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[personal profile] falling_voices
Night Terrors, folks.

No separate bulletpoint lists this time, mostly because they'd be drastically overbalanced; there was just so much I adored about this episode, and so much that scared me shitless, and so much that I found resonated perfectly with DW's general theme of fairytales and childhood, that I have barely a couple derogatory things to say about it at all. Most of Gatiss' other Who episodes were a bit meh on my hand, but if Sherlock's TGG hadn't already convinced me of his talents as a scriptwriter, then this probably would have.

This is a filler that actually works. (I'm looking at you, Curse of the Black Spot.) It was gorgeously filmed, hilarious, horrifying, and very, very touching. The clean break from the season's arc is a relief as well — I may like River Song for her antics and her snark, but having the entire show revolve around her entirely gets rather tiresome after a while. (Yes, I'm still bitter over Let's Kill Hitler coming right back to her. Again.) Amy and Rory were Amy&Rory as I love them best, and the Doctor quite charming in his antics with Alex and George.

SO MUCH GORGEOUS. The locations! The doll's house! freaky as fuck, that one was. I'm still wondering how they've made a apartment complex that ugly that pretty — the clean yellow light and stark cast shadows, and that lovely moment when the Doctor is seen from afar, spinning on his heel in the corridors (must be hell when it rains, though; and it looked a bit like Rose and Jackie's apartment, which was distracting). The dolls were particularly scary, too — not so much in design but in the way they moved, the way their hands extended and their eyes turned glassy and cold. That mechanical aspect of them, when Amy and Rory are wandering around the empty house and shadows are moving behind them, that was terrifying. (Then again, I'm the kind of person who gets scared watching Sleepy Hollow.)

The music was frankly surreal, and fit very well with the theme of the episode — my favourite bit was probably that slow, lingering moment when the Doctor and Alex realize that George may not be a normal little boy. Between the slow, lilting rhyme and the soft clean notes, it was very fairytale-ish.

Also, I really liked that this wasn't just a scary episode, it was an episode about fear — about what makes us tick, all of us, children like parents. Doctor Who has always liked doing that, and it's a regular theme of Moffat's that innocuous objects should become horrifying, but even Blink hadn't put this much actual thought into the state of being frightened, I think. This episode wasn't just about oh look, a kid is frightened, let's make him realize there's nothing to be scared about, which would be an entirely different kind of morale, it's about oh look, a kid is frightened, now let's realize that we all really are. The Doctor's quiet delivery of Monsters are real rings strangely true, because it doesn't try to disguise reality; that, and George's parents don't believe the objects of his fears are real, but the Doctor does, which is one thing Doctor Who does particularly well: it never dismisses children, never tells them they're wrong, never addresses them as intellectually less advanced than an adult. Possibly because the primal part of us that gets scared inside of us is still the child's fear. I have the same nightmares now as when I was a little girl; the same things terrify me still. (And in the end, it isn't just the dad who saves his son; it goes both ways. Alex saves his little boy, and George saves his dad. I liked that, that the child wasn't passive, was allowed to save everybody as much as he saved himself.)

And everybody is a monster at some point in the episode. There's the obvious case of the dolls and their house, and the dig at the landlord who comes scare his tenants late at night; George makes the old lady and Amy&Rory disappear into the doll's house because he thinks of them as dangerous creatures (but really, Rory, did you have to say you're going to let the kid get eaten by his own fears right when you walk past his window? dick move, mate). George is a monster too, of course — an alien boy who has implanted himself in a human family, how freaky is that? and it is at the moment that his father realizes this that he becomes scary to his son in turn, hence his being thrown backwards into the cupboard. The greatest paradox of all is the Doctor himself, obviously. That light-and-shadow moment when he leans in the doorway to George's room and goes Tell me about the monsters — the way Matt Smith delivers that line is fantastic, by the way — we viewers realize that he is the greatest monster of all. And he asks George, and Alex (and us) to trust him despite it. Ahh, it's lovely. It loops and loops and then catches on one of the show's greatest themes — the ambiguity between monster and good wizard that is personified by the Doctor himself. I love how Gatiss spun that round and round.

And the cupboard! man, I loved that cupboard. I mean, it's a pretty common symbol for a child's fears in literature and movies — it was played upon in The Girl in the Fireplace, and pretty explicitly in Pixar's Monsters&Co and C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia, but this puts a new spin on it, I think. A cupboard is an entire universe in a child's eyes (again, fairytale. I never get tired of fairytale in DW...), but in this, it's not just the cupboard that's scary, it's that everything that scares a child gets put in the it, and then becomes real. That's fantastic, I think. That makes the symbol concrete, doesn't just use it as a catalyst. My favourite moment was probably the cupboard blasting open at the end, filled with light, with that gorgeous music rising high and clean behind.

And yeah, okay, I have two little quibbles: the Doctor's quip at the very end, when he's leaving George to his parents — he'll be whatever you want him to be — that's... rather strange, because that's not how it should work, a child's education. He should be whatever he wants to be, not a projection of his parents. Plus, considering George's nature, the fact that he made himself into what Alex and Claire had wanted for so long, it sounds like free will and choice have no place there. That, and the slow motion when Alex pushes the dolls apart to reach his son — no, seriously, could that scene be any more cliché? I understand the feeling behind it (you're an alien, and I don't care, and you're my son), but I wish Gatiss could have found better words (and less slow-motion) to say it with.

Doesn't mean I wasn't close to tears when Alex was repeating in that broken voice My little boy. My little boy. It's the oldest story in the world, love saving us from monsters. And it still works. So what the hell.

Date: 2011-09-06 01:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kim47.livejournal.com
I have nothing to say but ALL OF THE ABOVE.

Date: 2011-09-06 01:34 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Ahahaha ♥ It really was a gorgeous episode, wasn't it?

/still trying to fix the HTML fail, oman

Date: 2011-09-06 01:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kim47.livejournal.com
It really was. I do enjoy big story arcs, but my favourites almost always end up being standalones (Blink, Midnight, Vincent and the Doctor, The Doctor's Wife.) You sum it all up so nicely :D

Oh, reading this again gave me another minor freakout about Stephen Thompson writing The Reichenbach Fall rather than Mark. Dammit. I have so many problems with the two things he's written that I've seen (Curse and TBB)... ugh, I had decided I wasn't going to think about this.

ETA: congratulations on getting all the html fixed :D The new RTE has been fucking up everything I've tried to post.
Edited Date: 2011-09-06 01:56 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-09-06 02:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] falling-voices.livejournal.com
HTML HAS BEEN VANQUISHED. o/ what the fuck was that mess upthread, LJ.

Vincent and the Doctor and The Doctor's Wife are so far my absolute favourites &hearts and the Shakespeare Code, I have to admit. 's hard to choose. And thank you, dear! :D

God, don't remind me. I'm glad Gatiss is tackling Hound(s), I really am, but between Moffat's views on woman for Scandal and Thompson frankly shit writing for Fall... well, I hope they shared notes, or something. See it that way: Curse was mostly, in my eyes, Thompson trying to imitate a sort of Doctor Who-ish feeling — and failing to, but that shouldn't interfere with Sherlock, since the two shows have a very different mood. TBB failed on racial issues and plot; the former won't be in Fall, hopefully, and the latter will be heavily influenced by Moffat&Gatiss, it has to be, it's a finale. So while I don't have hopes for a great episodes, I do hope it won't be a complete mess.

Date: 2011-09-06 02:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kim47.livejournal.com
Fingers crossed, I supposed. As for the Moff writing Irene Adler...well, that's something else I'm trying not to think too hard about. I feel a little like, given the nature of the story, and the possible emotional weight etc, BC and MF could pick up some of the slack of shit writing in Fall, but if Adler is...not good, it'll throw off the whole episode (for me, at least.) Oh well, under the inestimable advice of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, I am Not Panicking.

The Shakespeare Code, god, all the feelings I have about that episode... It was the first ep of DW I ever watched.

Date: 2011-09-06 02:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] falling-voices.livejournal.com
The thing is, see, I really, really like Adler in the ACD!canon. (Woman has a choice between a King and a small lawyer — and possibly the second smartest man in London, if people are right to assume Holmes was in love with her — and who does she choose? the small lawyer. That's true love, right there. Also, she crossdresses! in the Victorian era!) So I very much hope Lara Pulver is up to it, and doesn't play her the way she was portrayed in the Ritchie!movie, that's getting old.

The Shakespeare Code is seriously amazing. I could write an entire essay on Words and Meanings in DW based off of it. :D Plus, it has Kenneth Branagh as bisexual!Will, and that's an automatic win in my book.

Date: 2011-09-06 03:03 pm (UTC)
ext_82470: (Default)
From: [identity profile] maikichelorrain.livejournal.com
Personnellement, je n'ai pas été si emballée. L'épisode est bien mieux que celui de la semaine dernière, mais il était extrêmement lent dans sa narration, et ça m'a gênée. Et je n'ai pas été effrayée du tout par contre.

Date: 2011-09-06 03:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] falling-voices.livejournal.com
Je suis effrayée par absolument tout et n'importe quoi du moment que c'est sur écran/à l'écrit — moins dans la réalité, mais bon — donc je ne suis vraiment pas un repère à ce niveau-là... et franchement, j'ai bien aimé la lenteur de cet épisode, surtout après LKH, qui était très rapide et frénétique, donc on perdait beaucoup de choses au premier abord. Là on avait le temps de suivre l'action tranquillement, c'était sympa.

Les goûts et les couleurs, etc. :D

Date: 2011-09-06 03:23 pm (UTC)
ext_82470: (Default)
From: [identity profile] maikichelorrain.livejournal.com
Exactement ^^

Date: 2011-09-06 05:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] katty008.livejournal.com
WAAAAAH.

Just. When Amy and Rory are first exploring the dollhouse, and are just realizing that something is Very Wrong.

Also, Amy was the one to "die". Hmmm.

Date: 2011-09-06 07:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] falling-voices.livejournal.com
Yeah, I loved that. Th design of that was lovely.

Well, Rory's 'We're dead, aren't we? the lift fell down and we're dead. We're dead. Again.' was fantastic, but yeah, that was interesting — and considering the previews for next week's episode, I wonder how they're going to tie that in.

Date: 2011-09-06 08:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] katty008.livejournal.com
It would be interesting if it turned out that Part 1 was the part where Rory dies, and Part 2 is the part where Amy dies. Some sort of bizarre back-and-forth thing.

Date: 2011-09-06 08:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] falling-voices.livejournal.com
I was thinking that too! 'The Couple Who Dies. Repeatedly.' Ahahahah it would be amazingggg ♥

Date: 2011-09-06 09:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] katty008.livejournal.com
You know what I can't stop thinking of? Jo Grant, and how in SJA she was all, "You've got a couple on the TARDIS now? Oh..." Jo darling, you got off lucky. I've got my head full of seven River Songs running around (eight if you include the actual River Song...) It would be insane.

Date: 2011-09-07 09:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mirthalia.livejournal.com
Ahhh I have the feeling that I'm going to love this.

And also that you should read Castle Tourmandyne.

Date: 2011-09-12 10:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] falling-voices.livejournal.com
Yes! Yes you will! Watch it by all means.

I've never heard of it; I'll be sure to be checking it out now, though. :D Thank you!

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