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24 November 2013 @ 10:58 pm
so about that 50th...  
Short version:

Longer version:

There was a lot of things I enjoyed in this episode. Ten was written better than I thought he'd be -- he felt, in most moments, Ten-y enough that I was delighted to watch him most of the time instead of peeking through my fingers like I thought I'd be. I didn't anticipate caring much about the Doctor banter because I don't care for Eleven and I don't care about John Hurt, but it was fun and funny. Seeing Peter Capaldi even for a moment was exciting. The 3D paintings idea was neat. Although I was disappointed Billie Piper never even interacted with David Tennant for even a split second, I was okay with her not being Rose, because I like Rose's story being untouched.

But I absolutely fucking hate the resolution to the Time War, aka the "everything you've cared about in New Who was a lie" retcon. With about fifteen minutes left of the 75, the episode takes a turn for the worst possible thing it could have done.

What an absolutely horrible disrespect to your audience, to the cast and crew and writers who made the show what it was for seven years, to undermine all of that writing, that character development, that moral complexity, that world-building, for the sake of "everybody lives". Steven Moffat is a writer with no concept of how to write with consequences, no concept of how to write a character who is both morally complex and sympathetic, no concept of how to create a story that contains moral ambiguity and has no quick or easy fix. To write a 50 year anniversary episode and focus it on a plotline that ignores the first 42 years, and then to undermine the past 8 years, is so shockingly insulting. If Steven Moffat wants to drive the show into the ground in the present day, that's his choice, but to turn around and also irreparably tarnish the work of those before him, the parts of the show I do love, by adding a "just kidding" post-script to the emotional foundation of RTD's work, is just -- beyond. Fuck Steven Moffat and his myopic concept of storytelling.
Rosa | ¯\(ºдಠ)/¯: dw: companionsrosaxx50 on November 25th, 2013 04:15 am (UTC)
Ah, I was quite upset that Billie and David never interacted, since that was what I was most looking forward to. I am still quite bitter.

I think I'm a little less down about the ret-con than you, I think, because I tend to stick my fingers into my ears and tell myself that Eleven did rewrite time (and during s1-7, Gallifrey did indeed burn) but yes - I can't believe he fixed it with a just kidding!! moment. That was the worst.

ETA: And ignore half of what Steven Moffat says about how the Doctor would ~never!!~ do this by reminding myself that he would have gone ahead with it if it weren't for Clara.

Edited at 2013-11-25 04:22 am (UTC)
Kali: dw :: ten/rose :: worst day of my life_thirty2flavors on November 25th, 2013 04:44 am (UTC)
I was upset at the time but since then Gallifrey has overshadowed everything -- and I am somewhat relieved Moffat didn't do anything to ruin Rose or Doctor/Rose, at least. I do think they would've been better served with someone else in the role -- to use Billie, who has no connection to pre-Nine Doctors, and then not let her interact with any post-Nine Doctors, felt like stunt casting. Imagine how much better it would've been to have Carole Ann Ford in that role -- Susan arguing on behalf of the children of Gallifrey.

The retcon infuriates me. I think in time I will be able to separate it easier from the rest of New Who, and I do agree -- I'm sort of choosing to believe that this kind of creates one of those splintered-off timeline universes Moffat loves, and somewhere in the prime timeline Eight still destroyed Gallifrey and Nine/Ten's lives made actual fucking sense. I can even handwave Ten's excitement over saving Gallifrey vs his horror at Gallifrey's return in EOT if I consider that the Ten in DOTD is mid-crisis after Waters of Mars and isn't really all there. But that the 50th gave me something I must now elaborately explain away in my head just to enjoy the parts of the show I already enjoy is quite infuriating.
Rosa | ¯\(ºдಠ)/¯: dw: companionsrosaxx50 on November 25th, 2013 04:53 am (UTC)
Susan arguing for Gallifrey would have been amazing. I try to rationalize it in my head that it's a nice come-full-circle -- with a form of Rose ending the Time War, another form of Rose averting it.

I saw your posts about Ten and EoT (and sherrilina mentioned it) and... it horrified me afterward how entirely Moffat disregarded EoT. I hadn't made the connection. Weirdly, Eleven made a lot of sense to me in this episode... Ten not so much.

But that it's so necessary to fanwank Moffat's stuff and aggressively read AGAINST author intent just to make any sense is... not unexpected, but still somewhat disappointing -- even though s6-7 has given me plenty of practice.
sherrilina: Doomsday Ten/Rosesherrilina on November 25th, 2013 04:33 am (UTC)
Pretty much all of this. Although I am pretty good at ignoring stupid retcons so I will try to have this not ruin the first 4 seasons for me. But ugh, why couldn't the 50th anniversary fallen a few years earlier, during RTD, or a few years later, under some other showrunner?

And yeah, why did we need to spend 1/3 of this special supposedly celebrating the show on a whole on a stupid sexist Elizabeth-slandering plotline?
Kali: dw :: nine :: so was i_thirty2flavors on November 25th, 2013 05:15 am (UTC)
Yeah like... IDK I'm pretty determined I'm not going to let Steven Moffat of all people ruin the Doctor Who that I loved, despite his best efforts. And I can do mental gymnastics to ignore the bullshit he's given me and I can use all my strongest Doylism to know that that was never the case, that it was always Eight who fought and ended the Time War for real and Nine and Ten's characters were a result of that, not this John Hurt cup-a-soup bullshit. But that the 50th gives me not something to celebrate and feel happy about but rather something I have to actively work against in order to simply enjoy the show that I've always enjoyed is... pathetic.

Elizabeth, god. I mean, I was glad that Ten wasn't uncharacteristically in love with her, and that his romance with her was him exploring a mystery and investigating... but also Moffat literally wrote a segment where Ten points out how OOC Elizabeth is behaving, only to have it confirmed that really IS Elizabeth. And even after Ten is disinterested, insults her, et cetera, she's still gaga about him, still forces him to marry her, and still kisses him multiple times when he his obviously not into it? Wtf.
sherrilina: 'My Doctor' 9/Rose (Doctor Who)sherrilina on November 25th, 2013 05:27 am (UTC)
Doylism? And yeah IDEK what the cup-of-soup thing was all about...some things I missed because people were talking, some because they probably didn't make much sense to begin with. Ultimately I'm glad I just watched at home.

In terms of Elizabeth, I had always felt like that line in EoT (as cringe-worthy as it was) was part of the "Ten has really gone over the edge and doesn't give a fuck anymore somebody help" characterization at that time, so I could rationalize it away...so I guess having him only be investigating is better, but by making this episode all about that, they firmly place this episode in the post-WoM-and-pre-EoT period, when he was really...not in that frame of mind in this episode. Another continuity issue. *sigh* And yeah, I mean Ten should have known she would have had bad teeth and breath because 16th century hi no dental hygiene but yeah, way to be meta about your OOC writing!
Kali: dw :: nine :: fantastic_thirty2flavors on November 26th, 2013 12:07 am (UTC)
Doylism as in Doylist vs Watsonian (terms coming from Sherlock Holmes -- ACD vs John Watson), it's just a way of saying I can't tune out real-world influencing factors when I watch fiction, especially TV. So like watching RTD's era, I know RTD didn't write it with this big retcon reset in mind, so I know that all those bits -- "the killer of his own kind", etc -- were written with their intended meaning. I don't feel the need to bend over backwards to make the author's stuff make sense where it doesn't.

Yeah I always got that vibe from EOT Ten as well. So like, I guess I don't mind that he wasn't genuinely romancing her but was investigating what he thought was an alien threat... but then... it turns out she was actually into him, too, and wasn't the least bit put off by his disinterest or his insults or anything. She made me cringe pretty hard.
captaintish on November 25th, 2013 08:50 pm (UTC)
I agree with this post.

I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. I even John Hurt, although I really wish they'd just gotten Paul McGann to do that part.

Ten and Eleven together was just a joy. I could watch them as a double act forever. That could just be the show. LOL.

I'm very unsettled by the rewriting of the end of the Time War. I'm trying to put it into the best possible light, just for my own sanity, but yeah, it was kind of like, when Ten said, "What I did that day was wrong." -- That was Moffat saying to RTD -- "That plot development was wrong." SO DISRESPECTFUL.

I'm trying to focus on the positive parts, because mostly I really did enjoy it. And I don't even mind Gallifrey being back, except they CHANGED THE DOCTOR'S ACTIONS IN THE TIME WAR AND THAT IS NOT OKAY.

ARGH, I'm so conflicted.

There need to be fix-it fics written, ASAP.
Kali_thirty2flavors on November 25th, 2013 11:20 pm (UTC)
when Ten said, "What I did that day was wrong." -- That was Moffat saying to RTD -- "That plot development was wrong." SO DISRESPECTFUL.

Exactly. I mean there's that quote floating around where Moffat's like "well the Doctor would never have killed them, so I had to find another way" -- so in other words, "The Doctor would never have done this thing that was the foundation of RTD's work, so lol whatever". Fuck off, Steven Moffat, you enormous ass. He conceives of a Doctor who will brainwash humanity into killing the Silence on sight without knowing why, but he can't conceive of a Doctor who would make a sacrifice himself for the greater good of the universe, or a Doctor who might sometimes have to make hard choices without an easy out? What cheap, uninteresting storytelling.
wheatear: martha joneswheatear on November 25th, 2013 10:01 pm (UTC)
Ah well. I 100% disagree with this. I thought the ending was great and entirely respectful to what came before.
Kali_thirty2flavors on November 25th, 2013 11:17 pm (UTC)
I mean, Steven Moffat gave an interview later and said "well the Doctor would NEVER have ended the Time War so OBVIOUSLY I had to undo it". That's massively disrespectful to RTD's enitre era.
wheatear: foxy doctorwheatear on November 25th, 2013 11:25 pm (UTC)
Where did he say that? The episode has all three Doctors willing to commit genocide on their own people so that's just not how it actually happened at all.
Kali_thirty2flavors on November 25th, 2013 11:39 pm (UTC)
"He wouldn’t. He wouldn’t. I don’t care what’s at stake, he’s not going to do it. So that was the story – of course he never did that. He couldn’t have. He’s the Doctor, he’s the man who doesn’t do that. He’s defined by the fact that he doesn’t do that. Whatever the cost, he will find another way. So it had to be the story of what really happened that he’s forgotten.”

Oop forgot the source.

Edited at 2013-11-25 11:41 pm (UTC)
Rosa | ¯\(ºдಠ)/¯rosaxx50 on November 26th, 2013 06:46 am (UTC)
And then the respect I'd brief gained for Moffat during the episode died once again. THE AUTHOR IS DEAD I INSIST, I DENY YOUR INTENTIONS AND REPLACE THEM WITH MY OWN.
wheatear: martha joneswheatear on November 26th, 2013 11:04 pm (UTC)
Oh well. I'll go with rosaxx50, the author is dead. The episode itself was far better than that.
Rosa | ¯\(ºдಠ)/¯rosaxx50 on November 26th, 2013 06:45 am (UTC)
ETA: Whoops replied to the wrong comment.

Edited at 2013-11-26 06:46 am (UTC)
ibishtar: Doctor Who companionibishtar on November 26th, 2013 04:27 pm (UTC)
I wasn't all that thrilled by the 50th either, and you explain why very well. Although I've been agreeing with the tumblr discussion, I've been trying to see the positive these past few days, but never managed to convince myself. Today, I was finally able to put into words why (I posted this meta about it here), and it's about how the original story of a man recovering from the loss he'd suffered and finding redemption from the terrible things he did is a much better, much more inspiring story. In the essay I include points we discussed in the meta about Ten's death, and I borrowed your Twilight/ Harry Potter comparison, I hope you don't mind.

Edited at 2013-11-26 04:27 pm (UTC)
Kali_thirty2flavors on November 26th, 2013 04:52 pm (UTC)
Your meta is spot on. It is just so contrary to the kind of fiction I enjoy and to what I look for in fiction that I genuinely am baffled that someone who enjoyed the story in New Who up to this point could also like the story they were given in DOTD. (I get how someone who always hated the Time War would be happy, but those people and I are not seeing eye-to-eye on anything ever, so...)

To pull the rug out from under your audience like this is unbelievable to me, and to do so for the sake of... what? What, really, did we gain here that couldn't have been gained another way? The idea that the Doctor is infallible and can always make the right choice even when there isn't a right choice? Boring. The idea that anything you've lost can always come back? Insulting to the audience who don't live in a magical universe and has to lose things really for real. And in-universe, if all we gained was the prospect of Gallifrey, that could have been done a dozen different ways that are less insulting.
Dani: dw // two words following usdashafeather on November 27th, 2013 01:13 pm (UTC)
I came to lj for the first time in ages to see what people in fandom thought of the terribleness that was the 50th and I have to agree with all of this.

What a mess, what an insult.

Moffat doesn't seem to have any understanding of how characters can be capable of being morally grey. They are bad, or they are good, there is little in-between. The Doctor killed the Silence (in a very disgusting, terrible way, brainwashing humanity to do it for him, but he's the Doctor and he's Good so it's okay!), and the Silence are Bad, so that was good of the Doctor and there are no repercussions. The Timelords are Good (apparently, since I'm sure it pretty much said opposite in the prequel....) and "Won't someone please thing of the children!!", so they can't die! The Doctor can't kill them in an understandable way, because the Doctor would never! He's too 'Good' for that!

People complained about RTD turning Ten into a god or whatever, but if anything, Eleven is the ~brilliant saviour~ here. The Doctor can do no wrong. He's not allowed to be morally grey, he has to be a dull cardboard cutout character that never ever does bad things, even when he does do bad things, because then they're just plain ignored. Even when he does do things that I'm pretty sure are considered shitty to any ordinary person, still nothing comes of it. The Doctor can lose his companion's friggin' baby and not do anything to get her back, he can brainwash humans to kill aliens for him, he can blow up a spaceship of unconscious innocents. It doesn't matter. There's no consequences for any of this, he's still a hero, he's still a guy who would apparently ~never ever~ kill a failing species of jerks for the greater good of the universe. Despite the fact he's been that person for seven seasons. I just, ugh.

Moffat could have had Eleven bring back the Timelords without having them have never all died in the first place, and yet he chose this.

I'm sorry if this doesn't make sense, lol. I'm very annoyed about this whole thing, god. I really want to quit this show and come back when Moffat's left, but I also want to see Capaldi as Twelve in S8, sigh.
Kali: dw :: ten/rose :: worst day of my life_thirty2flavors on November 28th, 2013 05:37 pm (UTC)
lol I, too, have been rolling around in the mutual rage of other fans. Sometimes I think it helps, sometimes it just makes me distressed that this is the state of the show.

I think you're right about the lack of moral complexity in Steven Moffat's writing. I think he makes vague token attempts, sometimes, but he can never commit to it. The Doctor tells Madam Kovarian "good men don't need rules; today is not a good day to find out why I have so many" -- and yet in the title of the episode and in the bizarre nursery rhyme written about him, the Doctor is still the titular "good man". (Not, as fandom had once speculated, Rory.) The Doctor in season 6 starts to maybe kind of see the kind of stress he puts his companions through and so he abandons them for their own good, but the finale of the season culminates in everyone in the universe crying out to help the Doctor and to reassure him that he is loved. Even if you disagree with Davros' speech in s4 about how the Doctor turns people into weapons, it still stands that we had a speech about the potentially negative influence he has on his companions and that speech isn't washed away five seconds later.

I think this meta -- "Steven Moffat doesn't understand grief, and it's killing Doctor Who" -- really hits the nail on the head as well. There is no real sense of loss in Steven Moffat's Whoniverse, and the result is that the Whoniverse feels very small and the stakes are very low. This is an example that post doesn't mention, but even when the Doctor loses Amy and Rory and is so depressed he turns his back on the universe to sulk on a cloud (which in itself to me seems like a parody of grief rather than a truthful presentation, but fine), he does that for about 20 minutes of an episode before he becomes entranced with Clara and he literally never mentions the Ponds ever again. That's it, he's moved on -- he just needed that new mystery. River heads to the Library sometime mid-s7b and we don't even know about it because the Doctor does not react in any way to losing a woman he supposedly loves, until her ghost shows up unexpectedly in the season finale. I mean, if you contrast that to the Doctor losing Rose and grieving her for an entire season, the difference is unbelievable. Ten's grief felt very real to me, in that it crept up on him repeatedly even as he was in the process of getting on with life, in little moments and little mentions for a long period of time. His grieving is a process he goes through for years. Eleven's on the other hand is over the top but unrealistic -- screw the world, I miss Amy! until, of course, he meets another pretty face, and then it's Amy who? within 20 minutes. When the characters themselves care so little about anything, why should I empathize with them? Why should I mourn something they themselves will not mourn?

And of course, as that meta says, it's one thing for Steven Moffat to make his own era bloodless and uneventful -- to turn around and try to sap the blood and meaning out of RTD's era as well is disrespectful and outrageous to me.

Edited at 2013-11-28 05:39 pm (UTC)
christycorr on December 11th, 2013 09:15 pm (UTC)