Home Forums Episodes The Twelfth Doctor Extremis

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    Craig @craig

    Doctor Who - Extremis

    This is another excellent episode and it will definitely leave you wanting more. It’s all about a book – The Veritas. Stored in a forbidden library at the heart of the Vatican, everyone who has ever read it has been found dead. Can the Doctor read it and survive?

    Now that we all know where we are, sort of, and that the new fans probably know as much as the old fans (at least about what is currently going on), Steven Moffat jumps in and starts taking things in a slightly different direction.

    Written by Moffat and directed by Daniel Nettheim (who helmed the Zygon stories in series 9), it once again (have I said this before) takes its time to build a story, which is great.

    Capaldi is just, well, brilliantly Capaldi. Bill (Pearl), as ever, is wonderful, and with the Doctor blind there’s even more Nardole than last week, which is actually becoming a really good thing. Matt Lucas is fantastic this week.

    Anonymous @

    ooh I do love Veritas! Truth depicted as a nude holding a vanity mirror to herself. A quest to look inside? To do so without eyes. Or does Truth find you?

    So much of Who has been about “the only time I could tell the truth and say my name was…”

    We also have the truth reminder on Trenzalore…

    The Doctor often lies -to protect Time; his companions; his people.

    Keep from me the blame for lying, for wronging my friend…the future has arrived and I am ashamed of the depth of my debt (Pindar: paraphrased).


    MissRori @missrori

    Looking forward to this (though I have to wait till tomorrow morning).  Something dark, but ending on a note of hope and strength, I would imagine….

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    Intertextuality Alert!

    Do not continue if specultion on intertextuality disturbs you, brings you out in hives, etc! Skip this one and make a calming cup of camomile tea instead.

    Yes, Veritas – the Goddess of Truth. That most elusive of beings and concepts. She was often thought to hide in a well, according to myth.

    When Sherlock went seeking the truth of his sister, he too found an unexpected truth hidden in a well.

    Yep – I’ll be back on intertextuality watch between now and the end of the series. I can’t help but think the general shape of the Euros plot will be mirrored onto Missy, but the path will be reversed. I think the Doctor holds a big secret or truth about Missy – the original reason he left the Confession Dial to her, to open only on his death. Something he feels guilty about. Something about her daughter, perhaps. A bit of a game changer.

    Needless to say, I’m looking forward to the next seven weeks.


    So Pope Benedict the whateverth was Angeline Jolie, then?

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    Is it wrong that my first thought was: well, what I would do is find a way of convincing everyone on earth they were in a simulation’?

    Otherwise: scary Narnia.

    the doctor would never kill the master.


    wolfweed @wolfweed

    ‘We Will All Go Together When We Go’

    (Tom Lehrer) (& CERN bloke)

    RorySmith @rorysmith

    Um. So. I could easily out write Moffat.

    This is too predictable.


    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @rorysmith you can easily outwrite Donald Trump at least…



    So far you have presented no evidence to support that assertion.

    Craig @craig

    @miapatrick You got there before me. @rorysmith with the orange face and the “Sad” all you need is three exclamation points and you’ve gone full Trump.

    Honestly though, we’d like constructive reviews, however bad. Not just “I could do better”. If you want to do that, there are plenty of other places to do so.

    Thank you.

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    Blindness pun. (Chortle!)

    definition of shadow test

    shadow test

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @Craig- I know, right?


    RorySmith @rorysmith

    You guys made me laugh so hard.

    Oh the Trump reference was awesome. So unlike me to be so bombastic.

    I wanted a twist but I guess I have held Steven to the JJ Abrams/ M Knight Shamalan level of brain frying too long. He delivers what is necessary and edgy sci-fi nuts like me have had too much extremism in plot design plowed into our psyche. The story is good and constantly wanting deeper meaning ruins this simplicity.


    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @rorysmith- if cheeto has done one good thing, it’s making ‘sad’ as a sign off unacceptable.

    Saying you could do better is something that really ought to be accompanied with a script or at least a synopsis. Not as good as you’d found yourself taught to expect is quite a different matter.

    people loved Shakespeare not for his brand new invention- I think he only wrote one completely original story- but to see what he did with existing story’s. The modern focus on ‘doing something new’ is doomed to fail. Shamalan is an example of this.

    RorySmith @rorysmith

    The orange face is a McDonald’s toy from the 1980’s I found in my parent’s home after my father passed. I think my sister had it from my best memory. I chose this image because my first exposure to Dr Who was around the time the toy was introduced.

    Craig @craig

    @rorysmith I think we are possibly just at the beginning of a 7 episode arc that leads to the end of Moffat’s reign. I can imagine there will be twists aplenty in the upcoming stories.

    RorySmith @rorysmith

    @miapatrick I am a writer and I am learning the in and outs of publishing my creation.

    I have a novel written about a distant human colony and how it connects with Earth in the 1980s.

    RorySmith @rorysmith

    @craig I agree. This will only get better.

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    steven moffat reveals the secrets of extremis


    (Contains what some may consider spoilers…)

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @rorysmith- don’t use’ I could write better’ as an insult then. It signifies lack of ambition! Why would being better than Moffat be ‘sad’?

    Your novel sounds very interesting.

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    @craig Really Sorry – please delete post #57725 – I just realised – the quote contains spoilers duh!

    (I have a fever) MY BAD…

    Craig @craig

    @wolfweed I’ve edited it. Link is still cool – read it myself. But yes, people, there be spoilers!

    Hope you get over the fever soon.

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    Thanks @craig

    Sorry if the spoilerphobes saw my sweaty f*ck up…..

    I had a moment of madness.

    Very much spoilers in the link (mostly for those who haven’t seen the series trailer) – maybe it should be moved elsewhere.


    Devilishrobby @devilishrobby

    I don’t suppose anyone has dared to mention the similarities between the veritas  aliens and the the Silence. Also some of us older fans will have seen the nod to the Baker/Sarah Jane BG who story Android Invasion.

    RorySmith @rorysmith

    Ooo yes that is awesome.

    I could, in another forum post my story in raw. Not here though so as not to tread upon our beloved Who.

    I am excited for the finale already.

    RorySmith @rorysmith

    @craig sorry my mind is an American arrogance nightmare. I apologize in advance for my lack of tact and appreciation. My ancestry is British and I often step on it’s foundation with false pride. This forum is the only source of intelligence and British fortitude that I know.

    Craig @craig

    I didn’t say this before but I do kinda think this was, as much fun as it was, a slightly wasted episode. It was entertaining and well written but, in the end, it “was all a dream”. Which could’ve been dealt with much quicker.

    I did think the Missy segments were brilliant. And it has set up a carefully planned alien invasion. And Missy (I think) in the vault. And I look forward to where we’re headed.

    It could’ve been 5 minutes, but hey, a whole episode is still fine if it’s enjoyable.

    Jorge Shailer Baker @jshailerb

    This was a really good episode. I really liked how it twisted to virtual reality at the end. It also explodes that the doctor is not at his prime, he is usually enough to by himself to defeat any contender he has faced without arms or even his screw driver or a plan. As he requested to the alien that wanted  him to kill Missy, there is evidence he can suffice at killing so manny without nothing more than his willingness… But this time he is blind, deprived of one of his main senses, could he stand to the challenge?, also who could be this alien race capable of VR? So far I haven’t seeing any race that advanced as the time lords… Excellent episode, I want to see what is next!

    Mirime @mirime

    Too many questions!

    Why did the book exist? Where did it come from? Was it a bug in the programming or deliberately placed?

    What exactly was Missy being executed for? Why did the Doctor look so scruffy and dusty?

    Jorge Shailer Baker @jshailerb

    Why did the book exist? Where did it come from? Was it a bug in the programming or deliberately placed?

    It doesn’t say but even in ” reality ” we as humans have explored the possibility that we are in fact in a computer simulated world.

    The plot is very good and actual now that science is exploring the possibility that our reality could be nothing more than an holographic projection.


    Craig @craig




    Why did the book exist? Where did it come from? Was it a bug in the programming or deliberately placed?

    It is a checksum. If too many sprites start suiciding, then it will alert the aliens that the sim his found the upper decile of human intelligence and insight.

    What exactly was Missy being executed for?

    Being Missy.

    Why did the Doctor look so scruffy and dusty?

    It is, evidently, set soon after River’s death and one of the canonical symptoms of depression is for people to not take care of themselves.

    Anonymous @

    @pedant  @mirime @jshailerb

    For those of us who know, a checksum is the result of running or placing an algorithm. The generated checksum from your version of a file when compared with the one which comes from the source of the file should be the same.


    Anonymous @

    I liked the “assumption” part.

    Similarly, and in another text we’ve read: “to ASSUME makes an ass out of you & me

    I read that in a novel I was reading on the school holidays.

    Liked the episode and the opening and I was glad the Dr was talking to Missy in the vault -it wasn’t a let-down. I think we thought “It’s going to be Missy so it won’t be” and so it was a bluff -and it was!


    I hope other episodes will be more enjoyable for you? I think there are times when certain stories don’t ring with us? Best of luck with your book. Sounds interesting. I’m sure on a forum people would like to read bits of it although people have to be careful with plagiarism these days! Anyway, hopefully next week’s ep will be better for you.

    I’ve had real problems with JJ Abrams myself and Shamalan too @miapatrick  -did Abrams do ‘Fringe’? Not sure! @rorysmith I think there are many papers, periodicals and Blogs out there which really do show the “british fortitude” outposts of which you write. You just have to find them. Just as there are many American ones which are quick and anti-fascist. There are people here who do their own blogs independent of  Dr Who and maybe those people will mention that. I’ll mention Mr @pedant whose Blogs on things British have actually educated me on recent UK history and it’s filled with fortitude and poignancy. Also, originality.

    I do notice wherever I look on the youtube arena a really big hate-group for Moffat. I find this odd. These exact same people went nuts with joy when they saw Blink, The ‘I want my Mummy episodes’ back in 2005 and Silence in the Library and all the Mat Smith episodes. It took a turn for the worst when Capaldi arrived and Moffat took a different path and many viewers said “he’s ruined our precious show”. Thing is, it’s not theirs! It belongs to the writer and we have the privilege of viewing; critiquing it and coming up with our own completely different text (not fan fic but that’s just me:  fan fic’s not my thing).

    @craig thx for putting up the aftershow for us Ozzie viewers! We have Rove here but I haven’t caught up with his aftershow yet. I think @missy did though?

    @wolfweed Mum loves Lehrer! That was a great tune. And the shadow eye test was great.

    Thank you,


    winston @winston

    This episode kept me glued to my seat from start to finish ,leaving me wanting to see more.First there was Missy about to be executed and then Nardole reading from Rivers diary to remind the Doctor to be a Doctor. The poor people who find out that they are not real but in a Matrix like world and simulation Bill clinging to her own reality till she fades away.  I really enjoyed the pace and the indepth story telling and I can’t wait till next week to have some of my questions answered…I hope. Tonight Moffat ,Capaldi and the rest of the cast have made me happy.


    lisa @lisa

    An alien race running a ‘matrix’  like simulation to figure out the best way to invade the Earth.

    Just interested in only the Earth?

    I liked the way the sonic eyeglasses  help the Doctor to interact with different versions of himself.

    It felt to me  a lot like all the other versions of this concept that Moffat used in other episodes of

    simulated universes like the confession dial or the Nethesphere.  Or the alternate universe of Last Xmas.

    But I really do like all these different approaches on basically the same theme.

    Of course its Missy in the vault -(pandorica)   But the bit that is compellingly irresistible

    for me – – Is this the possibility of the Doctor/Master/Missy?  team up as Moffat’s great grand slam

    end of run?!  Maybe with a few other blasts from the past thrown in?

    Well will definitely re-watch this 1 soon



    Anonymous @


    Indeed, us too! It had a nice pace as well. The Prometheus and Pindar connections to Veritas still apply from our first quick watch. I think there’s a lot more coming and we’re excited.

    Puro and Thane

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    Have not read any posts yet and never venture into the toxic waters of the Guardian BTL, but, I have to confess, I am not sure I was totally blown away by this. There was, for me, a strange sense of Moffat deja vu. The aliens reminded me quite a lot of the Silence. With the Silence, you couldn’t remember them, with these aliens you couldn’t remember yourself (or, at least, that you didn’t really exist). Obviously, I need a second viewing, still…

    I don’t know how many people remember the Star Trek Next Generation episode “Ship in a Bottle” (I think I posted the final scene on the TV shows thread ages ago) but I actually think they did the concept, well, perhaps better.

    Strangely enough, and given my previous uncertainty about the character, I actually felt the strongest part of the episode was Nardole.

    Now off to read your, inevitably, far more insightful reflections on the episode.

    Missy @missy

    This is so frustrating! I cannot read the posts because we haven’t seen it yet! Obviously you get it on Saturdays.


    Anonymous @

    Mum was also saying it’s good to hear about “virtue untested” as in the Areopagitica

    She also thought of this when watching Extremis and Oxygen remembering the importance of writing; the significance of Moffat’s era; this particular Doctor’s attachment to books and to existential thought:

    As good almost kill a man as kill a good book; but who kills a man, kills a reasonable creature, God’s image; but he who destroys a good book, kills reason itself, kills the image of God, as it were in the eye.”

    (she dictated this to me! Hopefully I had it right. Those in the specialty of literature here could correct me.)

    Thank you, Thane

    bendubz11 @bendubz11

    It’s been too long since I last ventured to this cubbyhole of the internet, I’m glad I’ve found it again though. Loved the series so far, definitely been the best series of Twelve’s tenure. A few notes that have come to mind about this episode:

    Why and how did the Veritas come into being? It seems rather illogical for a villain to create a shadow universe to test taking over the world, only to leave a way to tip the simulations off about the storm coming.

    What exactly was Missy sentenced to a Pandorica for? Could it be that she is not the Master at all, but in fact the Valeyard (considering she started her meddling in Eleven’s cycle and revealed herself in Twelve’s)?

    How did Nardole get a copy of Rover’s diary? It’s implied that River gave it to him, but that wouldn’t fit as she took it with her to the Library.

    There seems to be a theme developing of Bill just wanting to belong/fit in. In The Pilot before Twelve addresses it she’s just blending in during his lectures, in Knock Knock she is clearly worried about fitting into to the friendship group (yes moving in with a bunch of strangers is bound to make you nervous but the way she tries to disassociate with Twelve definitely is a sign of her not wanting to stand out), and now in Extremis she refuses to accept it is a simulation despite the facts being there. Add in the prejudice she no doubt will have experienced in the past as a homosexual, coloured woman, and it makes for a very interesting and believable backstory. She is so used to being shunned that she wants nothing more than somewhere she belongs.

    Anonymous @

    @missy -it’s on iview at 5.30 in the morning on Sundays!

    Anonymous @

    @bendubz11  great to see you back! <puro waves>

    I think, as said, up-thread, the simulation also requires a checksum in which said alien race can detect which ‘clever’ people are too aware and what continuing simulations must do to correct this from happening again. The Veritas has been around for some time in the Forbidden portion of the Vatican Library (saw it as a riff on Da Vinci Code etc and a bit of a poke!). The cardinals connect the suicides which then leads to  ‘re-simulation’ ad infinitum until the simulations are perfected and the invasion is Full Speed Ahead.

    I think Missy’s executed because, as the Master, she’s pretty much absolutely dreadful. We know this from putting Clara in the Dalek (where we last saw Missy who had her “terrific idea”) begging the Doctor to shoot her. Prior to this she shot two or three UNIT agents just for the hell of it saying: “I am NOT good!” There was Osgood also. I don’t think we need a particular specific reason for why Missy was sentenced. I’d kill her myself quite happily 🙂

    The diary is a teaser, possibly, or, left in the Library by River and then picked up by Tennant’s Doctor;  found its way to Amy at her wedding where it was blank. The book can be a TARDIS of its own, in my opinion, and can appear in several places at different times. Borrowed; blue etc but also with one ‘actual’ unsimulated book -the one River herself holds and did in Darillium which is where this Doctor possibly came from -see the suit worn in tHoRS and how the Doctor, dusty and musty is suffering from severe loss, hence “my condolences” from Missy.


    Yes, I felt the same though Thane did not. Like @craig I sensed “ah, dream fugue”  but on second watch saw it a bit differently. I remembered some interesting connections with Melville, the Greek satirists and Fourier’s breaks of convention and morality. The episode also suggests the Tower of Babel constructed to displace god (or ethics or worship of: *insert anything generally worshipped in the modern world here*) from heaven then punished for its assumption by sending spirits (or sprites as @pedant mentioned -though I use the word slightly differently here 🙂 ) of discord amongst its members sewing confusion into language and the written word.

    The Church here is cut from the ‘real’ bridge (the tower of reality) that connects them to the actual world so the aliens – or those opposed to Real Life (see the parallel  with the executioners of Missy and of ‘all species of life’) can invade.

    Whilst Moffat said this was two stories interspersed, I saw intersection? The cardinals; their deaths and the simulation could mirror Missy’s own story?

    What do you think Mr Blenkinsop?



    Missy @missy

    @thane15: Just saw your post on my emails.

    Really? I wouldn’t get up at that time anyway – but thank you very much for telling me. Yet another long trawl through the posts tomorrow. *sigh*


    Steffstaff @steffstaff

    Why and how did the Veritas come into being? It seems rather illogical for a villain to create a shadow universe to test taking over the world, only to leave a way to tip the simulations off about the storm coming.” @bendubz11

    They couldn’t not though. It was very briefly covered by the VR Doctor during a quick exchange with the VR Bill towards the end. He stated that even the most advanced and realistic of simulations always had one fatal flaw – that being that could never be *truly* random and as such generating random numbers within them was impossible… (an actual problem computer game designers have – random generation of numbers is never random, they merely pull from a string of pre-set ones).

    So basically within one (or possibly even all) of the simulations the aliens had running there eventually came a simulated being who worked out they were living in a fake-reality and could prove it by doing a random number test. The aliens couldn’t really do anything about this, it was just part of the simulation playing out as it would have done in “real” life. Time is probably quite abstract in these simulations but basically in most of them an individual had worked out the truth a hundred plus years ago and had transcribed it into a book – “The Vertitas” – which then became closely guarded and hidden away, not by the aliens themselves (who don’t technically interfer with how the simulation plays out) but by other individuals within the simulation itself, in an attempt to protect themselves from what knowing the truth does.

    Just joined up by the way! Hello!

    Mirime @mirime

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>@pedant thank you, will have to watch again when I’m more awake!</p>

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    ‘Virtue is only virtue in extremis!’

    This episode conjures up some strange images of what’s been going on off-screen.

    Firstly, there is the picture of Daleks gossiping with Missy about the Doctor & his love life.

    ‘Domestic bliss on Darillium… That’s the word among the Daleks.’

    The other weird vision that enters my mind is the Doctor enacting his program of reform of Missy back at the vault. I can imagine they got stuck on lesson 1: Empathy…

    Carnathon is the execution planet. Not sure if this is riffing off Carnathan (surname meaning victorious) and/or Caernarfon (a place in Wales) or neither…

    I wonder if the Doctor will take up the offer of confession? If he cares about his own ‘salvation’? (Regrets – He’s had a few…)

    ‘Hope is the search engine of the future’ (see chapter 7: Hope does not disappoint) hope witness reward

    Plenty of examples of discovering you’re not real (trope) in sci-fi. No other show on tv mixes up such diverse ingredients as Who though… (Super Mario?!?)

    s mario

    Missy in the vault no surprise=no fun? It was fun to (bonkers) speculate this time rather than just say it’s obvious (like I did when we wondered: who is Missy?)…

    I still like to imagine that Moira (destiny/fate) is Chameleon-Arched Missy, learning virtue (but not very successfully). Not sure about the actual likelihood of this though…

    extremis extra  (the real) Pope Benedict the 9th

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    Welcome @steffstaff ! Great first post.

    Anonymous @


    I echo @wolfweed‘s welcome: love your post. I went all  a bit ‘philosophical’ in my posts, I’m afraid. I don’t often have bonkers theories but I do tend to branch out into (ahem) more crazy ideas regarding connections between authors; philosophers or social morays. I really felt that Life as Illusion, the reality of the faceless objects around us was given substantial credit. That the humans themselves were simulated is, as others say, part of the New Wave of scientific thought about hologram- universes. In a social capacity we rely on collaboration, our expertise, our possessions and knowledge to survive. To move forward we expect others to be genuine and true.

    I also liked the ambitious nature of the episode. In a time where experts are derided,  we were shown CERN -a bastion of scientific hope with a panoply of energetic ideas….I almost expected Brian Cox to have a cameo.

    Kindest, Puro

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