with them has been awesome. And this was the last episode with Rory and Amy, this was really important. I’d like to say I liked it. I do think it was the best episode of the season. But…it should have been better. Rory and Amy (especially Amy) have been so important. As important as Rose, I think. And they have been on the show for quite a while now. I wanted to see them go out in epic fashion, and I wanted to see them happy. What will happen to Mr. Weasley now, waiting for them to come home?
And the Doctor this episode was sort of awful. He had a tantrum, he acted like a child. He was no help with River, and Amy and Rory had to save themselves. The Doctor couldn’t do anything. He just wasn’t on his game. He wasn’t himself. He acted like a petulant child. Normally he acts like an excited child, but this was just…not fun. Not helpful. Rory and Amy and even River were able to be adults. The Doctor wasn’t, and that bothered me. He seemed really fallible, and not in a way that you want.
I think I would have been okay if I had just seen Rory and Amy together, maybe in some 30’s clothes with jobs or a puppy or something. A life together. Instead, it seemed a lot like Back to the Future III. You get a last letter/farewell, you can see the gravestone that says they lived long lives together, but that’s it. You want to go back and see for yourselves. It feels rushed and incomplete. Which is how it would feel for the Doctor, of course, so maybe it’s a conscious decision, but as an audience you want some sense of closure.
Also, one thing is driving me fucking crazy: How did River get the book back to Amy to publish if it’s impossible to get in to that time vortex again? And if she could get in with her vortex manipulator, why couldn’t she just get them back out? Or at least she and the Doctor could go back to see them periodically?
Am I alone in this? I don’t think I am, but you never know. Here’s hoping the next half of the season is much better!