It seems my review--posted yesterday, feel free to scroll down-- was echoed by the fanboy* press. I was surprised to see AlphaLock and Digital Spy, the "We can't wait for Moffat and are thrilled by the last of Rose" stalwarts, suddenly lamenting the very things I predicted all of us would one day lament. Yes, there was no real emotion here. We didn't feel it in our bones. It's a bit soon to see this sort of thing take hold of the fanboys. But it was sure to happen when the Doctor walks this road.
And I live in hope that RTD is simply rushing it along with this last episode, because he obviously does stay on point in the end. I expected some of the reviewers to simply blame the tired old crew for the lackluster appeal of this episode. Just as I expect them to blame Moffat and Matt for the sharp drop in ratings if we don't take a turn into a better ending for Ten than JE gave us.
But, surprisingly, many of the fanboys are already with me. The reviews hit the nail on the head...we can't care because Lady Christina is fluffy and the Doctor is an aimless drifter. There is no longer any reason to involve ourselves in these stories. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with Planet of the Dead...or with Lady Christina...it is just sort of in bad taste to have her pressing her romance...and being given openings that should come with rim-shots...given what we expect of the Doctor. We know what he's given up...not lost...but thrown away. And he pretends he is fine...not like a man forcing a smile through his heartbreak...but like someone who loves denying himself.
And given those circumstances...we don't think a quipping, flirtatious, thrill-seeking companion is amusing. There is no passion here. And nobody seems to care very much about the people on the bus. And contrary to popular belief you can't just manufacture passion or peril if the character's reality works against it. I know that some people feel that Stephen Moffat managed to manufacture passion in Silence in the Library...but really...he just gave us peril. I was bored by River and so were most of the audience...the ratings were very low for part one. Alex Kingston worked her behind off trying to make the most of her character, but there is only the mystery of her...and the sorrow of him. I will say that losing Donna and the very real peril of the library episode managed to give us a fair amount of emotional upheaval. David did connect with those turbulent emotions. He doesn't really connect with them this time...he's not worried and neither are we.
Not until he is presented with something real...his loss coming to the forefront at the end. And then there is the flash of (promise of) menace to come. But I wonder, if we didn't know David was leaving would all of that "It is coming through the dark." And "He will knock 4 times" stuff have moved us?
I'm not dissing RTD's writing...not yet. I liked the episode and Christina well enough to believe that what I feel is what I'm supposed to feel: the loss of real meaning in the Doctor's life. It is all just so pointless now. Which, I believe...if you click on the Humperdinck tag...you will find is the problem I said we would face...no matter how vital the companion or cool the special effects. I am willing to believe this episode fails to satisfy on purpose...just as Christina, the perfect match, cannot captivate the Doctor enough to have him take her with him. I feel this episode is an illustration of why Ten 2 should step in and become the Doctor. Ten can't go on like this...casting aside people he could help, like Christina...simply because he never got to have the life he longs to live.
*which may be penned and read by fangrrlz, as well.
More Doctor Who Updating...for the Easter Special
April 12th, 2009