[previous: “In the Forest of the Night”]
So. The Master I mean Missy wants to conquer planet Earth. Yawn.
I’ve complained before that Steven Moffat tends to paint himself into corners, but this could be the biggest and most problematic one ever: Oh, so, the Doctor cannot possibly regenerate into a woman, because Reasons, but the superevil Master can totally suddenly be a woman for no Reason at all? This wouldn’t necessarily be an issue, except that Moffat has not been the bestest friend to women during his tenure running the show.
Hero who saves the planet, the galaxy, the universe? Can only be a man forever and ever. Archvillain out to ruin everything? Why not morph into a woman? Plausible!
Allow me to tell you how angry this episode makes me. I mean, even if we remove the women-as-evil issue.
None of it makes any damn sense at all.
For starters, what is this place for?
Is Missy, in the process of building up her Cyberarmy of soldiers housing the manipulated consciousnesses of the downloaded dead of planet Earth, actually running a facility that people can come and visit? You know, like how we go to the cemetery? To whom is “3W” — which means what? — being advertised and marketed? What is the purpose of the “dark water” that is hiding the Cybersuits?
Was this all conceived and constructed merely to fool the Doctor for five minutes before Missy monologued her evil plan to him? Who else is seeing this? Who is the Cyberarmy being hidden from? All the tourists wandering around St. Paul’s Cathedral who simply thought the catacombs had been upgraded?
(Seriously, St. Paul’s is insanely crowded all the time. There’s no way 3W could be inside it. Or is it that Missy’s TARDIS is hidden in the cathedral, and the 3W facility is inside her TARDIS? Except landing a TARDIS inside another TARDIS is a not-easy thing, as we’ve seen way back in the classic incarnation of the show, and would have other consequences. Except Moffat doesn’t care about anything at all except that it all looks cool right at this moment, as long as you don’t think about it at all in any way.)
Did Missy plan on killing someone the Doctor cared about to get him to accidentally have the idea to try to find out where people go when they die and so accidentally stumble upon her “Heaven”? Or did she just totally luck out that Danny Pink got himself run over out of the blue and that Clara Oswald would go so completely around the bend that she would attempt to force the Doctor to do something to save him, and that he would fail to simply hop back in time — because, you know, as Clara says, he breaks all sorts of rules all the time — and instead attempt to do something utterly bizarre, such as try to go where people go when they die? Even though, mere minutes later, the Doctor is insisting that “the dead are dead, they’re not talking to you out of your television set, they’re just gone” and “this isn’t possible, the dead don’t come back.” How does this jibe with “We’re here to get your boyfriend back from the dead”?
This Doctor has been wildly inconsistent, but never — that I can recall — in the same episode. Never this ridiculously.
(And this is entirely apart from the matter of: If the Doctor thinks it’s possible to rescue people from the dead, why hasn’t he tried this sooner? I bet Adric would have liked to be rescued from the dead after his noble sacrifice! Sure, a show that’s been running this long and told so many stories has to innovate somewhat, but this is way too big a thing to drop in at this point. The Doctor suddenly casually announces that he thinks something is possible that, if he really believed that, would change everything about the entire history of the protagonist! There has to be some continuity.)
(Oh, wait, and then there’s this: If the Doctor thinks 3W is a “con, a racket,” and is convinced that the “Danny” that Clara is talking to over the computer is a fake
built from the telepathic scan the 3W doctor says they made of Clara, then there’s no way in hell that “ask him questions only he’d know the answer to” would work. Because any answers that she could confirm are correct are ones they could have gotten from the telepathic scan! And this after the Doctor tells Clara to be “skeptic and critical.” He seems incapable of that himself, and credulous and unreasoning is not something the Doctor has ever been.)
Let’s rewind. I did not for an instant believe a single moment of any of this::
Not even as a dream. (Though there was also no suspense at all before we were informed that it was a dream of sorts.) And Clara shouldn’t have believed this either… that she could possibly know where all the TARDIS keys are, for instance, to focus on just one aspect of her “plan.” Was she willing to die there on that lava field after throwing away the last key? This is, again, entirely separate from other problems, like if Clara is so madly in love with Danny that she could behave so vindictively toward the Doctor, we need to have seen a relationship that intense (which we have not). Or how the Doctor would so readily forgive her for that betrayal. How can he ever trust her again?
Is the whole damn episode cheaty and emotionally manipulative? Sure is.
I am so close to giving up on Doctor Who. It is actively pushing me away, and I’m not sure I want to keep pushing back.
Random thoughts on “Dark Water”:
• Where is this this looks cool can we go there pretty please?
Oh no instead we have some soap opera to slog though *sigh*.
• The Doctor has a copy of The Time Traveler’s Wife:
(At least in Clara’s imagination.)
• Well, there has always been an element of “Oh, just fuck already” to their relationship”:
This could need to happen at last.
[next: “Death in Heaven”]