Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
Although Spider-Man comics have been around for decades, and a whole trilogy of films was delivered just a few years back, there are still opportunities to handle the characters and stories in new ways. Emma Stone's take on Gwen Stacey in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is an example of that. The talented Stone manages to give us a far more developed, substantial, and progressive version of the traditionally slighted "superhero's girlfriend figure." Meanwhile, Dane DeHaan is offering a version of Harry Osborn that he and Jamie Foxx think could never have existed before.
Producers Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach on how Emma Stone helped to create a stronger, more substantial Gwen Stacey for the modern era:
Avi Arad: "When you have a great actress, and you give her the proper material, now you have a real scene. You don’t just have someone screaming. It’s important that you noticed it because when the comics were written in the ‘50s and ‘60s, women didn’t really have a role in comics. They were supposed to look good, stay on the side. We’re all very proud that we were able to change completely… there was source material that was changed completely. It’s the way we approached everything, as far as where we are today. And we just love the fact that we had this opportunity to make Gwen a true partner. As a matter of fact, the tragedy of it is that these two should be together forever. The fact that she’s more intelligent than him — way more! — and more mature… to me, the moment where she says, “I’m breaking up with you,” It’s such a change in any time in Marvel’s history. It’s never happened before."Matt Tolmach: "You know who wrote that line? Emma Stone. True story… Now I’m going to get an angry call from the writers."Emma Stone: "My agent is like, 'Where’s the writer credit?!'"MT: "That was your instinct."AA: "These are the little victories of time, when you can take comics that were written so long ago and bring it to our world. Again, when you have someone like that, you better make it a two-person act."MT: "We spent a lot of time over the years working on Spider-Man movies, asking the question, “What’s happening with Peter Parker? Where’s Peter Parker? Where’s Peter Parker?” as they sort of follow the bouncing ball narratively. And it is really smart of you to pick up on that on sight, because, the truth is, she’s driving the story. She’s the one who’s making decisions, she’s going to England, she’s making choices. Peter is trying to keep it all together. That’s his struggle. Gwen is somebody with a real sense of who she is and what she wants. It’s not that that isn’t complicated, but it’s incredibly empowering in a character."AA: "To tell you how much it became a part of everybody’s life, there’s a great scene where he webs to the taxi cab, and you [Emma] go “Peter!” It was not in the script..."MT: [Joking:] "We actually never had a script."AA: "...it was awesome and thankfully we shot it."
Dane DeHaan and Jamie Foxx on the evolution of Harry Osborn from the comic books to James Franco in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy to The Amazing Spider-Man 2:
Dane DeHaan: "Harry Osborn is a character that’s been around for 50 years. There’s been many incarnations of him, whether it be in comic books or cartoons or movies, or whatever. The main difference now is that there’s never been a Harry Osborn of today. And there’s never been a Harry Osborn in today’s culture. So what I tried to do was look at who Harry has always been in the Spider-Man universe, but then find out where that fits into today’s culture. I think that there’s this whole kind of trust-fund baby, hipster culture today that hasn’t ever really existed in that way. To me, that was just the most natural fit for Harry. And I think that it’s only different because it’s a different time."
Jamie Foxx: "That’s what’s interesting ... I’m looking at a kid in a room who is seeing me for the first time as Electro. Doesn’t know anything — I think maybe they knew, maybe, about Django. It’s too young. It’s interesting how we will ask questions about the older Spider-Mans, but when you think about it, the kid that’s 12, 15, he probably wasn’t even around! Maybe he saw it on [TV]. I think that [we’re] able to get a fresh start, in a sense. I’m opening up to a whole different audience, as well as Dane. They’ll know Dane ... We’ve got this thing on Twitter now called 'the Dane Train.' I was like, 'Get on the Dane Train!' There’s a difference, for me, looking at the perspective of James Franco and looking at [Dane]. Dane has this thing, this sort of like cool… like that line where you say, 'Isn’t that the question of the day?' That line in the movie — I had my hoodie on in the theater, seeing what people respond to, you see little girls [get excited] because there’s a certain fly coolness to it, the same with Andrew. There’s a certain… these guys jump outside of these characters and they’re on the red carpet like sex symbols, in a sense. People are looking at them completely different. I think that’s the difference, to me, in how the characters are being played. There’s a certain 'today' flyness to it."
More Amazing Spider-Man 2 interviews: Read about Stone and Andrew Garfield bringing real-life romance to the screen, and the creation of the sets and villains in the film.
Follow @Michael Arbeiter| Follow @Hollywood_com
Looming large over the Russo Brothers, Joe Johnston, and even Joss Whedon, is the Marvel Universe's kingpin Kevin Feige. The super producer keeps the comic book film franchise running like clockwork, churning out golden cinematic entries like this week's Captain America: The Winter Soldier. We got a chance to chat with Feige about his mission for the Marvel movies, discussion genre, the evolution of his characters, and the future of Black Widow and Guardians of the Galaxy.
The thing I was most interested in seeing in Captain America: The Winter Soldier was the way that you guys take on the espionage thriller genre. In the same way that that you’ve taken on so many different genres with all of your Marvel movies so far. I was wondering if that was a mission of yours from the start, taking on all these different types of genres, or if it sort of happened organically, befitting each of the characters?
I’d say it was a combination. We embraced the differences of the characters. Comic book fans know that there’s no such thing as a comic book genre any more than there is such a thing as a “novel genre.” No, they all are unique and they all are different. We always saw it as our job to embrace that when we bring them to the screen. In that way it was organic, but it really did become a bit of a mission statement, if an informal one. It’s what held our interest. We’re very interested in keeping our movies fresh and keeping our universe fresh, and never allowing the audience to get bored or think that they can predict exactly what’s going to happen next, or have every movie start to feel like the last movie. That, in our minds, is a recipe for it all to come crashing down. And when you’re putting out two movies a year, they’d better be unique, different experiences. One of the fun ways for us, because we’re all movie fans as much as we are comic fans, is to embrace other genres and to lean on that to make the films feel fresh, and to give us a new roadmap to come up with a unique story.
So is each of the genres that you tackle — of course, this is an espionage, spy thriller type — is that somehow inherent to the character that you are taking on? Did you think, “Captain America — it’s natural for him to take on a movie like this”?
Yes, absolutely. It never starts with, “Let’s do a Western. Let’s do a Captain America Western!” It starts with, “Where are we going to take the character?” And clearly, in his first full modern day solo adventure, we wanted to focus on the man out of time element. And we wanted to put him into situations like he found himself within the decade after he was thawed, in Avengers #3. He went right into the mid ‘60s and late ‘60s. And all of the civil unrest and the political strife happening in that era. Right into Watergate and the Nixon Administration of the early ‘70s and mid ‘70s. And he was at a crossroads. He really started to find it difficult to simply follow the orders of whoever was in charge at the time, and started listening to his own morals and his belief in the broader ideals independent of whoever is in charge at the time. And we wanted to play with that, and we wanted to do it in a way that utilized S.H.I.E.L.D. versus a specific [real institution], like the army or the American government, because A) we’re making a movie, and B) we have all of that at our disposal, as we’ve established Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. very heavily in our movies up to now.
Walt Disney Co. via Everett Collection
Among the Avengers, Captain America stands alone as having this defined sense of right and wrong. That is challenged in this movie, and that’s why this movie is so interesting. But the character is redefining himself in light of the events in The Winter Soldier and the world he finds himself in. Going forward, how do you think that is going to change the Captain America movies we’ll see in the future?
First it will have a direct impact of Cap’s next adventure, which obviously will be Avengers: Age of Ultron. And where we go from there, we’re just beginning to sort of outline what that could be and what that could look like. But to be ever evolving is one of the keys to longevity, we believe for our cinematic universe. There’s a line of dialogue in The Winter Soldier where he goes to visit a fellow he’s recently met, Sam Wilson, who runs a veterans center. And Sam asks, “Are you think you’re getting out?” And he goes “No, I don’t think so.” This is early in the movie where he’s finding himself increasingly uncomfortable with the missions that Nick Fury is sending him on, and what the mission statement for S.H.I.E.L.D. overall seems to be. And Sam then asks him, “What would you want to do?” And he goes, “I don’t know.”
This is a guy who, for his entire life, wanted one thing. He wanted to do right by his country. He wanted to do what every other able-bodied person was doing in his era, which was join the fight in World War II, and he dreamed of that. And finally, of course, through the events of the first movie, he got the super soldier serum and was able to do that. And then he helped save the world, and was frozen, and then woke up, and helped save the world again. And now he’s struggling with what his place is. And that struggle continues a bit though the Winter Soldier and also into Age of Ultron.
Looking at it in the other direction, what do you think The Winter Soldier says about the spy thriller genre?
I think it definitely embraces the best of that genre, and hopefully gives it a new spin because it’s got Marvel characters running around in the middle of it. That’s the fun. To try to make a good superhero movie, but really make a good paranoid action thriller. Make a great movie that appeals to fans who have watched all of our movies many times and know the comics inside and out, and also appeal to people who have never read a comic, and who may have not ever seen our movies. I was just talking to somebody else who afterwards came up to me and said, “It’s funny. I’m not into comics. They aren’t usually my thing. but I love this movie.” And we’re lucky enough to get that comment after many of our movies, and that’s when we feel that we’ve really really accomplished it.
Is there a certain set of guidelines you have about compromising invention with your loyalty to the comics?
We’ve really found that as we approach our tenth marvel studios feature — Guardians of the Galaxy will be our tenth movie in the cinematic universe — there are two responsibilities now: one is to absolutely stay true to the source material. Mainly because the source material is great, and why change something that’s great? But the other thing is staying true to the continuity we’ve established in the MCU. And people want us to do both now. Fans. Whether they’re comic fans or movie fans, they want us to do both. So I think people get excited: “Oh I can’t wait to see Falcon on screen, and I can’t wait to see how they’re going to do it.” Because I think people realized that we weren’t going to put him in the exact outfit that he wore in the ‘70s and have him telepathically linked to a bird.
Walt Disney Co. via Everett Collection
Talking about Falcon and Black Widow, I love the way you integrate the characters into the movie. Black Widow’s rapport with Cap is one of the most important through lines in this movie. Is there a reason, beyond just what might exist in the comic books, why the best way to really showcase Black Widow’s character front and center for the first time was in a Captain America film?
For any number of reasons, not the least of which is that Scarlett Johansson is unbelievable and brings the character to life in a full three-dimensional fashion more and more each time. But really it was all about the contrast for Cap. We knew Cap was going to be working with S.H.I.E.L.D., and we knew he was going to start to get antsy and be uncomfortable working in those shades of grey that Nick Fury was asking him to work in. And the idea was putting him in a scenario where he has to team up with his polar opposite. With Natasha Ramonov, who has been a spy, who has done god knows what. Who tells us in Avengers that she’s got red in her ledger and she wants to wipe it out. Loki tells us any number of things that don’t sound good about her past.
And there’s a line early on in The Winter Soldier where Captain America is confronting Nick Fury saying, “Why didn’t you tell me about this thing? I should have known about this.” And he says, “I didn’t want you to know about this because I knew you wouldn’t be comfortable with it. Natasha is comfortable with anything.” That, at the beginning, of the movie is the perceived difference between them. And a lot of this movie, and the fun we wanted to have, was seeing Widow goad Steve into the real world. She’s constantly asking him about his personal life and who he’s dating — which is sort of a way of saying, “Have you embraced the fact that you’re never going back in time? Have you embraced the fact that you’re stuck here and now have to make a life?” But at the same time, see what kind of an influence Steve Rogers would have on Natasha. I think by the end of the movie, she has changed, based on her interactions with and exposure to Steve. Earlier in the movie, she thinks he is maybe a little too honest, and says at a certain point, “This might not be the right business for you Steve.” By the end of the movie, she realizes that maybe it’s not the right business for her.
There has been mention that she will be getting her own standalone film. Do you think there is a specific opportunity with that character, due to the deficit of female superhero movies, to do something that the superhero movie world needs?
I do, in large part because her origin story is interesting. We haven’t explored that too much. The solo adventures in the comics, there are a lot to choose from and they’re very interesting. But people would ask me on the floor of the Thor: The Dark World junket, “Are you’re doing a Black Widow movie?” And part of me wanted to say, “Well, we did, and it’s called Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Wait until you see it!” The emphasis we put on our characters, and in particular our female leads in all our movies, is very important to us. And showcase extremely strong, intelligent woman that control the course of the entire movie and the entire plot, and that absolutely carries over into Scarlett’s role in Age of Ultron.
Fantastic. And just to wrap up, you did mention Guardians of the Galaxy before. That movie seems to be presenting itself as the “weirdest” of the Marvel movies we’ve seen so far. Was that your mission when you set out to make this one?
You can see in the teaser that we released, one of the reasons we wanted to make the movie is we wanted to make something wholly original. Of course it’s based on the comics, but the fact it’s a lesser known comic, and that they’re heroes unlike any that I think anyone has brought to the screen before. I hope people embrace the notion that this is a very fresh, very original movie, in a year in which there are lots of remakes and sequels. And clearly we’ve made the Winter Soldier to stand alone and to feel different and fresh on its own. But the notion of Guardians is all about the answer to, I believe, a cry for originality and for something totally unexpected. In the same way that people saw the trailers for Iron Man 3, or The Dark World, or even The Winter Soldier, and said, “Oh boy, I think you’re getting gritty now.” And then saw the movie and realized there was a lot of humor in it.
People are embracing the notion of a very funny and quirky space adventure in Guardians, but at the same time, I think they’ll be surprised by the level of depth and emotion and pathos that you’re going to have in certain sequences of the movie. What James Gunn is planning is not just simply a comedic romp but a very full, well rounded experience that can stand alongside the best of our films, but in a completely original and fresh way.
Catch Captain America: The Winter Soldier in theaters now. Buy your tickets at Movietickets.com.
Follow @Michael Arbeiter| Follow @Hollywood_com
20th Century Fox Everett Collection
What people consider sexy can be completely subjective. Different strokes for different folks and all that jazz. But sex sells so Hollywood will find a way to subtly, or blatantly, insert into the plot, visuals, or characters. But sometimes there are instances where wires get crossed. A scene can suddenly be oozing sex for a completely different reason. Either the director has found a way to build on the sexual tension or the producers have found the right angle to sell the hell out of a movie.
Here are some scenes that are sexy…but for slightly odd reasons.
Dude Where’s My Car Kissing Scene
This stoner comedy isn’t an Oscar Winner but it does have a few funny moments. It also stars two of the hottest heartthrobs of the time, Ashton Kutcher and Seann William Scott. In this scene, the two guys decide to one-up Fabio and a sexy girl by mimicking what they do. It results in the two guys kissing for no apparent reason.
Why It’s Odd: It's random and completely out of nowhere. It was pretty shocking to see something so blatantly homoerotic in a stoner comedy in 2000.
Why It’s Sexy: Two major high profile heartthrobs locking lips? No brainer.
Jessica Rabbit's Big Number in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
This classic film put a noir spin on the cartoon universe, and one of the staples of noir is the sexy dame. Enter Jessica Rabbit. She may be a cartoon and married to an anthropomorphic rabbit, but she exudes sex. The choice of Kathleen Turner as the voice and the highly eroticized dimensions of her shape make her a drawing that jumps off the page into the realm of fantasy.
Why It’s Odd: She’s a cartoon! Even the most evolved of people would have trouble with the idea of a human being getting it on with a fictional cartoon character.
Why It’s Sexy: If this scene starred a human being you couldn’t deny the heavy sexual tension.
Top Gun Volleyball Scene
This movie straddles a lot of different genres. It’s partly a military romance like An Officer and a Gentleman. But its romance is secondary to the development of the Maverick (Tom Cruise) character and his struggle to break out of his father’s shadow.
Why It’s Odd: This scene is completely out of nowhere and gratuitous. Up until this point, the film seems oddly focused on actual military procedures of flying fighter jets. Then the entire crew decides to grease up and play volleyball? Hm...
Why It’s Sexy: A bunch of oiled up, half-naked men jumping around. The camera lingers on certain body parts longer than you’d expect.
Michael Fassbender Reveals His Endowment in Shame
Michael Fassbender plays a sex addict in this 2011 drama. It takes a bleak view of his addiction as it slowly consumes his character. Despite the various sex scenes in the film, the sexiest and most memorable is Fassbender running to answer the phone and revealing his magneto.
Why It’s Odd: It’s such a throwaway scene and doesn't seem particularly sexual in nature.
Why It’s Sexy: It revealed to an entire movie-going public that Fassbender was well-endowed. That reputation follows him to this day.
The Glove Scene in Age of Innocence
This Martin Scorsese film really showcases how amazingly talented they are outside of their more typical works. The director deviated from crime/mobster films to focus on infidelity in the 1800s. He captures so much of the raw sexual energy, guilt, and anguish of infidelity. In this scene, Daniel Day-Lewis and Michelle Pfeiffer are alone. The sexual tension reaches a crescendo as he removes her glove.
Why It’s Odd: The scene really just involves a stolen kiss and Day-Lewis touching the underside of Pfeiffer’s wrist.
Why It’s Sexy: There’s so much intensity and intimacy in this moment. It also is a mental turn on considering how reserved and repressed this society is and how they are breaking barriers. Plus, it’s so naughty.
Great Expectations Water Fountain Kiss Scene
This film is not often given the credit it deserves. It’s such an amazingly poetic and visually beautiful retelling of the Charles Dickens classic. Up to this point, Gwyneth Paltrow was Brad Pitt’s plain-looking girlfriend and daughter of Hollywood royalty. However, in her role as Estella, she really showed she had the intense sex appeal and devious side of a femme fatale.
Why It’s Odd: This scene mirrors a scene of the two characters kissing as children.
Why It’s Sexy: It takes a more sexually aggressive tone. A scantily clad Paltrow’s tongue lingers on Ethan Hawke in what has evolved from an innocent kiss into an explosive seduction.
Patrick Bateman’s Intro in American Psycho
This disturbing horror comedy skewers class, Manhattan, and sex. Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) is a business exec by day and a serial murderer by night. The subtext is he’s so vapid and image obsessed that his madness gets away from him and he gets away with it.
Why It’s Odd: The dialogue is a banal reading of his morning to-do list.
Why It’s Sexy: Christian Bale’s epic body transformation and half nude morning routine is visually stunning. His work out, shower, and making breakfast in tighty-whities distracts from the banality of the dialogue.
The Shower Scene in Elf
Zooey Deschanel plays an unlikely love interest for an elf played by Will Ferrell in this Christmas comedy. It’s strange to imagine Ferrell’s man-child character having romantic feelings. And yet, he’s lured into the bathroom by Deschanel’s siren song.
Why It’s Odd: This movie is a kid’s movie. It seems strange to have a scene so unabashedly reflect sexual attraction. It’s also slightly creepy for him to enter the bathroom unannounced and this only reflects the slightly creepy nature of “It’s Cold Outside.”
Why It’s Sexy: Deschanel’s sexy singing voice and she’s in a shower. Fans of her quirky characters suddenly see her in a newly sexy way.
Paramount via Everett Collection
Even though there's still three months to go before Captain America: The Winter Soldier will be released in theaters, Marvel is reportedly already working on a third installment of the franchise. Though it was only a matter of time before another sequel was announced - like the rest of Marvel's recent films, The Winter Solider is expected to be a box office smash — the studio has decided to move more quickly than usual in an attempt to lock down the film's directors, Joe and Anthony Russo, for the third film. Though everything is still in the early planning stages, footage from the film has impressed both Marvel and test audiences, which propelled the studio into moving forward with the new project.
The biggest doubt as of right now seems to be whether or not The Winter Solider will actually live up to its hype, but it seems highly likely that the film will continue the studio's long line of successes. Cap is one of Marvel's most beloved characters, and Chris Evans' performance in The Avengers has helped win over any moviegoers who may not have enjoyed the first Captain America film. That kind of pedigree alone means that there should be no problems attracting an audience for the sequel, but it will be helped by forcing Cap to deal head-on with the way that society has changed in the 70 years that he was frozen. Introducing the emotional and psychological ramifications that come with the Avengers' jobs and histories received rave reviews from both critics and fans in Iron Man 3, and continuing that thread in The Winter Soldier will help to not only add depth and substance to the action sequences, but also to help make the character and his philosophy more timely.
In addition, the film will see the return of plenty of familiar faces, including Black Widow, Nick Fury and Bucky Barnes, and since all three are fan favorites despite not having any solo films, that will certainly help attract a larger audience. There will also be a new love interest, S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Sharon Carter, and a new sidekick for Cap, Stan Wilson, a.k.a. Falcon. The presence of these new characters, coupled with the emotional hurdles that Cap will have to face, open up new storyline possibilities for the character, both in the larger Marvel universe and, perhaps more importantly, in the third Captain America installment.
Though he joined the team for a while in the comic books, the Avengers lineup is already pretty crowded, so it's hard to see anyone adding Falcon into any of the upcoming Avengers films, other than in a supporting role. Therefore, the third Captain America film would be the ideal place to expand the character's screentime and explore his character further. It's already been revealed that he and Cap will bond over their shared history in the military and sense of duty, and it would be great to see that backstory fleshed out in a way that helps establish Falcon as his own, distinct character. The films have proven relatively adept at creating three-dimensional characters despite a lack of screentime, and often find ways to discuss and explore Natasha and Black Widow's past despite her only playing a supporting role in other hero's films. In the comics, Falcon had an important presence as Cap's partner, and it would be nice to see the films do justice to his importance, even if they can only do it through the Captain America films.
Similarly, The Winter Soldier seems set to forge a bond between Black Widow and Cap, both platonically and romantically, which could cause a problem with both Hawkeye and Sharon Carter. The Avengers seemed to establish some romantic tension between Black Widow and Hawkeye, and so having her and Cap become involved could either be a sign of Hawkeye's diminishing importance in the Avengers lineup, or it could set up a conflict amongst teammates, as Cap doesn't seem the type to be comfortable with overstepping those kinds of personal boundaries. Meanwhile, Sharon Carter plays a significant role in the comics, and she and Cap have a long, if somewhat tumultuous, relationship. It seems like Sharon will be appearing in several films within the universe, which means that the studio might be establishing a love triangle. It's a plot development that they've tried before, most notably in the two Thor films with Thor, Lady Sif and Jane, but it has never been particularly well received by audiences. These two women are well-written, smart, and interesting characters in their own right, so the last thing we would want for either one of them would be to see the third Captain America film taken over by a love triangle that pits them against one another. It not only takes away from what would probably be an exciting, compelling storyline, but it would negatively impact both characters.
The other major character introduction that will be occurring in The Winter Soldier is Bucky Barnes, Cap's best friend who has been brainwashed into a Soviet assassin. Although the main villain will be played by Robert Redford, the Winter Soldier will likely be a recurring villain, like Loki, and appear in multiple films throughout the universe. Both the bad guys in Cap's films are strongly to their time period and the political climate of the day, which makes it impossible for them to flit across the various planets and times that make up the Marvel universe. Bucky, however, is bot bound by those same laws, and like Loki, can move through those different universes and films in a way that seems to hint at the possibility of him being the main villain of either an Avengers film or the third Captain America. Setting him up to be the villain of the third film would be a good idea, as it forces Cap to confront the idea of fighting against his best friend, rather than beside him, which, again, helps give the film some depth. The implications and consequences of a character that has been brainwashed into evil are too interesting to be brushed off at the end of the film, and so we'd love to see the Winter Soldier be the big bad of the third film, if only to learn more about what Bucky has gone through.
The down side to news of the third film is that Marvel won't be giving a solo film to any of the other major characters, but Cap's position as one of the leaders of the Avengers allows them to incorporate those characters into his storylines, and give them more screen time. It would be really interesting to see Hawkeye or the Hulk team up with Cap on his next mission, instead of simply having Black Widow play the supporting role in every film, especially since neither character got to interact with him much in The Avengers. The fact that Marvel is expanding Cap's universe and history so much makes bringing in outside characters difficult, but since anything the Avengers do will affect them as well, it seems like it would be worth the effort.
Of course, since nothing has been officially confirmed by Marvel as of yet, there's still a chance that all of this can change, and characters like Falcon and Bucky could end up being significantly less important or interesting than we thought. But since there's nothing to do until Captain America: The Winter Soldier is released on April 4, there's no harm in trying to guess what the studio has up its sleeve.
Watching the Doctor Who 50th anniversary extravaganza reminded us that we want to live in a world where the Doctor exists. Not just because the Doctor is a fantastic person and the protector of Earth from all things bad and alien, but also because then a lot of the cool technologies featured on the show would exist as well. Since we’ve seen a lot of neat gadgets in Doctor Who over the past half-century, it was hard to decide which ones we’d want the most, but some were definitely guaranteed to make the list.
Although it might look like a simple pocket watch, the fob watch used in Doctor Who has the power to create whole new alternate universes. For instance, a world made of shrimp, if you like that sort of thing.
Used by Jack Harkness to travel around in time, it’s a handy-dandy device that any would-be space traveler needs to own.
A Time Lord’s best friend, K-9 is a robotic canine (get it??) that makes for a good companion and a useful member of the team. We wonder if the K-9 comes in French bulldog.
This simple-looking device has changed as often as the Doctor has regenerated, but it’s still one of the most important tools in the Time Lord’s arsenal. It can unlock almost any door, check alien readings, and it even has a wood setting.
It’s bigger on the inside! (Or smaller on the outside.) The TARDIS, which stands for Time and Relative Dimension in Space, is not only the Doctor’s way of traversing the universe; it’s also his oldest friend. Kind of like a cowboy and his horse (but don’t tell the TARDIS we said that, she probably wouldn’t like the analogy.)
Actress Jennifer Lawrence underwent therapy as a young child to deal with social anxiety issues after struggling to adjust to school life. The Hunger Games star reveals she was an energetic child, but her personality changed completely when she began formal education.
She tells French magazine Madame Figaro, "My nickname was Nitro, as in nitroglycerine. I was hyperactive, curious about everything. When my mother told me about my childhood, she always told me there was like a light in me, a spark that inspired me constantly.
"When I entered school, the light went out. We never knew what it was, a kind of social anxiety... I went to see a shrink, nothing worked."
Lawrence quickly learned she didn't need professional help and instead found different ways to channel her energy and deal with her issues.
She continues, "One day, I begged my parents to take me to a casting. We went to New York, and that's where I started acting. Just on stage, my mother saw the change that was taking place in me. She saw my anxieties disappear. She found her daughter, the one who had this light and joy before school.
"I finally found a way (to) open the door to a universe that I understood, that was good for me and made me happy, because I felt capable, whereas before I felt worthless."
Today, all of our needs are met by one indomitable force. You want to get driving directions, pay your bills, look up Gerald Ford's birthday, start dating, order food, or argue viciously with a complete stranger about the plotholes in Dragon Ball Z? You take to the Internet. But what about in the days before the Internet? That long dead, primal era known as... the mid-'90s.
See, before we all got vacuumed up into the Wall-E spaceship that is our present day society, we did things like calling people's houses, making plans via word of mouth, and reading newspapers. The latest video from Buzzfeed highlights a few more outdated practices from this prehistoric period. Check it out, and consider how much your life has changed since the rise of the almighty web.
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Little known fact: Guy Pearce was approached to play that lead role in the 2003 comic book adaptation Daredevil (the part that eventually went to Ben Affleck). According to Pearce, "playing a comic strip superhero was, some years ago for me, totally out of the question" back when he was courted to play the red-suited, blind superhero. Times have obviously changed, as this weekend he'll be seen opposite Robert Downey, Jr. in Iron Man 3.
"I think I've broadened my horizons a bit," Pearce tells Hollywood.com. "The difference obviously is that the Iron Man films have proven to be really interesting and really fun and really cleverly done."
Pearce, who recently appeared in Prometheus, Lawless, and the Sundance premiere Breathe In, believes that "a lot of comic book movies out there that don't really work" but Marvel's Iron Man franchise has towed an "interesting line between reality and fantasy" while putting its character first.
In Iron Man 3, Pearce plays Aldrich Killian, mastermind behind a regenerative body enhancement process known as "Extremis." When he arrives on the doorstep of Tony Stark (Downey, Jr.) and Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), he's your typical genius playboy with a shimmer of pure evil in his eye. But 13 years prior, when he first met Stark at a fateful New Year's Eve party, he was mangy, awkward, and unfit for the future Iron Man's attention.
"Here is someone who wants to get out of the hole that he's in," Pearce says. "He realizes he's annoying, he realizes he's irritating, he's constantly being rejected (and obviously we see in the film that he's rejected by Tony Stark). I think when someone you admire so much turns their back on you, it's almost like a final straw."
Pearce likens Killian's evolution to the modern obsession with plastic surgery. For a fragile personality, there can be an addictive nature to change. "Doing one thing to solve a problem and then thinking you need to do something else because there's another problem and do something else because there's another problem and never knowing where to stop. To me, it was an image I had in mind when looking at Killian and how far he takes it. Getting to the point where he just wants to take over the world," explains Pearce.
Killian may be Shane Black's subtle riff on "comic book fan culture," but Pearce is quick to clear up that it's not symbolically all-encompassing. "Here is someone who clearly has a lot of social difficulties, he's physically disabled in a particular kind of way, [and] he's extremely enthusiastic and ambitious. It was a tricky character to play," Pearce admits. The actor says he's portraying a "geek," but not every geek. Pearce says he's run into a similar situation before where one character resonates as a larger metaphor for audiences and that that's not the case with Killian. "When we did Priscilla [,Queen of the Desert] and a lot of people stepped forward and said, 'you guys are trying to say that all gay people are like this.' 'Well, no, I'm just portraying one character. Not the entire universe of gay characters.'"
Much like Prometheus and Lawless, Pearce goes under the guise of makeup and wigs to bring the pre-dapper-makeover Killian to life. The actor says that he enjoys "the possibilities of costume and makeup and the ability to change yourself on film" and is always surprised when actors look exactly the same from movie to movie. The transformation is part of the supporting character appeal — and for many years, it was the only type of role he wanted to take. He says the reason he took Iron Man 3 and not Daredevil was that he "wasn't asked to play Iron Man himself." At the time Daredevil was casting, he was worried about becoming "a leading man."
"I struggled years ago with the whole prospect of being pigeonholed," he says. "People pounce on you straight away and say, 'Oh, you're a good looking guy, we're going to shove you into leading men roles.' I really fought against that." Pearce recalls getting a taste of leading man work during his time on Australian TV show Neighbours. It left him craving to go back to the stage, where he got his start. "As a kid I did a lot of theater and played a lot of varied roles and I got much more satisfaction out of doing that. So I fought against playing a leading man role. I didn't think that was me. I didn't have anything to say."
"Now if it comes along, I'm more able to go and do it and I'm not afraid that I'll get stuck there," Pearce says of his decision to enlist for Iron Man 3. Pearce recently starred in the action vehicle Lockout where he both had a blast and nailed the persona of gruff, antihero Snow. Pearce says he's come to a moment in his career where he can perform and feel fulfilled tackling the leading man role. "I feel like I can do that (not that I'm doing it that often). I can do something like Killian in Iron Man and think that my versatility is still afloat."
So the ball is in Marvel's court now. Daredevil reboot, anyone?
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
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Oh, so that's who.
Ever find yourself traveling through time and space with someone you totally dig but had literally zero idea about who or what they are? Who doesn't. And for the current iteration of our fair Doctor — someone who never really knows why, just who — we're still trying to find out exactly that. So, Doctor, who is Clara Oswald? We're well into Series 7 of Doctor Who now, no doubt building up to what is sure to be an epic finale and even more epic 50th anniversary special, and Saturday night's episode "Journey to the Center of the TARDIS" found Clara and Eleven in full-out, wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey mode. Starting today I (Alicia Lutes) will be your Hollywood.com companion for all things Who. I like bowties (they're cool), blue boxes (always seem so much bigger on the inside, don't they?), and hashing out Who theories. But enough about me: let's talk about Eleven, Clara and the fantastical adventure Steve Thompson wrote us, shall we?
We found Clara and the Doctor bickering on (as they seem to always do so well) about what else: the TARDIS. Seems that our favorite blue box's issue with Clara is now a plot point — as evidenced by her curious behavior throughout the back end of this season. Something about Clara is off enough that we know ol' Sexy doesn't seem to totally appreciate (reminds me of the time when the TARDIS tried to shake Jack Harkness off) her. Regardless, the Doctor seems determined to make his two favorite ladies get along, come hell or high water.
...Or even a magno-grab! The episode begins in one of those too-obvious-to-have-been-an-accident sort of ways that has most Whovians playing inspector from minute one. Let's make Clara and the TARDIS get together, let's turn off all its defenses, let's park ourselves right next to a scrap metal ship, and — oh look! — looks like someone went and got themselves sucked right into the trash truck. Clara is lost within the depths of the TARDIS, and the Doctor needs to get her out and also save the TARDIS from her exploding heart.
The Van Baalen brothers and their android companion Tricky (interesting name, eh?) are constantly on the look out for garbage that could glean them a fat stack or two. How very "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship!" Not a bad thing, of course, but the brothers Van Baalen felt a bit too much like plot tools for bigger parallels and discussion going on within the show rather than fully-idealized characters.
But the episode wasn't all style without substance. Perhaps even creeper than last week's "Hide" was the revelation that Clara, the Doctor, and the brothers Van Baalen were being chased by monsters that weren't just creepy time zombies ("Good guys do not have zombie creatures, rule one basic storytelling!") living on the TARDIS, but actually future, dead versions of themselves attempting to reassert future events. Highly unnerving, if a bit easy to predict. Regardless, the idea was a great visual representation for not only their relationship, but also the confrontations that happened later.
Namely two: 1.) between Gregor and Tricky, who we come to find out is actually just a human and 2.) between the Doctor and Clara when they're in the heart of the TARDIS.
Tricky, upon closer inspection, is quite an interesting character device. Gregor and Bram "created" him for a few reasons: mostly, because they were bored, but also because he was the smart one (the boys' father originally wanted to leave the business to him), and it was a way for them to have "a bit of fun" with the accident that took away Tricky's memories, voice, and eyesight. Which is interesting because throughout the entire episode you're constantly reminded of how much more human he is than the humans, given his ability to empathize and feel for others. He's constantly the one parlaying how the TARDIS feels. "You're always on the side of the machines!" his brother yells, but he's just the most emotional one — so he is able to connect far beyond the reaches of skin and bone.
One of the ultimate highlights of this episode for longtime Who fans was the did-not-disappoint sojourn into the TARDIS' inndards. The swimming pool, the TARDIS library (!!! We'll get back to that particular place and time in a bit), the swimming pool, the Eye of Harmony, and even the heart of the TARDIS herself: all there, all wonderfully realized. Other rooms we saw raised more questions, though: what was that massive telescope room (is that the one from "Tooth and Claw" with the werewolf that Ten and Rose dealt with)? And what was that weird workroom where we saw the Doctor's baby bassinet and Amy Pond's old toy TARDIS, eh? A memory room, perhaps? a laboratory? Storage? There were boxes, magnifying glasses and a whole manner of things we couldn't manage to see in time. Even another damn umbrella (is Clara actually Mary Poppins or a mom or Gallifreyan-era wife?)!
I do love the TARDIS getting such a pivotal role this season, though. A sentient being, really. To prevent the looting Bram and Gregor are hellbent on doing, the TARDIS keeps shifting and manipulating its own architecture — changing rooms and creating new corridors (is that the excuse for all the lame hallway shots?) to trap the Van Baalens and any parts they attempted to loot. The TADRIS is infinite you guys. Just like those kids from Pittsburgh in that book about wallflowers.
Speaking of books: let's go back to the library. (No, not THAT Library, although I am always a fan of talking about that Library, too). We saw a teeny, tiny, insignificant little work being casually leafed through by Clara: The History of the Time War. Oh, really? So, Clara knows the Doctor's real name. Not that it matters since the episode ends with some real deus ex machina bulls**t at the outset. Sure, it's implied that she'll probably remember in the future (after running around some more with her clever boy, no doubt) thanks to the brothers remembering to be nicer to Tricky (per the Doctor's suggestion), but still. The whole "telling a story that is later erased by time being rewritten" thing isn't new, but it sure is frustrating sometimes.
And time does get rewritten in the end, when the Doctor throws the magno-grab activator back to himself through a tear in the fabric of time to the moment before the TARDIS exploded. The Big Friendly Button (or wait, is that Clara? Dun dun DUN!) has finally arrived, so that means the engine never exploded and nothing bad happened. As far as we saw, this loop of events happened twice: the first time he just threw the magno-grab control through the crack, but Clara caught it rather than the Doctor, so he had to go through the crack himself the second time to make sure there was no secret as to what it was for.
"Secrets protect us. Secrets keep us safe," is a motto the Doctor has always believed. But there's one secret he really doesn't seem to like: Clara. In the engine room we finally see the heart of the TARDIS and also the big confrontation between the Doctor and Clara. "So just tell me ... Just tell me who you are. ... I look at you every single day and I don't understand a thing about you. Why do I keep running into you?" He tells her about the other Claras. "What are you, eh? A trick? A trap?" Clara didn't understand. "I think I'm scared of you right now more than anything on that TARDIS."
And then suddenly, it seems as though the Doctor understands something we really, really don't yet. The duo hug and are seemingly taken aback as evidenced by the fact that they simultaneously looked up at each other. But then something in The Doctor's eyes changed — as if a lightbulb went off and that sudden realization looked way deeper than that of "you're just Clara." No time for explanations though, because the TARDIS is "snarling" at them, attempting to scare the Doctor away in order to protect them.
Geronimo! With a leap, Clara and the Doctor enter the heart of the TARDIS and discover that the engine has exploded, but she's temporarily frozen the burst. He doesn't know what to do, but with a simple hand-grab, Clara has the answer: the burn mark has finally stopped changing and her fragile human skin (like parchment!) has exposed the plan to the Doctor.
And how does he solve it? "I need to find ... music!" Every episode has had music going on at its crux: the singing in Ahkaten, "Hungry Like the Wolf" on the submarine — there's so much that is accomplished by song (a River Song, perhaps?! Sorry, too easy. Feel free to groan). The Doctor uses the song in order to lock his sonic screwdriver onto their previous location in space and time in order to send the Big Friendly Button back through the rift. But Clara doesn't want to forget: not everything (certainly not his name). Tough titties for Clara, though, as the Doctor seems hellbent on imposing some time/space amnesia parlour tricks.
"Time mends us, it can mend everything."
Current showrunner Steven Moffat has always told us about the Doctor through the stories of others. It's part of his Who tenure signature; and my theory is that it's all about the redemption of the Doctor. Because when it comes to his role in Time Lord history, I think the Doctor’s way more important than we know. What if the "sliver of ice" inside of him (as mentioned by Emma Grayling in last week's "Hide,") has something to do with it? Explains the need for a human companion, certainly. But personally, I imagine that something larger is at play here. Perhaps that sliver is a part of Omega (I mean, he Does seem to come back every 10 years, yeah?), since Time Lords were made via loom after the Pythia's Curse (Google is your friend, non-nerds). And Omega was from the House Lungbarrow — same as the Doctor! This would also make them cousins, I believe. Either way, in the past the Doctor has confirmedthat he was made via the loom. And when that happens, you're born as a full-grown adult that's very child-like. I'd like to note that Matt Smith's Doctor has always been called "child-like" and Clara is a nanny (and always has been throughout her many iterations).
Ice also relates back to the Great Intelligence, though, so who knows.
But I don't think the Doctor's future is necessarily in the right order. I think the Doctor is being played young because even though he's existed for somewhere between 900 - 1200 years (depending on the episode), his regenerations aren't necessarily getting older, but rather hopping around within his own history. Because "generate" means to cause or produce something, but to "regenerate" means to regrow, replace, or be re-born. To me, the story feels like it has something to do with the fact that the Doctor is (I bet) someone far more important to the history/world of the Time Lords and its origins than may have been previously detailed. And, I think it wasn't necessarily good, which is why he is now known as the Doctor, aka someone who fixes things that are bad.
It also makes me think of Little Red Riding Hood. (Stay with me, I swear this makes sense.) My roommate brought it up last week as a half-joke when I remarked about how Clara is ALWAYS wearing the color red, or something with red on it/in it. Red actually seems to be quite the repesentational color for all of the companions: Rose (no explanation there), Donna Noble and Amy Pond's red hair, Martha Jones' red leather jacket, and now all of Clara's red stuff (her red purse; this episode's red dress). Is the Doctor (or some other entity like the Great Intelligence, the Silence, or the upcoming big baddies the Whisper Men?) the Big Bad Wolf (Ahhh Bad Wolf!)? Because ultimately, Doctor Who is about the companion as the person the story is happening to (just like Red), but it also really is meant to be a tale about how an innocent victim can be taken and controlled by a criminal mentality (Red is literally eaten by the Bad Wolf) when the victim is removed from its safe space (home).
Isolation is key there. And we all know that the Doctor is a very, very lonely man. It's his loneliness that Moffat focuses on the most (from his very first episode, "The Empty Child," until now). And when you remove something or some one from that space where they're more visible, the criminal entity has an easier time trying to gain control. And in the Brothers Grimm version of the story, Little Red Riding Hood is also all about how dangerous it is to not obey one's mother. ("Are you my mummy?") You guys! I think whatever entity ends up being the ultimate string-puller is trying to isolate and manipulate the Doctor in order to change history. I think it's Omega (in the past), and the only reason he's even able to try and control the Doctor/humanity is because the Doctor has a tiny sliver of Omega inside of him, from the loom (which would tie into the resue from last week's "Hide").
But going back to Little Red Riding Hood, if it weren't for the lumberjack, Red would've been wolfmeat. So: who is that lumberjack? Is it River Song? The companions themselves? Someone else entirely? The Doctor himself? Run you clever boy, and remember!
If it were me writing this show, Clara would somehow be CAL (from The Library: haven't figured out how yet but it must involve that damn red leaf), River Song would be the woman in the shop who gave her the number of the TARDIS, and it all goes back to The Library. The Library is how River Song was not only saved, but also — I think — able to help save the Doctor. There's a reason she was there, and I don't think leading that archeology trip was the full answer. If we all know the Doctor lies in order to protect, why can't River?
Next week: The Crimson Horror. Ahh, there's that red again!
Other Things We MUST Discuss: - The key to the TARDIS — it says Smiths! Tell me River Song had that key made.- That big scratch! What in the ever-loving hell was that?- Lancashire Saxon - the Doctor says it into the intelligent sensor which then identifies Clara's time zombie as her: what does that mean? (Also/sidenote: the official flower of Lancashire? The Red Rose of Lancashire. RED ROSE!!!)- The Bells of Saint John are ringing again, my friend. Why is that?- Why, if everyone else has a dead future time zombie, does The Doctor not? How is it that he always manages to live when so many others around him die?- THE VOICES! Man, great atmospheric stuff in this episode tonight, huh? Not even just the music, but the voices. First in the library, and then again when Bram is at the console. We hear Amy Pond, we hear Clara, we hear lots of old familiar companions and Doctors. Why is that?- And also: we heard all those old voices of Gallifrey (Loved the line "Dreadful hats but smart!"). The drippy (reminded me of the crystal ball room in Harry Potter) Encyclopedia Gallifrey. Does it drip onto Clara? Part of it escapes and turns into weird airy stuff. What was that about? - It seems to me that the future continually trying to reassert itself is a theme we'll see more of later on. Do you agree?- In the original image of the Van Baalen brothers, Tricky was torn out of the photo, but at the end of the episode, he was not. This leads me to believe that when we see the Doctor and Clara at the end, the TARDIS explosion involved is different than the one they fixed — and also might've been the one that destroyed Tricky's voice, eyes, and memory.- Why is the Doctor so obsessed with how Clara FEELS? It's always about her feelings rather than say, her thoughts. Feels worth noting.- I've been saying for ages (to the two or three friends that don't groan and run in terror any time Doctor Who is mentioned in my general vicinity), but I think Moffat's been playing the long game on this story for far longer than anyone realizes. The episodes for the second half of season seven have been frustrating for many viewers. They're standalones, but also all have tiny parts to play in a much larger story. They're also so totally and completely out of order (Moffat really does love to do that, eh?), which I think makes many viewers go quite bonkers.
What did you think of tonight's Doctor Who? Sound off in the comments.
Follow @AliciaLutes on Twitter
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No takesies backsies, tonight's Doctor Who was really fun. The kind of fun that we haven't seen in awhile — in that it was light, eerie, and (I hate this word but I'm still going to say it) whimsical, without a lesson in morality or any real gravity to bog the thing down. Will we remember this story or its creepy, spider-like villain years down the line? Probably not. But I was definitely caught up in it moment by moment, and Matt Smith— who just turned a great, soulful performance in "Rings of Akhaten" — got to show some of his best comedy chops as he gleefully took on this Ghostbusters adventure.
If there is any lasting affect from this week's episode, it will come from the reveal that the Doctor wasn't actually chasing the ghost-that-wasn't, he was chasing the psychic empath assistant (who he called "companion", aw) so that she might read Clara's feelings. Oh Doctor, you sneaky mom. Luckily Clara never caught on, but it can't be too long before she figures out just how deeply he cares about her origins.
So to start, it was quite literally a dark and stormy night. Dougray Scott, who disappeared for years but is now EVERYWHERE this weekend as Hemlock Grove just started on Netflix, was hanging out with a bookish Emily Mortimer type in a haunted mansion back in '74. We know it was 1974 because they immediately said a recorder that it was night four of their attempt, November 25, 1974, at 11:04PM. Also they had just received an interference in their old fashioned ghost-hunting radio equipment, that I was thinking was the TARDIS. I mean, it was the TARDIS, right?
They went through with it anyway, because the bookish Emily Mortimer type, Emma, said that the ghost they were chasing was "So lonely." Lonely and apparently very powerful, as her spirit was shown zipping through the house Evil Dead-style, until it was too much, and a creepy-as-f**k white figure ran right into Emma's face, physically winding her. "She's… dead," Emma said in hysterics, until an ominous knock at the door ruined the moment. Was it the ghost? Had she been brought to life in physical form? Of course not, it was just an enthusiastic Doctor and Clara. "Boo!" the Doctor exclaimed, clearly giddy at the whole haunted house prospect. Clara made a Ghostbusters joke but duh, it's 1974, no one knows what you're talking about. Roll credits.
I must say, the Doctor's one-liners and rampant enthusiasm were probably my favorite part of this episode. He just barged into this house with the enthusiasm of a school girl given an unlimited allowance at Forever 21, and started rattling off The Professor's long list of achievements — "The Ministry of Un-Gentlemanly Warfare," which specialized in wartime espionage, being the most interesting. But the Doctor — posing as military intelligence — loved him, and all of his antiquated equipment. (But wouldn't all equipment look antiquated to the Doctor? Anyway.)
"I like the word 'toggle', the Doctor mused, as he examined the Professor's equipment. "Nice noun, excellent verb." All seemed to be in tip-top shape, so the Doctor was ready to meet. His. Ghost! But the Professor wasn't happy — this was his house and his ghost, and no Doctor could take that away from him, understood? "Um, no, not really, sorry!" the Doctor replied. So ghost hunting they would go.
This particular ghost, the "Witch of the Well" has apparently been around for hundreds upon hundreds of years. Her appearances were marked by a mysterious knocking, "As if the devil himself demanded entry," and she just, for the love of God, would not stop screaming. Clara instantly noticed that something was off — mainly, that in every photo (and there were many) the ghost was in the exact same position. She never changed. And apparently, she (the ghost, not Clara) now knew that Emma the Empath was there — and she was saying, "Help Me." This all
None of this sat well with Clara, who isn't one to go wandering off in a haunted house (read: She's not Amy Pond). So when the Doctor tried to convince her to investigate the house while Emma and the Professor did their thing, he had to resort to drastic measures. Mainly, cute faces and dares. "I'm giving you a face," the Doctor said. "Can you see me? Look at my face." Clara would do it under one condition — if it was a dare. A triple dog dare. "I dare you," he said. "No takesies-backsies."
So they went to the center of the house — the music room — while Emma and the Professor acted out their romantic subplot that was meant to serve as a metaphor for the Doctor and Clara's relationship. "Experience makes liars out of us all," the Professor said, talking about the Doctor but also, himself. Did this mean that the Professor would also lie about his feelings towards Emma? He didn't answer that particular question, but the romantic tension in the room was palpable.
Speaking of possibly romantic scenarios, the Doctor and Clara were now alone in the most swoon-worthy of settings — a haunted music room, by candlelight. Both of them quickly felt a cold, dark presence… and Clara, for one, was not happy. Was this because the lost spirit's ghost had empathically connected to Clara as well? I'm not sure, but the dreadful knocking sound referenced earlier was enough to shake me out of wondering about the question. Calm down ghost, we get it!
But as scary as it was, it wasn't enough for the Clara to be okay with the Doctor holding her hand. Except, wait, no — HE WASN'T. So they ran back to the main room with the Professor and Emma, where a giant DISH Hopper-like thing was floating through the air with ghostly interference. Emma suddenly saw the image of a forest through a darkened doorway, as well as the white image of the spirit looking very lost. "Help me!" she screamed, right as the Doctor snapped a picture. She also wrote it on the wall, for dramatic emphasis.
Everyone was spooked, and Clara went off to comfort Emma and chat about boys, while the boys (boy and Time Lord) discussed the Professor's darkness and death-filled history over the developing photos in the darkroom. "We think people are feeling the way we want them to feel, when they're special to us," Emma said of her feelings toward the Professor, who, for the record, still totally likes her. Also, her statement could totally apply to some of the Doctor's past companions (cough cough Martha).
However, the most interesting thing Emma said was regarding the Doctor and Clara's relationship. Clara insisted that there was nothing going on (though, was it just me, or did it look like she might have wanted there to be?) and Emma said, good. "Don't trust him," she said. "There's a sliver of ice in his heart." Woah woah woah, lady. We know our Doctor has a tragic history and that all of the empathy in the world wouldn't be able to cover it, but I'm not quite sure that "ice in his heart" is the diagnosis I would give. Should Clara fall for him? Probably not, given the obvious fact that the Doctor always peaces out when his companions age. But should she trusthim? Absolutely! The Doctor does whatever he can for his companions, though it sometimes goes very, very badly. Maybe that's what Emma was referring to. Anywho.
At this point, things got weird. The Doctor and Clara ran back outside, seemingly abandoning their mission to re-board the TARDIS. Clara remarked that the TARDIS seemed to be staring at her, to which the Doctor replied — "The TARDIS is like a cat. A bit slow to trust. You'll get there in the end!" So basically, the TARDIS pees on the Doctor's bed during thunderstorms, knocks over every glass of water and/or wine in its line of vision, screams for no reason every morning at 5AM, sits on top of his laptop, and turns toilet paper into its own personal confetti. That, Doctor, is like a cat.
But the TARDIS let Clara in of course, on an epic journey through time — or as the Doctor calls it, always — just in the same exact spot in front of the house, throughout eternity. They make several stops ranging from the Big Bang to the Jurassic era to the Victorian era to the End of Days. This all made Clara very, very sad — and, keeping Emma's words in mind, she was disturbed by the fact that the Doctor could observe the death of an entire species with no discernible reaction.
"What's wrong?" the Doctor asked. "Did the TARDIS say something to you?" No, Clara explained, as the Doctor's face turned full-on adorable (this is his "I don't f**king understand you but I WANT to face, which is one of my favorites). More like, "To you I haven't even been born yet, and to you I've been dead a hundred billion years. Is my body out there somewhere — in the ground?" she replied. I empathize (word of the episode) with Clara — it's all really heavy stuff. But the Doctor can't focus on things like that, or it would kill him. It's too much. He just doesn't get it. But when Clara said "we're all ghosts to you… we must be nothing," he perked up. "No," he said with a sense of gravity. "You're not that. You are the only mystery worth solving." Boom. Poignant stuff.
Back to modern times they went, where Emma the Empath immediately empathed Clara's muddled feelings — she couldn't shake the feeling that "everything ends." Not everything, Emma empathed. "Not love." Or fear, apparently — the Doctor put on a little slideshow with the pictures he took throughout eternity, and all of them featured the Witch of the Well. But that, explained the Doctor, did not make her a tormented ghost. In fact, she was merely trapped in a pocket universe where time runs more slowly (like "The Girl Who Waited"). A second to her was roughly 100,000 years for us, hence her all-encompassing presence in the history books.
And this non-ghost was facing a huge dilemma — the time traveler "Hila" was stuck in a world that would collapse in, oh, a few minutes. (She'd only been there for three, so it makes sense.) Her only hope was Emma, the Empathic Lantern that would guide her home. Well her and the Doctor, who would make the journey to the pocket universe — which contained an arachnid-esque monster — to pull her out.
In order to do this all the Doctor had to was put a giant blue crystal-thingy on Emma's head (it would increase her abilities, "like a pooper scooper") to open up the wormhole to the pocket universe, then jump in himself using an incredibly long rope. ("Geronimo!") The pocket universe was slightly creepy — a giant, enchanted-looking forrest permeated by a blue mist. It was also apparently rather small, as the Doctor and Hila ran into each other fairly quickly. They ran back into the portal — while the yet-unseen creature chased them — where Hila was quickly snatched up. The Doctor? Not so much. He got stuck.
Clara started freaking out, and Emma wasn't helping — opening up that wormhole had weakened her, and she didn't want to try it again. So Clara ran out to the TARDIS — and something magical happened. The TARDIS came to life as a hologram to talk to Clara, only she acted like a total bitch — literally appearing as a hologram of Clara. She had pored through all of the millions of options in her database, and, "This one best meets your criterion." To which REAL Clara responded — "You cow!" Seriously. The TARDIS is kind of a bitch now, guys.
Clara begged the TARDIS to enter the pocket universe to save the Doctor, and Ms. TARDIS was initially very hesitant. But off they went, and in good time — the Doctor was by himself in the dark forest, not having a very good time. "I am the Doctor, and I am afraid" he said to the still unseen beast that stalked him. The the beast — who was absolutely heinous — finally showed up, just in time for the TARDIS to rescue him, and for Emma to mentally rescue the TARDIS. Got all that?
Good. The next day, Emma asked the Doctor why the Doctor had come to visit — she knew it was to see her. "Clara — what is she?" he asked. "She's a perfectly ordinary girl," Emma replied. "Pretty, very clever… more scared than she lets on." This apparently did not appease the Doctor, who wanted more concrete answers. "Why?" Emma asked. "Is that not enough?" Good question — if Clara's insolvable mystery truly is, will he be willing to look past it and enjoy her not as the Impossible Girl, but as a regular human?
Emma also fit in a chat with Hila the lost time traveler, as both ladies felt as if they'd met before. This was impossible, but as the Doctor said, "she can be your "Great-great-great-great-great-granddaughter." Woah! "Yours too, of course," he added, staring at the Professor. As River Song would say — SPOILERS!
Since the Professor and Emma's relationship past present and future was just given away by the Doctor, the Professor asked what they should do next. "Hold hands," he said. "Keep doing that and don't let go. That's the secret." With this, a bell went off — earlier when something was holding Clara's hand, it must have been the monster from the pocket dimension trying to reach out to a monster in our own, or something. This part didn't really work for me, but it led us to the wonderful line "Every lonely monster needs a companion," so I'm okay with it. Get it? The monster is him! Oh, metaphors.
So in the end, the Doctor reuited the two monsters, helped unite two adorable non-monsters, and got... well, not at all closer to the mystery that is Clara. Still, what a fun week! Shout out your thoughts in the comments!
Follow Shaunna on Twitter @HWShaunna
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A ten-part series about the history of science in the West from ancient to modern times. James Burke, the series creator and host, traces the discoveries that have fundamentally transformed man's understanding of the world around him and the universe he inhabits. The premise of the series states that people make descisions based on the knowledge available at the time. When knowledge changes, people adjust their attitudes and prejudices accordingly, and in each successive age society defends what it "knows" against what it considers ignorant and barbaric. Simply, when what we know changes, what we are changes.