Turn away and forget Dr Who?
Never. That was just a trick to make you carry on reading – just like Steven Moffat’s tricks to keep you watching the new series. Do you have to trick people to keep them interested? Robert Louis Stephenson once said that in fiction every sentence is a kind of trick, in which clear literal sense is replaced with artistic concealment, then da-dar… the truth of what is happening is revealed. Except he said it better – or more confusingly at first, then clearer.
I LOVE the aliens who you forget when you are not looking at them. A great idea. But the Doctor dying AGAIN? I really hoped the Moff was not going to do that. Is this the only shaft writers have in their quiver? We have only just recovered from the trauma of David Tennant’s Doctor spending a year of specials awaiting death and someone knocking four times. Then last series (Pandorica/Bang) included the death of Amy, Rory, and the Doctor, also the whole universe.
Do we have to be plunged into this morbid tease all over again? Evidently so. But there is a development, a sort of hidden progress in our relationship with the series. Of course we know the Doctor can not die,as it’s his show, but the intrigue lies in HOW WILL THEY GET OUT OF IT?
So watching is not so much an emotional experience, as a thoughtful one – kind of like a game of chess. It is a bit like a whodunnit, or a howdunnit? Or a Why-the-heck-have they dunnit? In fact the chess pieces set in place were rather too many: The Doctor dies. Who has to be there to make the story work? A mystery astronaut, an alien, Amy and Rory, an old guy with a can of petrol. Oh and River Song of course. And nearby, a younger version of the Doc. A puzzle indeed, but perhaps too much of a puzzle. With the four Tardis-blue invitations, the whole thing almost comes in a box with the word ‘puzzle’ written on the side. Maybe one too many gears grinding away there in the engine room of the thing to really let us sit back and enjoy a good yarn.
We also have a little girl in a spacesuit and elsewhere, Amy revealing that she is pregnant. Already my sci-fi literate friends begin to wonder if person A isn’t a grown up version of person B who turns out to be the daughter of person C.
I hope not. I hate that kind of stuff. It is the play-doh of which sprawling X-Men sagas are made, stretched about by comic fans for comic fans. But in TV, especially BBC TV, I hope for the stuff of life – real life and real wisdom, hidden under marvellous fantasy. And written by people who couldn’t and haven’t ONLY written DR Who.
Of course Stephen Moffat is a brilliant writer, so we must – and will hope for the best. Because often he provides it.
Re, X-Men-type convoluted saga, where the killer turns out to be future unborn daughter of the wife you haven’t met yet. This kind of thing can be surprising (momentarily), but lacking in meaning and a satisfying poetic outcome.I mean, it would be a surprise if the killer astronaut turned out to be the easter bunny. But it would not be dramatically satisfying.
I have my own theory about the spaceman but I won’t spoiler it here…