Sunday, November 29, 2015

Third Wheel, Please!

After the passing of George Harrison back in 2001, Rolling Stone magazine released an issue dedicated to the singer/song writer.  Rob Sheffield wrote a charming article about my favorite Beatle to honor Mister Harrison.  Sheffield explained how George Harrison, the youngest of the group, was in essence the first Beatle fan.  John Lennon told the story about when he and his girlfriend Cynthia, who later became his first wife would walk out of art school, Harrison would be there waiting for them like a little puppy(My words.  Not theirs)  Sheffield also goes on to discuss how in the Beatles' second movie, Help, the lads are performing the song Hide Your Love Away.  During the performance George Harrison is doing everything he can to snag the attention of Eleanor Bron, but she is too transfixed on Lennon.  Sheffield goes on to comment that when he was a boy watching that scene he thought to himself, "Whoa, even when you're a Beatle, it's still that tough getting girls to smile back."

Just imagine being in the biggest band in the world with the partnership of Lennon/McCartney, who are like big brothers, and you are trying to pitch a song to them.  Also keep in mind, Ringo was the oldest, and he had his own fame back in Liverpool, so George really was the little brother of the group.  Revolver had three Harrison songs, which is a hell of a feat considering the album only had 11 tracks.  Paul and John were strong personalities, of course.  George Harrison also had a presence, but he never demanded to be heard. Go back and watch Help and Hard Days' Night.  He has some good comedic bits, but he never solely depends on doing over the top/look at me jokes.

And now we go to my man, Danny Pink.  A man who is home from the service, teaching at a school where the children and staff pretty much respects him, and a woman that he is willing to settle down with long term.  The only problem is she has this "friend" that she travels in time and space with from TIME to TIME.  Clara says that she loves Danny, yet kept the Doctor a secret from him for who knows how long.  Who Knows!

Have you ever been interested in someone in the romantic sense, but they only see you as a buddy?  Yea, if you're able to pick your face up off the ground, and you feel like you are mature enough to suppress those emotions, you try to reciprocate platonic feelings with this person.  Because you do enjoy that her/his company, and they may have the same interest as you.  Now if you like a lot of widely accepted forms of media entertainment, then yes, I can understand that it is easier for you to find other people who have that same interest.  But if you're someone whose hobbies are slightly counterculture, a little on the obscure side, or is a niche type deal, and the pal-person likes those interest, you might have to keep those feelings of romance dormant or dead all together because you just saw the latest episode of *fill in the blank* and there is no one to talk to except for Pal.

Things are fine.  Then all of a sudden your pal finds a romantic interest and things become slightly queasy.  You might not be able to take this all at once, so you start to distance yourself.  You're not proud of it, but there are people swindling money away from senior citizen retirement funds, so in the grand scheme of things, not being comfortable with being the third wheel isn't the equivalent of systemically suppressing the voting rights of a particular culture.  You're just a human being with feelings inside.      

What is hilarious about Danny Pink is that he is IN the relationship with the woman, yet he is the third wheel.  Danny Pink can take her to see a great historical film, but the Doctor can actually take her to the event.  Danny Pink can have a quiet night with Clara drinking wine and enjoying Netflix.  The Doctor can allow Clara to marathon any show and return her back to the second she started.  Danny can take her to a nice Italian restaurant, but the Doctor can take her to Italy back on the day the recipe for the meal she shared with Danny was created.  One more.  Danny can sit down and plan the future with Clara.  The Doctor can actually take her to the future.

Through out the season Danny is trying his best to stay cool, supporting Clara in her decisions, but just asking her to be honest with him.  For some reason that we never get to see, Clara thinks that Danny can not honestly handle being the third wheel, so she lies to him.

I think in this series the creative team tried their best to make Danny a man worthy enough for Clara to like...even love.  They tried to push on us that he may even be worth retiring from time traveling and settling down, which would not have to exclude traveling, it will just be from a linear standpoint regarding to time.  Danny was good with the kids.  He saved Clara, the Doctor, and Maebh from a tiger. He even gave her the sappy speech about how he did some traveling and exploring, and it was cool, but now he was ready to see things in front of him clearer and with more depth.  Nothing.

I don't know if Clara knows how to make a killer omelette, or if she is just a great conversationalist, but Danny, if you can't handle the Doctor being a major part of her life, then I don't think things are going to end well.  

It's On Sale?  I'll Buy It

I didn't have a problem with the kids, surprisingly.  I remember when I first watched the broadcast, I was a little put off by the cutaways of the students in class, but I got over it.  I really enjoyed Maebh who I thought out eccentric the Doctor, which is a heck of a feat.  Back in Stones of Blood, Beatrix Lehmann and Denis Carey in Shada really out eccentric Tom Baker's Doctor in the same adorable way.  I believe the young actress, Abigail Eames, did a wonderful job of being the misunderstood "it" girl.  I bought the fact that these "Swamp Thing" secret society ferry like creatures representing the spirit of the earth were communicating with/through Maebh.  The earth is a part of the solar system.  The planet sensed the threat and was ready to defend it.  Sure, I'll buy it.  What also helped me buy in on this episode was the attempt to add continuity to it.  At first I just remembered this episode being something just tagged on at the end.  However, it was mentioned that there was a  threatening solar flare in the episode Time Heist.  At the end of this episode we see Michelle Gomez's character commenting on the events that took place.  Apparently, she knew the solar flare was coming and was hoping to benefit from it.  You might think from a continuity stand point, it was weak, or shoehorned in, but I went along with it.   

Clara and Mister Pink

In retrospect this was another character driven episode like Listen and the Caretaker.  We see the relationship between Clara and Danny is not just a fling, but something serious.  We also see Clara being very excited about a new wonder in front of her with the whole forest in London thing.  Keep in mind that the children are under Clara's care, and she can not focus on them.  She needs her fix, and man she is craving. 

Danny, who was described as being a lady's man in Into the Dalek, is totally into Clara.  Who can blame him, right?  But it just can't be her good looks.   She must be making his grits just the way he likes them or something, for he is more than willing to put up with her lies and aloofness.  He even tries to convince her that instead of chasing wonders, she should be content with seeing the wonders of her home planet with more enthusiasm.  Nope, not good enough.  

What a nightmare, right?  Your best is not enough.  Ouch!

The Direction  

Like it or love it, this episode is beautiful.  I am in awe of this story the same way I'm in awe of Planet of Evil.  I really believed when the characters were walking through the forest in London.  I am so amazed that my little show was able to visually pull something off like this.  Steven Moffat, the head writer/show runner has come out publicly to defend this episode.  He mentioned how in the future this episode might rise in stature  I totally agree with him on this. I believe series 8 as a whole will be more appreciated as time moves forward.  Despite the negative criticism, I hope Sheree Folkson returns to direct another episode.