‘Doctor Who’ and Time Paradoxes. Again.

OK, this time there are “Doctor Who” spoilers up to and including “Closing Time.” You know the drill.

Inspector Spacetime, you’ve done it again.

So with the very end ending of “Closing Time,” we’re back to time paradoxes. It’s hard enough to get the Doctor’s timeline straight, since we know he was already around on April 22, 2011 in “Impossible Astronaut,” and yet he’s going back there again as his future and Amy and Rory’s past.

Fine. If I lean over a little, tilt my head to the left and shake it around, I can just about wrap my brain around it. So that’s not the paradox I mean, and from what we saw in “Impossible Astronaut,” there may not be a paradox at all, as the younger Doctor appears to arrive after it all happens.

No, the paradox I mean is the one with River. If River is in the astronaut suit in the lake and again standing on the shore, we have the situation that apparently kept her from coming any sooner in “A Good Man Goes to War,” she couldn’t be in the same place as her baby self. As her mind is being constantly erased and rewritten by Madame Kovarian and the Silence (or their Munch Minions, at any rate) she may not recall being in the suit, but knowledge has never been a requirement for a time paradox (Although when Rose met her baby self in the David Tennant years, the fact that she was a baby, and thus couldn’t remember the meeting her older self seemed to factor in, I think).

If it was River at a later point in her life, we had a similar situation with Amy in “The Girl Who Waited,” both she and the older her were in the Two Streams Kindness Facility at the same time. We didn’t have any holes in the universe with the two of them together, so maybe the problem of the time paradox is one of the Doctor’s lies. But the facility also had, to borrow the term from my own Paradox,
time-management capabilities; Lake Silencio, not so much.

The TARDIS does.

(Did we see the TARDIS in “Impossible Astronaut?” And shouldn’t there be two TARDISes, the younger and the older Doctor’s?

But I digress).

Madame Kovarian said something to River, though, that was thought provoking: she called the Silence her “owners.” Why would River be owned?

Could the River in the suit be a Ganger? It would prevent a paradox on the shores of Lake Silencio, and the real River could still be convicted of the crime. Besides, we’ve been hankering for a Ganger for most of the season, even if it’s not the Doctor’s.

Of course, it is only a guess, and I have been ever so wrong before. But that is what I love about the show; in a world of TV where you can saw the lines along with the actors the first time through, it’s great to have the Doctor keeping me on my TV-watching toes.

An Open Letter to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles

Dear Sirs and/or Madams:

I hope you will sleep well Wednesday night.

I won’t.

At least a million other Americans won’t.

You see, we fear we’ll have blood on our hands, the blood of a possibly innocent man put to death by the state. The truth is we are the state, each one of us. Each one of us will kill Troy Davis.

I don’t want to kill Troy Davis, but unfortunately, I do not have a say. Now only you, the members of the board who can grant Davis clemency, can have a say.

It might prove difficult, I understand. It’s hard to admit you might be wrong, or that the system that you represent may be flawed. It is easier to believe in the structure of the system than look directly at its problems and contemplate their terrible meaning.

But refusal to consider a flaw in the system will send a man to his death. Perhaps it’s immaterial to you whether Troy Davis actually committed the crime; that the system said he did may be sufficient for you, and that fact alone might erase any doubt.

But eight men in the state of Georgia – all of them black – have been exonerated due to DNA evidence. All of them were wrongly convicted, at least in part, by eyewitness testimony.

And shaky eyewitness testimony is all you have in this case. As much as we want to believe that our eyes are the final arbiter, with these eight men freed from your justice system because of the undeniable proof of DNA, we know eyes are easily tricked.

Be brave, Sirs and Madams of the Georgia Board of Paroles and Pardons. For the sake of all of us, be brave. Be the first board to take a step back and admit a flaw in the system. Be the first board to say that the risk of this mistake, the irreversibility of this possible mistake, requires the extraordinary step of stopping the gears of justice before they have gone too far for return.

Be brave and admit that the system is flawed, and that no person deserves to lose his life to us, the people, if there is room for any doubt at all.

Be brave, people of the board, be brave and see that the sin of giving an innocent man a life sentence is far less than that of executing an innocent man, because at least, if he did not commit the crime, a man with a life sentence can be freed.

Be brave and halt the execution of Troy Davis. Allow us all, as a nation, to sleep on Wednesday night, free from the fear of the blood of an innocent man.

‘Doctor Who,’ ‘The God Complex’ and Faith

I’ll be talking about “Doctor Who’s” ‘The God Complex,” so if you haven’t watched it yet, you’re only spoiling yourself, but not in the good, luxurious way, in the bad “don’t’ you want to enjoy the show first?” way.

Did we ever, exactly, find out with “The God Complex” what faith the Doctor has? We focus so much on Amy and her faith in the Doctor, but the Doctor also has a room, which means that he also must have enough faith for feasting.

So faith in what or whom?

Rory – now someone much bolder and far more interesting than he was when he stepped in the TARDIS – had no room. The hotel kept trying to get him to leave, as he had nothing for the minotaur to feed on, and the Doctor was sure that it was because he had no faith at all.

Which sets up an interesting dynamic between Rory and the Doctor. The Doctor now knows, unequivocally, that Rory doesn’t believe in him, doesn’t have faith in him to keep them safe. When they talk in front of the photos of the people who died in the hotel, Rory talks about their travelling together in the past-tense, as the Doctor notes.

But the Doctor did have a room.

So why? What would he have to feed the minotaur? Perhaps it was the faith that Rita spoke about not long before her own faith was consumed, his unending belief that it is his responsibility to save everyone, and his eternal confidence that he will.

And yet, though this episode, aside from its ending, felt very standalone, it seemed like there was a layer we were missing, a bigger picture we aren’t seeing, as though there was another thread to the story that wasn’t onscreen. As one Redditor suggested (I’m so sorry, I can’t find your comment now, so  I can’t link to it, but feel free to step up and take your credit), noting the odd way Rory reacted when he thought that Amy was going to hit him for speaking against the Doctor, perhaps the Silence are involved.

Maybe they have been, driving a separation between the Doctor and Amy, stemming back several episodes. For example, the Silence may have motivated  Amy  to get her cell phone and to press the red button  (who ever presses a red button?) in “The Girl Who Waited;” the “glitch” that brought them into the 80s
hotel prison in “The God Complex” may not have been a glitch at all.

I also found the parting of the Williams (née Ponds) and the Doctor strangely flat. The Doctor didn’t bother to say goodbye to Rory, which may have been related to some simmering resentment over Rory’s lack of faith, or, again, something we could not see. It was odd, then, that after everything they’d gone through together, Rory and the Doctor’s last meaningful words were those shared over those photos.

Regardless, I ended “The God Complex” feeling as though I was missing something, and something huge. That what we saw wasn’t all there was,
and yet without enough hints to confirm the feeling.

So what was it that gave the Doctor his own room? The episode title is a double entendre, referring to the way the creature fed and the Doctor himself, and the repeated bouts of “praise him” echo some of what we saw of the Doctor’s reputation in “A Good Man Goes to War.” The Doctor has become someone
enamored of his own abilities
, and unable to keep himself in check.

So was it not just Amy’s faith in him, but his own faith in himself that brought them to that prison? Because, it seems, no matter how strongly Amy believes in her Doctor, he believes in himself more. Perhaps his speech to her not only loosened her faith, it shook his as well.

‘Eureka’ Delivers with Quirky Love Story

Eureka” made me run the emotional gamut over a virtual love story. Make that a virtual virtual love story, between a robot and an artificial-intelligence-endowed house. It felt just as strange writing it, but there it is.

On “Eureka’s” episode “One Small Step,” Deputy Andy, an amazingly lifelike
robot, becomes trapped on Titan, one of Saturn’s moons. For quite some time,
he’s been romancing Sarah, Sheriff Carter’s house. Or more specifically, the
tech running Sheriff Carter’s house.

Early on in the episode…(read the rest of my article at Yahoo! TV)

‘Project Runway': Real Women and the Best Line Ever

It’s always amusing when the specter of designing a dress for a (gasp!) real
woman glides silently into the “Project Runway” workroom. The horror and disgust at the thought of women with actual breasts and hips sends these “women’s wear” designers into fits worthy of a gaggle of Victorian hysteria victims, leaving you wondering where, exactly, they’ve put the fainting couch.

Immediately, the word “fat” comes up, followed rapidly by discussions of how
more woman means more fabric.

Lovely.

(Read the rest of my article at Yahoo! TV)

‘Doctor Who,’ ‘The Girl Who Waited,’ and Time Paradoxes

(Warning, ‘Doctor Who’ fans. Utter spoilers ahead. You can’t say I didn’t warn you. I did. If you haven’t watched “The Girl Who Waited,” yet, go away, watch it, and then come back. I’m only thinking of you. Who tells someone to go away from their web page?!? People who care, that’s who).

Did anyone else get the idea with “The Girl Who Waited” that the Doctor rid himself of Older Amy because she hated him? There was that bare eighth of a moment at the very end when Amy asked Rory what happened to Older Amy, and the Doctor had this chilling look of menace. Matt Smith doesn’t do weighted looks lightly, clearly there was meaning behind it.

And here’s the other thing. Like any fan of science-fiction, I’ve spent a fair amount of time thinking about time paradoxes. As a writer of sci-fi, maybe even more so. My novel, The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management actually takes place in one. They are complicated, unwieldy creatures and people try to avoid them with good reason; when you’re in the middle of one, you wonder how you can make it work, how you can escape it with any hint of logic intact.

Unless you have a TARDIS.

Yes, yes, before you start, I realize that the Doctor has long warned against creating time paradoxes, let alone maintaining them, but the technology at the Two Streams Kindness Facility seems to have no trouble with the paradox created when younger Amy and Older Amy talk. We know there’s a paradox, because what younger Amy says shapes Older Amy’s recollection of the conversation. Older Amy can remember being younger Amy in that moment.

No black hole.

No implosion of time and/or space.

When the two are actually in the same stream at the same time, it seems to make no difference at all to the time engines in the facility. Why wouldn’t the ever-so-much cooler TARDIS do the same?

The question also remains whether bringing Older Amy would have created a time paradox at all. Amy had been rescued at that point, so one of two things should have happened. Either Older Amy should have ceased to exist, as Amy was never held for 36 years, or Older Amy became an alternate time stream, which pretty much makes her another person. They have moved past the point
of time they had in common, branching off.

We saw that Older Amy did not cease to exist.

When Older Amy is outside the door, begging Rory not to let her in, it could lead you to imagine that maybe she knows what she might do, she knows that if she takes Amy out of the TARDIS, she could continue to live. Maybe as the older version, all of the possibilities of how she came to be are all in her head.

But she still doesn’t disappear.

Or maybe she does. In the flash of the light of the TARDIS as it’s taking off, she, the handbots and the facility fade into white.

But then we see the Doctor’s look, and you just have to wonder.