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Okay. What the hell?

I don't actually (for once!) have any complaints about anyone's characterization.

It makes sense for Adelaide to do what she does... sort of. Adelaide has been through a lot, she isn't thinking clearly, and she just lost half of her command to a very weird disaster. So her action is understandable. Sad, but understandable. The idea that her death is necessary doesn't hold water, really, but for once the Doctor articulates that himself. ("You'll be around and inspire her.")

It makes sense for the Doctor to do what he does, and for similar reasons. We're meant to feel creeped out when the Doctor starts ranting about how time will OBEY him, and I have no problem with that at all. It's creepy.

(I realize there was a whole episode before the ending bit. It was a good Doctor Who monster episode. I liked it.)

But...

The Doctor convinces Adelaide that her death is necessary to the future, so well that she keeps on believing it longer than he does. But there's no external sign that he's wrong at the end of the episode, and therefore right at the beginning. If a bunch of flying space cockroaches had erupted out of the sky like in Father's Day, then we'd know that Adelaide's tragic death was actually something inescapable, and we'd have to live with it. Instead, we're left with the possibility that the world will be different, and possibly worse, because the Doctor saved some lives. Which is true. But you can say that about every time, and in fact about anyone doing anything ever.

It seems to me like this episode is arguing for paralysis and inaction. Let events play out, and don't interfere with destiny. The argument is weak, and at least the episode is relatively honest about that. I don't hate this, whereas I hate what happened to Donna in Journey's End.

The Doctor shouldn't be swanning about calling himself "Time Lord Victorious", but he shouldn't leave people to die in a fire, either. (This is an interesting callback to Last of the Time Lords, with the Master's line "I am a Time Lord. I have that right.")

It could be that the mysterious darkness coming to Earth for the next specials is the direct result of the Doctor rescuing Bowie Base One. I kind of hope it isn't, because that leaves the question of whether he did the right thing open, which I think is how it should be.
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jmatonak

January 2012

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