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New Who 4.8, Silence in the Library

I'll keep this brief, 'cos there's only an hour until the next episode, and it's not like every possible aspect of this one hasn't already been raked over in minute detail over the course of this week in various corners of LJ anyway.

Overall, I liked it. The Art Deco aesthetic of the library was lovely, and I even noticed that some of the light-shades in the early scenes (here, for instance, though they're only dimly visible) looked exactly the same as the ones in the Parkinson building, where I work. The data-ghosting, the walking space-suit and the unseen menace in the dark were all good and scary, and the links between the little girl's world and the library were intriguing and nicely realised (e.g. the library logo on the mat in her father's flat; or 'CAL' written on the side of Dr. Moon's briefcase). I also liked the way Donna's nervous question, 'Books can't be alive - can they?' linked back to the previous story in which, of course, they very much were.

River Song is obviously the Big New Idea here, and it's a clever one in theory. In practice, though, I just didn't warm to her. She seemed to spend too much of her time being smug, and too little doing anything that really made her seem worthy of apparently becoming so special to a future Doctor. In fact, all her emphasis on 'spoilers' made her look awfully like nothing much more than a plot-device designed to drop in some more fore-shadowing for the season finale - certainly, the trailer for the second episode makes it pretty obvious that what she's going to do. I'll be happy enough if she turns out to be secretly evil, and deceiving the Doctor about the nature of their relationship. But if she is merely what she appears to be so far, then thank the gods the Ood have already told us she's going to die; and I just hope their future encounters remain outside of TV canon.

Other gripes included the joke about the 'little shop' - fine, but three times is really enough now, and it wasn't that wonderful in the first place. And the characterisation of Evangelista - argh! Maybe it's really clever to write an utterly cringeworthy character who does feminism no favours whatsoever, and then completely turn around the audience's attitude towards her by giving her a moving and pitiable death-scene. Or maybe it's just bad writing in the first place.

Anyway, it's impossible to really draw judgements about where the plot is going until we've seen the second part. Any or all of the things I've found annoying so far could be cleverly inverted and played with this evening. And there are certainly plenty of interesting threads that I want to see worked out. How exactly will the names 'Lux' and 'Moon' pay off, for example? And of the 4022 people (now 4023) who have been 'saved', and will presumably be reconstituted by the end of the episode - could any of them be Time Lords, perhaps?

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
davesangel
Jun. 7th, 2008 05:40 pm (UTC)
She seemed to spend too much of her time being smug, and too little doing anything that really made her seem worthy of apparently becoming so special to a future Doctor.

I am so glad it wasn't just me who thought this - I expressed this view in various places elsewhere and in one case, met with a very venomous response just because I thought exactly the same as you! Sad. But yes, she was far too smug and the Doctor's attitude towards her pretty much summed that up as well (why so many fans are clamouring for her to be the next main assistant when Moffatt takes over from RTD is beyond me).

But yes, hopefully the Ood will be proved right - but I'd love it if your suggestion of her turning out to be evil is correct...
paulgregory
Jun. 7th, 2008 05:55 pm (UTC)
Well, River Song could turn out to be someone smug that the Doctor *has* met before, which would explain why she still wanted the Doctor to know who 'she' was. However River Song is neither an anagram of The Master or Jennie.
davesangel
Jun. 7th, 2008 06:51 pm (UTC)
Yeah but in last week's episode she kept saying he hadn't met her yet, that he meets her again in his future, which was reinforced this week...
paulgregory
Jun. 7th, 2008 07:05 pm (UTC)
Yes I was aware of that, I should have been clearer and said "which would explain why she still wanted the Doctor to know who 'she' was even after it had been established that he'd not met her yet", rather than relying on the emphasis of "still" and "*has*" - but I posted in haste before the show.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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