Saturday, March 30, 2013

Shall I Compare Steven Moffat to a Bloody Diaper? - Part 3

Here we are at last. The Unforgivable Episode. The one that ruined the Doctor.

This was originally going to be its own standalone post, but I felt that I ultimately needed more background to explain why this episode was so maddening and so very, very disappointing. That's why there had to be two preceding segments, Part 1 and Part 2.

I've been re-watching a lot of these episodes to make sure that I have my facts straight and my ducks in a row. I cannot describe to you the sense of dread I experienced sitting down and pressing play on this episode. Hopefully by getting this out, it will begin to hurt less.

So, what was wrong with this episode? Well, not to sound too melodramatic, but everything. Every single premise on which the episode relies is false or flawed.

I'll go in the order of the notes I took while re-watching the episode:

The Weeping Angels are a vastly ancient, mysterious race of beings who bear the physical appearance of angels and involuntarily turn to stone whenever seen. In the episode we see a group of their young, who appear as cherubs. Adorable. That makes sense. However, we also see a mother and child statue that end up being "Angels" and in the beginning of the episode we see that the Statue of Liberty is in fact also an "Angel."

What? No! In no previous episode containing the Angels (all written by Moffat) were they able to infect statues to become animate. The Angels are not statues. They are living beings turned to stone. What I mean is that no one ever sculpted the Angels, they are a biological life form. They're ostensibly fleshy when no one's watching. This "infection" angle is brand new, out of left-field, and once again, as with the Dalek sleeper agents, no one talks about it. In previous episodes, it was always a big deal when we discovered a new ability of theirs, but not this time. None of it makes any sense.

Also, I cannot emphasize enough what a foolish notion it is that the Statue of Liberty is an "Angel." First of all, when is no one looking at it? Second, remember the huge footsteps that would occasionally pause and it turned out it was her all along? Well, the only reason that it would have occasionally paused like that is if someone were looking at it. Which means that people would occasionally notice Lady Liberty creeping through the city on her way to that hotel. And what, then they just looked away long enough for her to continue? A 15-story copper monster can apparently just mosey through 7 million people and no one notices. And remember that whole "That which bears the image of an Angel becomes and Angel" business? That means that all of the tourists through New York, students with textbooks, and maybe even some stamp collectors are all harboring the Angel of Liberty.

Next, the Doctor believes that River has to get a broken wrist because Amy read it in the book that River will write about this adventure, and not doing so would break causality. This is a deeply flawed presumption. Amy read out a couple of lines of dialog, that's it. The only thing that would actually have to happen is the saying of those words. As long River says "Why do you have to break mine?" and the Doctor says "Because Amy read it in a book and now I have no choice," then the prophecy is fulfilled. Nothing actually has to get broken. This whole thing also relies on the belief that the book was 100% accurate. What if River had gotten the line wrong when she wrote it?

So River breaks her wrist getting out and the Doctor uses his Paladin ability "Lay on Hands" in order to heal it... What?! This is not a thing. Why did this happen? The Doctor cannot heal with a touch. If he could, I'm pretty sure we would have seen this before. Well, maybe it only works on other Timelords. Well, if that were the case, I'm pretty sure he would have given it a try when his daughter got shot, or when the Master got shot. Okay, when I said that I wasn't going to bitch about Moffat ignoring anything that came before him, I meant like him not referencing previous characters and plot-lines, not tearing causality a new asshole.

. . .

So, Rory's trapped in a basement with a bunch of Weeping Cherubs. He's holding a match and one of them, in stone form, blows it out. Bullshit. It's never been implied that an Angel simply gets encased in a molecular thin layer of stone when being observed. They turn completely to stone. You can't blow out a match with stone lungs.

But they got him anyway and he gets teleported to the middle of a street somewhere. From there, instead of trying to phone his wife of just staying put until they come and get him, he wanders into the Angel Hotel for no reason whatsoever. Except that it was necessary for the plot to continue. And if the Angels wanted him in the hotel,
why not just teleport him directly inside?

Right, so the Angel Hotel. This is a brilliant idea. However, it's too bad that they got it completely wrong in every way. Here's how it should work: Let's say for sake of argument that the Angels send a person back 50 years whenever they touch them. Let's also say that they built the hotel in 1880. That means that their first victim will pop into existence in 1830, well before the hotel is build and live out their lives. From 1880 until 1930, their crop of first-round victims will be sent back to 1830 to 1880. Their first victim after their 50th anniversary in 1930 will get sent back to 1880 in the hotel, where they will feed on him again and send him back to 1830 with the first guy. So basically, the second that they open their doors in 1880, they're getting not only their first-round victims, but also their victims from 50, 100, 150 years in the future and so on. Interestingly enough, they'll have the most food they'll ever have in the very beginning and all of their victims ever end up in the 50 years before the hotel opens. It's a brilliant idea. The thing is, they get their food from displacing people back in time, so there's absolutely zero benefit from keeping them there and taking care of them until they die of old age. Speaking of which, who the fuck is taking care of them? Who is printing out those name cards? Who is making their food? Is there an Angel in a kitchen somewhere making stew for everyone? It's just ludicrous.

So in the end, an Angel gets Amy and Rory and they get sent back in time. The Doctor can't go back and rescue them because they already lived out their lives and died, which is confirmed by their gravestone. Undoing this outcome would cause another paradox and rip like, everything ever apart.

Except, that is complete foolishness. Like the book dialog, all that it written in stone is their names. There is absolutely nothing keeping the Doctor from going back, grabbing them, and placing a gravestone with their names in the cemetery. Causality would be ensured and Rory and Amy wouldn't have to live and die in old-timey New York. And it doesn't matter that the TARDIS can't go back to 1938 New York (if that's where they went), because even if he can't, there's no reason he can't go to 1938 New Jersey and take a cab. Besides, there shouldn't even be time distortions anymore now that the Angels never had their hotel. And whatever happened to the Angel that got them? What do you even do with a spare, rogue Angel?

The big emotional climax of the half-season arc was how tragic it was that after everything, at the last moment Amy and Rory were taken away in an unavoidable moment of destiny.

Except that, no. Just...

1 comment:

Kellie @ Delightfully Ludicrous said...

I managed to go along with most of these flaws in the logic, after all it is Doctor Who, but the whole broken wrist thing was the one that I just couldn't.

The Statue of Liberty being an Angel? Okay, sure. Not being able to go back to get Amy and Rory? Well, he has said in the past that he can feel when something is set in stone timewise. But the whole wrist thing would have been so easy to work around!

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