Doctor Who: A Town Called Mercy

Posted on September 17, 2012

Despite the vast differences in their performances, it was somehow not hard to believe that ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston and tenth Doctor David Tennant were the same being. Even if the latter never once tried to call back to the performance of the former, there was still an underlying glint of hyperactivity and brooding that connected the two; a shared sense of darkness. Matt Smith’s performance, on the other hand, came right out of the gate owing nothing to nobody. There are times we have to remind ourselves that it’s the same character. Because not only do the performances not call back to each other, but very little of the character’s history has been referenced during his tenure. Smith stands alone as a Doctor apart from the other Doctors.

Or at least, he used to. With this episode a truism of the Doctor’s existence rears its head once again: The Doctor should not spend so much time alone, because when he does, his moral sense tends to slip away and 1200 years of frustration with people and their inherent selfishness comes roaring to the surface. To be honest, our first reaction after Amy pointed this out to him was “Oh. We’re here again?” But that’s not fair. As we said, this has been a truth of The Doctor’s existence forever. And last weeks cold-blooded execution certainly should have tipped us off that this conversation was coming. What we don’t understand is why, after Amy pointed out to him that he needs companions, the Ponds just asked to be dropped off at home again? That didn’t quite scan for us. Still, the writing’s on the wall for these two companions. If the hints dropped last week weren’t enough, there’s definitely a sense that things are coming to an end – or at least to a head. “Our friends are going to start noticing we’re aging faster than they are” is both a tantalizing glimpse into the repercussions of traveling with the Doctor long term and a telling statement as to the Ponds’ priorities now. They clearly have a well established life apart from the Doctor and that life has started taking precedence. For the first time on an adventure with him, we get the sense that the Ponds would rather be somewhere else. We get the sense – as crazy as it sounds – that the Ponds are just a little … over the Doctor.

But enough of that. Let’s talk cyborg gunslingers.

You would have thought – or at least, we would have thought that this episode would be light in the way that “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” started off, because what could be more fun than the Doctor in a classic western? It’s always fun to see the Doctor in a quintessentially American setting because, for us, it only serves to illustrate how overwhelmingly British he really is. But the darkness came almost immediately as The Doctor came face to face with a doctor of a different sort; one who held up a mirror to our Doctor’s methodology and life story, which prompted another, slightly less unfair, “Oh. We’re here again?”

Along with the “You need companions to keep you moral” trope, we also got a heaping helping of the “You and I are very much alike, Doctor” one – and to be honest, we could have done without the latter. It’s a well Moffat has returned to one time too many, we’re thinking. But clearly, the goofy, clownish, children’s show host version of the character that Smith has been serving up for the last two-plus seasons is being rethought and recast into the darker version of the character that has always defined him. And when the Doctor’s darkness rears its head, it’s because the world around him has suddenly gotten darker too. The first episode of this season depicted a young woman who’d been irrevocably mutilated and had her humanity ripped from her who then sacrificed her life for the Doctor. The second episode featured a villain capable of genocide and rape who was coldly killed by the Doctor. The third episode featured a Mengele-like character who experimented on and mutilated other beings in the service of war. We’re about as far from the world of the Adipose or the Ood as we can get. Moffat is serving up some uncomfortably real-world stories about people who’ve been deeply scarred or who have inflicted deep scars (which is a pretty decent description of The Doctor, come to think of it) – and we’re starting to shift uncomfortably in our seats. Something’s about to happen to the Ponds, and given the way the season’s been unfolding so far, we’re afraid it’s going to be something really, really bad.

Also: Susan the horse would like you to respect his life choices.

 

 

[Photo Credit: BBC America]

    • http://twitter.com/jen_canary Jennifer Ford

      The Ponds are the first new Who companions to fall into the old-school Who pattern for wanting to get back to normal after a series of adventures. They are the first to get to do both (travel and stay home as the whim takes them), though.

      Sure, Martha chooses to get back to her life, but you know she’d rather stay if her feelings were reciprocated. She doesn’t want to leave just to leave but to escape the unhealthy relationship she has with the Doctor. Both Rose and Donna talked about forever; several of the doomed proto-companions did, too, but the Ponds never talked about forever and though they want to stay friends forever with the Doctor, there is the underlying awareness that it probably doesn’t work like that.I just really like that nod to the old-school. People came and went all the time. The sense of permanence was rare and rarely expressed on either side.

      I really hope it isn’t a dark ending. It probably will be but I don’t want a dark ending for the Ponds. A hearty good-bye and being dumped off in a gravel pit in not-South Croydon was final enough for Sarah Jane (until it wasn’t but she’s special) and was still very sad… Ahhhhh, well.

      • AngelaGreen

         Can’t we just do it like the Christmas special and just know that the Doctor always has some place to go home to for the holidays?  I just want Amy and Rory to mean home to the Doctor in a way that nothing has in a very long time.

        • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

           Yes, I approve of that plan.  I don’t know how well it will work, though, because of the actors’ schedules and contracts.  If they aren’t going to be a permanent part of the show, it may be very difficult to bring them around afterward.  (Though WHY can’t they be a permanent part of the show?  They are the first time I’ve ever watched for a companion rather than The Doctor himself.)

    • http://twitter.com/MajorBedhead MajorBedhead

      I’m going to have to re-watch this episode. I liked that they called back to the Doctor’s inhumanity – it reminded me of The Waters of Mars a bit in that respect. But I didn’t find this episode as well-done as the first two of this season. It may be one of those that needs repeated watchings to get and it’s probably going to be even more important with the upcoming departure of the Ponds, which I’m really starting to dread. Each episode that airs has me holding my breath, worrying that someone’s going to die. 

      • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

         Oh I wouldn’t worry too much — Rory’s the unkillable man, at least for permanent deaths.

    • http://profiles.google.com/padawansguide Maggie *

      I really liked your take on the episode.

      One thing though – this time the Ponds are over the Doctor and say “no thank you” to another adventure – but last week Amy admitted she’s just sitting around waiting for him to show up again, and her life is on hold because of it. Which is it?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=42303148 Aida G. Neary

        The question though is how long has it been between last week’s episode and this week’s.  Maybe now they really are “over it” so to speak.

      • MilaXX

         I think some time has passed between the two eps. At least enough time for Amy to no longer be waiting for the doctor and have started to move on with her life.

      • Frank_821

        I saw the structure of this episode to imply the Doctor occasionally has already popped up from time to time since the dinosaur episode. 

        We can probably estimate more than a year had passed since the xmas show and the season opener and several years have passed coming to episode 2.. Note the way the Ponds get roped into the adventures from episode 1 to 2 to 3 dramatically changes to the point we don’t need to see him whisk them away. Amy’s remark at the end seems to suggest they’ve been having these occasional quick trips for a while.

        As much as they love the Doctor, they are a married couple and after a point he becomes a third wheel

      • formerlyAnon

         I’ve always thought they’ve made less than could be made of the fact that there’s “Amy & the Doctor,” “Rory & the Doctor,” and  “the Ponds and the Doctor.”  (though obviously those currents have been there & we’ve seen bits & pieces of how they play out). I think that if there is any contradiction in attitude that can’t be explained by passage of time, that’s why it shows up.

    • http://www.thechipsterdiaries.blogspot.com/ Jess the Chipster

      This episode was kind of meh for me. I’m really looking forward to next week’s episode though and I hope the Ponds get a happy ending, because Donna’s ending was the worst, worst worst and TV is for happies, not sads!

    • MilaXX

      I recall reading an interview when Matt first started playing the Doctor where he said he modeled his Doctor after 4 (Patrick Troughton) and one of the other older Doctor’s (sorry can’t recall who). I can however, see bits of Troughton both in his dress and some of his mannerisms.
      It makes sense that the Ponds would move on with their lives. It was mentioned last week that it felt like the Doctor was weening himself off them, and this week it appears that that weening is working. I do like that Amy pointed out that spending too much time alone is not good for him, but this time doesn’t see the solution to that is for them to resume full time travel with him.
      I haven’t hit any of the forums, but I found it interesting that the granddaughter of the little girl  was the narrator this week. That doesn’t happen without some meaning, and I’m wondering on theories as to why the change.

      • Mary Saucier

        re: the grand-daughter as narrator. Isn’t the “my grand-daddy/grandma told me” sort of a trope in storytelling,especially Westerns?

      • CT14

        The narrator was Susan Sarandon!

        • MilaXX

           I understand that but usually when the narration changes it’s for a reason.

      • VanessaDK

         I felt the implication was that the Ponds are no longer regular companions and her message was–you need a proper companion–you can’t just be picking us up every so often and think that counts.

      • peacockprincess

        The 4th Doctor is Tom Baker (he is and always will be my Doctor).  Patrick Troughton was the 2nd Doctor (replaced William Hartnell and before John Pertwee). 

        • MilaXX

          oops typos. Tom was my 1rst as well. lemme fix that

      • Eclectic Mayhem

        As soon as I saw Matt Smith’s costume it felt like an obvious nod to the Second Doctor (Troughton) and I also thought it was a canny way of pushing against Smith’s youth.  I see lots of Troughton, a little of Pertwee’s ‘dandy’ nature coming through and a ton of Bakers utter lunacy.  I really find that Moffat is calling back more, much more, to Classic Who than RTD felt he could- what with it being a relaunch hoping to appeal to new fans and all that.

        • MilaXX

          Agreed, I thinks Matts or Moffets call  back is more to the old original Doctors. It was evident when he called the Atraxi back and had them check his history and we saw alll those old Doctors. I think it’s Moffets way so trying to tied old and new Who together.

        • http://twitter.com/Selkiechick Selkiechick

          I have been watching Matt Smith and thinking on how much his Doctor reminds me of Tom Baker’s Doctor (who was my first Doctor) the frenetic strangeness, the sort of brash “stumbling about to great purpose”, and the occasional bouts of real (mostly verbal) cruelty to people he deems beneath him. (See treatment of Strax in the Christmas Episode.) He’s not my favorite Doctor, but he’s doing a really good job. I hope we get to keep him a few years.

    • Jilli_Beans

      What about all the religious stuff? The Star of David and the Crucifix, Mercy, Solomon… it sort of started in a subtle manner, but this episode really seemed to bash religion over our heads. I’m curious in knowing what the Bitter Whovittens think. And thank you for recapping the Doctor!

      • MilaXX

         I think it’s a set up for the return of the Weeping Angels, but I also think there is always a slight undercurrent of religious overtones.

        • formerlyAnon

          I do NOT want to put the Weeping Angels and the exit of the Ponds together. While I can see lots of creepiness and heroic drama, I think I might dislike the outcome even more than I disliked Donna’s outcome (which I thought was really one of the sadder and lonelier of the Doctor – companion partings).

          • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

            Donna was the only of the new companions that I truly hated their ending.  Rose got the best option — a human Doctor and both her parents.  Martha got nothing worse than a simple unrequited love which she opted out of, and later Mickey.  Capt. Jack got screwed with the whole immortal thing, but he seems to be making the best of it.  But Donna — Donna got nothing, not even a full memory, just the faint feeling of loss.

      • http://twitter.com/BrienneCalmer Brienne Calmer

        I’m calling it now: the baby Angel due on Christmas is a virgin birth.  If it has anything to do with Amy’s infertility, I will be sooooper annoyed.

      • Scott Hester-Johnson

        You, like the owner of Susan are perhaps reading too much in.

        When the chap said the horse’s name was biblical and the Doctor said “No it’s not, it’s Susan”. Bible-schmible.

    • Jilli_Beans

      Oh and Susan is also his granddaughter and first companion, right; that would’ve been a nice place to *wink* at viewers. Feeling meh, I guess, about the whole thing. I definitely think the timeline is screwy though, and I’m excited for the return of Oswin.

      • MilaXX

         Yep the only other companion besides River who knows his real name.

    • ScarlettHarlot

      I’m definitely keeping my eye out for anything related to lights in the upcoming episodes. I think they are this season’s Bad Wolf or cracks in the universe. In episode 1, there was a close up on the flickering dressing room light, in episode 2 it opened and closed with the Williams-Ponds fixing the living room light, and with the last ep there were more than a few shots of the lights in the town flickering. 

      • silaria

        Also: eggs and Christmas have all been mentioned in every episode so far.

        • ScarlettHarlot

          Yes, I was thinking about the Christmas references, since the new companion/alter-Oswin is supposedly going to show up in the Christmas episode. 

        • http://twitter.com/BrienneCalmer Brienne Calmer

          Christmas lists have been mentioned specifically in 2 and 3- I’ll have to rewatch 1, I don’t remember.  “Dear Santa, please don’t let my in-laws die”?

          OH!  That could be the clue from The Eleventh Hour!  Amy praying to Santa!

      • Corsetmaker

        Either something to do with the Angels coming or the question having been asked.

        • ScarlettHarlot

          Absolutely, the lights could be leading to a big mid-season/season finale against the weeping angels.  

          • http://twitter.com/BrienneCalmer Brienne Calmer

            TRAILER SPOILER
            TRAILER SPOILER

            Well, we know that there’s an Angel baby on its way… just in time for Christmas would make some thematic sense.  Cue speculation as to how such an Angel baby could possibly be conceived.

            END SPOILER
            END SPOILER

    • http://twitter.com/Kathy_Marlow aka Darth Mommy

      THIS: 
      Also: Susan the horse would like you to respect his life choices.  Was the best/funniest part of the whole episode.  It was also really great to see Ben Browder :)

      • Eclectic Mayhem

        I want to know more about the casting of Browder!  Is he a Whovian?  He trained in the UK and has a British wife, he also worked for a long time in Australia…  Is Moffat a Farscape fan?!  I need to know!  Had Smith, Gillan or Darvill seen any Farscape – did they know who they were running around a Western set with?!
        Even with a grubby face and a little thickening in the bod – Ben Browder looked and was MAGNIFICENT.  He was rocking that funky (real) Butch Cassidy bowler/derby too.  More Browder needed everywhere.

        • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

           He worked in Canada on Stargate SG-1 for the last 3 seasons.  And with Claudia Black for the last 2 or so as well, which was awesome. 

      • Scott Hester-Johnson

         Finally! A mention of the delicious, now a little thicker (swoon) John Crichton.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Maya-KC/537771651 Maya KC

      Have you guys watched the Pond Life mini-episodes? It gives a nice little peak in to Amy and Rory’s life without the Doctor, and it does seem to be pretty much a normal life with occasional interesting but exasperating Doctor interludes. I can understand the Ponds wanting to move on, although I really, really hope it’s on their own terms. If they kill of either Amy or Rory I will burst into tears throw something at my TV screen, and I can’t afford a new one.

    • Excellence_and_Elegance

      Overall, this episode was a letdown, in no small part to its poor writing. Yes, some of the dialog was well-done, but the directions that the characters (Amy, Rory, the Doctor) are taking make little sense. Further complicating it, their choices and actions rarely coincide with what we’ve been led to believe are their values. Between the last episode and this one, this new season is starting off on a bad foot.

      • http://www.facebook.com/sarahegrizzle Sarah Grizzle

        I think this is going to be an episode that will make more sense once we have seen the next two. This is the foreshadowing, and foreshadowing doesn’t always make sense or sit well without the ending.

        • Excellence_and_Elegance

          Perhaps. I have an open mind here, but even certain things such as how the cyborg wouldn’t kill, but would kill and had a clear shot at his nemesis as he was standing outside the circle (and even inside it) and yet refused to take the shot just made no sense whatsoever. Too many plot holes and incongruities in this last episode. But we’ll see if this all somehow makes sense over the next couple of episodes.

          • TropiCarla

            I did wonder aloud a few times why the cyborg was not just shooting his target in the face while everyone else was distracted, or out of the line of fire.  

            Also, why stomp around town in those heavy ass boots, peering around corners, when you can just disappear and reappear in another spot?

    • thexstarsxalign

      “What we don’t understand is why, after Amy pointed out to him that he
      needs companions, the Ponds just asked to be dropped off at home again?
      That didn’t quite scan for us.” This hit me because it made me realize that sometimes when you have a friend who is out of control and needs you…really needs you…to be a rock for them, it can wear on you. At first there isn’t anything you wouldn’t happily do for them, but after months or years or decades, it starts to drain you because you can’t focus on your own life when you’re the only thing holding this other person together.

    • Corsetmaker

      There’s been a bit of internet speculation that perhaps the Doctor’s change in attitude is because he’s already experienced the loss of the Ponds, that he’s angry and vengeful. He makes a remark about being 1200 yet there was a lot of stress on his age last series when you had the presence of either a 900 or an 1100 year old Doctor as key to the plot. And now he’s 1200. Now the Doctor isn’t exactly to be relied on with these things but it was mentioned quite specifically. Could be a red herring or there might be something in it.

      • ScarlettHarlot

        This would make sense in light of the previous exchange between the Doctor and Amy this season about being there until the end of me, especially the sad look that he gives Amy when she said “or vice-versa.” It could explain the pop-ins and the long breaks. Maybe the doctor is trying to wean himself off the Ponds before he loses them so it hurts less, but he can’t quite let go of them so he keeps surprising them for a little adventure here or there, just for fun. 

        That said, I hope they don’t kill them off. They already killed off their daughter, which, as a River fan, was heartbreaking enough, so do they really need to kill of the whole family?

        It would be even more sad now that Rory’s dad has been brought into the mix – the Doctor would feel more responsible/guilty than if he didn’t have family to answer to. I hope that’s not the reason they’ve introduced Brian, just to up the emotional stakes…  

        • CT14

          But he doesn’t have to wean himself from them.  He *can* keep popping into their lives before they die.  

          Which is probably what he’s been doing.

          I also think that’s why he might want an Oswin companion–the starry-eyed newcomer, but he already knows the ending to the tale, so he’s just going to enjoy the middle parts (or so he thinks).

      • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

         That’s an excellent point.  Though I like to believe that nothing bad will happen to the Ponds ever. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=768540908 Badriya Al-Badi’a

      The resolution I hope to see for the Ponds is that they have finally decided to adopt, which would mean curtailing intergalactic adventures for an entirely happy reason.

      One thing I’ve liked about Matt Smith especially this season so far is that you can see the connection to Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor, and how easy it would be for him to slip back into darkness.

    • RoxieRider

      I was really happy to see Eleven get to confront his nature. I was more comfortable with RTD’s and Tennant’s constant examination of what it means to be a bringer of light who also sacrificed 2 entire races. Matt Smith keeps a tight tight lid on his darker nature, which tends to spill out in bossy bursts that he swiftly clamps down with fish-finger-and-custard absurdities. I was utterly horrified when he sent Solomon to his death a couple of weeks ago and I couldn’t believe it wasn’t mentioned in the episode. I’m glad they’re giving it some room to breathe. The Doctor doesn’t do that, except sometimes he does. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-Cleary/1201575213 Patrick Cleary

      The main problem I’ve had with this new iteration of Dr. Who (starting with nine) is the stickiness of the companions. They used to be folks who just travel along with the Doctor for a bit, learn some stuff, teach him some stuff, and get back to their lives (or start new lives of their own, somewhere along the way). Some hated the Doctor by the end (Tegan) and some didn’t fare so well (Peri, Adric), but they were all their own people.

      These new companions are all just reflections of the Doctor, and reflections of fan fiction enthusiasts who want to love the Doctor as only they can, in a special way. I’d rather see twin four-year-old girls and a flatulent panda as companions than another weepy-eyed person in love with the Time Lord.

      • Excellence_and_Elegance

        I agree, which I believe is why Donna Noble was a great companion.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_F73LIJ3SJGI5AJQMXMWXCKILHI Pamela

          That’s why she was my fav as well.  Rose & Martha were too moony-eyed over The Doctor.  Although Rose made out quite well in her alternate universe w/ her own version of him, IMHO.

      • Eclectic Mayhem

        Peri was okay in the end, married off somewhere or other, her death was faked by the Valeyard.

        I think part of what you’re experiencing with NuWho companions is due to the much shorter season structure and the prevalence of, ostensibly, stand-alone stories within a season-long arc.  Classic Who seasons ran for twice as long and were made up of three/four sometimes five episodes stories.  Watching as a child it felt like Louise Jameson’s Leela was around for donkey’s years but then, watching years later on a Classic Gold channel – blink and you miss the Leela episodes!  Same with Romana 1&2, Nyssa, Teegan, Peri etc.

        I’ve never read any Who fanfiction so I really can’t comment on that.  The thing I noticed watching now, compared to growing up with Who in the 70s and 80s, was that there were occasionally ‘relationship’ tensions between some Doctors and some companions (Tom Baker and Lala Ward’s Romana, Peter Davison and Tegan for example) but that all subtlety was gone with NuWho.  I just took it as a reflection of less innocent times.

        • Corsetmaker

          True. Leela certainly must’ve seemed to be around for a while, I remember naming a doll after her! :) I miss the longer stories though.

          I haven’t watched any classic Who in a while but I did watch a Sarah Jane and Tom Baker story a while back and was quite taken aback by double entendre and flirtiness that I was totally unaware of at the time of course.

          • Eclectic Mayhem

            I miss the old structure too, even with the (often rubbish!) cliff-hangers at the end of every episode!  Ultimately I would hazard a guess that it’s about budget, performer availability and show-runner availability (what with that other hit show of his!) too.

            There’s probably a feeling that the season arc makes up for the loss of the longer storylines and that the two/three parters feel extra-special in amongst the seemingly stand alone episodes.

      • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

         I actually feel that the new companions are better.  I mean, how can you actually just do that for a year and then drop back into your old life like nothing happened?  This would be such a profound experience — like a friend and I who were talking about how we met at 11 years old and are now coming up on 30, and neither of us even knows who we would be without the other, because our personalities were so formed by that relationship.  And when you have people of complimentary sexual orientations, in that kind of environment and that unique of one, there’s likely to be some romantic feelings tangled up in there, out of confusion if nothing else.

    • alula_auburn

      I liked this better than “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship,” even if a lot of the turns of the plot were fairly predictable.  But I am a sucker for “the Doctor confronts his dark side,” so.  And if the villain was a bit of a repeat, at least he wasn’t as cartoonishly villainous as Solomon.

      I’m not sure what to think about the obvious Pond countdown.  I like Amy and Rory (Rory a scotch more, because tbh, I’ve had issues with Amy’s characterization almost from Day One), and I like the actors a lot, but I feel like a lot of the emotional twists and turns in their run were written more to serve plot than character, and that especially a lot of signficant character moments were handwaved for plot, plot and more ploy, with a few double-helix twists.  (Like the pseudo-breakup in the premiere, which did not feel authentic to their relationship at all.  Yeah, people break up over infidelity.  Probably people even unilateraly break up on faux noble grounds like Amy.  But it had nothing to do with the Ponds we’ve been watching.)

      So with that in mind, I would much prefer that the Ponds have agency and make a good exit, and I think at this point in the New Who, that would be the bolder, more creative decision–a challenge to the idea that life with the Doctor is so amazingly super perfect wonderful that anyone would do it forever and ever.  And maybe even an interrogation of what it means to be the Doctor’s conscience in that unbalanced relationship.

      But based on Moffat’s history, I’m expecting more plot-driven angst and maximum emotional manipulation.

      :whispers: Susan was funny, but I thought baby Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All was funnier.  But maybe it’s because I spend more time with babies, tiny tyrants they all are, than horses.

      • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

         We referred to my most recent pregnancy as Stormageddon and reference that scene constantly.  “What’s he call everyone else?” “Peasants… oh, that’s unfortunate.”

    • http://twitter.com/Goldielox73 Goldie

      The change from Eccleston to Tennant was jarring for me because they were so different.  Personality, clothes, everything.  To me, Eccleston’s Doctor was dark with occasional bursts of lightness where Tennant’s was light with occasional bursts of darkness.  Maybe it was because I watched the the ninth and tenth Doctors solely on Netflix one after the other then took time off before watching Matt become the eleventh (in fact I finished just in time to start watching this season on BBCAmerica, which I just got, with everyone else) but I didn’t feel that jar when he became the Doctor.  His style of clothing was similar and he was goofy and fun.  The Doctor has said before that regenerating changes him, maybe it takes a bit of time for that darkness to come through, we don’t know how long the ninth Doctor had been around before he spotted Rose.

      Anyway, the Ponds are among my favorite companions and I am really not looking forward to seeing them go.  I don’t want them to die but it’s starting to look that way.  :(

      • VanessaDK

         If you go back to “Rose” – the first NuWho episode–I believe he stops to regard himself in a mirror long enough to grumble about his ears, which implied that he had only recently regenerated.

        • http://twitter.com/Goldielox73 Goldie

          I’ll have to go back and re-watch to see if there were pictures, but Rose also found evidence that he’d been at historical events which would imply he’d had that face for a bit.  If it was just a literary reference to The Doctor with no visual, it could be any Doctor.  I don’t remember, it’s been a while.

          • http://twitter.com/BrienneCalmer Brienne Calmer

            They were photos, but he could easily have been bopping around in history when he dropped Rose off on Earth in between trips.  Those photos don’t have to have been pre-Rose in his *personal* timeline.

            Wibbly-wobbly and all that. :)

          • VanessaDK

            Good point–I forgot about the “Zelig” pictures…

    • KathKo

      Well, on this instance, Moffat didn’t invent the gunpowder. Several incarnations of the Doctor were prone to violence, manipulation and sometimes not advert to weapons.
      So it goes back and forth between the strange man with his box who is delighted to show the wonders of the Universe and the old man, still with his box but is less delighted. He often says that he cannot marvel anymore and he needs companion to see it by their eyes. But the companions grow older and the marvelling receases.
      The Ponds have their lives, now. They grew older and their relationship with the Doctor evolved from being the kids to being litterally their parents.
      Amy shaking him to come back to his senses showed that. She has to look after him now, not the other way around.
      The Ponds like to be around the Doctor, but they know they can’t stay forever. They’re worried that the Doctor won’t love them anymore (see the Dinosaure’s episode) but they still know they have to let him go. And he has to.
      I guess they’re torn. They want him to have companion but still take them sometimes with him.
      But they can’t have the best of the two worlds and I think the next two episodes will make that very apparent.

    • Eclectic Mayhem

      I wonder how it works when individual stories are written by another writer, are they written ‘on spec’ and happen to fit into the showrunner’s season arc or are they commissioned with strict parameters or is it a bit of both?

      Presumably the answer is out there in a Who Confidential or somewhere on the interweb.  I’ve not actually watched *any* Confidential (BAD Whovian!) and I avoid other fansites as I don’t particularly want to see a myriad of people slagging off Moffat – who I think is doing a great job.

      • KathKo

         I think every writer works his story with Moffat supervision. In the end, even if he doesn’t write every script, he knows where he wants the show and the characters to go.
        But the point to have a different writer is to add a little something different and very personnal to the episode and the show (for example the Doctor Wife episode. Neil Gaiman was so very much the perfect writer for that story) 

        • Eclectic Mayhem

          Gaiman’s doing another one too – squeeee!

      • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

         I was very dismayed when Eleven started and then I discovered that Moffat was going to be taking over at the same time.  I grumbled and pouted and swore off Who forever.  Then I watched to rant about how right I was, and no one was going to touch Tennant’s performance (and he’s still second on my Freebie Five list:).  And then… well, maybe I was somewhat wrong — I don’t think it’s BETTER, but it’s pretty great in its own rights.

        Besides, I want to be Amy when I grow up.  “You’re so Scottish” is a frequent refrain in our house now.

    • http://twitter.com/commish24 commish24

      I want more episodes where the Doctor has conversations with Susan. I loved that character!

      And the Ponds…oh, T-Lo, you’re going to need BOXES of Kleenex. It’s heartbreaking. Absolutely heartbreaking. 

    • http://twitter.com/BrienneCalmer Brienne Calmer

      > …we also got a heaping helping of the “You and I are very much alike, Doctor” one – and to be honest, we could have done without the latter.

      A person of my acquaintance has a name for this, after the space whale episode from Amy’s first season.  She calls it “LIKE THIS WHALE HERE ALSO”.  You know, “The Doctor is nice to children, LIKE THIS WHALE HERE ALSO.”  “The Doctor is very very old, LIKE THIS WHALE HERE ALSO.”  “The Doctor exacts revenge on evildoers, LIKE THIS WHALE HERE ALSO.”

      I like it when the Doctor comes face to face with himself in the Monster of the Week, especially when he’s getting so callous and “different morality”-ified that he needs to be confronted with his own dark side.  I just prefer to avoid the explicit “We’re not so different, you and I” speech, because that gets old pretty quick.