Doctor Who: Let’s Kill Craig

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I don't think this season has been "uneven". Hell, it's been one of the best ones so far. If anything, despite the fact they saved Craig, it's felt much less like a show that was playing it safe. It's become much more complicated and they've taken bigger risks. I've loved it so far, lets just hope the finale doesn't disapoint!

I agree that this has definitely been the weakest episode of the exceptional series. Personally I would have been tempted to make the episode sillier and let Craig become cybercommander. Craig was clearly not as smart as they cyberman had falsely assumed, thus they would become a bunch of idiots and a walkover...

I'm sorry but how is Doctor Who a children's show? I've only watched the reboot but to be honest, it's much more intended to teenagers and young adults, maybe even older.

If Craig had died it would have gone from a good episode to a brilliant episode.

I disagree with the unevenness of the series though (as far as quality goes) although there have been no Empty Child/Midnight/Van Gough episodes, there have been no bad episodes for this half of the season and some brilliant story episodes for the last half. The unevenness that I'd agree to is that the mixture of story and standalone has been terrible. Far too much story for the first half with a disappointing climax (like all Doctor Who climaxes) and pure standalones this half

AndyFromMonday:
I'm sorry but how is Doctor Who a children's show? I've only watched the reboot but to be honest, it's much more intended to teenagers and young adults, maybe even older.

Showrunner Moffat was asked something along the lines of "Doctor Who, despite being known as a childrens show, appeals to all ages and everyone in the family, whose it for, for you?"

"Children."

It's a family show more than almost anything on TV is but we go down the 'graphic novel' route if we refuse to admit, that at it's heart Doctor Who is for children.

And maybe we can add to that sentence 'of all ages' :D

To quote Leonard Hofstadter... "This isn't STAR TREK!

I hate it when people try to apply Star trek story elements, logic and reasoning's to ANY sci-fi show that isn't well... Star trek.

Let me get this straight.

-A box that's bigger on the inside = OK then.
-A screwdriver that can do almost anything = still good.
-A man who can jump from life time to life time; New identity to new identity = no problems here.
-A regular guy reverses his Cyber-conversions, kills the Cybermen with love AND lives to tell the tale = WTF?!

This is Doctor WHO... ANYTHING can happen in the world of Dr who.

If you can't "get that", then maybe you should stick with Star trek.

***ALSO***

They foreshadowed Craig's ability to resist when he fought the Cybermat.
The Doctor said "That thing should have had you easy... You must be REALLY strong!"
This is the same Craig that survived (what should have been) a fatal zapping from a homemade-TARDIS, WHY?

Because of his love for Sophie.

If Craig can do that... Then reversing Cyber-conversion would be child's play.

i am probably the only NERD who did not see dr. what :>

Maybe something that it's also a child's TV series. At least I think it's aimed at them. THe sorts of 12 and up. Having death of the loveable characters maybe would have upset a few people. Think of the children and all that.

But I do think that you are right. If Craig had died the whole episode would have been a lot more serious, and a rather more memorable way to end the series. Still, I was slightly annoyed that emotions saved the day. It's just a bit to bland and mushy for my tastes.

BrotherRool:

Showrunner Moffat was asked something along the lines of "Doctor Who, despite being known as a childrens show, appeals to all ages and everyone in the family, whose it for, for you?"

"Children."

It's a family show more than almost anything on TV is but we go down the 'graphic novel' route if we refuse to admit, that at it's heart Doctor Who is for children.

And maybe we can add to that sentence 'of all ages' :D

He might consider it that and to be honest, recently it's been going the "children's route" but I never considered it as such. The imagery depicted in the show and the storylines are more in line with mild horror than anything else.

Also, graphic novel route? I think it's been made quite clear that even though the original intent of comic books, and don't call them anything else, might have been to appease children but over the years they started dealing with more complex issues. In fact, most comic book fans are young adults. Comics have reached a point where they deal with issues that appeal more to the adult audiences. It's the same with Doctor Who. Whilst certain storylines and characters can be considered "children's material" it's simply not the case with most episodes.

All the points raised in this article are very good, but Dr Who is meant to be light, family entertainment. Would it really be appropriate to kill Craig? I think it would seem very odd and out of place in such a light hearted programme.

TimeLord:

AVATAR_RAGE:

TimeLord:
It would have been better for Craig to die. But would it have fitted the Doctor's faith in humanity that their emotions, determination, imagination and need to explore the universe make them in some way better than him?

They already played with the theme of "the Doctor destroys lives" by sending Amy and Rory home, and even in the beginning of this episode by trying to get him to leave him so Craig didn't get himself hurt. The ending could have worked both ways. Kill Craig to reinforce that the Doctor is dangerous, or save Craig to show that the Doctor can save everyone if given the chance. I believe the episode made the right choice. They just went about it the wrong way.

EDIT: By the by, congrads on starting this column!

Am I the only one who liked it? Though I agree with what you are saying I like to stress the point that it was "love" not love that saved the day. That the Doctor disagreed with the idea of love but rather an instinctual to save ones genetic line (I am paraphrasing)that saved the day.

The episode itself I liked. I love most Who episodes that deviate from the established, like bringing in one-off companions like Craig, Idris, Mickey, Jack, Jackie etc. They normally add a sense of humour to the sometimes serious side of the show. The episode would have been excellent if they had focused more on the Cybermen rather than Craig and the Doctor's own mortality.

You know what I agree, they seemed to be more a of set piece than threat like in previous episodes. They could have easily had a one off villain instead.

I can't stand James Corden as an actor, so I was actually hoping he was going to be killed off... But as I missed the first time he was in it (and don't care to revisit that one), from what I've seen, he's a worthless companion, and more of a hindrance. Martha was a good companion due to her medical training, the same being said for Rory, and he came with Amy, who was basically a devoted companion due to her introduction, and that her whole life was messed up by The Doctor. River, despite being the one sent to kill him, was gifted with weaponary and being generally quite badass, and heck even Donna had some things that she knew from her wide range of temp jobs, whereas Rose was admittedly a bit rubbish... Yes he made an attachment emotionally to them all, but that's what would make the death carry more gravity to it, especially if it was someone who was important elsewhere, because that would increase the element of the challenge faced...

So, covering them, and that none of them actually died... even though in series 2 Rose said she died... but how many people have actually died in this series?
A couple of people in The God Complex, and then a couple of those people with the flesh things, and some grunts in that midpoint episode... They just don't have the guts to kill off a character where it would carry any emotional weight: the ones who die are just cannon fodder. And the one time they killed off a properly established character (Jack), he was brought back to life... Oh, and River, the first time we met her, but then we only got to know her properly after she died, so what the hell? That doesn't work either...

The whole thing of characters being put in a situation like Craig was in no longer carries any weight to it, because we now basically know that they will not kill anyone who has more than about 4 lines, and the whole murder of the Doctor is just gonna be another 'blue-balling'

AndyFromMonday:

BrotherRool:

Showrunner Moffat was asked something along the lines of "Doctor Who, despite being known as a childrens show, appeals to all ages and everyone in the family, whose it for, for you?"

"Children."

It's a family show more than almost anything on TV is but we go down the 'graphic novel' route if we refuse to admit, that at it's heart Doctor Who is for children.

And maybe we can add to that sentence 'of all ages' :D

He might consider it that and to be honest, recently it's been going the "children's route" but I never considered it as such. The imagery depicted in the show and the storylines are more in line with mild horror than anything else.

Considering he is currently in charge and you are someody random on the internet, I think I'm more likely to take his view on it. Doctor Who was originally created to be used as an educational tool and the reason he's a time travelling alian is it was an excuse to switch between history and science lessons disguised as entertainment. Also, how can it be "recently" going down the children's route when the 1st season had farting aliens in Downing Street and the 2nd had an alien designed by a Blue Peter viewer? Since it was created it was meant for kids and ever since its regenertion (sorry) its been aimed at kids.

Maybe its a values dissonence thing as Britain has a history of entertainment made for kids that make you go WTF? Off the top of my head, we did the The Teletubbies, The Tomorrow People, Children's Ward (ER for Kiddies!) and The Demon Headmaster along with everything written by Roald Dahl. Kids can pu up with a surprising amound of scary stuff as long as there's a happy ending.

Whilst certain storylines and characters can be considered "children's material" it's simply not the case with most episodes.

Or maye you just underestimate what kids can deal with at what age.

I would have written the episode differntly. My problem with it is that the kid really wasn't in any danger. I think it would have been more crebile if the lady with the kid found the door open and came down witht the kid.
The cyberman threaten the kid during craig's process. Him being cyber controller shutiing all the other cyberman down.

Susan Arendt:
Doctor Who: Let's Kill Craig

One more death would've dramatically improved "Closing Time."

Read Full Article

I occasionally find myself swamped with leftovers after a week for really good meals. And, invariably, I convince myself that I can eat all of those leftovers next week. So I wrap them up and pop them in the fridge, refusing to throw them out. The next week, I've forgotten about them, and they've gone bad... taking many other things with them. I didn't throw them out when I should have, and now I'm paying for that.

Sometimes, in a video game, I'll get my hands on a limited-use superweapon. Real wrath-of-God stuff. Tempted to use it in the next boss fight, I'll abstain -- surely there's a bigger boss right around the corner, and it would serve me better then! But in that next fight? Nah, I don't need it here. I'll need it for the next one. Suddenly: roll credits. I've finished the game, and I'm still sitting on the thing. I was always sure the "best place" to use it was right around the corner, and it ended up going to waste.

Television series are guilty of both of these. Refusing to get rid of something when it's no longer useful, resulting in that thing spoiling not only itself, but everything around it. Holding onto a character or plot device, refusing to use it for fear of missing out on the moment of maximum impact... resulting in that character or plot device ultimately having no impact at all.

Craig is currently a victim of the latter. If that continues, he'll soon enough become an example of the former.

AndyFromMonday:

BrotherRool:

Showrunner Moffat was asked something along the lines of "Doctor Who, despite being known as a childrens show, appeals to all ages and everyone in the family, whose it for, for you?"

"Children."

It's a family show more than almost anything on TV is but we go down the 'graphic novel' route if we refuse to admit, that at it's heart Doctor Who is for children.

And maybe we can add to that sentence 'of all ages' :D

He might consider it that and to be honest, recently it's been going the "children's route" but I never considered it as such. The imagery depicted in the show and the storylines are more in line with mild horror than anything else.

Also, graphic novel route? I think it's been made quite clear that even though the original intent of comic books, and don't call them anything else, might have been to appease children but over the years they started dealing with more complex issues. In fact, most comic book fans are young adults. Comics have reached a point where they deal with issues that appeal more to the adult audiences. It's the same with Doctor Who. Whilst certain storylines and characters can be considered "children's material" it's simply not the case with most episodes.

Plinglebob:

AndyFromMonday:

BrotherRool:

Showrunner Moffat was asked something along the lines of "Doctor Who, despite being known as a childrens show, appeals to all ages and everyone in the family, whose it for, for you?"

"Children."

It's a family show more than almost anything on TV is but we go down the 'graphic novel' route if we refuse to admit, that at it's heart Doctor Who is for children.

And maybe we can add to that sentence 'of all ages' :D

He might consider it that and to be honest, recently it's been going the "children's route" but I never considered it as such. The imagery depicted in the show and the storylines are more in line with mild horror than anything else.

Considering he is currently in charge and you are someody random on the internet, I think I'm more likely to take his view on it. Doctor Who was originally created to be used as an educational tool and the reason he's a time travelling alian is it was an excuse to switch between history and science lessons disguised as entertainment. Also, how can it be "recently" going down the children's route when the 1st season had farting aliens in Downing Street and the 2nd had an alien designed by a Blue Peter viewer? Since it was created it was meant for kids and ever since its regenertion (sorry) its been aimed at kids.

Whilst certain storylines and characters can be considered "children's material" it's simply not the case with most episodes.

Or maye you just underestimate what kids can deal with at what age.

This all the way. @Andy I think you do just have a general underestimation of the ability of kids because Doctor Who has always always been about scaring the heck out of kids. The announcements used to be (and sometimes still are) grab your pillows and hide behind the sofa kids because Doctor Who is starting. In fact kids hiding behind the sofa watching it is what Doctor Who is to most people in Britain. And the showrunner said that's what Doctor Who is to him, horror for children. Even if your disregard him as just the guy who decides what happens overall, he also wrote some of the best all time episodes, Blink, The Empty Child etc and he wrote those, despite them being complicated and nuanced and really really scary, with his target audience full in mind.

I mean my sisters (11) watched Jane Eyre the other day, and okay they didn't understand everything about it, but the questions they were asking were all about character and motivation. Just without the complicated words.

And when I said graphic novel route, I didn't mean at all that comics are for kids. Just that the word 'graphic novel' has been created because for some stupid reason people are scared of owning and admitting to seeing comics as they truly are. A fantastic blend of visual and written medium. I meant how Neil Gaiman meant it 'I felt like a Harlot being called a Lady of the Night' It's not 'just a kids show' in the same way Watchmen isn't 'just a comic'. It is what it is, but that doesn't say anything about how good it is and the themes it contains

Doctor Who is brilliant. And it's target audience are kids. If you love it less for that or can't recognise it for what it is you are only doing disservice to yourself and a great show.

Plinglebob:
Or maye you just underestimate what kids can deal with at what age.

Why does everything that doesn't feature gore and sex needs to be classified as "children's material"? Christ this is getting on my nerves. At least to me, mild horror isn't what I'd call children's material. For example, Courage the Cowardly Dog. I'm assuming you remember the show or have at the very least heard of it. Would you consider it a children's show? What if I told you this show did horror better than most horror movies? My point is, these sorts of shows are intended for an adult audience but with which children can relate to.

Doctor Who features certain storytelling devices and deals with issues obviously not intended JUST for children. The main audience of the show pretty much proves this to be true. At most, it provides entertainment for both age groups but it's obviously not intended JUST for children and the episodes prove it. I'm talking about the reboot here by the way.

When did Doctor Who stop being fun?

Honestly it's kind of embarrassing that we've became so desensitized that we need to kill dads in front of their babies to get an emotional erection.

Doctor Who doesn't need to be outright depressing every. single. episode.

Sometimes it's just about a funny man in a box.

Susan Arendt:

Pallindromemordnillap:

Doesn't mean I don't think it couldn't have been done better though. I know they tried to explain it away with technobabble, but saving things with the power of love in sci-fi has always rankled with me. And we had the 'father-saving-son-by-manning-up' thing a few episodes ago in Night terrors, this was a bit repetitive

Oh, excellent point about the Night Terrors. But that episode was a mishmash itself of a bunch of other episodes. The wooden dollies just felt like a rehash of the robots from The Girl in the Fireplace to me, at least visually.

Also, to those pointing out that Craig was being made into a Cyber-controller - that's a good clarification. So the issue then becomes not that love saving the day is stupid, but that we got Cybermen so bloody dumb that they thought Craig should be in charge. Not much better that way, really.

And, yeah, I do recognize the problems inherent in doing something so grim on what is still, by and large, considered a "family" show. But it's gone to dark places before, and been the stronger for it.

Hyperme:
I'd rather have a forgettable episode than Eleven turing into the same kind of whiny 'i couldn't saves the dalaks'* emo Ten became near his death. The reason I prefer Eleven to Ten is because Eleven doesn't angst about his situation. It's not a crime to have a happy ending once in a while. Espicially after the God Complex, where Eleven dumped Amy and Rory after lots of people died.

Also, if Craig had died, I'm sure you'd be complaining about it because it would be 'shoehorned it to add emotional impact' or something.

*Not a real quote.

Really? You're sure I'd be complaining about it? Based on what, exactly? Or does that 'you' not actually refer to me, and more a generic 'you'?

Generic internet people. Because they complain. A lot.

Also, they tried to make Craig the controlled because the Doctor wasn't usuable, and as far as the Cybermen knew, he'd found the ship on his own.

Alsomore, the Cybermen were scavenging power from whatever they could get. The whole 'power of love' thing might of worked better if they suggested the emiotn remover didn't have enough power to work properly.

AndyFromMonday:

Plinglebob:
Or maye you just underestimate what kids can deal with at what age.

Why does everything that doesn't feature gore and sex needs to be classified as "children's material"? Christ this is getting on my nerves. At least to me, mild horror isn't what I'd call children's material. For example, Courage the Cowardly Dog. I'm assuming you remember the show or have at the very least heard of it. Would you consider it a children's show? What if I told you this show did horror better than most horror movies? My point is, these sorts of shows are intended for an adult audience but with which children can relate to.

Doctor Who features certain storytelling devices and deals with issues obviously not intended JUST for children. The main audience of the show pretty much proves this to be true. At most, it provides entertainment for both age groups but it's obviously not intended JUST for children and the episodes prove it. I'm talking about the reboot here by the way.

?????? What's with you? The writers of the show said "I am writing a horror story for children"

and you reply "I don't see why people classify things without guts and gore for children. Children don't like horror"

My sisters 11 watch it. I walk through the street and here 8 year olds say "I am brave! I watch Doctor Who!" My Dad watched it when he was a kid. I started watching when I was what 13-14? It originates as a kids show, the remake reaffirmed that. The people writing it reaffirm that. The people who actually watch it reaffirm that.

Gah, I don't see why people classify things with a bit of intelligence and horror for adults.

:D

AndyFromMonday:

Plinglebob:
Or maye you just underestimate what kids can deal with at what age.

Why does everything that doesn't feature gore and sex needs to be classified as "children's material"? Christ this is getting on my nerves. At least to me, mild horror isn't what I'd call children's material. For example, Courage the Cowardly Dog. I'm assuming you remember the show or have at the very least heard of it. Would you consider it a children's show? What if I told you this show did horror better than most horror movies? My point is, these sorts of shows are intended for an adult audience but with which children can relate to.

Doctor Who features certain storytelling devices and deals with issues obviously not intended JUST for children. The main audience of the show pretty much proves this to be true. At most, it provides entertainment for both age groups but it's obviously not intended JUST for children and the episodes prove it. I'm talking about the reboot here by the way.

Firstly, I'm not saying that "everything that doesn't feature gore and sex needs to be classified as "children's material"" because we all know thats a lie. One of my favourite comics is Maus and despite there being very little violence and no sex, I wouldn't let a kid anywhere near it.

Secondly, I think the problem is you've got it the wrong way round. Yes, its not just for kids being labeled and shceduled as a "Family" how along with things like Merlin and Stritly Come Dancing. However, you say (or at least suggest) that you think Doctor Who is "intended for an adult audience but with [themes] which children can relate to" where as I would argue "Its intended for a child audience but with [themes] which adults can relte too". This means that whenever they make an episode their primary focus when coming down to the final draft and making decisions like "Should Craig Die?" is how will kids react?

One thing I'd like to briefly interject is that I'm really enjoying seeing the alternatives that people are coming up with for how the story could've been better handled. Keep them coming! So many excellent points and ideas being put forth.

OB-FREKKING-JECTION

This is Doctor Who, this level of dark belonged in Torchwood.

Doctor Who is a kid's show, and I fucking well hope it will stay this way. The wimsy and charm of the Doctor was sucked out after 10'th had to endure so much dying around him and eventually had to be put down because his mind was shattered.

I do not want my Doctor to be broken, I just do not enjoy watching the new series play this sick and twisted game of "Well let's see how much more grief can we add to the character". I miss the classic series... The time when people close to the Doctor DID NOT DROP LIKE FUCKING FLIES, it destroys the show to the point where when his companion constantly dying becomes an actual meme instead of tragic moment.

But overall it's nice to see a featured column about the show. KLeep up the good work.

PS: Also the Confidential is getting an axe, now that's something you should be annoyed about!

Nobody ever felt sufficient emotion - be it love, fear, anger, or anything else - to create the feedback loop that saved Craig's life. Not once.

Yvonne Hartman (Torchwood administrator in the Battle of Canary Wharf, Army of Ghosts / Doomsday) resisted total conversion due to strong will and weak conversion process. Being able to "resist" conversion is already canon.

The way I saw it, Craig didn't blow up the Cybermen with his emotions. When he resisted conversion, he broke *their* emotion inhibitors because he was being hooked up as a Cyber-Controller. The ultimate authority. The equivalent of the Borg Queen.

Humans have resisted total conversion (or at least the mind control part) before due to strong emotions/willpower during the process. I do doubt that there have been many conversions to Cyber-Controller while a ship was in such a damaged state.

It was a dumb move on the part of the Cybermen. But it would have worked had the conversion finished. They should have converted him first, then made him Cyber-Controller. Instead they handed him the super-user login before his security clearance had been verified...

The way I see it, it wasn't the fact that they didn't kill Craig that was the problem. That would be way to dark for this time of the season right before the inevitably triumphant finale (because, let's be reasonable, the Doctor always gets away one way or another). I'd say it's a case of bad execution. There could be hundreds of different ways. The Doctor could have bargained and tricked them, the woman who held little Stormy could walk in some weird comic relief solution, anything, Stormy could be turned into a Cyberman and a quest for his rescue ensues, anything!

I really enjoy these episodes, because me still being a young one (17 years old, with the mind of a 9-year old essentially), I enjoy the uplifting episodes that make you remember that you wish that the Doctor would jump through your window with promises of adventures (because that's partly what makes the Doctor so beloved). Don't get me wrong, I absolutely adore despair-filled episodes that grab my heart, twist it and throw it on the floor, they go deep and make me really feel the raw emotion put into it. But this is still a children's show, families watch it, and for that kind of audience, this would be a really touchy subject for anyone who isn't a devout Who fan who can take the darkness they'd like to dive into.

If Doctor Who were one of those shows that weren't so universally loved and more of a show suited for a less sensitive audience (first that springs to mind is Heroes, that wasn't afraid to kill lovable characters and torture them), then it could have worked, but that's not the way it is here. It's a show watched by young ones looking up to the Doctor, by parents who grew up with the old series, and so on.

The thing I've been bothered by most is the mass amount of guest writers (except for Neil Gaiman. I love Neil Gaiman.). I know they're making it so Moffat is handling the connected plot, but I think he should write more filler episodes, because everything he does with the show, he does so well. Not everything is perfect, sure, but looking at the big picture, it's way better than most stuff Russell T. Davies wrote, who let the drama get in the way of the actual cleverness of the show.

Plinglebob:

Susan Arendt:
My point exactly! I'm really quite fond of Craig, and seeing him get welded into that helmet hit me very hard...and then poof, suddenly all was well, hoorah! It was lame storytelling, plain and simple. The potential for a very emotional moment was there, and they squandered it.

No, they just went for a different emotion in that moment. Instead of sadness, they went with joy and love which, in a kids program, is much better resolution. Maybe its because I'm still a kid at hart, or maye its due to me havng serious daddy issues, but I would have been pissed if they had killed him.

I disagree Susan Arendt here. I won't lie, I my heart sunk when Craig got put in the suit. The whole time I was wondering what the price to pay would be. I didn't think Craig would die, that cost would be too high. But I was hoping he'd have some sort of scar a least, a cyber-something that remained under his skin, or a metal eye or a cyber arm or something. Instead he he popped out safe and sound and I went "eh?"

See, it didn't have to be black or white, dead or not dead. I wanted the doctor to pull something out of his magic bag and save Craig but be just a little too late and Craig bear the mark of that adventure. It would have been enough.

I do agree that "killed the cybermen with parental love" was exceptionally stupid. But killing Craig because he chose to help the doctor instead of keeping Stormlord safe? That would have been way too dark. Not just for the episode, for the show in general.

The new episodes have tried to write a super character in River Song and have decided to just throw her in everywhere and have her super connected like Bad Wolf or Donna from previous series. Unfortunately they've done it so badly that it's basically going "this is what's happening in the end, nothing to see until then!" and just steamrolling everything else, usually by making the episodes meaningless beyond some tiny point that only shows up at the end.

Add to that that the River character has been ruined by the storyline and the latest episodes are left with nothing. Go watch the 1st episode with her (the one on the library planet) and her character is amazing, this woman who knows everything about the doctor (even his name!!) while he has yet to meet her; that mystery made her a great character. While Matt Smith's first series managed to keep that mystery the second (especially the episodes after the break) have systematically chipped away at that mystery and just left a tangled mess on the floor.

Cap'n Ninja:
Also, if you want to be technical about it, Craig did it by some means the Doctor was trying to explain, but was too complicated for his simple human mind to grasp, and so he gave up trying to explain and instead just said "Yes, love" because that was easier than trying to explain nuclear physics to a sloth.

...no. All he was explaining was natural instinct of a parent for its child, hormones, etc. - you know, the chemical goings-on behind what we call "love." It's not nuclear physics; Craig's just that dumb. No super-advanced techniques were at work without Craig's knowledge.

Shjade:

Cap'n Ninja:
Also, if you want to be technical about it, Craig did it by some means the Doctor was trying to explain, but was too complicated for his simple human mind to grasp, and so he gave up trying to explain and instead just said "Yes, love" because that was easier than trying to explain nuclear physics to a sloth.

...no. All he was explaining was natural instinct of a parent for its child, hormones, etc. - you know, the chemical goings-on behind what we call "love." It's not nuclear physics; Craig's just that dumb. No super-advanced techniques were at work without Craig's knowledge.

Eh, you can interpret it two ways. One, the Doctor was explaining the chemical process behind love, which is what he was doing, or two, he was explaining a process triggered by the feeling of "love"
The show does quite often touch on psychic ability in humanity and other intelligent lifeforms, e.g. The Doctor showing Craig his history in The Lodger (Though that was the Doctor), or in Last of the Time Lords when humanity saying one word (Doctor) had enough energy to renew his body through some form of psychic means.
Personally, I think the Doctor's exasperated tone when he gave up explaining makes it more likely to be the second one, but that's just me.

Cap'n Ninja:
Eh, you can interpret it two ways. One, the Doctor was explaining the chemical process behind love, which is what he was doing, or two, he was explaining a process triggered by the feeling of "love"

Personally, I think the Doctor's exasperated tone when he gave up explaining makes it more likely to be the second one, but that's just me.

Except those are essentially the same thing. His exasperation seemed, to me, the result of using a concept as nebulous and unwieldy as "love" to explain what was a very specific chemical reaction and its subsequent effect on the tech of the Cybermen.

To put it another way: the Doctor just likes to talk.

Shjade:

Cap'n Ninja:
Eh, you can interpret it two ways. One, the Doctor was explaining the chemical process behind love, which is what he was doing, or two, he was explaining a process triggered by the feeling of "love"

Personally, I think the Doctor's exasperated tone when he gave up explaining makes it more likely to be the second one, but that's just me.

Except those are essentially the same thing. His exasperation seemed, to me, the result of using a concept as nebulous and unwieldy as "love" to explain what was a very specific chemical reaction and its subsequent effect on the tech of the Cybermen.

To put it another way: the Doctor just likes to talk.

Love and something that happens because of love aren't necessarily the same thing.
Bread in a toaster isn't "essentially" toast.
You seem to have entirely disregarded my section on latent psychic abilities within intelligent life-forms, and I'm talking about a psychic reaction triggered by the emotion of love. Indirectly, yes, Craig defeated the cybermen with love, but it was the product of it that did so, not the emotion itself.
I think we're going to have to agree to disagree here.

Karma168:
While Matt Smith's first series managed to keep that mystery the second (especially the episodes after the break) have systematically chipped away at that mystery and just left a tangled mess on the floor.

To be fair, that's what happens when you try to explain any mysterious character's backstory.

The mystery is always better than the answer.

It's like watching Wolverine:Origins all over again.

Yay, a Doctor Who column, I'm a noob to the series (Started with the Eleventh Doctor), and you wrote that great article about how comics where important to you growing up right? Awesome!

Susan Arendt:
My point exactly! I'm really quite fond of Craig, and seeing him get welded into that helmet hit me very hard...and then poof, suddenly all was well, hoorah! It was lame storytelling, plain and simple. The potential for a very emotional moment was there, and they squandered it.

This sums up how I felt about it. It felt very "ok, this is a family show so the nice, friendly innocent has to win in every possible way". It felt like a cop out, basically.

Here's how I would've ended it. James Cordon gets turned into the Cybermen controller, or whatever they called it. Hearing his crying child doesn't save him from his fate, but it helps him hold onto a shread of humanity. He's now in control of the Cybermen, and he doesn't want to kill people.
The Doctor has to take Alfie back to his mother. She obviously upset and tells him it's all his fault etc. He decides it's time to face his death. Alfie says his first word, and it's "daddy". Boom. Sad ending.

I didn't really mind that Craig's love for his child was able to beat the (weak, fairly broken, barely functioning) cybermen in this episode, much like how the 9th Doctor confidently battled the diminished, still rebuilding Dalek empire in Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways, compared to how scared shitless #10 was in the face of the full-powered, time war-ready Dalek forces in The Stolen Earth/Journey's End. Then again, that could also just have been #9's PTSD-induced death wish.

On an unrelated note, I really miss Chris Eccleston as The Doctor.

The series has been weak since the doctor changed.

Now this isn't me being an incessant fan. Because I have nothing against the way Matt plays the role, it's the writing I've got an issue with. The episodes are wishy washy, un-remarkable and can't seem to focus. The Doc just doesn't seem as smart, as keyed in or even like he cares for much of anything. I know each incarnation of the doctor is different. But this one is simply unlikeable. He's tedious and doesn't seem to be motivated.

The whole 'is he a genuine hero or does he just have a hero complex' actually started to make the series interesting. But they don't seem to have the wherewithal to follow through, like you pointed out. Him causing Craig's death would have been enough to push him over the edge and walk off to his doom. As it stands, he's just re-affirmed that he's still saving people, even though he technically didn't.

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