‘Doctor Who’ blogging: “The Beast Below”

(tons of spoilers! don’t read till you’ve seen the episode! and no comments from party poopers — this is a love fest only / previous: “The Eleventh Hour”)
And so it begins. Honestly, it’s a miracle that it didn’t begin with the previous episode. The complaining. The whining. The nitpicking.

It’s Doctor Who. We’re in the TARDIS. With the Doctor. Visiting amazing places and meeting neat-o people. With the Doctor. What is there to complain about? Plotholes? I don’t understand. You people call yourself fans?

Okay, sure: I don’t really get why the Starship U.K. people feed their kids to the monster (or what they think of as the monster, at least) for doing poorly at school. That’s harsh, man. And sort of pointless, too. Unless it’s like a recycling thing. I mean, the starwhale has to eat something, right? Starwhale Kibble is people!

But do I care? I do not. Especially with the stinging satire of the Protest/Forget choice. Only one percent of the people have to protest in order to fix a horrific wrong, but that never happens? Everyone is happily, willfully ignorant? Ouch. Nicely done, Moffat: nicely done.

Especially with the unexpected beginning to the Doctor and Amy’s relationship: she finds an option in a terrible situation that he did not see. His arrogance comes so easily to him — he’s just gonna take her home for withholding information from him, and I’m not sure that he’s wrong to be angry about that — that it never occurs to him that there could be another way to fix this awful thing, or that he may not have an entirely accurate basic understanding of the situation. He assumed the worst about the behavior of the humans — and not without good reason — but never thought to assume the best about the starwhale’s motives.

I wonder, though, whether Amy’s eventually going to discover that the Doctor is not entirely kind all the time. (And how does she know he’s very old? Is that a bit of information that’s fallen through the crack in the universe somehow?)

I doubt, too, that had the Doctor succeeded in putting the starwhale out of its misery without hurting Starship U.K. would be “the worst thing [he’s] ever done.” All that “bad stuff” in the Time War, all the stuff he’d “love to forget it all, every last bit of it”? Some of that has got to be worse…

So I don’t care about plotholes, not when the emotional stuff here is so right. Not when watching Amy learn who the Doctor is becomes an opportunity for us to see him change. After all this time, he can still grow as a character? That’s worth a few plotholes.

Random thoughts on “The Beast Below”:

• I still don’t like the new arrangement of the theme music…

• Oy, Pond! Hands off my Doctor!

• I hope we’re eventually going to discover where those stairs on the left go to:

• I’ve decided that I’m calling the motif of the new TARDIS — and perhaps this entire new series, as this episode and the next appear to be hinting — vacuum-tube-punk, or just vacuumpunk:

It’s all a good 50 years beyond steampunk. And somehow windup-punk (after the “windup streetlamps” the Doctor mentions) doesn’t have quite the same ring.

• Speaking of vacuumpunk:

Magpie Electricals (from “The Idiot’s Lantern”) returns…

• Is it my imagination, or does that bit of graffiti kind of look like this new Doctor?

• Sophie Okonedo is made of awesome, with awesome sauce on top:

Basically, she rules.

• What an incredible smell you’ve discovered!

No, wait, it’s: Ground feels all funny — it’s not like rock at all…

• No, seriously, Pond. Hands off:

“Hey, gotcha”? WTF is that all about? He’s mine. Get your own Time Lord. You don’t gotcha anything…

• Did the Doctor called Winston Churchill “dear”?

• Ah, and the crack in the universe is here too. It’s gotta be everywhere, what with Daleks with Union Jacks on them, serving in the British army in WWII and all. Oh yeah, and obviously Amy’s wedding is in temporal flux, and may or may not happen…

• Great quotes:

“We are observers only. That’s the one rule I’ve always stuck to in all my travels. I never get involved in the affairs of other peoples or planets.” –the Doctor

“What are you gonna do?” –Amy
“What I always do: Stay out of trouble. Badly.” –the Doctor

“This isn’t going to be big on dignity.” –the Doctor

“You’re a bit hard to miss, love…” –Liz 10, to the Doctor

“The Doctor: Old drinking buddy of Henry XII. Tea and scones with Liz II… And so much for the Virgin Queen — you bad, bad boy.” –Liz 10

“Nobody talk to me. Nobody human has anything to say to me today.” –the Doctor

(next: Episode 3: “Victory of the Daleks”)

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