Apocalypse and Falling Silence

I'm nipping back in to Sycorax Pine (although there's a huge pile of grading and course prep giving me a very cynical look out of the corner of its collective eye while I do so) to say a few words about last night's season finale of Doctor Who, to which I'm now totally devoted.  If you don't watch the show, you should (start with the newest Doctor, Matt Smith, and then go back to watch from the beginning of this contemporary reboot, with Christopher Eccleston and then David Tennant.).  But you probably will find what follows to be too elliptical to be truly spoilery.  If you do watch the show, let me know what you think.  (Be as spoilery as you want in the comments, and avoid them if you're spoiler averse.)

I thought this was a solid, if unextraordinary finale.  Unextraordinary, of course, only compared to the episodes the prodigiously clever Steven Moffat used to craft back in the days when he had all the time in the world to work on a double-ep. The characterization's what's paying the price for this current pace of apocalyptic plotting (the end is nigh! Silence will fall when the question is asked!), with less time than necessary spent on the Doctor's relationship with River, and the companions being shunted off to the side more and more as the season develops.  The companionate relationship with River is now wholly perplexing (for us as for them, I think, but their perplexity could be a lot more interesting than it is right now). And Amy was right to call shenanigans on the whole "luckily it all happened in an alternate time stream, so it carries no ethical consequences" line that the show has often taken.  Alternate timelines are a cheap out, and forgetting about them does the characters and audience a disservice.

I do love the Silence, though. Love 'em to death. (Love who to death?)

What happened in last night's ep of Dr. Who does remind me of a structural problem I have with seasons of True Blood, in which an interesting premise is often established in the premiere, but then pushed to the point of aporia by the finale. The problem is that (for me) the chaotic disintegration of a world (apocalypse) is much less narratively interesting than the character studies of real, detailed lives placed under pressure by the insupportable inciting incident. After all, apocalypse in these two shows is often an emptying out of detail, place and character. A collapse of history.

I begin to worry that this means I've been reading too much nineteenth-century drama.