perihadion: (Amy Pond)
[personal profile] perihadion
I've been meaning to write a review of "The Pandorica Opens" but when I started writing it sadly turned into a diatribe about my problems with the Amy/Rory relationship as told on Doctor Who. Parts of this may make it into an eventual review of that episode, but I had to get it off my chest now before I can try to write anything positive about an episode I did truly enjoy.

I just don't understand why the story that Steven Moffat has chosen to tell is that of Amy and Rory's "grand love" when almost no real emotional turns have passed between them. In fact, almost all of the significant emotional moments have passed between the Doctor and Amy while Amy has been depicted as luke warm at best about her relationship with Rory. There is no reason why their relationship had to be written the way it has: there could have been moments of real emotional honesty between Amy and Rory (and I know that Steven Moffat knows how to write it) but there never were. The only "emotional" Amy/Rory moments were Rory's deaths first in "Amy's Choice" and then "Cold Blood" and neither of them were about developing an organic emotional connection between Amy and Rory because one of them was about shocking Amy into 'realising' that she loved him (without going to the trouble of writing an emotional moment between them) and the other was a plot point.

Not only that, but the problems inherent in an Amy/Rory relationship — namely that she did feel luke warm towards him, and that they wanted irreconcilably different things from life, and that they were incapable of talking to each other about either of these things or their own emotions — were literally never addressed. Even after Amy has supposedly decided that she loves Rory and is settling into the idea of being with him the issues in the relationship are underlined — because if she's so secure in her love of Rory then why is she so surprised that they are together ten years in the future? Yet I am supposed to be invested in the idea of them as a "great love story". Why? What has happened in this series to justify that kind of investment? Everything else that has happened this year has been shown and not told; the "love story" between Amy and Rory is the only thing that has been told and not shown and I want to know why. Why were Amy and Rory never really intimate or affectionate with each other? Why were they never open with each other?

In fact, why is this the story that Steven Moffat repeatedly chooses to tell? — as in "Blink", where the significant emotional turns of the episode passed between Sally Sparrow and Billy Shipton and yet it was the Rory-esque Larry Nightingale that she ended up with (having gone from "Mm, no, I don't really want anything to do with you," to "I don't want any more mystery or adventure; let's build a life together," in the space of five minutes). It feels like the story Steven Moffat wants to tell is that of how nomatter how adventurous and awesome you may yourself be, even if you meet a charming, charismatic, engaging man like Billy Shipton you'll end up with a Larry or a Rory in the end — characters who are at best vaguely useless puppies and at worst passive-aggressive "nice guys": someone to whom you can't relate and for whom you don't seem to be able to muster any real passion, and you'll be the one in the end to give up your dreams for the sake of the relationship (a relationship riddled with problems which will never be resolved). Why would Amy give up the chance to travel the universe with the Doctor, or even to marry Vincent van Gogh for Rory — someone she "loves" but can't relate or talk to, someone she never especially seems to want to hold or be held by?

And it drives me up the fucking wall because, contrary to whatever bullshit people have been trying to peddle about how "plot-heavy" Doctor Who has become under Steven Moffat, Doctor Who is and always has been a character-driven show; it might contain Weeping Angel-esque interesting plot concepts but it's not Lost — the significant moments are always character and emotional beats and I know that Steven Moffat knows this: because the pay-off for "The Doctor Dances" was an emotional pay-off, because the core of "The Girl in the Fireplace" was the intermittent relationship between Reinette and the Doctor, because "Blink" had that relationship between Sally Sparrow and Billy Shipton, because he wrote Donna struggling to comfort Miss Evangelista after she had already died in "Silence in the Library", because the relationship between River Song and the Doctor is almost certainly a riff on The Time Traveler's Wife (which is not even close to being a "plot-orientated" book). But this year Steven Moffat himself has written no significant emotional beats into the Amy/Rory relationship except for the scene between Amy and Rory in "The Pandorica Opens" and I just don't understand why. The pieces have not been put in place for a "grand love story" between these two characters — and not through lack of skill but by design — and yet we're told that a "grand love story" is what Steven Moffat is telling.

Does Steven Moffat think that the ideal relationship is one with no passion? — that "true love" is really about giving up your dreams and settling for someone you'll be slightly bored by, someone who won't make you especially happy, but someone who won't make you especially miserable either? Is that really what he's trying to show here?

I'm going back to sleep.
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September 2010

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