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Old October 2 2012, 10:27 PM   #307
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Location: Hollywood, CA
Re: 7X05 The Angels Take Manhattan (Grading/Discussion) (SPOILERS!)

A writer friend of mine shared the link to this LJ entry/review this morning and it cohesively details every problem I had with this episode and more over, the characterization of the 11th Doctor:

Some pertinent quotes if you don't have time to read it (it's long):

River uses her gadgety-wagety stuff to track down Rory, having gotten away from the Angel by breaking her own wrist, thus not altering the future (although the only part of the book Amy read was that she SAID she'd have to break her wrist, she never read that she actually did, so the line she read in the book had already been fulfilled). River says she kept her broken wrist a secret from the Doctor because even though he's a millenium-old Time Lord who has stated repeatedly that he's so old he can't feel emotion the same way young people can anymore and that's why he takes them with him, he has the emotional security of a five year-old and can't handle anything remotely upsetting without going into a temper tantrum, so it's really best to hide things from him because he's not adult enough to deal with them.

This is probably the biggest thing that turns me off about Moffat's depiction of the Doctor. In that even through all the experiences he had, all the maturity he had in his previous regenerations, the Eleventh Doctor, despite what he claims, behaves very much like a bratty kid kicking and screaming for attention, caring nothing for anyone's feelings but his own. This isn't the behavior of someone so old he's forgotten how to properly interact with other people, this is the behavior of someone who never bothered to learn it in the first place.
I've never really bought in to the whole "Ten is better than Eleven!" argument until now. I defended series 5 to a lot of people at the time, and even though I personally thought Series 6 was incredibly uneven, it still had its moments when it wasn't telegraphing it's plot twists that we all saw coming a mile away:

As a sideline rant, anyone who griped about Ten/Rose drama should have hated this scene, but from preliminary reactions I've seen, they love it. The Doctor was absolutely shameful here, turning into a simpering, self-absorbed man-child refusing to respect his companion's wishes. Contrast this to how Ten behaved when he lost his companions. When he lost Rose in "Doomsday", a woman he was actually in love with, he went catatonic a while, then found a way to contact her to give her one last farewell, and was very mature and realistic about it. When Martha left him to be with her family and basically told him to go fuck himself, he was okay with that. He didn't put up a fight, he didn't argue, he didn't whine, he simply respected her decision and kept to himself how much it hurt him. When he lost Donna, he very pointedly tried to deflect any discussion about how he felt about it because he knew that making sure Donna was safe was much more important than softening his emotional blow.

And that is, in my opinion, why Ten is always going to be superior to Eleven, because the very fundamental core of Ten's character, to his very end, was that the needs of normal, everyday people outweighed his own and he would suffer any loss, take on any burden to ensure they were safe. To Eleven, everyday people are an audience. They exist to tell him he's amazing and clever and to be impressed with him, and if they don't, he has no need for them. Ten worked towards solutions ideal for everyone else, Eleven worked towards solutions ideal for himself.
I personally didn't care much for Amy as a companion due to her motivations and personality being so inconsistent. She didn't provide any kind of foil for the Doctor, and instead acted more as an enabler. I have hopes that the next companion will be better, but from Moffat's work on the series so far, I've come to notice that he doesn't seem to understand what the companion is for. The companion is supposed to be the character through which the audience interacts with the Doctor, and who grounds the Doctor's actions by giving him perspective on how his behavior affects normal people. Starting with "The Girl in the Fireplace", though, Moffat regularly treats companions as people who get in the way of the Doctor being awesome, and simply gives them "busy work" to fill up their screentime while the Doctor does everything himself. In "The Girl in the Fireplace", Rose and Mickey just hung out and explored the ship, an action that was irrelevant to the overall plot. In "Blink", Martha just smiled and nodded. In "Silence in the Library", Donna was whisked off to a virtual universe where she'd be out of the way and didn't accomplish anything that was of any necessity to solving the problem. And now in later seasons, we had the egregious example of "Asylum of the Daleks" where marital problems were invented for Amy and Rory to keep them occupied while the Doctor did his work, and they solved their problem by the end of the episode, which had zero consequence on anything else.

So while I congratulate Moffat on this episode for having Amy and Rory take initiative to both come up with and execute the solution to the overall conflict all by themselves, I don't yet have confidence that this is pointing towards a future trend of better companion relevancy. I'm also thankful that characters are starting to treat the Doctor as the attention-whoring man-child that he is, but as this episode has shown, they're also determined to continue to enable that very same behavior. I'm hoping this incident will help the Doctor become more mature and respectful of other people's feelings, but I'm fearing it'll just turn him pouty and sulky, that how dare his friends move away for business instead of hanging out at his house for the rest of their lives so they can congratulate him daily for getting new high scores in Guitar Hero.
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