Wednesday 15 May 2013

Doctor Who - She Said, He Said

So the latest prequel for an upcoming Doctor Who episode is available. This one is for this week’s Series Seven finale, “The Name of the Doctor”. Entitled “She Said, He Said”, it’s one of the longest prequels they’ve filmed. It’s also one of the dullest. For people who haven’t seen it, here it is:

The idea of presenting a pair of monologues as opposed to an actual scene (making this not really a prequel, I suppose) is actually an interesting idea, and I’d approve if the material Clara and the Doctor are talking about was actually interesting, but it’s not. On top of that, monologues by their very nature do what Doctor Who has been doing far too much of lately: they tell rather than show. Monologues can work great when they’re about things we’ve actually seen or as a change of pace. The Doctor goes on quite a bit about how perfect Clara is, how she’s perfect for him, but this is something we’ve never really seen. What about Clara is so perfect? What sets her apart from other people? The only thing unique about her is that she’s lived more than once. But she doesn’t even know that (from what we’ve seen so far, at any rate). There is nothing else about her that makes her an individual and different from other people. So why is she so perfect for the Doctor?

Clara, in turn, refers to not falling in love, a trick she performs twice a day, implying a growing love between her and the Doctor. This is something that has been thrown into a few lines of dialogue here and there (in “Hide” and “Nightmare in Silver”), but is also something we’ve never really seen. Indeed, we’ve seen very little of the relationship between Clara and the Doctor. We’ve never seen them get to know each other. Do they know each other?

Each monologue also has an annoying change in perspective at the end. Both Clara and the Doctor begin speaking as we know them now (up to the end of “Nightmare in Silver”), but then switch at the end to speaking from a point of view after the upcoming finale. I understand the effect Steven Moffat was going for here, but I personally find it very jarring, and unnatural. It doesn’t place tantalizing hints. Instead, it just reminds you how unreal everything is. And yes, Doctor Who is about a ton of unreal, impossible things. But it should feel real, and it doesn’t. And without feeling real, the “Impossible Girl” is no more impossible than anything else in the show. It makes me not care at all about her mystery.

Of all the prequels, "She Said, He Said" is the most easily missable.

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