Monday, May 25, 2015

Aragon vs. Anderson: The God Complex




Now that I have a few minutes free, I thought I'd go back to one of my great passions...bashing The Whorist (or as it's generally known, The Nerdist), in particular their Doctor Who reviews by one Kyle Anderson.

Mr. Anderson (now doesn't that sound sinister) in my view, has rarely if ever met a Doctor Who post-Rose story that he hasn't loved.  I don't mean liked.  I mean L-O-V-E-D, to where that particular episode is the Best Doctor Who Episode of All Time...until the next episode when THAT becomes the Best Doctor Who Episode of All Time.  It's gotten to be almost a point of parody to see how Anderson rarely finds fault with a Doctor Who episode.  I don't mean just to nitpick on a few things.  I mean give a bona-fide negative review.  Even I, someone who has been vociferous in my condemnation for many NuWho episodes, do admit when I see a good one (like Flatline or Mummy on the Orient Express).  Anderson, however, will almost always find something to wax rhapsodic about, even on something as atrocious as In the Forest of the Night

I was intrigued by this, so a little research was required.  I went as far back as I could regarding Anderson's Doctor Who reviews, and the earliest one I could find was the Series/Season Six opener, The Impossible Astronaut.  What I've done is taken Kyle Anderson's review verbatim, and offered my own 'translation' to the text to see what Anderson is, in my view, really saying.  I also throw in my own thoughts as to what is being said.

I hope this will be a fun and informative journey into the strange mind of the Functioning Nerd.

I present Part 11 of The Nerdist as Whore: The God Complex .  My 'translations' are in red.

I certainly was not expecting this episode to end how it did. From the trailer, I, like most people I think, assumed this would just be another standalone scary-thing episode in the same vein as “Night Terrors,” but Toby Whithouse’s “The God Complex” turned into something far deeper and more impactful.
"The God Complex turned out to be another masterpiece in the annals of Doctor Who history".  That's how I started my review for this episode, but then I said, 'A touch too much, Kyle, even for me'.
If last week’s “The Girl Who Waited” was about Amy’s relationship with Rory, and Rory’s relationship with the Doctor, “The God Complex” was about Amy’s relationship with the Doctor, and his relationship with himself and companions in general. While a good portion of the “plot” of the story doesn’t make as much sense as it might, the overall emotional impact of the episode and its reflection on its characters was spot on.

A lot in The God Complex, in terms of 'plot', is nonsense from the get-go, but we NuWhovians are so used to not have a Doctor Who story make sense that its illogic is actually one of the show's greatest features.  A revived Doctor Who story that actually makes sense is more by accident than design, so while a good portion of the "plot" of the story doesn't make as much sense as it might, the fact that I cried is more important.   

To anyone saying the Steven Moffat era lacks the complex character arcs of the Russell T. Davies era, I point you in the direction of this series. I don’t think I’ve seen a series of Doctor Who MORE about character. I don’t think that’s what any of us expected.

To anyone saying the Steven Moffat era lacks in sycophants who won't question anything he is in charge of, I point you in the direction of this series' reviews by me, Kyle Anderson.  I don't think I've seen a series of Doctor Who MORE about everyone except the title character.  I think that's what all of us expected. 

The episode begins, as so many do, with the TARDIS landing somewhere that nobody knows where it is. In this case, it’s a perfect replica of a 1980s Earth hotel, complete with clashing decor, long hallways, and weird, twisty staircases.
This episode begins, as so many have recently, with ripping off better-executed stories.  In this case, it's a perfect replica of The Overlook Hotel, complete with clashing d├ęcor, long hallways, and weird, twisty staircases.  We were missing the creepy twins, but you can't have everything, can you?
They had been trying to go to a planet with 700 foot tall people you can only speak to with the help of hot air balloons. It always seems like the places they try to go sound way cooler than where they actually end up. But no matter.
We're starting out with some sort of joke about their destination, but given that their last destination cost an Amy 36 years, should they really find these places funny?  One day we'll find the Eye of Orion...again, but for now, we dive into our story.
Also, does the Doctor call Rory “Mickey?” Is that what he says? I can’t tell.
Does it REALLY matter, at this point, what The Doctor calls Arthur Darvill's character?  He keeps calling him 'Rory Pond', despite his last name being 'Williams', so him calling him 'Mickey' just reinforces the Doctor Who trope (or tripe) about the 'idiot boyfriend'.  We're never really going to have a rational, intelligent boyfriend to a Companion, are we?  That would sort of diminish the Doctor, who is really there to serve as a foil to the Companion and her love life. 
Regardless, this hotel is not as it seems.
WELL, BREAK OUT THE SMELLING SALTS!  The hotel not being what it appears to be.  Now THERE'S a shock!  Paging Captain Renault...
In the pre-credit sequence, we see a young police woman roaming the halls, going into various rooms and seeing apparitions of creepy things until finally she enters HER room, where the brutal gorilla that frightened her as a child resides. It is at this point that she begins to chant “Praise Him,” and a large, horned creature comes to get her.
 

From this, it would seem this is a haunted, Shining-type hotel with all manner of nastiness lurking in the rooms. However, naturally, nothing is as it seems.
Oh yeah, I wrote that already.  Oh well, repetition on Who is nothing New.  WOW...I just wrote a poem!  Score One for Anderson.  OH COOL...I wrote TWO!
The crew almost immediately meets four more people, three Earthlings and an alien sheep from a constantly-conquered planet, and find out that all them awoke there with no memory of how they arrived. Over time, each of them sees their darkest fears and to overcome them, they begin worshipping the Minotaur creature, eventually dying when it feeds upon their worship. Turns out, it’s a prison for the Minotaur which automatically captures people, shows them their greatest fear, gets them to renounce whatever beliefs they carry in favor of worshipping the creature, who then feeds on them.
 

Some things in the episode that didn’t make sense: 1) Why would the prison look like an Earth hotel if it captured people from all over the universe? 2) Why would an alien prison be made to look like something from Earth in the first place? 3) How is a prison sitting in outer space able to even abduct people from all over the universe? 4) Why is it that when people start praising the beast, they see the printed words “Praise Him” in various fonts? That last one’s less important.
Really, ALL those questions are less important than the most important question regarding Fear Her...I mean, The God Complex: Did it make you cry?  That's what Doctor Who episodes are suppose to do.  However, is it me, or do you think I hear and speak the words, "Praise Him", whenever I am granted an audience with The Moff? 
Whatever the plot holes involved, the idea of the Minotaur, a relative of the Nimon for us Classic Who fans, is an interesting and different one.
Whatever the plot holes involved, I really don't care.  It's interesting that Toby Whithouse apparently chose to echo The Horns of Nimon, usually regarded as one of the worst Doctor Who stories of the Classic Era (of which I really don't care about because anything pre-Rose is just filler in my view).  A minotaur was used in another Doctor Who story, The Time Monster.  It's been a while since I've seen it, but my memories of The Time Monster were on the whole positive, even though the fact that it has the word "Time" in the title may make it susceptible to the "Curse of Time", where almost every Doctor Who story with the word 'Time' in it is bad.  There are exceptions: The Time Meddler for example, but usually the ones with 'Time' in the title tend to be bad.  That isn't good news since the next Doctor Who story is called Closing TIME, but now I'm getting ahead of myself.
This half-season seems to be fixated on the idea of bad guys that aren’t really bad.
This half-season seems to be fixated on repeating the same ideas over and over and once more: that there are no real villains, just misunderstood creatures. 
None of these four episodes yet have actually had a proper villain. “Let’s Kill Hitler” had River and/or the Teselecta, “Night Terrors” has the little alien kid, “The Girl Who Waited” had the handbots, and now this one has the Minotaur who doesn’t want to do what he’s doing. Remember when there’d be a bad guy in every episode?
None of these four episodes yet have actually had a proper villain...unless you count River Song, for she certainly falls into the 'villain' category.  Remember when there'd be a bad guy in every story?   Remember when there'd be an actual antagonist worthy of the Doctor? Remember when there'd be an actual plot in every story?  Remember when there'd be time to tell an actual story?   
I’m not necessarily saying this is a bad thing, but it’s just happening a lot.
I'm saying it's a bad thing, a very bad thing.  It's just happening too much, and it really needs to stop.
Thank cripes for next week when we get the Cybermen back. Nothing sympathetic about that lot.
 
Kyle, you're in for one BIG surprise next week.  Here's a hint: LOVE Conquers Cybermen!

Of course, Nimon cousin aside, this episode is really about the Doctor. He realizes, finally before it’s too late, that the Doctor makes his companions believe in him wholeheartedly and that can, and often does, lead to their death.
Let's see: when Katarina and Sara Kingdom died, the Doctor didn't realize their deaths were somehow connected to being with him.  When Adric died, he didn't realize that his Companion's faith in him lead to his death.  Boy, the Doctor has been pretty clueless about death...until now.  It's a wonder any Companions managed to make it out of the TARDIS alive, isn't it? 
In a scene reminiscent of “The Curse of Fenric,” the Doctor tells Amy she has to lose her faith in him, that he’s not a hero, just a madman in a box.
 
 
The character of Rita was a great addition and will join the ranks of companions who might’ve been.
The character of Rita was a great addition and will join the ranks of characters who should have been Companions but were killed off to keep really bad characters.  However, since Amara Karan isn't as hot as Karen Gillan, I forgive the killing of a better, smarter character because I judge good Companion material based on how erect I get. 
She’s the one who first seeds the idea in the Doctor that he’s big into being worshipped, or at the very least admired, and how dangerous it is.
No other character before or since in the history of Doctor Who has ever told the formerly main character of The Doctor that he can be a bit of an egoist.  Never. 
He knows he leads people into danger, sometimes death, and yet he still tries to recruit her with the promise of a box of sweets and all of time and space.
Most Companions went with the Doctor fully aware of the dangers, and a few, like Tegan Jovanka, left precisely because of said dangers.  I don't remember the box of sweets, but that would be an awful stupid bribe. 
No matter how good his intentions, he is sort of like an intergalactic drugs pusher, using the promise of adventure to get innocent people to come aboard.
Of their own free will most came, and a few really didn't have many options.  The Doctor could have left Vicki out to die, alone.  I'm sure that would have been better for her in the long run, right?  He could have thrown Steven Taylor out for his own safety because Steven couldn't take care of himself.   I'm sure Victoria could have fended very well on her own, thank you very much.  I'm sure Nyssa too, would have benefitted from being blown up with every other Trakkenite (is that right, Trakkenite?).  Didn't Dodo just wander into the TARDIS?  Of the many things The Doctor has been compared to, an 'intergalactic drugs pusher' is one I have not encountered until now.  Still, more often than not, HE doesn't lure the Companions into his web of sin.  They tend to want to come.  Just a thought. 
Matt Smith, perhaps better than any other Doctor (I look forward to your letters), can portray quiet self-loathing and pained remorse without going too far or too big with it.
Matt Smith makes me self-loath at what a whore I've become, ignoring my 'analytical critic's mind' for some cheap tickets, praise from Steven Moffat, a paycheck from Chris Hardwick, and the chance to pass myself off as an 'expert' to those who think Doctor Who started with Rose.   
In “The Girl Who Waited,” the Doctor got to see the result of his failure to save Amy, a bitter, angry woman,

...the only type of woman Moffat knows, apart from 'slut'.

and also that he grooms others to be like him, forcing Rory to do things he flatly opposes.

All this time, I was unaware The Doctor was trying to do evil to Leela and Ace.  Ah, to be young and innocent...

In “The God Complex,” the Doctor now sees that it’s his companions’ faith in him that can lead to resentment, bitterness, and failure. But he, too, had a room in the hotel.



He also believes in something wholeheartedly and fears something enough to manifest it. Though we never actually see it in the episode, it’s fairly clear to me what it was.

I am smart.  S-M-R-T.

When the Doctor opens HIS door, fittingly room 11, he looks in and says, “Of course. Who else?” As he shuts the door, we hear single ring of the cloister bell from the TARDIS. As we’ve seen in “The Doctor’s Wife,” the Doctor adores the TARDIS and knows it to be his one true companion. He believes in it entirely and fears losing it. So subtle, but also blatantly obvious if you think about it.

So the Doctor's greatest fear is losing the TARDIS?  Oh well, why not? 

The episode ends right where I wasn’t expecting it to end, but right where it needed to. After all he’s done to them, he drops off Amy and Rory at their new flat, with a brand new sports car. He’s choosing to make them leave before he hurts them any further. This is a gesture no other Doctor has made and one that shows the Eleventh Doctor, for all his lying and deceit, is indeed a good man.
All the other times Companions left, most left as they came: by their own free will.  He didn't need to push them out because they actually had enough sense to do it themselves.  On some occasions, they were forced out, but by other circumstances.  Jamie and Zoe were forced out by the Time Lords.  Jo Grant got married. A few did die, but unlike NuWho, they had the decency to stay dead. Then again, most Companions had functioning brains.
Surely they’ll return in the finale, but if the story of Rory and Amy ended this season, as much as I like both characters, I would not be sad about it.
This didn't hit me emotionally because I know they'll be back (even if they died, I know they'd be back), but if the story of Rory and Amy ended this season, as much as I loath both characters, I would not be sad about it.  I'd be dancing in the streets knowing we'd never see them again.
There isn’t much else to do with them as characters and they deserve a happy ending. Whether they actually get one is another story entirely…

On first viewing, I wasn’t sold on the episode as a whole,
On first viewing, I really hated this episode and thought it was an abomination. 
but upon reflection and second viewing,
but upon orders from Hardwick and Moffat,
after knowing what the episode actually was,
after being told what to think and what to write,
I knew it to be another fantastic episode for the season.
 
SHOCKED that Kyle Anderson liked a
Doctor Who episode!

SERIOUSLY!?  ENOUGH with this.  Not EVERY damn Doctor Who episode can be perfect.  This has gone beyond parody into straight-up whoring.  Once again Kyle Anderson goes beyond ass-kissing Steven Moffat & Company and gone into outright rimming. 
While not as scary as I wanted it to be, even though laughing dummies is certainly one of my many fears, “The God Complex” delivered in its exploration of the Doctor and the nature of his relationship to companions.
While not as scary as The Shining, which it was ripping off, even though laughing dummies is a silly concept to be afraid of, The God Complex delivered in its idiocy the idea that I will shill just about anything and everything, a hack for the right price.
For the second week in a row, Nick Hurran’s direction was fantastic, in a completely different way than with “The Girl Who Waited.” Let’s hope he gets added to the permanent roster along with Toby Haynes and Adam Smith (if they hopefully bring him back).
It looked very pretty. 
David Walliams from Little Britain, a huge Doctor Who fan himself, gave an interesting performance as Gibbis, the sheep person, but the entire guest cast was great.
Since Little Britain is the only thing I know, I'll single out the star from that show because he's the only one I've heard of.  However, when I say 'interesting', I mean 'lousy'.  The entire guest cast was great, which is why I'm not bothering to mention either their names or what made them so particularly great.  Why waste time on such trivialities? 
Not surprisingly, Smith, Gillan, and Darvil were brilliant, and, in particular, the end scenes between the Doctor and Amy were compelling and moving.
Not surprisingly, Smith, Gillan, and Darvil were horrible, and in particular, the end scenes between the Doctor and Amy were meant to make the NuWhovian cry.
It’s times like this you realize the Doctor isn’t just a hero, a savior, a god; he’s a guy who makes friends and wants what’s best for them, even if it means leaving them alone.
If you love someone, let them go. 
Next week’s episode looks great. It sees the return of Craig (James Corden) from Series 5’s “The Lodger,” as well as my favorite villains, the Cybermen.

Next week's episode looks awful.  It sees the return of roly-poly Craig Owens (James Corden, inexplicable winner of a Tony over Philip Seymour Hoffman and, like Crappie Redmayne, proof positive Americans think a British accent automatically equals 'talent').  It also brings back the Cybermen for more abuse. 

Let’s take a look at Gareth Roberts’ “Closing Time”:



Hooray for things!!!!
 
OY VEY!  HERE WE GO AGAIN!

-Kanderson thinks you could praise him. If you wanted. Or maybe just follow him on TWITTER.


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