I still don’t even know what eleven died from. Pretty sure it was from some shitty writing.
All other criticisms of the Christmas special aside, there’s one thing that really bothered me.
When the Priestess lady (what was her name? lol good job Moffat yes very memorable character) told the Doc that they’d “engineered a psychopath to kill [him]”, he just spits back “totally married her”. Like, “oh, I married her so I defeated her, your evil plot has come to nothing”. There was no emotion, nothing about the fact that they took his dear Amelia’s daughter and screwed her over so many fucking times that she came out a psychopath; no anger that they’d destroyed Amy’s life (ie; Amy can no longer have kids, Amy’s only child was abducted and turned into a monster, all of the Ponds were psychologically traumatized both by Kovarian and her group and by the Doctor’s fake death) and also made the life of his wife hell. There is no emotional consequence for anything, which really seems to be the hallmark of Moffat’s era. All of these things which would ordinarily leave someone traumatized, or at the very least fucking angry… all are just hand-waved because “OH LOOK, PLOT! OH YES, HOW GOOD A WRITER AM I??! What did you say? Character development? Oh, uh- look! Flashing lights!”
And again, with the “totally married her”. So, marrying her meant you defeated her? Tamed her? I cannot even begin to talk about the number of things wrong with that mentality. Add that to the bottomless list of female characters that Moffat has portrayed as being either in need of or dominated by men in order to be whole, sane, complete humans. It worries me that this is the kind of content young children are being taught is okay, since the show is supposed to be for kids. And I’m not even going to talk about the issues with Clara’s character, the nudity, and the general incompetence of the dialogue, plot, premise and denouement in this episode- others have already covered that.
Tl;dr- the two hallmarks of Moffat’s era have been the dominance of men and their necessity for female characters to be whole, and the lack of emotional consequences (and just general character development) as a result of any trauma the characters experience. But apparently the hyper-sexuality of the show makes it okay.
Honestly, without the magnificent acting of this cast, pretty much every character would be cardboard.
but seriously is it possible to have ONE FUCKING EPISODE WHERE HE DOESN’T MAKE A DIG ABOUT WOMEN
Can we just take a minute to acknowledge that the character development of Season 6/7 has been awful for both the male and female characters of Doctor Who?
I first started thinking about this in relation to River and her basic use as a plot element, instead of an actual character. And then I started to realize that not only did this apply to Clara, but it also applied to the Doctor.
When did Doctor Who stop being about the struggle of these beautiful characters and start being about the snazzy plot elements and the special effects? I could give a flying fuck what the Daleks are up to these days. I want to know how these characters deal with the losses they’re presented with. I want to see them struggle.
And yeah. Steven Moffat gives the Doctor plenty of “struggle”. But it’s always these huge life or death things. The stakes have been so high for so long that they’re starting to loose their sense. When the Doctor leaves Clara in the Christmas special, that should be a huge decision. She’s his only friend and yet he’s gone in the blink of an eye. His betrayal doesn’t matter— he leaves her and she forgives him and it goes on and on and on and SOMEHOW she still thinks he knows better than her. You could easily argue that it’s less painful for him that way… but it comes across as being self-sacrificial in a selfish way— in a way that it’s distinctly unlike the Doctor.
I love the Doctor. Not because he’s the man calling the shots, not because he’s the one in charge, but because his character is eternally good and flawed and complex. At the end of the day though, he isn’t the jerk who calls the shots and leaves the woman behind (TWICE) without explanation.
And yes, I watch this show as a feminist. I wince every time there’s a dig about women, every time a female character is pigeonholed, every time Clara’s character is left underdeveloped from the amazingness she could (cute and compliant are not character traits). But I also watch the Doctor and see how he’s being let down too.
As an artist, as a screen writer, as a performer, you have a DUTY to your audience. You have a duty to your characters. You have to love them and believe in them and sometimes, you have to fuck right off and let them grow. That’s what we love to watch. That’s who we miss when their days are long gone.
Steven Moffat seems a little more concerned with his budget raise than with his actually story development.
Heads up, Moffat. We’re watching.