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This is really going to be a flash review. And it is not a favorable one. Which I hate to say, but damn, this sucked.

1. It's not as bad, for me, as "42," my go-to for worst New Who episode ever. Not quite.

2. It is, however, BB's choice for worst, and I completely understand. I mean, he's angry. He doesn't do angry for Who, he's not as invested as I am, so he can watch it with more of a sense of perspective and humor. But "Kill the Moon" did it for him, or to him. With him, as he said, it's the pure mindless stupidity of the plot, which, as he said, breaks even the flimsy framework of Whoniverse skience. And I'll be honest, I, who am the cheapest of cheap dates for Who, thought this was bad. In fact, I felt insulted by it. Why? Hmmm;

a) Bacteria that look like spiders
. Riiiight..
b) The moon lacking any minerals. Riiiiight ... those moon rocks that geologists have been studying for years are what, then? *nods in BB's direction* 
c) Did the writer stop to think that, when an egg is laid, all its mass is already there? A chicken's egg doesn't get heavier as the chick develops; it eats up the available mass in the yolk. But, no, of course not, he didn't, he just thought that a developing creature would add more mass.
d) The writer has the Doctor state that the moon's been around for 100,000 million years. BZZZT, wrong answer. It's about 4.7 billion years old. Bit off, there.

Why should this matter in Dr. Who, home of laughable science? Because when you make mistakes this basic in a story where SKIENCE!!!! is supposed to be the main plot point - not, say, a character episode, or a horror episode, or a mystery, or a historical romp - then at least pretend to care about science that would impress, say, a fifth grade student. Make your pretend science at least that good. And if you can't do that, then make us not care because the other aspects of the show are good; the characters, the moral questions, the what-have-you. This failed that test.

3.It failed because of scattered and slapdash writing, the lack of a center, the lack of characters that I care about, the lack of infrastructure to draw the characters into the plot. It tells me things, in the middle of this gormless mess of words, it tells me there's an important philosophical question being asked, but it isn't showing me why it's important; in fact it's doing the opposite, it's making me angry that I'm supposed to feel a certain way when it's pretty clear, logical - and fucking ethical - to feel the exact opposite. It's telling me things about Clara and the Doctor and their relationship, but it's not showing it to me. Worse, it's not sure what it's telling me to think. It's just bad writing.

4. Jenna acted the hell out of it. Capaldi acted the hell out of it. Even Ellis George did admirably. But they can only do so much when they're given such atrocious material to work with.

5. This makes "The Caretaker" admirable by comparison. It makes "Listen" damn near a masterpiece.

6. Gah.

7. But I have high hopes for next week. Yes, of course I'll come back. I love these characters!

This entry was originally posted at http://kaffyr.dreamwidth.org/326133.html?mode=reply, where there are currently comment count unavailable comments. You can comment there or here; I watch both.


( 58 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 5th, 2014 01:48 am (UTC)
Can I just say I love your avatar on this.

It so sums up my entire reaction.
Oct. 5th, 2014 05:25 pm (UTC)
It's not the acting, at least not that of the two main and the main secondary characters; they worked so hard with the kind of poor material that's got to be any actor's nightmare.

There are things one can salvage from this as a viewer, but I shouldn't have to be grateful for that.

Edited at 2014-10-05 05:25 pm (UTC)
Oct. 5th, 2014 02:33 am (UTC)
Pretty much my feelings on the episode....
Oct. 5th, 2014 05:27 pm (UTC)
As I told betawho above, there are things I can salvage from this episode, as a viewer who is trying to watch an over arching story in context, but I shouldn't have to be panning for gold, hoping to find a nugget in a slurry of slop.
Oct. 5th, 2014 03:20 am (UTC)

And the badly-executed moral dilemma and the Doctor being a complete and utter arsehole felt entirely forced, for the sole purpose of leading to those last seven minutes or so. Which scenes were brilliantly acted, but needed a completely different and far more convincing preceding 40 minutes.

And in general: it's a very risky path, this turning Twelve into a bastard with no redeeming features. Yes, the Doctor's always been arrogant, occasionally unsympathetic, had different priorities to those of his companions, and now and then a bit of a shit. But underneath it all, and at times more close to the surface than others, has been his love of the universe (and his favourite race, humans), his compassion, his empathy, and his joy and excitement at discovery. Yes, it can be argued that people change as they get older, but much more of this and he won't be the Doctor any more; he'll just be an angry old wanker in a blue box about whom people will find it very hard to care.

ETA: I meant to add that the other thing I thought while I was watching was that this was a very heavy-handed and unnecessary comment on abortion: the egg, the creature inside to be destroyed or allowed to live; the child who would never see the sun; and it being the women's choice. And, lo and behold, when the decision is made to abort the nuke (ie not abort the child), everything turns out perfect and wonderful after all.

Edited at 2014-10-05 03:42 am (UTC)
Oct. 5th, 2014 03:56 am (UTC)
Can I say I love you for this comment?!

Who does generally 'broad' concepts, but this...this was a little too close to political home. And it left a bad taste in my mouth.

Six was listed as one of the 'worst Doctors' because of his personality (which I found refreshing at the time). Methinks Capaldi's is topping that, which is a shame, as I truly love Capaldi and I know he's excited about being the Doctor. The problem is we get the Doctor in some scenes and someone else in others...there'd better be a good explanation for this: like the Time Lords actually did tinker with his regenerations.

Sorry, sorry...just...thank you for this comment.

(no subject) - wendymr - Oct. 5th, 2014 04:22 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - a_phoenixdragon - Oct. 5th, 2014 04:48 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kaffyr - Oct. 5th, 2014 05:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - a_phoenixdragon - Oct. 5th, 2014 05:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kaffyr - Oct. 5th, 2014 06:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - a_phoenixdragon - Oct. 5th, 2014 07:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 5th, 2014 04:40 am (UTC)
About the science: *Points to the Golden Arrow" and "Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow".

How is twelve a bastard? Five nearly let the Silurians and the Sea Devils wipe out the humans on the Earth as did Three. Because he left the fate of the Earth to Humankind? If it's anyone I dislike it's Clara who's become so self-centered that she can't see beyond her eyelashes. Please educate me.

Clara wanted Courtney to feel special, well she got what she wanted. Just not on her terms. Thing is apparently Clara isn't ready for that kind of decision despite her history. And it was the fact that the Doctor didn't simply tell Courtney she was special; he showed her she was special. Is that wrong? Is that being a bastard?

I won't go into what REALLY pissed me off about the episode because it implied something that wasn't so wonderful.
(no subject) - kaffyr - Oct. 5th, 2014 06:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sevanatwonights - Oct. 5th, 2014 06:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - liadtbunny - Oct. 5th, 2014 02:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kaffyr - Oct. 5th, 2014 06:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - liadtbunny - Oct. 6th, 2014 02:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kaffyr - Oct. 8th, 2014 07:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - liadtbunny - Oct. 9th, 2014 02:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kaffyr - Oct. 9th, 2014 03:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - cygnia - Oct. 5th, 2014 02:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kaffyr - Oct. 5th, 2014 05:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 5th, 2014 03:58 am (UTC)
I think wendymr summed up a lot of my feelings for me. Dammit, what are they doing?! I'm actually grateful Matt is gone now...I never thought I would be. Because I could not see (AT ALL) his Doctor doing this. I just...couldn't see it. And I am ever so glad.

*Crawls off to cry and miss Eleventy like mad*

*Drive-by Squishes*
Oct. 5th, 2014 04:05 am (UTC)
I was just thinking this same thing. I miss 11 like mad (even though I had problems with some of the writing for his incarnation too).

But I am honestly very glad we haven't had to see his incarnation reduced to this.
(no subject) - a_phoenixdragon - Oct. 5th, 2014 04:49 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - betawho - Oct. 5th, 2014 05:10 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - a_phoenixdragon - Oct. 5th, 2014 05:20 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Oct. 5th, 2014 06:24 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - a_phoenixdragon - Oct. 5th, 2014 06:31 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Oct. 5th, 2014 08:39 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - a_phoenixdragon - Oct. 5th, 2014 02:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Oct. 5th, 2014 11:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - a_phoenixdragon - Oct. 6th, 2014 12:09 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Oct. 6th, 2014 11:56 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - a_phoenixdragon - Oct. 6th, 2014 12:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kaffyr - Oct. 8th, 2014 07:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Oct. 8th, 2014 11:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kaffyr - Oct. 9th, 2014 03:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Oct. 9th, 2014 11:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kaffyr - Oct. 5th, 2014 05:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - a_phoenixdragon - Oct. 5th, 2014 05:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kaffyr - Oct. 5th, 2014 06:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - a_phoenixdragon - Oct. 5th, 2014 06:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kaffyr - Oct. 5th, 2014 06:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - a_phoenixdragon - Oct. 5th, 2014 07:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kaffyr - Oct. 5th, 2014 07:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 5th, 2014 05:35 am (UTC)
Oh boy, I bet Kevin will rage about this one. He hated "Listen" and disliked "The Caretaker" and I'm mostly with him on that so this should be . . . great. (Haven't watched it yet, I was watching baseball, he was away at a gaming session. It's been downloaded though.)
Oct. 5th, 2014 05:54 pm (UTC)
Hi there! I'd love to hear from you guys what you thought about it, once you've watched it. As I've been telling other folks in the conversation, there are interesting things and concepts at the core, and equally interesting things that I can take away and chew on. But the problem is that the ideas at the core haven't been, in my opinion, written well enough. I should not have to work this hard to get something out of Doctor Who.
(no subject) - laurel - Oct. 8th, 2014 06:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kaffyr - Oct. 8th, 2014 07:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 5th, 2014 09:01 pm (UTC)
I... really liked it. Really, really liked it, for reasons which I will expand on in a large meta which I'm currently working on. The science was very bad. Sometimes I'll shout about that, but if I enjoy the story itself I'll let it pass (like with the Golden Arrow), and this was week where the story was very enjoyable for me and touched on certain themes in rl and sf (and optimism in sf) which I find very interesting.

I especially appreciated the elaboration on "fixed points" since it made a bit of my personal head!canon actual canon.

I also liked, though was saddened by, Clara's departure. It was definitely time for her to go, and her reasons were good. Hopefully this will be a wake-up call to Twelve to stop being such a git. I also think that she'll be back at the end of the series, possibly to make a decision on the Doctor's own fate based on what she's seen of him.
Oct. 5th, 2014 09:26 pm (UTC)
You're definitely not the only person who liked it. I wish I could. The science was so horrible, though, that I felt that the writer didn't respect his audience.

It could have been done - crazier, sillier things have been done in the Whoniverse, and it's been carried off with panache. I loved the Golden Arrow, for instance, although I've pointed out elsewhere that it's easier to handwave the science when it's not the core of the episode. I just didn't feel that this was the episode you could do that with.

Yours is the first comment I've seen that shows me someone felt this episode touched on optimism. I shall have to think about it. It struck me as a singularly unoptimistic episode, despite all the words about how the spacebaby whatever somehow magically turned around a human race that was so helplessly mired in existential angst that it had let all its satellites stop working.* It felt almost unrelievedly dark to me. Even the hand-wavy "everybody lives, even the spacebaby, yay!" felt unearned and patronizing. Or perhaps that especially felt unearned and patronizing. For me, it's feels thusly: Clara makes a decision that was rewarded only by magic. In the real world, and even in most sections of The Whoniverse, her decision would have doomed 10 billion people. That, to me, explains her fury at the end - she's as angry at herself for having made that decision as she was at the Doctor, angry at herself for letting herself think like the Doctor. But it isn't a happy ending.

I ask this very honestly, because I want to see this episode from a different view than I currently have - where do you see the optimism?

* (That was another thing that the author had somehow forgotten; the space program has been extremely healthy despite not sending out manned moon shots - in fact, the entire world is getting into the space exploration business. The space program has evolved in the 50 plus years it's been around. It's survived a lot. It wouldn't have disappeared in 35 years, not to that extent. It's another way I feel as if the writer is disrespecting my common sense. Do that in a historical romp like Robots of Sherwood,, but not something in which you're asking me to take you, the writer seriously, to respect you. If you want that from me, then treat me, the viewer, with respect.

Gah. I'm sorry to be ranty in my response to you. And I'm serious; talk to me of optimism because I want to change my views. And never hesitate to say that you liked, or disliked, something that I disliked, or liked. Not that I think you ever would hesitate, but just in case ....
(no subject) - clocketpatch - Oct. 5th, 2014 11:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kaffyr - Oct. 6th, 2014 12:04 am (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 9th, 2014 09:24 pm (UTC)
*winces* I'm sorry this let you down so much, dear. The science… *laughs* Yeah. Quite right—this is pretty much a "go along with it or fume for 45 minutes" case. The moon is an egg? Right… XD

I agree about the acting, which was great to see. I quite enjoyed the characters overall, especially as the ep carried on. The ending confrontation especially—I'm kind of kicking episode parallels around in my head and thinking of making a post of that, idk. Parallels seem to help explaining Twelve's and Clara's reactions and many people have problems with those, so… (This was actually my first time really feeling for Clara… well… pretty much since Deep Breath.)

I hope you'll feel a lot better about the next ep! ♥
Oct. 9th, 2014 09:51 pm (UTC)
I am feeling truly sorry for Clara, because she is, I think, watching a relationship she built up with Eleven crack and fail with Twelve. It's not really either of their faults, certainly not exclusively so.

In fact, as I think about it, in many ways this is a mirror to so many relationships, where you learn that "love is not enough" (or at least love has to be made up of a lot more than we sometimes think it needs to be, if it's going to last through the kind of major character changes people go through as they live together.)

The Doctor's regenerative changes are really an enhanced shorthand for how everyone changes through life. And sometimes, relationships between two people can handle the strain of those two people growing and changing, and sometimes they can't. This isn't just the case with romantic relationships, of course; it can be friendships, it can be intra-family as well, as parents and children change, or as siblings change.

Normally, we don't get the chance to see what happens when the Doctor and a beloved Companion realize they have grown away from each other, and that all the good will in the world isn't going to change that, or bring the original feeling back. This time, I think that's what we're going to get.
(no subject) - flowsoffire - Oct. 10th, 2014 06:37 am (UTC) - Expand
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