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Oct. 28th, 2010

# Merlin 3.06 wasn't just repetitive, but also insultingly stupid, and infantile even on the standards of this show. Also, if Lord Whatshisname is that forgiving of Arthur basically standing his daughter up at the altar before the entire court of Camelot, that alliance didn't need strengthening through marriage in the first place, unless the idea was snapping her up before someone politically inconvenient might.

Elena's story wasn't as bad as it could have been, what with her amazing riding skills, but Grunhilda chasing after Gaius and he being OMG!horrified at that, was cringeworthy. There were a couple of Arthur/Merlin moments that might have been cute if the whole episode hadn't annoyed me so much (the intimacy of the pillow throwing, the destiny speech), but OTOH the Arthur/Gwen scenes were too weak, especially for such an episode. I have absolutely no problem with Arthur/Gwen. But make it count. Make it an important part of the story. Make me care. Write it consistently, don't just stick the odd scene in here and there. Don't make her and Arthur's relationship secondary to Arthur and Merlin's.


# 3.07 was slightly better, I guess, at least in some respects. In others, not so much. I've always hated how Morgana's character and arc were handled this season, but before this episode I also had quite a bit of sympathy for her situation, annoying evil smirks notwithstanding. However, what she did to Gwen here, abusing her trust, because how would she know about Gwen's brother unless Gwen told her, and playing this cat and mouse game with her and her feelings, is despicable. Actually, I already wondered in 3.06 what Gwen, of all people, had done to become the target of Morgana's smirks. That Morgana wants Uther dead is perfectly understandable. Merlin already tried to kill her, no arguments there either. Arthur never did anything to her personally, but he's Uther's son, which, I guess, might constitute some sort of reason. But Gwen? She's a servant. She was her friend. Is it because she's in love with Arthur? Why? Does Morgana even know? She certainly can't answer the question when Merlin asks her. She's really her father's daughter in the irrationality of her resentment and the lack of discrimination when it comes to her desire for revenge.

Actually, this really kind of upsets me. I loved the friendship Gwen and Morgana had in S1, and I hate to see it destroyed like that, for no good reason and without even acknowledging it. Morgana pretending concern and friendship for Gwen bothers me a lot more than her doing the same thing with Arthur or Uther.

* Painful echoes of The Moment of Truth, when the four of them rode to save Merlin's village and still were friends. Now Morgana wants them all dead, Merlin tries to kill her twice... Damn, show. Ouch. The silent power struggle between Merlin and Morgana behind Arthur's back (or right under his nose) was rather brilliant, though.

* Throwing things at Merlin has become the equivalent of foreplay now? Although I can't really appreciate the subtext any longer now that Arthur is supposed to be in love with Gwen. It's fanservice, but I can't any longer make it part of the story in my head, because that feels like I'm erasing Gwen.

* The thing with the chair was cute, though. Also, careless. One day Arthur is going to notice. Or so one hopes.

* Has Merlin completely stopped to take Arthur seriously, and when exactly did that happen? He was so obviously hurt and frustrated by Arthur's behaviour in the first few episodes, when did that change? The Crystal Cave? That's another thing, just like with Morgana and Gwen. Relationships change, but half of the time you don't see them change, or at least not enough to make sense.

* How often exactly did we have the 'just a servant, not worth rescuing' discussion between Uther and Arthur now? *sigh*

* With the inconsistency of the writing it's hard to tell, and I wasn't sure at all if it was deliberate or not when in 3.03 Arthur quietly tried to get proof for Merlin's innocence instead of futilely confronting Uther, but it certainly looks like as if Arthur is becoming less inclined to rush into emotional confrontations he already knows won't get him anywhere.

* I'm still not really buying Arthur/Gwen. I like them as friends, but I just don't see the romantic spark.

* ENOUGH. WITH. THE. EVIL. SMIRK. God.


# SJA: Death of the Doctor

I don't actually watch this show, or maybe more precisely, I tried and watched a few episodes back in S1, and it's cute and everything, but really a bit too children-orientated for my taste. I guess I was secretly hoping that RTD would make me like Eleven, but that didn't really work either. There were a couple of scenes I vaguely enjoyed, but in the end it wasn't enough.

And what I found really... unsatisfying, plot-wise, is how there are these intergalactic undertaker vultures-aliens who have presided over so many funerals and seen so much death and pain and suffering that they want to use the Tardis to stop death ('to halt the endless, endless weeping'), which is the kind of storyline that would have fit right into Ten's arc, but there's no connection at all to the Doctor, no acknowledgement that this is exactly the thing that made Ten stumble in the end, or that Eleven might see things differently. Odd. There's also the strong implication that the UNIT lady lost someone (or several someones), the way she says, there's nothing left for me here on Earth, not any more'. But that's never clarified either, unless I missed something. The whole thing felt a bit like a left-over idea that didn't quite make it into Ten's arc...

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
elisi
Oct. 28th, 2010 09:07 am (UTC)
The whole thing felt a bit like a left-over idea that didn't quite make it into Ten's arc...
You know, that wouldn't surprise me AT ALL! Have you read 'The Writer's Tale'? He's forever swapping ideas around.

the kind of storyline that would have fit right into Ten's arc, but there's no connection at all to the Doctor, no acknowledgement that this is exactly the thing that made Ten stumble in the end, or that Eleven might see things differently. Odd.
To be meta about it, then you could say that the Doctor was dead - that is, the Tenth Doctor and his issues are no more. As you say, Eleven is completely untouched by the whole thing, never even finds out the why (not that we see, I presume he was probably told off-screen) - it's Sarah Jane who has the big showdown, laying down the law about the way the universe works. (Which is appropriate, given that it is her show.) Eleven has that one moment when he's asked about Ten's death, and quite simply refuses to answer (his contribution to saving the day is about the strength of memory, the main theme of S5), and when later asked what would happen when he dies, sidesteps it again by pretty much turning it into a joke. Eleven is... post-death? (I'm sure there's a better phrasing.) Ten ran so far, and for so long, and was yet half in-love with death, flirting with it continually. Eleven (probably because of Ten's obsessiveness) has moved on - his focus is on stories, on memory, on how nothing is ever lost, as long as it is remembered.

Hey - there was meta in there, goodness. Hope you don't mind me rambling. :)
solitary_summer
Oct. 29th, 2010 07:32 pm (UTC)
I've read the first edition and about half of the new part so far, and I absolutely loved it; I only stopped because I was writing that meta post and wanted to focus on the show itself. I really need to finish it...

Eleven is... post-death?

That's an interesting thought... You could perhaps argue that the way he brushes aside the questions about his/Ten's death as if talking about it makes him uncomfortable might indicate that there's still some kind of sore spot, whatever the reason, and that he isn't entirely indifferent to the subject, but I suspect this probably won't be resolved in DW canon.

Sometimes I really wonder how much of this is even intent. On the other hand, RTD can hardly be not aware that his stories tend to be rather death-driven...
alba17
Oct. 29th, 2010 01:52 am (UTC)
Merlin - I agree with you about all of that. Morgana is just awful. Such a waste to make her 100% evil. There's no reason for her to hate Gwen - that made no sense at all. er, I have no trouble shipping Arthur/Merlin, doesn't matter what happens on the show. heh. The writing this season has been horrendous. The show could be so much better.
solitary_summer
Oct. 29th, 2010 07:54 pm (UTC)
The show could be so much better.
This is what makes me angry every time - all that wasted potential.

Uther spent 20+ years killing people because he couldn't face his own guilt and he's still a complex character. Why can't they do as much for Morgana? Why are the women always capital-e-evil without even a shadow of ambiguity even when they have totally legitimate grievances? Why is Merlin apparently the only one who can handle magic (more or less) responsibly? I read the synopsis for the 10th episode, and I think I just might quit watching.

The shipping thing... it's just a personal quirk. For some reason I need to be able to fit my ship into canon in my head, and once there's an official boy/girlfriend, I can't really do that any longer.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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