jjpor (jjpor) wrote in calufrax,
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Rec: Ports of Call by rutsky

Story: Ports of Call
Author: rutsky
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 1,192
Author's Summary: They eventually discovered he'd lied about New York
Characters/Pairings: Amy Pond/Rory Williams, River Song
Warnings: None as such, but does contain a good dose of grit and reality in its portrayal of Amy and Rory's post-Doctor relationship.

Recced because: I think it would be fair to say that I was, and definitely remain, a huge fan of the Eleventh Doctor and his era. I even, gods help me, genuinely think that New Who would have been very much the poorer without Steven Moffat's tenure as showrunner and that most (most!) of his judgments and instincts as writer and general head-honcho-type have been bang on the money. I recognise that as a whole the era had good stories and bad stories, as every Who era does, but I refuse to subscribe to arguments that it somehow declined in quality over the course of its run or that "it was time for a change". I'm very much enjoying the Twelve era so far and think Peter Capaldi is nothing less than a demigod in human form, but I could have lived with another season or two of Eleven, no problem at all.

Having said all of that (just so you know where I'm coming from)...

I @#&%ing hate The Angels Take Manhattan. Or at least its ill-conceived ending which, imho, fails on so many levels I'd be listing them all night and clocking up more words than the fic I'm theoretically reccing. Your mileage, as they used to say, and as is the case with all things fan-related, may and probably does vary. I consider it a poor exit for the two companions I consider to be probably the best (certainly when considered as a pair) of the 2005 series.

So, having laid my cards so verbosely on the table, I probably wouldn't classify this fic as a fix-it (which the author admits to being in two minds about) so much as a statement of the facts as they stood at the end of said story. One senses perhaps in reading the piece that the author was as nonplussed by that ending and as aware of its gaping plot-holes as I and, going from comments I read at the time, quite a lot of other people were. That's really beside the point, though. I'm not reccing this fic because its author happens to come down on my side in a fanw*nky argument, but because it highlights two really important things about the Eleven era.

The first of these is that Eleven was a bit of a slippery customer, morally. I'm not really convinced by some of the PR efforts to paint Twelve as a particularly edgy and ruthless Doctor, although he's certainly more up front about it, because it always seemed that Eleven got up to some dodgy stuff, more or less constantly and unapologetically (although he did tend to hide it behind his goof-ball exterior) and I think most of the time we the audience were supposed to notice that and think about it. I say most of the time, because some of the dodgiest stuff he did, though, particularly in his personal relationships, went more or less uncommented upon and indeed tacitly condoned "by the show", for want of a better term. I think even as big a fan of Eleven and his era and Moffat's work as I will admit to being, or indeed somebody really invested in the relationships between the characters, can see some of the morally problematic things that are going on there and wonder why "the show" seems unaware of them. It's an important aspect of the era and one I see confronted in too few fanworks. This one takes it head on; this Doctor's a liar, and not always for good reasons.

The other really important thing about the Eleven era this fic highlights and plays homage to, one of its central planks, is the relationship between Amy and Rory. These are two imperfect people (like all of us) and they have this very complicated, not always easy, bond but it ends up being one that they both draw strength from and one that neither of them can live without. This fic examines that complex relationship warts and all and the way Amy's and Rory's situation in Manhattan after parting from the Doctor might have affected it. It also confronts us with the incredible strength both of these characters have shown in adversity and the toll the sorts of adventures they have been involved in have taken upon them. I would say that that is the main selling point of this fic for me, apart from the fact that it is very well-written; it is unflinching in its consideration of how this situation might really play out. For a supposed "fix-it", it pulls few punches, either in its portrayal of the characters, their relationship and their predicament, or in considering the off-screen Doctor and his actions. And it does so not out of a desire to bash but out of a deep concern and investment in the material and the characters. Good stuff, in other words.

Anyway, thanks for reading my rant. Now go and read the fic and tell the author how much you liked it. ;)

They escaped permanent madness, just barely. They had injured each other in the struggle to stay sane; something they’d thought themselves so good at doing as his companions – but that was a lie, too, without the anchors of him and of their parents and of the smell of their own time.
Tags: author: rutsky, character: river song, companion: amy, companion: rory, doctor:12, pairing:amy/rory, rating: all ages, reccer: jjpor, type: gen
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