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May 16th, 2005


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10:31 am - The Wrong Trousers (of time)
Father's day - the latest Doctor Who - was good. I appreciate the scatter-gun of reviews across all the blogs. Your insights enhance the episode. For example espresso_addict says that it was Doctor Who meets 'Eastenders' OMG wasn't it? I don't like Eastenders, but it's the cultural landscape innit? Didn't occur to me, obvious now you point it out.

Nick Barlow says "Right near the end, after Pete’s decided what he has to, he’s walking down the aisle towards Rose. She’s framed on the left of the screen, low lit and looking like a statue of a tragic angel, the weight of the end of the world on her shoulders" Yes, I remember being struck by that shot. Billie Piper, surprisingly iconic in her physical presence. Who knew?

Time travel, time loop. archbishopm this is another perspective on that trope that we both like. You should try to see it if you can. What is the model of time used in this Doctor Who? Last week real-time had been somewhat damaged, and I think that episode would have been miuch better if we had seen more clearly that earth was developing wrong. Going down the wrong leg of the trousers of time, as Terry Pratchett might put it. In most time travel stories there are two types of time - there is physical time in which the hero can travel, and there is storytime, which progresses through causality, and where the right decisions have to be made. The meta-time in doctor who doesn't make simple sense - if the Time Lords ever existed then they should be accessible from any point in time, but instead, in meta-time, we are now in a 'time' or a causal space, which is inaccessible to them, where it is as if they have ceased in time.

Nick proposes that DW has an underlying benign model of time, benign but constrained, contrasted with the malevolent time of Sapphire and Steel (which I haven't seen). Perhaps time in DW is like a body which can heal but will remain scarred? Like if you lose a limb you don't die, and you do heal, but the leg doesn't come back. Hey, now I can link back to my trousers of time metaphor! Result.

Something I didn't like. 'I won't sacrifice this individual with whom I have an arbitrary relationship in order to save humanity', but luckily events work out so that humanity is saved anyway. OK, a person should make their own sacrifice, not have it forced onto them. But the humane resolution is a bit Hollywood, a bit Star Trek. And, may I be the hundredth person to say - don't show the monsters. Ach, don't mind my gripes. It was an excellent episode.

(17 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:kalypso_v
Date:May 16th, 2005 05:41 am (UTC)
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'I won't sacrifice this individual with whom I have an arbitrary relationship in order to save humanity', but luckily events work out so that humanity is saved anyway.

Yeah, but that always happened in Doctor Who anyway.

Enjoyed Nick's piece. In a fit of narcissism, added comments I made there and chez sweetheartwhale (one of the dissenters on this episode) as afterthoughts to my own review.
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From:communicator
Date:May 16th, 2005 05:55 am (UTC)
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I have just re-read your review and see that you have added a key insight.

Everything the Doctor does in this season is influenced by the fact he's just witnessed the death of the Time Lords

Good point.
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From:getawaywithit
Date:May 16th, 2005 06:29 am (UTC)
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I think that's the arc of this series - and, as it turns out the Ninth Doctor - that he's reacting to what happened in the War and trying to make amends for what happened/realising the responsibility that now lies upon him as the the last one. Post Traumatic Stress Doctor, as I called him somewhere else. It'll be interesting to see if this gets wrapped up and how this affects the Tenth Doctor's character when he comes on the scene.
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From:communicator
Date:May 16th, 2005 06:52 am (UTC)
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how this affects the Tenth Doctor's character

I didn't watch DW after Tom Baker left but I have the impression that the relationship between the incarnations, as in Buddhism, is a bit hard to understand?
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From:getawaywithit
Date:May 16th, 2005 06:59 am (UTC)
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Yeah, there's not too much continuity between incarnations in the classic series, but I suspect that as the new series team have put character development into such a prime position that it'll be hard for them to avoid it. However, most of the attempts to try and rationalise the difference between incarnations is fanwank, basically - though Paul Cornell (who wrote 'Father's Day') had an interesting take on it in his book 'Timewyrm: Revelation', positing that the previous versions exist in his mind as semi-separate entities, fulfilling different roles in his subconscious.
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From:kalypso_v
Date:May 16th, 2005 07:02 am (UTC)
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Ah, sort of like a Trill symbiont's hosts?
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From:nostalgia_lj
Date:May 16th, 2005 09:53 am (UTC)
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I always just assume that regeneration is like another throw of the genetic dice, like getting conceived, born and grown-up all in one go.

Mind, I also have vague the fanwanky conviction that this roll is loaded in favour of getting a Doctor more able to survive the crap the pervious one died from. As in, an incredibly reckless Doctor would be followed by one a lot less given to throwing himself off things, or a very high-strung one would get followed by someone a lot calmer.
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From:kalypso_v
Date:May 16th, 2005 07:09 am (UTC)
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I don't see how it can be properly wrapped up, unless the Time Lords are restored en masse, which would be a terrible anticlimax. The best he can hope for is to come to terms with the new reality, which is what I think this season's about. Then there's the possibility of stray Time Lords having survived. Davies doesn't appear to have ruled out the return of the Master, and how does their relationship change if they're the last two? And as I have muttered before, I don't see how Romana would have died if she's still in E space.
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From:getawaywithit
Date:May 16th, 2005 07:16 am (UTC)
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Yeah, that's what I meant, that he can adapt to the new universe rather than try and restore the old one. It's about coming to terms with survivor guilt - some of which was in the story of Dalek - and allowing himself to go on without that burden weighing him down.

Davies hasn't ruled out the Master returning, but from what he said on DWC I don't think it'll happen on his watch. I think he has deliberately left it open for other Time Lords to return, though they don't necessarily have to. And according to the books/audios Romana came back from E-Space, so I think it's worth bringing her back just to watch certain fans' heads explode as they try and square that continuity circle.
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From:nostalgia_lj
Date:May 16th, 2005 07:58 am (UTC)
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I reckon every big moral decision he makes this season is based on the Time War.
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From:communicator
Date:May 16th, 2005 08:04 am (UTC)
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Yes, but in a way I hope we never really find out what the Time War is. I want it to be too big an idea for the brain to grasp.
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From:nostalgia_lj
Date:May 16th, 2005 08:07 am (UTC)
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I reckon it's why Nine dies, if only in that he bases Every Bloody Decision on it.
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From:espresso_addict
Date:May 16th, 2005 07:44 am (UTC)
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Your insights enhance the episode.

It's fun watching the same thing at the same time.

'I won't sacrifice this individual with whom I have an arbitrary relationship in order to save humanity'

I didn't mind that -- there was a symmetry in the Doctor giving his life in an attempt to save Rose.
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From:communicator
Date:May 16th, 2005 08:03 am (UTC)
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Would a different doctor have taken a different decision? Whose review did I read that said Tom Baker would have chucked him in front of the car, and no messin'
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From:getawaywithit
Date:May 16th, 2005 08:36 am (UTC)
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I think it was in the comments on mine, though after I pointed out that Steel does effectively that in one S&S story. Of course, Colin Baker would probably have thrown Rose under the car...

You really should watch some S&S, btw, I think you'd really like it.
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From:communicator
Date:May 16th, 2005 11:50 pm (UTC)
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I've put it on my DVD rental list
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From:espresso_addict
Date:May 16th, 2005 08:47 am (UTC)
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I can certainly see earlier Doctors pulling him towards that window, not away from it. As I recall, this Doctor seems much closer to Rose than previous incarnations were to their companions, which may be another factor tipping the balance (as well as all the oft-discussed survivor trauma stuff, though of course the two are linked).

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