Arachnids In The UK

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  • #65056
    Craig @craig
    Emperor

    Arachnids In The UK

    Like “The Woman Who Fell to Earth” and “Rosa”, this title also references pop culture, this time “Anarchy in the UK” by the Sex Pistols. Is “The Ghost Monument” a reference to something I’m just not getting?

    Just in time for Halloween, hopefully this will be a scary one. My first memory of Doctor Who is Jon Pertwee in the final episode of “Planet of the Spiders”.

    The Doctor, Yaz, Graham and Ryan finally arrive in modern-day Yorkshire after the Doctor’s many attempts to get them back home – there’s a whole load of Big Finish stories already waiting to be written. They discover that something is happening with the spiders in Sheffield.

    This one is written by Chris Chibnall again (he’s been busy) and guest stars Chris Noth – he was Mr Big in “Sex In The City” and was also a star of “Law & Order” (which Bradley Walsh was in, in the UK).

    It’s directed by Sallie Aprahamian, who has previously directed shows such as “Wolfblood”, “Teachers”, “The Lakes” and (one of my favourites) “This Life”. So she’s well practised at handling a large cast of characters.

    #65071
    Craig @craig
    Emperor

    Well, the special effects have come a long way.

    #65072

    So, Chris Noth’s character definitely not based on anyone in particular… (Angry Virgin annoyance factor: 5/10);

    Dialogue direction and editing much tighter than so far. Wonder where this was in the production schedule;

    No aliens…

    Touching sequence with Graham and Memory Grace;

    Good banter among team Tardis;

    But a sense of peril somewhat missing this week.

     

    #65075
    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @pedant

    But a sense of peril somewhat missing this week.

    Comedy horror, I think. I was laughing my socks off, anyway – though that may be because ‘fear of spiders’ appears to be absent from the Bluesqueakpip genome. But there were definitely a few places where even I was going ‘Yikes, that’s a BIG spider’.

    They were lovely spiders. Really good CGI, very alive, much better than the ones in Kill The Moon.

    I am now completely sold on the Whittaker Doctor. Things were starting to come together for me last week, but this week’s story cemented it. She’s the Doctor. 😀

    #65076
    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    @craig – ahh that’s a cracking good story, Planet of the Spiders, Metebelis III and the blue crystals etc.

    Giant spiders have also featured rather marvellously in Tolkein, especially the menacing Shelob we all know and love, and then there’s Aragog the flesh-eater in Harry Potter.

    Arachnids in the UK (apart from the Sex Pistols title) didn’t really zing for me, as a script. Some Harry Potter or Tolkein jokes or mentions would have helped, as would the Doctor at least clearly checking to see if the spiders were aliens.

    The greedy, trigger-happy, polluting American businessman/ Trump stand-in was suitably loathsome, but the fact that the villain was yet again a selfish scumbag human, just like Krastos last week (if we assume Krastos’ was of Earth-origin) could have been leveraged a little more.

    I’d have liked a furious speech from the Doctor about the environment and keeping the planet in balance. I mean, if you’re going to go with an environmental pollution story, then fully leverage it, given the urgency of the times?

    A speech to the dying spider mother would have worked too. If the Doctor can speak “baby” I don’t see why she can’t speak “giant spider”.

    Obviously, the “real” narrative was about the companions feeling disconnected from their old lives in Sheffield on their return: Yaz not normally bringing friends home and getting ribbed by her rather mean sister; Ryan getting a letter from his Dad and feeling affronted by it (for inviting him to live with him, after not being at his Nan’s funeral) and Graham finding it deeply upsetting to be amongst all Grace’s things now that she’s gone. The Doctor’s own loneliness, evidenced by her ready eagerness to be invited to Yaz’s for tea, formed the other half of the magnetic pull of “Team TARDIS” back towards one another.

    The Doctor was back in a blue T-shirt. So now we’ll have to wait for another “back in the past” (relative to the companions’ present) story to see if a red shirt accompanies that and we can starting mark blue for present and future and red for past as “a thing” in costume deliberations.

     

     

    #65077
    Rob @rob

    Evening All

    My better half observed the warning that the Doctor gave all her companions of not being able to promise safety as being a feminine trait that was new to Who, I can’t think of any previous regenerations warning new companions so bluntly either.

    Pretty good episode,  especially felt for Graham’s dealing with Grace’s ghost.

    #65078

    @bluesqueakpip

    Definitely about the CGi. Someone had done some actual motion analysis AND grasped that big chitin-based lifeforms are not viable.

    Also, Ryan’s shadow puppets int he background. Absolutely LOLled at that.

    #65079
    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    Things tend not to gel for me until the second watch but on first impressions I really didn’t love this. In fact, I found myself even checking the video playback bar a couple of times to see how much of it I had left. My main complaint, I think, is that it seemed built on just too many coincidences to bring the everyone together into that hotel. There’s an element of that in Who at the best of times but it was just a bit too clumsily done in this story I think. It wanted to evoke The Green Death I think but really by the end this was feeling more like The Lazarus Experiment to me.

    But things to like: the spiders looked great for the most part, although maybe the CGI was a little ropey in parts. And Chris Noth gave a fantastic, utterly batshit performance as Robertson. I do hope we see him again — if for no other reason than I was hoping for the Doctor to do a ‘doesn’t she look tired’ moment on him at the end and I’d still like that to happen.

    Bradley Walsh continues to be great as Graham too. I really like that we have a TARDIS companion like him, one who you’d just never expect to travel with the Doctor. And he’s really conveying a man struggling with grief, even in his quieter, more mundane moments. Although his scenes with Grace were just wonderful too. The scenes with Yaz’s family were terrific too. If there’s one thing CC can do it’s families, family dynamics and ordinary, likeable characterisation. He’s better at it than even RTD, I’d say, and certainly than SM. I think WhitDoc might be the first one since Pertwee who could work pretty well in a prolonged Earth setting.

    Talking of which, Whittaker is just not working for me. Which is annoying because I really, really want to like her. It’s not that I dislike her performance as such as it seems to be unable to break free from the generic Doctor template. And her performance in Adult Life Skills, if nothing else, leads me to believe that she could do so much more with it if she let herself go a bit. I just keep getting a vibe of nervousness from her so far.

    I tend to divide the Doctors into ones who truly were The Doctor for me — Troughton, Pertwee, Baker I, McGann, Smith, Capaldi, even McCoy by the end — and ones who are just a Doctor, ones who are just kind of there and who never really sold me — Davison, Eccleston, Tennant, Baker II, Hartnell — and I suspect WhitDoc is going to be the latter for me.

    Maybe it’ll improve on another viewing, but I was significantly underwhelmed by this one and it was really only the lovely character beats that kept me watching.

    #65080
    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @rob
    Yes, I noticed that. In fact, I remember saying for The Woman Who Fell To Earth that the Whittaker Doctor seemed to be considerably more honest than previous incarnations.

    But I don’t think it’s necessarily a ‘female’ thing. If you think about it, things have ended badly for every single AG Who Companion. It may simply be that this more honest incarnation has decided that not only can’t she keep her Companions safe, but letting them think she can at least contributed to Clara’s death. Better to admit it – and at least their run started with a death, so they know the stakes.

    #65081
    Cath Annabel @cathannabel

    @juniperfish I’m almost sure the t-shirt started off blue, was red for a bit, then back to blue.  Would have to rewatch to be sure…

    Plot-wise I felt it left a bit too much dangling, as it were.  The mummy spider was dead, and the other hotel spiders were in Not Donald Trump’s panic room, but what about all the others?  There was the one that killed the Uni admin person who worked on the spider project, there was one at Graham’s place, and the implication that there were or could be more…

    But I agree that the heart of the narrative was the homecoming – shortlived as it turned out – of Team Tardis.  Graham made me tear up, again.  That I did not expect when I saw that Bradley Walsh was in the cast.

    #65082
    Rob @rob

    @bluesqeakpip

    Rose got a happily ever after though. … eventually……… I think

    #65083
    steve mcclean @stevemcclean

    YOU MIGHT AS WELL FAST FORWARD THROUGH THE WHOLE EPISODE, THERE IS NO STORY, THE SAME AS THE PREVIOUS EPISODES, WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON???? MAYBE THE SERIES SHOULD TIME WARP TO THE NEXT DOCTOR ALREADY, THIS ONE IS ABSOLUTELY USELESS, ESPECIALLY THE WAY SHE POINTS THE SCREWDRIVER, DUH!!!

    #65084
    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @stevemcclean

    YOU HAVE LEFT YOUR CAPS LOCK BUTTON ON. IT’S ON THE LEFT OF THE KEYBOARD.

    #65085
    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @rob

    Yes, after much angst she eventually ended up with the Doctor-Donna clone with the human lifespan.

    But on the whole, I don’t think ‘You’ll end up trapped in an entirely different dimension’ counts as ‘being kept safe’, even if Rose did end up with a wealthy Dad, a boyfriend and possibly a TARDIS.

    @jimthefish

    Yes, that’s how I felt about the Capaldi Doctor. Hopefully the Whittaker Doctor isn’t going to be like that for you.

    @pedant
    Yes, those shadow puppets! I’d love to know if that was in the script, or was something the actor came up with.

    #65086
    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    @bluesqueakpip I am now completely sold on the Whittaker Doctor.

    Yes, me too, I love her.

    And you’re right there were some decent comedy-horror moments.

    The bit that made me laugh was all the spiders legging it double-quick towards the Stormzy track Ryan was blasting out. How did he know they were going to love Grime?!

    I really wanted Jack Robertson to get his spidery comeuppance, and like you @jimthefish, felt quite unsatisfied that he didn’t. But, following on from Rosa, with its call to us all to stand up and not be bystanders, I guess the fact the Doctor didn’t fix everything – not environmental pollution, not gun-toting shark-businessmen who would be President, is the point.

    We can’t wait for the Doctor, or anyone else, to fix earth’s problems. We have to do it ourselves. A rather sombre message, for sombre times.

    #65087
    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @rob I agree with @bluesqueakpip that this is character development rather than a gender shift. I have always been a little concerned that certain changes to the character coming with the change of sex could seem to Say Things about differences between the sexes which I don’t personally think are true. And it’s hard to watch TV without a certain amount of baggage. In the opening scene, despite Who’s long history of the Tardis taking people not where they want, but where they need to go, I kept seeing ‘woman drivers’ jokes.

    #65088
    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @pedant loved the shadow puppets! Nicely done too, just there, in the background, easy to miss. Wish he’d done deformed rabbit, though, that’s my favourite.

    #65089
    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    I love certain parts of this, little things ‘do you know how annoying it is when my husband’s right?’ The Doctor trying to do smalltalk. Ryan’s shadow puppets. Graham, throughout this episode, was fantastic, and Ryan inching a little closer to that covered ‘grandad’ saying he didn’t like his father retiring to himself as Ryan’s ‘proper family’.

    The spiders were brilliantly well done. And the plot was fine, but, not really concluded. I suppose the spider in the flat next to Yaz’s will eventually starve to death behind that barrier, and the others eventually die in the panic room. I’m not going to preach, I’ve had recourse to the vacuum cleaner too many times to be entitled to an opinion on that – but the fact is that shooting the mother spider was something of a merciful death, it’s the motives of Trump: the sequel that made that wrong thing to do. It felt like a good set up suddenly easily resolved by playing some music to lure them into a space and then leaving them. I liked it when she spoke to the first spider, said she was going to try and sort things out. Just doesn’t feel as though she did.

    And what about the spider in Graham’s house? We established that the one next to Yaz’s probably got there because of the woman who lived there. But what about Grahams? What about the ones out there causing the normal spider population to act weird?

    Additionally, though I did sympathise with the mutated spiders, when they were talking of them as living beings etc it seemed like the kind of argument only vegans who grow all their own food can reasonably make.

     

    #65090
    Craig @craig
    Emperor

    @jimthefish I don’t know if you noticed, but next week one of the main characters is played by Brett Goldstein, who was Whittaker’s quirky love interest in “Adult Life Skills”. Now, that could be incestuous casting, or it could mean an episode with some great chemistry. Maybe that will be her chance to really let go.

    #65091
    Mudlark @mudlark

    Definitely not one for arachnophobes, especially now that they can be made to appear so realistic. We’ve come a long way since Planet of the Spiders. Like @pedant, I was particularly glad to see how the plot took into account the physiology of spiders, and the fact that there is a limit to the size which the metabolism of an insect or arthropod can sustain. The joke about the spider in the bath, with the suggestion that it was coming up through the drain pipe was a bit of a tease, but it made me smile. The poor things fall in, of course, and then can’t climb out and need rescuing. I strongly disapprove of people who turn the taps on and flush them away.

    The episode carried quite a burden of political, economic and environmental messages, but overall it was quite deftly done, and Chibnall got in several very pointed digs including; ‘What is wrong with you people? Why can’t you do what normal people do? Get a gun, shoot things, like a normal, civilised person’. How often have I read things to that effect when gun control is the subject of trans-Atlantic debate.  The real monsters once again were human in origin: this time created inadvertently by human greed and the short sighted pursuit of profit. The unfortunate spiders were just the unforeseen by-product, doing what spiders do as far as they could in the circumstances.

    Shades of Doomwatch, for those of us in the UK old enough to remember it.

    Within the spider plot we see the personal lives and relationships of Graham, Ryan and Yaz explored and developed further and to good effect. But most impressive of all was the sensitive way in which Graham’s grief was portrayed. His holding her coat to his face to catch her scent, and the way in which he sensed her presence in their house rang particularly true. ‘The thing about grief, it needs time’;  and so it does, and something with which to occupy oneself. And how better than in the space and time offered by the Tardis?

    Team Tardis; yes, because that is how I have been thinking of them for the past week.

     

     

    #65092
    MadTimeTravellingScot @madtimetravellingscot

    So, another Sunday night, another episode.

    “Rosa” was nearly unsurpassable for me, so all but impossible for tonight to make any kind of mark. But it failed to even get close, I’d have to say.

    Spiders, yeah. Frequent baddies, @craig. Empress of Racnoss was a bit meh at the time.

    Today’s eight-legged ones weren’t baddies at all, of course, just an abused species plot tool. Failed to be heroes or any kind of cause. The episode was a missed opportunity to get our all too natural life companions on our side. Oh well. There’s still snails, maybe…

    The character back-story development did work well. Let’s see what next week brings. More co-authoring, please god.

    #65093
    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    @craig

    I didn’t know that and that pleases me greatly. They worked really well together in ALS.

    #65094

    @bluesqueakpip

    Yes, those shadow puppets! I’d love to know if that was in the script, or was something the actor came up with.

    I was thinking exactly the same. I think I’m going with inspired improv until proven otherwise.

    #65095
    RequireThis @mrswho

    I bloody LOVED last weeks Rosa Parks ep (“excuse me Dr King, Yes, Rosa Parks” teeheee) so this ep was always gonna have to try hard but I just felt it was a bit forced and fake. Loved Graham going home for the first time. The spiders were proper creepy (even if they weren’t proper baddy aliens) and the growing romance between Yaz n Ryan is really sweet. Also really liked meeting Yaz’ family. Lots more stuff there potentially.

    But the “nasty yank” character was weak af! As was the wedging in of the inclusive lesbian character at the beginning. I mean, have lesbians! Just mention it in passing if it needs to be mentioned, not to score points for inclusiveness.

    Praying next week gets back to proper baddies, brilliant accompanying music and lovable buffoonery.

    #65096
    Craig @craig
    Emperor

    @jimthefish As long as he doesn’t ask her about her period 😉

    For anyone offended – it’s in the film!

    #65097
    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @mrswho was it really mentioned more than in passing?

    #65098
    ardaraith @ardaraith

    Yea, I’m sold.  I have enjoyed every one of the new episodes.  This one was scary, emotional, sciency, and funny.  I really like that the Doctor got explicit consent from the companions about coming along (and the TARDIS even watched for and observed this with that big blue geometric shape).  I was overjoyed to see bubble wrap in the time vortex at the beginning (one of my early memories of Who was a green bubble wrap monster).  I also rather like that the bad guys simply leave at the end, because that’s life.  We persist, we stand as best we can for what we believe, yet the bad guys aren’t tidily disposed of.  So yea, really enjoying this new Who.

    #65099
    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    I really enjoyed the exchange between Yaz and the Doctor when Yaz’s Mum asked: “Are you two seeing each other?”

    The Doctor: “I don’t think so…. Are we?”

    Yaz: <frowning at her Mum’s question> “We’re friends!”

    Doctor <giving a silent “Oh, OK then!” look, of general agreeable cluelessness, in the background>

    I love it both for leaving the new Doctor’s sexuality fluid (as befits a gender-fluid alien) and for the character continuity with previous Nu Who Doctors, who have often been quite awkward and unclear about human rules for intimacy.

    Never forget SmithDoc bursting out of the paper cake at Rory’s stag do in The Vampires of Venice, only to announce that Amy had tried to kiss him, but not to worry, she was a “great kisser” – awks!!

    @mrswho As was the wedging in of the inclusive lesbian character at the beginning. I mean, have lesbians! Just mention it in passing if it needs to be mentioned, not to score points for inclusiveness.

    It was just mentioned in passing, that Mr Robertson’s employee was “family” because she was married to his niece. That was it.

    That’s one of the consistent, and for my money, amazing (thanks RTD who started it all) threads running through Nu Who – LGBT people and aliens exist, and there they are, just part of the everyday fabric of reality. Remember the Cassinis (married couple) in Gridlocked?

     

    Just like that. It’s not “scoring points”, it’s representing the universe as it is – as Mr. Spock would say, “infinite diversity in infinite combinations”.

    #65100
    bendubz11 @bendubz11

    I don’t mind the smallish spiders, but really anything much bigger than a Tarantula starts to get me, so I couldn’t fully enjoy the episode. Still okay though, effectively built in reasons for the crew to join WhitDoc, and all the supporting characters contributed to the story.

    I noticed that the number of aggressive acts to the storyline threat at the episode climax is up to 3 from 4 now. First the pushing Tim Shaw off the edge, then Krasko being shot back to the past, and now the hotel owner shooting the spider. Fully expecting that number to reach half a dozen before the series finale, definitely feels like CC is trying to reinforce the lesson that violence should be condemned, and by having so many villains surviving their episode there’s the potential for the Doc to save the day by tricking them into attacking themself or something similar.

    #65101
    lisa @lisa

    Mr. Big as Trump light.  He was a totally nonsense bad guy. So was most of this episode. The

    song was a good choice and  Graham has a few nice moments, Yaz’s family  also had some

    fun moments.

    I’m still not a fan of this Doctor.  I can’t connect with a Doctor that keeps bringing up that

    she’s feeling  some how disconnected from her own self. It feels to me like she isn’t completely

    grounded and I don’t like this “scattered” approach.  Particularly since they made this Doctor a she!

    Why did they make the first female Doctor come off as so scattered?  That’s a very unfortunate

    decision for me.

    #65102
    LionHeart564 @lionheart564

    comedy This episode’s plot had me very confused. First I personally disagree with the doctor stance on human killing spiders. I understand those spiders isn’t “evil” because they were just being animal without any intellect to understand the very concept of evil,but they’re still human killing spiders that can’t be reason with which definitely make them monsters. The Doctor in the past has no been this kind to monsters. She said it herself in the past, She is the one who fights the monsters. Maybe 13th just takes 12th’s last massage very very to the heart. Second I just can’t see how a slow death by suffocating is more humane than a quick death by gun shots.If the resonance was using guns will be tactical unwise then I will be fine with that. This just feel like the doctor’s moral compass is somewhere off, not using gun is more important then actually reducing suffering.

    So all in all I am not very pleased about this episode’s plot. But there is something I do like in this episode. The doctor’s friends and the doctor herself are great, especially the last scene where Yaz, Ryan and Graham told  the doctor they want to go with her and she use a  serious face when warned them about the dangers then become very cheerful once they showed still wanted go with her is very nicely done. It show everyone’s reasons wanted to travel with the doctor and the doctor’s growth after so many companions’ life got destroy because of her but her longing for company to coping with loneliness,even the first scene shows this very well. The comedy is not bad, particularly the part Yaz’s mom asked whether She and Doctor are seeing each other. I do hope Yaz is actually bi rather then just put   there for comedy. It will be nice to see a LGBTQ+ muslin woman being depict in main stream media.

    Ps: I am Chinese so English is not my first language, if you see anything wrong with my grammar I am sorry.

    #65108
    geoffers @geoffers

    @craig – indeed they have, and aren’t we glad? 😀  i confess, i’ve only been able to watch a few eps before tom baker’s run, precisely because the production values and special effects were so, so terribly low. i think story synopses are the way to go for me, for the first three incarnations. [and is that clip from an 80’s “update,” like some of the more popular stories from baker’s era? it looks so 80’s to me, and not at all from the late 60’s, early 70’s!]

    @lisa – “I can’t connect with a Doctor that keeps bringing up that she’s feeling  some how disconnected from her own self. It feels to me like she isn’t completely grounded and I don’t like this “scattered” approach.”

    i feel this a bit, too. capaldi took a few eps to develop into his character, as well, but eventually got there. i hope whittaker settles in soon, too. she seems to own the role in interviews i’ve seen, so i have to have confidence that at some point in the filming process she got there, and we just have to wait for that moment… and we’ll know it when we see it? 🙂

    @cathannabel – “The mummy spider was dead, and the other hotel spiders were in Not Donald Trump’s panic room, but what about all the others?  There was the one that killed the Uni admin person who worked on the spider project, there was one at Graham’s place, and the implication that there were or could be more…”

    my understanding was that mummy spider was the main cause of all the “gather humans” activity, and that once she was gone (and her pheromones) that any other larger spiders would revert back to their normal, hiding in the dark, scavenging for themselves ways? but this does bring up the implication that this adventure might have quickly become a non-adventure, and taken care of itself in just a short time, if the gang hadn’t shown up to investigate. (i’m getting a strong scooby doo vibe from team tardis, and expect K-9 to show up at any moment!)

    as for the ep overall, i enjoyed it, and it flowed much more naturally than the first three, for me. [i really love the tardis travelling from wormhole to wormhole bit.] perhaps my brain has finally gotten a grasp on chibbers’ style? now, please, bring on some epic alien threat, already!! lol

    #65109
    geoffers @geoffers

    @miapatrick – “but the fact is that shooting the mother spider was something of a merciful death, it’s the motives of Trump: the sequel that made that the wrong thing to do”

    yes, i think, had robertson simply pointed out that it would be a mercy, the doctor might have entertained the idea for a moment (and maybe even appreciated the offer)… but would then have promptly rejected it, as too violent. if she could have talked to the spider and gotten its opinion on the matter (whether it wanted a quicker, less painful death or not), maybe i could see her assisting it in some way*… just never that violently. (sorry, creatures and aliens of all types, you have to “naturally” suffocate or starve, i can’t shoot you!)

    *didn’t smithdoc assist the space minotaur on its way, in the creepy hotel ep, with amy and rory? but only because it communicated to him that that was its wish?

    #65111
    MissRori @missrori

    I liked this one — it managed to be spooky without being gratuitously scary or gross, and while I agree the A-plot came to an abrupt (if surprisingly dark) ending, the SFX work was excellent, there were lots of good comic beats, and the B-material about Yaz, Ryan and Graham learning you can’t go home again and realizing that they want and need more time with the Doctor even with the risks it has — and I definitely think Thirteen still is haunted by her previous self not being able to give companions happy endings (at least, not on his own) — was very well handled.

    I do think it’s interesting that Thirteen is having to face the fact that there’s only so much she can do against the darker nature of humanity.  I’ve noticed of late commentaries about the current superhero boom that point out that in the end, the characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, et.al. end up only reinforcing a status quo for humanity.  They can get rid of crazy alien/high-tech threats, but never seem concerned with economic/class inequality, the refugee crisis, famines, etc. even though they have abilities and technology that could be turned to positive ends in those situations.  (TVTropes calls this issue “Reed Richards Is Useless”, after the scientist in Fantastic Four)  Do they really save the world if they’re not addressing those problems?   (The fact that a lot of these superheroes are white, cisgender males doesn’t help, nor does the recent pushback from traditionalist fans against trying to diversify franchises, resulting in such ugly situations as Comicsgate.)  At least the poor Doctor has knowledge that, as a time-and-space traveler who needs to keep the Web of Time intact (and who saw humanity pay dearly for a previous self ousting Harriet Jones), there really is only so much she can fix.

    On the lighter side, the spiders being lured to the safe room reminded me of a great early-1990s episode of The Simpsons, “Whacking Day”.  Springfield has an annual tradition of luring all the harmless native snakes to the center of town to whack them to death with sticks, which upsets sensitive Lisa.  When Bart (who’s being homeschooled at the time) reads Bob Woodward’s The Truth About Whacking Day, which reveals the tradition has had its true nature distorted over the decades (it was originally a way to pick on the Irish, though an Irishman remembering it says “‘Twas all in good fun”), he and Lisa decide to lure the snakes away from the town square via vibrations.  As it happens, the great soul singer Barry White was supposed to perform at the festival but didn’t realize it was a snake-killing celebration until he got there, whereupon he quit in disgust, so he ends up providing the deep bass rumble needed to save the snakes once Bart rigs up some speakers.  🙂

    #65113
    tardigrade @tardigrade

    This one was a bit of a mixed bag for me. Overall I found it fairly enjoyable though.

    I thought the spiders were well realised and generally looked quite real. Not really much scare factor to them though. Arachnophobes may disagree 🙂

    The interactions between the companions were generally well done and we learned a good deal more about Yaz in particular. Looked at impartially, you can see why the Doctor might come across as lesbian- relatively short hair, androgynous clothing and something like a rainbow motif on her top. So to Yaz’s family, who appear to want to see her paired up, it’s not that unreasonable for them to wonder if they’re involved, even if Yaz isn’t openly bi. The Doctor’s clueless answer when asked doesn’t appear to have put that suspicion to rest.

    I thought the segments where Graham was interacting with an imaginary Grace were highlights and gave a genuine reason why he would want to go with the Doctor rather than hanging around at home. More so maybe than Ryan and Yaz, who appear to be motivated more typically from a desire for more adventure.

    However, I thought that the plot was patchy, with the main problem being the lack of a conclusion – the anticlimax when facing the big spider and indeterminate fate for the spiders lured into the panic room meant that the story just petered out. I think they couldn’t really address what happened to the spiders in the panic room, as it would make it more obvious that shooting wasn’t really that bad an option ethically (as @lionheart564 suggests- welcome to the board btw).

    The character of the rich American came close to working, but was left a bit too cliched. I suspect we’ll see more of him. Still, I enjoyed the line “What’s wrong with you people? What’s wrong with this country? Why don’t you do what normal people do? Get a gun, shoot things like a civilised person”. Which is a pretty good summary of the American version of civilisation.

    #65121
    Craig @craig
    Emperor

    @juniperfish At the end of the episode The Doctor had changed to the red-ish T-shirt. And looks to be wearing it next week, which looks like it is set in the future, or at least in space. I think your colour-coding is working so far.

    #65123
    EmmaKay @emmakay

    I am truly enjoying the new doctor. I have watched the Dr. since Tom Baker days and I realize that the Dr. travels our universe and many others stamping out evil and protecting the earth but I don’t remember the Dr. being so political. Last week the show was based on civil rights in the United States, and this week it hovered over environmental issues and how we are destroying our globe. I don’t like being preached to. We all know what the destructive issues on our planet are and the political ones also. I don’t want to be lectured to I want to be entertained. Come on Dr. Who writers statements are being made every day about everything imaginable we tune into this show for entertainment and the zaniness of the doctors. Please stop preaching and start entertaining again

    #65124
    Kevin Who @kevinwho

    I really enjoyed this one, laughed myself silly for the first 45 minutes.

    Two episodes in a row with an American villain.  I started to bristle, then remembered the current president insulting the PM not that long ago, so fair enough.  I hope one day these two close allies can get close again.

    Anyone else getting a sense that we’re going to have a fair number of post-climax slow-paced scenes?  I wonder if that’s so these episodes can be more easily shoved into a one-hour time slot in the future.

    #65127
    Miapatrick @miapatrick
    #65128
    Arch @arch

    Yeah not my type of episode. Way too many loose ends And script and villain seemed shaky. That aside love graham, Walsh is playing the character very well and I love that we have a mature companion again.

    Seems obvious now that Ryan and yas will end up shacking up at some stage. Plus loving Jodie as the dr, though this episode didn’t do her justice I think the dr is in very safe hands.

    certainly don’t feel the need or desire to rewatch this episode and I haven’t felt that way about a who episode in a very long time. Looking forward to next week though 🙃

     

    #65129
    Kevin Who @kevinwho

    I agree with those here and in the Rosa thread that politics has always been a part of the show, but preachiness?  Is it more heavy-handed this season?  I don’t know.  Maybe.

    @arch – I don’t have as much urge to rewatch this season’s shows as I did the last several, but then I think Moffat’s style rewarded rewatching…and repelled casual fans.  So I’m going to resign myself to it.  Although I do look forward to watching this one again in a year or so, when the humor is fresh for me again.

    #65130
    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    @kevinwho

    Think it was said last week that Who was always kind of preachy. You don’t have to go far to find any of the Doctors giving a big speech — and it’s in fact often one of the more enduring memories of each incarnation and the clip you’ll usually see recycled most often.

    On another note though, wasn’t the time vortex effect in this episode just bloody stunning?

    #65131
    Ekky80 @ekky80

    I have held my breath and tried to sit on the fence. However it feels like the action has replaced the story.

    I thought I had nodded off last night watching Dr who.

    A man shots the spider, Dr said she was dieing anyway. Next was Rayn saying he was going to see the Dr. I watched it twice to check i hadn’t fallen asleep.

    What the hell are the writters doing, were left with more questions. She didnt clean the dump up. Get shot of the spiders walking around yorkshire. Or even the ones in the hotel? They were left in a room full of boxes , last time I checked spiders were not good with double catch locks?

    So far I feel this new Dr feels lost. Not because the actors are bad, or the sets wobble but the fact the Dr lacks direction. Don’t get me wrong I love aspects of the stories but I feel like the writers are missing the fact we like answers.

    What happened to the spiders, Rosa Parks, the boy in ep 1, why did Grace die in ep1? We all knows that during the first 24 hours after regeneration the Dr can save lives. If they are going to mess with us, don’t mess with what we know….

    #65132
    Darth Valaryn @troygorsline

    Big fan of this week’s episode. I little “monster” story for Samhain Holiday.

    Really digging the old school opening sequence. Just the right amount of acknowledging the past in such a new show.

    Only real slight was the cut off at the very end. I the BBCA version, I barely got to enjoy the all hands pulling the Tardis lever before heading straight to the previews.

    Seems the intros are over. Team Tardis in introduced and we are ready to head to next week!

    #65133
    Rob @rob

    @miapatrick

    Excellent link

    @jimthefish

    Apart from the fantastic Rosa I’ve felt the stories are average fare but felt that Whittaker pretty much nailed the role of The Doctor

    Each to their own though and I completely agree with the concept that some are and some just occupy the role

    #65134
    Kevin Who @kevinwho

    <span class=”useratname”>@jimthefish</span> – I suppose the reason this season feels more heavy-handed is I feel that only one point of view is presented.  To use the BG story The Green Death as a contrast, the alternative point of view – “We need jobs” – was only given a relative smidgen of time, but at least those saying it weren’t presented as buffoons or anything.

    That said, I agree with pretty much everybody that racism (in Rosa) doesn’t deserve any alternative view.  I don’t know.  It’s not turning me away or anything, I’m just noticing a difference, even if I have a hard time saying exactly what it is.

    But Rosa was great, and Arachnids was funny (and I don’t expect comedies to wrap up all the loose ends), so good enough for me so far.

    #65136
    hobbyco @hobbyco

    Am I the only one who is noticing that in every episode so far, the “baddy” is white and male (unless they are a “monster”.  Arachnids – yes, the Rosa Parks episode- again white, male and (by the fact they were walking with their wife-heterosexual), although all the white guys were bad. Even the time traveler was… yep.  Was Art Malik a bad guy??

    Yes, script writers, we get the message-it is only white males who are “baddies”. Although in this age of equal opportunities it would be great to see a female “baddy” or a lesbian, transgender, gay or coloured (any one other than white) – apologies to any group the scriptwriters will miss out here.

    Wonder what the next episode will bring us in terms of bad guys. Wonder why everyone will suddenly feel the urge to disagree.

    Drama yes, equal opportunities, yes. That means equal for everyone scriptwriters. White male children need positive role models too!!

    #65137
    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @hobbyco wow, that’s quite a stretch.

    First episode, bad guy was an alien.

    Second episode – yes, I think Art Malik was playing a bad guy. He engineered a death race. So the bad guy was Asian.

    Third episode, the bad guy was a white male. The time traveller. It’s interesting that you’ll reference the wife of one of the other characters to make a point, I don’t know, about how unfair television is these days towards heterosexual people, but you don’t feel her presence and attitudes undermines your argument about men being targeted.  And just skip over the woman in the bar who threw them out.

    Forth episode, the Chris North character was a terrible human being, but he bought about the spiders through stupidity and inattention. You could argue the scientist was almost as responsible as he was (I’m sure a university should pay more attention to how their waste is disposed of.) she’s neither white nor male.

    So no, your theory doesn’t hold up.

     

    #65138
    Darth Valaryn @troygorsline

    @hobbyco

    Please believe me when I tell you it is not my intention to start some huge political debate (I just got over one in the Rosa Forum… neither of our minds changed).

    I just find it very surreal. I have been hearing very similar arguments for years. The best illustration is when I was in college and the Communication Dept. attempted to roll out a Gender Studies major. The reason the major was shot down was because there were only feminine studies with female authors – no men studies. The counter argument was a vast majority of literature were already produced by men so women needed their focus (much like the Fox News argument that all media is liberal bias so to balance things out, there needs to be a blatantly conservative bias).

    I love the genre field. Comics and Sci Fiction and fantasy is my heartbeat. The amount of white, male, super heroes are HUGE (look at all the prior 12 Doctors – all white dudes). We are only four episodes in with the villains being an alien bad guy, a planet, a white racist and spiders. One could argue that’s not really picking on white guys. Sure the politician and the game master (someone not from earth) were  jerks, but the politician  was given his point of view in a equal setting. I didn’t get the vibe his point of view was washed over as evil – he was criticized for not taking accountability for mistakes or cut corners. Not the actual work he was doing.  And sorry to say a vast majority of politicians in the US are white guys… something the liberal voice has been combating for years (I remember a very vocal subcommittee on women’s health was made famous as there weren’t any women invited to the committee).

    Let’s see what is done with the rest of the season before we rush to judgment. Next week they seem to be off planet again so do aliens count as white guys?

    #65139
    Kevin Who @kevinwho

    @hobbyco – Yes, and not just here.  But let’s give the writers this much: In an episode about racism, the villain as personified pretty well has to be white, and in 1955 Alabama, male.

    This episode they wanted to poke at the current US prez, so same thing.

    No doubt we’ll get more aliens, and hopefully a female or two as good as Missy was.

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