Monthly Archives: December 2013

An Alternative Ending

This is an alternative ending to Matt Smith’s last episode The Time of the Doctor. Not for a moment will I claim to be able to write a better ending. However this was a scene that dropped into my head after watching the episode.

A couple of things:

1)  This is a draft. There is passive voice and a probably a fair bit of clunk going on. That’s not important. For me this was an exercise in getting a story out of my head and onto paper as soon as possible.

2)  There may be plot holes. I wrote this without thinking too closely about the wider story or the loose threads that needed tying up.

*******

Enemies the Doctor had faced his entire life converged upon the old house, cornering him. And the Doctor stood in the doorway, defiant to the last. He would buy the townspeople some time. Tell the Daleks something clever. Distract them with his death while the others got away.

The Doctor grimaced. There was nowhere for the residents of Christmas to run.

He stepped out into the falling snow, trying to find a place clear of running people.

“I’m here!” he roared and a Dalek laser tore through him just as he knew it would. It brought him to his knees and his eyes met Clara’s across the field. “Run,” he mouthed, no sound coming out. Only a few had made it onto Trenzalore. Soon the whole Dalek fleet would be upon them.

Clara turned towards the TARDIS but spun back round again, her eyes wide. The Doctor’s own eyes narrowed but Clara wasn’t looking at him. He followed her gaze up towards the crack in the universe that had appeared in the night sky – and through the tear came a flood of regeneration energy.

The Doctor felt his hearts thudding too quickly and he clutched his chest, holding on for the miracle come too late. To regenerate amidst battle meant certain death anyway.

He began to laugh, a painful wheezing. “To hell with the rules hey?” he muttered to the Time Lords who would never hear him. He gasped as the regeneration energy fed into his body.

“The – Doctor – is – regenerating!” a Dalek screamed and the Doctor collapsed, his change beginning.

Clara ran to the Doctor, falling to her knees at his side.

“Clara, you have to get them out of here!”

“I have to get you to the TARDIS,” she said, tugging at his arm. Another laser cut through the air above them.

“No,” the Doctor panted, his hands beginning to glow. “I don’t have time and they just want me. Go. Save them.”

Clara pulled away, twisting around in the snow.

“Help me!” she screamed into the chaos. People ran in all directions. The Doctor grunted, the glow of regeneration spreading throughout his body.

“Help him!” she yelled again and this time the people closest to them stopped, turning to see that it was the Doctor who lay dying in the snow. Three or four dropped to the ground beside him.

Screams and laser beams filled the night but the residents of Christmas slipped their hands beneath the Doctor and hefted him from the ground.

“No – please. No!” the Doctor shouted but the people he had protected for three hundred years pressed on, dragging the old man towards the TARDIS against his will. The Doctor held on, struggling to delay his regeneration. It would kill everyone around him.

“Take them into the TARDIS!” the Doctor begged Clara. “I’ll catch up. I promise.”

Clara ignored him, clutching one of his legs to try and keep it from dragging along the ground.

“Leave me!” the Doctor bellowed.

Another group of townsfolk gathered, standing shoulder to shoulder to create a barrier between the Daleks and the Doctor. The Doctor cried out as they began to fall, one by one, to the weapons of his old enemies. With a scream of rage, the Doctor gave up fighting the townspeople and focused his attention on fighting the monsters. He threw himself to one side and let a flood of regeneration energy blast from one hand, taking out a Dalek.

More townsfolk moved to help, clearing a path before those carrying the Doctor. A contingent of the Order of the Silence joined the fray.

Another Dalek trundled towards a group of fleeing youths and the Doctor let another blast stream out from his other hand.

Lasers ripped through the crowd and the Doctor screamed with them as they fell. Still the people continued on. When one of the townsfolk dropped the Doctor into the snow with their death, another stepped forward to take their place, lifting him once more.

Pain lanced through the Doctor’s body as he fought to control his regeneration.

“Hang on, Doctor,” Clara pleaded and she dropped his leg, running for the TARDIS.

A Dalek appeared from behind the time machine, heading towards Clara. Another blast of energy took it out, the effort wracking the Doctor’s body with agony.

The door opened and to the sound of people falling and dying, the Doctor was deposited onto the floor of the TARDIS. Clara dragged him by his feet towards the console. The silence inside the ship as the door swung shut seemed to mock the slaughter outside.

“Clara…”

Clara looked down at the Doctor, reaching out to touch him but the regeneration glow grew brighter, making her pull back sharply.

“Doctor…” she breathed. “Tell me what to do.”

The Doctor gasped a laugh. “Now you want to listen to me.”

Clara’s watched the Doctor anxiously, eyes glistening.

“You’ve seen me change,” the Doctor continued, his voice tired. “You need to step back.”

Clara shook her head, tears beginning to fall. “No, I mean, what am I going to do without you?”

“To change is to survive, Clara.” The Doctor rolled his head to one side, watching the vision of a grown Amelia Pond coming down the stairs to kneel at his side. “But I never forget,” he continued, shifting his gaze between the two of them. “I’m going to be someone else. But I never forget my friends. And I will never, ever forget when the Doctor was me.”

The glow of his regeneration grew brighter still and Clara pulled back, sobbing.

Regeneration energy burst from the Doctor, changing every cell in his body from the inside out. It coursed through him and he gritted his teeth against the tidal wave that burned away everything that had been him, transforming him into something renewed and undiscovered.

The wave ended abruptly, leaving an entirely different man lying on the floor of the TARDIS. The mysterious man sat bolt upright, boggling wide-eyed at Clara.

“Didn’t I tell you to get everyone into the TARDIS?” he snapped, grey eyebrows drawing down to frame angry eyes. The Doctor struggled to his feet and staggered past a stunned Clara to fling open the door. A shot hit the door beside his head.

“Well come on then!” he shouted into the war raging outside. “What are you all waiting for? Everyone in here. Now!”

Richard II

How long a time lies in one little word!
Four lagging winters and four wanton springs
End in a word: such is the breath of Kings.
– Bolingbroke, Richard II (I, ii, 413-415)

Yesterday I had the pleasure of watching a cinema screening of the RSC’s Richard II. The stage production, filmed for a one-off broadcast to a selection of cinemas, was unfortunately not shown live in Australia. Instead we were treated to an encore screening which I saw with some friends at the Nova in Carlton. I had no idea of what to expect, having only read Richard II once before – and some time ago at that.

The above quote had a powerful effect on me. Spoken by Bolingbroke in the first Act, the lines draw our attention to the whimsical nature by which someone in a position of ultimate authority can determine the fate of another. It also foreshadows the consequences that such a misuse of power can bring.

Richard II is the story of one man’s fall from grace. Believing that his divine right to rule is irrefutable, it is not until he is arrested that Richard gains a little insight into where his power lies – with those who accept his legitimacy.

So Judas did to Christ; be he, in twelve,
Found truth in all but one; I, in twelve thousand, none.

Richard II (IV, i, 170-171)

However, Richard never really comes to fully appreciate this. He does not question the structure that supports his authority and believes himself to be a victim. Richard came to be King at ten years of age after a succession of deaths placed him in line for the throne. Instead of musing about the true legitimacy of Kings, Richard instead laments the fate that awaits those who wear the crown. Richard swings between self-pity and righteous anger, never quite grasping the revelation that despite his so-called divine right, it is his subjects who support his station. His assertions that “Not all the water in the rough rude sea / Can wash the balm from an anointed king” reveals his steadfast belief that it is God’s will that he wear the crown.

Furthermore, upon finally accepting that he has no choice but to rescind the throne, Richard makes a mockery of the whole process. Richard invokes his coronation and turns it on its head,

Now mark me, how I will undo myself;
I give this heavy weight from off my head
And this unwieldy sceptre from my hand,
The pride of kingly sway from out my heart;
With mine own tears I wash away my balm,
With mine own hands I give away my crown,
With mine own tongue deny my sacred state,
With mine own breath release all duty’s rites:
All pomp and majesty I do forswear;
My manors, rents, revenues I forego;
My acts, decrees, and statutes I deny:
God pardon all oaths that are broke to me!
God keep all vows unbroke that swear to thee!
Make me, that nothing have, with nothing grieved,
And thou with all pleased, that hast all achieved!
Long mayst thou live in Richard’s seat to sit,
And soon lie Richard in an earthly pit!
God save King Harry, unking’d Richard says,
And send him many years of sunshine days!
What more remains?
– Richard II (IV, i, 203-222)

I need to watch it again. I’m not entirely sure whether this means Richard is simply being sarcastic, whether he believes that only he can wash away the balm of his anointment, or most likely, whether he believes that no action of any earthly means can remove his Kingship.

Aside from the themes of authority and legitimacy, I really enjoyed the creative decisions made by both Gregory Doran and David Tennant. I can see why some of these choices might be deemed controversial. This is a rather dark and tragic play, however the Director has, on occasion, chosen to twist the text to derive comedic meaning. Some have argued that this makes light of the themes however I tend to feel that the small number of humourous moments give the audience a little room to breathe.

I’ve got so much more to say but I’ll never get this post up! I’m going to see it again on the weekend so might check back in again afterward!

A New Direction

In one of life’s great twists, I have found myself accepted into the Advanced Diploma of Screenwriting program offered by RMIT. I applied perhaps a month ago, attended an interview last Thursday and received an offer later that evening.

Strangely enough, my emotional response has generally been one of anxiety rather than excitement. It is a part-time placement however my work circumstances are complicated at the moment. I need to work three days a week and due to circumstances that are out of my control, my hours have been reduced to one day a week. This doesn’t work for me financially so my options are to find another job or wait until February. It is then that I will find out if I’ll still have a job or whether I will be returned to working three days. Fingers crossed for the latter.

Assuming that I can find a solution to my work situation, I then have to concern myself with being able to afford the course. But let’s not dwell too closely to those darkened ponderings. I shall just have to make it work. Somehow.

In other news: Yesterday and I went and saw a cinema screening of the RSC’s Richard II. It was brilliant and I’m feeling called to write a completely separate blog about it. I will therefore refrain from pouring my thought out here at the end of this post – so until next time, I bid thee adieu.