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!!)
Made me think of a lot of Davies-era stuff.
More below ...
[Spoilers for Power of Three, clearly]
1) Something about this really reminded me of Army of Ghosts ... strange things appearing all over the world. And the newcasters.
2) BRIAN COX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There is no "better man than you"!! <3 <3 <3 Seriously, I adore this guy.
3) So Amy is a kissogram, perfumer, model, travel writer ... I kind of wish it would stay consistent. I still can't figure her out. Nothing she does says anything about her.
4) Kay Stewart was such a nice tribute to the Brig ... that was really cool, and now I'm gonna get greedy and wish they'd do that more often. Although speaking of former companions, "is that all you can do, hover? a metal dog could do that" -- SO COLD!! Especially considering K9's sacrifics in School Reunion and the fact that he was instrumental in towing the earth back in Journey's End.
5) Restless!Doctor was a bit funny. Clearly everyone is wondering the extent to which Eleven and TenToo are likely to be similar XD Especially since I so want them to be similar with the reference to "because you were the first. the first face this face saw, and you're seared onto my hearts, amelia pond. You always will be. I'm running to you and Rory before you fade from me." (Although I wish Ten had shared the attitude about running towards Rose instead of away from her. That's the biggest problem with me shipping them - he didn't seem to WANT-to-want to be shipped).
(Actually wait a second ... Rose was the first face Ten saw, do you think it was Donna or Rose who was the first face TenToo saw? Does Donna count?)
On that note, I don't know how I feel about the whole "I don't travel to run away" thing. On the one hand, it's a great speech and I loved it --- on the other hand, that's not the Doctor, at least not in new Who. So ... nice but OOC. Or lying to himself. IDK.
6) I think it's funny that Amy commits to being a bridesmaid and that means she "has to stay" - but she didn't have that attitude with her own wedding.
7) BRIAN'S LOG lololololololol
8) "Not them. Never them." Famous last words...
9) So nobody's noticed this creepy kid sitting in the ER for days or weeks or months or whatever.
10) So they just leave the little kid sitting next to an active defibrillator LOLOLOL
11) So both the Chakri (sp?) and Toclafane are like Gallifreyan bogeymen stories, I guess?
12) D'aww ... the power of two =) ... or better with three =) -- cute ending.
So ... cute, and upflifting, but ... kinda discombobulated a bit? It just felt like there was a lot going on and there wasn't one unifying theme, I guess. Still, SO MUCH BETTER THAN LAST WEEK!!
[Spoiler (click to open)]
1. I really felt like I was gonna start hearing the Firefly theme at any time. Space western and all that ...
2. So um ... what happened to the whole "it's home for us, doctor" and 11's emo!face at Amy and Rory's leaving the end of the last episode? Why are they still on the TARDIS? My biggest issue with Moffat (besides characterization, but tied to it) is
3. WHAT WUZ RORY DOING IN HENRY VIII'S ENSUITE???? I think I ship Henry/Rory now, just sayin' ...
4. The variety of disparate American regional accents kind of threw me a bit, but it was a cool hearing Matt Smith sound like a yank XD
5. A transgender horse ... named Susan. I now ship Susan/Arthur.
6. The revisited Time War angst is a nice throwback to the RTD era ... however it seems a bit out of place considering that the only time Eleven's seemed even remotely un-"meh"-y about it recently was a year ago, in The Doctor's Wife.
7. It would be nice if Eleven's merciless emo with Solomon last week and his almost!mercilessness with Kahler Jex were able to be cohesively joined into some sort of seasonal theme. Alas, sadly I think these links are destined to remain disparate.
8. "Give me a Dalek any day" - yes, Eleven, ~~Oswin~~ will be joining you soon =P
9. It's kind of funny, as my husband pointed out, that the cold-blooded-killing weapon hasn't actually deliberately killed anyone XD
10. I really couldn't bring myself to care much that Kahler Jex decided to blow up his spaceship. There was just something missing that didn't make him seem as heroic as he might otherwise have semeed. Idk. I just didn't "feel" this one too much.
I'd rank this one a "meh" out of 10.
(although, funnily enough ...my husband said, "Not a good sign when Doctor Who starts taking creative tips from Snakes on a Plane" XD)
I actually really enjoyed this ep, ngl XD It was a fun romp.
And I **loved** the girl-power motif. So obviously not a Moffat episode.
[Spoiler (click to open)]
1. What's up with Nefertiti? If I were an Eleven/River shipper I'd be miffed. And if I were Amy Pond, I'd be WAY suspicious - when Nefertiti is prompting her to see if the Doctor is attached, Amy doesn't even mention "yeah he sorta married my daughter in an alternate timeline." Which I think just goes to show that Moffat - kind of like he intimated in The Big Book - doesn't consider them really properly married. ((OK, getting off soapbox now. I just like it when new canon backs my personal views up, ngl)).
2. I think it's cool that finally - FINALLY FINALLY - we are seeing the family of a companion in the Moffat era. And I love that Rory's dad kind of dresses like him. And thinks that piloting a spaceship is "better than golf" XD
3. I really don't know how to characterize the Eleven and Amy relationship at this point. I'd never gotten the impression they were particularly close, and now he just seems to dart in and out of her life pretty casually, like an annoying relative that asks to spend the night on your sofa.
4. BAD WOLF BAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Is it really sad and lame and fangirly pathetic that I recognized it at first sight? XD
5. "And you Amy, are you also queen?"
"Yes. Yes I am."
.... I'm not sure I've ever liked Amy as much as I did when she said that XD
6. I love the bitchy robots XD WHO PEE OIL WHEN THEY'RE SCARED!!!!!! OMG LOLOLOL. Chris Chibnall, apology accepted for Hungry Earth/In Cold Blood XD
7. It's a really minor point, but I'm not sure how I feel about the re-use of the name "Solomon". Yeah it's biblical and all, but there are a TON of biblical names out there, and as fun as this episode is turning out to be, nothing is more beautiful than angsty!s3!Ten
8. Omg ... poor Silurians ... repeatedly massacred by Chris Chibnall in so many, many different ways =(
9. I still maintain that the music is weird as all hell this season.
10. I really liked how Indira was clearly not happy about having to make the decision to launch the missiles. The reaction shot was quite nice.
11. I loved -- LOVED -- the Eleven/Rory kiss. I don't care about the characterization here
12. I really liked Nefertiti. She was everything that someone like Reinette (in canon, at least), wasn't - determined to be in charge of her own destiny -- not just a victim to it -- and brave - she saved everyone, didn't just scream for help. Even when confronted with potential torture, she just stared him down - too proud and too good to ask for help, and determined to save others. I kinda fell in love with her a lil bit, ngl. And then she hooks up with what's-his-face at the end ... just because she can!!
13. Speaking of which ... do I even need to talk about the girl-power thing in here? Amy being a HBIC, unwilling to tolerate sexist crap, and Nefertiti ... and even Indira, who we didn't see a lot of, but who showed a lot of texture.
14. And Eleven just lets Solomon die. Dark, seriously. Very human of him ... I wish we saw more exploration of this, and I think it would be amazing characterization ... but given the current head writer, I don't think that likely at all. Still ... wow. Not sure he woulda done that if Solomon hadn't killed the tricerotops.
15. Omg. Rory's dad's greatest wish with all of time and space at his disposal was to ask to see Earth from above. Just the quiet, peaceful beauty of home. And how it inspires him to appreciate the beauty of home, and travel ... that's ... just ... just ...
OK SO I LOVED THIS EP, OK????
[Spoiler (click to open)]
1. Daleks have prison camps???? Since when? The fake!Dalek is pretty cool, however ... Daleks are impenetrable master fighters. They survive basically anything. They don't need a Trojan horse, let alone one that looks like a human. Cool morphing tho. And the concept of "nanogenes for Daleks" is pretty cool.
2. So I WAS going to say: "RORY AND AMY BROKE UP!!! THANK GOD." And I thought it was going towards somehting cathartic when he said he loved her more than she loved him, but then they needed to go into all the whole "I cannot bear children for my man and therefore must be less of a woman, so I must allow you to go off and procreate with someone else" bullshit. If I didn't know I was watching a Moffat episode, I'd know I was watching a Moffat episode.
2a. Speaking of characterization-thingies: when we last saw Rory and Amy at the end of TWORS, weren't they over the moon about Eleven being alive? Yet now they seem a bit casual, over-it and snarky.
3. Does the music in this ep strike anyone else as rather ... cinematic? It's rather un-Murray-Gold-y ...
4. "Sorry there weren't any good questions left." Never change, Rory <3
5. Re Clara, I wrote: "Oooh look the new companion! It's funny that Eleven asked 'how do you get the milk' bc I was thinking the same thing. It would be funny if she ended up being a Dalek too. She is brilliant after all. And rather flirty". AND OMG SHE WAS A DALEK!!!!!!!!!
6. At this point my
7. The egg thing was cute XD I like thinking of it as a Dalek with a stutter XD
8. Cool that she wiped the minds of ALL the Daleks ... which sort of mind-wipes a lot of NuWho angst. Not sure how I feel about that.
Now ... Eleven never SAW Clara, so is her entire companion run going to be a time loop? Just a thought, since I seem to be on a roll, and Moffat LOVES his time loops =P