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[personal profile] sharplittleteeth
(I meant to blog my thoughts about this episode. Then I wrote all this as a comment in a friend's journal, so I might as well post this.)

I enjoyed it, but I had very mixed feelings.

It had plot, it had emotional impact, and it had sufficient time to breathe. Tennant and Smith were a fun double act, and it was lovely to watch Hurt tear strips off the catchphrases and kissing and sonic-screwdrivers-as-magic-wands. Clara finally felt like a character in her own right. There was some wonderful throwaway stuff: the Undergallery, the battery-powered ravens. And the fan service in the last five minutes or so, starting with the saving of Gallifrey and ending with the Curator, struck the right balance between celebrating the past without getting bogged down in it.

I'm not so sure about the new "search for Gallifrey" direction. Moffat said he wanted to set the show up for the next 50 years. But stretching the search out for 50 years would be tedious, and actually finding Gallifrey would be a letdown. The Time Lords were always a bit dull. Killing them off was one of the best decisions RTD ever made.

There were the usual Moffat dud notes with women: Osgood being jealous of her prettier sister, Elizabeth I insisting on marriage despite wars to fight and Zygons to deal with.

(I'm still undecided whether the “I may have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but at the time so did the Zygon” line is eye-rolling or genius.)

And then there was the Time War.

Lots of people have complained that instead of doomsday weapons and timelines being rewritten, we got pew-pew-pew with lasers. That was disappointing, yes, but my problem goes deeper.

We've been told previously that, in the final days of the Time War, the Time Lords became indistinguishable from the Daleks. They were prepared to lay the universe to waste in their battle to survive. That was why the Doctor had to destroy them. That was why he made the decision that he made.

But all of that was missing from the Day of the Doctor. The War Doctor's dilemma lacked weight, because it never made the case in favour of pressing the big red button.

So what we got was a rather fluffy episode about the ethics of genocide.

Doctor Who is a family show. It's never going to be as gritty as Battlestar Galactica or Game of Thrones. That's fine. Some reviewers have praised the episode for being hopeful. And I agree, it's good to have a show that celebrates intelligence over violence, hope over despair.

But without making the argument for destroying Gallifrey, the episode felt like a cop-out.

Like I said: I enjoyed it, but I have some very mixed feelings about it.

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July 2014

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