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Note: if you are a viewer of the BBC series "Doctor Who" and have not seen the episode "Face The Raven," you may want to avoid reading the analysis below. in the immortal words of River Song...


Spoilers, Sweetie!


Although, let's be honest, the big news that came from this episode seemed to be everywhere for at least a couple of weeks, if you were anywhere on social media.

The point I want to make actually has very little to do with this episode at all, and delves more into the character arcs that have happened these past two years, beginning with the all-important Fiftieth Anniversary episode: "The Day of the Doctor."



Matt Smith as Eleven, David Tennant as Ten and John Hurt as the War Doctor


In going back to that incredible 23.11.2013 episode, an immensely huge piece of information was given to The Doctor(s) as well as the viewing audience, as Eleven, Ten, and the War Doctor, with the help of all of the other previous Doctors in their respective TARDISes, prevented the destruction of the Time Lords' home planet: Gallifrey, by sending it into a "pocket universe."

This piece of information is not taken lightly by any of the doctors, least of all the brilliant John Hurt, whose War Doctor was apparently responsible for the planet's destruction and suddenly gets a reprieve from the guilt he had suffered from taking the billions of lives there.


Ten tells Eleven just what I want to say to the Production Staff.


Yet, forgetting this is exactly what the writers seemed to do. When this crucial bit of information was revealed, my first thought was "Doctor Who," the program, is going to suddenly have a new focus, a new mission and a new energy: The Doctor now has an assignment: Find and Save Gallifrey!

When I was starting to imagine the direction the show was moving towards after the "Day of The Doctor" episode, I figured that the context would still be one of exploration and familiarity, it would still have drama and humour blended, and it had a Doctor, who now had this incredible piece of work to do.

To phrase it another way, imagine if The Doctor were an Earthling, and it was Earth, not Gallifrey, trapped in a pocket universe. That's the kind of urgency I anticipated from someone who just discovered that his home planet wasn't destroyed after all, and that the heavy price paid for everything that had happened, suddenly could be completely removed. I envisioned that from here on out, each ensuing episode would continue to be its own adventure, but would also be leading The Doctor towards that crucial mission that was so intently presented within the Golden Anniversary episode of the show!



The transition point would be that year's Christmas episode: "The Time of The Doctor," where Eleven spent a few hundred years protecting the good citizens of Trenzalore from all of his enemies, until he regenerated as Twelve and Peter Capaldi took over the role. NOW! Now, I thought, this is where it all begins to happen!



That. Didn't. Happen.


Instead of a focused and intent Doctor trying to work out the Time Lord issue, trying to get Gallifrey back into our Universe and trying to look at the bigger picture of what it all means, we got a vain Doctor concerned about his looks, jealous of his companion's romantic relationship and unclear about pretty much everything from how to fly the TARDIS to whom he should trust.



Same ol' Same ol... Just The Doctor and his Companion in the TARDIS


So far, Twelve's biggest contribution to the Doctor Who canon is switching from a Sonic Screwdriver to Sonic Sunglasses.



And that finally brings me to the message that seemed to emanate from "Face The Raven," or really from the entirety Capaldi's tenure: When you have something very important to do, and you wind up putting it off just so you can have some laughs with your pals, The Universe will likely make you pay with something you care about, and the bigger the job you're avoiding, the bigger the punishment for avoiding it.

I don't see any evidence that show runner Stephen Moffat was clever enough to embed this message into all that has happened during the past two series, and really, I wouldn't believe it if he came out and said it, based on the miscues and odd steps that have happened in the previous two years. But that was the message I received in viewing "Face The Raven," and it's one that resonates in a big way in the wake of that one gut-wrenching event from that episode.



Maybe now, Twelve will get on with it.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
packgrog
Nov. 23rd, 2015 03:47 pm (UTC)
I have no faith left in Moffat. He's botched too many conclusions to have a properly thought-out end game. I suspect that these last two episodes will play into the Gallifrey issue, but he's passed up too many great storytelling opportunities already for me truly believe that he'll do something that worthwhile. Ugh.

I love Capaldi, and I enjoy him more now that they've lightened him up a bit (he was TOO dark and abrasive last season, much like how Colin Baker started out, and we know how well that worked). I still quite like Coleman the actress. But I'm so done with Clara and the plethora of Moffat Tropes that I'm genuinely struggling with an urge to STOP WATCHING. I've been a fan for over 30 years. I've gotten through some of the worst the series has to offer (ie: nearly all of Colin Baker's tenure, Love & Monsters, most of the remaining 60's episodes, etc.), and only now am I losing my will to power through the bullshit. I don't expect high art from this show, but I haven't genuinely enjoyed it for some time. It's a chore, for which I lack any remaining enthusiasm. And with yet another season of Moffat's bullshit on the horizon, I'm not sure I can take it anymore. I like the idea of the Doctor on his own for an entire episode, so I'm curious about that, but once again my goodwill and faith have been so squandered during The Moff's tenure that I have little hope of finding much about it to enjoy. UGH.
davesmusictank
Dec. 24th, 2015 03:56 pm (UTC)
I thought it was a good episode and this season as a whole was a great improvement from the previous one.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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