Sunday, April 16, 2017

Drown With the Monster - An Overanalysis of "The Pilot"

These are actually all companions, including the Dalek
Last time we were starting a new season, things were very different.  I was deeply in love with a girl named Tanya who loved me back.  Tanya doesn't speak to me anymore.  Last time I was a man named Trevor, and now I'm a woman and prefer you call me Julie.  Last time the President of the United States of America was Barack Obama, and now we're all going to die.  The year 2016 fell into utter and unadulterated chaos from which we may never recover, and coincidentally, who wasn't here to save us?  The Doctor!

But now it's two years later and we finally get a new season, as we say prepare to say goodbye to both Peter Capaldi and Steven Moffat, both of which will be missed by anyone who isn't an Internet trolling twatwaffle.  And how appropriate that for Moffat's last season as head writer, exactly like his first season back in 2010, starts on the day before Easter.  It's going to be a sad goodbye to both of them, and I'm going to cry more than usual for this regeneration.  But before that happens, we have a whole season of the 12th Doctor and his new friend, a girl named Bill.  Bill Potts, to be exact.  A Bill P. who's not a Piper.

Bill was announced as the first openly gay companion recently, to the consternation of many people who were obviously watching the show with their eyes closed, with the sound off, or while coked out of their minds, because, much like when we saw Vastra and Jenny's kiss in "Deep Breath," I have to ask "Why the fuck were you surprised?"  Since Russell T. Davies, the motherfucking creator of Queer as Folk, brought the show back in 2005, he and his successor, Steven Moffat, have both gone out of their way to make the show aggressively LGBT friendly.  Jack was pansexual, River was at least bisexual, Clara was implied to be bisexual and Jenna Coleman refused to deny it, there's an interspecies lesbian couple, there are background gay characters in "Midnight" and "The Rule of Three," and you can argue me on this if you want, but both Missy and The General are transgender.  So not only are the people who are complaining about Bill's sexuality ignorant bigots, but they don't know what show they're fucking talking about.

Amy and Rory when the Doctor's not around
Pearl Mackie, who plays Bill (brilliantly), said that Bill's sexuality would be brought up in about her second line of dialogue on the show and that it wouldn't be treated as a big deal.  And she's right, Bill's sexuality isn't treated as if it's unusual, as if it's a big deal that she's not straight, that she's anything but just another companion.  And yet, simultaneously, it was central to the whole story.  It was a small-scale love story (I guess you could call it a "like" story, since Bill and Heather didn't get to know each other very well) that could have just as easily been told with heterosexual characters, but it simply wasn't.  Because it's 2017 and you can do that sort of thing.

I still hate Nardole.

I'm Matt Lucas and I'm a big, racist, human chode.

Am I the only one who thought "Waters of Mars" in this episode?  Heather didn't react exactly like the infected in "Waters of Mars," but there was a definite similarity in the way she dribbled water from the mouth.  And then there's the other episode it reminds me of:  "The Lodger."  It's kind of a really chopped and screwed, highly postmodern version of "The Lodger," with the ship looking for a new pilot, but unlike "The Lodger," this is nothing like a normal ship.

I was curious about the picture on his desk.  Not River, that's understandable, he just lost her.  But there's a picture of Susan on his desk.  He hasn't hardly mentioned Susan since the 1st Doctor era on the show.  There are some (canonical) 8th Doctor audio stories where he meets up with her again, so he has seen her somewhat recently, right before the Time War.  But I still feel like Moffat wants to do something with Susan.  It's still strange, though, because he's been hinting at it his entire run, and this season is somewhat of a "clerical error," to quote the Doctor from last season.  Season 9 was designed to be Moffat's last season because he didn't know he was going to need to make a 10th one to give Chibnal time to finish up Broadchurch.  So everything we're seeing now wasn't planned that far in advance.

For those wondering which Dalek war the Doctor brought them to, it wasn't the Time War.  Those people they were fighting who looked like Milli Vanilli were a robot race called the Movellans from the 4th Doctor episode "Destiny of the Daleks."  They got stuck in a stalemate with the Daleks because each side could predict the others' moves perfectly, and neither had the imagination to come up with something the other side didn't expect.

I read an article that said that the stakes are low for this season because everyone knows that they're going to throw out the Doctor, the head writer, and most likely the companion at the end of the season.  But if there's one thing that "The Pilot" showed, it's that Moffat isn't writing this season like nothing's at stake, or like it's a "clerical error," but he's writing it as brilliantly as he always has.  I was a little worried that this might fall short the was Season 7 did when a lot was changing on set and Moffat was depressed and the writing suffered.  But Moffat seems to be writing from a place of confidence as he heads out the door, and I think we're in for another great season.

I'm continuing my rule this season of naming every blog after a punk song, and so:

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