Fear Makes Companions of Us All – Doctor Who “Listen” Review

September 14, 2014 § Leave a comment

I know you’re afraid, but being afraid is alright. Because didn’t anybody ever tell you? Fear is a superpower. Fear can make you faster and cleverer and stronger. And one day you’re gonna come back to this barn and on that day you’re going to be very afraid indeed. But that’s okay, because if you’re very wise and very strong fear doesn’t have to make you cruel or cowardly. Fear can make you kind. It doesn’t matter if there’s nothing under the bed or in the dark so long as you know it’s okay to be afraid of it. So listen. If you listen to anything else, listen to this. You’re always gonna be afraid even if you learn to hide it. Fear is like a companion, a constant companion, always there. But that’s okay because fear can bring us together. Fear can bring you home. I’m gonna leave you something just so you’ll always remember. Fear makes companions of us all.

The Doctor 8×4

Listen, because I think we just hit a historic moment in new Who. It wasn’t the most fun episode, nor was it the one with the most happening, but it was probably one of the best episodes in years, probably the best since season five. I don’t think that it will be appreciated as such by everyone. But that’s not what this blog is for.

It’s for my opinions, so listen.

Doctor Who has been going through another transition phase. It seems like the show is all about transition phases. But I think that the fact that we’re seeing strong links back to early episodes means something. The link in “Deep Breath” happened to be the robot and it’s origins. How the Doctor had met something like that before, even though he couldn’t quiet place it–which seemed realistic. It had been hundreds of years. Then the implied link between other people in the show and where the Doctor gets his faces. That has to mean something; it has to come from somewhere.

This link might have been the smallest and shortest reaching of all (it only goes back to the specials that took place before this season and season seven), but I think it was more significant.

When the episode opened on the monologue with him talking about being alone and talking to one’s self I already had a chill. The atmosphere and the tone of all this was perfectly done. I didn’t check who the director was, because I never really do, but the shooting, the lighting and all of it just mesh so well to paint a wonderfully unnerving picture.

The question of what the thing was never got answered and it doesn’t have to be. If we had gotten an answer for what the creature was in “Midnight” all those years ago the answer could have never sufficed. It could have never been as satisfying as what we remember of that episode. I got the same kind of chills here when the “thing” set up under the covers in that bed.

What the fuck was that? What the fuck did it want? It really just made me worry that they were going to pull the sheet off because in that moment I was wrapped up in every bit of the scene. Clara, Danny and the Doctor standing in that room with something at their backs. Something that has the Doctor afraid.

That was one of the most effective set pieces in the episode, but really all of them were well played out.

The ending was perfect, because I didn’t really need to see anymore of the creature. I didn’t need to see anything else. We got what we had come for. Clara was the Doctor’s dream. But she wasn’t the creature. the creature was there, three of them saw it. It exists.

Some people might call this a cop out, but I came up with a pretty easy explanation for why the thing used the word “Listen” in the beginning on the chalk board and what it all means. See, I figure that the thing under the sheet wasn’t fake at all and that it really had been following the Doctor all along. Either that or something like it had. The Doctor saw the word “Listen” because it had a special significance to him. It was part of what Clara was telling him when he was in bed as a child and the thing was there for that. It’s been following him all along. Maybe it’s a manifestation of fear itself? Maybe it’s the thing from “Midnight”. And more than likely we’ll never know.

But the episode works and it gave us more Clara and more Danny (which their budding romance seemed to be a small point in the episode, but even then I don’t think it disrupts or detracts, we haven’t seen a Companion in the new show grow into a new relationship really).

And to the question of how Clara’s memories could lead us to the Doctor as a kid, well easy. She was scattered into his timeline. She’s a part of his history. The whole “Impossible Girl” thing comes back into play. I feel like there was so much here that was going on at once and so much to speculate on and that’s why the episode will probably not get the praise that it deserves.

It seems like some that are into it like I was. Someone over at the AV club sure was. I am just liking the intelligent episode thing. I’m tired of watching dumbed down television and I appreciate this.

Doctor Who Review–Robot of Sherwood

September 8, 2014 § Leave a comment

Did I miss something here? WcLrIUwAre we no longer allowed to have fun watching this show? Because it seems that way.

I was a little late to the party and I watched this latest episode late Sunday night. I’ve been ill and it was something I wanted to do with a clear head.

People have been all over the net complaining about the last episode and how stupid it was. Doctor Who is going to be silly and over the top at times. I’ll accept more of that kind of thing in an episode that’s not part of the main story.

We see Clara and the Doctor just kind of picking random places and going to them and him taking her to see Robin Hood. The initial meeting between the two of them and the sword/spoon fight was brilliant. People will talk about how it goes back to Tennant, but really it goes back to the old Doctors and he even sword fought with the Master once.

Not sure why after being bested Robin continues to pick on the Doctor’s age.

Some of the best bits from this one for me were that initial fight (as I just said).

The Archery competition, which is kind of a staple of the Robin Hood story and it was nicely pulled off.

And the sequences in the prison with Robin and the Doctor arguing and the Sheriff thinking Clara was the leader.

Actually the bit where Clara pumped the Sheriff for information was really good—I wonder when fans will realize that Clara has character (and really has all along).

Actually, when I was searching for the below picture I found a cosplay from this episode of that red dress and I thought “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me!” People work fast.  tumblr_nb8gqn9dCG1tjxct6o1_500

There isn’t much to say about this episode though, it was filler, it was silly and it was fun. I am enjoying Capaldi’s take on the Doctor and I am liking Clara more too. There does seem to be something different about how this season is being shot. It’s not a bad thing, but the camera work seems different somehow. I might have to break out the blu-rays and do some comparisons.

There’s also this mystery, the promised land and all of that. Most of the seasons of New Who have some mystery. Bad Wolf, Vote Saxxon, Torchwood, vanishing stars, the Pandorica and so on.

This one is shaping up to be really interesting though it kind of does remind me of season six’s “The Woman in the Walls” bit. I’m happy with the show and happy that we changed enough after Smith but kept some of the old flare.

The preview for the next one looks creepy. Can’t wait.

Leaks: How Far We’ve Come

September 4, 2014 § Leave a comment

I’ve been busying myself with the details of moving, namely money. Money is pretty much what makes the world go around and decides what it is we will and won’t do.

And it’s not the discussion we’re having today.

Sometime Sunday, while I was out with friends celebrating going away a shit-ton of nude images of celebrities were leaked online by a supposed hacker.

I don’t think we need to duscuss privacy, except to say that it’s not like we’ve ever given a rat’s ass about it when it comes to celebrities. We assume that they’re owned by the public, that they owe us their private time as some sort of pinnance for being popular.

Deep down inside we’re all just that geeky high school kid who wants to see some kind of punishment exacted on the popular people–even if they honestly did nothing to deserve it and are otherwise talented individuals.

But that’s not the only problem. I don’t think this leak would be as awful in the eyes of the women and men it affected if the comments about what exactly has happened weren’t so filled with utter disregard.

Let’s face it, a lot of people like looking at naked pictures. Naked pictures of friends. Naked pictures of lovers. Naked pictures of strangers who are paid to get naked for other strangers to look at…

It’s pretty much a billion dollar industry that most of the participants aren’t even being paid to participate in.

But there’s no need to be dehumanizing about someone’s naked body. There’s no need to be shameful or to treat it like you’ve got a right to see them or that this is punshment for them daring to have sexuality.

There’s a sick disconnect between the idea that these people are people and that these people are objects. These comments are worse than a simple “she’s hot”. And they’ve built up a community around them.

Despite the origin of the whole thing, Reddit seems to be the nexus and looking at the comments there on almost anything it’s easy to see hatred of women and other shitty attitudes bubbling under the surface.

If women that were nude in pictures weren’t treated like shameful cautionary tales I think it would be far less of an issue for more women who were seen nude. It would be harder for vindictive boyfriends to get back at exes by dumping pictures online. Jobs wouldn’t be able to fire women who had posed nude before.

We want to brag about how far our society has come, but I thing 2014 has proven that we really haven’t come that far at all.

Into the Dalek: Doctor Who Review

September 1, 2014 § Leave a comment

Spoilers ahead. You have been warned.

p025jxryThere’s a feeling of dread I get deep down in the pit of my stomach when there’s going to be a new Dalek episode of Doctor Who. I really have a kind of hate-hate relationship with the things and I understand their importance to the series, their iconic status and their history; I also understand that there hasn’t been much new done with them throughout all of the new series and the only time they have ever really been interesting for me was last season’s Asylum of the Dalek.

This is probably a strange thing to here from a Doctor Who fan, but I hate the Daleks. Maybe it’s because the goddamn things were shoved down our throats every season for five straight seasons, in what seemed to be mostly two part episodes. In fact, the only season that didn’t end with Daleks until five, was three.

And that was utter shit.

So we come to the current season and the current Doctor. This is probably the first time the Daleks have been just okay for me. I wasn’t annoyed by them. I wasn’t really upset with them or impressed the way I was with Asylum. I was okay with them and I really feel like this was a vessel (no pun intended) for us to learn more about Capaldi’s Doctor.

He’s openly callous, more ruthless and has a darker feel. That’s the thing that resonates here. The Daleks were really just an after thought, and considering they originally weren’t going to be in this season it’s possible that some other bad guy was occupying this space before the Dalek was written in to replace it.

Maybe it was a giant Cyberman or something?

We’re also getting a sense of Clara. She’s snarky and compassionate and stands up to the Doctor. She seems to be taking her conversation with Matt Smith’s Doctor to heart. She’s there to care for this Doctor and to watch over him.

I was really hoping to have there be some recognition between the Daleks and Clara. I don’t know how, but I had hoped there was some shout out to last season when we were first introduced to the future version of Clara, Oswin Oswald

Where this supposed new companion fits into this, I can’t really tell. I’m really interested in him because he’s going to be the first actual soldier in the TARDIS long term in a while. I feel like if there’s too much more action added because of him it could lead to more bitching from fans (because there is a whole sect of Doctor Who fans ready to bitch at a moments notice—I seriously read an argument the other day where someone was saying that Capaldi said “Aye” once and hadn’t said it again and that it was too inconsistent).

. I think it’s also nice that the character, who appears to be black, doesn’t seem to be occupy a typical black or male role. He’s somewhat sensitive and he’s not gruff or thuggish or anything like that. Maybe that’s not a British TV problem the way it is over here—but it’s a real issue in the states still and when I see some show shy away from it, I’m glad.

Season eight is still largely up in the air. There’s the heaven thing with the woman fans are calling “Missy” that I still can’t see the connection with yet. There’s the mystery surrounding the Doctor’s faces and here he gets them. There’s even some meta questions about the future of Clara in the show. I could see this being a strong season, maybe stronger than six (my hierarchy of seasons goes 5,6,7,4,2,3,1)

This episode resembled Beast Below to me (season five episode two). I like Beast, but it has major issues with tone and what it wanted to be and the saving grace were the interactions between Karen Gillan and Matt Smith. I feel like the same thing could be said of this episode and Jennna Louise Coleman and Peter Capladi

Short Post: Magical Realism

August 30, 2014 § 4 Comments

1365541696926This isn’t what you’re thinking.

This is just me coming right out and saying it: magic would be an awful thing to have really exist. The simple reason why is because of how depraved people are without it. Think of the kind of things that get blamed on magic and the occult and it more than likely doesn’t exist.

Now imagine if it did and some of those things were being given credence and supported by an actual real world force.

Imagine someone crazy in that way a genius is, but also willing to be passonate enough that they start trying their spells and things on themselves. Now imagine the results that it would garner.

No, magic is probably a thing best left for story book worlds.

BoJack Horseman Is Actually Funny

August 28, 2014 § 1 Comment

MV5BMTUxNDYwMzEzM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTM0ODkyMjE@._V1_SX640_SY720_I might have, in the past few days mentioned the show Bojack Horseman. It’s a Netflix original cartoon that follows a former nineties television star horse through his day to day life trying to navigate obscurity. Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) and Alison Brie (Community and Mad Men) were the personalities that attracted me to the whole thing and I have to say that the more I see of it the more I love it.

Apparently I’m not the only one, Netflix has already ordered a second season. It’s nice to see more things following in the footsteps of shows like Archer and using the cartoon medium to tell somewhat realistic premises in unbelievable ways.

Even better is the power of Netflix to basically fund shows that aren’t bound by the awkward (awkward in the way that boners during a junior high school slow dance are awkward) television censorship laws and that don’t cost you twenty dollars a month to watch.

If you’re a fan of dark humor, enjoy the voices of Will Arnett, Aaron Paul, Paul F. Tompkins, and Alison Brie, or are just looking for something to binge watch on Netflix, definitely give this one a try.

Stop Telling Black People That Racism Doesn’t Matter

August 27, 2014 § Leave a comment

1313178415025When I was in first grade I loved the Ninja Turtles. This is a time slightly before the explosion of Power Rangers and before anyone here really watched anime at a younger age. The US back then largely relied on it’s own animation and guess what cartoon had gone from the small screen to the movie theater recently?

I remember it was cold outside, well, as cold as it gets in Texas. And I remember there were some kids talking about playing Ninja Turtles in this little playground just before you walked onto the soccer field. There were only three of them and I wanted to be Donatello. So I asked.

And the reply came back from one of the kids that the Turtles weren’t black. Sounds like someone should have taught the little fucker his colors. The Turtles were all shades of green. None of them had a “race” the way humans thought of it and it seemed odd that a kid would define something that obviously has no race as “not black” or “white”. Looking back I can totally understand it now. To that kid and a lot of other kids of other races, white is default.

Before I go on, I would like to quote someone off of a forum that I know and what they said in a recent thread.

I’m sick of trying to explain this to white boys on the internet (or whatever inevitable “actually, I’m not white, I’m..” outlier) who fancy themselves Spock bracing against all the “emotional” discontent of minorities.

They don’t get it. And worse than simply not getting it, they think they have a better grasp of “it” than us.” It” being our own experience. And suddenly, we find ourselves in Robot-Logic Land where any argumentation less scrupulous than a Master’s thesis need not apply because human experience is never muddied by anything other than numbers and rationality. This from the same sort of people who sub to some fat fuck nerd on Youtube for “telling it like it is” with nothing but anecdotes and Cheeto-powered rage.

This isn’t to say that whites are evil or that all whites are causing the problem. I don’t have an issue with anyone based on skin color. What I do have issue with, as the quote kind of points out, is the idea that my experiences as a black person and the experiences of someone who is white are the same.

In the same way that two resumes that are identical with just male and female names will be treated differently, being black is going to make people make assumptions about you. Even other black people. It’s going to change how you’re treated in certain situations and how you act. I’ve come to realize that when dealing with people I don’t know I will often try my best to look as nonthreatening as possible, to speak softer than I normally do and the like. It’s not something that was done consciously at first—it just happened. This is the way that garners the most respect or keeps me out of trouble the most. It’s a defense mechanism.

It feels like people react to you as if they’re afraid of you a lot of the time. These attitudes about race, some of them contradictory, are ingrained in the culture of our country from a time starting back from when Columbus landed on a piece of dirt near here and decided that the people there didn’t matter.

And this isn’t just an issue with race, it can be applied to other things. A friend of mine recently posted an article on her Facebook page about street abuse of women and people acted like she was overreacting. When it comes to women everyone suddenly wants to point out how easily they actually have it; like somehow having doors held for you or not having to pay for all your own meals and movies would somehow make up for the cat calling, wage gap and the way that people don’t value your fucking opinions.

I’m tired of people deciding the narrative without listening to the other side of things. I’m tired of it being “too soon” to talk about these things or “me being too sensitive because the issue is too close”. Who better to talk about the experiences I’ve had than me? Why shouldn’t women speak out against guys thinking they have the right to treat them like property?

What the people do this are doing isn’t just avoiding the problem. They’re adding to it, but not addressing what’s there and deflecting discussion of it you’re telling the person who faces the issue that they don’t matter, their pain isn’t important, their experiences aren’t your problem, that the abuses should go on and they should just deal with it.

“That’s just the way things are” right?

Luckily, when I was in first grade the teacher pulled me aside after she heard what had happened with me and the other kids and she talked to me about skin color and how it didn’t matter. The discussion was really brief and simple. I was six, so I couldn’t take much more than brief and simple. The one thing I remember about it was how she told me that we’re different, but it doesn’t matter. It’s what’s inside that counts. It’s corny, but it’s true. Whether you’re brown, black, white or a mutated turtle, it’s what’s inside that counts.  

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