Doctor Who: Nobody Told ME About “A Good Man Goes to War”! (SPOILERS)

I have no idea how I missed the fact that there was a 7th episode of Doctor Who in the first half of the sixth series.  I honestly thought that this half  ended with that drastic Amy’s-not-here-she’s-giving-birth-somewhere-cliffhanger.  As such, I wasn’t that impressed with the idea of sticking the juicy bits I’d been panting for on the end of a mostly unrelated two-parter.  Yet here I am, months later, mad late, finding out that the series that started with the biggest bang I’ve yet to see ended with the same kind of fireworks.

Seriously…how did I miss this?

The point is, for no reason at all other than extremely painful boredom, I checked which episodes were in my BBC on demand and the count did not match the one in my memory.  Curiously I clicked on the one that didn’t belong and there it was—a storyline I knew nothing about.  Why am I bothering you with this?  I just want those of you who have seen the ep to understand that my mind was already going “WTF” on repeat before I even pressed play, and then I was treated to that chaotic beginning.  I was shouting questions at my TV like:  “What’s going on?!”   “What’s she doing here?!  Didn’t she die?”  “Hey, I know that guy!  Why do I know that guy?!”  Stuff like that.  Mad fidgety and whatnot.

Fans of the Rory-and-Amy ‘ship (one of which I now emphatically am) get a sweet gut-wrenching  moment right away.  If you’re as faithless as I am, you got tricked AGAIN into thinking Amy was talking about the Doctor when she is telling the baby about the one who has lived hundreds of years and is coming for them.  “They call him The Centurion,” she tells her baby, and my heart swelled as they showed this fierce new Rory fighting his way to them.  He was right; she always knows he’s coming for her.  And at last, he’s revealed as the father, all uncertainty left behind. I’m sure there had to be plenty of smarter viewers than I am who knew the Doctor would never have done that without the confirmation.  Like I said, I’m faithless!

For the rest of the episode, I loved the tension and speed, and of course it’s always fun to see the Doctor at the top of his game.  Yet Matt Smith gives plenty of  moments that reminded me strongly of Ten in Journey’s End, when Davros shamed him for supposedly turning his friends into weapons.  Smith has come so far in such a short amount of time…while I don’t agree with Moffat’s tweet (yeah, following him now…what can I say, the series is getting good!) that he’s the best at being “old”, I do think he’s getting much better at it.  Maybe I have a harder time because he looks so young or this is just another result of my initial disconnect with Series 5, but I never for a second questioned that either Eccleston or Tennant was over 900 years old.

(BIG SPOILERS NEXT, can’t help myself, not gonna try, run away, run awaaaay!)

Moving on to the serious stuff.  I was wondering how Amy’s kid could be part TimeLord if the Doctor wasn’t the Baby Daddy, and it was neatly explained by conception en route through the Time Vortex.  Works for me!  Except we found out that aforementioned TimeLord baby is in fact our own River Song, and that is just craziness.  The best kind of pretzel-shaped little twist, this finally explains why he would trust her as he has no other companion, if you look at it from the point of view that he finally has another TimeLord (if only part) and (unlike Jenny the generated anomaly)  she comes from his two best friends.  It makes sense.

The Doctor seems to think so, too.  His attitude shift was immediate from the wary distrust we’ve been seeing for 1.5 series’ to anticipatory excitement for the relationship that’s still his future.  The last few minutes between the Doctor and River are absolute sweetness. (The part where he says, “and you and me…?” and then makes kiss noises at her….could he be cuter?)

Questions for the next half: 

Is Rory’s life up for grabs again?  I couldn’t help but notice the scene where the Sontaran dies and Rory tells him he’ll survive because he’s a warrior, but the Sontaran corrects Rory…because he’s just a nurse.

Yeah?  Well, so is our Rory, and he better not be going anywhere.  You hear me, Moffat?!  *shakes fist*

Also, while I am clearly on board for River’s identity, I will need to know what kind of half-TimeLord she is.  We’ve seen the TimeLord mind in a human brain, which doesn’t work (poor Donna Noble); we’ve seen the TimeLord brain in a human body, which works except for the regeneration process; but this is something new and I’d appreciate some explanations.  River can regenerate, as demonstrated at the end of the second episode, but she made no such attempt when she died for Ten.  When the Doctor starts to die outside the Tardis, he still begins the process there, so why didn’t she?  Can she look into the Time Vortex?  In other words, which parts are TimeLord and which human, and why does it work, and why does it let her down in the end?

The question I know for sure will be answered is the most haunting one:  why would she ever kill her love?  Plus, if he dies with that face, doesn’t that mean he never regenerates into the next Doctor?  By rights he’s got 2 more to go, and that’s if he doesn’t find a way around the rules.

This is a fantastic episode to be slapped upside the head with (as I was).  I’m also glad that I only have to wait until the end of the Summer to see the rest.  On time.  As intended.

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Spoiling “Discord’s Apple” (No, Really…Spoilers Here)

I mean it when I say spoilers.  Go no further if you haven’t read the book.  It isn’t my intention to ruin this book for others.

Judging by most of the posts on this blog, one could easily assume I’m more into TV shows than books.  That’s actually not the case; it’s just way more convenient to review all the books on Goodreads and slap a link on the blog.  Except with Carrie Vaughn’s new book Discord’s Apple, that just won’t be satisfying enough.  I need to go into detail, and then I have to hide it there, and what’s the fun in that?  I had to bring it to my world.

I bought this book without looking into it because Carrie Vaughn is on my list of “safe” authors that I buy without checking.  So I was pretty disappointed when I realized this was one of those books where mythical legends (in this case, the likes of Odysseus, Apollo, and King Arthur, among others) are real people, mixing in with a society set not far in our future.   In general I’m not a fan of that, but it is handy that I just took a mythology class which covered Homer, Virgil, and Ovid, among others.  I was ready to catch Vaughn if she messed with the classics, but she was faithful, carefully fleshing out the characters in exciting and modern ways without actually changing their stories (unlike Sherrilyn Kenyon, who turned the virgin huntress Artemis  into a needy, clingy sex fiend who only cares about making a man love her.  Her books are fun though.)

Of course, there is room for fans of Homer and the like to disagree—for instance, in this story other gods tease Athena for being in love with Odysseus, whereas I always preferred to see her as the only goddess who didn’t fall all over herself in love with him, yet saw him as an equal…a friend.  Digressing, hard.  Sorry.

Vaughn gives you a lot of fascinating fantasy material, but around it she creates a world that is very realistic—and very frightening.  Main character Evie lives in our future, if all countries reach a point where they are at each others throats, terrorism is rampant as each tries to force its own agenda on others, and nobody is safe.  Evie’s friends and the neighbors from the small town she grew up in act as if armed checkpoints in and out of every town are to be expected.  Evie has a friendly chat with her school friend, who casually reminds her to report any strangers.  She has also lost her mother in a terrorist attack.  I’m not explaining this well enough, but I felt like Vaughn took my current worst nightmares and made a world out of them.

Also disturbingly authentic, Evie’s father has terminal cancer and he is refusing treatment.  I am fortunate enough to say I haven’t experienced anything like this, but Vaughn draws such an unflinching picture of what it would be like to watch a loved one, someone as vital as a parent,  slowly succumb to cancer.  It was heart wrenching.  Cancer is certainly another one of the scariest monsters in our world right now.

On these points, I was an absolute fan; I became completely engrossed in this world.  The mythological heroes are actually necessary comfort, like solutions that we might wish to have when facing sometimes seemingly unsolvable challenges life currently offers.  But there were some sticking points for me.

Evie writes for a comic book series, and wants to write a novel about the characters.  The unfortunate part is the story stops several times to tell that one instead, and I wasn’t interested in it at all. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still on subject as far as the characters are soldiers who fight terrorists.  I just didn’t feel like reading another story within this story. This is a small issue.

The second thing is a personal problem, but I bet I won’t be alone.  I’m a lapsed Catholic with an open mind, but…I believe in Jesus, I believe He is God, I believe He made miracles.  As such, it was tough to get past Jesus appearing as a character in this book, and in a pretty harsh light.  In Vaughn’s world, there are no gods, only magic and those (ordinary humans) who wield it and become so powerful that they act like gods.  Then they either sacrifice themselves so the power can go back into the world and allow people to master their own fates, or they spend their time building more power so they can shape the world to suit themselves.  Jesus is depicted here as the former, so at least he’s a good guy, but he is just a guy—and a bit of a liar.  He did believe he’d come back from the dead (he was wrong), but only because he knew Zeus had done something similar.  Problem here being that if he knew the entire time the second coming was just a really hard magic trick he was trying to imitate, then his preachings were complete lies.

It was mentioned once but I winced and powered through, only to have an immortal character reiterate it in detail (“Trust me, I was there, he’s nobody.”)   Zeus was treated with more reverence.  I choked on it a bit, but I tried to look at it as a part that Vaughn felt necessary to make her world consistent and create a reality where humans really are completely alone.

I still finished the story.  This is clearly a thoughtful novel, and it’s saying something I haven’t heard before.  I felt like I identified with the fear and frustration, the idea that our futures might be shaped by a few powerful, arrogant voices.  Despite the cynicism, this book can’t be a complete downer because Vaughn is way too talented at creating engaging characters.  I loved them all—good guys, bad guys, and even the big dog named Queen Mab—so it was no hardship to follow them through what would could be considered a trying story.  I also appreciate when someone is willing to tell a story with complete honesty, whatever the reactions might be.

For the most part, Carrie Vaughn is still on my “safe” list.  I’m glad I read it but I shouldn’t have bought it, because it just isn’t a world I’d want to revisit.  Next time  if it isn’t “Kitty Norville”, I’ll just look into it a little bit more first.

 

 

 

 

 

MTV’s Teen Wolf: Well, Of Course I’m Watching It

Of late, those of us who follow the Paranormal/Fantasy genre are being catered to pretty extensively.  Writers and TV and movie producers are slapping together more fodder for our obsession with the lives and loves of various creatures of the night than we can shake a stake at (pun embarrassingly intended).  The fact that much of it is shamefully predictable—the obvious work of copycats trying to jump on an apparently lucrative bandwagon—doesn’t temper this insatiable greed for sharp-toothed diamonds amid all this rough.

The genre flooding does take some of the fun out of it, of course; there isn’t much I’m reading/seeing that I haven’t read/seen before.  Most of the time I’m saying to myself “wow, what an Anita Blake wannabe” or “okay, clearly that guy’s the Edward and the other one’s the Jacob”, possibly even “oh, no, he’s being so rude to her, they’re arguing constantly, wonder if they’ll end up being soul mates?”  Sigh.  If only that stopped me, but it doesn’t.

Which brings me to Teen Wolf.  I told myself very firmly that I wasn’t interested, and proceeded to watch both the pilot and the following episode.  In my defense, there is good stuff here!  Tortured main character Scott is a little too pretty to be believable as a dork, but he does have good chemistry with best friend Stiles and that helps.  Slight nods (including that name Stiles) to the show’s fun 80’s movie predecessor in cliche Mean Boy Jackson, who bullies and threatens Scott, and beautiful, bitchy Lydia, with her intense dedication to the line that divides “winners” and “losers” (two words she repeats way too much).  Honestly, her superficiality would’ve felt more real if it was conveyed through actions and attitude instead of blatant dialogue.  However, in fairness, she is created from the character Pamela from the original film, and all the winners/losers talk was the way Queen Bees expressed themselves back then.  As the TV series is only loosely based on the movie, I assume that Lydia’s character will develop more subtlety as the show progresses.

MTV leaves the movie behind in order to add some comfortable metaphysical staples and give the show the currently required edge.  Such as dark and lovely Allison, a somewhat mysterious yet likable new girl.   Smart move—I don’t know how many ‘shippers would be inspired by a female romantic lead named “Boof”.  Tucked into place for conflict are the local werewolf hunters (Vampire Diaries’ “Founders Council”, anyone?), one of whom is Allison’s father; and sexy-scary werewolf sire Derek, who lurks around smoldering at everyone and is possibly a murderer.

Clearly, MTV is sticking with the formula that the world now knows we like, and that probably means I”ll keep watching.  At least until June 26th when True Blood returns, because naturally basic cable cannot compete with HBO.

Oh, who am I kidding?  I’ll watch both.

Doctor Who Series Six: Strong Start Shifts to Anticlimactic Episodes

Anyone who has read my last Doctor post knows that after the two-part series beginning, I was left on the edge of my seat.  These last two episodes have helped me to settle back…possibly step away for a snack, or play on facebook with the show on in the background.

I might be exaggerating.

Last week I didn’t write anything about the episode The Black Spot.  While it was a decently entertaining episode, it didn’t contain much to satisfy my leftover burning curiosity.  The Siren was a nice, new monster; a good example of the way DW can take an ancient story and turn it Sci-fi.  Amy and Rory were endearing as always—unless you count the part where Amy gave up trying to save Rory, right after he said he chose her because she’d never quit.  It seemed more like he came back on his own due to his stubborn refusal to leave her side.  Plus, the doctor really doesn’t know CPR?  Honestly??  After all this time saving humans, it never came up??  I mean, he’s not required, right, he’s not “the Doctor” because he has a medical degree.  Still, 900-years-old, all that brilliance…never come across the directions in a restaurant bathroom somewhere?

Anyway, I was already impatiently looking past The Black Spot, because I knew the episode coming next was called The Doctor’s Wife.   I hadn’t watched any previews, so you can imagine what I was thinking:  time to find out about River Song and the Doctor, once and for all!  Obviously, I was pretty far off.

Looking at it that way, it’s probably my own fault that I felt let down.  And to be fair,  no season of Doctor Who can consist entirely of nail-biters.  One could even point out that many of the eps on my top ten list are either silly or sappy, and not scary at all.  Still, perhaps a by-product of having the Most Exciting Series Premiere is an abnormally high set of expectations for the following weeks.  Hence my increasingly pronounced feeling of disappointment since then.

Now that I’ve recognized my own accountability, I’ll see what I can draw from The Doctor’s Wife.

I suppose it is a unique concept, that the Doctor should finally be able to speak to his beloved machine and get a response.  (Makes me wonder if this is some kind of male fantasy:  if his boat or car could suddenly assume a female body, she’d be his perfect mate.)  Matt Smith’s grief and anger when he realizes he’s once again missed a chance at reconciling with fellow Time Lords was palpable and it was nice to see a little of the dark, out-of-control Doctor in him that was common for Tennant.   Then there’s the appreciated return of the Ood, although interesting that this time an Ood can be possessed by evil intent and his eyes will be green instead of traditional red.  Red eyes on an Ood always meant  it was hitting the fan until now.

My problem is that both eps offered very little in the way of the big hints I need.   The creepy woman that opens a hatch in places where hatches do not exist shows up for Amy again, and the Doctor is still getting negative and positive results on her pregnancy.  The monster called “The House” who eats Time Lords and Tardises shows an unhealthy interest in Amy, which disturbs the Doctor and shows us that she is still really weird.  But there’s nothing about Amy’s child with the regenerating abilities.  Previews of future episodes show Sontarans, which just means more time with no answers, but then there seems to be a woman explaining the living matter inside the space suits.  That is important.

I do feel impatient, and I worry more that the season is chopped in half.  Call me crazy, but I feel a cliffhanger coming on.

Broadway’s Billy Elliot: Freakin’ Phenomenal!

Today I saw Billy Elliot and the entire experience was so fantastic that I have to write it up.   This won’t be much of a review; I refuse to spoil a single thing about it.

First, I don’t know if I’ve made it eminently clear, but I’m not exactly made of money.  I was supposed to take my mom to see a production of  A Raisin in the Sun here in NJ but it already ended.  On a whim we decided just to show up in Times Square and hit the Tkts Kiosk in the hopes of grabbing some last minute tickets for cheap.  I’d never done it before, but a quick check on the Net before I left this morning had me worried about 2 hour lines and having to pay in cash.

It was nothing like that.  There was maybe one group in front of us, and a giant list of shows to pick from.  My mom had heard good things about Billy Elliot, so I swallowed my disinterest and away we went with our fantastic tickets (center Front Mezzanine—not orchestra but still a great view) for half price and only a half-hour to kill before the show.  Nice.

Why the disinterest?  I adore plays, but I’m always going to look for that emotional oomph.  I want to be moved—to laughter, to tears, it doesn’t matter, just as long as I’m feeling something.  A great play can do that better than any other forum; the immediacy of seeing the drama right in front of you makes it feel so real.  A good actor will take me through the emotional gauntlet, if that’s what the story calls for; and there you have my initial apathy.  What emotions can a dancing kid wring from a 32-year-old woman?

As it turns out, plenty.

I’ll keep it simple (so, probably a tad vague).  It’s set in a mining town in the middle of a strike in the UK under Margaret Thatcher, so this blue-collar little town tries to band together and weather tough, scary times.  At the center is a small family:  grandmother, father, two sons and the ghost of a beloved and too-soon lost mother.  The family dynamics are incredibly realistic and easy to relate with:  the anger, fears, frustrations, and love between them.  Yet you also get some hilarious characters, (Billy’s grandmother and his best friend, Michael, are complete scene-stealers), and even entire numbers that had the audience laughing throughout.  The writing is really strong, with a few different messages you can take home, including the obvious “Be Yourself” with some pretty good arguments to back it up.  The dancing is incredible, which is to be expected from Broadway, but it’s the emotion behind the dancing that really gets to me.  Check out Billy’s “Angry Dance” just before intermission and find out how to project rage via ballet and tap.  For our production, the actor who played Billy was Jacob Clemente and he is frightfully talented.  Any kid in this role would have to have crazy skills and crazier stamina.  Plus absolutely no fear of heights.  But I’ll stop there—no hints!

The entire cast was brilliant down to the chorus, each line delivered perfectly, each movement divine.  Without giving anything away, I can say with confidence that you will get swept up in the story.  I cried twice, laughed a lot, and helped give Jacob a standing-O.  For those of you who have seen the movie (I haven’t), my mom assures me that the play is an entirely different experience, and a far better one at that.

There are a lot of moments that moved me, and part of me feels like going into detail.  Maybe I’ll change my mind and revamp this entire post, really dig deep.  For now, it’s 1 a.m. and I spent the day packed like a sardine into Times Square, so I’ll happily stay in the shallow end.

If I actually hoped to accomplish anything with this post, it would be for someone with tastes like mine to realize that a play doesn’t need a love story to engage your heart.  It just needs a great story to be told in a phenomenal way—in this case, a story about a dancing kid.

How I Met Your Mother: Shame On Ted Mosby!

I said I was a fan of How I Met Your Mother and I am, but there just hasn’t been anything on the show this season that would compel me to write about it.  Tiny moments for Swarkles (Swarley and Robin Sparkles…I saw that somewhere, cutest thing ever), but the show has already been renewed for two more seasons.  I’ve said it before, there is no reason to rush these things.  Done properly, it’s more fun to watch a ‘ship build slowly, and it gives the writers plenty of time to make it seem natural instead of slapped together sitcom-style.

But this isn’t about Swarkles.

Last night’s episode “Landmarks” was centered around the final end of Ted-and-Zoey, never a favorite of mine.  I didn’t like the fact that their relationship dissolved a marriage, even a weird one, and the idea that Ted would choose some tail over the chance at his dream job seemed all wrong.  Is he so desperate for marriage that he’d trade everything else about himself for a shot up the aisle?  I guess it is refreshing to see a male character act this way for once.  I’m sure Steven Moffat would find him incredibly unrealistic.

Snarky, unrelated comments aside, I’ll come to the point:  I get that Ted might throw his own career away for the chance at a relationship, but the fact that he was willing to let Barney lose his job just threw me for a loop.  I know that when the show started, Barney was the shallow friend and Ted never seemed sure he wanted to keep him around, but over the years I think he’s proven himself to all of them.  He’s the one who made sure that Lily and Marshall got back together after their short-lived break-up; he’s the one who made sure Robin got a new job so she wouldn’t have to move back to Canada; and he’s also the one who got hit by a bus running to reach Ted’s side when he’d been in a car accident.  Even the other characters didn’t freak out on Ted for his sheer selfishness and that struck me as insane.  It seems like the group, with the exception of Robin, still treats Barney like they’re doing him a favor by letting him hang around.

Don’t agree?  Let’s say you’re Barney.  You stake your reputation on the line to get your down-on-his-luck friend the job he’s always wanted, because you won’t allow him to give up on himself.  Not your style; shouldn’t be his.  You do this despite the fact that the last time you tried to help this friend get a job he misjudged his client so badly that he was fired.  Now you find out that he’s planning to illogically betray the project so his new girlfriend will keep liking him, and if he does this you lose your job.  No need to freak out, though, because naturally your friend won’t jeopardize your career for his however-many-months-old relationship, right?  I mean…that would be crazy.

I guess that makes Ted crazy, because he calmly decided to stay his course.  In fact, when he finally does change his mind, it has nothing to do with Barney; he just remembered that turning down the chance to design a building in NYC would be brutally idiotic.  So, I guess Barney should be thankful that Ted’s one self-interest overcame his other self-interest.  I wonder if Hallmark makes a card for that.

I guess it sounds like I’m taking this pretty seriously, but this little show has become a favorite of mine.  I think all four actors have hit their stride by now, outdoing each other with some fantastic delivery.  I guess this is more of a writing complaint then, because I really didn’t like this new side to Ted’s character.  By the time Zoey delivers her betrayal-smack-down, I wasn’t even rooting for him.

Somehow after all this time, Ted still doesn’t treat Barney as a best friend…or even just a close one.  In season 1, it made sense because nobody knew that Barney had a soul.  But season 6?

Not cool, Ted.   Not cool.

Series Six: Most Exciting Doctor Who Premiere Yet! (SPOILERS through Day of the Moon)

I should’ve choked on the words in that title, but I absolutely stand by them.  RTD fan or not, I am on the edge of my seat here.  Let me clarify—I love RTD’s premiere eps, but never has one scared the pee out of me and left me with a billion questions this way.  I can’t help but be impressed.

First?  I was not expecting body bags.

I wanted the episode to start where The Impossible Astronaut ended, with Amy shooting the little girl in the spacesuit.  Should’ve known that just isn’t how Moffat rolls.  Instead, Amy is run down in the desert by Canton Delaware, who was a friend last time I checked!  The image of his men throwing that body bag in front of Amy was powerfully evocative–shocking, with an extra touch of horror.

But the orphanage was just ridiculous.

Amy and Canton (friends again, his defection just another twisty trick from the Doctor) are looking for the little girl in an orphanage, and find a dimly lit building with a haunted caretaker.  You just know the aliens are inside, and it’s all downhill from there.  There’s graffiti on the walls in  blood red:  the words “Get out”.  The caretaker doesn’t know how it got there but Amy sees the same words on his wrist.  So not good.

Then Amy’s in a dark room with rows of empty beds (had a quick, pleasant flashback to Nine in Series One, the hospital scene in The Empty Child…aww, I loved Nine).  The door shuts and she can’t get out…that’s when she sees that her hand is blinking red like an answering machine in the 80’s.

Did I mention that the Doctor implanted a recording device in their hands to keep track of alien sightings?

Last week in The Impossible Astronaut, we learned that looking away from the aliens causes a person to forget having seen them.  The device is supposed to solve the problem.  But here’s what makes it interesting, what, actually, makes it positively ingenious.  When Amy met the alien last week the audience might have been omniscient, but this week?  Oh, we’re stuck in Amy’s head.  That means if Amy sees an alien, we won’t know until that light is blinking—and if Amy misses time, so do we.

Fear builds in quick flashes—Amy runs to the window and sees her arm covered in ‘crap, I saw an alien’ tally marks, but just a second glance shows the marks all over her face; scores of sleeping aliens are hanging from the ceiling (funny when the Krillitane did it in School Reunion, not so much this time); some weird lady talking through a hatch in a door that suddenly has no hatch—by the time Amy went into the little girl’s room, I’ll admit, I was scared.  Deliciously so.

Other highlights?


There’s another Badass-Extreme moment for River Song.  Amy’s rescued in a room full of aliens (reminding me of Nine and Captain Jack saving Rose from the middle of the Dalek fleet in The Parting of the Ways), which have been revealed as the Silence.  River guards the Doctor while he stalks around being brilliant, and their banter sizzles.  Great stuff, but she’s best when she starts taking the aliens out one by one, spinning gracefully as she rains destruction on their enemies.  Much like the Doctor, I’m getting kind of attached to her.  They had their first kiss and it was both awkward (the Doctor flails his arms and acts as if he’s never been kissed before by anyone, never mind River) and sad (River realizes that his first kiss with her must be her last with him).

The romance of Amy and Rory took a few harrowing twists and turns this time as well.  Rory and the Doctor arrive at the orphanage too late to find Amy; all they find is her little red recorder, which is somehow still recording her although no longer physically attached.  Rory tells her he’s coming for her and the Doctor explains that she can’t hear him.  Rory, looking less than friendly, responds with, “She can always hear me, Doctor. Always. Wherever she is and she always knows that I am coming for her, do you understand me? Always.”

Sweet, but Amy takes some of the wind out of his sails by  pleading for the Doctor to come rescue her.  Later, a desolate Rory is holding her device when she starts talking about someone with a stupid face that she loves…you can see his spirits lift until she says, “My life was so boring until you dropped out of the sky.”  Even I thought she was talking about the Doctor.

Luckily Amy is rescued and she refers to Rory’s stupid face.  All is well again, until she starts talking about last week’s mystery pregnancy.  She told the Doctor she was, now she tells him she isn’t.  The audience knows that Amy saw a picture of herself holding a baby in the creepy little girl’s room, but she can’t quite grasp the memory.  When the Doctor asks why she told him instead of Rory, she admits she had worried that the pregnancy would have been affected by her time traveling, whether or not her child would come out with a ‘Time Head’.  Funny, but now there is doubt again for Rory (who is naturally eavesdropping), because why would the kid have a ‘Time Head’ unless the mom messed around with a Time Lord?  Only it turns out Amy knows he’s listening, so then she must’ve been just messing with him.  Right?

Except for this mind-blowing ending:

Questions, questions, questions.  The aliens here were the Silence and now they’re defeated.  Can that really be the end of it after they spent the entire fifth series hinting about  ‘The Silence Will Fall’?  That would seem anticlimactic and so seems unlikely.  Amy is and isn’t pregnant; that girl is always weird.  There’s a little kid out there who regenerates and the suggestion is that Amy is her mother.  So Rory still has something to worry about after all?

I’m excited.  I’m intrigued.  And I’ve already said I’m impressed.  This series is going new places, and this time I’m going with it.

Bring it on, Moffat.

Doctor Who: This RTD Fan is Finally on Board (SPOILERS)

Well, I just watched the opener to Doctor Who’s Sixth Season, thanks to BBC America On Demand and an unplanned day off from work.  I was very impressed, and for an RTD-Rose fan, that’s really saying something.

Granted, I watched almost the entire Fifth Season while still mourning for Russell T. Davies and crew.   I’d become so attached to the likes of Rose, Donna, Jackie, Captain Jack, and Mickey; it felt like the Tenth Doctor was grieving for them with me the last time I saw him.  Yet this new Doctor starts off as if he popped into existence in Amelia Pond’s yard.  Where did my Doctor go, and by that I don’t mean Christopher Eccleston or David Tennant, I mean the character I’ve been growing attached to for years?  It seemed as if an entire new TimeLord had taken off with the Tardis.  Add Steven Moffat’s public near-disdain for the romance of Rose Tyler and blatant disregard for previous canon—I was left pretty resentful.

Luckily, that’s almost the entire Fifth Season.  The episode The Lodger was so fun and Matt Smith so completely charming, I found myself believing in the Eleventh Doctor at last.  That episode actually made my top ten!

It helped this angst-lover that the relationship between Amy and Rory intensified enough to draw me in emotionally.  I cared when he was sucked into the light and forgotten.  By the time Rory reappears in The Pandorica Opens, the scene where he (unsuccessfully) fights his auton instructions to kill the woman he loves was an absolute tearjerker.  It wasn’t Doomsday, but it was something.

River Song, whom I hated on sight in Season 4 just because she showed up out of nowhere and was automatically the Doctor’s closest companion ever, had become the character to watch in Season 5 (if only because she was the one connection to past seasons).  Still, she won me over all on her own with her confidence and flirtation, culminating in the scene where she faces down the dalek that she believes has killed her Doctor.  I can’t resist that kind of badass.

So…new season, new possibilities, and old grudges almost completely vanquished (with the help of the Christmas Carol episode…yes, I believe that Eleven was thinking about Rose when Kazran asked, “One last day with your beloved…which day would you choose?”  How could it be River when he doesn’t even trust her yet?  He may suspect that he will love her, but it makes more sense for his mind to run on his last love’s tragic end.)  Eleven got my attention right away by announcing he was 1100-&-some-years-old, which annoyed me until I realized it was a plot point.  Amy, River, and Rory have been summoned, apparently just to watch the Doctor die at the hands of an unidentified being in a spacesuit…except it turned out they weren’t the only ones.  The more familiar 900-&-change-year-old Doctor has also been tapped, and his friends can’t tell him what they know.  Ooh, intrigue.  Plus, I loved when River slapped the Doctor—it reminded me of all the times he got slapped in the past (Jackie, Martha’s Mom, Donna), which made me smile.

The monsters here are nicely scary;  Ood-like, suit-wearing aliens that electrocute people, yet as soon as you look away from them you forget they exist.  I’m not in love with Moffat, but he’s very good at creepy.  I’m less impressed with the spacesuit figure, though that’s the big threat to the Doctor.  Honestly, Vashta Nerada anybody?  Same outfit, presumably different insides.  Moffat is so good with his cinematic experience, his storytelling ability, yet he consistently forgets that these “stories” are part of a series, and yes, we do remember what we’ve already seen in the last 5 seasons.  Come on, buddy, acknowledge your venue.

The episode ends with a one-two punch:  Amy announces she’s pregnant (WTF?!) and before I can even comprehend the implications of that, she jumps up and shoots in the direction of a figure in a spacesuit with the face of a desperate little girl.

The End.

Okay, so first, is this pregnancy for real?  Amy isn’t a normal person, what with her Universe-altering abilities, so nothing about her can be accepted as fact.  I can’t really figure out how a pregnancy would work with an official companion, unless Karen Gillian plans to leave after two seasons.  Actually, if she lasts more than two seasons, she’ll be the longest lasting companion since the reboot.  So, who knows?

As for the shooting, I can’t blame Amy for trying to save the Doctor at her first opportunity.  Yet no one expected to see a terrified child possibly in the path of her bullet, and the show ends with both the Doctor and Amy looking horrified.  Suddenly I couldn’t believe I’d have to wait an entire week until I can find out what happened.  Wow.

I’m looking forward to the rest of the season, though I wonder how I’ll feel about that break between now and the second half, which airs in the fall.  I have heard that my favorite 5th season character, Craig (played by James Cordon in The Lodger), will make a return appearance.

Eleven lost a lot in his previous incarnations, but he wouldn’t have gotten where he is without the ability to move on.  I guess I’m finally ready to let him.

Syfy’s Being Human: “You’re the One that I Haunt” (SPOILERS)

It’s late and I’ve got to be up early, so expect some stream of consciousness writing.  Per usual, if you haven’t seen both BBC’s entire first season and Syfy’s to date, I’m about to spoil the hell out of it for you.

Sally vs. Danny:  the final showdown was tonight.  Anyone who has read my previous posts on the subject already knows that I think Annie and Owen, for the most part, have blown this pair out of the water.  In the contest of cool special effects, however, the prize belongs to Syfy.  Last week’s possession was impressive; this week was as well with Sally’s frightening impression of “The Grudge” and her transformation back, plus her angelic appearance when Danny is finally able to see her for himself.

I’ll also reluctantly admit that the BBC original might have left something to be desired in their simplistic handling of Annie’s final fight back; perhaps with Annie’s powers in general.  We are on Season 3 of the BBC version, and although Annie has progressed in her abilities, we still have yet to see the extent of her powers.  Sally progresses much faster, and here she uses her new-found power to try and force Danny to slit his own throat.

She’s also a little meaner than Annie.

Anyway, Danny shows up to burn the house down and Sally traps him inside with her.  Josh and Aidan arrive in time for Aidan to go all vamp-scary on him and Josh to helpfully (if surprisingly easily) put out the raging fire.  Josh also plays the good angel on her shoulder, since Sally is on the fence about letting Aidan take Danny out for good.  In some ways, this was more satisfying than Annie insinuating what Mitchell and George are capable of before threatening Owen with a secret that sends him running to turn himself in for her murder.  Maybe Syfy can’t match BBC with the emotional aspects, but at least they keep it interesting.  I also have to respect the choice to keep Sally a more traditional ghost:  ordinary humans simply cannot see her (until they lose their minds, like Danny) and she touches no one.  I still don’t see why not, because if she learned in either the first or second episode how to touch physical things, wouldn’t she be interested in some physical contact (I’m thinking about hugs or something, relax) with her roommates at least?  I guess she’s met enough ghosts this season that it hasn’t been an issue.  She also hasn’t bonded with Josh and Aidan all that deeply, which might be another factor.

Moving on to the delectable story of Aidan, Celine, and Bishop.

I’ve mentioned Mitchell and Jonie before, after the episode Dog Eat Dog when I was taken aback by Bishop’s past love with the human woman, Jane.  I’d assumed that this relationship was an echo of Mitchell and his human gf Jonie, since the story with Bernie turned out so differently, as did Aidan’s return to Bishop.  In tonight’s episode, I found out I was wrong, and I can’t help but enjoy the way the relationship was handled.

Jonie, Mitchell’s strong-willed love from the 60’s, is replaced with Celine (70’s?  I couldn’t be sure, but I thought that’s where the haircuts and leather jackets came from) and through flashbacks we see an intense love affair in Aidan’s past.  The story is still very different; Jonie saw through Mitchell and realized that he did not want to kill with Herrick any longer, even as he kidnapped and threatened her.  Thus, she ended up helping him to stay clean.  This is why, when she sees him later as a dying patient in his hospital, she is able to once again force him to find focus and get back on track.  I just adored Jonie.

Celine, however, is shown begging Aidan to turn her, and allowing him to drink from her.  Not cool, when you consider he’s an addict, but her scene with Bishop made me like her just as well.  Bishop has kidnapped her and basically blood-raped her in order that Aidan will believe she has abandoned him.  I couldn’t figure out why he wouldn’t just kill her, until he explained in a gorgeously perverse manner that he preferred knowing he had her under his thumb.

Mark Pellegrino was so hot in that scene.  Evil, but hot.

Right, focus.  But Celine impressed me when she not only proved she knew Aidan, but saw through Bishop as well.  The big moment comes after Bishop tells her that Aidan will always return to him.  Despite being pinned to the wall by a blood-drinking psychopath and clearly terrified, she looks him in the eye and tells him Aidan will also always leave him again. Very badass.

About the big ending, of course I knew what was coming.  Last week after watching Going Dutch, I worried that the writers would show both guys as being emotionally attached to Sally.  My worries were unfounded; they kept it real.  Syfy fans, you have no idea how heart-wrenching that same scene was in the BBC version, where the roommates had already been through so much together.  I cried both times I’ve watched it.  But when Sally’s Door showed up, it was more like, ‘Hey, you did it…Bye!’

The emotional part comes when Bishop bursts in through the window (or was it the wall?) and stabs Aidan.  Now Josh gets to cry, and although I didn’t cry with him, at least they’ve bonded enough that I believed him and felt something.  Their friendship is one of the best parts of this show; maybe it’s even the heart of it.  I am such a sap.

BTW, I know Syfy does things in the cool, over-the-top way that we Americans tend to prefer, but what was up with Bishop’s grand entrance?  On BBC, Herrick simply knocks on the door (making George scream like a little girl because he thinks the knock comes from Annie’s Door) and when Mitchell answers, Herrick grabs him, yanks him forward and stabs him.  He wasn’t invited so he couldn’t come bursting in, and the fact that he couldn’t reach him very well explains how he missed the heart.  So how did Bishop get in, how on earth did he miss when he was right on top of him, and why did he act like the sun was hurting him when we’ve seen both Bishop and Aidan outside many times?  No sunglasses = burning vamps??  I wasn’t thrilled with the rule-breaking, just for the sake of drama.  Seems sloppy.

Oh yeah, and Nora’s still pregnant, though she knows nothing about Josh’s true nature.  Joy, rapture, way to freakin’ go.  I suppose she finds out next week, hopefully in the same crazy way that Nina did in season 1.  I won’t give it away (for once) because in the original, it took me by surprise.  Here’s hoping Syfy fans have the same experience.

Syfy’s Being Human: Bishop Just Got Better (SPOILERS–from BBC as well)

Tonight on Syfy was the best episode yet.

Bishop is suddenly at a whole new level, and I think he took the show with him.  I’ve mentioned in past posts that I was disappointed in this seemingly softer Vampire King.  In Going Dutch, I was delighted to find out I’ve been tricked.   Bishop has been playing his own version of trust-me-I’m-not-so-bad with Aidan, but because he wasn’t hiding any of the things Herrick hid from Mitchell (werewolf cage-matches, the room of trapped humans), I assumed he wasn’t hiding anything at all.

Now I admit this episode was  a complete revelation for me partly because I  missed something important in the Bernie episode.  I never saw the part where Bishop asks Seth if he “took care of the boys”, leading Aidan to blame and reluctantly kill Bernie.

So much for empathy towards human children.

No matter.  Bishop’s gloves have now completely come off.  Meeting with the Elders for their final judgment, he absolutely shines.   He calmly admits that mass murder and slavery are two options for his Vampire Supremacy Plot, causing Aidan’s brain to explode.    The Dutch demand that he go underground and have Aidan cull the clan,  Aidan volunteers to rein him in, and Marcus bursts forth with a power sharing dream that is clearly the wish his heart makes—doom and betrayal all around, but nothing wipes the smile from Bishop’s face.

That’s because Bishop has a surprise for everybody in the room (and me on my couch).  He’s poisoned the Elders with juniper-laced blood and serenely explains his plans while decapitating all but the one that a panicked Aidan manages to save.  Here, finally, is the charismatic, psychopathic Bishop that I’ve been waiting for,  reminiscent of Herrick’s malignant genius for the first time.   Suddenly I can’t wait to see what he’ll do next.

Yeah, Bishop owned the episode, but there were other honorable mentions.

The exorcism (borrowing slightly from BBC’s Season 2, but not much) was a nice twist for Sally and Danny, since Danny can’t see her and torture her à la the terrifying Owen.  Having Sally thrust herself into the exorcist’s body and face him as such was startling in a really good way.

For me, however, special effects are dessert, but dialogue is the meat and potatoes.  So I loved the simple little scene with Josh and Aidan in the hospital, where Josh worries about his friend and tells him about his own awkward reaction to Nora’s pregnancy.  I enjoy their connection; there is at least an echo of Mitchell and George here.

Speaking of connection, I don’t think I’ve talked much about Rebecca, but I do like her.  She’s a strong character, portrayed sympathetically by Sarah Allen (possibly the best female actress on the show IMO).  She gets to kill Marcus, with the added incentive that she found out Bernie died because of him.  I liked the fact that she’d been given a heart, and that Aidan went through so much with her.

Complaints from the BBC fan (you knew I had some):

Just a few questions.  If the exorcist is saying ‘let the spirit be filled with light and love’, why is Sally in so much pain?  Is she actually evil then?  Why did she completely disappear before a commercial break, only to be back in the same position and in pain again in her next scene?  If she’s being exorcised from the house, where is her Door?  When Annie was forcibly removed in Season 2, she was dragged into a Door and it slammed shut.  In this version, if you move on naturally you use a Door, but exorcisms make you sick until you disappear?  And since I did bring up that demon-spawn Owen, let me firmly assert that Danny is still a very watered down version.  Watching him fearfully tell Sally her death was an accident (though he did try choking her right after he said it) reminded me of how much Owen enjoyed killing Annie and getting away with it.  He didn’t mean to do it exactly, but he was awfully glad that he did.

On another note, next week they show her getting all psycho-ghost with Danny and the other roommates are concerned.  This is one sticking point for me; the roommates haven’t had much bonding time with Sally this season–she mostly whines at them and they argue with her.  If they try to show them as being attached to her the way George and Mitchell wept for Annie at the end of Season 1, I will just gag or maybe vomit on my TV.  I don’t want to do that.

Have I mentioned that I hate, hate, hate that Nora is pregnant with Josh’s child already?  They barely know each other.  Yes, I am aware that this is a realistic chain of events, but I’m just saying that I prefer the courtship of George and Nina by far.  When Josh and Nora had their serious conversation at the end about the pregnancy and Josh mentioned that he was worried about genetics, I worried that Nora would attempt to reveal what we only just found out from Nina in Season 3 about her family history.  Fortunately, she didn’t go into detail.  That’s good, because damn it Syfy, you have to save some of the mystery!  Most importantly, will Nora turn wolf this season, or at all?  I’m starting to wonder if the next season will resemble BBC’s version or if they will split off completely and form their own tangent.  And the pregnant woman on the table was gross.

Still.  Best episode yet.

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