Sunday, October 9, 2011

Thoughts on Doctor Who Finale

A few months ago, I briefly wrote up what I thought of the first half of season six. I said that Steven Moffat was "really pushing the limits on... well everything" giving his audience a story where no one "knows which way is up, down, present, past, future, real, imaginary." As a fan, I was totally fine with this especially with the promise of six more episodes coming up that would hopefully put everything into perspective. Now that I've seen the finale, however, Moffat kept pushing and pushing and he may have pushed just a bit too much for my taste.

I have to say, before getting into this, that I liked the finale and the season as a whole. It seems saying that is starting to feel like a minority opinion, but Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor has been exquisite as has Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill (this season's MVP, but more on that later) and some of the stories that were told (The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon, The Doctor's Wife, The Girl Who Waited) were absolutely brilliant. The finale itself had a lot of great things in it such as the cool alternate reality where history is compressed and time is frozen, the tying up of any River Song loose threads, and the fact that in the end NO ONE DIED. That last point is all in caps because while it was a given that Smith would survive the season, the Ponds' fates were still up in the air. So when they ended up alive and well in the end, that really was all I could've asked for.

While there were a few plot holes in the finale (How can the Teselecta pre-regenerate? Why did the Doctor have to marry River? Timey wimey whatthefuckisgoingon?) along with some obvious red herrings and dropped plot threads from the season, my biggest problem was one of emotionality in that I didn't feel any especially when it came to River and the Doctor. When River Song made her first appearance to the Doctor (and to us) in "The Silent Library," it was exciting and so full of possibilities. Upon taking the showrunner reins, however, Moffat decided to hype up their epic cosmic love and under all the weight of expectations, the end result just coudln't match up. The most we saw this season was more of the same i.e. playful flirting. Anything more than that, such as River sacrificing all of her generations in "Let's Kill Hitler" or her big declaration of love in the finale felt hollow, rushed, forced. This would have been okay if Moffat didn't insist in making this THE story of the season and the finale. Not that I think River's story is done by any means, but I for one would've been okay if he didn't feel the need to tie up EVERYTHING in the finale or maybe if the finale had been 30 minutes longer.

With that said, Rory Williams, what can I say about him? I think ever since he became an official companion in "The Vampires of Venice" he quickly grew to become my favorite character. He'd take the mantle of best companion for me if it weren't for Martha Jones. You could tell I like my companions fierce and under-appreciated. For me, the show greatly improved when he became an official companion. His unconditional love with Amy made me fall in love with her a bit more and his continued questioning of the Doctor's actions really gave the Doctor that extra dimension for me. Suffice to say, I was ecstatic to see that he made it through the season alive. After suffering multiple deaths, his demise started to seem like an inevitably by the end. I'm also glad that both Rory and Amy got the Martha Jones treatment in the end there. It's as happy an ending for the Doctor's companions. Texting and scones!

Finally, I'm not sure how I feel about the oldest and more important question being "Doctor who?" From the surface, it's very clever, but I feel the meta-ness of it could get annoying depending on how they handle it. With that said, I do like Moffat was able to reboot the series for next season with the Doctor keeping a lower profile now that everyone thinks he's dead. He'll surely encounter the Silence, River, and the Ponds as well as the possible answer to The Question down the line, but for now he certainly needs to dial it down.

Doctor Who Finale: B
Doctor Who Season 6: B+

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