Doctor Who S5E03: Victory of the Daleks

Like the episode before it, Victory of the Daleks largely exists to fulfill a certain purpose, and that purpose is evident in the title: the Daleks are back (again) and this time, they’re going to win.

This episode is something of a necessary evil, since Russell T. Davies killed them off once and for all again at the end of Series 4. There’s a perpetual rumor that a Dalek has to appear in every series of Doctor Who because of a contract with their creator, Terry Nation, but that is apparently untrue. Nevertheless, the Daleks are Doctor Who’s most iconic monster, and it makes sense (a little) to bring them back so they can potter around in the background of things again, rather than being totally annihilated time and again. (I have a few tiffs with how Davies handled them during his run, but this is neither the time nor the place for them.)

So! What we’ve got is Daleks in World War II Britain, posing as secret weapons “invented” by a Scottish scientist. Their secret plot is to get the Doctor to confirm their identity so they can make newer, better Daleks, thus metafictionally allowing the Daleks to be around for future stories. It’s not the best plot in the world, but writer Mark Gatiss gives us a serviceable story nonetheless.

However, we do get a couple extraordinary things out of this episode. One is Matt Smith’s downright terrifying performance in the face of the Doctor’s sworn enemy. He captures the Doctor’s fear and fury almost effortlessly, and while he maybe goes a bit over the top in his confrontation with the Dalek at the episode’s midpoint, he still sells it quite well.

The other thing we get from this episode is yet more insight into Amy. While her lack of knowledge of the Daleks is interesting from an arc perspective, what I find most fascinating is her conversation with Bracewell as he attempts to commit suicide. Her gentle, “I know. Really, I do,” tells us so much about her in so few words. It tells us that she has been in these dire straits before, that those psychiatrists mentioned in The Eleventh Hour were no joke, that growing up in a world where everyone always leaves you really leaves a mark. It’s just a thread of character, but it holds so much together. All that conveyed in a gentle word!

All in all, however, Victory of the Daleks is largely a functional but sometimes forgettable episode. It does what it needs to do and (perhaps unfortunately) doesn’t strive for much more than that. That said, there are little things I like, so it is at least occasionally rewarding in rewatches.

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How to Get Your Sh*t Together in 10 Days or Less

Technically that’s “10 Days or Fewer.” I’m an English major, what can I say? By the time you graduate, the pedantry is well and truly ingrained.

Also I will own up right now that that title is misleading. It has not been ten days since I decided to get my shit together, so I can’t actually tell you if my method (such as it is) works or not. But it has been a while since I last posted–most of a month, in fact–and a lot has happened. Or more accurately, very little.

At the end of July, I finished tapering off Abilify, on my meds manager’s advice and with my consent. I wasn’t sure how much the drug was helping me, and she felt like I needed to get off at least one of my meds, since I was taking five different ones to treat my anxiety and depression. I’d also gained quite a bit of weight in the months since starting Abilify, so there was the possibility that it was contributing to that as well and that if I went off it, I might start to shed those pounds. So we agreed to try tapering me off it.

The initial taper, from 15mg down to 5mg, went pretty well. I had some withdrawal symptoms, like increased depression, but those went away eventually. After a couple months, I started tapering off the 5mg as well, and as I said, I took the last one at the end of July.

And everything was fine for a while. I wrote 6k of silly fanfic and was feeling pretty productive and generally quite good about my life. I mean, there was the part where I still didn’t have a job, but that wasn’t weighing on me very heavily, and anyway, I’d just put in three applications. It was bound to turn up something, wasn’t it?

Unfortunately, depression decided to turn up first.

Depression is kind of insidious. At first, it just seemed like I was having a few bad days, but as those days lengthened into a week, I started kind of hating myself again. I wasn’t getting anything done. My burst of productivity at the beginning of the month–reading books, writing fanfic, watching movies–evaporated. I spent my days trawling the internet, and many nights staying up until 3 and 4am, just because I wasn’t tired.

I realized I was probably having a Major Depression episode. That didn’t help. My next meds appointment, with a new meds manager, was two weeks away, and my next therapy session even longer away than that. I just kept stewing, and knowing that my brain chemicals were acting up did not help me feel better. If anything, it made me feel worse, since if I was just a Better Person, I would realize I was being irrational and stop being depressed.

If only it were so easy.

It only got worse when I found out that I did not get any of the positions I’d applied for. At two of them, I didn’t even get a call for an interview. I got pretty low, and a week before my meds appointment I ended up calling the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.

Talking to someone without a dog in the race helped a bit. I managed to claw myself onto a ledge just above the bottom of the Pit of Despair, and held myself there until my appointment.

My new meds manager agreed that stopping the Abilify is probably what brought about the episode of depression. As of a week ago, I am back on it, and to be honest I’m feeling a lot better for it. I can’t tell if it’s actually helping at this point, or if I’m just experiencing a placebo effect, but I’m definitely closer to the top of the Pit of Despair than the bottom. I can see the sun shining, and it’s just a matter of getting high enough to let it shine on my face.

Which brings me back to where we started: getting my shit together.

I decided yesterday that I am done with sitting around and doing nothing. I have a ton of books to return to the library. I have a less-silly fanfic that needs updating and more importantly, finishing. I have an afghan for my brother and SIL to knit. Among many, many other things. So I sat down with a notebook and wrote up a plan.

Well, 12% of a plan.

Most of it comes down to a schedule. Having a set time every day to do certain things, so I can start reaching my goals and making progress. It’s only day 1 of the schedule, but I think it’s going pretty well. I think I will probably report back at the end of the week to tell you all how it’s gone. As important as the schedule is, however, I also know it’s important not to treat the schedule as the be-all, end-all of my day-to-day. Flexibility is important, so if things don’t fit the schedule, it’s all right. Just go with the flow. Get done what you can. That kind of thing.

I think, so far, it’s working. I didn’t do as much writing as I needed to do today, for example, but there’s always tomorrow. There is always and forever tomorrow.

Welcome

Welcome to Scribe the Sky, a new blogging venture from yours truly, skyewriter30. I plan to make this blog in somewhat the same vein as my old one, Thoughts from a Spiralbound Notebook. There will be media reviews, musings about writing, and hopefully not too many depressing posts about my depression. I hope to get things going in the new year, but there may be some posts here and there before then.

Until next time!