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.
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.