To-day's Doctor Who episode was written by the guy who wrote the screenplay to 2002's 24 Hour Party People, Frank Cottrell Boyce. I haven't seen the movie in a long time but I remember finding it somewhat informative though not brilliant. It's hard to believe the guy who wrote about the success and death of Ian Curtis wrote the series of pulled punches that was to-day's Doctor Who, "In the Forest of the Night", a title that comes from the William Blake poem that ponders the existence of irredeemably destructive forces in the world. But the episode, particularly the absolutely wretched final moment (which I won't spoil), seems to argue that everything, everywhere, is actually fine.
Apart from this, there were a few things I liked about the episode. I thought Capaldi was particularly good in this one. There were a few lines I really liked--the little girl not asking why the TARDIS is bigger on the inside because, she explained, she just thought it was supposed to be. I liked the Doctor's line about how people who have lost something are able to hear things others can't because they're listening harder, unable to give up hope.
The bottomless pit of solid dull that is Danny Pink has gotten to be sort of fascinating. He ought to be called Danny Monochrome. The absolute lack of life in his performance is so apparent it's only slightly less strange than if an inert Bob's Big Boy statue were cast in the role and everyone acted like it was talking. He's got to be some . . . dream or something, some blank spot on everyone's memory that explains why they didn't notice a Cybermen invasion in the finale. Something like that. Like the Silence who can't be remembered when you're not looking at them, no-one notices the guy who plays Danny Pink can't act.
All of a sudden the characters were talking about the Doctor being the last of his species again. Didn't the anniversary special establish pretty definitively this wasn't the case? Where does he think his extra regenerations came from in the Christmas special? Watching "The Fires of Pompeii" recently reminded me how much the Last of His Species thing used to be part of the show. Maybe Cottrell Boyce wrote this script a long time ago.
Speaking of things that were written a while ago, I read the new Sirenia Digest this morning which includes "The Rest of the Wrong Thing", a short story Caitlin wrote with Billy Martin in 2001. It was a good story about a mysterious object and a quest to return it to the place of death and destruction it came from, the value in the story coming mainly from descriptions of feelings inspired by the weird object, something Caitlin has always been good at. The story being from 2001 allows one to reflect on just how long Caitlin has been finding fresh ways of doing this. At the same time, I recognise some aspects of her older work that aren't quite as prevalent now, like the fact that her stories now aren't quite as filled with intensely insecure, constantly bickering young characters. I'm pretty confident which parts of the story were written by Martin for this reason. It'd been quite a while since I've read any of Billy Martin's work and it's a shame he seems to have retired from writing. "The Rest of the Wrong Thing" exhibits some of his remarkable, concise, clear eyed style. I tend to associate Martin's style with Harlan Ellison for some reason, maybe because when I first picked up one of Martin's books I read a blurb by Ellison on the back (when Martin was still writing as Poppy Z. Brite). There's a confidant volatility I perceive more in Ellison's voice but there's something similar about how nicely both authors seem to step out of the way of their subjects. Which of course, they aren't really doing because they're creating the subject--this stepping away is a brilliant illusion and helps to lend a sense of reality to their fictional worlds.
Twitter Sonnet #679
Streets of last discount silk candles break men.
Disturbed council meetings tremble in socks.
All the saints consider is how to win.
Clear and armless, a dream spirit now talks.
Blank distracted marbles miss the dobber.
Bowling pins ambush balls in the alley.
Coordinate jacks outline the rubber.
Coin in empty cups reward no tally.
Elevator drop ship courses steady.
Bronze ornate visors sabotage poker.
The ripcord moon rovers aren't field ready.
Barrels perplexed Donkey Kong's stock broker.
In shallow orbit the caviare comes.
When flies applaud the air quietly hums.