Doctor Who Reactions: "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead" (SPOILERS)

1)"Hello, sweetie."  And so it begins. And, oddly enough, ends as well.  While I've nothing against Alex Kingston, I've never been a huge fan of River Song as a character.  It's just not a way I would've taken the character of the Doctor.  In theory, the idea of two time travelers meeting "out of sequence" is an interesting one, and it is interesting to see the Doctor spending the episode not knowing what's going on. In practive, however, it tends to lead to extremely convoluted continuity, which tends to become creakier the longer it goes on. Par exemple:  "Crash of the Byzantium - have we done that yet?"  Considering episodes to come, that becomes a very odd question for her to ask at this point, doesn't it? All that said, her "death" scene was quite touching: "This means you've always known how I was going to die." And for all that the Doctor "saves" her at the end, all he's done is leave her trapped in a really pleasant prison.


2)"Hey, who turned out the lights?"


3)Donna gets some good moments in this - I share her reaction to the face nodes, which seem extremely creepy.  The scene in the library where she was talking to Evangelista's "ghost" as it faded was touching and bizarre at the same time.  Donna's anguish when she realized that her "children" weren't real was also very affecting.  And then her "near-miss" with her boyfriend at the end!  I also liked the scene at the end with the Doctor and Donna both claiming to be "alright".


4)"Hey, who turned out the lights?"


5)I liked Evangelista as a character, too - her "warped"face when she was in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe was sufficiently creepy.


6)"Hey, who turned out the lights?"


7)The Vashta Nerada were an interesting baddy - kudos to Moffat for a successful re-invention of an old Scooby-Doo villain:

They were fun for a one-off villain - don't know if they have quite enough personality to sustain multiple adventures.


8)"Hey, who turned out the lights?"


9)Of course, the real horror of the episode was the thought of abandoning a planet-sized library to the Skeleton People.  If the Doctor had taken me to the Library, I'd've stayed there, Vashta Nerada or no.  I'd've worked out something with them - give me time to read whatever I want, and I'd be perfectly willing to stumble around, eating chicken and saying the same thing over and over again. Hell, that's pretty much how I live now!  Perhaps the Doctor was figuring the library could be re-opened after the Vashta Nerada all starved to death.


10)"Hey, who turned out the lights?"


11)Cliffhanger for "Silence in the Library": The Doctor discovers the Donna-node as the Vashta Nerada close in!   Resolution: River uses the squareness gun to help them escape!


12)"Hey, who turned out the lights?"


13)Some fun quotes:

  • "Run. For God's sake, run."  Not so much the line, as the deadpan delivery.
  • "Donna?" "Yeah?" "Stay out of the shadows."  Have you seen the Doctor, baby, standing in the shadows?
  • "I'm a time traveler. I point and laugh at archaeologists."  Jackass.
  • "Spoilers." Oh, shut up.
  • "The real world is a lie, and your nightmares are real."  I've always suspected as much.
  • "Hey, who turned out the lights?"
  • "Donna Noble has left the library. Donna Noble has been saved."
  • "I am brilliant, and unloved."
  • "I'm the Doctor, and you're in the biggest library in the universe - look me up."
  • "Why do you even have handcuffs?"  You'll find out.
  • "Time can be re-written."   "You can't re-write history  - not one line!"
  • "Sweet dreams, everyone!"


14)"Hey, who turned out the lights?"



Another scarefest from Mr. Moffat - not bad in and of itself, but something of a precursor of future episodes that will highlight both his strengths and his weaknesses - some of the best "scary Doctor Who" since the days of Philip Hinchcliffe, but also a tendency to overreach a bit when it comes to plot convolutions.


"Hey, who turned out the lights?"


[Part of list of Doctor Who episodes here.]

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I like Alex Kingston and I like the concept of River Song.  So I really liked these episodes.  But over the long haul, I think River would have worked better as spice, a bit 'o mystery and an occasional reminder of just how odd the Doctor's life is.  I don't think she works well as the certerpiece of an arc.

Also, I have a nagging suspicion that if I actually sat down, rewatched every appearance of River and tried to flow chart her and the Doctor's respective timelines, the whole thing would fall apart.

"Hey, who turned out the lights?"

Given the "Doctor 10 is God" vibe of the RTD years...he pretty much created heaven for River and her team.  That's the biggest difference between RTD and Moffat...for RTD, the Doctor is God's stand-in in the universe...for Moffat, the Doctor is God, but he's the one we've (or at least humanity's stand-in, Amy Pond) created for ourselves.

Now it can be told: I turned out the lights!

We love this one!


Space is showing all of the new Who series in chronological order. Every Sunday they do a batch and then they dump those online for some period of time in the week following--which is when I get to watch them. Sometimes they miss an episode or take them down too soon--so I have to go searching for them elsewhere. The next episode coming up should be SILENCE IN THE LIBRARY--if all goes off without a hitch, I should be able to see it on Monday. I was surprised when I saw it promoed--even though I was expecting it to come up--it's a shock, because that's a sign that the Tenth Doctor's days are numbered.

This week they will also be starting to show retrospective episodes of old Who on Saturday (the Hartnell one should be on today)--which I gather is what the BBC showed earlier in the year. Those should go online tomorrow or in the coming week. 

So a good opportunity for me to look back at DOCTOR WHO leading up to the big anniversary show (which I'm trying to stay free from spoilers).

So I saw this again and I have to say it's much more powerful and moving now. It was good the first time I saw it, but it's really sad and tragic, when you know the whole story of River. Some people might say we got too much of River, but all of those stories inform this one. So it's so worth it, in my opinion.

At the end, I was thinking--oh if they had known where they were going with River's story, they could've included Rory and Amy at the end. They should be with River in the library. 

But then I thought, hey wait, why are those little kids still in the library? River has three kids, Cal and those two anomymous children that were Donna's. Maybe those kids are Amy and Rory?

I'd like to think so, anyway. Not the real Amy and Rory perhaps, but a memory of them that Eleven stored on River's Sonic before he gave it to her.

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