Sunday, April 26, 2015

Aragon vs. Anderson: A Good Man Goes to War

Author's Note: Before I put in my traditional intro to these spoofs, I should state that I believed A Good Man Goes to War and the following episode Let's Kill Hitler were a two-part story.  This was due to the "To Be Continued..." bit at the end and because Steven Moffat wrote both.  I now think I might have been wrong, but don't feel the need to change that.  Therefore, there is only one review for these two stories under the umbrella title of River's Secret Parts 1 & 2

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 7 of The Nerdist as Whore: A Good Man Goes to War* .  My 'translations' are in red.

For an episode where a lot was going on, nothing really happened until the last few minutes.

Yet again another long stretch of filler until the 'big reveal' at the end.  Just like last time. 

An entire hour to set up a situation so outlandish and insane that when we get to it, won't make much if any sense.  I get orgasms through Moffat. 

Yes, I said the same thing last week but given how we did the same thing over again figure why not repeat it. 

“A Good Man Goes to War,” the mid-series finale of Doctor Who, was full of action and cool new characters, but there wasn’t, strictly speaking, a “plot.”

This episode was just a lot of running around and cool lights (and a hot Karen Gillan) but there was no actual story.  Who needs story when you've got Karen Gillan and Alex Kingston looking all hot and smug respectively?

Yet this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

All cool.  I don't need a 'plot' on Doctor Who.  It's not suppose to make sense anyway.  It's British. 

The whole episode was leading to the big reveal at the end, indeed a game-changer like Moffat had been saying all along, which worked well, I think.

As I said, a whole hour for a big set up.  Moffat gave us a 'big twist' all right, which didn't work well, but I don't think.  I have my thoughts created by "The Moff".  Actually, I don't think it worked well at all, but I can't say that out loud for fear that a man shorter than me will cut me off from the whoredom I so nakedly seek. 

Truth be told, this episode did not need to be about a grand plot or a timey-wimey event. This episode was all about characters and how characters relate to and perceive the Doctor, and how he perceives himself. To do an episode like that as the midseason finale was a bold choice, especially for Steven Moffat, whose whole bag has been complex plots and stuff.

Truth be told, this episode could have been about monkeys throwing feces at each other for a whole hour and I would have thought it the Citizen Kane of television.  This episode was all about how Steven Moffat can make the simple complex, the sensible idiotic, and a good sci-fi show all about his own ideas of his own genius (which I happily support). 

And still, questions ARE answered in a satisfactory way.

And still, questions ARE NOT answered in a satisfactory way.

At the beginning of the episode, we know Amy and child, called Melody, are being held by Eye Patch Lady, who is leading the Clerics, militarized Anglicans whom we last saw in “Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone.” The Eye Patch Lady’s name is “Madame Kovarian,” but I’m going to keep calling her Eye Patch Lady.

At the beginning of the episode, we get a throwback to a previous episode, showing how "The Moff" thinks far ahead and plots things so well he'll forget where he was.  The character now has a name, but I'm not going to bother remembering it because it really is irrelevant. 

There’s a moment in the prologue, while Amy is telling Melody they’ll all be okay because her father is coming to save them, that we think yet again she’s talking about the Doctor,

So who here thought she really was talking about The Doctor?  I sure wasn't.  It would invalidate the entire idea that Amy loved Rory (which Anderson went on about in The Doctor' Wife).  And what does he mean by 'yet again'?  Did this happen before and I just slept through it? 

but, of course, it’s Rory.

But of course.  Who else?

Rory, The Last Centurion. Moffat loves creating heroes, real proper superheroes, and I think it’s really great that Rory went from a sad sack, a pushover, to literally being awesome enough to stand up to a fleet of Cybermen. Also, the fact that Cybermen are in this episode simply as a way for Rory to look badass is pretty cool.

Moffat loves creating idiots, real proper idiots, and since I identify with Rory, I have to say it's genius.  Also, the fact that Cybermen are in this episode simply as a way for Rory to look badass is pretty stupid.  So what if they serve no plot purpose...oh, I forgot: there is no plot in A Good Man Goes to War.  Also, who thinks Arthur Darvill could ever pass for 'badass'?

I like Rory.

The Clerics have a whole army waiting for the Doctor, and they’ve even brought in the Headless Monks, who are basically Jedi with no heads. They don’t make sense.

Great minds steal.  Remember what I said about Doctor Who making sense.  It's not.  However, even I question this bit. 

Are we supposed to believe that their faith is so strong they can exist without heads? If that’s the case, how do their hoods stay up? Don’t say “the Force,” because that’s your answer for everything.

Star Wars fans can be just as stupid as Doctor Who fans, only they use 'The Force' to explain things away versus Whovians 'timey-wimey' plot contrivance.

We’re also introduced to Lorna Bucket, a cleric who has met the Doctor before when she was a child.

Is her father named...Charlie?

Lorna Bucket?  Seriously?!  Oh HELL NO!

I've always felt Moffat listens to music when he writes, which is why he comes up with remarkably ridiculous things.  However, maybe he wasn't listening to Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory while writing this.  Maybe he was thinking of something else...

Lorna's Grandmother?

She doesn’t want the Doctor to be harmed, but this is the only way she can think of to see him again. Kind of a dumb plan if you ask me, but it works. Lorna is another in a long line of companions who never were.

Oh look, another plot device in a story that has no plot.  It is a dumb plan, but it has to happen because Moffat can't come up with anything better.  Who wants to sign a petition to make Lorna Bucket the next Companion? 

While they wait impatiently, the Doctor is compiling his own army, comprised of people who owe him a debt. I feel like the Doctor wouldn’t collect debts because he wouldn’t keep track of them. “Favors for favors” doesn’t seem to be his bag, but it’s really just a means of getting more cool characters together.

I feel this is another dumb decision to shoehorn characters into the story.  It may be out of character for the Doctor to do what he does, but Doctor Who is whatever Steven Moffat says Doctor Who is, and I cannot question it.  Steven Moffat is the Rod Serling of Our Generation and I will always defend him no matter what, even if he came out in praise of Stalin or The Islamic State.  "Favors for favors" is really just a means to get characters we've never met into this. 

How else would we get a Silurian samurai from the 1880s and her human life partner and a helpful Sontaran in the same place at the same time?

I don't question the logic of same-sex interspecies romance.  Note that I didn't bother to learn the names of the Silurian samurai from the 1880s and her human life partner, but who cares?  It's not like we'll be seeing them anytime soon.  Only an idiot would think they've achieved Doctor Who Icon status after just one episode, right?  We need more same-sex bestiality on family television.

He also recruits Dorium Maldovar, the big, bald, blue guy whom River barters with briefly in “The Pandorica Opens.” He definitely does not want to go fight, but he does, evidently because he also owes the Doctor something.

And what about River? Rory goes to collect her, on her birthday *wink wink*, right after the Doctor had taken her to the early 1800s and had Stevie Wonder sing to her.

All on the same day?  I would have thought Elton John would be a better fit.  He could sing her theme song, The Bitch is Back.  At least Stevie Wonder has the excuse of being blind, but why of all the women in the universe would the Doctor fancy THIS? 

You can't see me right now, but I'm beating myself like crazy over a woman old enough to be my mother.  So let's spend a few minutes talking about this dirty River.  

Doctor Who managed to do quite nicely for a good forty-plus years without this obnoxious creature who now is the center of attention.  What exactly IS it about River Song that people like?  That she's a smug know-it-all who thinks catchphrases equal a great character?  A woman whom we're told is highly intelligent and whom the Doctor thinks the world of when her only attributes is to flirt like your drunk aunt and spout gibberish?  I cannot believe that with such women in the Doctor's life as Romana he'd think RIVER would be the ideal life-partner.  Ugh, why does it have to be all about River?  Oh yes, Steven Moffat created her, so it's an avatar: it's all about him. 

River is visibly stunned to see Rory and tells him she can’t go with him, because this is the day the Doctor finds out who she is. More on that later. Spoilers.

Oh aren't I clever?  See what I did there? 

I like and have always liked the idea of teams of good guys and moreover the idea of recruiting them. This episode really felt like Doctor Who’s answer to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (the book, of course, not the abomination of a film they made).

That movie was such crap even I can't dress it up.

The Doctor himself doesn’t actually appear for 19 minutes, and he does with a boom. The Eleventh Doctor has an interesting way of dealing with large threats which is to act like he doesn’t give a shit.

"Interesting" is code.  The Eleventh Doctor has a stupid way of dealing with large threats which is to act like an idiot who is unaware of how things work.

He’s supremely confident and doesn’t need to bluster or shout (until later). Maybe slightly too confident? He almost immediately makes the Clerics look like fools, despite their persistent assurances that they are not, and his “army” takes control of Demons Run in 3min 42sec.

We could have ended all this quickly, but we needed forty more minutes to fill.  And if the Doctor is an idiot, imagine what kind of enemies he must have if HE was able to defeat them.

While I can totally buy and enjoy the fact that the Doctor can gather a Silurian samurai and a Sontaran nurse, I have a hard time believing he’d be able to mobilize an entire legion of Silurian warriors and Judoon officers just like that. It’s a cool visual, but the logistics of it are a bit off.

I can't buy and enjoy the fact that the Doctor can gather a Silurian samurai and a Sontaran nurse (note I haven't named the Silurian samurai because the character was so unimportant no one needs to remember what its name is). I have a hard time accepting more of the premise.  It has pretty pictures, but like a lot of Moffat, doesn't make sense.  Did I mention the pretty pictures? 

I liked the small throwback to “The Curse of the Black Spot” with the quick shot of Captain Avery and Toby implying that his ship of space pirates has taken control of Eye Patch Lady’s ship.

I liked the shout-out to an episode I myself called 'underwhelming'. 

I did NOT appreciate the return of the Spitfires in space from “Victory of the Daleks.”

WOW!  A Doctor Who episode Kyle Anderson didn't like?!  I AM genuinely shocked.  Still, I think there's a 'negative' review quota Anderson has to fill to show he's not a sycophant, and curiously, I was unable to find his Victory of the Daleks review. 

I can maybe, MAYBE, understand Spitfires in space in the context of that episode because they’re pretty close to Earth, but here they’re light years away and hundreds of years in the future. Did the Doctor fit both of those Spitfires in the TARDIS? And where do they go once they’ve blown up the communications array? Anyway, hairs split.

Oh yes, the Spitfires showing up was beyond stupid, but things like logic or continuity are not things I think about when watching Doctor Who, especially if Moffat writes the episode.  This man is a genius (and my Overlord) so I'm going to jump on that and I'll let it slide because I'm an 'analytical critic'. So what if it doesn't make any sense whatsoever.  Hair splits. 

One of my favorite scenes happens when the Doctor tells Col. Manton to leave, in what has come to be known as “The Col. Runaway Speech.” Matt Smith is truly wonderful in this moment and it displays this Doctor’s short temper quite nicely.

Another damn speech created to appeal to NuWhovians.  Is that ALL Moffat can do?  Matt Smith is truly awful in this moment, attempting to be important but unaware how his characterization has undercut the Doctor's authority.  Granted, he's an actor who does what the script and director say, so he's not totally responsible.  Still, when you come off looking like a goofball, it's hard to take you seriously.

I am, however, growing slightly tired of him always saying “That’s new,” after he experiences some emotion. He’s not Data, he can emote once in a while. It worked in “The Doctor’s Wife” because he truly didn’t know what to do which he surely never felt before, but he’s angry ALL THE TIME, why would he be surprised at being angry?

Repetitive, repetitive, repetitive.  They've turned the Doctor not only into an idiot, but into a useless one.  I'm the opposite: I'm at least a useful idiot. 

It’s been hinted at a lot lately that the Doctor, above and beyond being a time-traveling do-gooder, is the most feared thing in the universe. Last year’s “The Pandorica Opens” illustrated this beautifully, with a combined group of all of the Doctor’s worst foes banding together to stop him.

Why the Daleks would join forces with ANYONE has never been specifically answered, especially given that with this golden opportunity to destroy him once and for all, they decided just to lock him up.  No wonder the Daleks kept losing.

Now, it seems, it goes beyond his stable of monsters. The Clerics and Eye Patch Lady seemingly have no reason to fear the Doctor other than that he is something to be feared.

The Clerics and Madame Kevorkian...Kovarian...I Don't Care... seemingly have no reason to fear the Doctor other than plot contrivances.   

There’s a moment when Lorna mentions that to her people, the word “Doctor” means “Great Warrior” because of their brief time with him. He has to come to grips with the fact that, while he always tries to do good from his and our point of view, he’s universally known as a threat.

Except on Earth, where Martha went on and on about how many times the Doctor has saved the invasion-prone planet in her "I Do Believe in Doctors" Speech. 

It’s like Richard Matheson’s original novel I Am Legend, where (SPOILERS) at the end the lead character is captured by the vampire people and accepts execution because, to them, HE is the monster. The Doctor is being forced to accept the same thing. To the Daleks, Cybermen, and, I guess, the Clerics, he is the monster. I think he’ll start to make amends for this soon.

Don't hold your breath.  How exactly will the Doctor make amends to the Daleks?  He spared them from being destroyed in Genesis of the Daleks!  Personally, I'd take being a monster to these evil creatures as a badge of honor, but what would I know?  I don't have an 'analytical critic's mind', just average intelligence.

Everything seems fine very quickly and Amy and Rory are reunited with their daughter Melody Pond.

Oh how well I remember how Amy basically dismissed the father's role in his own daughter's life by stripping her of the one thing he gave her and brought into her life: his surname.  Amy's kind of a bitch, isn't she?  I mean, she just told off her baby daddy by saying in essence 'screw you, she's taking MY last name so everyone thinks she's a bastard rather than take YOUR name because I say so and that's how it's going to be, Mr. "Pond".  I also like how much of a milquetoast our 'badass' character was by not standing up for himself and telling off this loony bird.  Oh yeah, Rory Williams, Last Centurion, can intimidate an entire fleet of Cybermen but can't stand up to one redhead.  Real badass there.

Like mother, like daughter I guess...   

There’s a very funny exchange with the Doctor where we learn that he speaks baby (of course he does),

Didn't we already establish that the Doctor 'speaks baby'?  Oh look, more example of the Doctor being an idiot.  Can anyone picture Pertwee's Doctor saying he 'speaks baby'?  Of course, the worse is yet to come... 

and he gives them his cot from when he was a baby.

Which he would have because...

They won! The Doctor begins to learn what they’d been doing to Melody. Apparently, because Melody was conceived on the TARDIS, she was born with some sort of strange time-energy in her DNA, which it seems the Eye Patch Lady has been enhancing for quite some time. So the child is partially Time Lord, which makes sense in context, but we never knew it could happen.

Melody "Pond" was conceived by the Power of the Holy TARDIS. 

What an extraordinary coincidence that Amy and "Mr. Pond" happened to do the nasty while inside the TARDIS.  Just imagine what could have happened if they had done it in the back seat of a Ford Mustang.  Melody would have turned into a HORSE!  If they'd done it on the beach, she would have turned into a crab.  Yeah, of course being conceived inside the TARDIS would give you Time Lord DNA.  Makes perfect sense.  I wonder why we never knew it could happen.  Here's a theory: it couldn't.  No one thought of it because frankly not only would it be a thoroughly stupid idea, but no one could conceive of such utter nonsense (pun intended). 

Really, wouldn't Amy and What's-His-Name have had to have thrown themselves into the TARDIS' core to make this even plausible?  How exactly does this work, this absorbing of time-energy by two naked people screwing in the TARDIS?  Are all part-Time Lords ( clever) conceived this way?  Why would anyone be 'part Time Lord'?  Boy oh boy are we coming up with really nutty ideas. 

Of course, there’s no precedent for it. To our knowledge, no child has ever been conceived on the TARDIS.

Of course, there's no precedent for it...because we've never seen this, let alone entertained the idea.  To our knowledge, no child has ever been conceived by the Power of the Holy TARDIS...because again, we've never seen or conceived of such a patently stupid idea (pun unintended).  Still, screw continuity or logic.  Steven Moffat can do whatever he wants, because Canon is whatever he says Canon is. 

It lends to the theory that not all Gallifreyans are Time Lords.

I'm sure we've seen this before, but that was Classic Who. Then again, Classic Who's connection to NuWho is purely coincidental.   

It’s an enhancement they’ve done to themselves through “billions of years” being exposed to the Time Vortex and the Untempered Schism. I think that stuff is super fascinating and I’m excited to see where Moffat goes with it.

I think that stuff is super stupid and I'm terrified to see where Moffat goes with it.  It'll probably be into the gutter. 

But, of course, Eye Patch Lady has another trick up her sleeve, and, once she is long gone, the Headless Monks attack the small remaining heroes. EPL tells the Doctor that they plan to use Melody as a weapon against the Doctor. She also informs the Doctor that he’s been fooled a second time, leading to the horrible realization that the baby Amy has been cradling is actually a Flesh duplicate.

Well to be fair I'm pretty sure fooling this Doctor is quite easy.  If the Doctor had thought things through, he could have given Flesh Melody to Flesh Amy so they could then get into the TARDIS and become human.  After all, the TARDIS not only creates part-Time Lord hybrids, it also turns Flesh into Humans.  It slices, it does all this and more. 

It’s one of the most heartbreaking reveals the show has ever created and Amy is understandably despondent afterwards.

Right.  "It's one of the most heartbreaking reveals the show has ever created."   No moment in Doctor Who history has ever made one cry as much as finding out Melody Pond is a wax figure.  Then again, many NuWhovians measure the quality of the episode by how much they cried, so in that respect perhaps this was a success. 

The Monks are eventually defeated, but Dorium, Lorna, and Sontaran nurse Strax are killed in the process. As Strax dies, he tells Rory that while he looked like a warrior, he was just a nurse, something that hits Rory like a punch in the sternum.

This we should note is when the name of the Sontaran is used, but we've yet to hear the name of the Silurian samurai and her human life partner.  I'm sure many NuWhovians cried when Strax died, because we'll never see him again...

And then River arrives. spoil the fun.

She’s finally here to tell the Doctor, and us, who she is.

Ask us if we care.  Go on, Kyle.  Ask us if we care.

The answer lies in the cot. For a moment we, or at least I, thought she was going to say she was the Doctor’s mother, but that would have been gross and ridiculous.

As if the actual resolution could be or would be any less gross and ridiculous.

The Doctor realizes the truth and sort of cheerfully heads to the TARDIS. Amy is still totally unaware and River calmly explains it by showing the whatever-that-thing-is that Lorna had sewn. It’s Melody’s name in the language of her people.

Gallifreyan I believe, because in the words River Song told the Doctor when she took his virginity, "Anything you can do, I can do better..."

They don’t know the word for Pond, because the only water in the forest is the River. YES! River Song is actually Melody Pond. She is Amy and Rory’s daughter!


If HITLER saw it clearly, imagine those of us not blessed with an 'analytical critic's mind'. 

I think that was a wonderful reveal, personally.

SHOCKED that Kyle Anderson would think
it a wonderful reveal!

From Anderson's own review for Day of the Moon, on who the regenerating little girl could be, and I quote, "2) She is Amy and Rory’s daughter, but the Silence (or some other alien?) took her and did weird experiments on her. I still think just because there’s a picture of Amy holding a child doesn’t necessarily mean she’s holding THAT child OR that that child is hers. 3) She’s River Song, though that seems less and less likely the more we know about River, i.e. she ain’t a Time Lord." (emphasis mine). 

Well, how the worm turns. 

Kyle Anderson, you've been wrong on your idea that The Gangers would name-check the Sontarans.  You've been wrong on your suggestion that Omega would be part of A Good Man Goes to War.  And now you've been wrong, in a way, about the identity of River Song.  You said she ain't a Time Lord, but now you say that her being part-Time Lord is a 'wonderful reveal'.  You go way past pathetic.  This was so patently obvious that people had speculated about the possibility openly for months, yet here you are, shocked, SHOCKED that Moffat would take the most obvious route.  You even now think what you thought was 'less and less likely' now turns out to be a 'wonderful reveal'.  Have you no sense of decency, at long last?

I sort of saw it coming, but at this point it’s nice not to have to speculate. Why would she be some kind of strange third-party character when the most poignant and pertinent thing would be that she is the child of the Ponds (Williamses)?

Yeah, pretty much EVERYONE saw it coming, and they aren't analytical at all.  Why would she be some kind of strange third-party character when easiest thing would be to make her the most obvious thing? At least we got a tacit acknowledgment that Williams would be the actual name for everyone: Rory, Amy, and Melody.  Yet more on that later.

So the little girl we saw in the space suit is likely River Song and she can regenerate. But, there are a few questions that need answering and things that don’t quite add up yet.

Only a few.  Well, aren't we generous.  What an amazing turn-around, given that just a few weeks prior to this, you said the chances of the little girl in the space suit being River Song were "less and less likely".  Now they are more and more.  Curious that.

1) If the little girl we saw in the suit and regenerating is River, why wouldn’t River have remembered it while she was investigating it? Unless she’s just “spoilers”-ing again.

Or unless Moffat can't wrap up storylines logically and kind of just makes things up as he goes along. Sometimes the most logical answer is the best.

2) I don’t think River is the one in the space suit that kills the Doctor in “The Impossible Astronaut,” BECAUSE grown-up River looks genuinely shocked and sad when the Doctor dies. However, this could just be her lying again, or it could be the Silence making her forget. I just think it’s someone else entirely we haven’t met yet.

Well, you're in for a big surprise, one that is so obvious that of course it would escape your 'analytical critic's mind'. 

3) The scene in Stormcage at the beginning of this episode where River looks really surprised and wistful about seeing Rory. This is what I think:

We've already hit the point of science-fiction with the phrase, "this is what I think", because 'think' is something Anderson rarely if ever does. 

River, at that point in her life, hadn’t seen Rory in a very long time and I believe that’s because Rory is the “Good Man” whom River kills. She says she kills “The best man she’s ever known,” and that HAS to be her dad, the Last Friggin’ Centurion.

DOES "the best man she's ever known" really HAVE to be her Dad, the Last Friggin' Centurion?  Now that River can regenerate, and Time Lords are basically hermaphrodites, why couldn't she kill herself?  Wouldn't River think herself as 'the best man she's ever known?'

Yes, it's stupid, but who's going to stop me from writing things to make this any less silly?

The whole series has been making us think someone’s talking about the Doctor but are actually talking about Rory. It only stands to reason that this is just the last instance of it.

Nothing on Doctor Who in the Moffat Era has ever stood to reason.  Why start now?  Oh Kyle, stop embarrassing yourself by trying to sound intelligent when clearly you are so out of your depth.

While I don’t want to see Rory get killed, it will probably be in some heroic fashion and it will inform River’s whole life and relationship with the Doctor and Amy.

While I want desperately to see Rory killed (again, what would this be, his fifth death?), it will probably be in some idiotic fashion (like slipping on a banana peel) and it will have no affect on River or her relationship with the Doctor and Amy.

4) Who blew up the TARDIS? I know this is an old question, but the TARDIS exploded in “The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang,” and we still don’t know who caused it or why. What does it have to do with the Silence falling?

Really, at this point I wouldn't bother with an answer to that question, let alone a logical one.  That ship has sailed.

Now we have a good few months to wait and watch Torchwood while we mull over these and other important questions. Boy, for an episode I claimed didn’t have much plot, there was a whole lot to talk about.

Boy, for an episode I claimed didn't have much plot, there was a whole lot of shit I could spread around. 

Kyle, son, let me ask one more question, unimportant as it may be to you and all the other NuWhovians.  Does this make actual sense to you?  Seriously, does it?

For that whole 'the only water in the Forest is the River' thing to work, we would have to accept that Rory did not give his own child Melody his last name because his wife ordered it so.  If she were River Williams (which legally she would be), the whole thing falls apart.  Yes, Melody Pond=River Song, but don't you, even with your 'analytical critic's mind' think you are all overstretching plausibility, let alone believability?

Even if we left that aside, the whole "Conceived by the Power of the Holy TARDIS" makes no sense on any level unless you force it to.  Rather than say, 'this doesn't make sense', you all instead go through all sorts of mental gymnastics to make this the actual reason with no regard to whether it is remotely plausible.  It don't make sense, but because you can't contradict Moffat, you'll damn well force this square peg to fit. 

Later this week, I’m going to be featured on an episode of the excellent podcast, Two-Minute Time Lord, with two other fantastic bloggers/critics talking about Series 6.

Shameless self-promoting with other people who like Hardwick and me, go beyond ass-kissing and into straight rimming.

Follow me on TWITTER and I’ll link you once it plops.

Until next time, Whovians!

If it were never, it would be too soon.

-Kanderson speaks nerd.

-Kanderson speaks crap.

Next Time: Aragon vs. Anderson: Let's Kill Hitler

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Aragon vs. Anderson: The Almost People

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 6 of The Nerdist as Whore: The Almost People*.  My 'translations' are in red.

Can you believe that happened? The last five minutes; WOW! What a cliffhanger, right?
An entire hour to set up a situation that is so outlandish and insane that when we get to it, won't make much if any sense.  I get orgasms through Moffat.

Yeah, well I’m not gonna talk about that yet. “The Almost People,” the penultimate episode of this half of That Show, as Mr. Simon calls it, was also the conclusion to “The Rebel Flesh,” an episode, if you’ll remember, that I found sort of bland and unimpressive.

Yet I also said that "for the most part, I enjoyed The Rebel Flesh".  Is it me, or there a little bit of inconsistency there?  Also, who is Mr. Simon?  Did I miss something?  It does bring to mind the Queen Mother, who referred to Mrs. Simpson as "THAT Woman", if memory serves correct.  

Would the second part redeem the first or would the whole thing float away out of memory like a witch in a bog?

I vote for the latter.

I guess you’ll just have to wait. Until…

…now. The last episode set up some interesting quandaries for our lead characters.

Yes, a whole hour of set-up.  That was almost as clumsy as Phantom Menace, where it basically filler for something that wasn't there. 

With “Flesh” copies of all of Acid Island’s workers, the heroes were in the middle of a very strange war. Rory had taken off to protect and defend the Flesh Jennifer, who had a very touching scene where she said that if she looks, sounds, and has the memories of Jennifer, then she is indeed really Jennifer.

Oddly, so did Sean Young in Blade Runner, not that one was borrowing from the other, right?  I guess if it quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, and looks like a duck, it's a Ganger.  For some reason, Pinhead from Hellbound: Hellraiser II came to mind.  Don't ask why: he just did.  Is it me or was he made slightly more comical as time went on?  I don't know.  I saw only the first two.  Now I digress.   

The Real People and Flesh People struggled to come to grips with identity while the Doctor, who knew a lot more than he was letting on, created a Flesh version of himself (whether it was accidental or not is left ambiguous).

I smell continuity error...

All up to speed now? Let’s move forward. The bulk of “The Almost People” involved both factions trying to escape the acidy island and melt the ones who aren’t them. It’s often been said that the best science fiction tells us something about ourselves in real life and might even send a social message. The effectiveness of this is almost always tied to how well the story is told that surrounds the message. The message here is all but beaten into our skulls with some sort of message-delivering hammer. At one point, referring to the humans leaving half-melted Flesh people to rot, Flesh Jen even says, “Who are the real monsters?” Ow! My head has had something knocked over it. It’s a story about prejudices and how people will always fear and hate “The Other,” even if that other is literally exactly the same as them.

Maybe.  Anderson's right about how science-fiction at its best does say something about the contemporary world, working as allegory.  I think of the original The Day the Earth Stood Still or District 9Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a prime example: it can be read as both an anti-McCarthy story and a pro-McCarthy story.  The X-Men franchise I think has a layer of the divide in the African-American push for civil rights: the Martin Luther King-like Professor X (who wants to peacefully co-exist with non-mutants) versus the militancy of Magneto (who wants to at best, be separate, at worst, rule over them).  Granted, both their past histories influence their views: Erik Lehnsherr's imprisonment at Auschwitz versus the FDR-like background of Charles Xavier. 

However, I'm not convinced The Gangers had that in mind, let alone achieved it as well as Anderson thinks it has. Then again I'm one semester from getting my Master's in Library Science, while he has an 'analytical critic's mind'.     

This idea is a sci-fi staple that has been used in such properties as Blade Runner and Battlestar Galactica. I honestly don’t know how well this idea is actualized here, considering having synthetic people running around is immensely different than having exact copies of people with the same memories and emotions running around.

They tried to crib this idea from genuine masterpieces and blew it big time.  They can't even get the premise right.

Something strange about “The Almost People” is that it doesn’t continue to explore the same themes and issues as “The Rebel Flesh,” but instead it creates a new batch of them and characters who behaved one way in part one are almost completely unrecognizable in part two, notably Real Cleaves and Flesh Jen.

Even though Steven Moffat didn't write this, his fingerprints are all over it.  We get that damn pattern of having two-part stories so disjointed they are really one-part stories tied together by having the same characters in both of them.  We can't get any real continuity in any aspect of The Gangers: the characters aren't the same from one part to another, the story goes all over the map.   

In part one, Real Cleaves starts the war by refusing to listen to the Flesh People and fries Flesh Buzzer. So, we assume, she’s the hot-head who can’t be reasoned with. But in part two, she’s one of the most level-headed. Flesh Jen, as I said earlier, had a very heartfelt speech to Rory in part one about how she knows she’s Jennifer even if she’s not the original one. It’s a really nice sentiment, and one that makes Rory immediately feel for her, as he knows what it means to be artificial, even if it’s just in his memory.

I thought Rory was artificial in terms of character and Arthur Darvill artificial in terms of acting.  By the way, if Rory is still an Auton (with no Nestene Consciousness to control him), can an Auton produce sperm? 

Yet, here in part two, Jen is militant and violent and even turns into a weird CGI monster thing that Doug Jones would play were it a del Toro movie. She mentions to the other Flesh beings that she can feel the death of all the wasted Flesh Folk from the past, which gives her a bit more motivation, but where did that come from?

As is the case with these two-parters, consistency in terms of character, of story, of anything is not something NuWho cares about.  Why should it?  The NuWhovians suffer from The Silence Syndrome, where they pretty much forget what came before.  This is why they can't be bothered with something like The War Games, Inferno or The Silurians.  All those episodes would make it so hard to keep up with the story.  Who can follow something that's over two hours long? 

Matthew Graham’s nickname should be “Deus ex Machina.” The success or failure of any of the characters in the story comes from coincidence and not from any of their own actions. It starts right in the post-credit sequence where they just happen to find a duct system in the supposedly impenetrable chapel. Why go to the trouble of saying there is “only one way in or out” just to change that almost immediately?

Seriously, you expect consistency in Doctor Who?  You expect LOGIC in Doctor Who? This two-parter is from the same guy who wrote Fear Her, which even Kyle Anderson derided as the worst Doctor Who Story of the Revived Era (a judgment I call into question...because I found quite a few stories even worse than that one.  Sadly, it was as easy as finding a coffeeshop in Seattle).  You're not dealing with the Jon Pertwee Doctor, who had to think his way out of things.  You're dealing with the Matt Smith Doctor, who is an idiot.  Of course something will 'magically' come around to save him.  How else can he get out of things?  By reason?  

They could have said, “The most secure place is the chapel, it would be the easiest to fortify,” or whatever. Then there’s the idea of the TARDIS, stuck in the ground thanks to a pool of acid, which just so happens to fall directly into a TARDIS-shaped area in the most remote room in the compound. And the door to this room needs to be held by two people, even though they seem to have ample time to get to the TARDIS before Monster Jen got to them. Also convenient: No set of “twins” survived. Both Buzzers and Jens bit the dust, Flesh Jimmy and Flesh Dicken survive, as does Real Cleaves, whom we’re supposed to side with at the end… It’s all her damn fault the whole thing happened in the first place!

Yes, yes, this is all rubbish and so horribly convenient.  Graham shows yet again how bad he is as a writer by his inept plotting and too-easy-to-believe contrivances. One would have thought Anderson would have gotten used to such things by now.

Also, she didn’t have a blood clot in her brain in episode one, did she? I swear they never mentioned it at all, but here she has one just so the Flesh Cleaves can also have one. AND, it doesn’t matter anyway because the Doctor had a vial of special clot-unclotting elixir. So, a terminal illness we didn’t even know she had is cured thanks to something the Doctor just happened to have lying around. Thanks, Graham.

Look, at a certain point even I have to wonder not just what the hell is going on, but whether what IS going on makes sense.  Nothing in The Almost People made sense, even when divorced from The Rebel Flesh (which is ridiculous since they have to fit to be a real two-parter).  This episode is a shambles: introducing things that appear to be important only to have them removed with nary a thought.  Graham totally obliterates the Chekov's Gun Rule with total abandon.   

One final thing, Flesh Jimmy and Flesh Dicken (and who the fuck is Dicken? Is he even a character?)

Little Jimmy Dickens

stand on a special place in the TARDIS and they’re suddenly stable and can go on living like real people. Has the TARDIS always had the ability to make artificial things real? I feel like it would have come up in conversation once or twice before then.

THAT IS JUST PLAIN STUPID!  All this horror could have been avoided if the Doctor had just mentioned this fact.  HOWEVER, as we will see, that little plot element (which I forgot about because I just didn't care) which you are so hung up, will with equal ease become irrelevant.

“Boy, Kyle,” most of you are saying, “you sure have a lot of complaints about the writing of this episode. Does that mean you didn’t like it?”

"Boy, Kyle," most of you are saying, "you sure have a lot of complaints about the writing of this episode.  Does that mean you are going to give it a negative review?  Does that mean you'll finally be honest with us, or at least with yourself, and admit that Doctor Who has really horrible episodes?  Does that mean you won't go out of your way to praise flat-out shit like you always do?  Does that mean you will stand up to people like Chris Hardwick, Mark Gatiss, and Steven Moffat and tell them that they are trying to use you to push a shoddy product?  Does that mean you won't play stooge to the BBC and finally speak truth to power?" 

I’ve now watched “The Almost People” two times and most of my complaints arose during the second viewing,

I was too distracted the first time by all the pretty lights.

but I still have to say that, no, I actually DO enjoy this two-parter.

SHOCKED that Kyle Anderson liked a
Doctor Who episode!

Kyle Anderson, you are such a whore.  Also, maybe it's me, but shouldn't it be 'DID enjoy this two-parter?'

To explain, let me say two words: Matt Smith.

To explain, let me say two words: Cashed Check. 
To explain, let me say two words: Ass Kisser.
To explain, let me say two words: Contractually Obligated.
To explain, let me say two words: Intellectually Bankrupt.
To explain, let me say two words: Hardwick's Bitch.
To explain, let me say two words: Pathetic Whore.
To explain, let me say two words: Hopelessly Sycophantic.

He is just so naturalistic and believable in his role that even in the most ridiculous of situations, he adds the proper amount of credence to the happenings.

Obviously, all the other actors who played the Doctor were playing it much too serious, even Tom Baker and Sylvester McCoy.  They were playing the Time Lord as Hamlet compared to our cool bow-tie wearing dimwit.

In this episode, Matt plays double duty as both the Doctor and Ganger Doctor. Every scene with them together is magical, and I have to assume Steven Moffat himself took over the writing of these scenes and the stuff with Amy’s dislike of who she believes is the Ganger.

We got double the horror of the Idiot Doctor, and every scene with them together was a nightmare of goofiness.  I have to assume Steven Moffat couldn't let Matthew Graham destroy an episode all by his lonesome, or couldn't tolerate someone else doing the wrecking and decided he needed to do it himself.  Talk about killing your darlings. 

A second viewing of this episode really adds and changes everything.

A second viewing of this episode really adds and changes nothing.  A second viewing of this episode really brings it home just how awful Doctor Who under the dictatorship of Steven Moffat has become. 

Once you know the twist, that the Real and Ganger Doctors swapped shoes to see how they’re treated, you can see just how heartbreaking it is for Amy to mistrust the Real Doctor just because she assumes him to be a “fake.”

Amy is a bigot, but she's still hot.  I'm genuinely surprised that someone with such an 'analytical critic's mind' didn't figure out sooner the 'twist' which was so obvious it wasn't a surprise and frankly has been used before (though for the life of me I can't remember where). 

In this episode, we really get the feeling the Doctor knows everything and is manipulating the action, something that deepens his character and makes him far more complex. Amy also confesses to the Real Doctor, believing him to be the Ganger, what she knows about his eventual death, something he is not prepared to deal with.

NOW I know where they got this from: Back to the Future!  Marty McFly kept trying to warn Doc Brown of his eventual death, but he kept refusing to listen.  When McFly goes 'back to the future', it appears history repeated itself, but this time, Doc had on a bulletproof vest because he HAD read Marty's note and taken precautions.  Anyone who didn't think at this point that the Doctor's 'death' in Lake Silencio (which is Spanish for 'silence', by the way) was fake and that he had a doppelganger take his place is obviously an idiot.  I predicted that long before The Wedding of River Song, and I am not blessed with such an 'analytical critic's mind', just average intelligence.

Really, when Matt Smith was on-screen, I loved the episode, and when he wasn’t, I was bored.

Really, when Matt Smith was on-screen, I hated the episode, and when he wasn't I was bored. 

Favorite thing: when he called Rory, “Roranicus Pondicus.”

So the Eleventh Doctor now speaks Pig Latin?  Roranicus Pondicus?  THIS is clever?  I so truly hate this idea of 'the Ponds' when Rory's last name is not, has not, has never been and barring a legal change will never be "Pond".  He is Rory WILLIAMS.  His father is Brian WILLIAMS (not the NBC liar).  Why does the Eleventh Doctor continue calling him "Pond"?  Yes, some fans have told me it's because he thinks Amy is the stronger of the two and that Rory, as the weaker one, would have taken her last name, but the Doctor has been around humans for hundreds of years.  He knows how marriages work. He isn't clueless about human life.  I never bought that "he thinks he's Mr. Pond" business.  I so HATE this "Rory Pond" business.  Even and especially in the Pond Life minisodes, where AMY called him "Mr. Pond", to which the eternally pathetic and wimpy Rory never said anything against.  It's obvious Kyle Anderson is nuts: N-V-T-S!

And for the record, the Latin for "Pond" is "Lacus".  Therefore, it would be "Roricus Lacus", even if that is also idiotic because, again, his last name is "Williams", not "Pond".

Also, random thought: How many sonic screwdrivers are there? At one point, the Real/Fake Doctor tosses the sonic screwdriver to the Fake/Real Doctor, but later on they each have one. Soooo… what’s that all about?

We need not bother with plot discontinuities...

I suppose I ought to talk about the cliffhanger.

Do tell, Kyle. Do tell. 

Throughout, the Doctor has been saying weird things to Amy randomly like “breathe,” and “push when she tells you,” things that don’t make a lick of sense until we understand what’s going on.

Which is pretty much never.  When has the Eleventh Doctor said anything, you know, rational?  I admit I wasn't paying much attention to the ramblings of our Idiot Doctor, but I don't remember him telling Amy to 'push when she tells you'.  I guess this means he knew Amy was held by the Eye-Patch Lady and was preggers.  Oh boy, don't I care...

The Doctor wanted to go to the castle to inspect the Flesh because he had figured out that the Amy that had been with him for months now was, indeed, a Flesh Amy, and her real body was elsewhere while her consciousness was driving the clone. I thought, and still do think, this is a genius move.

I'm shocked, SHOCKED to find Kyle Anderson would think this is a genius move!

It totally explains why the Doctor was getting alternating scans of her pregnancy; Amy is really pregnant, but the form she’s in currently is not.

Does it explain how long the Flesh Amy was bumming around with the Doctor, or when Amy became Flesh (that sounds odd)? 

I was wondering how they were going to explain the Eye-Patch Lady and how she can be all over the place, watching Amy. That’s because she isn’t. It’s Amy who is occasionally seeing her while she’s locked in some weird birthing tube. The Doctor presumably now knows where she’s being held, more or less, and destroys the Flesh Amy to wake Real Amy up.

Several questions we need to ask about this:

We might need to ask, but asking ain't getting...

1) EXACTLY how long has the Amy we’ve been seeing been Flesh? The first time we see the Eye Patch Lady is in “Day of the Moon,” in the creepy orphanage. I believe sometime during the 3-month gap after Amy shoots the little girl in the astronaut suit and when Canton is pretending to hunt them down, she was plucked out and replaced with the duplicate. If you remember, Amy tells the Doctor she’s pregnant, and then when she’s on the TARDIS in “DotM,” she says, “Just kidding, I’m not.” It had to be sometime in that gap that we don’t see, which explains why we didn’t see it. (Moffat, you jerky genius)

Wonderful.  We'll explain a major, massive plot point by basically saying it took place offstage, like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern's deaths.
Moffat, you jerk.

2) WHO took her and why? Clearly, based on the next time trailer, the Eye-Patch Lady is not a nice person and works for some nefarious, clandestine organization lead by a shouting military guy. While I don’t actually know who these people are, the symbol on their flag and insignia is a symbol we’ve seen before. In last series’ “Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone,” the blanket and stuff River wraps bears the same symbol. It sure looks an awful lot like a certain Greek letter, doesn’t it?

You mean THIS one?

What letter could that possibly be?  I go through all my Greek alphabet and can't find any Greek letter that has any connection to Doctor Who: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon...right on down to Omega.  No, can't think of any Greek letter-Doctor Who tie-in.  If ONLY I had that 'analytical critic's mind'... 

3) Where is she? I don’t know.

I don't care.  Karen Gillan is hot!

Okay, I have nothing more to say before what is now the most excited I’ve ever been for a new Who episode all year.

Really Kyle, aren't you excited over them all? 

Didn't you say pretty much the same thing about The Doctor's Wife?  And I quote, "I’ve been wanting to see this episode ever since I first heard about the possibility of it 18 months ago or so, and then the anticipation ratcheted up to a new level when it was announced that it would actually be episode four of this season."  Sounded pretty excited about THAT one too. 

I give you the trailer for episode 7, “A Good Man Goes to War”:


And the prequel and some clips:

CRAP ON A CRAPSTACK I could not be more excited. All right folks, in one short week, we will know who River Song is, we’ll know what Amy’s baby is, and we’ll know why a good man goes to war.
You need to ask, 'Do any of you care who River Song is, who Amy's baby is (and if you can't guess how the two are connected by now you're obviously someone with an analytical critic's mind), or why a good man goes to war (even though it should be 'why an idiot goes to war)?

Next Time: Aragon vs. Anderson: A Good Man Goes to War