Night of the Doctor, Day of Grudging Forgiveness

Okay, now I’m pissed off and crying.

I don’t want Moffat at the head of this. I don’t want to start enjoying Moffat’s work again, because suspension of disbelief is suspension of self-protection; inevitably, there will be a women-drivers crack or a snide eyeroll or a sprained ankle that will slap me in the face with the fundamental gender essentialism that is — believe me, I’m in the middle of a rewatch — as bad now under Moffatt as it was in the 60s, and occasionally worse. And it will hurt more if I lack detachment.

I need to stay detached from this anniversary party. I’m trying, to an extent, to pretend that it’s not happening, or that it’s no big deal. I’ve been handling it by keeping the old and new shows separate lately, seeing Nine on as inspired by the old show, but not the same.

I haven’t always done that. Under RTD, I was desperate to find the sly continuities that hinted at canonizing the interim years of comics, novels, audio plays, charity shorts. I wanted Davies to acknowledge how many people worked, and how strenuously, to keep the Doctor’s stories alive after cancellation. I screamed when I saw “Human Nature” as an episode title. I bellowed and flailed every time reference was made to the Doctor having a navel, having a grandchild, stealing a TARDIS. “There, you see? They’re bringing the new audience up to speed! They’re going to start incorporating the CMP! They’re going to finish telling about the Time War!”

Davies never delivered, and eventually I accepted that he was using all that as a backdrop to enrich the story for those in the know and give it texture and mystery for those who weren’t. Moffatt seemed uninterested in pursuing that line when he took over.

Then, too, I hate webisodes and minisodes and five-minute “specials” the way the prototypical desert-island survivor learns to hate coconuts. When something sustains you inadequately for years without ever approaching being fulfilling, you learn to resent the hunger it prompts more than you can enjoy the few minutes you spend consuming it. I prefer to collect them unwatched, and then see them all at once as an appetizer to the first show of a new season. But this is so talked-about that there’s no way I would make it another week-plus without spoilers; all I could realistically hope for was to spoil it for myself by watching it before anyone else could manage to give something away.

Spoilers, naturally, below.

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