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New Who 6.7: A Good Man Goes To War

I think my overall reaction to that was that I really enjoyed almost every individual bit of it, but found the whole slightly underwhelming nonetheless. I think that's basically for the same reasons as after The End of Time part 1, when I felt much the same - too many characters, many of them new, competing for attention, and too much emphasis on driving plots forward rather than giving the characters space to develop and interact.

I also don't really feel as thought I have just witnessed revelations so awesome and game-changing that they require a mid-season hiatus while we jump up and down madly waiting for the pay-off. But perhaps that part is my fault for following too many fan communities, full of people who worked out well in advance who River was and why. There are still unanswered questions, to be sure - like who will she kill, and why, and how that links in with the events we've already seen in the opening two-parter. But I don't feel we've really been given anything more to go on there, so (as I've just said on andrewducker's journal), there doesn't seem much point in speculating madly for the next three months. Rather than being in a fever of anticipation, I feel more like someone who's got rather sick of playing a guessing game, and is at the "Oh for gods' sake, just TELL me!" stage.

Anyway! Let's talk about those individual bits.

So lizbee was absolutely right that the best thing about this week's episode would be Jenny - the awesomely sexy waist-coated mildly cockney Victorian maid-servant-slash-swordswoman. How even better still that she was quite clearly in a clandestine lesbian relationship with her extraordinarily sexy samurai Silurian mistress, Madame Vastra. The look on her face after Vastra comments, "I don't know why you put up with me" - and then whips a prisoner sitting on the floor several metres away with her enormous long tongue... woof!

A close second in the awesomeness stakes was Lorna Bucket - also very cute in her own right, plus I felt there was quite a lesbotic vibe going on between her and Amy, too, when they were bonding over their shared childhood encounters with the Doctor. Rather a pity she had to die, in that case.

Also rather a pity that one half of the Thin / Fat gay married Anglican marines had to die (or at least be transformed into a headless monk, which is more or less the same thing), too. If either Jenny or Madame Vastra die in the second half of this story, I shall start to feel a persecution complex coming on.

Also quite awesome was Commander Strax, the Sontaran nurse. He was definitely the funniest thing in the story, especially when he boasting about what "magnificent quantities of lactic fluid" he could produce! But he was also good value for casting further light on Rory, too. As he was dying, and Rory tried to comfort him by saying that he was a warrior, his reply, "No - I'm a nurse" had definite resonances for Rory himself.

After all, how has Rory ended up in a place where he is marching around the universe in a centurion's uniform, delivering 'messages' from the Doctor like blowing up a whole Cyberlegion just to make a point? Is he really a warrior? Or is he still a nurse? Which is of course also the same question we're being asked to explore here for the Doctor, too - is he a healer or a warrior?

But honestly, I think that's all I have to say about any of it.

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( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 4th, 2011 09:20 pm (UTC)
Also rather a pity that one half of the Thin / Fat gay married Anglican marines had to die (or at least be transformed into a headless monk, which is more or less the same thing), too

I sort of saw that as allegory; blind/extremist faith leading to the death of a gay marriage being allegorical to religious extremists/fundies who are against gays and gay marriage on religious grounds.

And remember that the Romans (as did the Assyrians) more of less invented military medicine, including medics/corpsmen, which I know gets referenced in most basic Roman military texts (or at least something about their comparative sophistication). Plus I've known a lot of military docs and nurses; the oaths can be reconciled, though how so varies from person to person. I guess that's where Rory and 11 are both going (though perhaps Rory should call him XI).

Shame we didn't get an armouring scene for Rory-- really bring home the Classical refs! The 'recruitment' scenes were practically epic cycle-- I was half expecting somebody to feign madness like Odysseus or go in drag like Akhilleus... :P
Jun. 7th, 2011 05:39 am (UTC)
;ve just seen it a week after everyone else and feel quite deluged with plot! But yes am actually most confused about *why was Rory dressed as a Roman*! Yes he's very cool and has the right nose but that's not enough!!
Jun. 5th, 2011 01:57 am (UTC)
Just watched this, and as usual, went straight to your LJ to read your thoughts. ;)

I have to say as somebody who wasn't following fan speculation, it definitely occured to me at various points in the series who River might be, but the problem I had is that it falls into "the corner of wrong" category. I commented to my husband that it would be like discovering Sproglet is actually a middle-aged woman of our acquaintance--it would completely wreck any possible relationship we could have with our child.

I have to say, having a baby daughter did heavily influence my viewing of this, mostly in that I felt Amy wasn't crying nearly enough. All those little baby noises they sampled for the episode were very reminiscent of the sorts of things Sproglet says, which meant I identified her quite strongly with Melody. The part where the baby turns to liquid flesh, while I was anticipating it, was a horrible moment. Kudos to the scriptwriters for coming up with something so wrenching.

Going back to things that don't work for me... Rory the Roman. I love Rory and I would love to see him explored more, because right now, the 2000 years he spent protecting Amy are rather glossed over. I'm not talking actual events so much as personal development. He's centuries old--how could he really have a functional relationship with Amy, who frequently tends to being childish?

I do agree that Jenny and Vastra rock. My husband and I both giggled like schoolchildren over the tongue joke.
Jun. 5th, 2011 01:58 am (UTC)
PS: Clearly the answer to my breastfeeding issues is a Sontaran wet-nurse. If only!
Jun. 7th, 2011 05:42 am (UTC)
I didn't anticipate sprog turning to Flesh at all & was q horrified. But isn;t it a bit of a turn off for the Dr? He sort of treats Amy as a grandaughter so it's like shagging yr great grand daughter? Alternately Amy fancies him so he's shagging the daughter of someone who inappropriately fancies him? Neitrher seems sexy/teatime tv to me..
Jun. 5th, 2011 07:13 am (UTC)
I liked the magnificent sevenish gathering of his troops part although in the end they mostly seemed redundant. Strax was great as you said.
Jun. 5th, 2011 10:53 am (UTC)
Yeah, I'm a bit bemused about that whole end fight... why did the headless monks attack them? They only killed one sontaran so I would assume that they didn't expect to win the fight and there was nothing to actually capture since the baby wasn't real...
Jun. 5th, 2011 11:16 am (UTC)
I would guess that almost everyone on the base was not in on the switch. If they had been then the soldier who defected would have told them. I guess for the most effective diversion you get the doctor to think "the problem I am solving is fighting a bunch of soldiers" when he should have been thinking "the problem I am solving is finding a missing baby". If people are there to be a distraction and get killed then the last thing you do is tell them.
Jun. 5th, 2011 10:21 am (UTC)
Bonus points for the sontarian nurse.....

I loved it - and the whole 'is this who you want to be?' aspect was brilliant.

Jun. 5th, 2011 10:21 am (UTC)
Oh yes and the tounge joke made me laugh really hard as well.....
Jun. 5th, 2011 11:08 am (UTC)
I did love the episode and didn't see the river song reveal coming at all - I do largely avoid any internet speculation more involved than your LJ posts though. I am not sure about the whole "revelations so awesome and game-changing that they require a mid-season hiatus while we jump up and down madly waiting for the pay-off". I'm not sure I've ever really jumped up and down like that. I have to admit I did initially think the end of last episode was the mid season cliffhanger since that was much more the sort of thing that I'd expect for the anticipation. I will admit to being quite glad about it not being a cliff hangery ending though.

Is there a good declared reason for why this season is split into two parts? I can't believe it is as a suspense thing but I've not really heard anything good. I guess a change of pace from "What happened to Amy" to "chase the baby" could be a good enough reason though...

And my last comment is that I was a bit disappointed about the prophecyy type things. The rising high and then falling so far thing just didn't seem to pan out. They had the rising high and then the only real falling so low to me felt like his noobish mistake with the baby (I thought it obvious to do full checks because even if he wasn't flesh it could ahve been a decoy baby...). but yeah, I didn't really think the doctor fell so far. There was the big "Are you a warrior or a healer" thing but that was just a conversation, it wasn't something that happened there... Did I miss a point of view on this one?
Jun. 5th, 2011 11:18 am (UTC)
I thought the same about the "fall" part. There was an oops but not a fall. Maybe that part is to come.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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