11 May 2010

Doctor Who: "The Time of Angels" and "Flesh and Stone" (No Spoilers)

Nice pacing, fun story to watch, better than most of the season, but undercut by changing the rules on which the Angels are based. But "Bob" was fantastically creepy. And Amy is a hoot.

I held off on watching these episodes because of River Song, who I am trying so hard to like, but it's an uphill slog. She improved marginally toward the end of the second episode, but she unfortunately falls into one of my most-hated literary devices: making a woman appear strong by undercutting a man, instead of just being strong.

River's exchanges with the Doctor (unlike Amy's, which work considerably better) revolve around making the Doctor less competent, by having someone know more than him about the things he should know most about. Exchanges with River make the Doctor less than who he usually is. I should love River - she's strong, she has a sense of fun, she's competent, she's complex. But she's annoying as hell, and it's because of her belittling interactions with the Doctor.

My litmus test for whether these exchanges 'work' is whether, if the Doctor was female, I would accept that behaviour from some unknown new male character who knew how to fly the TARDIS better than she does, who can work her other devices better than she does, who calls her by a pet name she doesn't like, who knows all this stuff about her future, and as Amy points out, treats the Doctor like a dog that can be called to heel.

I think River's characterisation is a little inconsistent, and I am hoping that if we meet a 'young', pre-smug River I might find her a good deal more likeable. [And, to be slightly spoilerific, I'm starting to wonder if River is not destined to be the Doctor's wife, but rather his death.]

The story arc for the season sounds like one which could be fantastically annoying. Foreshadowing retcons? Seriously?

My immediate thought was "what does that mean for Donna?".

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