Post by Duggan
"Also, the show should not be enjoyable to girls or people who don't
live in their parents' basements. And it needs more anoraks."
Who said any of that?
Isn't it enough that he's now a one-man-army and demi-god, does he
have to be Kevin Keegan as well?
"Amy was good in this one."
"Because you're an expert in how causality works in the presence of
time travel. You should write a paper on it. I'd love to see your
I would need a pen and a beer mat to prove it to you. But I'm not
talking about science. I'm talking about narrative. I'm talking about
a basic respect for your audience.
It was disguised, because it seemed, although probably wasn't, more
complicated than this.
The story was largely about the paradoxes.
The main cause-effect reversal was only revealed at the end, by which
time we already loved the episode. It came as a nice, satisfying,
fitting twist, almost expected by that point.
Most importantly, it was a self-contained one-off, not a cliffhanger-
resolving conclusion to the season finale.
The Bill and Ted trick in this was a spit in the face to everyone
who'd cared enough to wonder how he could get out of it.
The Doctor and his companion fall off a precipice into a thousand foot
1. The ethical writer option.
The doctor activates a device we saw him find and pocket, which turns
out to be a futuristic parachute. Or they drop into a net placed by
some creatures who are going to be important to the plot, whom if we
haven't encountered them already we've at least glimpsed shuffling
about in the shadows.
2. The baffling techno-babble option.
The Doctor points the screwdriver and yells 'I'm polarizing the rocks
at the bottom to repel us,' or something less obviously nonsense.
After a few tense moments when it looks like it isn't going to work,
it works and they float up.
3. The uplifting psycho-babble option.
The Doctor says, 'Amy, the most powerful force in the universe is the
human mind. There is nothing, nothing you can't do if you believe in
yourself. Amy, you have to have faith in yourself. If you believe you
can fly, you can fly.'
After tense moments of self-doubt, Amy believes she can fly and they
fly. Cue Murray Gold.
4. The nonsense, phoning-it-in, bad-fever-dream, turn-the-show-into-a-
Instead of falling they float up. The Doctor says, 'That's a pleasant
surprise, the law of gravity appears to have been temporarily
rescinded just as we fell off the cliff. I like it when that happens.'
Everything else in the episode and the series fell into category 1, 2
Such as the never-previously-mentioned toxic fumigation gas Eldane
uses to beat the Silurians? Why would anyone make their fumigation gas
toxic to themselves anyway? That's like a fire alarm that encourages
people to get out of the building by setting them alight.
Such as the never-previously-suggested phone virus the Doctor creates
to flag Prisoner Zero's presence to the Atraxi? Fits into category 2 -
but also category 4, as it was pretty nonsensical.
Such as the never-previously-mentioned ability of the Pandorica to
technobabble someone back to life? Another offender on both count 2
and count 4.
The crack in Flesh and Stone is very nearly verging on a 4 - the
cracks had been seen before, but a crack that manifests an entirely
new property just in time to save the day is a definite 4. It only
squeezes out of this category by having the Doctor mention that it
would take all the Angels to close it instead of him - and even then
that was within two minutes of the crack doing exactly that.
Conversely, as someone suggested a while back, it could be suggested
that the Angels suddenly manifesting the ability to collectively close
the crack by falling into it is a 4.
This season has been *full* of exactly this sort of thing, as well as
the pure technobabble and pure psychobabble DEMs. The saving grace is
that it's much less embarrassing than the psychobabble option, and
funnier to boot (as for "turn-the-show-into-a-comedy", bear in mind
that the showrunner is a sitcom writer, and that one of only two
stories the this year *not* written by someone best-known for sitcoms,
comedy drama or romantic comedy - The Lodger - was perhaps the most
deliberately sitcomesque episode of the season. Also, Who has always
been at its best when it's allowed itself to be funny).
I don't object to 2 that much. I don't even object to the
Post by Duggan
screwdriver-as-magic-wand; in the new format he doesn't have time to
build elaborate machines. I don't particularly object to 3 if it's
done well, in fact I'm a sucker for it at times.
Sadly it hasn't been done well this year - possibly partly because the
psychobabble solutions seem to be given to Amy, and Gillan's not good
at making her character appear sympathetic.
I have not
Post by Duggan
complained, arrogantly or otherwise, about any plotholes in this
series or any of the preceding ones I've seen. It's an SF/fantasy show
partly aimed at kids and it's meant to be fun. It is fun and I cut it
But that first Bill and Ted escape from the Pandorica falls squarely
into category 4. It was lazy, inept and embarrassing.
Suit yourself - I found it much more embarrassing that they tried to
clone Dark Star's talking-the-bomb-out-of-exploding sequence *but took
it seriously*. The time-jumping Doctor was blatantly done for laughs;
the entire episode was an exercise in gleefully ignoring any kind of
internal consistency for the sake of a fun ride. It would have
undeniably been better storytelling if, in the scene where the Doctor
gives Rory the ring, he had also manufactured an excuse to give Rory
the screwdriver, but then we'd have had a rather bland opening
sequence where Rory realises "oh, I've gone the sonic" and goes to
open the box. Just occasionally, breaking the rules works - I just get
irritated when it's done consistently with little payoff for doing so
(would it have been that hard to work out a reason for the Angels,
wanting a power source inside the ship as they were, to leave it just
to chase the Doctor and co. inside? Or give them a reason to need
bodies that explained (a) why they killed three people when they only
needed one to communicate with the Doctor, (b) why they needed to
communicate with him anyway, and (c) when they already had what they
needed why they killed Octavian rather than displacing him in time?)
The difference here is that going with logical consistency would cost
the episode a funny scene; in most of the series so far, going with
logical consistency wouldn't alter anything in the atmosphere or
tension of the episode but would improve the storytelling.
Post by Duggan
Anyone want to speculate why Amy didn't remember the Daleks? Was there
something I missed that explained it, or is it part of the ongoing
The Doctor seemed to conclude in Flesh and Stone that that event had
been erased from history by the crack, along with the Cyberking and,
um, the ducks. Of course, in that case the logic of the ongoing story
would imply that, being part of the Doctor's personal history, he
should have forgotten those events as well. Alternatively, it can just
be waved away as 'Amy's weird because she grew up with the crack'.