The Internet isn’t safe!! The Angels Take Manhattan has aired in the UK, and will air on BBC America shortly. Not even etsy appears to be safe in the meantime, but I did want to post my reactions to the first four episodes of Doctor Who season 7A before I watch. I had intended to post reviews episode by episode, but that didn’t happen. So below are brief reactions, thoughts, and of course, spoilers!
Asylum of the Daleks
This was an interesting way to lead in the season. I have gotten used to spending the first 10 minutes at least with my brow furrowed trying to figure out what in the world was going on. I felt that the Parliament of the Daleks didn’t really make sense for them. In the new series, there have been far more levels of power and rebel/humanized Daleks. But a parliament implies a sort of democracy, and that’s definitely NOT Dalek. The Dalek-ized humans also seemed a bit out of character – yes, they’ve been known to use humans, but when they were through with them, they’d discard them.
Anyways, the asylum itself was pretty cool. Again, not sure that I really think the Daleks would keep around any Daleks that were no longer surviving a purpose, but it was a good idea, and very creepy. As always, poor Rory.
I think the most interesting thing about this episode came to me in retrospect. I have been doing a pretty good job of avoiding spoilers for this season, and I think that actually made me miss out on a good bit of the impact of the episode. Firstly, the only things I knew about the new companion were that she was brunette, called Clara, and not appearing until Christmas. So, although I knew very early into the episode that something was up with Oswin, I didn’t really connect her to anything further until I listening to the Staggering Stories podcast review of the episode! Also, I hadn’t watched any of the Pond Life clips, so Amy & Rory’s breakup came out of left field for me. As far as I can remember, none of the other extra clips or prequels have really affected the viewers’ understanding of the proper episodes, but having now seen Pond Life, I think I would have viewed this episode differently!
Lastly, I really enjoyed seeing Amy & Rory’s relationship and attempts at real life. Although we got some of this last season, I think it was very real and human in this episode. I don’t think it was at all fair that Rory tells Amy he loves her more, and it was only kind of sort of him that waited 2,000 years for her (also interesting that he still remembers all of that!) and I also don’t think it was fair for Amy to make the decision for him and kick him out “for his own good” without talking to him about it, and yet, I think both of their reactions were very human. We’re often unfair to each other and not very good about talking things out!
Dinosaurs on a Spaceship
This seemed a bit of fluff to me. I’m sure small children (and big men) enjoyed seeing dinosaurs. On a spaceship. I felt that there were too many companions squeezed in and it was all a bit too contrived. Although I knew Nefertiti & Lestat (see, not enough development – I can’t even remember what the character was called and thought of him as Lestat the whole episode) would end up together, there really wasn’t a whole lot of development there. And how does she get back to her time to be put in her tomb so we could know who she was? That’s not very like the Doctor.
I loved loved LOVED Mark Williams as Rory’s dad. That was like the best casting ever. Watching this episode, I really wished he had had his own episode in which he and Rory saved the day together, that could have carried its own episode easily. I loved his reactions to the Doctor and could definitely a lot of Rory in his performance. The final scene of him sitting in the doorway of the TARDIS was possibly my favorite scene in all of new Who (not sure if it beats Wilf or not, but it’s very, very close).
A Town called Mercy
Not really sure I like angsty Eleventh Doctor. I feel like we are backpedalling towards angsty Ten, which I got rather tired of. Amy yelling at the Doctor that he needs companions is true, but since every time we have seen him lately, he has been with them, it’s kind of hard to really grasp how long he has been on his own. They are clearly building towards something big in the Ponds’ last episode. Really though, I think what the Doctor really needed pointing out to him was his hipocracy, and I can’t even remember how much of that the Ponds even know. This was true in the ending of Dinosaurs on a Spaceship too.
The ending of this was a bit too neat, but to be honest, I couldn’t come up with a different ending that I would have been ok with. I did like how they did the town, the music and the stetson. I was definitely getting a Firefly (and Red Dwarf!) vibe.
The Power of Three
It was quite an amusing idea to see the Doctor trying to live with the Ponds, but I felt that they made it a bit too forced. He did, after all, live in a flat with Craig and play football for a while. And even if all the humans were accepting the cubes and incorporating them into their everyday lives, I don’t think the Doctor would have accepted them that easily, and I don’t think he would have run off after only 4 days – I think they were much too intriguing of a puzzle for that. He might have gone back 4 days and tried to figure out where they had come from or gone and researched them, but I don’t think he’d have just wandered off.
After my disappointment that there wasn’t enough Brian Williams in Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, I was so glad to see him back again. His cube status reports were hilarious. Have I mentioned how perfect this casting was??
One thing that I don’t like about Amy & Rory’s attempts at real life is that it’s all seeming too easy for them. If I had a friend who was always disappearing or backing out of commitments, I certainly wouldn’t ask her to be a bridesmaid, and if I had an employ who didn’t show up to work for a month at a time, I wouldn’t be offering him a full time position, no matter how good he was with the patients. Once, I went on a three day (pre-planned) vacation, and didn’t have a job when I got back!
I loved UNIT’s appearance, this is definitely a threat UNIT had to be involved in. The base beneath the Tower of London looked great, and I was happy to see Kate Stewart. Ok, I admit, I got a bit teary-eyed even. Once again, I felt that the ending of this episode was a bit too sudden and contrived. The idea and the buildup were great, but the last 5 minutes were a waste. This is why the sonic screwdriver and K-9 got destroyed several times throughout classic Who!
Knowing that the next episode will be Rory and Amy’s last, I had nearly come to accept that they might be able to step away from life with the Doctor, like Martha did. But there have been too many sad glances from the Doctor, too much foreboding. After the end of this episode, it’s clear that something drastic is going to have to happen in the next episode.
So, in summary, this season so far has been pretty good. The ideas behind each of the episodes have been fantastic in my opinion, although I’ve felt let down by the resolutions. After all of the weird weirdness in the arc(s) from last season, it’s honestly been a bit of a relief that I don’t have to keep track of so many plot points across episodes (I have a horrible memory).
Although I was a bit reluctant about Eleven, Amy and Rory in the beginning, they have become one of my favorite TARDIS teams of all time. I’d have to agree with the conclusion to the Power of Three in that I really love them as a whole, but on their own not so much. Amy really annoys me on her own, or with just her and Eleven. I think what I’ve really loved about the development of Amy’s story is that the Doctor is intertwined in her life going SO far back, and that’s really only something that’s previously been explored in books or audios, but not to my recollection in the tv series. We haven’t seen a whole lot of Eleven on his own. I thought the episodes with Craig were good, but didn’t much care for either of the Christmas specials. I’ve been saying since Captain Jack left Eight and Rose that the Doctor needed a male companion. I didn’t much care for Rory in the first couple of episodes (honestly after their first episode I think my comment was that they should have left him in Leadworth and taken the computer geek friend instead) but he has really developed. I like that they’ve let him use his medical skills moreso than I remember Martha getting to use hers, and I love that he’s grown a backbone and insisted to the Doctor that his own work was important and that there was more to life than running around after the Doctor, but I think even Rory on his own would start to grate on me. These three are best together in a team.
What that means after the next episode, I don’t know, but I had faith in Moffat going into the fifth season, and I still have faith in him going into this year’s Christmas special. First though, I have to survive tonight’s episode. Guess I’d better go get my tissues and prepare myself!!