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Dr Who: Cold Blood
Bad episode - interesting ending. I wasn't expecting that, and the BBC seem to have been remarkably successful at sitting on general spoilers.

Well, I have never liked Chibnall's scripts for Torchwood but then I have never liked Torchwood. Last week's episode was very old fashioned and a bit too much RTD, but it was watchable. This one, on the other hand... I found this episode in the worst tradition of didactic children's television. It was also irritatingly predictable, with a lot of very bad dialogue and people, including Amy, making threats they couldn't carry through. Bad humans! Bad aliens! Wise old male humans, male aliens (in the widest sense, though they are Terran) and Time-Lords. Stupid women and stupid female aliens. Normally, this doesn't bother me this much but, for all the claims of the Moff being misogynist there was far more of that in this episode than in any he has written. For the first time since RTD handed over we had a stupid middle-aged woman (of colour, yet.) The dialogue was pompous and boring. Please don't let the man write any more episodes.

God, this was so clichéd.

Until that twist at the end. I admit I wasn't expecting to lose Rory so soon, though I was expecting to lose him sooner or later because of the lack of publicity about him being a permanent companion in the TARDIS. I am still trying to work out what he was for, on a technical basis. Was he to prove that the Doctor and Amy have a different dynamic than the Doctor and Rose or the Doctor and Martha or, well, the Doctor and anyone since the reboot? Was it to give depth to Amy? (If so, it didn't work. Amy was more interesting when she wasn't doing the in-love bit, and I trust she will be again.) Was it to test whether the two companion dynamic worked? (Yes, it did, so why abandon it?)

Now, that ending I found very interesting, and am hooked on trying to see how it fits in with the overall arc. I certainly didn't fit in with the rest of the double episode, but appeared to be tacked on, probably by Moffat. The dialogue certainly didn't sound like Chibnall.
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I really enjoyed it. Do you think a male head of the Reptilian Military and female scientists and leader of The Silurians may have sat better with the story? I was surprised at the ending too. It did feel tacked on!

I am just bored, bored, bored with the stereotypes.

And if I have to listen to one more "debate" about whether humans can get along with aliens, with the allegory hammered home with a sledge hammer I shall scream and scream and scream until I am sick.

OK Violet Elizabeth, what would you have prefered? Gender stereotypes are hard to avoid when telling a story like this unless no one shows any gender characteristics at all.

But the women were all pretty much stupid, you know. Most of this series, Amy has been smart - but not in this episode. The only wise and smart people - admittedly, this being a Chibnall story, there were not many of them - were male, either human or alien.


The trick with sterotypes is to be aware that they are not the same thing as characters.

There are performances where character and stereotype blend - I am thinking particularly of mummers plays, where "In comes I ...." It seems to me in such dramas that I've seen (a very limited number) that some of the fun comes from knowing that the universal-type is actually Fred (who is very sterotopyical in some ways, and very not, in others), and some of the depth comes from knowing that there are both universal truths, and local realities at play.

And stereotypes can be useful to lure an audience into a false sense of security, then turn the tables on them.

This did not happen tonight.

I think the Dr's next companion should be a guy then no stories from then on need have any female rolls and perhaps that will stop them being portrayed in a bad way!

My favourite companion of all time is male (Ian) but then he was teamed with an equally interesting (and intelligent) female companion in Barbara. If they could get the male/female dynamic correct back in the 1960s, you'd think they could do so now.

It was very noticeable throughout the RTD era any middle aged woman would be weak or villainous - even originally great female characters like Harriet were undermined at the end. Not all women in the series should be strong and smart - of course not! - but something like this comes along where the sexual dynamic is so obviously biased that it has to be noted.

I am just bored, bored, bored with the stereotypes.

But the majority of the audience probably isn't as experienced in SF tropes as you. I enjoyed it, though I was sorry Rory got the chop (I don't think it's permanent, myself, though he may not end up with Amy as he expected).

It's not the SF stereotypes so much as the 'wise old man', 'stupid irrational woman' thing that RTD's Who was infamous for, and that was so bloody obvious in this episode.

(Admittedly not quite as bad as all the sitcoms where the grown up children sponge off Mum who can refuse them nothing while the husband is sensible but too weak willed to do anything about it.)

As you already know, I thought it was a dreadful episode. Rory's death was wasted in terms of dramatic impact. To be honest, last week's was so lame, I worked on my laptop whilst this week's played in the background.

Yes, I have been worried about this pair of episodes ever since I knew Chibnall was writing them. At least this made the Dalek thing look a bit better, in that it had decent pace and some good jokes.

I felt let down by this episode - I'd been hoping for better than last week, but characterization remained all over the place and so much of the dialogue made up of everything which had been cut out of the Pertwee stories for being too moralistic.

As ever, you go straight for the main problems. I was very unhappy with the characterisation of Amy, and the guest stars seemed all over the place too. I have seen a number of posts remarking that it was a 'tribute' to the earlier Silurian/Sea Devil episodes, but the whole point was that those made their moral points, when they had them, in a couple of sentences. They didn't sit round a table and discuss it for what seemed like half hours.

Rory's death did seem to come out of nowhere, which leads me to suspect it won't be permanent.

Rory's death may or may not be permanent, but his tenure as a TARDIS companion is, I think, over. My interpretation of what appeared to be suddenness (though Moffat says it was planned for this point from the beginning) is that the tag, which is not structurally part of this episode but part of the arc, was written by Moffat at the start of the series to be tacked on to whatever episode happened to occur at this point. Likewise the appearance of future-Amy and future-Rory at the beginning, which served no purpose in the main body of the story. A lot was cut from the previous episode because the script was far too long - but not that bit, which it was clear from the start had to be arc and not episode related.

Bad writing from Moffat too - both should have been better integrated.

Rory's death may or may not be permanent, but his tenure as a TARDIS companion is, I think, over.

Agreed. A shame, really, as I was really getting to like him.

My interpretation of what appeared to be suddenness (though Moffat says it was planned for this point from the beginning) is that the tag, which is not structurally part of this episode but part of the arc, was written by Moffat at the start of the series to be tacked on to whatever episode happened to occur at this point. Likewise the appearance of future-Amy and future-Rory at the beginning, which served no purpose in the main body of the story.

It's a problem when you have the male companion as the boyfriend of the female one. They can't simply leave, as for instance Harry Sullivan did when he decided he'd had enough adventuring.

Bad writing from Moffat too - both should have been better integrated.

Yes, it seemed to come out of nowhere, which rather spoilt the emotional impact of it.

I too was bored and so were the parents. Boooooored

I went out and fed the cats at one point.

Absolutely agree about Chris Chibnall's writing. He just doesn't seem to have a good grasp of the Whoniverse. Unlike you, I liked Torchwood (mostly) but Chibnall almost killed it in infancy with that terrible sex-gas episode. I was worried when I saw he'd been commissioned to write for this season of Dr Who and while the Siluian two parter wasn't as bad as the Torchwood sex-gas abomination, it was much less than stellar.

I agree that Chibnall should not be allowed to write for the Whoniverse any more.

I, too, was getting to like Rory (better than the Doctor, actually) and thought his death was completely wasted - especially since he's already died once - even though it turned out to be a dream-death.

I hated the way they removed him from existence, meaning that they could just press the reset button for Amy and avoid any of that messy grief stuff, but I trust they will redress the balance and bring him back to round off the 'crack in space-time' arc. There are only three more stories to go - the last pair usually being a two-parter, so we're rolling towards finding out the importance of the crack. I'm almost hoping that Amy turns out to be the Big Bad who's been in control of the crack all along and playing a double game, maybe unwittingly, but unless they're going to change companions it's not likely. (Though that would be something they would keep a deathly secret, wouldn't it?)

There is a possibility that they will change companions, just as there is a remote possibility that the Doctor will regenerate, but I doubt both. Actually, I like both the current Doctor and Amy, and quite like Rory. I also prefer a three person dynamic in the TARDIS.

I agree. It seems likely Amy will stay for the next season. I quite like her, but as I've said before I'm less convinced about Matt Smith, though I'm willing to be persuaded. I certainly don't mind the three-person dynamic in the Tardis. I liked the Jack-Doctor-Rose threesome and also the few episodes where Mickey made it four, but I also thought the Doctor-Donna pairing was good.

I turned it on (for once). I watched. I shrugged. Admittedly I keep forgetting it's on at all, but nothing about the episode really hooked me and nothing inspired me to tune in next week either. I think an F1 race that finished in grid order would probably be more exciting to watch. ;)

I guess the bottom line for me was that it felt like the reason for anything I saw on screen was that that was what was in the script. There was plenty of expounding of motives and moral high ground but in the end it was, 'and then the script says do this, so we will' rather than any of the characters actually believing in or basing their reasoning or actions on what they were saying.

Particularly annoying for me was having a half-hearted mother-defending-her-young character. It's a perfectly valid human reaction, but in order to invoke it, you have (I believe) to push someone to the edge of their capacity to remain rational and someone who's been pushed that far doesn't just turn round and say, 'oh no, how awful, I really shouldn't have done that. Sorry'.

The characterisation of the women in this episode, whether human or alien, was particularly bad. Amy, who is normally extremely competent in a crisis, behaved like the spoilt brat too many Rose fans think she is - but it is the first time she has done so this series. The rest of the women switched personas on what appeared to be whim.

But then this is Chibnall.

I gave up watching Who last year, after threatening to do it for a couple of years before that. However, though there have been some lows this year, there have also been some good-to-nearly-excellent episodes, and the arc is complex and teasing and I want to know what happens next.

Edited at 2010-05-30 05:06 pm (UTC)

Agreed. Rory did come as a suprise, but the only thing that stuck with me was the way he "disappears". I never really liked him, and while had been funny in a sort of dipstick way, I was kinda glad to have him off Amy's back.

Also, this was raised down the page - the Mum thing was awful. My sister (9), next to me, was calling her an idiot for killing that nasty lizard-creature, which kind of shows how badly it was handled. Its such an over-used plot moment, the whole "desperate parent" thing, that I'm surpised it was so botched, and then having the Doctor condemn her? Jesus.

The bit with the "shrapnel" was pretty brilliant, as was the short scene where Amy forgets. And, of course...

"I dressed for Rio."

Hopefully that'll happen again soon. :D

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