Friday, July 02, 2010

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue

Doctor Who Episode 5.13: The Big Bang

Jaw-dropping. Mind-boggling. Magical. Wonderful. Amazing. I don't know of enough adjectives to describe it. This is the work of a pure genius.

So my predictions were mostly right. The episode did start with Amedia in 1996 - but I wouldn't have thought that it was the exact same scenes as in The Eleventh Hour, down to the first shot of a red, revolving pinwheel! (That's the reason why that slot is included in Episode 1...)

Then you have loads of complete surprises in the next 10 minutes, each being so mad that any single one can make you fall off your chair.

And again I was correct that the escape from the Pandorica is timey-wimey, although a hundred times simpler than I thought. I'm surprised that half of the Internet cannot get their heads round about the escape, asking things like "but how did he get out in the first place"! It is just a self-consistent time loop, people! There is no beginning and no end! You're watching a time travelling show and cannot understand a self-consistent time loop?! How did you comprehend the DVD easter egg and the transcript of conversation in Blink?

And the now infamous forest scene. It's not about the jacket, really, it is about the doctor saying something completely out of context and the tone in which he say it.

Just like many other Moffat episodes, you have everything in one episode: fun, sad, romance, wit, and of course, mind-boggling time travel. The emotional scenes with the Doctor preparing to fly the Pandorica, and speaking to sleeping Amelia, is very moving. And of course there is the
"something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue" line. Pure genius. From now on this saying will have a completely different level of meaning. Why had nobody ever thought of that in the past 47 years?! I think Steven Moffat must have first thought of it and then constructed the entire series around the idea...

And yes, I predicted it too, that not everything will be resolved in this series.

Some people will complain that the episode makes no sense, particularly with respect to the "remember and people can come back" thing. I still think the series is mostly internally consistent logically (but see below), despite not really offering any scientific explanation. But there were never any "real" scientific explanation anyway. At the end, I think the issue is whether you prefer "logic without science" or "science without logic"; I know which one I prefer.

So here is my list of complaints, or notes about unresolved points:

  • The universe takes a rather long time to collapse... 2000 years, no less.
  • A restoration field? Why would anyone build a prison which not just keeps the prisoner in stasis, but even restore life (and everything else)?
  • The Doctor said Amy "grew up next to the crack for so long". Really? Amelia prayed to Santa, presumably not too long after the crack appeared, and then the Doctor arrived to seal it off.
  • Why exactly erasing the Doctor from the timeline makes him travel backwards in time with two of them at the same time/place?
  • Who is the shadowy figure in Episode 1? Presumably it is the Doctor, although they choose not to show the same scene.
  • I suppose Amy's change of name may even be attributed to the Doctor implanting this to her as he gave his bedside story.
  • If the universe is rebooted, why did River Song still remember the Doctor? And she should be sent back to prison at some point after this episode, since she needs to be taken out of Stormcage in the Byzantium episodes. Just in case Moff forgets...