All New Who

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Re: All New Who

Post by malickfan on Tue Jun 19, 2018 8:19 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:{{{Chibnall, Whittaker and the rest of the new cast will all be on a panel at San Deigo Comic-Con- so we finally might get some actual information about what they are doing, how pc is all sounds, and hopefully actually find out who the bloody writers are! And I assume at least a teaser trailer (rumour had it the teaser would be during Englands first world cup match and the full trailer at Comic-Con, but there was no teaser during the game so who knows now) }}}

I am a tad surprised just how secretive Chibnall is being about S10, I get he wants to make a fresh start and creative reboot with a big impact, but keeping so much info back till the episodes actually air may kill more interest than it creates...I think some of the details we've learned (historical episodes, King James appearing in one, possible apperance from Sontarans) have only been confirmed because cast members let slip when they werent supposed to..

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Re: All New Who

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:35 am

{{  It seems one extreme or another with Who and the BBC- they gave way, way too much away about Capaldi's final series, giving away the big twist in the final episode in the trailer following the 1st episode for example! Mad (if you plan on watching and haven't yet- avoid all the 'next time' trailers in series 10!) with Chibnall's run its the opposite- its been a very slow drip feed of information- and as you point out Malick most of what we do know comes from leaks not official releases of information- in fact the only official stuff we have is the main cast, amount and running time of episodes, some episode titles, a not very impressive directors list and that Chibnall is showrunner- that's it.
By this point in Capaldi debut series production they were on a world tour promoting the show, doing interviews, making announcements and releasing official promos pics of the 12th Doctor and Clara- we've had none of that this time out- its all been very low key and very quiet so far- maybe that will all change after Comic-Con (which was just 1 stop of many globally during 12's promo tour for the show), but I'm not convinced it will.}}}

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Re: All New Who

Post by Forest Shepherd on Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:13 am

My cousin and his girlfriend is going to Comic-con; I bet they see this panel.

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Re: All New Who

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Jun 20, 2018 2:40 pm

{{lucky sods- I expect you to get a full report Forest!!! Nod }}

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Re: All New Who

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Jun 21, 2018 3:26 am

{{One of my favourite 12/Clara scenes frm the end of Mummy on the Orient Express }}


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Re: All New Who

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:50 pm

{{{ Well we might know next to nothing about series 11, we might not have had so much as a teaser trailer for it yet, we might not even know who is writing any of it- but that hasn't stopped BBC Marketing from putting the series 11 Bluray and DVD up for pre-order sale on Amazon- at a whopping £50!!! Shocked  (previous series have been £25-£30 tops) }}

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Re: All New Who

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sat Jun 23, 2018 6:12 am

The Doctor, Memory, Self and Moffat


{{{ Who, and Moffat era Who in particular is a show that is at heart optimistic. It might hide this fact pretty well behind its misery, deaths at alien hands and childhood fears but in the end, no matter the personal price, the Doctor always wins by doing the right thing. Even in the bleakest moments there is hope. Doctor Who is no stranger to Tolkien's u-catastrophe.

But that is not to say that it does not also deal in themes which are of themselves not optimistic at all. And for me the main feature of Moffat's time as Head Writer are the themes associated with memory, self and its association with mental health, particularly dementia.

The notion here is to demonstrate where those themes surface, what they say about the characters, and to try to extract somewhat what they may say of the author and the overall message conveyed across the whole of Moffat's tenure.


The Series 5 Arc

"Who are you?"

"I don't know yet..."

We begin as Moffat did with the 11th Hour and the debut of the 11th Doctor and his companions Amy and Rory.
The Doctor, as is normal post-regeneration, is not sure who he is yet in terms of personality, all he does know is what he always retains through his regenerations the idea of the Doctor and that is who he is. We are also introduced to a plot device that will resurface from now until the very end of 11's time as the Doctor- a crack in time and space. The crack will eventually be revealed to have been caused when the Doctor's TARDIS was made to explode as a means of preventing him going to the planet Trenzalore in his future.
The effect of the crack is to 'eat' at existence around Amy as she grows up, swallowing up people from her life so that they never existed in the first place.
Because of this we learn in the final episode of the first series that the reason the Doctor took Amy along when he had claimed 'no reason' (which was a lie*) was because she did not make sense, this young girl living in a huge empty house. The crack had been eating at her life her whole life taking people from it and from existence so not even the memory of them survives.


*An interesting feature of 11 as a Doctor is one of the things Moffat choose to highlight -that the Doctor has not always been honest or reliable and he has often manipulated people for his own ends: “Rule One: The Doctor Lies”.

“You asked me why I was taking you with me, and I said no reason. I lied.”

In this way, in a series whose arc is about memory Moffat makes our main character, our hero, an unreliable source of truth. He deliberately draws attention to it several times in the series and in so doing takes away the certainty for the viewer. Memory is vague and uncertain, ethereal and it can be lost or found. By not allowing the viewer to even fully trust the Doctor's words Moffat plays into the uncertainty theme around memory.

"Remember what I told you when you were seven."

"I remember you. I remember! I brought the others back, I can bring you home, too. Raggedy man, I remember you, and you are late for my wedding!"

Amy however has a sort of super power, thanks to the crack being in her bedroom the universe has been pouring through her head every night as she slept, she alone has the ability to remember those whom the crack has taken and so can restore them.
This hinges on a sentiment expressed by the Doctor-

"People fall out of the world sometimes, but they always leave traces. Little things we can't quite account for. Faces in photographs, luggage, half eaten meals, rings. Nothing is ever forgotten, not completely. And if something can be remembered, it can come back."

In this way she restores Rory, her own parents and finally the Doctor.
What brings them back is her ability to remember them again.
So we can see how the overall arc of series five is entirely based around memory and how who we are as a person is reliant upon who we remember being. Amy's life has been eaten away not just by the physical loss of those around her and closest to her, but by her inability to even remember that they ever existed in the first place.
Amy can be seen as someone whose memories of familiar faces has been stripped from her by an overpowering outside force (only this being sci-fi that is manifest literately in a physical fashion as the crack and the actual people not just the memory of them being taken from reality). As a metaphor for one of the major effects of dementia however- loss of memory and in particular loss of the ability to remember or recognise loved ones - it is quite a strong one I believe.

But lets delve a little deeper into some of the individual episodes of series five before moving onto series 6.




The Beast Below

“But why would I choose to forget?

“Because everyone does. Everyone chooses the Forget button.”

The second episode in 11 and Moffat's run tells the story of the starship UK, following massive sun-flares which temporary rendered earth uninhabitable (bit of continuity with 4th Doctor Ark in Space and The Sontaran Experiment classic fans!) the nations of earth each built massive spaceships for their population to go off to try to colonise somewhere else, presumably less on fire.
The UK had some problems with their ship however and they were last to leave (possibly due to problems with Scotland who demanded their own ship, one of many Scottish jokes/commentaries Moffat makes in his tenure but best left for a different discussion!).
As a result the UK was about to get burnt up, crying children and all, when a seeming miracle occurred. The last of the massive star whales turned up- seeing an opportunity the desperate Brits captured it and enslaved it as basically their engine, and they keep it flying for them through permanent torture direct to its brain.
This act of cruelty to save themselves is something the entire population is complicit in, and every five years they go to a booth, watch a tape that tells them what they have done and get to chose- they can protest the fact (if enough do the whale is released they all die) or they can choose to forget and have their memories wiped and so live happy without the burdensome knowledge of knowing how they were safe.
Naturally, everyone chooses to forget.

Again the topic of this episode has a lot to do with memory. In this case though rather than personal memory it is wider social memory- how society can wilfully forget its own misdemeanours, only to repeat them over and over again.
The ultimate symbol of UK society is of course the Queen- and here we have Liz 10, who roughly every ten years of her reign uncovers the sinister evil at the heart of her government, leading her back to where she started, to a tape in which she explains how she gave the order. Every ten years even the Queen chooses to Forget.

The only solution to the dilemma of either releasing the Star Whale and killing everyone on board, or letting it continue on in continual pain under torture that the Doctor can see is to lobotomise the creature, allowing it to continue but to feel nothing again as it would be in a vegetative state.
Again here we are dealing with the idea of self and of its destruction and how that is worse even than killing it would be-

“Then I find a new name because I won't be the Doctor.”

The idea of taking away the star whales individuality, its mind is so abhorrent to him that he would no longer consider himself the Doctor.

The episodes ends on the introduction of a note that will be a hallmark of both Moffat's incarnations of the Doctor and which he often links to memory, or at least the retaining of it over a long period of time distilled to wisdom.

“If you were that old, and that kind, and the very last of your kind, you couldn't just stand there and watch children cry.”

Moffat will continue to link the idea of kindness, with longevity, loneliness, memory and to the Doctor's actions until the very end of his run in charge.



Victory of the Daleks


“He talked to us about his memories. The Great War.”

“Someone else's stolen thoughts, implanted in a positronic brain. Tell me bout it. Bracewell. Tell me about your life...Tell me, and prove you're human.”

On initial appearances this one is not going to deal much with memory, but in the end it hinges upon it.
Bracewell, the Dalek human-impersonating android implanted with a dead man's memories is also a huge bomb. The solution to disarming it is to make him human.
What's interesting here is that the process of doing so is not physical, that's not what counts. What counts is memory.
Moffat begins here another theme which reoccurs till the end of his tenure- that of our idea of self being dependent upon our memories of self, and that is the most important factor to him. It can even override the reality of the fact Bracewell remains an android with a bomb in him- all that has changed is that he embraces his humanity through his stolen life's memories.
Moffat says to us here that though we may change as we live our life, go through different phases, hold differing even opposing view at different times in our lives, it is the culmination of memory of all those variations on ourself that makes the whole self we are in the present, the human we are. And that even if you're an android, if you have those memoires, if you have that recall of all the selves you have been, that is what makes you human, not the wiring. Were memory not imbued with this special power to bestow self Bracewell would have exploded taking the planet with him.
But through embracing the memories of a life lived and accepting them as his own Bracewell becomes self, he becomes human according to Moffat in all the ways that really matter- and those ways are based on the power of memory to define ourselves as an individual.


There are two other more minor touches on the memory issue- we learn that the crack in time is not only eating at Amy's life but entire world events- as Amy has no knowledge of Daleks despite them having invaded earth several time in 10's run. But I view this more as an opportunity by Moffat in a technical way to use the cracks in time as an excuse to 'tidy' up the RTD era 'everyone on earth knows all about aliens and gets invaded every xmas' problem and hit the reset button on that rather than as any particular commentary on memory.
And secondly it could be argued that the Daleks entire plan relies upon memory- specifically the Doctor's. They need him to call them out as Daleks as they require his testimony to convince their systems they are Daleks, as they are not pure DNA Daleks.
In essence the Daleks need the Doctor to remember who they are, what they've done to him and to bring to bear the emotional effects of those memories into him losing it and calling them out as Daleks. In fact the testimony the Daleks take includes him listing past memories of them-

"You are everything I despise. The worst thing in creation. I have defeated you time and time again. I've defeated you. I sent you back into the Void. I saved the whole of reality from you. I am the Doctor. And you are the Daleks."

The rebirth of pure DNA Daleks and the beginning of the new Dalek Empire we see grow across Moffat's tenure can be blamed feasibly on the Doctors memory. Had he say had some sort of memory wipe making him forget all about Daleks their plan would have failed right there and then- it required his memory of them and associated feelings to work.




I had meant to do this piece as one, but its onto page four and I've only got to episode 3!!! So I shall return to it later if there is any show of interest in me doing so! (or probably even if there isn't! Mad  ) }}}}

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Re: All New Who

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Mon Jun 25, 2018 4:45 am

{{part two- guess it was the latter option!! Evil or Very Mad




The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone


I'll deal first and briefly with River here, as she is a topic on her own. But as far as memory is concerned it is interwoven into her narrative. As a general rule every time she meets the Doctor its a younger version of him, or as she puts it-

Every time we meet, I know him more, he knows me less. I live for the days when I see him, but I know that every time I do, he'll be one step further away.”

What's interesting about this relationship from the perspective of River, and from the the theme of memory and its loss and dementia, is that River here is in the position of loved one not sufferer; watching someone slip every further away from her.

And the day is coming when I'll look into that man's eyes, my Doctor, and he won't have the faintest idea who I am. And I think it's going to kill me.”

This is a moment faced by many loved ones of those suffering from dementia. This is that loss of memory of those closest to you, but from the other side. Rivers greatest fear as that he will have completely forgotten her, have no idea who she is or what she means to him and she knows that moment is inevitable, lying in wait for her in her future.

Moffat also plays games with memory and River, and the order of events. Memory can be remembered in the wrong order in a way reality cannot, unless you write Doctor Who. Immediately following the events of these two episodes River leaves to visit Amy again, only this Amy is several years older and knows who River is, the memory of the sequence of events between River and Amy is dependent on which character's memory you look at. For Amy her encounter with the Angels and meeting River for the first time happened early in her travels with the Doctor, for River it was one of the last adventures she went on with Amy, and she was seeing her for one of the last times.

Regards memory in this episode we have the reappearance of the Cracks in Time and a restating of how it works and a show of that with the soldiers being wiped from existence one by one and forgetting each other. This more a narrative need to demonstrate the power and effect of the cracks than it is any particular comment on memory.
However we also have the Doctor, from the future, speaking to Amy, who thinks its her contemporary Doctor and who tells her to remember what he told her when she was seven.
This is one of those cases where Moffat both plays with memory and the ordering of it- as from the Doctor's point of view he has yet to tell her anything when she was seven- form Amy's point of view ti was a conversation she had twelve years ago.
This device of mixing memory and time gives a sense of the fluidity of memory and its fragile nature as well as how memory lacks order outside of the individual whose memories they are. It keeps the viewer guessing as well as maintaining a sense of uncertainty about events, their order and even reliability.

Vampires of Venice

There is not much on memory here until the very end. In this case its the burden of memory, a common theme in Moffat era when memory is related to the Doctor. In the Doctor Moffat gets to examine this other aspect of memory, especially long memory of a person who has done a lot of good and bad things, that is the burden of memory for the Doctor- a theme Moffat will return to often.

At the end of this story, having defeated his opponents with only one survivor left, the final survivor chooses suicide with the words-

Tell me, Doctor. Can your conscience carry the weight of another dead race? Remember us. Dream of us.”



The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood

This is another story which does not deal directly with memory until the very end.
Here we have the seeming death and removal from existence of Rory by the Crack in Time after he is shot. And as a result a hysterically distraught Amy begins to forget him, eventually forgetting him utterly as he is wiped from having ever existed.
What is interesting about this is the Doctors reaction. He is insistent that Amy can save Rory if only she can somehow retain his memory-

You can. You can do it. I can't help you unless you do. Come on. We can still save his memory. Come on, Amy. Please. Come on, Amy, come on. Amy, please. Don't let anything distract you. Remember Rory. Keep remembering. Rory's only alive in your memory.

Sadly he is completely wrong- just as a dementia sufferer cant wilfully prevent the memory degrading just by trying, nor can Amy. Moments later she has no memory of Rory at all and acts oblivious to him having ever having existed.
Despite the Doctors insistence the force at work is so monumental that it is irresistible. A force a human simply cannot stand up to it no matter how hard they try or well intended they are, or how much support they have. Again this is very metaphorical for dementia- there are a thousand and one programs to help sufferers try to retain memory, exercises to do ect but in the end none of them work long-term in holding out against the damage.


Vincent and the Doctor

Of all series five this episode is the most upfront on its subject matter of mental health. And it bears a resemblance in ideas to the end of Cold Blood in that there is a harsh inevitability about events.
Having believed they have made a positive difference in the life of Van Gogh Amy believes they will have prevented his suicide allowing him to go on and paint more pictures.
What she finds is that despite all they did he still killed himself a year later. There is an acceptance here that the weight of the mental issues is again to great to bear or resist over time, even if there are moments along the way of lucidity, happiness or joy.
As the Doctor puts it-

The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. Hey. The good things don't always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don't necessarily spoil the good things or make them unimportant.


I will leave it here again as the next bit covers the series finale and the xmas special- which is enough ground to cover for a post on its own. }}}

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Re: All New Who

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Mon Jun 25, 2018 4:16 pm

{{This is interesting, its from the official site and its about the glorius 70's Who  of the 4th Doctor (they've got some dvd's to flog) but what caught my attention is that it references the events of Genesis of the Daleks as the first act of the Time War (a war which RTD didn't dream up till 2005). Now this has long been a fan theory as far as I know, but I was unaware it had ever had any official confirmation- until now of course. }}}


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Re: All New Who

Post by Mrs Figg on Mon Jun 25, 2018 11:53 pm

whens it on then, the new one, with the female

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Re: All New Who

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:04 am

{{No official date yet- Octoberish probably.

Leaked 40sec clip doing the rounds- not to spoilery but obviously is somewhat if you want to know nothing, gives a sense of how they are handling some aspects- quality isn't great and her accent will take getting used to- but overall I came away positive from it. }}}


https://twitter.com/joshc94

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Re: All New Who

Post by halfwise on Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:47 am

Not quirky enough.

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Re: All New Who

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:58 am

{{Well it seems to be immediately post regeneration- thats always a dodgy time for the Doctor has they don't know who they are yet in terms of personality and are still trying to figure it out.
Heres some comparisons of other post-regen Doctor scenes-

4th Doctor-




5th Doctor




6th Doctor




10th Doctor (from 2.35)


12th Doctor  }}

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Re: All New Who

Post by Mrs Figg on Tue Jun 26, 2018 1:24 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:{{No official date yet- Octoberish probably.

Leaked 40sec clip doing the rounds- not to spoilery but obviously is somewhat if you want to know nothing, gives a sense of how they are handling some aspects- quality isn't great and her accent will take getting used to- but overall I came away positive from it. }}}


https://twitter.com/joshc94

cant see it in my location.

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Re: All New Who

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Jun 26, 2018 2:52 pm

{{I didn't even know twitter blocked regionally! Sorry Figg, the BBC are pulling it pretty fast from the likes of youtube and stuff so dont know where else you might see it- maybe just search youtube every so often and try to catch an upload before the bbc pull it.

As I say I thought it was ok for a 40 sec clip. I have seen some criticise it on the basis she seems to be trying too hard, but as I actually thought that of Capaldi in his 1st post-regen scene too this doesn't bother me and I always feel the post-regen scenes are one of the oddest things about Who as drama- you get rid of your old actor, replace them with someone else playing the same person in a different body (tricky enough to pull off in itself), but then you introduce the new one as 'not yet themselves' for at least an episode. Its weird. But genius. I think if the Doctor just changed and leapt right in as if nothing had happened it would oddly be harder to accept the new person in the role. The fact the character themselves takes a bit of time to get used to the new version as well actually helps I think- but it does mean you have at least an episode where the new Doctor is just a bit off, or odd before you get to what the new Doctor is actually going to be like for the series.}}

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Re: All New Who

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:02 pm

{{Just a bit of Who curio and history here about how the Doctor acts post-regeneration.
This is from the original BBC memo from the very 1st regeneration-

"The metaphysical change... is a horrifying experience - an experience in which he relives some of the most unendurable moments of his long life, including the galactic war," it said.
"It is as if he has had the LSD drug and instead of experiencing the kicks, he has the hell and dank horror which can be its effect," the memo added.

The 'Galatic War' mentioned here never actually made into the show, these days you can of course substitute it with the Last Great Time War. And personally I think 4 got the kicks not the lows! Very Happy And 6 really got the hell and dank horror bit  Very Happy  }}}

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Re: All New Who

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Jun 26, 2018 11:24 pm

{{The new Sonic Screwdriver from the leak. Not sold on it for two reasons- 1 it looks like an alien sex toy and not sure that's a good way to go for the first female Doctor! 2 although red has been used before for the light looks a bit like an intergalactic lipstick when a woman is holding it and not sure that's a good way to go for the first female Doctor either! }}

Spoiler:

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Re: All New Who

Post by halfwise on Tue Jun 26, 2018 11:28 pm

"Alien sex toy" - right on target. The hell were they thinking?

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Re: All New Who

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Jun 27, 2018 12:58 am

{{We have our new composer! Segun Akinola. He has done a lot of scoring for big BBC documentaries including Volcano and Black and British a Forgotten History, The Human Body Secrets of your life revealed, as well as Panorama.But not much if any drama outside short films. He won a breakthrough award at the BAFTA's, heres a short bio from it and heres random stuff from youtube of his work that I could find }}








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Re: All New Who

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Jun 28, 2018 12:52 pm

{{ note- I've put all three parts of the series five analysis into one lump under a spoiler below at the end of part 3 (in spoilers just so part three doesn't look like an intimidating wall of writing! This way if you want to catch up it s in one handy place, if your up to date you can just read 3)


 Part Three

The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang


Onto the series finale now. It stars with memory- Amy finding her engagement ring to Rory that the Doctor has been keeping, prompting the Doctor into his speech about how things are never completely forgotten and how sometimes people fall out of the world.
The main plan of the coalition of evil that's assembled relies on taking a memory imprint from Amy to construct the scenario- but they got more than they bargained for as they did not realise the effect the Crack had upon Amy, and specifically her ability to bring back people who had fallen through the Crack.
This is one of the things often misunderstood about what happened to Rory. He never died, he was shot and fatally wounded and consumed by the light from the Crack and fell out of existence, out of our reality into the void between realities (the same place the Dalek sphere/prison was hiding out in RTD era during the Canary Wharf Cyberman incident trivia fans) When they took the memory implant from Amy's house they got not just her memory of Rory, but as he had gone into the Crack they got actual Rory's memories, albeit put into a Nesteene Conscious plastic android version to start with! But this again reinforces the notion that a person is the culmination of their memories.
The entire plan both hinges on memory to work, and memory is also its fatal flaw.

As a side note Moffat also has a little bit of fun with memory and the viewer, something he likes to do- when River kills the Dalek it begs her for mercy, something unheard of as the only thing in the entire universe that can actually put the shits up a Dalek is the Doctor. But it does so only after River tells it her name and to look her up in its records. The records would of course show that she is the person who succeeded where the Dales failed, the person who killed the Doctor. Hence the begging for mercy- the Daleks memory tells it to be afraid but we the viewer as of yet have no knowledge whatsoever of the River kills the Doctor plot line of series 6- its something for us to remember later with hindsight.
Because Moffat likes to play with the sequence of events, different perceptions of the same events and with memory there are quite a few of these sort of little moments sprinkled throughout, designed to be viewed again a second time in hindsight with a new light and they are a feature of Moffat's writing style in general but he deploys them in the service of his overall memory theme here.

Back to the main plot and memory is what the Doctor relies upon to get out of his predicament- he needs Amy to bring him back once he closes the Crack from the other side, and for that he needs to sow the seeds of a story that she will remember on cue at the right time.

'When you wake up, you'll have a mum and dad, and you won't even remember me. Well, you'll remember me a little. I'll be a story in your head. But that's okay. We're all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh? Because it was, you know. It was the best. The daft old man who stole a magic box and ran away. Did I ever tell you that I stole it? Well, I borrowed it. I was always going to take it back. Oh, that box. Amy, you'll dream about that box. It'll never leave you. Big and little at the same time. Brand new and ancient, and the bluest blue ever. And the times we had, eh? Would have had. Never had. In your dreams, they'll still be there. The Doctor and Amy Pond, and the days that never came.'

And on cue, triggered by various bits of memory, River and her TARDIS blue diary, wedding guests in bow ties and braces, Amy remembers-

AMY: I found you. I found you in words, like you knew I would. That's why you told me the story the brand new, ancient blue box. Oh, clever. Very clever.

RORY: Amy, what is it?
AMY: Something old. Something new. Something borrowed. Something blue.


The solution of course relies on Amy taking agency over her own memories again. I said at the beginning of this that Moffat era Who was above all else the eternal optimist. Whilst the plot of series 5 uses memory as a means to explore the pain of losing the memory of someone and how that can effect and impact a person, unlike reality, in fiction it can have a cure.

Do you feel like there's a great big thing in your head, and you feel like you should remember it, but you can't?”

Amy does remember all those she has lost. By series end she has Rory back and has married him, the Doctor is restored and her parents too. In a sense she is 'cured'. She has restored her lost memories and with them the people lost are restored back into her life

I have often cited Amy as one of the most complex companions in Who, and one of my reasons for doing so is that we first meet her damaged by events we know nothing about yet. The effect of the Crack on her life, the loss of memory of those around her, her self reliance and abrasive manner, her inability to focus on any one thing or find a settled pattern to her life are all side-effects of her 'illness', centred on memory and its loss- taken literally as its sci-fi as people not just being forgotten, but literally being removed from reality.
Moffat shows Amy from the start by her symptoms of an illness we have to intuit is there. Its clear something is off with her in terms of her life but it's always vague enough to never be able to pin down as an illness. This is again very reminiscent of early signs of dementia like illnesses, which are often hard to differentiate from general forgetfulness with age or absent mindedness.
It is only later and with an element of hindsight, knowing how Amy has had people taken from her life her whole life, that she has forgotten the most important people in her life ever existed, that we can begin to put the pieces together. Again this reminds me of dementia, where it is easy to look back with hindsight and see all the signs were there even though the cause was not obvious at the time. So it is with Amy, its obvious why she is like she is when we first meet her, but only with hindsight. We see the symptoms but cannot connect them to a visible illness.
And whilst I said Amy was 'cured' by series end its never quite a complete cure and will come back up in her character and how she acts till the end of her characters time on the show. Its not an impact on her that is forgotten about.


A Christmas Carol and Notable Extras


Although having no direct tie to the arc of series five the xmas special for it nevertheless continues on the theme of memory. In this case a version of the Dickens classic, in which the Doctor changes our Scrooge's memories of the past by altering his past in order to produce a better person. The main take from this one is playing again on the idea that who we are in the present is merely a result of how we remember who we were.

Another interesting one in the extra category is that between series 5 and 6 the Doctor popped up in the Sarah Jane Adventures in the Death of the Doctor. This episode is written by RTD and takes place whilst Amy and Rory are off on their honeymoon, but either by pure coincidence or perhaps by design its plot is again centred around memory. In this case the memories of two of the Doctors former companions, Sarah Jane and Jo Grant, and their memories of the Doctor. This may have been a deliberate nod by RTD to the theme of memory or not.

Its a theme that will persist through till the end of Moffats run as I will eventually get too! (you have been warned assuming anyone ever actually reads this stuff) but in series 5 its the main theme and the main arc. Moffat will use other inventions and new creations and a new plot line to keep delving into these aspects of memory, but never quite so clearly and front and centre as in series 5, which in some ways can be seen like the opening statement from Moffat on the subject, laying out the ground rules for the themes he will explore.



Spoiler:

The Doctor, Memory, Self and Moffat


Who, and Moffat era Who in particular is a show that is at heart optimistic. It might hide this fact pretty well behind its misery, deaths at alien hands and childhood fears but in the end, no matter the personal price, the Doctor always wins by doing the right thing. Even in the bleakest moments there is hope. Doctor Who is no stranger to Tolkien's u-catastrophe.

But that is not to say that it does not also deal in themes which are of themselves not optimistic at all. And for me the main feature of Moffat's time as Head Writer are the themes associated with memory, self and its association with mental health, particularly dementia.

The notion here is to demonstrate where those themes surface, what they say about the characters, and to try to extract somewhat what they may say of the author and the overall message conveyed across the whole of Moffat's tenure.


The Series 5 Arc

"Who are you?"

"I don't know yet..."

We begin as Moffat did with the 11th Hour and the debut of the 11th Doctor and his companions Amy and Rory.
The Doctor, as is normal post-regeneration, is not sure who he is yet in terms of personality, all he does know is what he always retains through his regenerations the idea of the Doctor and that is who he is. We are also introduced to a plot device that will resurface from now until the very end of 11's time as the Doctor- a crack in time and space. The crack will eventually be revealed to have been caused when the Doctor's TARDIS was made to explode as a means of preventing him going to the planet Trenzalore in his future.
The effect of the crack is to 'eat' at existence around Amy as she grows up, swallowing up people from her life so that they never existed in the first place.
Because of this we learn in the final episode of the first series that the reason the Doctor took Amy along when he had claimed 'no reason' (which was a lie*) was because she did not make sense, this young girl living in a huge empty house. The crack had been eating at her life her whole life taking people from it and from existence so not even the memory of them survives.


*An interesting feature of 11 as a Doctor is one of the things Moffat choose to highlight -that the Doctor has not always been honest or reliable and he has often manipulated people for his own ends: “Rule One: The Doctor Lies”.

“You asked me why I was taking you with me, and I said no reason. I lied.”

In this way, in a series whose arc is about memory Moffat makes our main character, our hero, an unreliable source of truth. He deliberately draws attention to it several times in the series and in so doing takes away the certainty for the viewer. Memory is vague and uncertain, ethereal and it can be lost or found. By not allowing the viewer to even fully trust the Doctor's words Moffat plays into the uncertainty theme around memory.

"Remember what I told you when you were seven."

"I remember you. I remember! I brought the others back, I can bring you home, too. Raggedy man, I remember you, and you are late for my wedding!"

Amy however has a sort of super power, thanks to the crack being in her bedroom the universe has been pouring through her head every night as she slept, she alone has the ability to remember those whom the crack has taken and so can restore them.
This hinges on a sentiment expressed by the Doctor-

"People fall out of the world sometimes, but they always leave traces. Little things we can't quite account for. Faces in photographs, luggage, half eaten meals, rings. Nothing is ever forgotten, not completely. And if something can be remembered, it can come back."

In this way she restores Rory, her own parents and finally the Doctor.
What brings them back is her ability to remember them again.
So we can see how the overall arc of series five is entirely based around memory and how who we are as a person is reliant upon who we remember being. Amy's life has been eaten away not just by the physical loss of those around her and closest to her, but by her inability to even remember that they ever existed in the first place.
Amy can be seen as someone whose memories of familiar faces has been stripped from her by an overpowering outside force (only this being sci-fi that is manifest literately in a physical fashion as the crack and the actual people not just the memory of them being taken from reality). As a metaphor for one of the major effects of dementia however- loss of memory and in particular loss of the ability to remember or recognise loved ones - it is quite a strong one I believe.

But lets delve a little deeper into some of the individual episodes of series five before moving onto series 6.




The Beast Below

“But why would I choose to forget?

“Because everyone does. Everyone chooses the Forget button.”

The second episode in 11 and Moffat's run tells the story of the starship UK, following massive sun-flares which temporary rendered earth uninhabitable (bit of continuity with 4th Doctor Ark in Space and The Sontaran Experiment classic fans!) the nations of earth each built massive spaceships for their population to go off to try to colonise somewhere else, presumably less on fire.
The UK had some problems with their ship however and they were last to leave (possibly due to problems with Scotland who demanded their own ship, one of many Scottish jokes/commentaries Moffat makes in his tenure but best left for a different discussion!).
As a result the UK was about to get burnt up, crying children and all, when a seeming miracle occurred. The last of the massive star whales turned up- seeing an opportunity the desperate Brits captured it and enslaved it as basically their engine, and they keep it flying for them through permanent torture direct to its brain.
This act of cruelty to save themselves is something the entire population is complicit in, and every five years they go to a booth, watch a tape that tells them what they have done and get to chose- they can protest the fact (if enough do the whale is released they all die) or they can choose to forget and have their memories wiped and so live happy without the burdensome knowledge of knowing how they were safe.
Naturally, everyone chooses to forget.

Again the topic of this episode has a lot to do with memory. In this case though rather than personal memory it is wider social memory- how society can wilfully forget its own misdemeanours, only to repeat them over and over again.
The ultimate symbol of UK society is of course the Queen- and here we have Liz 10, who roughly every ten years of her reign uncovers the sinister evil at the heart of her government, leading her back to where she started, to a tape in which she explains how she gave the order. Every ten years even the Queen chooses to Forget.

The only solution to the dilemma of either releasing the Star Whale and killing everyone on board, or letting it continue on in continual pain under torture that the Doctor can see is to lobotomise the creature, allowing it to continue but to feel nothing again as it would be in a vegetative state.
Again here we are dealing with the idea of self and of its destruction and how that is worse even than killing it would be-

“Then I find a new name because I won't be the Doctor.”

The idea of taking away the star whales individuality, its mind is so abhorrent to him that he would no longer consider himself the Doctor.

The episodes ends on the introduction of a note that will be a hallmark of both Moffat's incarnations of the Doctor and which he often links to memory, or at least the retaining of it over a long period of time distilled to wisdom.

“If you were that old, and that kind, and the very last of your kind, you couldn't just stand there and watch children cry.”

Moffat will continue to link the idea of kindness, with longevity, loneliness, memory and to the Doctor's actions until the very end of his run in charge.



Victory of the Daleks


“He talked to us about his memories. The Great War.”

“Someone else's stolen thoughts, implanted in a positronic brain. Tell me bout it. Bracewell. Tell me about your life...Tell me, and prove you're human.”

On initial appearances this one is not going to deal much with memory, but in the end it hinges upon it.
Bracewell, the Dalek human-impersonating android implanted with a dead man's memories is also a huge bomb. The solution to disarming it is to make him human.
What's interesting here is that the process of doing so is not physical, that's not what counts. What counts is memory.
Moffat begins here another theme which reoccurs till the end of his tenure- that of our idea of self being dependent upon our memories of self, and that is the most important factor to him. It can even override the reality of the fact Bracewell remains an android with a bomb in him- all that has changed is that he embraces his humanity through his stolen life's memories.
Moffat says to us here that though we may change as we live our life, go through different phases, hold differing even opposing view at different times in our lives, it is the culmination of memory of all those variations on ourself that makes the whole self we are in the present, the human we are. And that even if you're an android, if you have those memoires, if you have that recall of all the selves you have been, that is what makes you human, not the wiring. Were memory not imbued with this special power to bestow self Bracewell would have exploded taking the planet with him.
But through embracing the memories of a life lived and accepting them as his own Bracewell becomes self, he becomes human according to Moffat in all the ways that really matter- and those ways are based on the power of memory to define ourselves as an individual.


There are two other more minor touches on the memory issue- we learn that the crack in time is not only eating at Amy's life but entire world events- as Amy has no knowledge of Daleks despite them having invaded earth several time in 10's run. But I view this more as an opportunity by Moffat in a technical way to use the cracks in time as an excuse to 'tidy' up the RTD era 'everyone on earth knows all about aliens and gets invaded every xmas' problem and hit the reset button on that rather than as any particular commentary on memory.
And secondly it could be argued that the Daleks entire plan relies upon memory- specifically the Doctor's. They need him to call them out as Daleks as they require his testimony to convince their systems they are Daleks, as they are not pure DNA Daleks.
In essence the Daleks need the Doctor to remember who they are, what they've done to him and to bring to bear the emotional effects of those memories into him losing it and calling them out as Daleks. In fact the testimony the Daleks take includes him listing past memories of them-

"You are everything I despise. The worst thing in creation. I have defeated you time and time again. I've defeated you. I sent you back into the Void. I saved the whole of reality from you. I am the Doctor. And you are the Daleks."

The rebirth of pure DNA Daleks and the beginning of the new Dalek Empire we see grow across Moffat's tenure can be blamed feasibly on the Doctors memory. Had he say had some sort of memory wipe making him forget all about Daleks their plan would have failed right there and then- it required his memory of them and associated feelings to work.

The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone


I'll deal first and briefly with River here, as she is a topic on her own. But as far as memory is concerned it is interwoven into her narrative. As a general rule every time she meets the Doctor its a younger version of him, or as she puts it-

Every time we meet, I know him more, he knows me less. I live for the days when I see him, but I know that every time I do, he'll be one step further away.”

What's interesting about this relationship from the perspective of River, and from the the theme of memory and its loss and dementia, is that River here is in the position of loved one not sufferer; watching someone slip every further away from her.

And the day is coming when I'll look into that man's eyes, my Doctor, and he won't have the faintest idea who I am. And I think it's going to kill me.”

This is a moment faced by many loved ones of those suffering from dementia. This is that loss of memory of those closest to you, but from the other side. Rivers greatest fear as that he will have completely forgotten her, have no idea who she is or what she means to him and she knows that moment is inevitable, lying in wait for her in her future.

Moffat also plays games with memory and River, and the order of events. Memory can be remembered in the wrong order in a way reality cannot, unless you write Doctor Who. Immediately following the events of these two episodes River leaves to visit Amy again, only this Amy is several years older and knows who River is, the memory of the sequence of events between River and Amy is dependent on which character's memory you look at. For Amy her encounter with the Angels and meeting River for the first time happened early in her travels with the Doctor, for River it was one of the last adventures she went on with Amy, and she was seeing her for one of the last times.

Regards memory in this episode we have the reappearance of the Cracks in Time and a restating of how it works and a show of that with the soldiers being wiped from existence one by one and forgetting each other. This more a narrative need to demonstrate the power and effect of the cracks than it is any particular comment on memory.
However we also have the Doctor, from the future, speaking to Amy, who thinks its her contemporary Doctor and who tells her to remember what he told her when she was seven.
This is one of those cases where Moffat both plays with memory and the ordering of it- as from the Doctor's point of view he has yet to tell her anything when she was seven- form Amy's point of view ti was a conversation she had twelve years ago.
This device of mixing memory and time gives a sense of the fluidity of memory and its fragile nature as well as how memory lacks order outside of the individual whose memories they are. It keeps the viewer guessing as well as maintaining a sense of uncertainty about events, their order and even reliability.

Vampires of Venice

There is not much on memory here until the very end. In this case its the burden of memory, a common theme in Moffat era when memory is related to the Doctor. In the Doctor Moffat gets to examine this other aspect of memory, especially long memory of a person who has done a lot of good and bad things, that is the burden of memory for the Doctor- a theme Moffat will return to often.

At the end of this story, having defeated his opponents with only one survivor left, the final survivor chooses suicide with the words-

Tell me, Doctor. Can your conscience carry the weight of another dead race? Remember us. Dream of us.”



The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood

This is another story which does not deal directly with memory until the very end.
Here we have the seeming death and removal from existence of Rory by the Crack in Time after he is shot. And as a result a hysterically distraught Amy begins to forget him, eventually forgetting him utterly as he is wiped from having ever existed.
What is interesting about this is the Doctors reaction. He is insistent that Amy can save Rory if only she can somehow retain his memory-

You can. You can do it. I can't help you unless you do. Come on. We can still save his memory. Come on, Amy. Please. Come on, Amy, come on. Amy, please. Don't let anything distract you. Remember Rory. Keep remembering. Rory's only alive in your memory.

Sadly he is completely wrong- just as a dementia sufferer cant wilfully prevent the memory degrading just by trying, nor can Amy. Moments later she has no memory of Rory at all and acts oblivious to him having ever having existed.
Despite the Doctors insistence the force at work is so monumental that it is irresistible. A force a human simply cannot stand up to it no matter how hard they try or well intended they are, or how much support they have. Again this is very metaphorical for dementia- there are a thousand and one programs to help sufferers try to retain memory, exercises to do ect but in the end none of them work long-term in holding out against the damage.


Vincent and the Doctor

Of all series five this episode is the most upfront on its subject matter of mental health. And it bears a resemblance in ideas to the end of Cold Blood in that there is a harsh inevitability about events.
Having believed they have made a positive difference in the life of Van Gogh Amy believes they will have prevented his suicide allowing him to go on and paint more pictures.
What she finds is that despite all they did he still killed himself a year later. There is an acceptance here that the weight of the mental issues is again to great to bear or resist over time, even if there are moments along the way of lucidity, happiness or joy.
As the Doctor puts it-

The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. Hey. The good things don't always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don't necessarily spoil the good things or make them unimportant


The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang


Onto the series finale now. It stars with memory- Amy finding her engagement ring to Rory that the Doctor has been keeping, prompting the Doctor into his speech about how things are never completely forgotten and how sometimes people fall out of the world.
The main plan of the coalition of evil that's assembled relies on taking a memory imprint from Amy to construct the scenario- but they got more than they bargained for as they did not realise the effect the Crack had upon Amy, and specifically her ability to bring back people who had fallen through the Crack.
This is one of the things often misunderstood about what happened to Rory. He never died, he was shot and fatally wounded and consumed by the light from the Crack and fell out of existence, out of our reality into the void between realities (the same place the Dalek sphere/prison was hiding out in RTD era during the Canary Wharf Cyberman incident trivia fans) When they took the memory implant from Amy's house they got not just her memory of Rory, but as he had gone into the Crack they got actual Rory's memories, albeit put into a Nesteene Conscious plastic android version to start with! But this again reinforces the notion that a person is the culmination of their memories.
The entire plan both hinges on memory to work, and memory is also its fatal flaw.


As a side note Moffat also has a little bit of fun with memory and the viewer, something he likes to do- when River kills the Dalek it begs her for mercy, something unheard of as the only thing in the entire universe that can actually put the shits up a Dalek is the Doctor. But it does so only after River tells it her name and to look her up in its records. The records would of course show that she is the person who succeeded where the Dales failed, the person who killed the Doctor. Hence the begging for mercy- the Daleks memory tells it to be afraid but we the viewer as of yet have no knowledge whatsoever of the River kills the Doctor plot line of series 6- its something for us to remember later with hindsight.
Because Moffat likes to play with the sequence of events, different perceptions of the same events and with memory there are quite a few of these sort of little moments sprinkled throughout, designed to be viewed again a second time in hindsight with a new light and they are a feature of Moffat's writing style in general but he deploys them in the service of his overall memory theme here.


Back to the main plot and memory is what the Doctor relies upon to get out of his predicament- he needs Amy to bring him back once he closes the Crack from the other side, and for that he needs to sow the seeds of a story that she will remember on cue at the right time.


'When you wake up, you'll have a mum and dad, and you won't even remember me. Well, you'll remember me a little. I'll be a story in your head. But that's okay. We're all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh? Because it was, you know. It was the best. The daft old man who stole a magic box and ran away. Did I ever tell you that I stole it? Well, I borrowed it. I was always going to take it back. Oh, that box. Amy, you'll dream about that box. It'll never leave you. Big and little at the same time. Brand new and ancient, and the bluest blue ever. And the times we had, eh? Would have had. Never had. In your dreams, they'll still be there. The Doctor and Amy Pond, and the days that never came.'


And on cue, triggered by various bits of memory, River and her TARDIS blue diary, wedding guests in bow ties and braces, Amy remembers-




AMY: I found you. I found you in words, like you knew I would. That's why you told me the story the brand new, ancient blue box. Oh, clever. Very clever.
RORY: Amy, what is it?
AMY: Something old. Something new. Something borrowed. Something blue.



The solution of course relies on Amy taking agency over her own memories again. I said at the beginning of this that Moffat era Who was above all else the eternal optimist. Whilst the plot of series 5 uses memory as a means to explore the pain of losing the memory of someone and how that can effect and impact a person, unlike reality, in fiction it can have a cure.


Do you feel like there's a great big thing in your head, and you feel like you should remember it, but you can't?”


Amy does remember all those she has lost. By series end she has Rory back and has married him, the Doctor is restored and her parents too. In a sense she is 'cured'. She has restored her lost memories and with them the people lost are restored back into her life


I have often cited Amy as one of the most complex companions in Who, and one of my reasons for doing so is that we first meet her damaged by events we know nothing about yet. The effect of the Crack on her life, the loss of memory of those around her, her self reliance and abrasive manner, her inability to focus on any one thing or find a settled pattern to her life are all side-effects of her 'illness', centred on memory and its loss- taken literally as its sci-fi as people not just being forgotten, but literally being removed from reality.
Moffat shows Amy from the start by her symptoms of an illness we have to intuit is there. Its clear something is off with her in terms of her life but it's always vague enough to never be able to pin down as an illness. This is again very reminiscent of early signs of dementia like illnesses, which are often hard to differentiate from general forgetfulness with age or absent mindedness.
It is only later and with an element of hindsight, knowing how Amy has had people taken from her life her whole life, that she has forgotten the most important people in her life ever existed, that we can begin to put the pieces together. Again this reminds me of dementia, where it is easy to look back with hindsight and see all the signs were there even though the cause was not obvious at the time. So it is with Amy, its obvious why she is like she is when we first meet her, but only with hindsight. We see the symptoms but cannot connect them to a visible illness.
And whilst I said Amy was 'cured' by series end its never quite a complete cure and will come back up in her character and how she acts till the end of her characters time on the show. Its not an impact on her that is forgotten about.


A Christmas Carol and Notable Extras




Although having no direct tie to the arc of series five the xmas special for it nevertheless continues on the theme of memory. In this case a version of the Dickens classic, in which the Doctor changes our Scrooge's memories of the past by altering his past in order to produce a better person. The main take from this one is playing again on the idea that who we are in the present is merely a result of how we remember who we were.


Another interesting one in the extra category is that between series 5 and 6 the Doctor popped up in the Sarah Jane Adventures in the Death of the Doctor. This episode is written by RTD and takes place whilst Amy and Rory are off on their honeymoon, but either by pure coincidence or perhaps by design its plot is again centred around memory. In this case the memories of two of the Doctors former companions, Sarah Jane and Jo Grant, and their memories of the Doctor. This may have been a deliberate nod by RTD to the theme of memory or not.


Its a theme that will persist through till the end of Moffats run as I will eventually get too! (you have been warned assuming anyone ever actually reads this stuff) but in series 5 its the main theme and the main arc. Moffat will use other inventions and new creations and a new plot line to keep delving into these aspects of memory, but never quite so clearly and front and centre as in series 5, which in some ways can be seen like the opening statement from Moffat on the subject, laying out the ground rules for the themes he will explore.}}}}

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Re: All New Who

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Jul 03, 2018 12:09 pm

The Doctor, Memory, Self and Moffat


Part Four 


Series Six

{{ The series arc.

Series six has what is generally regarded as the most complicated arc of any series of NuWho, not helped by the fact the BBC forced a split on the series at the halfway point with a gap of several months in-between, so bear with me as I lay it out first.

It begins with the apparent death of the Doctor, shot dead in front of Amy, Rory and River at Lake Silencio in Utah, America, by an Apollo era astronaut who rose from the lake. Shortly after this however they run into the Doctor again, alive and well. The Doctor they were with, the one who got shot and killed was him 100 years in his future. The overall mystery then is who shot him, why, what for and how will he get out of it?

Meanwhile Amy and Rory have conceived a child, on their wedding night to be exact whilst onboard the TARDIS which happened to be in flight through the Vortex at the time. We later learn that some Time Lord abilities are not native, but developed over time as a response to their DNA being exposed to the vortex, this includes the ability to regenerate.

However the Amy we see for the entire first half of series six turns out not be the 'real' Amy, at least not physically. She has been bodily replaced by an avatar made of a futuristic stuff called simply The Flesh- which was used by humans in the future as a means to carry out hazardous activity- the Flesh can mimic a person physically but you can use your mind to control it from elsewhere, and if it gets damaged or destroyed the person is fine and the Flesh is viewed as disposable.

The real Amy is kidnapped and being held on an asteroid base called Demon's Run for the term of her pregnancy, she doesn't know this as her mind is in the flesh avatar which is with the Doctor, Rory and River.

And this is the really complicated bit. The people who kidnapped Amy are a splinter group of the Church of the Papal-Mainframe- future Christianity sort of, combined with a crusader era mentality to using force and a space UN sort of mandate (possibly self-appointed).

In the Doctors future he will go to a planet called Trenzalore where he will defend it against the combined forces of just about everyone, with the risk of the entire universe being plunged back into the Time War being at stake, the Church will act as UN peacekeeper in this situation maintaining a stalemate and cease fire, by force where necessary. The Doctors thousand year long holdout against all these combined forces became known as the Siege of Trenzalore

But a faction of this church led by a Madam Kovarian decided to try to go back in time and stop the Doctor getting to Trenzalore in the first place- their first attempt to use River to assassinate him failed, their second attempt to blow up his TARDIS last series likewise failed, this series is their third and most desperate and biggest gamble yet to stop him.

Their plan is to take from Amy her child upon birth and using future tech and knowledge manipulate her DNA to accelerate the same effects that over a long period affected Time Lords- with the aim of cooking up their own Time-Lord as a weapon, conditioning the child as a sleeper agent programmed to kill the Doctor and then when the child grows up sending it out after him.

So where does the astronaut in the Lake come in? Well in order to ensure they definitely get the Doctor this time Kovarian plans to make use of an effect of Time well established in Who- some events are fixed and cannot be changed. The spot on Lake Silencio where the Doctor is shot and killed is a naturally occurring 'still point' in time- a spot which is vulnerable and can be manipulated by the weight of history and belief in it to become a fixed point.

To this end Kovarian's chapter create a whole legend and myth and recorded history around the Doctor death- the astronaut, the manner of his death and how it kills him- all this is theatrics, part of creating a memorable legend surrounding the Doctors death- there are in the future nursery rhymes references and legends hinting at River killing him or marrying him, legends about the asteroid base Demons Run where Amy is held, archaeologists debating the merits and truths of of it, and the Teselecta robot records his death in its history logs- all of this is just to make the still point a fixed point, so when the Doctor dies there he has to stay dead with no get out clause, it cannot be altered, and therefore he will never reach Trenzelore preventing the future crisis.

It is also revealed over the course of events that the child of Amy and Rory turns out to be River Song, who they have met as an adult first due to time shenanigans, and it is she who has been conditioned by Kovarian to kill the Doctor and is in the astronaut suit whilst an older version of herself is with Amy and Rory watching.

Got all that?

Oh I mentioned the Teselecta and should probably explain it a bit. Its a robot thing from the future with a miniaturised human crew inside. They travel about time in it looking for nasty buggers from history who never got their just deserts, and snatch them right at the end of their time stream in order to, in their own words- 'give them hell'- more or less literally.
But when you boil it down the Teselecta tortures and eventually kills people based on nothing more than histories record of them- or societies collective memory. It is judgement based not on facts but on perceived facts relying on memory.

In the end the Teselecta is how the Doctor escapes the dilemma- he turns up inside the Tesselector disguised as a perfect copy of himself, or as he puts it-

The Teselecta. A Doctor in a Doctor suit. Time said I had to be on that beach, so I dressed for the occasion.”

Everyone including Amy and Rory think he is really dead, history records him as dead, the legends around the Doctor and River and if she was his wife or the woman who killed him all come about and time goes on unharmed.

It's the only way, then they can all forget me.”

Again it comes down to memory, in this case a false one- the Doctors death, but despite the pain it will cause even his friends have to believe the false memory and that he is dead.

I did say it was complicated! Ok so that's the story arc for series six.

Now refill your beverage of choice and onwards to episodes one and two.


The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon

A lot more happens in 69 than anyone remembers.”

Right from the off with this episode we are introduced to a new alien monster. The Silence- though the name is not actually accurate as we never find out what species they really are.
We also don't find out what the Silence are or what their purpose is until the very last episode of 11's run and the viewer is expected to then put all the bits together. So for the benefit of clarity I will explain it here.

The Silence are members of the Church of the Papal-Mainframe and act as sort of Confessor Priests. You go them to confess your sins. What's special about them is as soon as you look away from them you forget they ever existed- you don't remember confessing your sins, more importantly in line with the more severe doctrines of the future Church the Silence whilst engaged with you have the ability to make post-hypnotic suggestions. In the case of confessing your sins they can give you your penance, and though you will not remember what it is you will be compelled to carry it out whether you like it or not.

For more severe sin transgression the Silence are equipped with a powerful electrical discharge which can be used to punish the confessing sinner, up to and including their annihilation. In this way they also act as a sort of built in Inquisition. To top it all off they also seem to have some telepathic abilities ensuring the confessions are true.

The last trait we know about them from observations is that they appear to be a hive or pack species, almost never appearing singly but most commonly in large groups- particularly when at rest where they can sleep like bats upside down from ceilings in large numbers.
Lastly, as members of the Church dealing with other members would be a bit tricky if no-one can remember them unless looking at them. To this end Church members of appropriate rank are equipped with a hard drive eye patch- literally external memory, it basically stores knowledge of the Silence externally to the brain whilst allowing the brain to still access the information. Thus making it possible for the Silence to function within the Church.
The particular group of Silence we are concerned with in these episodes are part of the Kovarian time travelling faction out to prevent the Doctor ever reaching Trenzalore.

What Moffat has done here is to take aspects of what he began in series five with memory, primarily loss of memory of someone and turned it into a literal monster.
He has taken that idea and made a monster that as soon as you turn away or lose sight of, you don't know was ever there, even when its still standing right behind you.

But to that he has added the idea that it can also implant suggestions you also cant remember. You find yourself doing things without knowing why.
Anyone who has any experience of early stages dementia will now how often a person will have a sudden moment of lucidity and lament that they don't know why they are doing whatever they are doing. Its a loss of personal control of the self.
The Silence not only embody loss of memory but also loss of self control. They have been subtly manipulating humanity behind the scenes for centuries.
And when encountered say for a second time it is like those moments of lucidity, you not only remember them, you remember any previous encounters with them for so long as you can see them.

I saw you before, at the lake. And here. But then I forgot. How did I forget? What are you?”

The premise of this story is based again around memory, and not just the Silence and there ability to make you forget them. It is in this story we get River's speech to Rory which I've discussed already but I will quote again to refresh the memory (no pun intended)-

The trouble is, it's all back to front. My past is his future. We're travelling in opposite directions. Every time we meet, I know him more, he knows me less. I live for the days when I see him, but I know that every time I do, he'll be one step further away. And the day is coming when I'll look into that man's eyes, my Doctor, and he won't have the faintest idea who I am. And I think it's going to kill me.”

And the resolution to the story involves using the Silence's power of suggestion against them in one of 11's darker acts. He implants a recording into the moon landing signal- you know that blip on the recording right between Armstrong saying “One small step for man” and “One giant Leap for Mankind”? Well that blip is where the Doctor inserted footage of a Silence boasting and saying, taken out of context mind you, “you should kill us all on sight”. You don't remember seeing the blip bit of course because of the Silence forget thing, but you do subliminally remember the message.
The result being Silence carnage, as now every time a human who has seen the moon landing footage from that moment and for as long as the footage exists, will attempt to kill any Silence they ever see upon sight.

The Doctor doesn't cure the loss of memory, he weaponises it. Emphasised by River going on a rousing Silence shooting spree.

Oh, interesting. Very Aickman Road. I've seen one of these before. Abandoned. I wonder how that happened? Oh, well I suppose I'm about to find out.”

trivia note- the Silence time machine we see at the end of this story is damaged in the shoot out and left with no living crew. It glitches out to re-materialise disguised as the top flat of a house in Aickman Road, England, and forms the premise of the story the Lodger, from the previous series, keeping going the associating between elements of the plot dealing with memory and a confused sequence of events.

Now I haven't actually touched yet on the main plot of this story, which is not actually the Silence or the Doctors seeming death at the beginning.
It concerns the story of Amy and the question of who was in the Astronaut suit.
When the Doctor has to be persuaded to go back to 1969 as he does not trust why they are asking him what it comes down to that convinces him is a shared memory. One single phrase that will encapsulate the Doctor and Amy's relationship from her childhood to present and convince him she is doing the right thing, “Fish fingers and custard.”
This is one of the times Moffat nods towards the positives of memory, the power of memory to conjure up a whole slew of images and other memories from just a phrase, or a smell or a sound.

As I mentioned the Amy we see here is not the real Amy, she is kidnapped and captive on Demons Run. But she, nor we the viewer know this yet. She thinks she is still with Rory and the Doctor and they think she is with them because her Flesh avatar is an exact copy perfect in every way.
However her reality on Demons Run bleeds into her reality as Flesh Avatar Amy. On Demon's Run she is being kept in a birthing chamber like a capsule. The capsule has a hatch in it through which Madame Kovarian can look and check in on her.
Amy sees this throughout the first half of series five, with mysterious hatches and Kovarians face appearing and saying seemingly random things in doors, walls and other places. From Amy's perspective she appears to be hallucinating these things.

This state of confusion is only compounded when we discover the person in the astronaut suit is a young girl crying out for help. The viewer doesn't know it yet but this Amy's daughter, the young River Song.

Amy having just announced to the Doctor out the blue and not at the best of moments that she is pregnant with the aforementioned River, she grabs a fallen gun at the appearance of the astronaut and shoots it. Add in Amy's' face at hatch hallucinations to this mix and it creates an aura of uncertainty,paranoia and questions without answers

This is added to when Amy goes to investigate the orphanage. Being an orphanage it is also reminiscent of an old folks home in that its a large old house full of bedrooms and has that institutionalised feel to it. This is further compounded when Amy finds a room containing photographs of herself holding a newly born baby. Photographs she has no memory of whatsoever and when the astronaut suit complete with small girl asking for help turns up in the room flanked by a couple of Silence Amy basically has a break down.

But who are you? Just please tell me, because I don't understand.”

In this scene we have a mother, Amy, holding a photograph of herself with her newborn baby in her arms, and despairing because she does not have any memory of it or understanding of how it is possible. Again that heady brew of memory and confusion. And again very reminiscent of someone suffering a dementia looking at old photographs and recognising nothing with all the attendant distress this can cause (and credit to Karen Gillan who I think gives an outstanding performance throughout series six, but the moment here when Amy loses it and her body starts shaking uncontrollably and she has just reached a point of utter confusion and pain is for me right on the button).

The other notable mention of memory here is a conversation between Rory and the Doctor when the Doctor asks Rory if he remembers his 2000 years guarding Amy as an Auton Roman. Rory''s reply is-

But I don't remember it all the time. It's like this door in my head. I can keep it shut.”

So as this one is rather lengthy a quick recap of where memory appears in this story-

The forget them nature of the Silence
Acting without remembering why you did it
Amy having no memory of the photographs or her child
Amy's real memories of her reality trapped on Demons Run bleeding into her perception of reality.

Rivers conversation about the Doctor
The Doctors conversation with Rory
The solution to the plot.

And all these connect the same ideas we saw presented differently in series 5- but connects them in similar ways by device. Memory tends to be connected with an element of confusion and often with events occurring out of sequence (or at least from a linear perspective)- such as in Amy being unable to remember the photographs because from her linear point of view those events have yet to occur, but the effects of those events from the perspective of young River in the astronaut suit is that those are past events long over. Both memories are true from each perspective and yet occur together at the same time in the same room. The time travel aspect of Who allows Moffat to utilise this to create this non-linear narrative that he can then use to emphasise the theme of memory and its effects on self.

Ok that was long and no one is probably reading any of it any way! Mad So I'll leave it here for now before looking at more of series six. }}}

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Re: All New Who

Post by malickfan on Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:00 pm

I don't recall watching more than an episode or two of Series 6, me and the missus are planning to do a New Who marathon shortly, she hasn't watched it since series 3 and much of the Matt Smith years willl be new to me (as will some of the Tennant episodes in some respects-haven't watched any of his episodes in years) but she liked the clips she's seen of Capaldi's Doctor and has similar tastes to me in sci-fi/drama, wondering if Series 10 might be a fun jumping on point, or if that is just my own biases speaking...

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Re: All New Who

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:13 pm

{{Well I have so far managed to write about 12 pages just on one of the main thematic underpinnings of the era- so i would certainly say there is stuff in there of interest!
Series 10? Surely you mean 8? But I think 12 should be built up to, not sprung on anyone- those eyebrows can be quite intimidating in the early episodes for a newbie! }}}

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Re: All New Who

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Jul 05, 2018 5:33 am

Part Five



The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People


You poured in your personalities, emotions, traits, memories, secrets, everything. You gave them your lives. Human lives are amazing. Are you surprised they walked off with them?”


This two parter deals heavily with the idea that we are the sum of our memories and experiences. The Gangers are doppelgängers, made from an organic compound called the Flesh. It can be moulded into any living form, making a perfect replica. The Flesh is considered alive, but only in the same way moss is. But that is a misunderstanding of its nature.
Here the Gangers, used as disposable people suits for handling dangerous acidic material, go walkabout on their own. Full of the memories and experiences of their former operators and taking on their forms.


When I was a little girl, I got lost on the moors, wandered off from the picnic. I can still feel how sore my toes got inside my red welly boots. And I imagined another little girl, just like me, in red wellies, and she was Jennifer too. Except she was a strong Jennifer, a tough Jennifer. She'd lead me home. My name is Jennifer Lucas. I am not a factory part. I had toast for my breakfast. I wrote a letter to my mum. And then you arrived. I noticed your eyes right off.....I am Jennifer Lucas. I remember everything that happened in her entire life. Every birthday, every childhood illness. I feel everything she has ever felt and more. I'm not a monster! I am me.”


This idea of what makes a person who they are, an individual and its central connection to memories is further driven home by the ending. One of the humans who dies has a young boy at home about to celebrate his birthday, and his place is taken by the Ganger of the dead father- who is identical to the father in every physical way and has all of his memories. To everyone else he is the same person. But he is not the original.
The message is that the fact he is not the original is not important, that he has everything that made up the original is. And his memories are crucial to that- his memories make him who he is, Ganger or not.


JIMMY: Can I make it home for Adam's birthday?
G-JIMMY: What about me? He's my son too.
JIMMY: You? You really think that?
G-JIMMY: I feel it.
JIMMY: Oh, so you were there when he was born, were you?
G-JIMMY: Yeah. I drank about eight pints of tea, then they told me I had a wee boy and I just burst out laughing. No idea why. I miss home, as much as you.



A Good Man Goes to War


{{ “He meets a lot of people. Some of them remember.”


This episode marks the midway point of series 6 and acts as a mid-series cliffhanger to account for the forced gap in the middle.
Here Moffat takes a new aspect of memory and how it applies to the Doctor- in this case basically his reputation as based on peoples and even entire races memories of their interactions with him.


This was exactly you. All this. All of it. You make them so afraid....Doctor. The word for healer and wise man throughout the universe. We get that word from you, you know. But if you carry on the way you are, what might that word come to mean? To the people of the Gamma Forests, the word Doctor means mighty warrior. How far you've come.”


What does it mean to be the Doctor? Its a subject Moffat will return to later but from the perspective of the character himself. The same question and idea will be developed through the War Doctor not being counted as a Doctor because of his actions.
Is the Doctor the memory of what we see of him? Saving worlds, defeating evil? Or is the Doctor as seen from the memory of the society he touches where he often leaves having destroyed the evil empire but also leaving utter chaos behind him for others to clean up. He doesn't do the aftermath. A sentiment brilliantly and cuttingly exemplified in last series Angels episode-


Sorry, but there's no way we could have rescued your men.”


I know that, sir. And when you've flown away in your little blue box, I'll explain that to their families.”


This marks the real beginning of the Doctor questioning if his own existence has on balance been for good or not. There is a combination occurring of what it means to be the Doctor as an idea, a concept to live up to, the collective universal idea of what it means to be the Doctor based on peoples and planets memories of meeting him, which is at risk because his actions no longer fit the description of healer and wise man, and increasingly the weight of his own memories, and in particular all those he has lost over his long life which will increasingly haunt him and play on his mind.
Pretty much from this episode until the end of series ten these factors will all play a large bearing on the Doctors character arc- on his final regeneration, and in the aftermath of not in fact dying as he had expected and having to go on.


Lets Kill Hitler


This episode introduces us to the Teselecta, a time travelling shape-changing robot from the future crewed by people miniaturised in a compression field. And for whose methods the Doctor largely has contempt as they judge people based on histories memory of their crimes.
As they judge River for the crime of killing the Doctor based on their records, and everything Moffat Who has to say on memory tells us it isn't a reliable source to base decisions on it justifies the Doctor's dislike of their methods.


We also learn in this episode that River cannot properly remember her actions when she is acting under the influence of Silence programming. So whilst she is serving time in prison for the murder of the Doctor she has no memory of actually doing it.
And one final minor thing, Amy's use of the sonic to revoke everyone on the Teselcta's privileges basically meant she made all the anti-intruder robot killing machines forget they were crew.


Night Terrors


Not much on memory here save a small thing, here its an aspect of a species evolution- like the cuckoo they put their young in another nest, in this case with another species. The young grows up like whatever kind it is with and forgets it was ever anything else (well presumably till it needs to find a mate- the Doctor did say puberty might be tricky!).


The Girl Who Waited


He wants to rescue past me from thirty six years back, which means I'll cease to exist. Everything I've seen and done dissolves. Time is rewritten.”


This another episode which explores the issue of what makes a person who they are and how much their memories of that play a part. In this case, old Amy would rather be who she has become and have endured all the decades of isolation than cease to be. All the memories of what has made her, even though they were bad, would also cease to be.
This is pertinent in the wider context of the River arc as it touches on the dilemma of rescuing her as an infant. They have already met and know River as she is. If the Doctor rescues her from Kovarian when she was a baby, just like old Amy, the version of River they know would cease to be. All her life, all her memories that shaped her would be gone and a new time line with a new River shaped by different experiences and memories would emerge.


When young Amy convinces old Amy to go along with the plan she does so by evoking memories, shared memories from their youth of Rory.


I'd forgotten how much I loved being her. Amy Pond, in the Tardis, with Rory Williams.”


The God Complex


Memory plays a couple of roles here. In its most simple the ship, the Minotaur are a forgotten relic of some unknown civilisation.
Secondly many of the fears play on memories. The nurses fear is her father berating her for failure, something clearly based on prior memory of it happening. The stuttering boys fears are based on memories of public humiliation. And Amy's clings onto her childhood memories and idealism of the Doctor when we see her as a child again in her room's fear. And the rooms, as they are malfunctioning, are filled with the memories of previous occupants fears.


An ancient creature, drenched in the blood of the innocent, drifting in space through an endless, shifting maze. For such a creature, death would be a gift.”


This observation of the Doctor by the Minotaur again plays into the Doctors growing sense of self doubt and questioning if his time has indeed come, by this point he has seen the Teselecta files and knows of his own impending death. But it is more than just the weight of his death or remembering past deeds, the Doctor is also now fearful of future memories.
He gets Amy and Rory a house and puts them back in their lives on earth.


And what's the alternative? Me standing over your grave? Over your broken body? Over Rory's body?”


Now he is imagining if he keeps travelling with them he will have new memories to add to the pile of yet more losses and blood pressing down on him. It says a lot to his state of mind that he views things in this fashion, not the good memories he will have to add to what he already has of them, but only that he will inevitably end up with more painful memories.


Between this episode and the finale episode the Doctor, having resigned himself to his death, goes on a one hundred year blow out doing a lot of stuff he always wanted to but hadn't got around to, and trying to put off facing up to the inevitable fixed point.


Well then, old girl. One last trip, eh?”


Its worth pausing a moment here to consider the Doctor's state of mind. He is in his last regeneration, he knows he will die in this body, but presumably hoped to live it out to old age. Now he has discovered he is destined to die, and soon by his standards of time, robbed of his full life.
On top of this he has already stared questioning what it means to be the Doctor and if that has indeed been a force for good in the universe or has he just caused death and chaos wherever he has gone. And increasingly, starting with Ten's losses of Rose and Donna, he has become morose over his memories of all those he has lost over his long life, and now fearful enough that it will just keep happening that he has chosen to travel alone and as far as we know does so for the entire one hundred years.
And the final nail in the coffin literally, is when he receives news of his old friend the Brigadier having died. A final loss that makes his mind up for him and he chooses to face his death.


We can view the Doctor here as suffering from a form of depression. He is like someone getting a diagnosis of death, his days have been cut short. And on top of that he is beset by self doubt and self questioning of his actions and deeds. And he does what he has always done and tries to outrun it for a hundred years until finally he gives in running upon news of the death of his friend. This is a Doctor who is genuinely very nearly at the point of throwing in the towel and accepting his death, but more so welcoming it as being for the overall benefit of the universe if he is gone.


The Wedding Of River Song


If it's time to go, remember what you're leaving. Remember the best. My friends have always been the best of me.”


Memory crops up a few times again here. The shattered universe of all of history happening at once created by River breaking the fixed point in an attempt to save the Doctor, has everyone struggling with memory in their new roles in this alternate version of events. Amy can recall most of her time with the Doctor with effort, Rory seems to remember almost nothing on the other-hand. Only River, the Doctor and Kovarian seem to retain full memories of what has occurred getting to this crisis point.


River also attempts to show the Doctor that his depressive view of his own existence and his memories of what he has done and how he has affected people are wrong. The beacon she builds is not to save his life, she has accepted that, its to show him he was wrong.


The sky is full of a million, million voices saying yes, of course we'll help. You've touched so many lives, saved so many people. Did you think when your time came, you'd really have to do more than just ask? You've decided that the universe is better off without you, but the universe doesn't agree.”


Continuing the connection between out of sequence events and memory heavy stories, not only does this one take place in an aborted timeline but one of its two epilogues involves River, returning from her adventures with Doctor And Amy in the Byzantium from back at the start of series 5.
And part of the topic for discussion is again playing on the idea that memories are what count, memories are what make you who you are.
Amy is worrying over what sort of person killing Madam Kovarian makes her and its moral implications and gets this reassurance from River-


In an aborted time line, in a world that never was.”


To which Amy characteristically bluntly and practically puts the Moffat view on that-


Yeah, but I can remember it, so it happened, so I did it. What does that make me now?”


I remember it so it happened sums up the overriding view put forward that who we believe we are is merely the culmination of who we remember being. The fact the entire timeline resolved itself and those events never occurred has no relevance for Amy, only that she remembers doing it. And this idea of defining self by memory will continue to be a reoccurring aspect of memory in the Moffat era.




I'll cover the series extras and the xmas special in a separate shorter post. Think this one is long enough! }}


Last edited by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:04 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Re: All New Who

Post by malickfan on Thu Jul 05, 2018 6:19 pm


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