doctor who

The Doctor-is-a-Dalek Conspiracy Theory Revisited

(from ~Dalek2626 on DeviantArt)

A belated evidenciary addition to my previously-stated theory that the Doctor is, in fact, a Dalek. It’s going to get spoilery in here!

The major thematic thrust of this year’s Xmas special was about how the Doctor used to be kind, but no longer is – with the implication that he stopped being kind around that time that he lost Amy and Rory. While I actually have major problems with this suggestion*, it does fit with the whole “turned into a Dalek” idea – especially since in the episode where he turned into a Dalek (yes, I’m talking about it as a certainty now; it’s just less linguistically awkward – you can mentally add ifs if you like), the emotional characteristics of Daleks were the main way in which the potential transformation was talked about.

I also feel like Oswin/Clara’s reappearance** strengthens my theory. We know she’s inhabiting the mind of a Dalek – maybe it’s the Doctor-Dalek’s mind, and he’s hallucinating her to some extent. I haven’t worked out the details of how this could be the case, but I’m sure it’ll involve wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey hand-waving.

*I would argue that the Doctor in the reboot series has pretty much never been motivated by kindness (it’s certainly never been a primary motivation).

He’s motivated by curiosity, and his sense of justice, and beauty, and his love of other races in general and humanity in particular. He’s also motivated by opportunities to be clever. But not by kindness. Donna tried (and succeeded to some small extent) to make him value kindness for its own sake, but it’s simply not one of his major characteristics, from where I sit.

**So excited about this, by the by! I fell in love with Oswin almost instantly, and was sad when I thought she wouldn’t be a recurring character.

Speaking of Doctor Who

(via gaudiramone at Flickr)

So, in the season seven opener, this thing happened. And this thing, as far as I can tell, has two possible implications, and I don’t really like either of them.

(Yes, there are spoilers ahead. You’ve been warned.)

The thing was this: when the doctor and crew got sent to the Dalek asylum, they were given wristbands to protect them from the nanogenes that turn all living things into what I am going to call stealth-Daleks. Their physical appearance changes, and they may not even realize they are a Dalek until they are activated at an opportune moment to kill things.

Amy’s wristband gets stolen and she starts showing signs of being turned into a Dalek (we’re told that in order to make a Dalek, you “subtract love and add anger,” and Amy starts acting angrier than usual). There’s a slightly forced but kinda touching scene here where Rory tries to give Amy his wristband because he figures it’ll take longer for him to be converted, as he loves Amy more than she loves him, but she convinces him otherwise just as they anti-climactically discover that the Doctor actually sneakily gave Amy his wristband before he left to go save Oswin (who was awesome; I’m so sad she won’t be a recurring character).

But then my problem.

The fact that the Doctor was without wristband for a lengthy period of time never comes up again for the rest of the episode. when they first realize the Doctor gave his to Amy, Amy makes a halfhearted attempt to reassure herself that he doesn’t actually need it, but there’s no reason to believe that’s the case: if he didn’t need it, the Daleks wouldn’t have given him one. Moreover, it was clear to me that the Doctor was actually in more danger than either Amy or Rory based on a (truly awesome) exchange earlier in the episode where one of the Daleks explains to the Doctor that they don’t kill crazy/malfunctioning Daleks because they can’t bear to destroy hate that pure, and then makes an offhand comment that perhaps that’s why they have never managed to kill the Doctor. (Side-note: I love this particularly because it’s a pretty clear reference to the extraordinarily bitter person the tenth Doctor had in many ways become before he died. It was a progression that fascinated me, because he seemed to still be trying to behave like someone who cared, but became more haphazard in the final season.)

Anyway, the point is that the man is full of hate/anger toward the Daleks, and at risk of turning into one. But we don’t hear boo about it. And life has gone on, dinosaurs on a spaceship happened, more episodes to come.

From my perspective, there are two possible explanations:

1) extraordinarily sloppy writing. Either they had intended to include some stuff about the Doctor changing and cut it for length reasons, but kept the Amy/Rory conflict because it was important to establish that they are staying together, or they just forgot about the implications for the Doctor completely. Whatever problems I may have with them, I have way too much faith in the writing staff to believe this is the case.

Which leaves me with:

2) The Doctor is now a stealth-Dalek. I’ll be watching for evidence of this as we go forward. He did kill a man who was begging for his life in “Dinosaurs.” This isn’t unheard of for the Doctor, true, but it isn’t the person he likes to think of himself as usually, especially not since Donna called him out on it repeatedly, and he came around to her perspective. Perhaps there will be more to come.

Here’s the thing though: if this is the case, than this is the end of this timelord. And I believe that means only one thing: they’re planning to make River Song the next pilot of the TARDIS. And I really want to be excited about this idea – I love the idea of having a female Doctor. But I’ve had a lot of issues with River in the more recent seasons, and I don’t think I’d enjoy watching her adventures :/
Quick, someone explain to me why I’m wrong!

Unintentional rape scenes in movies and tv

(TW: discussions of fictionalized depictions of rape)

I think that one of the giant markers of rape culture is the ways in sexuality is portrayed in the media. Ok, duh, yeah. But in this case I want to talk specifically about scenes in movies and television that are actually rapes or sexual assaults, but that are never identified as such by the people writing, directing, producing or acting in them, and that generally aren’t recognized as such by mainstream audiences.

A friend of mine recently wrote a review of sorts about the movie Killer Joe. In his review, he discussed a scene he described as “the rape scene”. Based on his description of the scene, wherein the (potentially brain-damaged?) daughter is tricked into going on a “date” with a hired killer, as the killer’s retainer for a job her father and brother want him to do. There’s this really creepy scene where he orders her to change into a dress in front of him, and then they “have sex”. The only problem I had with my friend calling it “the rape scene” was that he didn’t call it “one of the rape scenes,” since there is a scene later in the film where another woman is forced to fellate a fried chicken leg. But at the same time, I got a gut feeling based on the description that the people involved in the making of the movie wouldn’t call it rape.

So I googled around, and yeah, almost all of the instances where the word rape comes up in the context of Killer Joe, it’s with respect to the chicken scene, with two notable exceptions. The Girl With The Film Blog has a great, thought-provoking review that covers most of what I feel about it. And I also found a quotation in which Juno Temple (who plays Dottie) expresses confusion at the idea that the scene might be described as rape.

The thing is that, taken completely out of the context of the rest of the film and everything we know about Joe and what he’s capable of, the scene (starting from after Dottie gets coerced into stripping for him – the context-removal has to be downright surgical) seems to be trying to be about two sort of emotionally stunted people who probably aren’t capable of consenting to adult sex acts, but who are on the same level in a way that makes their activities kind of appropriate, and sweet in a really uncomfortable way. Juno Temple, who plays Dottie, describes the scene as a sort of love scene that’s weirdly sweet.

I obviously don’t buy it. The whole movie seems to be about these three men in her life (father ,brother, and Joe), and the ways in which they make decisions about her fate without any thought to consulting her. And Joe is the same guy who breaks a woman’s nose before forcing her fellate that chicken leg – the scene was unwatchable for me, and just went on and on. And he is a contract killer, after all.

So in context, that scene, and the continuing relationship between Dottie and Joe through the rest of the movie, are sort of a manipulation 101, wherein Joe has tricked Dottie into loving him by playing the part of someone sweet and innocent (while simultaneously only talking about her to her male relatives in terms of payments and retainers.) And ultimately, even if Dottie appears to have consented to the whole relationship, it’s just as clear that she didn’t actually have any real choice in the matter (or rather, the choice was “consent, or get raped” which, well, isn’t actually a real thing that can be called a choice). And there is nothing ok about any of it.

Of course, this isn’t the only place this has happened. I continue to reel from the fact that so many awesome feminists are brimming with Amy Pond-love, when one of the first things she does when she sees the Doctor as an adult is sexually assault (there’s a prolonged scene where he’s desperately trying to stop her from kissing him, and she keeps trying to take his clothes off while he tries to stop her. Can we please acknowledge that this is a thing that happened, and it’s not even a little bit ok?) No really, though, check it out. I’ll wait.

(Jump to about the 35s mark)

Wikipedia (known for the editors’ resistance to attempts to name rape for what it is) describes this scene as Amy’s “[attempt] to the seduce the Doctor.” (For reference, the questionable scene is Killer Joe gets glossed over as follows: “Joe ‘dates’ Dottie and then appears to be staying over at the trailer and having sex with her regularly.” …Right.)

There’s actually people who are trying to push back against this mainstream refusal to acknowledge the rapey-ness of so very many mainstream “sex” scenes. I tried to google around to re-find them, but actually wound up finding all kinds of lists of the best “spicy” rape scenes in movies, with compilation videos and playlists, and I had to stop. Seriously.

My point is that … well, I’m not sure what my point is. I was going to say that you can point to these kinds of scenes as evidence of rape culture, but that will only work for people who are already aware of rape culture, since other people could just as easily try to use these scenes to prove that these kinds of behaviours aren’t rape/assault (“look, Amy did it to the Doctor, and they’re friends! There couldn’t have been anything wrong with it!”/”Dottie really loves Joe! it’s all ok!”) I think my point is that this shit pisses me right the fuck off.