For our second outing, another confused mess of cool ideas and manipulative weirdness and dots not connecting and general needless running around. I really hope this isn't the new style -- we need a little more "Girl In The Fireplace" and a little less "Silence In The Library," I think. Amy and Eleven are marvelous as usual, and the acting is pretty good throughout what with the Oscar nominees and such, but we're already seeing some pretty obnoxious tics coming through.
Amy and the Doctor find themselves on Starship UK, during a time when the sun's gone supernova back on Earth and each nation state has created its own spaceship to fly around in until things settle down. Pretty cool idea number one. Except the UK ship is powered by something called a Space Whale, which is like the Giving Tree but in space, and the people don't know that, so they keep constantly giving it shocks to the pain centers in order to keep it flying. Pretty dumb, especially when we're told that this is the last Space Whale in existence, so then how did the rest of the globe get free and why is all this necessary?
And by "this" I mean just a horde of things and tricks and oddments and clever little nips. There's these Zoltan Fortune-Telling things with faces that spin around and get madder and madder, called Smilers, that we don't know what they're for. And there are Winders, which are like cops crossed with monks, but we don't really know what they're for either. There's Liz 10, who trounces around in a jolly big red cloak wearing a mask for no reason and talking about how fucking awesome she is, and we don't really know what she's for except being dorky, which is to be fair something she's excellent at.
So then -- because no, we're not done with concepts yet -- whenever you're sixteen you get a look at a video that tells you about this bullshit with the Space Whale, and you choose to Forget about it or else blah-blah political action now. But also, Liz 10 is Elizabeth the Tenth, naturally, and is stuck in a ten-year cycle of forgetting that she made all of these robots and videos and buttons and whoozits and hownows for no real reason whatsoever, and has basically been V For Vendettaing her own regime and annoying all of her aides and helpers and half-Smiler/half-Winder whatevers.
Oh, and I totally left out the vomit. There's about thirty minutes in the middle where it's just vomit.
So Amy, being a citizen of the UK even if it was over a thousand years ago, gets a look at the video, and realizes that she can't let the Doctor find out about this, because he'll have to choose between the Space Whale and the people who are brutalizing it, so she wipes her own memory and makes a needlessly foreboding message for herself about getting him off the ship. This doesn't sit right with him, and he threatens to take her home after he's done solving this one, but then Amy pushes a button that makes everything all right again -- literally, this happens -- and she says that he's just like the Space Whale, because he's alien but also old and nice.
Apparently thinking he can't hear her, Amy explains this parallel six more times in a row, almost verbatim, and he hugs her I guess to shut her up, and then Churchill calls them on the phone because what we need is some fucking Daleks. But given the way this season is going, the Daleks will probably be a carnival family with a secret having to do with their shadows being alive and there will be a mysterious message about them from the future sent to the past on a haunted VCR and the point won't even be the Daleks or the War or anything because there doesn't seem to be a point to anything right now, just childish retarded bullshit happening and then the show screaming THIS IS VERY MEANINGFUL right in your face.
Man, you call one shitty episode out and the whole world freaking ends. I haven't gotten this many death threats and questions about my parentage since that ass-terrible BSG finale! It's a funny old thing, the Who thing. I forgot that while I've been over here, spending five hardcore years building a relationship with a franchise I still don't know much about, you've been over there, reading the recaps or not reading them. The break for S3 and S4 certainly didn't help, and nobody seems to understand that the show was officially re-added last year for those Specials, but in any case the bottom line is that, for a lot of Who people, this site "just started recapping this show." Makes sense, right? And what a nice surprise for them... Until they actually started reading.
And I left those people out, I think, which is a problem but not really my problem? Certainly seems to be a problem for a certain scary, vocal population: What is for me a bump in one unbroken road of chances and second chances and loving the show for what it is and feeling like an honorary member of LINDA (Bless Bliss! Glory is the new Grace!) seems to a certain group of tragic people like an unprovoked attack on their entire lives. I get it. Takes an ass to fill every seat, and I am not here to shit on something you (and, unbeknownst to these people, I) love. The last thing I would want to do is piss off anybody, especially anyone already so angry and dissatisfied with their own lives that they could possibly behave in such a classless, ugly way. They don't need me adding to their burdens by criticizing their favorite thing. So it's a bummer, because it sets up a fake me/them that doesn't actually exist.
Although honestly it came close. If you want to see every negative stereotype of Who people play out over one weekend's worth of ugly behavior, I've got the emails. Just like five years ago, when the same shit ("He recaps Gossip Girl and American Idol! Shows about Muggles with talent and social skills, with short skirts and cleavage! How dare he not tell us exactly what we want to hear?") was coming down.
And if I were coming into this show cold, like I was five years ago, I could shrug and say, "Nerds, whattaya do," and leave it at that. People who love this show love all of it, and get mad when somebody says that it's exactly what the Muggles think it is: Silly, childish, low budget trash. Most of the time it's not, but occasionally it is. I don't get to pull back and say it's better than that when it's not. I believe in the show. I don't think the bar is "the worst RTD ever did," which seems to be a lot of superfans' new bar for excellence. "At least it wasn't as bad as X RTD episode," they say, or "Seems to me you have a crush on David Tennant." Or, "Every show has a few bad episodes."