all_unnecessary: (DW - Bad Wolf)
[personal profile] all_unnecessary
A horse and a man, above, below
One has a plan but both must go
Mile after mile, above, beneath
One has a smile, and one has teeth
Though the man above might say hello
Expect no love from the beast below


So the much ballyhooed reign of Steven Moffatt as executive producer of Doctor Who (and Matt Smith as Number Eleven) is now upon us, and I am moderately looking forward to it. I liked all of the Moffatt-penned episodes prior to this, specifically for his ability to write a Doctor with complex, uh, urges. Which is to say, not stereotypically masculine and yet not lacking in desire (heh). This was especially true of The Empty Child/Doctor Dances, with its banana gags, that comic moment of hesitation in the hallway testosterone contest ("I am sonicked OOP!"), the lovely exultant "I'll show you moves!" at the end. And it was especially not true of The Girl in the Fireplace (sorry in advance to those of you who liked this ep), wherein Mme de Pompadour turned out to be the gooey, squeeing target audience for a tween hearthrob magazine (TEAM DOCTOR: there surely is a macro of this somewhere) (though I loved the scene where he bursts in with his tie around his forehead). Bleah. Here's hoping Eleven turns out to be more of the former.

Doctor Who, this episode reminds us, is written for children, about big and scary adult things: DW as fairy tale. "The Beast Below" is of course so very much in the MONSTERS OF THE ID vein it scarcely needs pointing out. Maybe I've been reading too much about the Catholic Church lately, but it's almost creepier to have the Star Whale* be this disinterested, kindly old grandma (and really not the wolf at all). TV Tropes has it thusly: the Star Whale as Iron Woobie: "Say what you will, there something touching about choosing to continue ferrying the humans who tortured you for roughly two hundred years." As others have been pointing out, the script went to far too much trouble to emphasize the parallels between the Star Whale and the Doctor, which sort of exposed the relative weakness of the story's function as political allegory. Why torture the Star Whale in the first place? Because in the 29th century we still Cannot Communicate With Others. Instead we get the economic efficiency kind-old-alien theory of DW: if one party gains, another must lose, except when crying children are involved. I enjoyed the shift from watching to doing, from spectator to actor, in this scene:


CHILDREN CRYING META


If I were a bad person, I'd say something about tentacles and pr0n here.


*is disappointed in your choice of nail polish*

What else? Shout outs: the escape from the starwhale's mouth on a wave of sick is a fairly entertaining way to rewrite the trash compactor scene in Star Wars.

Also: see this reviewer's post for another take on the Moffatt penchant for clockworks/masks, and a spot-on critique of why this ep is shabby compared to EC/DD ("something scary can become simply sad when revealed for what it really is/wants").


*"Discworld much?" one reviewer asks

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