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"Please tell me we can tell the difference between wool and sidearms."

Narnia go Bragh

Hooray for the DW Christmas Special, which, to my great pleasure, only briefly and incidentally involves an alien attack on Planet Earth. I love how it totally rewrites the cosmology of Narnia in a sciencey-wiencey (and feminist) direction (though you can argue with me about the feminist bit). What a delicate task it is, too, to engage with Narnia as an intertext without falling into the kinds of ideological traps Lewis was so good at setting — or maybe that it willfully walks into those traps ("The thing about people is we can never resist a door," says the Caretaker) and messes with the fiddly bits so thoroughly the Aufhebung transports you to pre-Christian paradigms that are also resolutely materialist (or at least as much as DW can be materialist, anyway).

Stella Maris, goddess of the trackless way, guiding mariners home

Here's a terrific summary and review (and the comment thread's full of winning observations).

Very funny throughout, so many great one-liners ("Right, where's the lion with the god complex?"). I loved the "Three Stooges" scenes (yay Bill Bailey!), especially for what their characters and roles in the narrative imply: the big baddie of the ep, a grand tradition for the DW Christmas Special, is not a giant spider or bad robot Santas but an energy extraction corporation that intends to melt the forest down for battery fluid. Why does a forest need people, indeed. The spirits of the trees get out, but the forest is indeed harvested (if you're a quibbler, this might be cause to exclude the ep from the Everybody Lives tvtrope). Wry and funny nods made to the private sector of the military industrial complex too (take that, Avatar):

BILLIS: With regret, sir, I'm going to have to lower my gun.
BILLIS: She is a crying, unarmed, female civilian! I'm thinking of the visual!
DROXIL: Nobody's looking!!
BILLIS: Doesn't mean there isn't a visual.
DROXIL: That's exactly what "nobody's looking" means, it means there's no visual!!"
VENN-GAR: *sobs* I'm sorry sir. It's under control. *cocks weapon* Do you want me to shoot her, sir?
MADGE: *cries out in fear*
BILLIS: "Oh! This visual is deteriorating, sir—"
DROXIL: "Shut up!"

All four of them work delightfully with each other, and Madge piloting the platform thing of course recalls another remarkably fierce sf mother (Ripley). Madge has some of the same verve and wit as the Tardis (in "The Doctor's Wife"), and there ain't no power in the 'verse that can conquer the power of her naivete ("What have you been reading? Not the war again! If people keep reading about the war then it will actually happen! And then where will you be?"). And unlike Rose and the Time Vortex, Madge can take the souls of a whole planet full of trees into her head, navigate everyone home and safe through the Time Vortex, and she's completely fine. I don't mind the gender essentialism at all.

It's funny, isn't it. One can't imagine being a forest, then suddenly one can! How remarkable.

All in all, an episode worthy of the Pantheon. Honestly, I think I like only The Doctor's Wife better, and only just a titch.

And I haven't even discussed the whole "happy crying" thing! Matt Smith, ILU!
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