January 1, 2020 at 8:48 pm #256874
Well, that was a lot of fun, I thought. One of the good things about the show is that it can support so many different styles of story, and I thought they did a Bond-esque spy romp quite well (with a touch of X-Files thrown in).
Everyone seems a little more comfortable in their roles now and there’s a bit more meaningful character development than last series.
Plus, I liked the late reveal, which I didn’t see coming at all.
(And the ‘hiding behind the sofa’ gag made me chuckle.)
As good as anything from the last series.January 2, 2020 at 2:18 am #256878
Better than the last series, but that really is not saying much of anything. The dialogue and the clunky exposition and the shit humour still absolutely reeks of Chibnall, his “style” is just atrocious. Much much much more serviceable than the previous series though, would have been the highlight if it was broadcast in 2018.
Making a big deal of Ryan and Yaz missing things in their real life is a bit bizarre with the whole time machine thing. Showing the Doctor working on the underside of the TARDIS like it’s a car doesn’t make any sense since the police box shell is a disguise. The Doctor is happy that they managed to transport the TARDIS without damaging it… it’s virtually indestructible, remember? I doubt a mirror would refract a death ray like that.
Chibnall manages to do NEITHER “show, don’t tell” OR “tell, don’t show” in the car scene. One minute and one half into the scene, the Doctor feels the need to inform us that “somebody’s driving this car, and it isn’t me!” despite that being abundantly clear to everybody. There is so much unnecessary expository dialogue in this show, it’s very clunky and amateurish. It’s show AND tell.
Based on the trailers, Chibnall seems to have done a complete 180 on his stance from the previous series, of wanting this show to establish its own identity without having to rely on old monsters and the like. This annoys me on an ideological level right now, but if this series proves to be an improvement on the last, I will concede the point.January 2, 2020 at 11:15 am #256879
I really enjoyed it. Definitely the best thing of the Chibnall era so far (though that isn’t saying much). It felt a lot better thought out and put together than anything from last series. Most characters had something to do, and though Graham was sidelined somewhat, it was fun having O ask if his only job was to provide a running commentary, because it came at the time I was starting to think the same thing. So there is something of a fun self awareness there that was missing last series.
I also laughed a lot through this one, there were a lot of clever little lines and gags that lightened what could have been a too serious spy episode.
I was shocked to see Stephen Fry’s character killed off so quickly. Hopefully he comes back again somehow as that seems like a completely wasted opportunity to not be able to include him more.
Equally was surprised to see Lenny Henry in the same episode. I for sure expected the two big name guest stars they had be trailing to be in different episodes. Though it did feel like he was playing a sort of poor mans Idris Elba, I enjoyed his performance more than I was expecting to.
Chibnall still needs to work on his writting a bit. Dialogue is a bit funky, and as Ben has pointed out, too much show and tell. Whilst there’s times its necessary (if Vor is the Google/Facebook of this story, no-one would ever follow up hearing the company name with “the search engine” as Ryan did – but it is needed for the audience) there is a lot where it isn’t necessary. But the rest of the dialogue felt better than before.
Ben, to your point which I have seen mentioned in other places too
Making a big deal of Ryan and Yaz missing things in their real life is a bit bizarre with the whole time machine thing
This wouldn’t be the first time the show has addressed stuff like this. With Amy and Rory it happened from time to time especially as they’d go away, come back and go away again etc. Otherwise they could in theory leave for a year and come back and not have missed a day. But they’d have aged in that time and too much of it causes problems.
And the Doctor has never been great at getting people back to the right place and time. Maybe The Doctor and this team of companions have decided to try and keep things simple by allowing time back home to pass at the same rate it does for them whilst there away, and to only go off for a week at a time or something … a bit like with Bill and Ted, you can’t leave and come back a week later to the point you left.
Re the Master … I love that that came as such a shock and they were able to keep it under wraps. I’m not sure how I feel about him being back so soon after the last appearance (its only been 13 episodes even if it has been a couple of years) but I’m a sucker for a reveal like that so I’ll let it go for now.
This episode genuinely has me quite excited for this series now, and I can’t wait for the next episode on Saturday. Hopefully they’re able to keep it up for the next couple of months.January 2, 2020 at 2:52 pm #256881
Yeah I enjoyed that. The killer self-driving car has been done before I’m sure, but otherwise it was all good stuff.
I always try to stay strictly spoiler free to the point I don’t watch trailers or ‘next time’ clips, so was somewhat annoyed at my local radio station talking about it this morning before I’d had a chance to watch on catch-up. With Stephen Fry, Lenny Henry and the Master in one sentence it still did surprise me in the end which was a nice twist.
Looking forward to next week.January 2, 2020 at 3:06 pm #256882
I still haven’t watched any of series 11. They’re all piling up on the planner as a massive box set. Partly because my DW enthusiasm is on a temporary leave of absence, partly because I really like the idea of watching the entire Whittaker era in one go when it’s over, in a Netflixy kind of way. I got the feeling in the Smith era that I was really losing out by keeping to the one-a-week pace rather than just waiting for a bit. As an experiment I saved up and watched the last Capaldi series in one go at the end of 2017, leading slap bang into Twice Upon A Time, and got so much more out of it by being patient and giving it that focus. So I’m doing that on a grand scale with a whole Doctor’s era.January 2, 2020 at 6:20 pm #256884
Yeah, I thought that was pretty great. It was well paced, the action was good, the characters all made an impression, the monsters were sufficiently threatening, and I didn’t see the reveal at the end coming either. Let’s just hope part 2 sticks the landing!
I think the only complaint made here that I agree with is that the dialogue is frequently overloaded with unnecessary exposition. Not a big deal and the cast to their best but it always comes across as awkward.
It can be easy to fall into the trap of nitpicking every minor incidental detail of Doctor Who, CinemaSins style (e.g. Ben assuming that a death ray can’t be reflected by a mirror, or that the blue box being a disguise would make it impossible for there to be wires hanging out of the bottom of it), and conclude that because you’ve uncovered X number of trivial complaints, that’s enough to make the episode bad. But that’s a bad outlook to take with sci-fi shows or with fiction in general. Those nitpicks don’t really matter individually and they don’t really matter collectively.
Also, it’s a minor point, but I’m glad to see the return of multi-parters and the return of giving stories an overall title. Of all the things for Russell T Davies to bring back from the William Hartnell era, making multi-parters all have individual titles with no overall one was always a bizarre choice, and equally bizarre that it persisted through the Steven Moffat era. Having to refer to stories like ‘Extremis/The Pyramid at the End of the World/The Lie of the Land’ is just annoying.January 2, 2020 at 6:22 pm #256885
>and conclude that because you’ve uncovered X number of trivial complaints, that’s enough to make the episode bad
Not how it works, don’t say that it makes you sound thickJanuary 2, 2020 at 6:24 pm #256886
The “nitpicks” come later, and aren’t the heart of the argument of anything, it’s just shit I noticed, if you read my posts about Star Trek episodes I actually liked, I say the same shit. I don’t dislike the episode because they did a visual gag of the Doctor working on her TARDIS like it’s a car. I hate the clunky writing and overabundance of stinky exposition, and the annoying “humour” and the likeJanuary 2, 2020 at 6:38 pm #256887
That’s cool, it can just be hard sometimes to tell how much is in the “stuff I noticed” column and how much is in the “stuff I have a serious problem with” column.
Obviously you know that you’re not making these minor observations as a thesis about how bad the episode is, but people have built media careers doing just that, so it’s not too strange.January 2, 2020 at 6:42 pm #256888
Yeah, as much as I love RedLetterMedia, having actually finally watched the Next Generation movies, I now know that most of their “criticisms” are just nitpicks or them getting hung up on things that don’t really matter, etc. I always knew that with their prequel reviews, but seeing them do it more and more often is pretty disheartening. Final straw was them parroting the myth that Lucas doesn’t deserve any of the credit for the OT in their RoS review. I now realise they’re just a bunch of boomers complaining about bullshit. Still funny, though, I still like them, just I discard a lot of their opinions and much prefer to have my own.
CinemaSins on the other hand I have always viewed as strictly comedy, people taking that channel seriously is their own fault in my eyes. But I also haven’t watched them in about seven years, I know their content has gotten progressively worse over that time, as I checked in very occasionally for a couple years following.January 2, 2020 at 7:01 pm #256889
I think often with these minor nitpicks there can be a tendency to look for them once you’ve had a negative reaction to something, as part of gathering evidence to back up your feelings. When they’re often just incidental silly little details that don’t really matter either way.
Not saying that’s what’s happening in this case, but I’ve seen it with other things where people who don’t like something try to ‘prove’ that it’s bad by rolling out a huge list of insignificant nitpicky shit that isn’t really related to whether it’s good or bad overall, it’s just ammunition in an argument.January 2, 2020 at 7:11 pm #256890
I was going to make a point similar to that. It’s not really “evidence gathering”, it’s more… once you’ve decided that you fundamentally dislike something, these kinds of nitpicks will annoy you more than they normally would. I’m not really using them as ammunition to say “the episode is bad because of a shit visual gag”, it’s just “I didn’t like the episode, and I found these things a little ridiculous”. I pick up on stuff like that in things I DO like all the time, and I often mention them, but I’m much more willing to forgive them, if the actual thing in question is something I fundamentally like and enjoy. I’m definitely not trying to “prove” that the episode is bad because a car mirror reflects death ray but windows don’t, it’s just something I think is silly. I would still think it was silly if it happened in The Doctor Falls or something.January 2, 2020 at 7:13 pm #256891
Yeah, didn’t mean to make it sound as pointed as that – I’ve done it myself with stuff I don’t like. Once I don’t have that investment in it I find myself rolling my eyes at all the little minor stuff that bugs me, which I would have shrugged off if I’d been more engaged and enjoying it overall. It’s natural I think.January 2, 2020 at 7:13 pm #256892
I liked the music, and Lenny Henry. So there.January 2, 2020 at 7:20 pm #256893
I do think there are much much much better Spy pastiches out there though, Chuck, Deep Space Nine, Austin Powers etc. To me, the Doctor Who episode ISN’T a “spy pastiche/parody”, as some people are claiming, it’s just an episode that uses such iconography and a couple of gags relating to that. To call it a pastiche or a parody, you’d have to say it’s not a very good one, since it doesn’t particularly concern itself with being a beat-for-beat spoof or commentary on anything. It’s just a spy STORY more than anything else, it’s not Austin Powers or Doctor Bashir I Presume.
None of that is a complaint about the episode – since I’ve already seen all of those spy pastiches which are all so excellently done, I don’t really need nor want to see Doctor Who attempt it. It’s more just a commentary on how other people have reviewed the episode. If you go into this episode expecting a full on parody/pastiche/spoof, I would think you’d come out of it rather disappointed.January 2, 2020 at 7:21 pm #256894
It’s as much a Bond pastiche as Mechocracy is a parody of the 2016 US presidential election. In that it isn’t.January 2, 2020 at 8:23 pm #256895
Whey Sacha Dhawan from CITV’s Out of Sight whey. Glad he’s not a one and done character either.
Don’t see myself not struggling through this Chibnall series as with the last one though. And my inability to quite articulate why is so useful for an Internet forum.January 3, 2020 at 12:30 am #256898
i thought it was great, and anyone who disagrees with my opinion is a prick because I know better than everyone.
I didn’t dislike series 11 as much as a lot of other people, but that managed more characterisation in one hour than the whole of the last season. Looking forward to the rest of the series. Fine, not everything makes sense, but if you’re just watching and not over-analysing everything (which, as Doctor Who fans is, admittedly, unlikely), I thought it was fantastic.January 3, 2020 at 1:26 am #256899
One of the biggest things that stuck out to me this first episode was that they’ve clearly been paying attention to the complaints that Yaz got too little to do.
Based on the trailers, Chibnall seems to have done a complete 180 on his stance from the previous series, of wanting this show to establish its own identity without having to rely on old monsters and the like.
The scene where O talks to Graham about his bookshelf of notes on the Doctor also suggested to me that this series is going to get more involved with linking to the past. Looking forward to seeing how the companions react to learning about Gallifrey and the Doctor’s previous faces!
To me, the Doctor Who episode ISN’T a “spy pastiche/parody”, as some people are claiming, it’s just an episode that uses such iconography and a couple of gags relating to that.
The episode’s music – at least in the tuxedo scenes – can definitely be described as a John Barry pastiche, though.January 3, 2020 at 2:34 am #256900
Again, while I liked the music, if it’s going for out and out “pastiche”, it’s a very watery one, and not the best Bond music pastiche out there. I do not think it’s going for pastiche, though, just taking inspiration from that music and having one or two similar themes that remind you of it. If something was going to go full out on the pastiche front, I would want it to go a little harder. But again I don’t even think that’s what it’s going for, so it’s not much of a complaint.
I’ve seen so many people say things along the lines of “it’s good if you don’t overanalyse it!” or “it’s good if you don’t have any expectations/don’t take things too seriously”, which to me reads dangerously close to “turn your brain off” or “better than nothing” style thinking. Like why are you giving this high budget, primetime, national institution of a television series such leeway? You really ought to be expecting a base level of quality from it. There are so many other things I could be watching, so for something to just be “alright” is a little bit of a waste of my time.January 3, 2020 at 12:04 pm #256902
I tend to give Doctor Who more leeway as they’re trying to be all things to all people. It has to be sci-fi, but not to a point it confuses people, it has to be light but not a comedy, has to be enjoyable for children but not a kids show, has to tackle topical subject but not lecture, and generally be something that is for whole family enjoyment. With that in mind, I can live with a few rear view mirrors reflecting death rays. Sure, you wouldn’t get that in Star Trek, but Who isn’t trying to be that.
I agree that there are some episodes that have been outstanding, with perfect writing and everything, but I don’t expect that every week. All I ask is an hour/45 mins of enjoyable entertainment. Series 11 fell short on that too often, with plots that didn’t make sense, over explanation and just shitty scripts.
I don’t expect every episode to be a masterpiece so as far as I’m concerned, an hour of enjoyable telly is meeting expectations.January 3, 2020 at 10:39 pm #256907
Seeing as Lenny Henry’s in it (and brilliant), it’s worth reminding ourselves of one of the best Doctor Who parodies of all time –
They obviously won’t cast him now, but he WOULD have made a great Doctor.January 4, 2020 at 7:45 am #256909
That was pretty good.January 4, 2020 at 3:33 pm #256910
Nice, another Doctor/Dwarf link, as I’m pretty sure that was Paranoia with the beard?January 4, 2020 at 7:24 pm #256911
By Jove its holmes
Some bits of it was very “Paul Jennings”.
Have you ever, ever felt like this?
Good old Round the Twist, without a shirt. When I was a pubescent boy watching the first Linda actress, I really wished Tamsin West was in a bra and knickers without a shirt and trousers without a shirt.January 5, 2020 at 8:03 pm #256920
That was alright I thought. The main plot was wrapped up a little too easily and neatly, but there were some nice details and the Gallifrey stuff has potential.January 5, 2020 at 8:19 pm #256921
I really enjoyed that. Really felt like a Doctor Who story, and was a lot of fun.
As to the main plot being wrapped up too easily, as I was watching it reminded me of how easily Kryten defeats M-Corp, but is that really any different to how a lot of Doctor Who episodes are wrapped up. 40 mins of running around with 5mins at the end of the Doctor talking and waving a sonic screwdriver around?
It would have been nice seeing some of the stuff she was saying, but at that point it’s not really necessary. She solves it in a very Doctor Who way, and saves the plane in a very Bill and Ted way to boot.
One thing this episode did, and more so than even last week, was highlight there is absolutely no need for Graham, Ryan and Yaz. Last week, the only benefit they get from Ryan and Yaz going to see Barton is they get an invite to his party … which the Doctor manages by fiddling with the guest list anyway.
This week, they did even less. Just ran around Essex and shot lasers from Graham’s shoes. Nothing they did had any consequence on the story or outcome. And in both episodes the Doctor has found other companions. O last week, and Ada and Nor this week.
I really enjoyed the interactions of the Doctor and the Master. I hope that isn’t the last time we see Sacha Dhawan in that role. He did a cracking job, though it I’d like to see some more unique characterisation of in his portrayal, but I guess he can only work with what he is given.
Nice little nod to Logopolis in there too.
Nice to see them pick up the threads of The Timeless Child that were left dangling in episode 2 of last series. Hopefully we get a little more push on that with the new Gallifrey stuff that’s been revealed. However I worry this story will probably last at least another series and it won’t be mentioned again for a while. Did I read somewhere Chibnall had a 5 year plan? I sort of hope not because they have never been very successful in the past.
Barton’s speech was a bit heavy handed, a bit too evil villain. Sort of reminded me of the great speech the nan gives in the final episode of Years and Years, only much much worse. Like, yeah we get it, technology is bad ok! But I guess they’re writing for all audiences that might not ever consider that stuff.
Still, an exciting and thrilling story. Still better than most, if not all of series 11. Especially the Chibnall written episodes. Not quite up there with anything Moffat might have written but not far from it story wise.January 5, 2020 at 8:29 pm #256922
I really enjoyed that.January 5, 2020 at 8:32 pm #256923
Bill and Ted did get mentioned in our house as soon as Ryan started seeing the signs.
And the video was quite ‘Blink’.
The Logopolis reference made me laugh too.January 5, 2020 at 8:34 pm #256924
Did I read somewhere Chibnall had a 5 year plan?
Yes but currently that only equates to two and a half series.January 5, 2020 at 8:45 pm #256925
Yes but currently that only equates to two and a half series.
Yeah good point.
On other point, Jodie is feeling more and more like the Doctor now too. In performance and characterisation.January 5, 2020 at 8:49 pm #256926
Yeah I felt like there was a bit more confidence and general comfort with the character in this story. The ‘snap’ scene from episode 1 got a genuine laugh from me and I thought she handled the more serious stuff towards the end of this episode well too.January 5, 2020 at 11:39 pm #256928
Not quite up there with anything Moffat might have written but not far from it story wise.
Chibnall can only ever match Davies or Moffat by copying them (eye em oh).January 7, 2020 at 9:10 am #256931
This is just dreadfully unengaging and uninteresting, I can barely bring myself to watch this. Shit humour, childish writing. This episode is filled with unnecessary cruelty. I honestly didn’t care listening to The Master give that emotional reveal. He’s a bit drama studenty, a bit substitute teacher. The companions continue to be thinner on characterisation than the darkest depths of the 80s. I’m not going to nitpick anything, but there’s a lot there if you’re looking. I wish the Doctor would stop spouting platitudes about hope and darkness every twenty minutes, it’s bordering on self-parody.
Jodie continues to seem like somebody doing a Tennant impression, but to be fair that’s also inherent in the writing. She occasionally gets good moments, but that scene of just her talking to herself just made me wish I could see a version of this scene with Baker or Capaldi.
I don’t want to, but I’ll be tuning in next week. I wonder how long I can go on saying “I hope it will get better”January 7, 2020 at 9:17 am #256932
This is like Chibnall trying to write “Doctor Who™️”
rather than writing Doctor Who
The music is good in spotsJanuary 7, 2020 at 10:20 pm #256959
I can’t be bothered with Doctor Who anymore. It’s lost all the spark it once had and just churns out the most boring, dull, monotonous, and lazy content ever. I’m genuinely curious who likes this garbage, and more importantly, what is there to even like about it.
Jodie is by far the worst Doctor the revival series has seen, and I’d go so far as to say she’s currently the worst Doctor period. Inconsistent character, barren of any likable qualities beyond the absolute bare minimum, and too reliant on her crap companions to get the ball rolling.
Call me when 14 comes along.January 8, 2020 at 2:11 am #256960
Yeah, before this my least favourite Doctor actor was Sylvester McCoy, but at least towards the end of his run he was given some stellar material, even if he performed it less than convincingly. Jodie has been given VERY little to work from, and has done almost nothing to elevate any of it.
Every series of Doctor Who (since 1963) has had at least one or two right clunkers in it, episodes that make you embarrassed to be a fan. This is true for most television shows with more than six episodes per series, and is symptomatic of having so many different writers writing so many different stories. But again every season of Who so far has had one or two standouts, excellent episodes that remind you why you got into this show in the first place. Season 15… bad example. Season 16… shit. They were mediocre, but Invasion of Time, Ribos Operation and Pirate Planet had things to like. Season 17 had City of Death. Actually, fuck me, 15-21 was pretty rough, wasn’t it. Sum the odd Enlightenment or whatever dotted around, point is over the past two series we’ve really had nothing to remind us that this show can reach great heights. Good Doctor Who is a distant memory, now, and with Chibnall at the helm and these companions, I don’t hold out much hope for even an episode as good as something like the Invasion of Time, which was at least a bit of fun and had a great cliffhangerJanuary 8, 2020 at 6:51 am #256961
over the past two series we’ve really had nothing to remind us that this show can reach great heights
I thought World Enough And Time/The Doctor Falls was a pretty great story.
I agree though that there was nothing in Series 11 that stood out as great, or even that I’d choose to watch again.January 8, 2020 at 2:02 pm #256962
>I thought World Enough And Time/The Doctor Falls was a pretty great story.
We’re on series 12, that was series 10, I meant we’ve had nothing in series 11 or 12 that was worth watching. The Pilot, Oxygen, Extremis, World Enough and Time and The Doctor Falls were all great episodes in series 10, imo.January 8, 2020 at 3:41 pm #256963
Oh, right. Past two series is only really one-and-a-bit then – I’m ready to give this series a chance after that opener, too early to write it off I think.January 8, 2020 at 4:51 pm #256964
I thought it would be simpler than saying “past series plus-two-episodes”, but alas it was not to be. It is a bit early to call it, but that’s not what I’m doing. I would be willing to place a wager, though. Because placing a bet on something subjective sounds like a good idea.January 12, 2020 at 8:04 pm #257024
Lots of Dwarf parallels this episode:
An outdoor ‘paradise’ setting clearly filmed on a grey blustery day!
A slobbering monster with more teeth than the entire Osmond family!
A terrible preachy ending that spells out the morality of what you’ve just watched!
A James Buckley guest role that gives him virtually nothing to do!January 12, 2020 at 8:05 pm #257025
But yeah, in all serious that was utter guff, and a massive step down again for the show.January 12, 2020 at 8:27 pm #257026
Pete Part Three
I think I’m very close to tapping out. I’m barely watching it when it’s on.
Remember those shitty things that ITV used to put on during RTD Who as competition? Well, that’s the standard we’re now hitting.January 12, 2020 at 9:26 pm #257027
I’ve got Troy McClure singing “oh my god, I was wrong” stuck in my head for the entire evening now.January 12, 2020 at 10:02 pm #257028
I sort of enjoyed that, it had the makings of a good story there, just the execution was off.
It seemed a little obvious it was going to be Earth from about the time the explanation of what an Orphan planet is. Which is fine, I sort of liked that it was Earth. But they really started to hammer it home a little too much. We as an audience already know Earth gets fucked up. The Doctor has seen it, and has seen humanity branching out from it countless times, so just show it and leave it be a bit I think.
There were a lot of too many forced moments. Ryan and Bella sucking thumbs at the end. James Buckley and his kid arriving just in time to save the day and having that not earned reunion.
The reveal that Bella was a bit of a terrorist to get back at her mum was just shit.
The silly virus thing that somehow means they can conveniently make the fuel they need to teleport?
As I say I sort of enjoyed it. It felt like a Doctor Who episode and one that could have worked quite well in the correct hands. It had all the right elements, just thrown together in an unsatisfying way.
I’m really like the “life on board the TARDIS” intros we’re getting under Chibnall.
I like the idea of a holiday park being built in a dome on a planet that can’t sustain life.
The monsters were a ok … nothing to write home about.
And again we’re treated to the Doctor not really giving a shit about them and leaving one in a cage to die of carbon dioxide deprivation.
I still think we’re getting some good Doctor scenes, the way she works things out and talks to herself. Her claim that other people talking to her gets in the way of a good conversation … that was nice.
Companions, again, just along for the ride. I think we need to just accept that that will be the case with this era of Who and move on. It’s a shame, but that’s what we’re getting.
I think that’s all I have to say right now.January 12, 2020 at 10:07 pm #257029
Oh also, whilst their all stood on their TIME AND SPACE SHIP worried about the safety of Bella and her mum … why not, you know, use the TIME AND SPACE SHIP to save them. That would be a very Doctor thing to do.
Just a thought.January 13, 2020 at 6:34 am #257030
I more or less enjoyed Orphan 55 as I was watching it, but it definitely seems more shit the more I think about it.
– Pretty good monster design (though perhaps a bit generic), as well as a name that is actually memorable (!), but the design for the people was extremely basic. A couple of them have green hair, and one of them is in Cats cosplay. That’s it.
– The twist about the planet was OK, but The Doctor’s speech at the end felt like it was filling time more than anything, and it was clearly directed at the audience more than the companions. Plus, the part about it being only a “possible” future was a serious cop out considering the subject matter. Doctor Who doesn’t usually treat the futures they visit like that? Also, there was a serious gap in the script where we ought to have got clarity about whether Orphan 55’s true nature was supposed to be a surprise to everyone or just to the time travellers. (Maybe I’m just misremembering bits there.)
– You could feel the painful grinding of the plot as they justified the action of having literally every character leave the safety of the dome to go look for someone (“BENNNI!!!!”) who was so clearly doomed, especially considering the fact that the monsters kept him alive made no sense.
– The villain here had the thinnest motivation and stupidest plan combination of any Doctor Who villain I can remember. And yet by the end we were supposed to sympathise with her, I guess? So bad.
– Yeah, have to agree with quinn that it’s always frustrating when they’re like “we need enough energy to teleport everyone out!” and I’m like “No, you need enough energy to teleport ONE person out: THE DOCTOR, so she can rescue everyone with HER GODDAMN TARDIS”. It’s quite a contrast when you consider the liberal use of Bill and Ted time travel solutions in the last episode.
– Anyone else confused by that bit where they were sure Ryan was dead, even though there’s no reason the system would register him as such?
– “Leaving the safe area in a huff” and “leaving the safe area to pick up a hat” definitely rank up there as cringeworthy ways characters get themeselves in mortal danger.
– Graham is a treasure as always. Protect Graham at all costs.
– Siliconia still has the better characterisation and costume design for a James Buckley guest character.January 13, 2020 at 6:42 am #257031
Plus, the part about it being only a “possible” future was a serious cop out considering the subject matter. Doctor Who doesn’t usually treat the futures they visit like that?
No, and it undermines all the Gallifrey stuff from last week immediately, because presumably that’s just a possible fate for Gallifrey too.January 13, 2020 at 8:03 am #257034
Anyone else confused by that bit where they were sure Ryan was dead, even though there’s no reason the system would register him as such?
Yeah that didn’t make any sense. The sensors were clearly working, so why he and Bella weren’t registering is a mystery.
No, and it undermines all the Gallifrey stuff from last week immediately, because presumably that’s just a possible fate for Gallifrey too.
It really seems like Chibnall’s who is going with Bill and Ted logic of, as time passes from your perspective, so does time elsewhere. So on the Doctor’s personal timeline Gallifrey is fucked and she can’t do sod all about it. Ditto with the survivors of Orphan 55, even if she left to get the TARDIS, by the time she’d be back, they’d be dead. Something similar happened in Spyfall that I can’t remember now.January 13, 2020 at 8:21 am #257035
I still think they should have included a line in this about how the ‘dead’ Earth farted its way out of the solar system.January 13, 2020 at 10:00 am #257038
but that would contradict S01 E02 and Doctor Who never likes to contradict itself.January 13, 2020 at 2:40 pm #257040
Well, that was the single best episode of Doctor Who we’ve had since The Doctor Falls.
Still a bit formulaic, heavy handed message, lots of nitpicks. But it was funny, and the writing just felt a lot more cohesive than in recent times.
They literally already did the “desolate alien world turns out to be a far-future Earth underground station thing in Trial of a Time Lord: The Mysterious Planet. Literally the same revelation.January 13, 2020 at 2:45 pm #257041
>It really seems like Chibnall’s who is going with Bill and Ted logic of, as time passes from your perspective, so does time elsewhere. So on the Doctor’s personal timeline Gallifrey is fucked and she can’t do sod all about it
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Day_of_the_DaleksJanuary 18, 2020 at 9:00 pm #257123
By Jove its holmes
Still mad at being lectured like a 10 year old from the last episode.
we must be thankful that they did not have Swedish Greta guest star.January 19, 2020 at 8:21 pm #257149
This week’s was alright I thought. All the alien stuff was fairly run-of-the-mill but the historical aspects were ok. Hard to get really excited about it though.January 19, 2020 at 9:09 pm #257150
Pete Part Three
And…I’m done. I’ll be back when Chibnall fucks off. Whittaker could be great if she had some decent writing behind her… and I like the opening titles. Nothing else holds any promise whatsoever to convince me to keep watching. It’s just a lifeless chore.
I started watching Classic Who earlier this month. I’ve seen a few bits and pieces before (including the entirety of The Five Doctors) but not a huge amount. I watched Episode 2 of The Daleks earlier today. Is is ploddingly slow, Hartnell fluffs pretty much every other line, and I want to strangle Susan…but it holds my attention throughout.January 19, 2020 at 9:16 pm #257152
January 19, 2020 at 9:19 pm #257153
That episode was alright. I liked Tesla – just the right amount of social awkwardness without going too far into comedic territory, it felt very natural. I liked him a lot. The villain looks just like the Racnoss, though, to the point that when I saw her in the trailer I thought she was just that. Also – the Doctor’s plan is to shoot at them? What happened to “no guns, Ryan”, which happened about two minutes previous?
Racnoss for reference:
January 19, 2020 at 9:20 pm #257154
The Five Doctors is fucking dire in places, and The Daleks is really slow, but it also really sells the desperation of the whole situation, the fatigue, the heat, all that stuff. It is SO grim. It’s really effective.January 19, 2020 at 9:41 pm #257156
I have few problems with this weeks episode. That, to me, could have come from any series in the last 15 years. Really well done, good use of guest characters, interesting and enjoyable story with lots going on. The Doctor being the Doctor etc. Telsa was brilliant, played really well. The aliens had a motive even if they don’t look all that original.
I will say though, sack off the 3 companions. The Doctor is better without them. She keeps finding a new companion each week that serves the story better. Just do as the 2010 specials did and have her travel on her own meeting new people each week. Wouldn’t make any difference to the episodes.
Anyway, I’ve been enjoying this series mostly (definitely more than the last one) and this was probably the best of the lot so far.January 19, 2020 at 10:00 pm #257158
I didn’t even post last week I was annoyed with how crap it was.
This week, I guess it’s perfectly serviceable Who. It did feel a little wikipedia’ish at points when they’re gushing about Tesla. Would have been nice if they’d showed us him being an amazing inventor instead of just telling us.
I didn’t hate it, so that’s a step up from last week.January 20, 2020 at 6:47 am #257164
I thought it was The Racnoss returning from the trailers too.January 20, 2020 at 6:49 am #257165
It did feel a little wikipedia’ish at points when they’re gushing about Tesla. Would have been nice if they’d showed us him being an amazing inventor instead of just telling us.
See, I don’t mind this too much as it’s clearly aiming for the kids with these sections, and spelling it out clearly (as with Ada Lovelace and Rosa Parks) is probably needed.January 20, 2020 at 3:59 pm #257168
This was shaping up to be probably my favourite historical figure episode since Vincent and the Doctor… until the Scorpion Queen alien showed up. Even so, it’s definitely one of the strongest episodes of the Chibnall era so far.
Once the aliens were revealed, I struggled to buy the central idea that a spacefaring alien species would think that Tesla would be of any use to them at all as an engineer. (I’m sure I’ve been bothered by this in earlier stories a historical scientist or artist has been vital to a Doctor Who alien’s plan, though I struggle to think of any specifics.)
But I liked the way the episode contrasted Tesla’s mind for innovation against the aliens’ status as scavengers who don’t invent anything (therefore paralleling the aliens with the popular, but simplified, depiction of Edison as a credit/patent thief).
Was anyone else distracted by the fact that Tesla, his assistant Dorothy Skeritt, and Edison were allowed to retain knowledge of their adventures, whereas just two episodes ago Ada Lovelace and Noor Inayat Khan had to have their memories wiped? The norm is for Doctor Who to handle it the way this episode did, and so I usually accept it. But because the Spyfall episode aired so recently, the difference jumped out at me – and unfortunately it came across as if the famous men were allowed to keep their memories, but the famous women weren’t.
I’ve seen people justify it by saying that in Spyfall, Lovelace and Khan had time travelled, whereas Tesla, Skeritt and Edison had not. But I’m not sure I accept that late-19th century inventors knowing about a teleporting phone box and the existence of aliens would be any less disruptive to history than an early-19th century mathematician knowing about WW2.January 20, 2020 at 4:27 pm #257169
I assume the argument would be that Tesla et al are viewed as crackpot inventors and that nobody would believe them even if they did write about that stuff. Isaac Newton was really into the occult, and everybody just ignores that aspect of his work. Pythagoras, as well, was nuts.
My least favourite part of the episode was when the supposedly menacing scorpion aliens had a comedy chase scene, where they bump into each other and get mad at each other like they’re the three stooges, and then one of them CRASHES INTO A FRUIT STANDJanuary 20, 2020 at 4:51 pm #257170
I took the mind-wipe/non-mind-wipe discrepancy to be more about not making it seem like Spyfall was crediting the Doctor and the time-travel experiences for Ada Lovelace’s later inventions.
With Tesla and Edison they were visited later in their lives, after their major inventions had already taken place, so these wouldn’t be affected by meeting The Doctor in the same way.January 20, 2020 at 5:42 pm #257171
It is incongrious, considering that a) the Doctor hasn’t really wiped minds before and b) she does it to two people and then two episodes later doesn’t do it to another two.
There could well be an explanation, like Dave suggests, and had we been given that we wouldn’t really be complaining. Like, in Spyfall “sorry I have to wipe your mind, you’ve seen too much and I can’t let that affect your life or your inventions you are yet to create”January 20, 2020 at 5:45 pm #257172
I believe they kind of cover it in The Shakespeare Code(?) by saying that Shakespeare will die in like two days anywayJanuary 20, 2020 at 5:45 pm #257173
That or the Dickens oneJanuary 20, 2020 at 6:11 pm #257174
There could well be an explanation, like Dave suggests, and had we been given that we wouldn’t really be complaining. Like, in Spyfall “sorry I have to wipe your mind, you’ve seen too much and I can’t let that affect your life or your inventions you are yet to create”
I’m sure there was a line hinting at that in Spyfall.
Looking it up, she says to Ada something like “you don’t need a preview, you’ll figure it out before anyone”, which must be where I got the idea.January 26, 2020 at 8:06 pm #257291
Well, that was all a bit exciting!
Good episode, some decent mysteries set up (if very little resolved) and a nice surprise with the return of that character. Tying in with the spoiler discussion in several other threads at the moment, it’s nice to have this stuff kept quiet and not leaked in advance.January 26, 2020 at 8:32 pm #257293
*ahem* long time since I’ve done that, but fuck me was that unexpected and the other thing is so cool and I’ve not been so genuinely excited for the show in a long time. I would say can’t wait for next week but this looks like it’ll take the rest of the series to sort out.January 26, 2020 at 8:38 pm #257295
I was expecting an entertaining but insubstantial rehash of “Smith and Jones” (humans get caught up in the Judoon’s pursuit of a monster of the week), and the first part of the episode seemed to be going that way. I’m please that it turned out to be something a lot more interesting!
(That time period had to be a lot longer than 4 minutes and 30 seconds, though.)January 26, 2020 at 8:38 pm #257296
Yeah, feels like there are some big ideas at play here.
But even before those big ideas took over, this was a decent, well-made episode that had my attention and made me want to keep watching. One of the best, if not *the* best, of the Chibnall era.January 26, 2020 at 8:41 pm #257298
Thinking about it, this felt a lot like an RTD episode in some ways, and like a Moffat episode in others, while still being very much of the current era. Kind of a ‘best of’ the rebooted show.January 26, 2020 at 9:27 pm #257303
ARRRRGHHHH that was soooooo fucking good!
To echo Dave, right at the start I was thinking this felt very RTD, with Ruth and Lee and their lives and her job and everything and it all seemed to be working really well. Now I know its a shame to have to say the best episode of an era that is shit is only good because it feels like a previous era, but holy hell did it not disappoint when it really got going.
I don’t even know where to start really. Every twist and turn and mystery had me excited and on the edge of my seat. I haven’t felt this way since “INTRODUCING JOHN HURT AS THE DOCTOR” – which is probably quite apt considering what happened.
And what did happen? – I’m going to speculate that our crew have somehow ended up in another universe. At some point during or after Spyfall they’ve crossed over into somewhere else. As that species from Spyfall was dicking around in a lot of different universes.
As for everything else, so glad to see Jack back, and have it teased that he’ll return. He’s definitely returning right. This story isn’t resolved yet and won’t be until later in the series.
THe writing was absolutely spot on. The companions had some stuff to do which was nice. And not a minute of a line of dialogue was wasted.
It was written by Vinay Patel and Chris Chibnall. I’ll speculate that Chris came up with the story and Vinay wrote the bulk of the script. In which case I think that maybe the way to go in the future. Chris has the grand idea and passes it off to someone who can write. We have another writer + Chris next week so we’ll see how that pans out.
I cannot wait until next week now. And will definitely be rewatching this episode before then. Maybe even right now!January 26, 2020 at 9:29 pm #257304
Oh I tell you what. I was chatting with Lily as I was watching this (she’d already seen it and was re-watching with me) and as “Ruth” broke the glass, i was in the middle of typing something along the lines of “has she done a pocket watch job from Family of Blood on herself???” And then before I could hit send she delivered that massive reveal!
Blood marvellousJanuary 26, 2020 at 9:38 pm #257305
Pete Part Three
I saw a bit of a hubbub on Twitter and decided to tune in and…it just kind of irritated me that it wasn’t a cohesive story, and was just a succession of mystery-box moments. I mean, well done Chibnall for actually learning how to generate a bit of excitement from some fanwank…but when are we actually going to get an episode that doesn’t rely on teasing mysteries to generate excitement?
Still baffled why they’re persisting with this three companions thing. What did they have to do this week? Listen to a warning from Jack. And then deliver that warning to the Doctor. They are basically serving the same purpose as an answerphone message. And there’s three of them. Their dialogue is utterly interchangeable. For the love of god, kill one of them off.January 26, 2020 at 9:42 pm #257306
Interesting details. Ruth’s mirror is hexagonal, like the shapes in the TARDISJanuary 26, 2020 at 9:43 pm #257307
I agree with the alternate universes thing. Funnily enough during the first part of Spyfall (where they showed all those different maps of Earth) we speculated in our house as to whether they were all Earths of different universes, and if so whether each universe had its own Doctor…January 26, 2020 at 9:44 pm #257308
Interesting details. Ruth’s mirror is hexagonal, like the shapes in the TARDIS
That leapt out at me even on a first watch. So I knew something funny was going on.January 26, 2020 at 9:48 pm #257310
The old lady outside the Cathedral is knitting a 4th Doctor scarf, nearly.
Lee says “humans” in a sarcastic fed up way when the cafe owner is dicking him about. So presumably he is Galifreyan too? Especially as he had the same training as the woman track down Ruth.
I also really love the location work in this episode. It’s beautiful. And glad its not Sheffield, London or Cardiff again.
It’s just all really niceJanuary 26, 2020 at 9:51 pm #257311
I agree with the alternate universes thing. Funnily enough during the first part of Spyfall (where they showed all those different maps of Earth) we speculated in our house as to whether they were all Earths of different universes, and if so whether each universe had its own Doctor…
I’m pretty sure something went through my own mind!January 26, 2020 at 9:54 pm #257313
The ship Jack is on is definitely a TARDIS of some description. That console is very “TARDIS” which I picked up on first time around, but the floor is also made up of hexagonal tiles.January 26, 2020 at 9:57 pm #257314
Yeah, they lingered on the hexagon floor there didn’t they?January 26, 2020 at 9:58 pm #257315
When Ruth said that she moved to Gloucester in December 1999, it reminded me that the 1996 TV movie (which I’ve never seen) was was a Master story set around the 1999-2000 New Year. I wonder if there will end up being some connection to that?January 26, 2020 at 10:02 pm #257317
YES! It reminded me of that too. It can’t be a coincidence. This is an episode where everything has been considered in detail, that date will have been picked for a reason.
OOOOOOOH! I wonder if Lee is The Master protecting the Doctor in this universe for whatever reason.
Gatt says they had a touching and moving funeral for him. The TV movie opens with The Doctor transporting a dead Master back to Gallifrey.January 26, 2020 at 10:12 pm #257318
The lighthouse looks like the top of the Police box/TARDIS
And at 29mins, there’s a shadow over Ruth’s shoulder that looks like a TARDIS
There is soooo much in this episode that is there if you know to look for it.January 26, 2020 at 10:14 pm #257319
More possible evidence this is a different universe
Re Cybermen “empire in ruins, brought down to nothing, finally” definitely suggests its quite recent. As if its another history, i.e. a different universeJanuary 26, 2020 at 10:20 pm #257320
Ok so this miiiiight be a stretch.
The Beetle Ruth and The Doctor are driving in sort of reminded me of the Third Doctor’s little yellow car for some reason. This might all be a coincidence but it’s an old 1970 J reg Beetle, the same year the Third Doctor appeared on TV.January 26, 2020 at 10:30 pm #257322
The lighthouse is just up the road from Cardiff and the owner is a Who fan. I saw it on an old episode of Hotel Inspector a few weeks ago.
He’s got his own tardis on the roof and a life sized dalek in the front hall. Having this filmed there must have been ultimate heaven for him.January 26, 2020 at 10:34 pm #257323
Whatever this is, alt universe or different timeline, I’m now leaning on The Darkest Timeline/Mirror Universe. Everyone is a bit bad and evil. Ruth’s Doctor is a fighter who isn’t opposed to using guns. Gatt says she works for “the glory of Gallifrey” …January 27, 2020 at 2:41 am #257331
Re-solder my circuit boards and call me Gerald. A good episode of Doctor Who.January 27, 2020 at 3:01 am #257332
The Irish man in the café reminded me of Rory/Arthur Darvill. I was annoyed when he died, I quite liked him.
Some actual funny humour in this episode! I agree that it seems to have been majoratively scripted by Vinay Patel rather than Chris Chibnall, since Chris Chibnall cannot fucking write.
I like Jodie showcasing her PTSD, crying on the Judoon ship, her confused and traumatised by the events she’d just witnessed by the end. This is the first episode in which I haven’t been annoyed at them making Jodie do something Tennant-esque because the writers are too unoriginal to actually give her anything else to do.
Chibnall has to be a Star Trek fan, all these references to anti-matter drive, transporting, matching shield harmonics, etc.
One stupid moment is when the Judoon have to take a recording of a woman speaking in order to decipher that the language is “human.” For a start, if one language was “human” it would be Mandarin, and two, you fucking went to EARTH and have clearly had encounters with this fugitive before, ignoring the events of SMITH AND JONES you should AT LEAST know what fucking planet you’re on and what fucking species they are, and what language they would use, ffs.
I like the Doctor not really knowing what her psychic paper says and being surprised by it – I think they did this once with Eleven, weird that it would suddenly become a “thing” but it’s funny so I don’t care.
Humanity have seen aliens so many god damn times by this point that they really shouldn’t be so shocked by Rhino men stomping around. There aren’t even any cracks in time to make people forget things. UNLESS this really is an alternate universe, and this is first contact for THESE humans.
One should not that Captain Jack does not know that the Doctor has ever been a woman – I won’t say this rules out her being a past Doctor or this being an alternate universe, but Jack’s inclusion in this story makes those possibilities seem slightly less likely.
Loved Jack mistaking Graham for the Doctor – this actually annoyed me in Spyfall because they didn’t do anything with it other than a shit “I’ve had an upgrade” joke, but more is done with it here.
Jack is supposed to be immortal but he looks old lol.
John Barrowman flirting with Mandip Gill feels wrong, she looks about 17. Turns out she’s… THIRTY-FUCKING-TWO?! No way.
If the Judoon’s field is down, why can Jack STILL not get a lock on the Doctor?
Jodie is still quite rude and demanding which makes me question why people would listen to her, follow her and like her, but she’s getting better.
Is scanning graves ethical? It isn’t in Star Trek.
The music when Ruth reveals herself to be a Doctor is very similar to an Angels and Airwaves song called Parasomnia. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Lbn7IYUOSA
They made a black woman the Doctor without making a black woman “The Doctor”, which is very cheeky.
Did the Judoon not once scan the Doctor? Our Doctor, which would give them a positive match?
Will this episode stand the test of time and be as good as we think it is now, removed from the shock of the twists?
Two Time Lords CAN occupy the same space and time. They do it a lot.
Contact is a Vulcan mind meld now.
Another “secret Doctor” mystery, only seven years after the last one.
Lee was just misdirection, I think, especially his “humans” line. You’re supposed to think he’s the fugitive, so that they can pull the twist on you right after. The TARDIS-y ship, as well, possible misdirection I should think. Ordinarily I’d think calling back to the movie like that would be far too much of a stretch, but Chibnall seems to be really plundering canon this series, with a ridiculous amount of references, callbacks and returning characters, etc.January 27, 2020 at 7:00 am #257334
Plus, the whole moon/lagoon rhyming thing was funny.January 27, 2020 at 8:04 am #257335
Humanity have seen aliens so many god damn times by this point that they really shouldn’t be so shocked by Rhino men stomping around
Yet time and time again it is shown we sort of just forget about it within the who universe. Moffat went to great lengths to basically undo RTD era to explain why humans don’t remember, he then on more than one occasion shows humans just forgetting/ignoring alien invasions after they happen.
But equally, what you say is right, if it is another universe this could be the first time they’ve encountered aliens.
Two Time Lords CAN occupy the same space and time. They do it a lot.
Yeah, this annoyed me. Especially as 13 Doctors have all been in the same place at the same time. That said, if this is another universe, maybe they haven’t seen anything like it before. Maybe whoever these Timelords are have all been taught the universe will implode as a way to prevent multiple of the same Timelord teaming up in whatever is going on that demands the “glory of Gallifrey”
Lee was just misdirection, I think, especially his “humans” line.
What do you mean by this? It is heavily implied he is from Gallifrey, same training as Gatt with some sort of war medal. He isn’t a “faithful companion” to Ruth’s Doctor in the same sense we know companions to be, i.e. a human along for the ride.
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