So I have a new head canon regarding Girl in the Fireplace! Kinda. This is after all, Moffat, who adores timeloops and timeline backtracking.
Basically, my new head canon is that at least a part of the Doctor’s melancholy over the letter at the end of the episode is the thought: “Wow … I honestly thought Reinette was smarter than that, having seen into my head and all =("
Could the Doctor have gone back to get Reinette? Why yes, he could have. If it weren’t for her inane letter. (Inane because - why in the name of all that is rational would you send him that letter? Seriously what was she thinking? It’s just a guilt trip, all it says is “come back!" - and why would you need to do that if he DID come back? You wouldn’t. You would only need to do that if he botched it, if he didn’t/couldn’t come back for you - and for someone who’s ‘seen in his head’ and should know about his lonliness, guilt and self-loathing, that’s a guilt trip which is too passive aggressive for words. Lbr, that letter isn’t romantic - it makes no sense unless for whatever reason she was going for a guilt trip, or just plain didn’t care how he felt about it.)
"What difference does the letter make?" you might ask — easy. The letter basically states that he DIDN’T come back for her. He gets a letter saying that he didn’t do something - so he can’t do it anymore (which is the same reason he can’t visit the Brig again - because he was told the extra cup of alcohol was always left untouched). This is the same reason that Rose is stuck coming back to London a year after she left in s1 - because Nine saw the “missing persons" poster saying she’d been missing a year. It’s easily a contributing factor to why alt!Jackie remained dead - alt!Pete and Rose told him she’d died. If Reinette had been a little more wily, perhaps she could have simply stated: “hey, I might not see you again - BUT THANKS FOR ALL THE FUN TRIPS IN THE MEANTIME!" then hellz yeah he could have gone back (the same way he can ‘go back’ to meet Sally Sparrow, or River, or Liz I, or return Cassandra to her original self - despite having met them before - and despite having even watched River die). Or if Reinette had left it vague, he could have gone back (much as he’s able to backtrack and do a shit-ton of redos on Kazran’s timeline, and Amy’s in s5).
This is a concept that is actually remarkably consistent in NuWho - here’s a list of people whose deaths the Doctor witnessed in one form or another, and could therefore not be returned for: in s1, there is Jabe, Gwyneth, the Controller, and Lynda, Based on the fact that he witnessed all these deaths, you could even make a compelling argument that the true paradox (from the Doctor’s perspective) of Pete Tyler’s death/life in Father’s Day was that Nine saw him die alone, and then Rose rewrote the timeline so that he saw Rose run out to save him, and Pete lived instead. In s2, you have Sir Robert, K9, Mrs. Moore, Rickey, alt!Jackie, and Scooti - whose deaths were all witnessed.
How about the people he COULD return for - even if he saw them age and/or die? Easy. They are the people who indicated (or at least left the door open to the possibility) that there had been time loops: Cassandra (in s2), Sally Sparrow, River Song, Kazran, Clara. The beauty of all of this of course is that in most of these cases, the Doctor is relying on them to TELL him about the time loop - with River, he actively seeks this out, comparing diaries. That means that even if it weren’t true, even if it were a total lie and he NEVER returned for them - by telling him that he actually did, they make it so. Kazran doesn’t even want to see Eleven again, and he never tells Eleven he returned — but he never tells Eleven he didn’t!! So .. if you were brilliant, and if you really really really wanted the Doctor to come back for you, all you would have to do is tell him that he had (or leave it vague. Anything but tell him “you never showed up!!" omfgsrsly). He never saw her die, and he never had reason to believe he didn’t go back for her - until her letter told him so. Even Louis left it vaguer than that!!
The worst part of this is that the REAL MdP was a real HBIC smarty-pants, and if she had been in the ep, would never have done that. (Though actually, if the real MdP had been asked to be in the ep, she probs would have said something like "Qu’est-ce que c’est, ce sexist asshat bigotry dans cet episode de OOC merde!! Zut alors, mon roi!!" and would have had Moffat carted off to the guillotine before he could offend her further. That would have been a much better - and more in-character for her - ep, ngl).
As is, the character kinda carved her own fate with that letter.
….. juuuuust waiting for the final ratings on The Name of the Doctor and I will update my geeky ratings spreadsheet for you guys! (But fwiw, I’m 99% sure those were the WORST finale overnights in NuWho history).
In the meantime, this is interesting. People have been super-hyping ‘DW is so popular in the US now ommggggggggggg’ for a while. BBCA actually released ratings for 7B season episode The Rings of Akaten - 2 million viewers.
That’s about as well as SPN does, it’s worse than TVD does on its really, really bad days, and it’s less than half of what the US version of Downton can pull in on PBS in its sleep. (And as merryghoul below points out, Game of Thrones - which is on HBO and much more $$$ than BBCA - is pulling over twice these viewers as well).
All this hype … over 2 million viewers. lol. lololol. No wonder BBCA stopped reporting ratings after that - this probably represented a high for them which is most likely why they put it in a freaking PRESS RELEASE in the first place, and I have little doubt it’s gone down since then (or they would be telling us via another sad, sad press release).
Anyway, just wanted to share.
Anyway .... below the cut ...
[Spoiler (click to open)]
* my husband refused to watch this with me. Even though it's Neil Gaiman who he likes, he's given up
* honestly I thought it started off a bit slow =X
* why not have the kids sleep on the TARDIS? In order to get them in trouble later, of course XD I think it would have been better if they hadn't been wanting to leave - like if it had been the kids' idea to stay there overnight. As is, it feels plot-device-y bc well, it is
* why is what's-her-face mad at clara? Don't bite the hand that feeds you, or that let's you manipulate her into inviting you along for a trip. That little girl is seriously obnoxious.
* it is kind of funny tho that the person who gets in trouble is the one who DIDN'T wander off
* matt smith is a really good physical actor, it's a shame he doesn't get to do that more often
* i guess I still don't get why the hell Clara is interested in travelling with the Doctor. Rose wanted to escape her life (then fell in love), Jack was brOTP and kinda had to come along if he didn't want to go boom, Mickey wanted to prove himself, Martha was smitten, Astrid thought he was cute and was out of a job, Donna wanted to feel special, Lady Christina didn't want to get arrested, Amy wanted to run away, Rory wanted to be with Amy -- I understand why Eleven wants Clara to travel with him (mystery blah blah blah), but she doesn't seem to really WANT it. And she's seemed downright snarky re the TARDIS in previous episodes and ... I just don't get it. I like JLC but this is not compelling and feels just sort of there.
* i'm still bored
* lots of references to previous episodes, nice nod
* ok i'm bored again
* heh she does have a good read on him 'rather dying than saying' how he feels -- however, I feel bad for River/Doctor shippers. They're shipping Eleven/Clara pretty hard and River's not even dead yet .... this feels kinda John-Edwards-cheating-on-dying-Elizabeth-E
* the whole emperor subplot seemed kind of ... pointless. I'm sure it was meant to be meaningful I just can't bring myself to care.
* lovely skirt comment and salivating little grin =P Again, I feel bad for River/Doctor shippers.
In short ... meh
"I'd written this song which comes in just for a little bit, called 'The Stowaway', which was on the album ... so you get a little bit of it, and some of the fans probably had heard it before, 'cause it was out on the CD before, and they were 'What does it mean, that 'the stowaway' is going back to his love? What is that?' and people started to speculate about was there a hidden meaning behind the words - which I think we'll probably discover in the end of Series 4." -- Murray Gold, "Voyage of the Damned" DVD audio commentary
So I mean yes, I think it was completely clear to Ten/Rose shippers all along that this song was about Rose - I mean, who else would it be about? But damn if it wasn't nice to hear him confirm it =)
OK so I like math. Although I'm not a statistician, I am pretty good with math (which is lucky for anyone in the USA haha bc in a few short months I will be using said math to prepare intravenous drug compounds for hospitalized patients... tl;dr if I sucked at this, it would suck WAAAY worse to be you bwahahah XD)ANYWAY! It should not have escaped anyone's attention that Doctor Who ratings appear to be teetering a bit. Some people think "eh, it's not a big deal" while some think that this is dangerous. I'm one of the latter group. And because I have a huge-ass assignment due tomorrow that I don't feel like doing right now, I thought I'd explain why. (For simplicity's sake, there are no Xmas specials or 2009 specials included in this data - just final BARB ratings from 2005-present).
OK first off, if you compare the OVERALL numbers from s1-s7, although s7 (in red) looks like it's a bit low, there doesn't seem to be much difference ... right? Right???? And, truth be told, the only ~statistically significant~ differences (eg, where s7 really comparatively sucks balls) are when it's directly compared to s1. But ... this chart is a colorful mess. A colorful MEANINGLESS mess, because all I'm showing you is a bunch of lines without analysis. Six would probably proudly wear this chart as a coat it's so fugly. Anyway, this is usually the data people are looking at when they glance at the ratings and shrug it off as being "not all that different." This is not accurate.
So let's clean it up a bit!!! To simplify things, I'm gonna compare apples to apples. All RTD-era episodes are accounted for by the blue line ("You said BLUE!!" ... "I said NOT blue!!!"), the beginning of the Moffat era (s5-6) is the green line, and s7 is the red line. NOW things start to look interesting!!OK this is not a calculus class but I hope this shows why math is kind of cool if you're a total fandom nerd and you want to prove other fandom nerds wrong XD. Look at the pretty lines and numbers!!! Here's what they mean: see the dotted lines with the equations? Those are ~trendlines~ for the graph. Basically what that means is it tells you, on average, where the hell your data is going. See the equations? Those tell you how fast viewers are flocking to your show (or, alternatively, turning it off bc it sucks and going to read fanfic or something lol idk). And see the (sorrysorry tiny font I knowww) "R^2" value? That tells you if you can trust your trends or not (lol @ those evil, untrustworthy trend bitches). The closer to "1" the better, and these are all pretty freaking close to one which means the trends are pretty strong. (So anyone who tries to respond and say it's meaningless - look at the R^2 value and hush lol).
So what does this mean? Again this isn't a calculus class so I'll skip the lecture on how to calculate derivatives and try not to make this too boring (BUT CALCULUS IS SUPER COOL AND YOU SHOULD LOVE IT GUYZ), but essentially the first number (x^2) is saying "this is how fast viewers are coming/going".And this is where the RTD era is strong, s5-6 are a bit weaker, and s7 is in trouble. For the RTD era, the first number shows that yeah viewers were coming and going - but that there was a general trend back up. For s5-6, there are fewer people coming and going. And for s7, the number is negative --- that means there is a trend of people leaving. How reliable is this? Well back to the R-squared thingy I was telling you about - it's pretty freaking close to 1, so the trend is pretty tight.
One of the big weaknesses here is that premieres and season finales tend to have more viewers, so in this next graph, I simply removed the premieres and finales (which meant I had to remove mainly s6-7 episodes from the data pool bc of the split season). Taking away those premiere/finale bumps in viewership looks even worse for s7 - the number of viewers leaving is even MORE negative now!!!! And s5-6 has a much flatter line too ... viewers were pretty stagnant. Again, the RTD era had some swings, but at the end of the day, viewers were coming home. That's not happening for the past few years, especially this year.
So what can we make out of all of this? Tl;dr, the numbers aren't good. And they're getting not-gooder by the season.(AND CALCULUS ROCKS AND YOU SHOULD TOTALLY LOVE IT!!)
[Spoiler (click to open)]
- "I will not listen to childcare lectures from a man who put his daughter in a box and shipped her to Maine." LOL.
- Regina's mom is really creepy. She clearly believes she's doing the right thing. Kind of ironic how Regina becomes so much worse of a person than even her mom seems to be, and how Regina was treated by Cora is mirrored by how Regina then in turn treats Henry. Henry is pretty much Regina (Kind of now wanting to see future dark!Henry)!
- "Are the nuns still nuns ... or can they, y'know, date?" SO SO SO WRONG.
- Speaking of which ... I kind of miss Amy Acker. I thought that the Dreamy episode was so lame, but I keep looking for her all the same =(
- SNEEZY IS A PHARMACIST!!!! =D GOOD CAREER CHOICE, BB!!!
- Rumple's kind of creeping on Regina ... not so sure what that's about @.@ Guess we'll find out more soon?
- Also not sure what's up with Rumple being so violently upset about not being able to leave Storybrooke. I never got the sense that he particularly ... cared? And now he's standing at the border ... did he plan to leave?
- I thought that the mad hatter left the dimension? Not sure how he got back? He was so focused on finding his daughter that it surprises me a bit that we haven't seen her looking for him, or him trying to find her again now that she knows who she is.
- Awww Regina does have some redeeming qualities ❤
- ... what happened to Pinocchio? =X
- OOH Cora!!! But I thought she was in a different dimension? (Is that what Rumple meant by "future" connection with their families? IDEK).
[Spoiler (click to open)]
1) So Mulan is my favorite Disney "princess." I just think she rocks and YAY for female empowerment. Not so sure how I feel about the love triangle we're working up to, as that's been done to death (unless the person she really loves is Aurora). I do like she's a HBIC in this ep and knows more than anyone else - I guess I'm just half-expecting the typical trope about the powerful-woman-having-to-pay-for-it-by-b
2) That Gold/Belle kiss was HAWT. I don't even think Robert Carlisle is all that hot, but day-um .... It's funny how he's technically keeping his word to Belle while completely ignoring the intent of her request >.<
3) I already love the fairytale characters SO much more than their contemporary alter egos. Especially Snow and Charming. LOL @ her with the "one night stand" comment - he looked so shaken up! At least she didn't go and marry someone else.
4) I kind of like how torn Emma is feeling about knowing who her parents are now. All of this crap is finally real to her.
5) Wow, so Regina had a soul to be sucked by the wraith in the first place? XD I'm kidding ... I know she loves Henry (and it was sweet how touched she was that Henry wanted her safe).
6) Annnnnnd re Mulan, so she's willing to give her own life so that the man she loves can live out the rest of his life with another woman. How positively Eponine/Madame Butterfly/Miss Saigon. ALL THESE THINGS ARE SO CLEARLY WRITTEN BY MEN, I SWEAR!!!
7) Wow. So that whole hat thing didn't go well =X I can't say I saw that coming. Even Regina looked slightly horrified for a mo there.
8) I wonder if Ruby is going to turn into a wolf again.
9) I really liked how I had totally assumed that Mulan/Aurora/Philip was yet another flashback ... but it wasn't!!!!!! That's pretty damn cool.
All in all, infinitely better than most of Doctor Who this season XD I'll even forgive the momentary lapse into cis-female stereotypes. I wasn't the biggest fan of this show last season because I felt like it was still finding its feet, but I think it might get there this season!!
[Spoiler (click to open)]
1) ... so, if "an image of an angel becomes an angel," then shouldn't the detective have been zapped back in time almost as soon as he stepped into the elevator with the poster of the Statue of Liberty? (Or gotten his neck broken/sand in his eye or something?) And since angels can turn other statues into angels, shouldn't every statue in NYC be an angel by this point?
2) FINALLY Moffat gives a reason the TARDIS can't land somewhere - time distortions. He should have done that ages ago.
3) So far my favorite part of this ep is the ad that "DAVID TENNANT RETURNS TO BBC AMERICA" in Spies of Warsaw
4) "Once we know what's coming, it's written in stone" -- ok, I'm sorry, I have problems with this. It's supposed to be only if you've lived through it. Otherwise, the Doctor, the knower of all history, would never be able to go anywhere or do anything, because he already knows history and how things end.
5) So the chained angel touches River ... and nothing happens. How do you "badly damage" an angel anyway? Wasn't the point of Blink supposed to be that you can't kill them or hurt them? And if they can only move when you're not looking at them, then how come the baby angel was able to blow out Rory's match when he was looking at it? That shouldn't have been able to happen, either. And now they can just do spatial displacement without temporal displacement?
6) So I did kinda like how it's becoming clear that Eleven's time with River is coming to an end. Although their timelines never seem to go back-to-back as originally stated. Honestly, to me this means that Moffat's time on DW is likely coming to a rapid end as well, which is good.
7) I thought regeneration energy was only supposed to last for ~15 hours after a regeneration. However, I thought that Time Lords can go into a trance and heal. So ... in order for there to be a dramatic moment, canon was trounced. As usual.
8) In a perverse way, Rory's death of old age must be almost comforting, because if time can no longer be rewritten to kill him any other way, then he can go play in traffic or w/e with no fear.
9) RIVER HAS A VORTEX MANIPULATOR, WHY NOT USE IT? SHEESH.
10) Everyone seems to keep taking their eyes off the angels, and turning their backs to them. AND BLINKING. Yet the angels don't move. Amy and Rory have this entire conversation with the Statue of Liberty!Angel standing right there, and they're not looking at it, and the damn thing doesn't move an inch. Eleven and River stand with their backs to it, and it STILL doesn't move.
11) How come people are crying at this? This episode is HAS NO INTERNAL LOGIC.
12) So he can't ever go to the 1930s? Or to 1930s New York? Because if it's just New York, then couldn't they just go to another city and meet up with Eleven there? Or wait a few years and meet him somewhere else.
13) What is this crud about "nobody knows" if the angel will send them back to the same time? That's such a lie. That's the only reason Ten and Martha were able to end up in 1960s London together, and that Billy Shipton was able to join them.
14) This stuff must run in the family:
Pond/Williams person: "don't travel alone."
The Doctor: "ok cool, travel with me!"
Pond/Williams person: "lol not so much"
This episode would have been much more emotional if it weren't so freaktastically annoying and had no internal logic. You don't need to stay true to 50 years of canon, I understand it can be complicated. But please, please try to stay true to the handful of episodes that YOU WROTE Moffat =P