Sunday, October 18, 2015

Doctor Who Is NEW!: The Girl Who Died (Also the 900th Blog Post!)


Greetings and welcome to I’m So Glad My Suffering Amuses You, your leading internet source for bangers and mash. I’ve Dave-El and yes, that is a wicked googily.


Today is the 900th blog post here at I’m So Glad My Suffering Amuses You, also known as ISGMSAY or Isg M. Say, which by an odd coincidence is the name of an old Norwegian poet and burrito maker who single handedly fought against a raging horde of Visigoths.


Sorry, I really have NO idea where any of that is coming from or going to.


Besides being ISGMSAY’s 900th blog post, it is also the Sunday after a new episode of Doctor Who. This is when I normally post a recap/review/ramble about Saturday’s new adventure featuring everyone’s favorite Time Lord and Scottish electric guitar player, the Doctor. And today will be no different.


Except….


Before I get to the review of The Girl Who Died (guest starring Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones…yes, I’m shamelessly trying to drive traffic to this blog), I want to commemorate the occasion of this 900th post by first posting a very unique and special feature, my interview with Steven Moffat.

Yes, that Steven Moffat, the executive producer and head writer of Doctor Who. It seems Steven (we’re tight now, I can call him Steven) became aware of my recent Doctor Who scripts and instead of sending a cease and desist order against my writing Doctor Who or anything else for that matter, sought me out for a brief but very engaging conversation.


Now the question you’re all asking yourselves is, is any of that true? Answer: I’m Dave-El. Just accept it. (If Steven can get away with that, I can get away with that.)


And now….


DAVE-EL: Steven Moffat, what an honor to meet you!


STEVEN: Yes, isn’t it, though? And it’s lovely to meet you too, Daisy.


DAVE-EL: Dave-El. 


STEVEN: Whatever.


DAVE-EL: So Doctor Who is heading towards a big change this year as Jenna Coleman leaves her role as Clara Oswald.


STEVEN: Yes, Jenna is a lovely woman. She smells just like strawberries.


DAVE-EL: Really?


STEVEN: I have no idea. I just made that up. I have people interact with the “talent”.


DAVE-EL: So any hints you can give about Clara’s fate as she leaves the TARDIS?


STEVEN: Yes, Clara will die an incredibly horrible, bloody, messy death!


DAVE-EL: Oh no!


STEVEN: But  she regenerates!


DAVE-EL: What?


STEVEN: Yes, Clara has been a Time Lord all along! That’s how she survived jumping into the Doctor’s time stream!


DAVE-EL: Wow! That’s astonishing!


STEVEN: Yes, it is. Also not true.


DAVE-El: What?


STEVEN: I just made that up. Actually, I have no idea what happens to Clara yet.


DAVE-EL: Wait! All the episodes for Series 9 have been shot!


STEVEN: Shot, yes! But not completely written! The secret of Doctor Who is that we film Peter and Jenna running around doing random things for a few months, then we go into an editing room and try to piece together a story from that.


DAVE-EL: That sounds a bit impractical.


STEVEN: Oh, it is! But I’m a terrible procrastinator. Also…


DAVE-EL: Yes?


STEVEN: That’s not true either. I just made that up.


DAVE-El: Now cut that out!


STEVEN: Or maybe I’m making it up that I just made it up!


DAVE-EL: Is there anything you say that I know is true?


STEVEN: Your name is Daisy.


DAVE-EL: No, it’s not!


STEVEN: Check your driver’s license.


DAVE-EL: Holy crap! It says my name is Daisy!


STEVEN: So that’s a thing you can trust!


DAISY: Well, that’ s just stupid….wait a minute! Why is this post now referring to me as DAISY?


STEVEN: I have no idea, Daisy!


DAISY: OK, cut that out, Steven! You too, keyboard! Stop typing my name as DAISY!


STEVEN: Well, this has been fun but I’ve got to go. Got to finish writing the Series 9 premier.


DAISY: The Series 9 premier? But I just saw that 5 weeks ago!


STEVEN: 5 weeks ago? I better get cracking on that then! Nice chatting with you, Daisy!


DAISY: I’m not…..(sigh!).


OK, that was Steven Moffat, ladies and gentlemen, our special guest for this, my 900th blog post. Now, after the spoiler caution, let’s look back at last night’s episode. 







I'm not the blogger who lied.

We'll find out about the girl who died...

In 5...

4...

3...

2...

1...



The Girl Who Died

by Jamie Mathieson & Steven Moffat 



Things start with Clara stuck in space. Apparently the Doctor and Clara have just saved a planet from a warlike race of invaders. But there's one little hitch in the plan with Clara stuck in the classic orange space suit drifting in space while a space spider crawls up her leg to suck her brain out. 

Don't fret too much over this: the Doctor saves Clara and squishes the space spider. But now the Doctor is looking for some grass to wipe his shoes off on. Unfortunately, the grass is attached to the planet Earth in the time of the Vikings so a group of said Vikings decide to take the Doctor and Clara back to their village. 

It's a long boat trip. 

In the village, the Doctor decides to take charge by pretending to be Odin. His great and mighty godlike weapon: a yo-yo. It's at this moment that guess who appears? Yep, Odin. Of course, he too is only pretending to be Odin (and he doesn't even have a yo-yo) but he zaps up the village's fighters along with Clara and a village girl named Ashilda. (Hello, Maisie Williams!) On the space ship of "Odin", the Viking warriors get reduced down to a smoothie (really) but Clara puts on her best Doctor face and is actually on the verge of talking these space jockeys into leaving Earth when Ashilda decides to be brave and talks them right back into war. "Odin" gives them a day to prepare and zaps Clara and Ashilda back to Earth. 

In the Viking village, the Doctor does what he can to assemble the remaining the villagers into an army. But the actual fighters of the village, the one who know how to use a sword without chopping off their own body parts, are dead and turned into an energy drink. What's left is a village of farmers and fishermen. 

Hey, did you know Viking fishermen caught electric eels? Well, the more you know...

So the Doctor comes up with a plan (and it is spectacular) that basically humiliates "Odin" and his space fighters which has been helpfully recorded on Clara's cell phone. The Doctor threatens to upload this to Space Instagram if these buggers don't book it, pronto! 

Yay! The threat is over! The village is saved. 

Except Ashilda is dead. (Well, it was kind of right there in the title. Good-bye, Maisie Williams.) This really ticks off the Doctor because he's tired of loosing people. Then he has an epiphany and voila, Ashilda lives! (Welcome back, Maisie Williams!) 

Except back on the TARDIS, the Doctor expresses his concern to Clara that in saving Ashilda's life, he may not have exactly done her any favors. The way he saved her life may never stop working. She may be immortal. 

Scenes for next week's episode confirms that a few hundred years after the Vikings, Ashilda is still around. (See you next week, Maisie Williams!)  

















So we got the return of Jamie Mathieson after last season's one-two punch of Mummy on the Orient Express and Flatline and the much anticipated debut of Game of Thrones' star Maisie Williams. So there was a lot of pressure on this episode to be awesome. 

And it didn't quite deliver. 

OK, there were a lot of bits I really liked. 

We jump right into action mode with the Doctor rescuing Clara as the denouement of an epic battle to save a world from space invaders. The Doctor and his companions stay busy, even when we're not watching them. 

The Doctor and Clara's banter. Yeah, the Doctor is opposed to bantering but he and Clara are so good at it. And Clara so has his number. The Doctor has a plan to impress the Vikings. Clara immediately guesses (correctly) it involves the Doctor's yo-yo.

Clara doing a great job channeling the Doctor, actually facing up to alien warriors with only the gift of gab. And she almost pulls it off too. But there is an undercurrent of Clara's current thirst for adventure and the Doctor's concerns about what this means for Clara and her fate are foremost in his mind. 


There's a lot of comedy that comes from the non-fighting Vikings learning how to fight. And the Doctor can't be bothered with remembering names. 

Apparently the Doctor can still speak baby so that's a thing.  

However there are elements of this story that seem off to me. The much heralded debut of Maisie Williams, for example. We know Ashilda is different from other people; Ashilda tells us so. Maisie does what she can but Ashilda feels less like a character and more like a plot device. The importance of Ashilda to Doctor Who is less about who she is but what she will become. 

By the way, the alien tech the Doctor uses to restore Ashilda to life. Major deus ex machina for sure. Apparently its a medical kit of sorts for the alien fighters to repair themselves from battle injuries. Except there is no prior mention of this, no set up. It just pops up as needed to advance the plot.  

And the lead up to this dramatic moment? The Doctor realizes the answer to the question from way back in Deep Breath: "Who frowned me this face?" So we get a flashback to Fires of Pompeii (Hey! Catherine Tate and David Tennant. Still miss you guys!) and the Doctor saving the family of that guy Peter Capaldi played back in 2008. I'm not sure why it took THAT moment to motivate the Doctor to save Ashilda. His overall guilt that she died (and it was kind of/sort of his fault) should've been sufficient. It's like Steven Moffat realized, "Hey! We've been meaning to link Peter Capaldi's Doctor to that guy from Pompeii. Let's shoehorn that in here. And everybody would love to see David again for a few seconds, right?" It felt gratuitous and shoehorned into a narrative that didn't require it. 

Overall, it was not a bad episode but after the heights reached from the last pair of two-parters and the expectations for this episode being so high, The Girl Who Died did not impress as much as I had hoped.  

__________________________________

Next week, we’re back for another go-round of Doctor Who stuff as we review next week’s episode.



In the meantime, thanks for coming by on this, the occasion of this blog’s 900th post, brought to you by Missy’s Used Daleks. Don’t be caught in a bad neighborhood with a broken down Dalek. Come on down to Missy’s where she can put you in a refurbished Dalek of your dreams, powered by the best in petite brunette technology. 


Say "Exterminate!" to overpriced Daleks! Come see Missy at Missy's Used Daleks on Davros Blvd., right by the Taco Bell.   

Everybody, be good to one another. I’ll be back with another post tomorrow.

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