9. Nine was weird. He was a soldier, still. he wore a leather jacket and walked like a broken man. He had lost everything in the fire, and every day he lived he lost more. He had seen his friends die, his comrades, his family and all those innocent people he never had the time to meet. And he could see them dying. Again. And again. And again. Until he couldn’t do anything else but stare. Knowing he was responsible. He had fixed it now, yes, but for what cost? And he looked around, and he saw planets, still burning from fires he could never put out on his own.
And rose came. And she brought peace and happiness and for her, he would go to the end of the universe for her. How full of innocence she was, sleeping in a room made of pink, but already understanding how the world seemed to work. And how it didn’t. Full of opinions is a good way to describe the girl he first met. He didn’t like Mickey much, the guy was aggressive and competitive more than that he had brains. So he took her with him and he loved her. And Jack came, admits war and destruction, and he saw a man turn good. So he came along too. And in the end, he loved them more than he hated the Daleks.
So he turned good too. Love above hate, that is how you could describe him the best, he was a good man, living in a nightmare.
10. Ten was smiles. And laughter. He jumped around like a little puppy trying not to stay still for too long. Ten griefed. A lifetime in war feeling like past. But still pressing on his back. he saved people. Many of them. Took them with him to see the wonder in their eyes. They were happy, so was he.
But he could get angry too. Angry for those people that still did wrong, a lifetime of war, bigger than they could imagine. And still, it happened. Again and again. But he loved Rose, and he accepted Mickey for the boy loved Rose too. So he accepted his fate with it. he was the man who saved, rarely thanked. Not deserving forgiveness, not deserving praise, but secretly wishing it. And when he feared that he had lost the feeling. The feeling of guilt. He counted. The children of Gallifrey, the people he had to protect. But there were simply too many.
And he lost Rose. Like he had lost Jack. And then came Martha brilliant and clever. She realised her mistakes and realised that the Doctor didn’t fit in her life, so she left him, and he let her go. Sad, because he had no family to put above his companions. And Donna came and she brought Wilfred. Donna was different. She didn’t take any of the bullshit of his grief, she didn’t let him determine her life. And he needed her. Needed her when he almost gave up on time, seeing all events as inevitable. It wasn’t her fault that he took too far.
In the end, you could say that he held onto his grief for too long. Because after grief comes acceptance. And he wasn’t ready for that yet. He wasn’t ready for a life without that guilt weighing on him. He was young in a way. Young and still foolishly in love. Perhaps losing that love was the best thing that happened to him, perhaps the worst. But he found other love in other people, some understanding, some not. But he learned from all. And when he died, he finally accepted that it was all over, even the four knocks faded away. Gallifrey couldn’t be saved, but he could.
11. And now we come to eleven. His supposedly final life. Eleven seemed younger in many ways, trying to hide the wrinkles in his soul with a bowtie and quick feet. he needed Amy Pond and Rory Williams. They taught him that love sometimes means patience, and in turn, he showed them the universe. Gave them a wedding never to forget and fought every planet in the sky to get their child back.
But amidst all that. Amidst all the running and wonders and quick hellos. He waited. He saved planets and he waited. He waited for something he couldn’t really pinpoint until it was said out loud: he wanted to be forgiven. He had saved so many worlds. He had fixed the rough edges of the time war, restarted the universe itself. And now he wanted to retire, find a nice spot and just lie down. But as long as no one told him that he was allowed to do that, he couldn’t now. So he saved some more worlds, some more planets. And still, it wasn’t enough.
People didn’t seem to learn. He’d save them and a hundred years later they needed him again. And again. They were dictators and idiots and hypocrites. So when he saw his friends in pain, when he saw them lose a child. He flipped out. And he exploded. And he couldn’t be stopped anymore. It started when he was ten, but now, he knew how he could break people. He knew what hurt more and pressed on it till they fled when his name was said.
It’s why he needed River. Of all people. The person he had hunted down the world for, standing in front of him, his wife. His love. Not yet now, but someday. And she didn’t show him patience when he was angry. She didn’t show him hatred either. She showed him a different kind of love, the kind that is appropriate for the way he was acting. A twelve-year-old.
So, in the end, he needed her the most. The woman who tested his morality but didn’t take any bullshit from him at all. For her, he grew up.
And when Clara came, so alike Donna but without the armour to protect herself. He could laugh with her and promise protection. He opened his palm for her, but she was the one to grab it. He wasn’t all grown up, still with a liking to bow ties and weird presents. But he needed her now. Someone who could grab control, who didn’t take bullshit and believed in an infinite number of second chances. She didn’t need compliments, she needed achievements, so she strived for greatness, even if greatness was beyond her. I always loved their chemistry.
12. Now he had lived longer than any timelord. And he had learned not to hide. He didn’t cover up his wrinkles, and instead of a younger face gave himself the right to complain and the mission to give everyone a chance. He had a home, he couldn’t find and when he did, he didn’t need it. He was a learned man, a magician. And in his earlier regeneration years, complicated.
He didn’t fit in one category or the other. He was many things but not stupid for not knowing. And he asked his friends. But even his friends couldn’t tell him what his morality was supposed to be. What “right” was. Which viewpoint the ultimate.
And while Clara decided she wanted a normal life next to the adventures, and Missy just really liked thump wrestling with nuclear weapons and earth on the line too much, he was lost. But he slowly found it again. With River. And with himself. And in impossible heroes and brave soldiers. He learned that love is a promise, you never break. So he promised Missy he would show her the universe if she just turned good.
Clara decided her own fate, as she always had. And he was stubborn enough to interfere and give her a second chance. For her, he wiped his memory. And when Bill arrived, he didn’t do it for the same reason.
There are many things to tell and to know about twelve, the many decisions he made. He was a madman and a lover and a friend and manual, all in one. You can’t give him one moral when morality was his confusion. Sympathy, not his area. Even when everything in your area, some things are just too hard. And in the end, what will kill him? I personally believe, only he can. When he accepts too, that the time of grief is over. He isn’t a soldier anymore.
And only then thirteen can take her place and start the new day. At Christmas, the new era begins. I wish Jodie Whittaker and Chris Chibnall the best of luck. And I trust that we as Whovians can do the same. In the end, it’s a show for kids, after all.
So I’m home sick and caught Turn Left on repeat and it just made me miss the earlier days of Who, when the risk was real, when the characters and their hopes and their dreams and their wonder and awe at being companions and seeing the whole of time and space laid out before them was all so much more real and true.
I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, trying to pin down exactly why I haven’t particularly warmed to Moffat’s female companions, and I’ve managed to hash out a fair few points, so here goes.
1. Moffat creates his companions around his plot, whereas RTD creates his companions and the plot fits around them. Amy is created around the plot of the crack in the wall. Clara is created around the plot of the Impossible Girl. Because of this, they are both tied inextricably to the Doctor, and it seems as if they have no true life outside of the Doctor. They both seem to wait for the Doctor to whisk them away in his blue box. Side note on Clara, she doesn’t seem like a real teacher, because teachers have marking and planning and it’s very time consuming, you can’t just drop in and out of teaching. In contrast, in RTD’s era, the companions are picked completely by chance. They’re ordinary women who just happened to be at the right place at the right time. The whole Turn Left episode in Series 4 showed us how easily a person could end up or not end up as the Doctor’s companion. RTD’s companions are more fleshed out also, with aspirations and jobs and family. We never get to see Amy’s aunt and I can’t even remember the names of Clara’s family, so brief was their appearance. But I can remember the names of every family member of the Tyler, Jones and Noble families. The companions had lives outside of the TARDIS, something sorely lacking in Moffat’s era.
2. Moffat’s companions are inconsistent. Don’t get me wrong, I quite like the recent developments of Clara’s character in series 8, but it’s patchy at best, and it’s almost as if we’ve been given a completely different character. Amy always seemed to change her mind or opinion on things, particularly on Rory- throughout series 5, it was uncertain whether she would actually marry him. The inconsistency meant that they never seemed as real as Rose, Martha or Donna.
3. River Song. I could write a whole essay on River Song, but I’ll try and keep it brief. River and the Doctor being star crossed lovers travelling in different directions in time is such a good idea on paper, it’s a shame that Moffat couldn’t write it properly. Instead we’re given a character that loves her inside secrets that only she gets, her spoilers, and she loves to lord it over every man woman and child that she loves and knows the Doctor best, but there isn’t any growth or whatever in their relationship. We’re expected to like River Song, no questions asked. It never felt like we had a companion being forced down our throats in RTD’s era, something I sorely miss.
4. The companions always seem to exist just to exacerbate the Doctor’s clever look at me moments. Usually at the end of the series, we have a pivotal moment in which the companion shines, at least that’s what we had with RTD. Not only did they shine, they saved the world. In series 5, we had the Doctor saving the world, and Amy remembering him and saving him. In series 6, the finale was more about tying up lose ends than it was about saving the world, and in series 7, Clara saves the Doctor by jumping into his time stream or whatever. Moffat’s companions are denied their big moment where they save the world, where their development under the tutelage of the Doctor is complete and they thrive. It might be cheesy, but it was more interesting and more important to see ordinary people save the world, because the Doctor always has opportunities to do that.
So yeah, those are my major grievances with the characterisation in Moffat’s era. I have more issues with Moffat in general, but I thought I’d start with his companions :P
i’m having mixed reactions to moffat leaving. while it’s going to be a good thing to have chinball (broadchurch, torchwood, and other doctor who ep. he’s done), taking over; PLEASE GIVE MOFFAT LOVE THAT HE DESERVES!
he’s given us 11, amy and rory, river (with a bad ass backstory!), clara, 12, missy, and gallifrey, and the 50th!
and in my personal opinion, two of my ships (11/clara and 12/clara)
while we welcome chinball, please go and thank moffat for the best era we’ve had when russel had handed him the reigns! :D
Happy 10th birthday to the show that changed my life forever!
“When they made this particular hero, they didn’t give him a gun, they gave him a screwdriver to fix things. They didn’t gave him a tank or a warship or an x-wing fighter, they gave him a call box from which you can call for help. And they didn’t give him a superpower or pointy ears or a heat ray, they gave him an extra heart. They gave him two hearts. And that’s an extraordinary thing; there will never come a time when we don’t need a hero like the Doctor.” (Steven Moffat)
“Getting to tell the stories that you get to tell and travel in the Tardis and friendship, and just so many magical things. There’s nothing as whimsical as this show, I don’t think. It’s a dream. It kind of feels a bit like an adventure.” (Jenna Coleman)
“The marvelous thing about Doctor Who is that it tells stories that no one else can tell.” (Russell T.Davies)
“The world would be a poorer place without Doctor Who” (Steven Spielberg)
I was just reading this eloquent Doctor Who meta about River Song’s character depth and I realized what the source of so many arguments is between people who admire Moffat’s tenure and those who don’t.
It’s simply this: canon vs. head-canon.
Head-canons are lovely things. I indulge myself with them every time I encounter a character or situation in a show I particularly enjoy/dislike. However, I have to watch myself because, as I’ve discovered, I tend to want to take my head-canons and make them a part of canon. One example of this is my head-canon that in the weeks following Nine’s regeneration into Ten, Rose would wake screaming from nightmares to find Ten crouched by her bedside, eyes searching her tear-stained face with concern, until he just started cuddling with her every night to keep the nightmares away. Another example is my belief that the reason Ten didn’t tell Rose that he loved her at their first separation at Bad Wolf Bay was because he was aware of her finite lifespan and wasn’t ready to become so vulnerable with her.
However, our personal head-canons about the characters and situations we’re faced with in the show are not canon. They cannot be brought into arguments to try and win a point.
For instance, I know many wonderful people who love Moffat’s characters. However, when I try to explain why I find Moffat’s characters so one-dimensional, they retort with the following claims: “We’re not shown much of Amy’s grief for the loss of her child, but I bet that she was suffering off-screen and that it lingering throughout her last episode;” “River Song’s whole life didn’t revolve around the Doctor. She had a bunch of outside activities that were important to her, like her job, as well as several close friends that she loved spending time with;” and “Clara and the Doctor love each other so much. He’s shared a lot of things with her and it’s no wonder that they’re so close.”
If you love Moffat’s characters, great! Keep on loving them. That’s your choice and I don’t want to dissuade you. I do implore those who love Moffat’s work (and fans of Doctor Who as a whole, really) to recognize that a lot of their explanations excusing the problematic aspects of Moffat’s characters are personal opinions and not facts, just as some arguments about RTD’s era are opinions and not actual facts. If you want to believe that Amy grieved for her lost child throughout the duration of her travels with the Doctor, that’s fine, but there is no canonical proof to support your opinion. If I want to believe that the Tenth Doctor didn’t tell Rose that he loved her because he didn’t want to be that vulnerable, then that’s fine, but I have no canonical proof to support it.
If we’re going to discuss why we love/dislike Doctor Who then we can’t bring personal opinions and head-canons into said discussions. Firstly, these opinions in no way reflect the nature of Doctor Who’s canon. Secondly, personal opinions are a reflection of your personal passion for something and, if you’re debating about a certain topic, these opinions are closely followed by an emotional response instead of a logical one.
Let’s be honest about what Doctor Who is actually composed of and what we wish it could be. More than that, let’s be respectful to each other. Because in the end, we all love the show.
Clara, Rose, Amy, Donna, Martha, and River are all fantastic, distinct characters that have proved relatable to vast audiences. Never belittle the experiences of others in treating them as universally inadequate just because a character doesn’t resonate with you.
So I think that we do kinda need to stop putting Big Finish on a pedastal and saying that they can do nothing wrong. Tbh, some of the problems with RTD and Moffat kinda show up in Big Finish.
The first I can think of is the whole “disappointing conclusion to hype and an excellent first part”. Like Zagreus is a confusing continuity calvaclade before we get to the Rassilon stuff. And while it’s not the worst thing in BF’s catalogue, it certainly didn’t live to the hype. The same can besaid of the EDAs S2 and S3 finales where we have the “big take over/ damaging of the universe that ends on a reset button” trope that RTD and Moff used in like 3 different finales.
The second I can also think of is how people complain about Rose and Clara having too many goodbyes/hanging on too long. Now we can debate till we turn Tardy box blue, but I can name two Big Finish companions who suffer from that: Charley and Hex. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Charley, but I think a few of us can agree that she really didn’t add much to the post zagreus until C'rizz croaked. Quite a few people say her personality got worse and I can tell you plenty of people say the same of Rose in S2. And Hex… I really liked Hex in his stuff before like lurkers at the sunlights edge, he was a good Everyman to the “explosions are fun” Ace and the “manipulation for fun and profit” Seven. And his connection to Evelyn was all the more enjoyable since I consider Evelyn to be one of the best companions ever. But I felt he didn’t need to stay after A Death in the Family. When he died in Gods and Monsters and Seven had to deal with the fallout his actions caused in Afterlife, I really felt like Seven had gone through some development that would either be discarded or added depending on where you place the Hex audios in your timeline. But then they brought him back and then we got three more mediocre stories with “Hector” that really didn’t add much and just ended too safe. A lot of people criticize Moffat for being too attached and wanting happy endings, but I see Big Finish falling into this, they aren’t so innocent of this despite their death tolls. We can complain about Clara for years and years but Moff isn’t alone in wanting companions to get happy endings despite dying. Hell, as someone who hated Hell Bent when it first aired, at least I can see that some passion was put into it, while the last couple of Hex stories felt like a cash in. Sure Hell Bent still isn’t the masterpiece everyone makes it out to be in my eyes, but it’s better than what came after the moment Hex returned in Afterlife.
Finally the last comparison I’ll make is the running into a rut and being safe in story telling. Now while I can say that there are plenty of “safe” stories that don’t add much in NewWho, as of late Moffat seem(ed) more willing to take risks. We had Heaven Sent be most experimental NuWho has gotten and had a well liked Companion butchered and turned into a Tenth Planet Cyberman. Hell bringing back the Tenth Planet Cybermen was a bold move, since most of NuWhos audience has either laughed at them and never even seen them before. He even had a female Master and brought back the First Doctor. Compare that to Big Finish as of late, especially with their monthly range. Now they are still being creative, but I’d argue that BF seems to be doing more “here’s more stories that are like the classic series and we can take our money home in a wheelbarrow” stories in the monthlies and doing shit no one asked for like the Churchill Chronicles and Tales of New Earth. The company that gave us Scherzo and Live 34 is still there, but they don’t seem that experimental as they used to be imo.
So in conclusion, Big Finish isn’t perfect and Moffat is capable of being creative. Clara’s ending isn’t the worst thing to be written on the show. Some of us Big Finish fans need to stop acting like Big Finish is the second coming of Christ and that RTD and Moffat are talentless hacks.
Today’s time waster: musing on the origins of the flapper look embodied by Phryne Fisher as played by Essie Davis.
Googling for famous flappers upon whom her look is modeled, the thing that really hit me was an irony that may not have been evident back in the day, but jumps out at you today. It’s a look meant to convey freedom, high spirits, joyful abandon, and rebellion, but there’s also clearly an element of infantilization. As someone commented on an earlier post (sorry, I forget who it was), 1920s flapper fashion was the beginning of the glorification – and sexualization – of youthfulness that continues to play out today. It’s not just that the perfect flapper body is flat-chested and hipless. It’s also the styling of the face: bobbed hair emphasizing a round baby face, giant eyes, Cupid’s-bow lips. I think this uncomfortable undercurrent of cognitive dissonance in flapper style would be a really interesting theme for MFMM to take on in a future episode (and let’s hope we get some of those).
Anyway, here are some fruits of my procrastination: images of famous flappers with that Phryne Fisher look.
First, the lady herself, Miss Fishah:
And finally, the epitome of the hyper-sexualized infantilized flapper – Betty Boop:
Isn’t it striking how uniform the look is from one to the next? Is there another fashion style so sharply delineated and defined not just by clothing, but by facial features as well (other than all of Western fashion being defined by whiteness, of course)? Imagine if they had plastic surgery back then – would everyone have been a carbon copy of this look?
Mind you, I don’t mean to pass some kind of simplistic judgment – in fact, I’m really drawn to this look – but I think it’s always good to bring an analytical eye to these things, so we can put them in context and be more conscious of the world we create.
I haven’t been so scathingly angry since Ten’s violation of Donna Noble in “Journey’s End.”
I was literally sitting on the couch shaking as Twelve bragged about his plan to Me–told her how he’d wiped Donna’s memories of him all those years ago and would do the same to Clara in the name of “saving” her. I could not believe he was going to do it again!
Filth. The only words I have for the Doctor are filth.
But what Steven Moffat did with that moment was beyond brilliant. He gave Clara Oswald everything RTD denied Donna Noble:
CLARA: Push that button, Doctor, it will go off in your own face! DOCTOR: Are you trying to trick me? CLARA: What are you trying to do to me? DOCTOR: I’m trying to keep you safe! CLARA: Why? Nobody’s ever safe! I never asked you for that. Ever! These have been the best years of my life. And they are mine! Tomorrow’s promised to no one, Doctor, but I insist upon my past. I am entitled to that. It’s mine.
Clara Oswald got the chance to defend herself and she took it. The outcome was sad, but unlike Ten’s actions, I feel no ill will towards Clara. The only person I feel pain for in this situation is Clara. She didn’t want to do what she did, but she had to defend herself. The Doctor gave her no choice. He was going to violate his best friend’s mind against her very adamant protests AGAIN and he deserved the consequence. Twice over.
Now, if only Clara and Me could find Donna somewhere during their trip the long way ‘round and right that putrid wrong.
This was very sweet of the cast and crew to do for the fans. We got bad news last night about a family member, so we’re in for some more heartache. I showed my mom this video and it made us both laugh and get teary. Michelle’s message was the funniest. :)