Demons of the Punjab

Home Forums Episodes The Thirteenth Doctor Demons of the Punjab

This topic contains 90 replies, has 32 voices, and was last updated by  winston 3 weeks ago.

Viewing 50 posts - 1 through 50 (of 91 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #65540
    Craig @craig
    Emperor

    Demons of the Punjab

    This could be a very interesting one, and hopefully will give Yaz her chance to finally shine. It is written by Vinay Patel, the Bafta-winning writer of one-off drama “Murdered By My Father” and several plays.

    What’s the point of having a mate with a time machine, if you can’t nip back and see your gran when she was younger?

    Team TARDIS arrive in the Punjab in 1947 as India is being partitioned and Pakistan created. As Yaz attempts to discover her grandmother’s hidden history, the Doctor discovers demons haunting the land. Who are they, and what do they want?

    #65545
    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    Okay. Chris Chibnall may have a very different style in mind than Steven Moffat, but that’s the second story this series that’s had me in tears by the closing credits.

    Wow. Especially the idea of a race of aliens who aren’t monsters, who are trying to honour the forgotten fallen. What a theme for Remembrance Day.

    #65546
    Sontaran2589 @sontaran2589

    Wow as an Indian its nice to see representation in one of my favourite shows of all time! Great episode, although it was funny that Yaz’s grandmother Omreen had an English accent in India/Pakistan but an Indian accent in Sheffield. At least now people might begin to recognise some of the impact the British had on the country- one of their favourite methods was to divide and conquer. If the famines and all the tortures inflicted before 1947 weren’t enough they created the mother of all communal riots through setting Hindus and Muslims against one another through Partition as their final “fuck you”.

    #65547
    alexanderbarnstaple @alexanderbarnstaple

    Chibnall really is an amazing writer.

    The Dr again was fantastic.

    This is the best DR Who series ever.

    #65548
    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @sontaran2589 To be fair she’s got an Indian accent when she’s speaking English, but she wasn’t speaking English in India/Pakistan. The Tardis translation unit has given people in Pompi welsh accents in the past.

    #65549
    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    Assuming you mean Rose, there is a bit of a pattern to that… I’m not slamming Chibnall, but I do think he’ll be all the better as a show runner the more he lets other people write episodes.

    #65550
    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    Well, like @bluesqueakpip and @sontaran2589 I loved that.

    Vinay Patel did an amazing job as the script-writer here.

    And the music was wonderful, with all its Indian melodies and notes.

    I loved the Vajarians. I mean, look at them withe their tusks and pointy ears and fabulous rows of eyes:

    And of course, they weren’t the demons of the Punjab at all, but ex-assassins who had become religious guardians of lonely deaths throughout the universe, after the sad destruction of their own planet (perhaps another eddy of the Time War?).

    They might be modelled on the Rakasha, who in Hinduism, are a sort of demon-class of warrior beings (not necessarily “evil” though) with long finger nails and illusionist powers.

    The actual demons of partition were, of course, people, fuelled by sectarianism and the legacies of British colonialism. This seems to be a central theme in Chibnall’s Who. The “real” monsters have been human in Arachnids in the UK, Rosa and now in this episode, when they have followed paths of intolerance and chosen a desecration of the ethic of care (for one another, for the planet/s).

    I like Chibnall’s vision for this Doctor – that we are living in dark times and so the Doctor has GOT to be a light shining in the universe. Her speech about love, officiating at Prem and Umbreen’s bitter-sweet union, was in that vein:

    “Something I believe in – my faith – love – in all its forms – is the most powerful weapon we have, because love is a form of hope, and like hope, love abides in the face of everything….”

    Of course Demons in the Punjab was perfect for Remembrance Day, not only because the Vajarians are “remembrance demons” but because WW1 was a global war.

    There have been a number of debates in the British media-sphere in the past few days, some pointing out the horrid appropriation of “patriotism” to white nationalism by the Tommy Robinson crew, when, for example, one million Indian soldiers died in WW1 fighting on the Allied side.

    We have to ask, are the lights going out on dreams of unity everywhere, right now?

    If any of you saw Macron’s Remembrance Day speech today, a deliberate rebuke to Trump and ethno-nationalisms on the rise in Europe, about nationalism being the opposite of patriotism, you could see history weighing heavy on his shoulders. Where are we heading and what should we do?

    The message I am getting, loud and clear, from this Doctor, is that whilst you can’t always interfere the way you would like to in historical time-lines, in your own time, you can stand up, like Rosa did, like Prem and Umbreen did.

     

     

    #65551

    Still too much “You say your line, I’ll say mine” in the talky bits – which is down to the directors and editors –  but otherwise a bold, clever, thoughtful episode which, as @juniperfish says is wholly appropriate for today, of all days.

    Also much foaming Gammon and frothing Angry Virgins on Twitter (and much piss-taking of the same). It’s almost as if they don’t like brown people and, well, females.

    #65552
    ardaraith @ardaraith

    I wept like a baby. This Doctor, with her make-it-herself attitude, science lessons, trust in her companions, and love – yet, by golly, still fierce in protection, I’m hooked.

    #65553
    Mudlark @mudlark

    Partition was such a difficult subject for a show such as Doctor Who to address, in view of the millions who died in the needless and senseless bloodletting, that I was reluctant even to watch this episode for fear that it would be mishandled, and the title, suggesting the introduction of alien antagonists, was not reassuring. My fears were unfounded and, for what my opinion is worth, this was the best episode yet.

    The title had a double meaning, and the aliens were of course not the real demons at all. As in previous episodes, the monsters were human, or rather the monsters which can be aroused in the human psyche by those who manipulate human fears. The immediate and horrific consequences of partition were brought home without any attempt to portray the larger picture, which would have been wholly inappropriate in this context. The human cost was shown  by focussing with sensitivity on the impact on two families, neighbours and former friends on two sides of the arbitrary boundary, and on two individuals whose destinies were determined  by that line drawn on a map. The culpability of the British government and Lord Mountbatten in rushing through the process of partitioning the sub-continent was alluded to for those attuned to the nuances*, and in the division between two brothers, one who had been away fighting the Japanese and the other who had stayed at home and been radicalised, the consequences of a political struggle between leaders who encouraged and politicised divisions between Muslim and Hindu was illustrated, all without resort to overt exposition.

    The Doctor was, of course, wrong in her assessment of the situation, and her intervention made no difference to the course of events except insofar as she was the intermediary in revealing the purpose of the ‘demons’; to honour and bear witness to the unmarked deaths. As @bluesqueakpip and @juniperfish said, a theme wholly appropriate for today, the centenary of the armistice.

    One exchange among many which stood out for me was the conversation between Yaz and Graham.

    Yaz . I thought I knew my Nan … But if this is true, if this is her life, then she lied to me.

    Graham. … that girl in there, she ain’t your nan, yet. It’s only later that she’ll decide how to tell it. And I honestly don’t know whether any of us know the real truth about our own lives’.

    Having been the recipient of much oral family history, and having done some fairly intensive research on family history in recent years, I can only say, ‘How true’.

    * If there was one thing that the Attlee government really and totally fouled up it was in the way they rushed through the negotiations and formalities of Independence and shrugged off the unresolved difficulties saying, more or less, ‘It’s your problem now and for you to sort out’.  The partition boundary was apparently drawn up by a civil servant in a matter of weeks, on a map and without any knowledge of, reference to or provision for the actual communities on the ground.

    I

    #65554
    #65555
    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    I continue to be conflicted. Clive James once had a line that went something like whenever he found that he shared an opinion with Jane Fonda he immediately had to examine it to figure out what was wrong with it. Similarly, it’s frustrating me that while I have absolutely no truck with the #notmydoctor #whotoopc moron brigade, I find that I’m annoyingly aligned with them in the sense that I’m really, really not liking Series 11 and that the last thing I want to do is give said red pillers succour by being too critical of it.

    That said, this was without a doubt the best episode of S11, superior even to Rosa in terms of character at least. I would never have thought that historicals could work in this day and age and I’m surprised to find myself wishing that with both this and Rosa that they’d had the nerve to ditch the SF trapping altogether and just have faith in the historical drama because it was more than strong enough to carry it. Here the alien assassins while a great design and a great concept too were just distracting from all the interesting family and historical dynamics I found. Chibnall deserves props for really managing to do historicals with a genuinely Hartnell vibe, right down to the ‘non interference’ credo and I’m enjoying that we’re seeing subjects and periods that didn’t fall into the ‘approved white person’s view of history’ that we had in the 1960s.

    The show continues to look and sound great and how awesome was that arrangement of the theme at the end. I loved Murray Gold’s work but Segun Akinola is certainly giving him a run for his money.

    But overall, I’m really not loving this to the point if this week’s hadn’t been quite so good after the two pretty lacklustre episodes that preceded it I would have been hanging up my sonic at least for a while. Punjab has probably piqued my interest sufficiently that I’ll keep stumble on until the end of the series at least but I must admit I am getting deja vu to Season 24, as someone said online I think. I’d also concur with the view I think I saw on Twitter that it feels like a series full of what would be filler episodes in other earlier eras.

    It’s down (at least partially — the overfull TARDIS crew, dodgy writing and weird editing aren’t helping) to WhitDoc. She just doesn’t convince me at all. There’s still that nervousness, like she’s looking out of the screen and going ‘is this Doctorey enough? I think it’s Doctorey enough. Maybe it isn’t….’ It’s not that she’s Colin Baker bad or anything, she’s just bland. It’s like an impersonation or like she’s a Curse of Fatal Death Doctor, although some of those felt as if they brought more conviction to the few lines that they had. Or maybe it’s the mawkishness. Her wedding speech this week (rather like last week’s little speech about love and hope) kind of gave me the boak a little bit. (sorry, @juniperfish) I like a grandstanding, speechifying Doctor but this incarnation of the Doctor seems to be somehow more sentimentally naive than passionate with it.

    #65556
    DrBen @drben

    Two full boxes of Kleenex this week. Beautifully written, performed, and shot.

    @jimthefish I’ll have to respectfully disagree. This season does have a completely different feel from prior seasons, for a multitude of reasons, but Thirteen is undoubtedly the Doctor in my opinion. A bit more unsure and sentimental, perhaps (like some early Eleven), but certainly the same character.

    #65557
    Kevin Who @kevinwho

    I’m afraid I’m with @jimthefish on this one, but maybe even more so.  This isn’t how the episode went, I know, except in my head:

    Doctor: …These people are protected!

    “Demons”: By whom?

    Doctor: By me!  I’m the Doctor, the Bringer of Darkness, the Oncoming Storm, the Imp of the Pandorica, the Beast of Trenzalore!  (deflates)  Well, I used to be.  Now everybody just calls me Doc.

    “Demons”: Hey, we hear ya.  We used to be the Vajarian Hive, the deadliest assassins in the known universe.  How cool was that!  Now we just stand around a lot while terrible things happen to other people.

    Doctor: Me too, actually.  Let’s stand around together.  Fancy a biscuit?

    I’m not saying anyone else should feel this way, I don’t want to ruin anyone else’s enjoyment.  But I only enjoyed the first twenty minutes or so, and then…well…

    #65559
    Notime @notime

    Enjoyed the episode…..except for the doctor turning her back and walking away as the trigger is pulled.  She swore she would never do that…..again.   I guess that old saying is still true…..”The Doctor lies”.

    Was completely unfamiliar with the story of India>Pakistan partition….from the people’s perspective that is.  Glad I was able to hear the story being told this way.   I think I will read Macron’s speech again.  Might be some parallels there…

    Did anyone else get the impression the grandmother remembers?   Perhaps she was waiting for Yaz to say something first so they can talk about what happened?   Has to keep the secret from her until she is sure Yaz had the experience in her own timeline.  Could be the reason the grandmother was so grumpy when she gave her the watch…..because by her reaction she knew that Yaz hadn’t traveled back yet.  Good guess though….Yaz was the correct age and wearing the clothes from grandma’s wedding day.

    Need a re-watch…..didn’t the “witnesses” threaten the travelers early in the episode?   And….were they even needed for this story?  Phantom menace for sure…

     

    #65560
    Arch @arch

    I liked the episode. Certainly made me feel, which is always good. The aliens did nothing for me though, I just couldn’t get into them.

    The story itself was well written, acting good, nothing wrong with any single element but when brought together they just didn’t gel for me. I think WHO is at its best when it’s not steeped in real world history, the problem with real historical events is it grounds things too much for me in reality.

    The occasional episode is awesome but we have had two heavy reality episodes so far this season and it’s just to much feels for me. I’m enjoying the new Dr but let’s get her back into space fighting aliens and off earth for a while.

    #65561
    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    Main takeaway from this episode: Chibnall has excellent taste in writers. And the focus of this series is the importance of people.

    For a while I was a little excited there, arch wise, it felt as though we had our third episode of people being targeted by aliens or people from the future. Instead we got something very interesting, Aliens, the last of their kind (the Doctor knows how that feels for all the time her previous incarnations thought they were exactly that) who have changed, from assassins, to altruistic witnesses of deaths with an attitude that chimes with 11 saying that he’d never met a person who didn’t matter.

    I’m fully expecting outrage about ‘white people bad, PC gone mad’ (though I thought Yaz kept her cool rather well 😉 )from some quarters (the Other Place has closed down comments within a couple of hours). But this was very well done, the culpability of the English in Partition was made perfectly clear, exacerbating and encouraging cultural tensions, but once again the big bad was prejudice between people who no longer shared a nationality. So no, Doctor Who isn’t simply about ‘white men bad, everyone else good’.

    Speaking of good, I smiled when Graham was talking about how all you can do is try to be a good man. Sadly, though, because especially after his comment last week about the brother complaining about the sister lying to him about her health, his response to Yaz feeling lied to by her grandmother – before he got to the point that this young woman isn’t her grandmother yet definitely makes me think his cancer isn’t in remission, or at lest, he’s pretty sure he’s dealing with a limited time frame. Which is a shame, because I love him as a companion but I’m convinced he’s only here for the one series. (Actually, I have mixed feelings because, as a guilty pleasure, I do enjoy The Chase.)

    If we want an arch, though – who was it who destroyed their planet? Who decided to wipe out a race of assassins?

    Re: the wedding, it was quite sweet, a little too sweet, though that was undercut by the fact we knew she knew the husband would be dead within hours. I know this is a fresh start and all that, but I did think their could have been some extra poignancy from the fact that the Doctor’s wife died still quite recently in her timeline, especially with the hand binding. It’s not as though River was only really married to Eleven.

    There will be complaints about not enough Sci-Fi, that the aliens didn’t really contribute all that much to the plot. But I like this return to the original concept of historical, educative episodes. And this was a wonderful episode for remembrance day, firstly for the theme of remembering the dead – in this case as individuals, which gets lost, inevitably, with mass deaths. Secondly for reminding us that it wasn’t just European soldiers who died in the World Wars (clue is in the name, but some people need reminding). And Thirdly for reminding us of the impact on the people who didn’t go and fight, the impact of the people who stayed at home. Interestingly, no one was wearing poppies, but there were poppies growing on the ground.

    #65562
    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @notime problem is, if she saved him, Yaz wouldn’t exist. Which also means they wouldn’t have travelled back there. Too much paradox. Besides, the Doctor’s words were ‘when people ask for help, I never say no’. She wasn’t asked to save him.

    I think it makes a point as well, you can’t just run around taking away all the bad things that happen. Other things, including good things, happen in part because of them.  It would also be incredibly selective, this one individual survives because the Doctor met and liked him. All those other millions still die?

    The impression I get from Who is that there is a general timeline the Doctor can’t, or shouldn’t change. The Doctor can intervene to re-establish it if someone else interferes. Time is relatively robust and deals with minor alterations, so the Doctor’s response to the ‘don’t step on a Butterly’ trope is fairly dismissive.

    I don’t know if the grandmother remembers her. It would be strange to have a granddaughter born and given a name/nickname that seems oddly familiar. Then see this granddaughter grow up and look more and more familiar. Then remember how strange that time was. Would you be more likely to think this was a weird co-incidence (given that Yaz claimed to be related after all) or that time travel exists and this is actually the same person? We know she’s in a science fiction series, she doesn’t. A lot of time passed, and Yaz would have grown slowly into the resemblance. But it is possible she came to make the connection, especially if she was told her granddaughter has started hanging around with a blond woman, a middle aged man, a young black man, given that this is a world which has seen something of aliens etc.

    I think what the witnesses said was ‘leave now or we’ll stand over your corpse’. Which sounded understandably like a threat, I think their language and vocabulary was after all built up as a culture of assassins, and takes a while to evolve. What they literally meant was ‘if you don’t get out of here you’ll probably die, and we’ll act as witnesses to you’. Understandable confusion due to their reputation, and maybe a quick lesson about the importance of really listening and not being so quick to judge. And in the context of the extremist brother, a counter balance: people can change in bad ways, but in good ways as well.

    #65563
    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @jimthefish

    I really, really get how you’re feeling – it might just be that Chibnall and the Whittaker Doctor simply aren’t your cup of tea, or it might be that the change from the direction of the Moffat years is so great that it’s going to take a series to get your head round. I’m sort of coming at it from the opposite direction, of course. Only time will tell (sorry!).

    I will say that I feel a blog coming on, which for me is a good sign. Chibnall’s taking us in a very different direction, but it’s definitely Doctor Who. As a few people have already mentioned, Demons of the Punjab would have fitted perfectly well into a Verity Lambert Who directed by Waris Hussein. The difference is that in 1963, the events of Partition were so close that it’s unlikely that the BBC would have let them do it.

    Okay, let’s talk about the ‘nervousness’, because I certainly spotted that last night. This is very much an episode I want to watch again, but I think what Whittaker’s going for might easily be confused with Jodie Whittaker, the actor, being nervous about her performance when it’s actually the Whittaker Doctor, as the Doctor, being nervous about herself.

    Because one of the things that may be happening is that not only are we, the audience, being taken out of our comfort zones (cue Angry Virgins wailing about PC Gone Mad), but the Doctor is covering up that she’s way out of her comfort zone, in oh-so-many ways.

    The Whittaker Doctor was really, really out of her comfort zone last night. She’s taken Yaz back to her own timeline because Yaz is considerably more sensible than Rose ever was, and she knows her well enough now to realise Yaz won’t (and doesn’t) try to divert time from its path.

    But the Doctor herself has to be one of the girls, when she’s always been one of the boys. Then the aliens that she thinks are part of what you might call ‘comfort zone pattern’ – nasty aliens, here to assassinate some innocent human, leading to ‘The Doctor saves the day!’ – aren’t. They’ve moved on.

    Then she has to officiate at a wedding, and talk about faith. The Doctor comes from a culture that hates religion, and she hates acknowledging that she, too, has ‘faith’ in intangible things. And she has to do this while knowing that this marriage is going to be destroyed in a few hours.

    Then she, a rebel Time Lord, has to act like everything she hates about the Time Lords. Not interfere while terrible things are happening.

    ‘is this Doctorey enough? I think it’s Doctorey enough. Maybe it isn’t

    Yeah. Except that this must be the question she’s asking herself throughout. Everything she knows about how to behave as ‘The Doctor’ is pretty much the wrong thing to do.

    @kevinwho

    Now we just stand around a lot while terrible things happen to other people.

    Exactly! And it’s deliberate: it is an artistic choice being made. Vinay Patel chose to have those aliens be non-threatening, and Chris Chibnall approved it. It’s moved on from Rosa, where the Doctor can at least stop another alien from interfering, and moved to a point where the Doctor discovers what ‘don’t interfere’ really, really means.

    It means walking away as a man is murdered. Because the alternative is worse.

    #65564
    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @miapatrick

    I got the definite impression that, while it was left open, Yaz’s Nani had indeed realised that her granddaughter had somehow managed to go back in time to the day of her wedding. That the conversation was in effect saying ‘do you want to talk about it?’, and Yaz acknowledging that she understood how painful it would be for her Nani to have that conversation.

    I suppose that if Nani has never met Ryan or Graham, it’s possible she simply thinks that Yaz is very like that cousin who turned up – but if she has met any of Team TARDIS, it seems impossible that she wouldn’t have realised that they were that oddly assorted (for 1947 Punjab) group who turned up for her wedding. After all, while aliens don’t turn up in Sheffield, and some people still doubt they exist, the Whoniverse has enough experience of them for the obviously very smart Umbreen to realise that such weird goings on can and do happen.

    #65566
    LionHeart564 @lionheart564

    One very good episode, The best one of series 11 in my opinion. I have some limited knowledge of India partition, and this episode handled it very well. If show us the impact of partition on the normal ordinary people, turning friends and families into victims and perpetrators. Very powerful and emotional.

    Doctor’s speech about love and hope echo last episode. I think what I said about who 13 is as the Doctor in the post of last episode is valid.

    Good to see Yaz’s character being developed but I find it is difficult to let everyone of team teads feels involve in single episode so far.

    #65567
    Whisht @whisht

    So my tuppenceworth…
    I actually have the same feelings as @jimthefish (and I wonder if I need to say more about that as he did it far better).

    I really want to like this series. Its just there’s always a couple of moments where I get jolted out of my suspension of disbelief.
    One which seems consistent is when each time the subject is being explained (eg 1950’s segregation; environmental issues or Partition) it feels to me like the Doctor is reading from the school’s syllabus.
    It just doesn’t chime with the rest of the speech patterns.
    The other is some action by the Doctor which to me doesn’t ‘fit’ (this time being the Doctor thinking ‘yeah – lets go and visit your nani’ and some bits of unnecessary gurning).

    But I still feel like I will start liking the series (or at least the next one) as Whittaker’s Doctor finally bakes herself done (hm – that’s clumsily said!).

    Anyway, I did enjoy this week’s episode and think it was the best so far.
    I really enjoyed the guest actors in this one and felt they came across as believable (which to be fair was true of the humans in Rosa too).

    While watching I was less sure of the writer’s decision to have the Doctor tell the others what was about to happen, especially so soon after Rosa. On reflection (ie reading here!) I think it was probably the better choice.

    But to end this on a lighter note I did smile and think of you @pedant when the Doctor says “I love a biscuit”

    ;¬)

    #65569
    janetteB @janetteb

    @mudlark echoes my thoughts

    Partition was such a difficult subject for a show such as Doctor Who to address, in view of the millions who died in the needless and senseless bloodletting, that I was reluctant even to watch this episode for fear that it would be mishandled, and the title, suggesting the introduction of alien antagonists, was not reassuring. My fears were unfounded and, for what my opinion is worth, this was the best episode yet.

    I also wondered how this subject would be tackled as it is so brutal and heartrending and feared that it would be trivialised by suggesting alien intervention. It was well done however. it reminded me strongly of a book I read when studying Post Colonial Lit’, Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh with elements of B.5 thrown in, a strange mix but it worked. Kudos to the scriptwriter. Tackling a subject of such enormity and delivering a script that was suitable for family viewing would be no easy matter.

    I still have lots of comments to read but it is getting late and I might have to leave the remainder until tomorrow by which stage there will be at least another page. I never seem able to catch up these days. (hence my rarely commenting)

    cheers

    Janette

    #65570
    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @whisht

    One which seems consistent is when each time the subject is being explained (eg 1950’s segregation; environmental issues or Partition) it feels to me like the Doctor is reading from the school’s syllabus.

    Absolutely agree that Chris Chibnall needs to up his game on the infodumps. Because that’s what they feel like – and I would say that one area where Jodie Whittaker, the actor, is definitely struggling is those exposition/infodumps – because they’re not written in the style she’s developing.

    It may sort itself out. Next series we’re going to have writers who’ve watched the Whittaker Doctor and have more experience of this iteration of The Doctor; the exposition may be better written for her style.

    #65571
    Kevin Who @kevinwho

    @bluesqueakpip

    …it’s deliberate: it is an artistic choice being made

    I know.  And it’s drawing ratings and mostly favorable response.  I get that.  But that choice is one that’s going to drive me away from about the only tv show I watch.

    #65572
    MissRori @missrori

    Well, if there’s one thing Thirteen’s era is making itself known for besides having the first female Doctor, it’s really knocking the historical-set episodes out of the park.  Last week’s conundrum was serviceable, but this was a genuinely tearjerking episode, both on the human and alien sides of the story, and it’s nice to finally have a truly Yaz-centric storyline (though “Arachnids in the U.K.” was a good try at that).  On the lighter side, how much fun was the whole business with the Doctor officiating the wedding and enjoying the henna application?  😀

    I do understand complaints that this season has been too heavy-handed with socio-political messaging, drawing parallels, and whatnot, but I think the points it’s making are more than valid and aren’t being made enough, if anything.

    Looking forward to next week’s “Kerblam!” — especially as the premise is the sort of satirical story that they could take in either a super-scary or extremely humorous direction.  What will be interesting is where it comes down on the issues it raises, as they are very knotty ones.  Not to mention that a lot of other shows, books, etc. have already done stories of this sort.   🙂

     

    #65576
    Darth Valaryn @troygorsline

    I am really getting into Graham. I didn’t think I would as companions always seem to be younger and naïve. The voice of age, experience and wisdom are a breath of fresh air as Graham is taking everyone – including the Doctor – under his wing and sharing his real world wisdom.

    It’s not cynicism… which seems to be a growing case with a lot of white men (In America at any rate). It is, “I lived through this. This is what I learned. Things aren’t as black and white as they seem. Let’s put yourself in someone else’s shoes before you jump to conclusions.”

    Messages very much needed in today’s very polarized world.

    #65579
    nerys @nerys

    Overall, I thought this was a wonderful episode. However, I thought there were a couple of missed opportunities:

    I know there was a need to simplify a very complex subject, the partition of India. And there was a need to dramatize the two opposing points of view. However, I was surprised that (at least as far as I can recall) there was no mention of the Sikhs, only Hindus and Muslims. (I’m currently reading Arundhati Roy’s The Secret of Utmost Happiness, so of course this is foremost on my mind right now).

    I also felt there was a dramatic missed opportunity. While the Doctor and her companions are walking away, I thought that Yaz should have turned back to witness what happened to Prem. And I can’t imagine, in that circumstance, that Yaz would not have looked back. It didn’t mean that we in the audience had to see it. The expression of horror on her face would have told us everything. As it was, I felt the pain of that moment was muted somewhat.

    Having said all that, I think Vinay Patel did an extraordinary job with this subject matter. The young Umbreen was somehow not as compelling to me as I would have expected. There were moments when I felt her language was too “modern” to be believed, and it was a bit distracting. But the actor who played Prem (Shane Zaza) was riveting. He and Yaz’s current-day grandmother really made the episode, at least for me.

    And, once again, the “demons” are not the aliens, but humans. We are our own worst enemy yet again. Who needs to protect Earth from aliens, when its inhabitants are so clearly bent on destroying one another?

    I’m still waiting for the dramatic resonance that I’m certain Jodie Whittaker can deliver. She’s coming close, but for me is just not quite there yet. Still, I must admit that I have felt that way about most of the Doctors early on in their tenure. It takes time for the actors and the writers to coalesce. So I feel certain it will happen again.

    Question: I need to review past episodes from this season, but is the closing credits music always different from the opening Doctor Who theme? Segin Akinola’s closing piece was exquisite.

    #65585
    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @nerys

    I think quite a few Sikh people have mentioned that – but it’s clear from Vinay Patel’s tweets that he knows about the Sikh experience of Partition, but decided he needed to concentrate on one cross-cultural pair of neighbours. Fair enough – you can’t do everything in 50 minutes.

    I can imagine that Yaz would not have looked back. That the Doctor would not have looked back. Yaz has demonstrated before that (as a trained police officer) she’s perfectly aware when a situation is beyond her capacity to handle. But she is a trained police officer, and she chose that job because her instinct is always to try and intervene to keep the peace.

    If she’d turned and look back, would she then have been able to continue walking away? Yet Prem was letting himself be killed, not only to save his beloved wife, but to save the children and grandchildren she’d have without him. In a very real way, he died to save her, Yaz, as well as Umbreen.

    So I’d understand why an acting decision might be ‘they’d both walk away and not look back – because that’s the only way the Doctor and Yaz would be able to keep walking and let Prem’s sacrifice mean something.’

    #65587
    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @nerys there was a breif mention, of Hindus, Muslims, and Sikh people living and working side by side, can’t remember who said it, maybe Umbreen?

    #65588
    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    @nerys and @bluesqueakpip

    On the subject of Yaz not looking back…

    That sense of wanting the Doctor and Yaz to look back, wanting them indeed, to rush and save Prem, is created there deliberately (furthered by the fact they don’t, indeed, look back).

    It echoes the moment on the bus in Rosa when, in particular mirrored for us through the eyes of Graham, we are encouraged by the story structure to want desperately for the Doctor and companions to be able to help Rosa and to feel gutted that they can’t.

    It’s a really great piece of continuity narrative build, from Rosa to Demons of the Punjab, and we’ll have to see if it’s going somewhere in particular, but it’s creating a negative space in the narrative arc screaming, “We MUST DO something to stand up to bigotry!!!” which, as I’ve said upstream, Chibnall and team are thereby inviting us to apply in our own time.

     

    #65590
    Mudlark @mudlark

    @juniperfish

    it’s creating a negative space in the narrative arc screaming, “We MUST DO something to stand up to bigotry!!!” which, as I’ve said upstream, Chibnall and team are thereby inviting us to apply in our own time.

    That thread and the continuing moral imperative is, above all, what is keeping me engaged with S11, because there is a small part of me which agrees with @jimthefish , if not to the extent that I am inclined to give up watching.  Up to a point I have no problem in accepting Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor, although so far she seems to lack that essential underlying sense of gravitas and age-long experience – more Peter Davison than any incarnation since.

    From the start my expectations were lower and on that basis decided to concentrate on whatever was positive. I can therefore cope up to a point with the diminution of imaginative scope and any fall in the quality of writing or direction, but it is perhaps significant that the two best episodes so far, in my opinion, have been those not written by Chibnall. They were also stories set in specific historical contexts, which was a surprise, since those tend to rouse the nit-picking historian in me and are therefore generally not among my favourites *. These, though, packed a powerful and emotional punch, not least because the events portrayed are precisely the kind of lessons of history which are still most applicable more than half a century later.

    * There is still something a bit disconcerting in using the term ‘historical’ about events which occurred within one’s own lifetime.

     

    #65592
    Mudlark @mudlark

    There was just one trivial detail which bothered me in passing. On past evidence the Tardis can provide a wardrobe of clothing for all occasions, so why not a shalwar kameez for Yaz, especially when she knew she was going back in time to see her grandmother?  Her clothes, however nondescript in a 21st century context, would have stood out like the proverbial sore thumb even in the Lahore of 1947 where she expected to arrive, let alone in a rural village, and would in reality have caused more than just a few raised eyebrows.

    Her family also talked of burying a Hindu sadhu rather than cremating him, but I put that inconsistency down to the fact that they were Muslim.

    #65593
    Darth Valaryn @troygorsline

    @mudlark

    I wondered that, too.

    I confess I don’t know much about the culture so I was hesitant to say anything, but wouldn’t the women, especially in that date and time, raise some eyebrows with the uncovered heads?

    Am I over thinking?

    #65594
    Mudlark @mudlark

    @troygorsline

    The dupatta (the long scarf worn with a salwar kameez), or the end of a sari might have been drawn over the head in public or in the presence of strangers, but not necessarily in informal circumstances and not within the family. It might have been expected when Graham and Ryan appeared, but wouldn’t have been imperative. The custom of strict purdah would applied more to women of the upper classes and was in any case much relaxed by the 1940s. It wouldn’t really ever have been practical among those much lower down the social scale or caste system

    Caveat: my relatives by marriage are from southern India, and Brahmin Catholic converts to boot (which is not apparently a contradiction in terms), so I don’t claim to be an expert in such matters.

    #65595

    @mudlark @troygorsline

    Worth noting that head covering (extent/ requirement) is much more cultural than religious. None of the women of the Bangladeshi (once East Pakistan) family I used to live next door to routinely covered their heads, and few of those in the neighbourhood did, other than on ceremonial occasions (when they were spectacularly colourful).

    Don’t underestimate the influence of the Wahhabi’s since the 50s.

    #65596
    tardigrade @tardigrade

    Another small-scale, personal story (I recognise that the actual partition of India was very large scale, but the story that was told was a personal one). No great stakes for the Doctor here- in fact things play out the same when the Doctor and crew are there or not. They are as much observers as the Vajarans. I think telling the historical stories from a personal perspective has been what’s made them work this series.

    The Doctor is forced to walk away again. Previously she had to sit and observe an injustice, knowing it was serving a greater good. This time however, she has to walk away knowing a decent man will die purposelessly. This Doctor has the pragmatism to do so however. She does leave the Vajarans to serve at witness though, rather than staying herself, perhaps not trusting herself to stay out of it.

    With the crew going back to visit Yaz’s grandmother in her youth, it’s apparent that there must have already been a conversation about going back to save Grace, and specifically the impossibility of that. It feels like that probably should be been in an episode, as that was potentially a defining moment in the relationship of Graham and Ryan with the Doctor.

    While I’m enjoying individual episodes, I’m getting impatient for something with a little more scale to it. The lack of much in the way of story arc is just one way that I’m feeling this season is paying little in the way of fan service. I recognise that is a deliberate choice, but it’s starting to frustrate a little. Each episode, it seems the number of comments posted on this site drops, excluding the odd troll and general complaint or compliment.

    #65598
    tardigrade @tardigrade

    @mudlark

    why not a shalwar kameez for Yaz, especially when she knew she was going back in time to see her grandmother?

    It’s something that I feel that would make sense more often- for all of Team Tardis to get dressed suitably for the period and location where that makes sense to do so. With a planned visit like this, to a known time and place, that makes sense here. Particularly as they wanted to blend in and not affect the timeline.

    @jimthefish

    Her wedding speech this week … kind of gave me the boak a little bit

    I didn’t care for the Doctor’s speech at the wedding either. Calling the couple the most powerful people in the universe wasn’t just sentimental, but also seemed insincere from a rational standpoint, knowing as the Doctor did, that they were powerless to affect the wider events going on around them, and one of them would be dead within hours.

    @miapatrick

    I’m fully expecting outrage about ‘white people bad, PC gone mad

    If you’re going to tell this story with any honesty, then the English won’t come across smelling of roses. For some comment not to be made when English people show up uninvited would be the odd narrative choice. They might reasonably have expected a greater level of distrust.

    he’s [Graham] pretty sure he’s dealing with a limited time frame

    For whatever reason, I’m getting the feeling that Graham is here for one season. I suspect that ultimately his end will be via a self-sacrifice and full acceptance by Ryan though, rather than sickness. That would serve to close his character arc and parallel Grace’s sacrifice at the start of the season.

    @bluesqueakpip

    let’s talk about the ‘nervousness’…

    I don’t take the nervousness as JW’s nervousness either. She’s a accomplished actor, so any insecurity I take as part of the character, not of the actor. The Doctor openly admits to blathering when nervous- the blathering isn’t a new trait, but the open admission of nervousness is.

    #65599
    Mudlark @mudlark

    @pedant

    Don’t underestimate the influence of the Wahhabi’s since the 50s.

    Yes. In Birmingham in the 1970s I often saw women wearing the salwar kameez , but very rarely with their heads covered, and never with the hijab.

    The widespread adoption of the hijab, let alone the niqab is a relatively recent phenomenon.

    #65601
    nerys @nerys

    @bluesqueakpip @juniperfish Just to be clear: Even though it’s natural for us to want the Doctor and/or Yaz to rush back to save Prem, I knew it wasn’t possible, and so I didn’t really yearn for it. The Doctor established that changing this outcome might very well erase Yaz’s existence, and of course I don’t want that. But I thought, despite her inability to save Prem, Yaz would still look back, if nothing else to bear witness to what caused her grandmother so much pain. Though I do understand your observation that maybe that’s the only way they could walk away. Good point.

    @miapatrick Thanks for that reminder, re: the mention of the Sikhs; I need to rewatch the episode! And yes, I knew that the story couldn’t cover all possible angles. It just seemed like an omission … though obviously not a complete omission. Like I said, I need to watch this one again!

    I too wondered about whether the modern dress, especially for the women, would have been scrutinized. So it’s good to read others’ comments about this. I also wondered if, just as the TARDIS has a universal translator, might it also have a universal wardrobe cloaking device, something like a hologram? I don’t think that’s in the series canon, but the thought occurred to me.

    #65602
    janetteB @janetteb

    I am with @jimthefish regarding this series. I really want to like it and there are aspects I do like. I like the “Team Tardis” but the writing does not do them justice. I find it telling that my two favourite episodes so far are those not penned by Chibnell. Every episode something irritates me however. Last night it was Graeme talking to Yaz. it was a good speech but I felt as though it should have been the Doctor saying it. Speeches like the wedding speech feel too heavy handed which does not do justice to what is being said. I feel at times as though I am being preached it and even though I agree with the message it irritates me. However when I look at the mess the world is in I let it pass because maybe subtle isn’t getting through any more. I do think that having the occasional light hearted ‘fun” episode would not go astray, and if anything throw the more serious episodes into sharper focus. I suspect Chibnell is in the “can’t have all that humour stuff in Dr Who” brigade.

    Whitdoc has good moments but I still feel as though she is not entirely confident in the role however I also wonder if it is the directors who are not entirely confident in directing her and not letting her just follow her instincts because sometimes she is perfect, other times acting it not being it. Being the first woman in the role must add a lot of pressure too which should not be underestimated. I am certain she feels responsible not just for the success of the gender change.

    This however was an excellent episode. It tackled a horrific historical “episode” with tact and managed to convey the human tragedy without showing the horror of it which would not have been appropriate and is perhaps less effective as the horror only shocks, the human touches us. I recall “Train to Pakistan” vividly while I have entirely forgotten some of the other texts I studied at that time because the story is very similiar to “Punjab”. It approaches the partition tragedy through the story of a Hindu/Muslin love story. It also contains a similiar line about living together in peace and working together for generations before partition despite religious difference. Partition ripped communities  apart and the pain is still felt today.

    cheers

    Janette

     

    #65610
    ichabod @ichabod

    @mudlark  Yaz . I thought I knew my Nan … But if this is true, if this is her life, then she lied to me.

    Graham. … that girl in there, she ain’t your nan, yet. It’s only later that she’ll decide how to tell it. And I honestly don’t know whether any of us know the real truth about our own lives’.

    This was the first hint of serious depth in this new series, for me — a suggestion of the complexity of human identities that are always, with the passage of time, changing (and this is re-enforced, if only in passing, by the change in the mission of the “demons” themselves, from assassin to witnesses).  Big sigh of relief from me — there’s hope now, for more than a clever sort-of-supere-hero comic book!

    @pedant — OMG!  The watch . . . thanks for that.

    @jimthefish  I like a grandstanding, speechifying Doctor but this incarnation of the Doctor seems to be somehow more sentimentally naive than passionate with it.

    Yeh.  I expressed myself somewhat similarly over on Faces discussion about this.  Whittaker is working fine for the stories we’re getting, but not working, for me, as an ancient alien traveler with a long and often painful history.  But maybe, for the newer, more youthful audience DW is hoping to capture, this is where you have to start to get there again later on.

    @kevinwho   Yeah, man.  I want a glint of that “I’m so tired of losing” moment — the *cost* of non-interference.  It doesn’t come free.  How weird — Walsh’s character is looking more to me like an experienced  Doctor than Whittaker does.

    @miapatrick  Re: the wedding, it was quite sweet, a little too sweet, though that was undercut by the fact we knew she knew the husband would be dead within hours. I know this is a fresh start and all that, but I did think their could have been some extra poignancy from the fact that the Doctor’s wife died still quite recently in her timeline, especially with the hand binding. It’s not as though River was only really married to Eleven.

    Yes.  There’s a price to pay, for such a harsh and completely unaknowledged severance of this Doctor from her own past.  The Doctor is a Time Lord; erasing her own long past completely from her consciousness, as they seem to be doing here so far, is a costly decision.

    @bluesqueakpip  . . . she, a rebel Time Lord, has to act like everything she hates about the Time Lords. Not interfere while terrible things are happening.

    Ah, well-spotted!  But that didn’t come through for me, until you pointed it out.  It literally didn’t occur to me — because I saw no sign that it occurred to WhittDoc.  I’m getting a very disturbing feeling of “Don’t frighten the horses” here — this is core AG Doctor.  The Past Matters, including the Doctor’s past — but not here, not up front and solidly, only by inference afterward.  Of course, this episode isn’t really about the Doctor, but about Yaz and her family.   But still . . .

    @tardigrade  . . . there must have already been a conversation about going back to save Grace, and specifically the impossibility of that. It feels like that probably should be been in an episode . . .

    Yes, that deserved an episode, and I’m disturbed that it hasn’t happened yet.  I’m worried that they might veer away from the Graham-Ryan-Grace emotional story because it’s potentially so strong — and this Doctor has, so far, no emotional ballast to pitch against/with it.  She doesn’t seem to have any remembrance of River’s fate in the Library, for example, to resonate even a bit with Graham’s loss of Grace (speaking of missed opportunities!).

    What are we, without our memories?  Obliterate the Doctor’s emotional past and, IMO, you obliterate her/his meaning, and with meaning, existence.  And that’s part of why comments are dwindling: there’s little or nothing to comment on about the Doctor herself.

    @janetteb  Graeme talking to Yaz. it was a good speech but I felt as though it should have been the Doctor saying it.

    Exactly; Graham is the wise elder here, and doing the job very well.   But the Doctor, who is more “wise elder” than anyone, is an Indiana Jones sort of figure (but more restrained of course) instead.  And the really worrisome aspect of this, for me personally, is that I’d rather have Graham continue in that role — which Walsh is doing excellently — than have WhittDoc assume it, because it fits him — but I don’t see how it can fit her, now that she’s been established as something like an adventurous young tour guide in dangerously exotic places . . . which is how I’m seeing her, so far.

    This was a good, well-thought out and heartfelt story well suited for our times.  I liked it.  But I think I’d have lied it just as well without WhittDoc, as long as Graham was still in it.

    Maybe I’m just too old for this, now.

    #65613
    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @mudlark my friend’s mother’s family moved from India to Kenya after partition, they were Muslim but chose not to go to Pakistan. The women in the family who are muslims don’t wear full head coverings. (Her mother actually does wear a kind of headscarf when she goes out, but she’s a Christian and I think wearing it is more of an old fashioned welsh thing  (she lives in Wales) – my mother’s mother used to do that and she’s CoE). I noticed that Umbreen’s didn’t cover her hair and as for Yaz, they were always pretty skeptical that she was a relative from somewhere in India, possibly concluded she was from England, like her friends.

    #65614
    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @tardigrade what’s depressing is the predictable volume of comments on this being a ‘PC version’ of what happened in India, propaganda etc, despite the light touch of how it was dealt with here. What’s been really hardening is the amount of comment’s I’ve seen across the internet from people saying they didn’t know about partition and now they’re interested in knowing more, or about their children asking questions about it. I’m a little sad at the apparent obscurity of this history, pleased that this episode is arousing interest.

    And this I think is why it’s good to address these issues directly and not always through analogy. Though apparently even this was direct enough. I’m in the middle of an argument on Facebook (I know, my own fault) with someone who thinks this wasn’t a suitable Remembrance Day episode because some of the characters said hard things about the English, won’t have it that the war people are referring to is World War 2, doesn’t seem to understand that Remembrance day isn’t just for people who died in the World Wars, and clearly hasn’t grasped what the word ‘World’ is doing in these two names…

    #65615
    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @tardigrade I’m absolutely certain Graham will break our hearts. I don’t know though, I don’t think he’ll die of cancer, but this is the second time he’s spoken in defence of someone keeping something quite important from their family. I think at the very least he sees the time he has right now as a bonus, he sees the time he had with his wife as a bonus, and he’s very interested in making his time with Ryan count, and seeing his grandson (as he sees him at any rate) with friends who will look out with him.

    @nerys, yes it was a very brief mention. But this was very much a story of two families. To put a Sikh family in the mix as well, they’d need to give those characters something to do as well, it might have over complicated the story. But it was very blink (or whatever the listening version of that is, hiccup?) so I can see why a lot of people missed it.

    @ichabod yes and good point about the Doctor’s shared experience with Graham. It just seems so abrupt, having seen him move from confused, alarmed, intrigued, and grateful (Ten) to absolutely terrified, curious, increasingly attracted, and then in love (Eleven) to absolutely unambiguously married (Twelve) to… nothing. The ring falls of her finger, she has a companion who’s just lost his wife, and she remembers what that feels like. She’d know exactly why Graham wanted to join the Tardis, it’s a big part of why, I think, Twelve was lumbered with/helped by Nardole, why he wanted a connection with Bill, why he was happy, despite the risks, to keep Missy in a box and eat takeaways with her every now and then.

    There are little hints, or at least things that can be interpreted as signs of this. Her air of loneliness when she drops the companions off. The fact the Tardis took so long to get them to the right place and time. Her attendance at the funeral. Maybe even the choice of the binding of hands was a subtle call back, something Moffat (especially River) fans can pick up on, that won’t annoy the Moffat/River haters. But much as I love the Ryan- Graham character archs, they seem a little disconnected from the Doctor, which logically, they shouldn’t be.

    #65621
    Margaret-Blaine @margaret-blaine

    I don’t go on Twitter or Facebook but I do go on other forums following each new episode and it seems to me that posters are being slightly less vitriolic than before. Certainly this episode got a mainly positive response BTL at The Other Place, which leads me to think that, if nothing else, this new series is more accessible to the general public than has been the case for some time.

    Which leads me on to speculate about the future of this site. I have been mainly (because of health issues) lurking on here since the outset and, as I recall, the site was set up in order to continue the vigorous debate and bonkers theorizing that started  over on the Guardian website during series 5 and 6. In other words at the beginning of Moffat’s tenure as showrunner.

    And his material offered plenty of scope for it. But now, under Chibnall, the show seems to be moving in a different direction and the time for theorizing of a bonkers nature may, sadly, be over. Perhaps this has been a Moffat site more than a Dr Who site.

    Personally, I hope it will continue. I am enjoying the new series and enjoying the intelligent and thoughtful commentaries which some posters are still providing, but there are admittedly fewer posts .I suppose only time will tell.

    #65622
    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    @bluesqueakpip

    it might be that the change from the direction of the Moffat years is so great that it’s going to take a series to get your head round

    That’s distinctly possible, of course, but I’ve seen a number of dramatic changes in direction over the years, not all I’ve cared for (the shift from the sublime Hinchcliffe/Holmes era to the Williams one for instance). And this is certainly a doozy, probably the single biggest tonal shift since the transition from Troughton to Pertwee.

    But I’d say the strongest comparison is with JNT’s first season as producer, which had a similar upgrade in look, style and the themes it addressed. It’s also notable for the significantly different take on the Doctor, perhaps more interesting in this case, because the character was still played by the same person, with Baker becoming much more of a background figure in the same way that WhitDoc is this year. One other point of interest might be is that Lalla Ward took a lot of the Doctorly responsibilities in her last stories and did so really well. She really is the earliest template for a female Doctor and did it very effectively indeed (more convincingly, I’m afraid to say, than Whittaker is). In an ideal world, she really should have been the next Doctor after Baker and it’s such a shame that our Female Time Lord retrospective stalled before getting to her.

    The difference is that in 1963, the events of Partition were so close that it’s unlikely that the BBC would have let them do it

    Oh, totally. The one thing I’m enjoying about this series is the engaging with history that’s not from the ‘officially sanctioned white-person’s guide to the world’. Long may that continue.

     I think what Whittaker’s going for might easily be confused with Jodie Whittaker, the actor, being nervous about her performance when it’s actually the Whittaker Doctor, as the Doctor, being nervous about herself.

    Yes, I think there’s an element of that and that is what she’s trying to convey but I’m still not convinced that she’s doing so successfully. The overall impression is still of an actor struggling to find their way into a role, not of a character tormented by self doubt. For us to see that we’re really going to have to have much more in the script pointing us in that direction rather than leaving it merely to audience headcanon.

    Someone said above that there’s something Davison-esque about WhitDoc and I’d definitely agree and I certainly think that’s deliberate, in the same way that CapDoc deliberately echoed Hartnell and SmithDoc Troughton. It’s right down to the frailness — WhitDoc seems to spend a lot of time clutching her chest and having moments of physical debilitation in much the same way that Davison did. It’s one of the things that rendered him rather ineffectual as a Doctor in my opinion (though don’t get me wrong, he was kind of ‘my’ Doctor growing up and I do have a vague nostalgia for him) but I find it a strange thing to integrate into WhitDoc.

    Mostly though I’m reminded of Eccleston with Whittaker. They’re both incredible actors, with a particular strength in portraying troubled, articulate working class characters. I think intense is the word you could use of both of them. Both exude awkwardness which is so right for many roles but not for the Doctor. I never really bought the Ninth Doc because Eccleston, I felt, just didn’t know what to do with the part either and could only really parse the Doctor’s quirk by plastering a slightly suspect grin on his face and constantly saying ‘fantastic’. He really only came into his own when he was dealing with Time War trauma because, I suspect, regret, pain and introspection are a much more fundamental part of his skillset.

    Whittaker is slightly different in that she’s show she can do quirky in Adult Life Skills and I still think there’s a terrific Doctor in there trying to get out. The problem, I think, might be Chibnall. He’s a brilliant character writer, of that there’s surely no doubt. He’s good with ensembles (which is why he did so well on Law and Order and Broadchurch, and, I suppose,  Torchwood too). His interest lies in those kinds of dynamics and he’s possibly a born soap man even more than RTD was. But this restricts him when it comes to Who.

    True, in the Hartnell days the TARDIS team was more of an ensemble show but those days are gone — Troughton and then Pertwee blew that concept out of the water. It’s important to get companion character right (Moffat’s tenure lost considerable momentum because of Clara, who never got past being a concept rather than a genuine character. She’s probably one of the more fundamental errors of his run.) but you also have to put some work in on the Doctor too.

    This doesn’t mean going OTT with all that ‘Oncoming Storm’ malarkey but you do need to put some character work in. One of the real joys of the Capaldi era is watching his Doctor evolve and grow — going from standoffish ‘am I a good man’ to zen ‘be kind’. But in all his episodes Chibnall has never shown the remotest interest in the Doctor. From 42, to the Silurian two-parter to Dinosaurs, he’s clearly much more interested in the extended cast of supporting characters with the Doctor just being the cypher who’s there to bring them all together. Even Power of Three only really comes alive when he’s putting the Doctor in an extended family setting. But what, I suspect, WhitDoc’s character really needs right now is for him and Whittaker to sit down and figure out who she is, where’s she’s going. If she is in fact nervous about who she is now, then that’s a terrific arc but it has to be shown, not merely implied. Sooner rather than later, she’s going to need an episode like Listen or The Lodger.

    Another part of the problem is that there’s just too many companions. Maybe it’ll help when Graham inevitably bites the dust but frankly I think he’s a good fit for WhitDoc and and I’ll be sorry to see him go. He’s the Tegan to her DavisonDoc. Which makes Ryan Nyssa and, rather sadly, that makes Yaz Adric. To be honest, I think that’s the way I’d have liked Punjab to go with Yaz sacrificing herself for her grandmother’s happiness, leading to a universe without Yaz. Time changed, all the remaining team, including WhitDoc realising the implications of screwing around in the timestream, lesson learned, the ‘not one line’ credo shown to be right by demonstration this time.

    Because one of the things that may be happening is that not only are we, the audience, being taken out of our comfort zones

    Again, you might be right, and I’m deluding myself here (sign me up for an Angry Virgin outsized t-shirt and soiled underwear) but for me the problem is the opposite. Aside from the interesting re-evaluation of historicals, this series is just not doing nearly enough to take me out of my comfort zone. I want it to do it far more. I’m not so much feeling uncomfortable as slightly bored a lot of the time.

    You’re right that Ghost, Conundrum and Arachnids contain interesting themes embedded within them but at their heart, they’re really very pedestrian Who episodes that we’ve seen done many times before. As I said above (and I can’t take credit for it, definitely saw it elsewhere), the vibe for me is ‘filler episode’. I feel like I’m watching a series that’s been Planet of the Dead, followed by The Lazarus Experiment, followed by 42, with not enough stand-out moments in between. I sort of understand why he’s done it, but I think Chibnall is making a mistake in not having at least one bona fide ‘fan’ writer in the mix.

    Blimey, that ended up an epic. If you make it to the end of this, my profound apologies….

    #65624
    nerys @nerys

    @miapatrick I do understand that this was really a story about two brothers, and the tragic divisions politics and religion can create within families and communities. I didn’t really expect there to be a major focus on this by having additional Sikh characters, but I guess I expected a bit more than a brief mention. Sikhs were equally affected by Partition, and this sort of glosses over that sad reality. But, again, I know that you can’t capture every detail, and it can undermine storytelling to try to shoehorn it all in. So I just have to accept that the Sikhs’ story not really integral to this particular story about Partition.

    #65625
    nerys @nerys

    @margaret-blaine You could be right about the bonkerizing. Doctor Who can’t please everyone, and that was the case in Moffat’s era, too. I lost count of the number of complaints I read about his stories being too complex, about how Capaldi wasn’t “my doc” … etc. Part of the fun many of us found with the Moffat era was our endless speculation about this or that detail, a bit like geocaching. Sometimes you find the prize, other times you don’t. But it doesn’t make it any less fun to search.

    Maybe that’s why this season reminds me somewhat of the Russell T. Davies era, which I found to be more character-driven, less focused on bonkers twists and turns in the plot. I enjoy both equally, but for different reasons.

    #65628
    swordwhale @swordwhale

    More and more I’m shouting “THIS IS THE SERIES I WANTED WHEN I WAS TWELVE!!!”

    Meaning, Hero Girls, adventure, heroes who aren’t warriors but save the day, humor, exotic locales (including Sheffield), a quirky spacetimeship, random forays into living history (which I grew up to do a lot of), space the final frontier, aliens…

    @drben I agree, this season does have a different feel, but Thirteen is definitely The Doctor.

    I also have no problem with less bonkerising and more straightforward plots. I personally prefer character driven stories, not convoluted plots which leave me going ????????????

    In general: Perhaps if it isn’t flying for you, it may be just that you like pepperoni pizza while I would rather have pumpkin pie (with cinnamon and a huge pile of real whipped cream). Admittedly I am not as steeped in decades of this show as some fans, but I do have knowledge of earlier incarnations (which I enjoyed when I could watch them, and I adored Capaldi), but I do love this version. I think it is also an excellent jumping on place for those who have not seen the show at all.

     

    Ran into a couple of boys from Bristol in the store where I work in York Pennsylvania…

    Me: (ooo British kids!) “Have you seen the new Doctor Who?”

    Them: “Erm…no. Never.”

    Me: —

    After my salesmanship skills were dumped on them they might check it out tho…

     

    I like how in this one we get the History Lesson, from several angles, and see the pain it inflicts on a personal level rather than from the bird’s eye view of history… though we get a strong sense of how it is echoing down through the decades. I actually had to look up the partition of India… I have known and worked with a number of Indians but had zero knowledge of this bit of history  and its effects… other than the Nepalese guy I worked with grumbling under his breath at some Pakistani customers…

    The science fiction elements worked beautifully… the “demons” who turn out to be something else entirely (even though they look quite scary) was a neat twist.

    And the Doctor not being all knowing, especially about this race.

     

    @sontaran2589 There is a neat throwaway line near the beginning when the guy in the cart says something to the effect their language is pretty good for foreigners. Chalk it up to the babblefish…er…universal translators…eh… thingamabobbies they got in the one episode to translate stuff. He’s hearing them speak in the local language, we’re hearing the locals speak English.

    @juniperfish  well said!

    The actual demons of partition were, of course, people, fuelled by sectarianism and the legacies of British colonialism. This seems to be a central theme in Chibnall’s Who. The “real” monsters have been human in Arachnids in the UKRosa and now in this episode, when they have followed paths of intolerance and chosen a desecration of the ethic of care (for one another, for the planet/s).

    I like Chibnall’s vision for this Doctor – that we are living in dark times and so the Doctor has GOT to be a light shining in the universe.

    As a rather peevedwiththetrumpocalypse American I applauded Macron’s “nationalism being the opposite of patriotism”… the world needs more Team Tardis.

    @pedant …I spew things out on twitter by accident (tied to my wordpress) but don’t look…  Gammon and Angry Virgins waht??? Are there still people grumbling about Dr Who doing what it does; change, and reflect the culture around it?

    OK, googled it. Angry Virgins are scary… ugh.

     

    I loved this episode.

    Now where can I get my new sonic…

     

     

Viewing 50 posts - 1 through 50 (of 91 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.