Steven Moffat frequently asks the audience to think one thing about a character and then turns around to put it into question.
We are asked to laugh about Miss Evangelista and her lack of intelligence. It’s not an unsympathetic portrayal, but in the end comments like "couldn’t tell the difference between the escape pod and the bathroom - we had to go back for her… twice" are meant to incite amusement. But in the moment of her death, it comes back to haunt us: "Don’t tell the others, they’ll only laugh." There couldn’t be a more poignant reminder that this was in fact a person with thoughts and a person who suffered under the treatment of others at that.
Similarly, with the exception of a few glimpses which belie her perceptiveness and wit, Elizabeth I spends much of TDotD as comic relief and romantic conquest. It connects seamlessly to the caricature presented during the RTD era. But by the end of the episode, "the arrogance that typifies their kind" does not only apply to the Zygons, men in general or the Doctor in particular. It becomes a reminder of a misjudgement by the audience. Because Elizabeth not only defeats the Zygon disguised as her, but she figures out the Zygons’ entire plan and contributes considerably to saving her kingdom.
The Impossble Girl arc represents this scenario on a grand scale. "Right then, Clara Oswald. Time to find out who you are." - With The Snowmen at the latest, Clara’s story becomes a guessing game. The Doctor views Clara as a mystery and the audience is there alongside with him. But not only is this approach challenged repeatedly throughout the series, from Emma’s admonition ("She’s a perfectly ordinary girl… isn’t that enough?") to the Doctor’s behaviour scaring Clara in JttCotT, the final reveal is nothing short of a subversion. Because Clara wasn’t a mystery to be solved, wasn’t someone else’s daughter, wasn’t a trap or a gift… but just Clara, an ordinary woman, whose choice saved the Doctor’ life.
Ultimately, I think there are reasons to dislike these creative decisions. They play a deceptive game with the audience, after all, and while I personally enjoy that, I’d understand if it wasn’t everybody’s cup of tea. But critiques I’ve seen of these characters almost exclusively ignore that this reversal is even taking place. And that’s wrong.
That’s the thing about Moff’s era which always gets me, everybody is so liable to just take things at face value and once they’ve got that notion solidified in their head they just sort of ignore the pay-off where it’s like “did you really think it would be this simple?”
I like to think back to 2013 when Series 7B’s last episode title was revealed - The Name of the Doctor. What did everybody do? Immediately jump on the idea that Moffat was going to reveal the Doctor’s name to us, despite years of this man telling us to never ever take what he says as meaning just one thing. Funnily enough, the Doctor directly addresses this in the actual episode and says “you weren’t paying attention, you lot never do!” because we’re so fixated on the idea that the episode will reveal the Doctor’s name that we miss out on what is actually at play.
Of course, when people find out that they were wrong they like to say things along the line of “oh, he’s just stroking his ego thinking he’s cleverer than us” and other utter nonsense - because, hey, most Moffat haters look for literally anything they can turn into a weapon against him.
It’s sort of like… you’ve just missed the point, even worse you’re missing out on some really great deconstructive writing. I personally like to be surprised, I like to be tricked with unpredictable twists, and maybe that’s not for everyone but I cannot for the life of me fathom why some people just go into full offensive mode when they find out that they’ve been duped.
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Could you imagine what would happen if Six met Eleven?
"I have composed DICTIONARIES for the benefit of THOUSANDS of languages, and you DARE refer to my extraordinarily refined coat as ‘THE PATCHY-WORKY THING’?!”
Their father’s dead… my husband — is dead. And they don’t know yet because if I tell them now then Christmas will always be what took their father away from them, and no one should have to live like that.
he knows exactly how Madge feels and you can see it on her face the words are perfect like he’s had too much time to think about them and the truth is that he has his wife died centuries ago and he can’t tell her because no one should live like that he knows from experience… every time he sees her smile he remembers how much she cried when she laughs and kisses him he remembers how she looked at Ten and couldn’t find him and it breaks his hearts (via riveralwaysknew)