Saturday, November 08, 2014

It's Raining (Cyber) Men

I feel vindicated in calling Samuel Anderson's performance weak as Danny Pink on Doctor Who when his big moment in the finale, "Death in Heaven", is completely overshadowed by an actor who's been dead for three years. But this was a very good episode for the dead with a rather a great use of graveyards.

It would have been better with creepier Cybermen costumes but I think limits have been imposed on what's seen as a kid's show, limits manifested in another brief, sappy scene like the one tacked onto the end of "In the Forest of the Night", though here it's actually used as an important plot point.

There's a certain idea about the Cybermen conditioning that sort of resembles one introduced in the Eleventh Doctor episode "The Lodger". I thought it was a bad idea in "The Lodger", here I didn't mind it so much for two reasons--I think the Cybermen were functioning as a different metaphor and I think what happens says something specifically about soldier psychology, demonstrating that the Doctor is completely justified in being wary of soldiers but at the same time there's a real value in the kind of loyalty a soldier is instilled with.

I enjoyed all the fake outs, the fun had with fan theories and change to the opening credits.

Missy is so, so good. Her relationship with the Doctor bringing some real depth of meaning to their relationship.

The climax seemed like a bit of an ode to The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, enacted by the best possible two characters on Doctor Who.

In a way, this episode, and this whole season of Doctor Who, has the opposite message of episodes like "The Beast Below". I'm a little reminded of Man of Steel which also seemed to take a traditionally pacifist character and argue for the need for him to kill now and then. Though it's much more effective on Doctor Who because the Doctor does kill from time to time. The only thing that worries me is that such a thing is used for a cheap pretence of profundity in movies like Man of Steel. I hope the next season of Doctor Who has some stories that focus more on the Doctor as a bringer of peace.

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