purplecat: The Thirteenth Doctor and Tards (Who:Thirteen)
[personal profile] purplecat
In many ways, The Witchfinders was the most traditional of the Doctor Who stories in series 11. It had a beginning, a middle and, most importantly, an end. It had proper monsters and a proper villain who was proper defeated, albeit one who was not as interesting as the historical celebrity. I'm not surprised that lots of people really liked it. I thought it was a good strong story, but I preferred the other two historicals of the season. I suspect it was trying to tell a tale exploring misogyny, just as Rosa explored racism and The Demons of the Punjab explored religious intolerance. Its distance from the events allowed it a lot more freedom both to make stuff up, and to insert the Doctor and aliens more directly into the narrative, both of which gave it the feel of a much more traditional structure but, at the same time, rather watered down its messages.

Lots of people seem to have liked the moment where the Doctor complains that she would have been able to get on with things more quickly if she were male. I really disliked this bit. Part of the point of the Doctor is that 90% of the time he/she walks in and assumes authority just because, the other 10% of the time the story tends to revolve around the fact that no one in power will believe him/her. I wanted the first female Doctor to have this same ability just to walk into a room and 90% of the time just get away with bossing everyone around and the other 10% of the time I didn't want her ineffectiveness to be about her gender. I mean, yes, obviously 16th century England and all that, but Doctor Who has always been happy to hand-wave issues of the Tardis crew not obviously fitting in when not convenient to the plot and, again, I feel the thirteenth Doctor should be able to get away with this too. I suppose I don't want being a woman to be much of a thing from the point of view of the Doctor herself.

That aside, this was definitely one of the better stories of the season, again we get some stuff show-casing Yaz's skills and hinting at her police officer background of the kind we really needed more of earlier in the season to give her a more solid grounding as a character. The plot was solid. Alan Cummings was hugely watchable. Graham got to wear a hat.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-01-19 01:36 am (UTC)
sir_guinglain: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sir_guinglain
I think Chris Chibnall is challenging the idea of the Doctor as someone who just walks in and assumes authority; he's influenced, I think, by early 1980s debates about the character and the reaction against Tom Baker's projection of superiority, and was never taken by the rediscoveries and reinventions of the NAs and their successors. So we are in Davison territory or parts adjacent, treating this assumption of authority as 'masculine' and looking for a distinctly female approach - at least, I think that's the argument made by Matt Hills and others in Other Places.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-01-19 02:14 pm (UTC)
liadtbunny: Disney Cartoon Lion (Books with eyeballs)
From: [personal profile] liadtbunny
Yeah, that's what I didn't like about the ep either. I wanted the Dr to go around doing Dr things. I did so want to like this episode after the trailer and it fell flat for me.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-01-19 03:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] louisedennis.livejournal.com
Yes, I like Jodie Whittaker's Doctor but she's not quite protagonisty enough in some way.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-01-19 06:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] daniel-saunders.livejournal.com
I hated this episode. Really, really hated it. For one thing it was ridiculously historically inaccurate. I studied early modern witch-hunting in my BA, so I was probably always likely to spot some inaccuracies that most people would not have noticed, but there were just massive mistakes here that someone should have spotted and are now going to be passed on to children, like thinking that "Witch-Finder General" was a real position in England in the seventeenth century. Plus the whole view of witch-hunting, while not completely inaccurate, owes more to popular witch-hunting rather than official witch-hunting, despite being presented as the latter. I know the question of how historically accurate Doctor Who should be, like the question of how scientifically accurate it should be, is much discussed in fandom, but this just seemed unacceptable to me, especially after the care taken with Rosa and Demons. Perhaps the rule is events within living memory have to be done 'properly' but before that anything is fair game for dramatic licence?

And then the Doctor went and triggered me by voicing an ancient antisemitic libel. Nice one Doc! Ugh, I'm prepared to accept that probably no one on the production team is consciously antisemitic and that they probably didn't realise that "love your neighbour" comes from the Hebrew Bible, not the gospels, but I'm not going to handwave it away, not least because it supports my case that just because Christianity has largely gone away in this country, it doesn't mean that Christian antisemitic tropes have gone away, and that they can be perpetuated by people who are ostensibly very dedicated to "diversity" (a term which never seems to include Jews, even though we were Europe's most visible minority for a thousand years or more).

I don't want to make a big deal out of this, and I'm sure it sounds petty to most non-Jews, but I think it's as least as justified as attacking Kerblam! (a far superior story IMHO) for "supporting capitalism."

Plus also it was predictable and cliched. The only episode of the season that I really hated.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-01-20 02:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] louisedennis.livejournal.com
I recall you complaining about it at the time. I think you can definitely get away with more, the further back in time you go, both in terms of the inaccuracies you can get away with and the extent to which the Doctor can be seen to meddle with real events and personalities.

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