Doctor Who

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: C | 6 USERS: A

"Is that a problem?" he asks, and she points out she's still standing there. "You're worried about the Daleks." He says a true thing: "I'm always worried about the Daleks." But on top of that, why doesn't she remember them in the first place? Why are there no Daleks in the dalekpond? Why the cracks everywhere? Why? WHY?

Interesting, and high hopes. But as a sort of follow-up to last week before never speaking of that again... I've gotten a lot of well-meaning instruction over the last few weeks as to what exactly my job is, and how I could be doing it better. But I think some of this arises from a misconception of what my job is. What I -- and we, at this site -- have always said is that a recap is a subjective experience of the episode. Nothing more and nothing less. There are infinite ways to convey that. You can hate the thing you love or hate the thing you hate, you can snark or you can involve Tennyson, but retelling the story through a personal lens is the only thing a recap means.

So whatever it means to you, this bullshit I talk -- about good writing is this or bad writing is like this or even "this is how fans sometimes show their loyalty to something they love" -- is only in service of that. Once the recap is over, it's over. Once the subjective experience of the episode is over, it's done. No grudges, because as much as consumer fandom thinks everything can be laid at the door of a showrunner or particular exec producer, that's not how TV works. Showrunners set the agenda and guide the process, but the individual episodes are written by human beings. And that can be good, and that can be bad, but what we need to remember is that it is never simple. And as part of my job, that's become part of the way I work.

So yeah, not great, and fell apart toward the end, but still miles away better than last week, and next week is actually pretty amazing. After that, we'll see. Point being: Every episode is its own thing. Don't ever be disappointed by expecting something else and don't ever look for excellence that's not there because you love something: Just open up to the thing that is, and hope for the best. There's always going to be next week.

And in that vein, quickly, I want to talk about a particular word. That word is kitsch, and we all think we know what it means, but we don't really know what it means, because like any word in German it means specifically what it means and nothing else. We use it to describe a host of English ideas, but that dilutes the meaning. The best expression of the German meaning of the word kitsch, I think, is from the Czech writer Milan Kundera:

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Doctor Who




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