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"It feels different this time..." - The new Doctor Who Thread

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
Haha, the glasses are easy, but the crimson-lined coat may still take a little work.

The Girl Who Died and The Woman Who Lived - I quite enjoyed The Adventures of The Doctor and Arya Stark, yes, good. (Who knew infants were so eloquent, though?)
 

sfried

Fluffy Prince
Yeah, it's a really good kind of bonkers, but the ending is... iffy
In what sense? I feel like its a setup for the Solitrack to become a recurring thing...like Tzim-Sha. I think we can now expect frog symbols to be scattered about in upcoming episodes. (Let's also not forget flesh-eating moths are now a thing.)

Speaking of which, I had just finished The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos and I can kinda see why some people aren't as fond of the Chibnall episodes as much as the bombastic Moffat ones: Simply put, this episode on paper sounded pretty solid and even made acknoledgements about the TARDIS ability to displace entire planets from the Moffat era (The Twelve Doctors) and build upon the cookie crumb trail from the second episode. The problem is the execution, and how the Ux feels very much like a crutch in the same way Star Trek Picard's tool-that-fixes-anything worked and ends up becoming a...deux ex machina of sorts. I kinda felt this is one of the cases were Moffat simply has the upper hand on scope and budget.
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
The Battle of Radarscope av Klonoa was just dull from start to finish. Not offensive, just super, super boring.
 

Phantoon

I cuss you bad
In what sense? I feel like its a setup for the Solitrack to become a recurring thing...like Tzim-Sha. I think we can now expect frog symbols to be scattered about in upcoming episodes. (Let's also not forget flesh-eating moths are now a thing.)
In the sense that the father found an alternate dimension with his dead wife in, so he abandoned his blind daughter completely and made up a monster to stop the aforementioned blind daughter from looking for him. Upon forcing the father to return to his daughter, the Doctor is all "lolz isn't this great" and not "you're possibly the worst parent ever". The girl lost her mother, and rather than console her and y'know, be a father, he decided to sod off to another dimension and terrify her and at no point does anyone in the episode perceive this as a problem. Yet again a Twelfth Doctor episode doesn't think through the moral dimension of the story it's trying to tell. Davies or Moffatt certainly would have noticed. It's a general lack of interest in the human element of the story. Hadoukening Universe frog was cool though.

The Battle of Rancid auld Kippers: 1) where's the battle 2) if you shoot a person who's already effectively destroyed 4 populated planets are you as bad as him? Are you really? Also Graham's sudden conversion into The Punisher is inadvertently hilarious.
 

sfried

Fluffy Prince
the father found an alternate dimension with his dead wife in, so he abandoned his blind daughter completely and made up a monster to stop the aforementioned blind daughter from looking for him. Upon forcing the father to return to his daughter, the Doctor is all "lolz isn't this great" and not "you're possibly the worst parent ever". The girl lost her mother, and rather than console her and y'know, be a father, he decided to sod off to another dimension and terrify her and at no point does anyone in the episode perceive this as a problem. Yet again a Twelfth Doctor episode doesn't think through the moral dimension of the story it's trying to tell. Davies or Moffatt certainly would have noticed. It's a general lack of interest in the human element of the story. Hadoukening Universe frog was cool though.
I always took it that this Doctor never belittled anyone for making terrible mistakes, even grevious ones, and that the good Doc always tried to see the better side of everyone and get them to turn around. Yes, the father was terrible, but the point was to make them to realize that mistake and actually become a father again. The problem was he could never get past greiving, despite the big red flag being that his wife couldn't come with him through the mirror. Graham's character was used as an analogue to his dillema and both of them accepting their loved ones as gone is what gets them to move on. Also I don't think he was abandoning his kid permanently, just that he was living two lives and regularly crossed the mirror.

Davis and Moffat clearly had the benefit of having different Doctors to work with and thus different interpretations of who the Doctor is for them. To some degree Chibnall echoes the more gentler nature of the first three (particularly Two and Three), minus the old-man grumpiness.


And I agree The Battle of Rancor of Kellogs was pretty weak episode, which is a shame because it did have the ingredients but many things were way undercooked.
 
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Phantoon

I cuss you bad
I am very much for the ongoing joke of not being to remember the name of The Battle of Racecar at Kabul
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
The Zygon Invasion/Inversion was indeed good stuff, as pretty much everyone was implying a few pages back in the thread. Both Capaldi and Coleman really got a lot to chew on in the last scenes there. I thought it was teetering on the edge of feeling overwrought, but they pulled it off 'cause they're so damn good at these characters by this point (nevermind Coleman wasn't technically playing Clara).
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
It absolutely does teeter towards being overwrought, but I agree they ultimately pulled it off due to Capaldi and Coleman's skill.

If you (or anyone else) would like to read a very long far left response to the Zygon two parter, I suggest this by Jack Graham - I love those episodes and the Moffat era but I find that is a very, very good piece of criticism of those two things. It's one of my favorite pieces of writing about Doctor Who I've ever seen.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
For what its worth, the annual Doctor Who sometime this holiday special will have Daleks. And some sort of revolution. As it is called Revolution of the Daleks.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
Sleep No More - Okay, another creepy one, with some Aliens influence and a found footage conceit - but then at the last minute takes a swerve into being The Ring. Which is all well and good but it *ended* on that swerve and I thought it was going to be a two-parter but then it wasn't. Is it ever revisited or is 38th-century humanity still facing doom from Sandman infection? (I suppose we could assume the Doctor finished figuring it out a few minutes after the ep ended and turned the Tardis around...)

Face The Raven - Speaking of cliffhangers, I'd wrongly assumed based on looking at writers/directors on wikipedia that all this season's episodes were in pairs, but no, it turns out the ending is basically a three-parter. This left so much dangling that I guess I'll hold off commenting 'til I can watch the next two. Though I will say the (currently apparent) death felt awfully arbitrary. That death curse / quantum being thing sure has a lot of poorly-explained rules it follows, and it was never quite clear how the swap that led to the bad end was really supposed to help anything either.
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
Sleep No More - Okay, another creepy one, with some Aliens influence and a found footage conceit - but then at the last minute takes a swerve into being The Ring. Which is all well and good but it *ended* on that swerve and I thought it was going to be a two-parter but then it wasn't. Is it ever revisited or is 38th-century humanity still facing doom from Sandman infection? (I suppose we could assume the Doctor finished figuring it out a few minutes after the ep ended and turned the Tardis around...)
Sleep No More doesn't really work - the ending kinda comes out of nowhere as you say, and as of yet, no, it hasn't been followed up on. But I like it - it's Mark Gatiss going out of his comfort zone of sleepy nostalgia for classic Who and doing something fucking weird. I like all his Capaldi scripts, even if none of them are my favorites of their seasons.

Face The Raven - Speaking of cliffhangers, I'd wrongly assumed based on looking at writers/directors on wikipedia that all this season's episodes were in pairs, but no, it turns out the ending is basically a three-parter. This left so much dangling that I guess I'll hold off commenting 'til I can watch the next two. Though I will say the (currently apparent) death felt awfully arbitrary. That death curse / quantum being thing sure has a lot of poorly-explained rules it follows, and it was never quite clear how the swap that led to the bad end was really supposed to help anything either.
Regarding the structure of this series (since I'm not going to comment on the plot yet because yes, the next two episodes), I asked Steven Moffat on Twitter about these very episodes back during some COVID-rewatches while he was on Twitter:

 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
Fair enough ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Just screwed up my plan to avoid cliffhangers a bit.
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
The Mechanoids, huh. Quite a pull.

Do we know who's writing it? I have to admit I'm not up on news right now, haven't been paying much attention...
 

sfried

Fluffy Prince
I'm going to compare Twice Upon A Time and Resolution. Both are excellent Holliday Special episodes but for different reasons:

Twice Upon A Time - I'm starting to believe Moffat is at his best when Mark Gatiss is somehow involved in the work (see my comments about Sherlock). The episode is fully comprehensible even with prior knowledge of the season AND zero Moffat ass-pulling like prior seasons. This might be one of his stronger works, and again I suspect Gatiss' involvement had something to do with it. The Testimony immediately calls to mind what the Thijarians/Solitract did with regards to remembering/recreating the dead, and Villengard crawling with mutated, caseless Dalek (except for "Rusty"...was "Rusty" ever stablished in a prior episode? I might have recalled the Ninth Doctor doing something similar...) would definitely play at establishing how the Dalek can be quick to adopt in the following holiday special. Thematically, I like how it starts with the First Doctor trying to figure out his nihilistic perception of existence between good and bad, and why in a universe filled with bad, good can still exist. The Testimony ending up being benign and Gatiss' role as the long German soldier descendant of Lethbridge-Stewart are really nice nods, along with a resolution that complements the theme. Capaldi is really great here to the last moments.

Fast forward to the following holliday

Resolution - I can see why some things in the epsiode would bother Phantoon, and as much as people might get hangups with this episode, I pretty much enjoyed it the same way as Twice Upon A Time. Yes, there's the cringeworthy romance stuff Chibnall likes to toss in there, and things take quite a while to get spinning but eventually the payoff at the end is great stuff. The episode finally introduces Ryan's dad Aaron, who has been hinted at since the beginning of the season, and while some are thinking Chibnalls drama stuff sufficates if not kills the pacing of the series in general, here it does a good job making someone at least invested in faulty father-figures; Graham in particular really shines when he confronts Aaron, where rather than antagonizing him like he did earlier, instead tried to show where Ryan, and by extension he was coming from...
Actually, what's with Chibnall and imperfect father figures? Because this time it echoes Twice Upon A Time's First Doctor being sort of that: though not a parent, a person who people look up to who isn't perfect.
For all the criticisms leveled against the Nth Doctor, at least he/she tries.
Going back to the Daleks, it's great that the concept of their resiliency is being expanded upon. The idea of the scout/body-snatching Dalek again calls back to the previous holliday special when one of the mutated ones pounces on Gatiss' character, only I can see how the body-snatching could be considered somewhat taken offensively here, and to Chibnall's credit, the victim (Lin) fights it off and succeeds. The scrap-Dalek's design looks great, and while the lack of UNIT is indeed disappointing (at least they acknowledge it), we at least do get to see an army-vs-Dalek scene like the good ol' Lethbridge-Stewart days. Ryan's dad ends up tagging along and coming up with the useful idea to defeat it, but ends up getting bodysnatched himself. I know I'm going to get a lot of flack here, but I think this is where Chibnall's drama scenes do pay off.

I can see why people could be very hard on Chibnall's drama-esq writting, or in my case, Moffat's unexplained plot-element ex-machinas (Just who the hell is "Rusty"?). But that's what great about these Holliday Specials and the Doctor in general: It's about bringing out the best in everyone.
 
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Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
Rusty is the Dalek the Doctor and Clara climb around inside of in Into the Dalek.
 

Phantoon

I cuss you bad
The biggest sin of Resolution, and it's near unforgivable, is that there's a Dalek on someone's back shouting instructions. They aren't driving fast enough for it, so what does it shout? Not "ACCELERATE! ACCELERATE!", anyway

Goddamn it Chibnall. You had one job.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
So here's a thing that came across my feed this weekend:


With Doctors 13 and 10 so that's kind of exciting. Looking it up, apparently it's a re-packaging and expansion of a 2019 VR game? But also apparently that game was pretty good, so cool?
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
Meanwhile, my latest eps -

Me, one minute into Heaven Sent: "Huh, this weirdly laid-out castle is giving me MYST vibes."
Me, ten minutes in: "Ok, this is definitely a MYST level."
I figured out the loop about 2/3 of the way through, but that's fine, it was still a very nice locked-universe mystery, and I didn't catch where they were *going* with it until they made it extremely obvious as the loops sped up what he was actually accomplishing.
Good stuff, lots for Capaldi to chew on, and gotta be up there in the realm of TV episodes with basically just one character in them.

Also wanted to note 'cause I just thought of it that I really liked the score in these two episodes. Some stuff we' hadn't heard much before that works really well, as well as some remixes of ongoing themes.

Hell Bent - Okay wow, this was a lot. Not sure I'll remember half of what I wanted to say about it.
All the misdirection throughout this season on The Hybrid was interesting, what with everyone assuming it'd be Dalek/TimeLord (since those are the two races everyone fears) reinforced by the fact that we know such things are actually out there now from the season opener, but no, it comes down to a couple different competing possibilities and honestly ends up being pretty irrelevant. I imagine that irritated some people at the time but I'm honestly totally okay with it. The fears that motivate people often end up being less real than the events those fears engender.

And then we have Clara - I'm really glad Face the Raven wasn't the final word, since as I mentioned earlier the setup for that just felt a bit too arbitrary for me. I mean, she chose that ending and that's fine, but the execution (so to speak) landed a bit hollow for me. But it's also good that it wasn't, ultimately, just reversed. Then of course, I assume they were just jerking around the audience with the threat of her being consigned to the same fate as poor Donna, but I'm really glad *that* didn't happen. And the actual twist they used to get out of it was pretty damn genius. And the denouement Clara gets from there is just fucking delightful. I dunno if any media has dealt with further adventures in the Tardiner, but it's okay if it hasn't, just knowing it's out there somewhere is enough.

And just, the whole resolution of the Doctor and Clara's relationship - wow, that got me good. I'm reading a lot into it but there's just enough stretched parallels to a lot of stuff from the last few years of my life that it hurt reeeeeal good. A relationship that's amazing in the moment but ultimately just not good for you, and the only way to move past is to forget those feelings, and yet, it's still not as though it never happened because the experience changed you, and you're a different, hopefully in some ways better person now. That just resonates so hard, and it was pulled off absolutely beautifully.

So, yeah. I'll need to chew on it some more, but this is definitely up there among my favorite episodes I've seen so far.
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
yessssssssssssssssssssssssss I'm so glad you liked those two episodes. And yeah - what happened to Clara near the end of Hell Bent seemed to me to be an explicit rejection of/call out to what happened to Donna and how shitty it was to her. And tying into Death in Heaven where she becomes the Doctor for a bit - she ends her tenure on the show as, basically, the Doctor, going off on her own adventures with Me. It rules and is my favorite companion departure by miles and miles.

Is there a model of what the TARDIS looks like before the Doctor leaves at the end? Because I think I need to get one if so. Fucking love Hell Bent.
 

Phantoon

I cuss you bad
Delighted you liked them, for me it's what Doctor Who can and should be. To the Doctor as a time traveller, everyone outside the Tardis is alive. In his darker moments, everyone outside is dead. Moffat's Doctors are aware that everyone will die, but they'll be damned if they won't try to give them at least a bit more time.

And for me the relationship between the Twelfth Doctor and Clara is probably the best of all of them.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
Also watched The Husbands of River Song. Most of that was very silly, which was fine after a bunch of dense and emotional episodes. I guess this wraps up a lot of the last danging threads and references from previous episodes about River. I know she's a hot topic of debate in the fandom, but unfortunately I don't really have time right now to dive into figuring out what I think of her whole long arc.
 

sfried

Fluffy Prince
Spycraft 1 & 2 - Sorry Phantoon, but I really liked these 13th Doctor episodes, especially these two!

First, I can't help but think the boost in budget for this story kind of episodes, as we not only get an appearance by Stephen Fry, more exciting Moffat-esq sequences, not just one but two time periods, the Kasaavin, but also the reintroduction of the Master, who oddly enough is ripping off Sherlock's sociopathioc Moriarity in terms of personality. As a matter of fact, I can't help but think if Chibnall is clearly ripping off Moffat in terms of his more usual breakneck pacing and overall bombast-ness; Did all the criticism of the prior season get to him? Whatever the case, Master's cavannahTARDIS is neat and his standoffs with the Doctor in the second part are great. I also think Chibnall did good to avoid the same deus ex plotholes that Moffat often does by at least explaining the whole bit behind the plane rescue thing.

Overall, excellent way to begin the season. I also think its sort of an apology for Kerblam! with the obvious antiGoogle messaging, but also tries to avoid being ludite about it by somehow incorportating a celebration of women in computing.

Goddamn it Chibnall. You had one job.
You're really too hard on Chibnall. No wonder we keep revisiting themes about parental issues...
 
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Phantoon

I cuss you bad
Hey. I'm glad you like them! People don't have to like the same things I do.

For the sake of why I don't:
1) Leaving the Master to the Nazis with a "hey look, brown dude" is a bit... real? It's one thing when it's Daleks, but when it's the first Asian Master and he immediately gets pointed at the Nazi death apparatus? Then it does effectively The Curse Of Fatal Death with him?
2) He's no Missy, is he? I mean, it's fine to not be Missy, but he has none of the threat that she had. He's not as magnetic, his character seems to just be "meh, evil"
3) It made very little sense. The Kasaavin are making us into meat thumb drives! But why? People die and the data is then lost! What is this data that's so important to have such a ridiculous storage method? And what does Barton get from any of this? Also, as per usual, he gets no comeuppance. Again.
4) Mind wipes! Mind wipes everywhere! For no real reason, either.
5) "Good luck" to Noor Inayat Khan seems a horrible way to say leave her as in a year's time she'll be dead in Dachau. Slight pause and "Goodbye" seems better if you're just leaving her to it.
5) After all of the effort to bring Gallifrey back it gets destroyed off screen??? Never mind, I'm sure it will all be worth it...
 

sfried

Fluffy Prince
Hey. I'm glad you like them! People don't have to like the same things I do.

For the sake of why I don't:
1) Leaving the Master to the Nazis with a "hey look, brown dude" is a bit... real? It's one thing when it's Daleks, but when it's the first Asian Master and he immediately gets pointed at the Nazi death apparatus? Then it does effectively The Curse Of Fatal Death with him?
2) He's no Missy, is he? I mean, it's fine to not be Missy, but he has none of the threat that she had. He's not as magnetic, his character seems to just be "meh, evil"
3) It made very little sense. The Kasaavin are making us into meat thumb drives! But why? People die and the data is then lost! What is this data that's so important to have such a ridiculous storage method? And what does Barton get from any of this? Also, as per usual, he gets no comeuppance. Again.
4) Mind wipes! Mind wipes everywhere! For no real reason, either.
5) "Good luck" to Noor Inayat Khan seems a horrible way to say leave her as in a year's time she'll be dead in Dachau. Slight pause and "Goodbye" seems better if you're just leaving her to it.
5) After all of the effort to bring Gallifrey back it gets destroyed off screen??? Never mind, I'm sure it will all be worth it...
1) Impersonating a Nazi soldier was definitely a low even for his standards. I think after the Doc messed with his perception filter, they most likely thought he was an impersonater rather than the outright traitor (i.e. took the form of their own intelligence officer), and put him on an encampment and somehow survived the ordeal. Besides, Moffat gets away with making the 13th Doctor actually like his The Curse of Fatal Death scenario, so Chibnall is just running with his idea...
2) It's unfair to compare him to Moffat's Missy, much like everybody has their own favorite interpretation of the Doctor. FYI I do like this giddy hammy version of the Master much more than Missy much like I love hammy Dalton-Rassilon over old-fart-Rassilon.
3) Kasaavin have trouble reconstituting in our world, until the Master made them a deal to use his TARDIS in combination of the meat storage to help them manifest themselves in this dimension, hence why they suddenly started showing up more recently. The added benefit to the Master is that the humans die but their bodies end up being preserved as storage device, which is still a win in his book. As for his comeuppance, after The Doctor plays back his little plot confession to her on top of the Eiffel Tower, where he plans of also disposing the Kasaavin as well, they turn on him and trap him in their reality with no access to his TARDIS, and sonic screwdrivers don't work in their dimension, either.
4) No real reason? They're important history figures who would end up shaping computing...And if they had prior knowledge it would end up affecting the development of humans. Ms. Lovelace definitely wouldn't keep the events she witness all to herself (WWII especially), and she Noor already knew too much about the Doctor/Tardises/laminators/etc. I mean, even the older Doctors did that sort of thing too (Second Doctor), so it seems like a big non-issue.
5) I take its more because she's an optimist and sees she's not yet at death's door, unlike in the other prior episode (The Demons of Punjab).
5/6) Remember the Time War and how they all were building up to it, and then Moffat up and showed it and now we need something new to build up to again? Like I said, I think you're being unfair to Chibnall.
 

Phantoon

I cuss you bad
1) I'd argue sending somebody to a Nazi death camp is quite a lot lower than (hateful) cosplay. When you use signifiers of actual monsters and actual genocide you have to tread more carefully than this. The old series went nowhere near the Nazis for bloody good reason. Of course, The Master will always escape, but it's different to leaving him to made-up monsters with their egg-whisk ray guns.

2) Fair enough.

3) Yes, but what's Barton get out of it? He's the main driver of much of the plot and he gets nothing out of this deal as far as we can see. The Master never gets anything out of their plots, apart from the occasional disintegration

4) While this may be true, that was a very long time ago and it was used as a sci-fi trope. Once people thought about the realities of mind wiping it became a lot more troubling as a concept, particularly nonconsensual. Since then the Doctor hasn't really done it, regardless of how world-breaking that knowledge might be. The last time there was a mind wipe I can remember was Hell Bent, and it made a big deal of how immoral it was.

5) It's lack of care in the writing. The Doctor knows full well what's waiting for her. There's no optimism to be had.

6) The Time War was never something they were building to, it was a metatextural explanation for why Doctor Who disappeared off TV for years and years. He was in the Time War, deal with it. Also the feeling that the Time Lords had become overexposed, and it was useful to give some interesting character development to the Doctor. Destroying Gallifrey is a hell of a thing to do if you're not going to get some serious dramatic gravity from it. Particularly about two years after it was undestroyed. You shouldn't Professor X's Mansion Gallifrey. It remains to be seen if this will happen...
 
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