Extremis

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  • #57817
    Kharis @kharis

    Puro, your whole analysis in comment #57812 was very insightful.  @thane15

    Extremis reminded me of the Shadow and his boss the Guardian in the 4th Doctor and Romana’s adventures looking for the keys of time.  I wonder if this is the same shadow group looking for a more failure proof obliteration of the universe since the Doctor thwarted the last attempt.  Random, yes, put just a thought.  Moffat is a huge fan of vintage Who, so there is a chance that he is including old story arcs and villains.  The 4th Doctor has some really great episodes and characters if a person (especially someone my age) can get over the really B grade special effects, cheesy lines that sound like something out of Scooby Doo and the organ music.  The composer Murray Gold adds more to “New” Who then most people realize.

    I wonder of this turn that ‘Extremis’ took is not only tying in everything that has been going on with the Great Intelligence, the Library and this constant theme of reality, and what defines it, and how we control it, but if it is also tying in the Guardians of vintage Who.  Wouldn’t surprise me, I never underestimate Moffat.

    #57818
    Arbutus @arbutus

    @thane15   Puro, you have written some interesting things here, but I really will need to get in my re-watch before I can engage with them sensibly!

    @blenkinsopthebrave     I personally find that no matter how familiar the tropes, if they are wrapped up in sufficiently interesting paper and shiny bows and ribbons, I don’t recognize them until the unwrapping/viewing is done. Which is great, because it doesn’t inhibit my fun.  🙂

     

    #57819
    Anonymous @

    @arbutus

    your point about CERN was an interesting one. Both set of ‘clerics’ in their way doing the right, moral, thing: “it was worth going to hell for.”

    My earlier  point was also about patterns: patterns in the checksum, in the simulator, in atomic science and in heresy, as it were. If indeed the same tropes and puzzles appear as @blenkinsopthebrave stated then we could be forgiven (or Moffat be forgiven) for using what are perceived as standard tropes because that’s the way the universe works. The basic puzzle is the same, repeated over and over. How we react to the puzzle and how we interact as people with each other is the heart of the episode I feel and emblematic of a symptomatic society hell bent on rewards and entitlement. The Vatican is certainly one institution effected by entitlement and tradition but swept  up in historical events.

    Brian Greene mentioned that rivers have a certain ratio in their flow and ‘curl’ or sweep. This ratio exists in every river on earth but also in rivers on the moon and on other planets in the galaxy so this universe is patterned. The repetition of tropes, if done successfully, mimics the very thing from which we cannot escape: our universe. So if we can’t escape it then suicide or voluntary death is not a lazy choice for the writer but a hopeful, wishful re-birth or re-boot.

    @countscarlioni Oh I absolutely agree -full on Moffat! I can imagine what the interwebs are saying, though. I love how here, if  people dislike something or for whatever reason don’t connect with it, there’s much articulate discussion  explaining how and why beyond youtube’s “Moffat sux”

    Kindest,

    Puro

    #57820
    Anonymous @

    @kharis -sorry, I missed you there! Oh yes, the score was delightful -the upward sweep of violins, the pedal point pointing to simulation or ‘repeats’ definitely bracketed the story very well. At one point there was quite a bit of James Bond 🙂  I don’t know enough about the Guardian and the 4th Doctor -many people (well, most) are fully up to date with BG Who and I’m not 🙁

    <gently weeps>

    #57822
    Kharis @kharis

    @thane15 I recently found old Who on a couple of free sites.

    Yes, I also noticed the James Bondesqe music.  Murray Gold knocked it out the park again. He will go down as a great composer of our time someday.  Much Like John Williams because his focus is soundtracks instead of something​ more posh he often isn’t given the credit and fame he deserves.

    #57823
    Kharis @kharis

    @countscarlioni Maybe it’s the dark guardian controling them?  Always felt the Gaurdian was the Great Intelligence.  His minion the Shadow tried to blow up the universe before.

    Maybe the creature from the Satan Pit is also part of this need to destroy?

    #57824
    Anonymous @

    @tardigrade

    I think the simulation is of value considering the aliens are already there. If the random numbers are no longer random then the simulation via algorithmic tests has done its work (1)-if, on the other hand, it’s failed to do its work, then the metacrisis for extraction is the beginning of the alien’s failure.  I’m wondering if the Doctor re-boots himself @arbutus? If he returns as PC then his simulation progresses -he mentioned already that he can borrow what he needs from the universe but at some point he has to ‘pay it back’ or pay it out -this would happen I presume with his ‘complete’ regeneration into Dr 13. Unless the valeyard is the simulation ‘experience’.

    Whoa 🙂

    (1) what I’m reminded of is the algorithmic prophecy of 2015 with the hybrid. Also all technology (see my wittering posts above!) rely on algorithms -muck about with that and we’re alone. How we react to that state of being is the test of veritas.

    #57825
    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @countscarlioni yup! he went full Moffart. I’ve enjoyed the sequence of new episodes, but I was pretty sure/hoping the whole seasons wouldn’t carry on that way.

    I’m interested by the fact that River would not approve of the Doctor killing Missy. I remember Martha getting angry when she saw ten getting ready to forgive him, it seemed like a moment where she really realised, much as he loves us, he’s not human. That the life of this one Gallefrayan would be so precious to him. I can’t imagine Amy or Clara going for it. Saving and forgiving someone is different from executing someone, sure.

    The Master seems a little like Spike in Buffy in a way: evil plan, evil plan, evil plain, wait, I don’t actually want to live in a hell dimension, quick side switch. I’m sure I remember a pre gap episode where he suddenly switches.

    #57826
    Mudlark @mudlark

    @thane15

    I’m pretty sure Prof Cox is a Who fan!

    As you may recall, he did make a very brief appearance in The Power of Three 🙂

    #57827
    Steffstaff @steffstaff

    @thane15

    Firstly to clarify something- some commenters are describing the episode as playing out in a VR world

    Actually I think it was just me who did that! Sorry! x

    It seems that the scope of the simulation was quite limited. Why include CERN in that simulation? Their relevance in an alien invasion is hard to imagine. 

    As far as I understood it (and I’m notoriously thick) the entire planet and all of it’s history was part of the simulation… Didn’t the doctor say as such at some point? You, me, Dale Winton and that mad bloke who shouts at pigeons in the park – we were all there in it somewhere too! It was a complete simulated earth.

    (2) If the aliens have sufficient knowledge to construct a useful simulation, they need to know how people will react, so building the simulation to determine that seems a rather circular exercise.

    Again I might have gotten this wrong… But I don’t think that working out how people would react to being in a simulation was part of their plan. There plan is to create a complete duplicate of the planet and then invade it to see how it plays out… Then reset it… Then invade it again… Then reset it… Then invade it again… Over and over and over and over until they come up with the invasion that causes them the least casualties and leads to victory.

    The fact that within that simulation some people figured out it wasn’t real was actually surprisingly irrelevent. We can presume that the civilization that first worked it out (“thousands of years before the church”) and then transcribed it into a book before committing mass-suicide wound up being present in every version of the simulation… But it really didn’t matter much to the Monks, because as far as they were told (and indeed told the Doctor during their last scene) there’s nothing they can do with that knowledge anyway… “There’s nothing you can do. Your not real.” …

    Infact the whole stuff about the book was a typically Moffatesque plot-herring. We were led to believe the whole plot hinged on it and the fact it was causing people to commit suicide… But that was never what was important. It was just a device for the doctor to figure out the real plot playing behind it.

    (3) I don’t buy people (simulated or other) deciding that “suicide” is the answer when confronted by their status as simulations. 

    Agreed! Simulation-theory is of course a real philosophical theory in our world… And delving into it you start entering the realm of ‘what does it mean to be real’… If everything IS a simulation there is a kind of, “Well so what?” school of thought that can emmerge. “I still feel real. Everything still looks real. Who cares? I’m real!”

    If it was revealed tomorrow we’re all in a big computer game, I doubt we’ll all slit our wrists!

    That said… For the sake of this story, I’ll go along with it – and there was something quite clever about focusing on both religion and science to demonstrate it. Picking two groups at polar opposite ends of the spectrum who both happen to share something in common, namely that they both have strong beliefs in what they are doing, what they study, what their purpose is… Then taking it away from them and showing them that their life’s dedication was utterly worthless… There is no God… There is no answer to the nature of the universe… Nothing is real and your all just programmed characters in a big computer game… You’ll never go to heaven and you’ll never work out what’s really going on outside of your own little digital prison. Take hope and purpose away from people like that and yes, I reckon they’ll start reaching for the rat-poison!

    (4) I thought the shadow test of reciting random numbers rather unconvincing in any case. If the simulation really is so weak that the agents all come up with the same sequence given radically different starting conditions (different life histories), then the simulation wouldn’t be of much value anyway.

    Definitely a plot hole that one! Because realistically most of us would have figured that out at some point in our lives! Who hasn’t played “Pick a number between one and a hundred?” at some point? …I think we need to let that one slide!

    (5) Why does the Doctor choose to take the risk he does to read the Veritas? In the end he simply gets the laptop to read it to him, so even if he’d momentarily forgotten about that possibility, could he not have “emailed” the text to the Tardis and had it read aloud or psychically transferred it to him? You’d have thought he could have installed some OCR software on his glasses for that matter- it seems a smarter solution than this one by a long shot. Admittedly it is the sim-Doctor taking that risk, but presumably it is an accurate simulation of what the real Doctor would have done.

    I suppose he just HAD to know! He’s a stubborn old fish is our Doctor!

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    #57828
    Mudlark @mudlark

    @miapatrick

    The Master seems a little like Spike in Buffy in a way: evil plan, evil plan, evil plain, wait, I don’t actually want to live in a hell dimension, quick side switch. I’m sure I remember a pre gap episode where he suddenly switches.

    The point at which the Master switches is usually the point where he* realises that there is a massive flaw in the evil plan which will cause the whole enterprise to blow up in his* face unless he collaborates with the Doctor.

     

    *substitute ‘she’ and ‘her’ for ‘he’ and ‘his’ as appropriate.

    #57829
    Anonymous @

    @steffstaff I think you meant @tardigrade not @thane15 or did you? 🙂

    That said… For the sake of this story, I’ll go along with it – and there was something quite clever about focusing on both religion and science to demonstrate it. Picking two groups at polar opposite ends of the spectrum who both happen to share something in common, namely that they both have strong beliefs in what they are doing, what they study, what their purpose is… Then taking it away from them and showing them that their life’s dedication was utterly worthless… There is no God… There is no answer to the nature of the universe…..

    Because I, @thane15 agree with that -being which you said!

    My point also  was that two groups who appear as polar opposites would be excellent experimental material but on the point you allude to as a plot-hole I would add that a repetition of the same numbers is part of an experiment and also alludes to the fact these aliens are successfully embedded -to some degree, perhaps, thus presenting themselves with a checklist which says: 1 tick 2, cross, 3, tick, 4, tick  etc. Then begin again for a perfect audit.

    Lastly on point 5 for @tardigrade and to add to yours,  I might suggest ‘yes he DID read it via computer’ but do we know for sure he didn’t email it either?  But wouldn’t emailing cause a further simulation problem, I wonder? The same 000 and 1111 then altered? By attempting to read it himself (before the dénouement was announced) he’s likelier to see it as a first imprint? Kind of like the crosses on his arms when he saw The Silence? Or maybe not! :DKindest,

    Puro (Thane15)

    #57830
    Steffstaff @steffstaff

    Sorry @thane15 I did indeed mean t’other poster.

    I’m still new. I’m learning. x

    #57831
    Anonymous @

    @steffstaff

    Ah, your post was there and it vanished into the simulated world! I saw it though, I really did (she says feebly!)

    @miapatrick @mudlark Also one of the highlights of Buffy is that you have a strong evil-ish being to counter Buffy and in Who that needs to continue too. Where at times the Doctor is hell bent on saving Master/Missy and on others wanting to use her as a dart board. That symmetry works well in Who at the moment and strengthened both Angel and Buffy.

    Miss Lark -I’d forgotten about The Power of Three -it wasn’t something I saw more than once, I’m ashamed to say 🙁

    Puro

    #57832
    Steffstaff @steffstaff

    @thane15 I know, it WAS there. Why did it vanish? Oh well. I’m not typing it again.

    #57833
    Anonymous @

    @steffstaff

    not a problem. Excellent bonkerising -and learning is one step better than simulation <looking under the bed for the real me and knowing the real me hasn’t put on 10 pounds>

    😀

    If I’m a simulation I can eat whatever the heck I please!!

    #57834
    Steffstaff @steffstaff

    Oh… Actually by using the back-button I can re-find it! And indeed correct the @ whilst I’m at it! Ooooh I feel like one of the Mum-Ra Monks, simulating posts and then re-doing them over and over till I get them right!

    @tardigrade

    Firstly to clarify something- some commenters are describing the episode as playing out in a VR world

    Actually I think it was just me who did that! Sorry! x

    It seems that the scope of the simulation was quite limited. Why include CERN in that simulation? Their relevance in an alien invasion is hard to imagine. 

    As far as I understood it (and I’m notoriously thick) the entire planet and all of it’s history was part of the simulation… Didn’t the doctor say as such at some point? You, me, Dale Winton and that mad bloke who shouts at pigeons in the park – we were all there in it somewhere too! It was a complete simulated earth.

    (2) If the aliens have sufficient knowledge to construct a useful simulation, they need to know how people will react, so building the simulation to determine that seems a rather circular exercise.

    Again I might have gotten this wrong… But I don’t think that working out how people would react to being in a simulation was part of their plan. There plan is to create a complete duplicate of the planet and then invade it to see how it plays out… Then reset it… Then invade it again… Then reset it… Then invade it again… Over and over and over and over until they come up with the invasion that causes them the least casualties and leads to victory.

    The fact that within that simulation some people figured out it wasn’t real was actually surprisingly irrelevent. We can presume that the civilization that first worked it out (“thousands of years before the church”) and then transcribed it into a book before committing mass-suicide wound up being present in every version of the simulation… But it really didn’t matter much to the Monks, because as far as they were told (and indeed told the Doctor during their last scene) there’s nothing they can do with that knowledge anyway… “There’s nothing you can do. Your not real.” …

    Infact the whole stuff about the book was a typically Moffatesque plot-herring. We were led to believe the whole plot hinged on it and the fact it was causing people to commit suicide… But that was never what was important. It was just a device for the doctor to figure out the real plot playing behind it.

    (3) I don’t buy people (simulated or other) deciding that “suicide” is the answer when confronted by their status as simulations. 

    Agreed! Simulation-theory is of course a real philosophical theory in our world… And delving into it you start entering the realm of ‘what does it mean to be real’… If everything IS a simulation there is a kind of, “Well so what?” school of thought that can emmerge. “I still feel real. Everything still looks real. Who cares? I’m real!”

    If it was revealed tomorrow we’re all in a big computer game, I doubt we’ll all slit our wrists!

    That said… For the sake of this story, I’ll go along with it – and there was something quite clever about focusing on both religion and science to demonstrate it. Picking two groups at polar opposite ends of the spectrum who both happen to share something in common, namely that they both have strong beliefs in what they are doing, what they study, what their purpose is… Then taking it away from them and showing them that their life’s dedication was utterly worthless… There is no God… There is no answer to the nature of the universe… Nothing is real and your all just programmed characters in a big computer game… You’ll never go to heaven and you’ll never work out what’s really going on outside of your own little digital prison. Take hope and purpose away from people like that and yes, I reckon they’ll start reaching for the rat-poison!

    (4) I thought the shadow test of reciting random numbers rather unconvincing in any case. If the simulation really is so weak that the agents all come up with the same sequence given radically different starting conditions (different life histories), then the simulation wouldn’t be of much value anyway.

    Definitely a plot hole that one! Because realistically most of us would have figured that out at some point in our lives! Who hasn’t played “Pick a number between one and a hundred?” at some point? …I think we need to let that one slide!

    (5) Why does the Doctor choose to take the risk he does to read the Veritas? In the end he simply gets the laptop to read it to him, so even if he’d momentarily forgotten about that possibility, could he not have “emailed” the text to the Tardis and had it read aloud or psychically transferred it to him? You’d have thought he could have installed some OCR software on his glasses for that matter- it seems a smarter solution than this one by a long shot. Admittedly it is the sim-Doctor taking that risk, but presumably it is an accurate simulation of what the real Doctor would have done.

    I suppose he just HAD to know! He’s a stubborn old fish is our Doctor!

    #57835
    Anonymous @

    @steffstaff   No, your simulated self saw it… At least the ‘big bit’ I cut and pasted and some of the things you said I mentioned to @tardigrade but I remember you doing it a lot better!

    All excellent discussions regarding continuity/whys/plotholes/the thick plottens etc

    #57836
    Anonymous @

    @steffstaff this is all proof of a giant conspiracy from the Planet Veritalien…

    Much like in Buffy with Glory and some person who people think is also Ben. But no, that can’t be right. 😉

    Thane typing for Puro (we are the Hybrid -Puro is my mum. She can’t write less than a 1000 words)

    #57837
    tardigrade @tardigrade

    @thane15

    I don’t really have too much of a problem with CERN being used in terms of the story- it’s showing two ends of a worldview spectrum, in CERN and Vatican, being shaken by the same thing. But the combination of the two really took me out of the story as I battled with the parallels to Angels & Demons (where the two were used for similar reasons). Plus the depiction of CERN was very half-hearted- a couple of dozen people in a nondescript room. There may be thousands of people at the LHC when it’s operating. And killing themselves with big bundles of red explosives was cartoonish (and added another A&D parallel, as the threat there was of a big explosion too).

    You really won’t find scientists using the word “faith” related to scientific work, and least in anything like the sense that it’s used in religion. In religion it is used to mean “belief” without evidence, and scientists of course gain confidence in their conclusions through evidence. Where scientists use the word “faith” it tends to be faith in the scientific method as the best known methodology to come to reliable conclusions as to how things are. And if scientists use “belief”, it means a high level of confidence based on confirming evidence, and not a resistance to changing that conclusion based on better evidence. Where the terms “faith” and “belief” are applied to science, it is often from outside and as an attempt to portray expert opinion based on the balance of hard evidence to be a belief based on dogma, and hence dismissible based on alternative dogma, so it’s a favoured tactic of the anti-expert crowd.

    it was worth going to hell for

    If the Vatican priests really did believe they were simulated, then they would probably not think they had an eternal soul, so would not be in fear of damnation. And if it were an accurate simulation, then there is presumably another version of themselves in the real world acting as custodian of their soul.

    Then taking it away from them and showing them that their life’s dedication was utterly worthless… There is no God… There is no answer to the nature of the universe…

    I don’t think the priests would be denying God, or the scientists the possibility of answers- but those things lie in the real world, not their simulation. Their consciousness would be cut off from those.

    #57838
    tardigrade @tardigrade

    @steffstaff

    I suppose he just HAD to know! He’s a stubborn old fish is our Doctor!

    I’m fine with him wanting to know what’s in the message. It’s just a perverse way he goes about trying to read it. At the end of the episode he “emails” a message to himself that is shown to him via his glasses. Earlier he’s actually trying to read an email– surely it’s much more obvious then to forward it to the device that will show it to him, rather than employing an experimental, possibly fatal, method of trying to read it. Seeing that, I was ready to kick his butt, let alone Nardole (or River).

    #57839
    Steffstaff @steffstaff

    @tardigrade

    If the Vatican priests really did believe they were simulated, then they would probably not think they had an eternal soul, so would not be in fear of damnation. And if it were an accurate simulation, then there is presumably another version of themselves in the real world acting as custodian of their soul.

    Exactly! But of course that line about “He read it and chose hell” was spoken by a priest who hadn’t read the book.

    #57840
    Anonymous @

    @steffstaff @tardigrade

    ..that simulation some people figured out it wasn’t real was actually surprisingly irrelevant. We can presume that the civilization that first worked it out (“thousands of years before the church”) and then transcribed it into a book before committing mass-suicide wound up being present in every version of the simulation… But it really didn’t matter much to the Monks…

    OK, so the above and then this:

    Because realistically most of us would have figured that out at some point in our lives!

    The last referred to the shadow test? In which case the first point in italics above and the second point (the one line) work the same way -both being irrelevant and thus not a circular exercise but a plurality leading to a successful audit including said ‘failures’ or ‘habits’ such as suicide etc…

    Or with the clerics, flagellation…

    #57841
    tardigrade @tardigrade

    @arbutus

    The CERN scientist, when asked what they were doing, said, “Saving the world”. That suggests that it wasn’t escape, but foiling the plans of the simulators, that was the goal. Presumably also true for the clerics, as that goal might be viewed of being worth going to hell for, and a president who thought he was helping his people.

    I don’t see why they would think that taking themselves out of the simulation has any positive effect. If they genuinely wanted to screw up the simulation, perhaps the CERN folks would be better off announcing to the world that we’re all living in a simulation, and provide the proof. CERN would perhaps be the only place that could get away with that without being treated as complete nutters. (You’d actually think that they’d have independent evidence that something is awry, as their job is largely sifting through vast amounts of data created from random events, and there would have to be obvious problems).

    In fact, if the aliens were looking for a way to take over, what they have learnt is that if you can convince the population that they are living in a simulation that they will kill themselves out of spite. So doing just that might be very counterproductive.

    #57842
    Missy @missy

    Good grief! I’ve counted around 95 posts on my emails re the above! No time today, but I will say this for now.
    What a belter! Steven Moffat at his best. I believe it was Ichabod who quothed, “GO MAN, GO.” Well, he certainly went didn’t he! Wonderful stuff.
    Laters.

    Missy

    #57843
    Steffstaff @steffstaff

    @tardigrade

    I’m fine with him wanting to know what’s in the message. It’s just a perverse way he goes about trying to read it. At the end of the episode he “emails” a message to himself that is shown to him via his glasses. Earlier he’s actually trying to read an email– surely it’s much more obvious then to forward it to the device that will show it to him, rather than employing an experimental, possibly fatal, method of trying to read it. Seeing that, I was ready to kick his butt, let alone Nardole (or River).

    Ha ha! Yes! I agree! Often typical of Doctor Who of course, big old complicated methods for no real reason! I mean, why on Earth did the Doctor bother going through the conveluted process of rewiring the execution device, then pretending to execute Missy? …because literally five seconds later he just confirmed he wasn’t going to kill her, he was going to keep her alive in the vault and none of them could stop him? 😀

    #57844
    Anonymous @

    @tardigrade

    If I might suggest that of course CERN is dynamic (I’ve been there and it’s HUGE!). The area is just confoundingly enormous but to me why would that need to be pictured? We saw the sign, that’s all we need to know. Any more and we’re saying “it’s not realistic” and I don’t think Who has ever had the budget or the interest in showing something so large and magnificent for a few mins of telly. As to faith absolutely do scientists use it.  They are fond of stating “I have faith in the scientific method of data and modelling. If the modelling isn’t successful I must change my hypothesis.”  -with respect to the rest of your paragraph we completely agree.

    “going to hell for” was a riff off @mudlark‘s statement actually and @steffstaff  -it was designed to imply that within this world a decision such as this is worth it for the attendant result. If in fact the soul ‘custodies’ existed elsewhere then the choice to leave, was exactly that -the choice to ‘leave’ -one would, as a cleric, interpret it as suicide, but the victim themselves might not which tends to create sufficient doubt within the simulation experience and thus tick boxes for the Aliens who need to re-construct more simulations and confound the doubters -much like the Tower of Babel metaphor.

    In the Areopagitica it was made clear that we discover what is true by knowing what is not. Through the ‘killing of reason’ and the censoring licenses of that time much discussion in Parliament was made regarding freedom of choice to free will and individual expression and right -what was right and how good choices can be made without reward and witness. (1) I found that elevating and implied our own ability to make choices, metaphorically, thru the use of this ‘device’ or ‘plot’ -and believe it to be more significant than the ‘what’ -such as whether CERN looked large enough or whether the super-conducting supercollider could be present in a film-shot. CERN represents a certain type of faith. Scientists use faith too, but in different way. They don’t seek to obfuscate. They use data and (some) consensus. Additionally, whether the monsters ‘looked’ like another monster seems irrelevant or relevant to the extent the universe spits out patterns.

    I guess my take on it -on most Who is on the Why and how rather than the ‘what’. It will always be thus, my friend.

    Puro.

    (1) my mention of Milton here is very watered down of course but it interests me that thru it flowed a respect of individual opinions and not aristocratic authority – something which the aliens have ignored! -their prospective undoing, imo.

    #57845
    ichabod @ichabod

    @pedant  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.

    Yes — you couldn’t miss the shabbiness of the jacket, compared to the swashbuckling dark red velvet one . . . or even the Regency black.  A nice, telling detail.

    @thane15  wherever I look on the youtube arena a really big hate-group for Moffat. I find this odd.

    I find it pretty much batshit-crazy, and rooted in a weird, neurotically jealous, possessiveness about the show.  Moffat loves taking risks; sometimes he over-reaches.  Given the kind of show writing we normally see in the US on television, by comparison Moffat is a galloping genius, flops and all.  [This is changing a bit with the creation of original content on Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, etc., and occasionally HBO.]  It’s like the knee-jerk rantings of cliques of mean girls in High School against a more intelligent girl, only it’s mean boys as well — baffling.

    he who destroys a good book, kills reason itself,

    Mm, excellent; and yes, respect for words (River’s, and River’s precious book), and word play, and the effects of words — like “simulation”.  Man, I really enjoyed this episode and have already begun a re-watch.

    I really felt that Life as Illusion

    Oh, I think it is — I like Daniel Dennett’s idea of the “manifest image” that our unaided senses give us — the chair we bark our shins on, the chocolate mousse that some idiot has put “sea salt” on to be trendy — and the “scientific image” that science delivers, all sub-atomic particles, gravity, dark energy, etc.  One seems more real than the other — but which, and when?  The scientific image could be illusory too, couldn’t it, since it’s still coming through our senses, refined and extended?  As I understand it, at least.

    #57846
    Anonymous @

    @tardigrade @arbutus

    Been in the States lately? Watched Q&A in Oz? Many people think CERN are a bunch of “nutters” -more people believe in Angels sitting on their shoulders than in anything CERN produces. When the Higgs Boson Field was revealed the author was continuously apologetic in his lecture in order to prevent offence “to the hierarchy.” If I was an employee at CERN at the moment I’d be dismayed at how, in the last  six years, the world’s turned 🙂

    Goodness, I have been blagging on.

    Apologies for that! I just really enjoyed the meaty episode  – totally understand how others might not.

    #57847
    Anonymous @

    @tardigrade and @mudlark “going to hell for” (above) was incorrectly tagged -should read @arbutus from #57816

    Also thanks @kharis and @arbutus.

    Puro

    #57848
    janetteB @janetteb

    so many posts and it has taken me all day to read through, (between other things) and I am still not to the end but just a few points before I forget,

    The similarity in the alien design in recent years might have far more to do with the design team than any intention of Moffat’s, though having read the script it still might have been an intentional choice, or just simply artistic style.

    Reading through this possibility was alluded to by someone else, (Whist or Phaseshift I think but apologies for not making a note at the time) so not my idea but I thought it a strong possibility that the Simm master is behind the planned conquest of earth. While Missy is locked away in the vault, (assuming she is still in there) there are other Master’s operating on earth, all of those we have “encountered” since 1963 in fact. This could just be one incidental incursion by a earlier or later regen’.

    Will comment more after I have finish reading through and doing all those annoying chores. (Actually there will always be annoying chores. I will comment first.)

    Cheers

    Janette

    #57849
    Anonymous @

    @tardigrade

    one last thing before I shut up for the night: most people who practise religion see “faith and “belief” as distinct forms and qualities -on evidence they differ also. But on the previous page I stated that it was a type of “faith” used differently by science and religion (just so there’s no straw being ordered) 😉 Nonetheless, the interpretation of ‘faith’ according to scientific inquiry is about faith in the work, in the reason, in the model.

    Puro and Thane. G/night.

    #57851
    ichabod @ichabod

    @steffstaff  Welcome, and thanks for this: I can only think of one possibility for Earth victory here… And that’s if one of the shadow-doctors during the multiple test-invasions works out he’s in a simulation and chooses to deliberately let the invasion succeed, 

    Excellent!

    @mudlark  . . . maybe the Doctor’s blindness is not just a challenge for him to overcome, but a means on the path to greater understanding and wisdom – though I can’t see him ever becoming the Philosopher King.

    Yes, I think so too — comparing Clara, once again “Impossible” with her between-heartbeats “life”, was the means by which the Doctor learned, in Hell Bent, about how sometimes giving up and giving in is the best course (“This is right; I accept it”) and that he had the Donna atrocity to “make amends” for.  And being a Philosopher King would be far too boring and stuffy for our rebel TL (well, the Huck Finn side of him anyway).

    And, “yum!” indeed; just what I was hoping for — some resonance, not just topicality (the earlier eps of S10, by comparison with this).

    @countscarlioni  Bang goes the soft reboot. That was the full Moffat and nothing but the Moffat. I’m going to miss his audacity.

    *sigh*  Me too.  The NERVE of this guy!  Wonderful.

    #57852
    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    Hey, I’m getting better. It’s only three days later and I’m reviewing Extremis!

    I’d find this difficult to rate as a standalone, but felt we were getting a little bit more for our time as the ‘setup’ phase was out the way. It’s interesting that the trend to echo the past is still strong though. Silence in the Library comes to mind, not only for the Library, but conjoined with the Simulated world that echoes CAL’s environment in that two parter.

    It’s all remixed to good effect . Out of all Moffat’s ‘puzzle boxes’ this is the most direct and simple. I’m pretty bewildered by some assertions elsewhere that this is in any way difficult to follow.

    Instead this is much more a character piece looking at our main players and the relationships between them. This concept of Truth we’re highlighting plays into notions like Bill’s ‘closeted’ status with her Foster Mother and The Doctors reluctance to tell Bill the truth about his eyes. Of all the main players the hapless Nardole seems to be the only one that has no secrets. He’s doomed I tell you!

    Obviously the truth of those two secrets will out, but as I suggested before the episode I think a bigger secret is in play here. I think @alexwho and @mudlark have picked up on it. The offer for Confession for whatever the Doctors remorse is due to by the Cardinal was a punch in the air moment. The fact that the episode immediately segues into a Doctor flashback with Missy would seem to indicate that the Doctor does have a confession to make to Missy. I think that Truth is going to cause a lot of damage.

    Random other things:

    – The Doctors devastating impact on his companions dating lives continues to raise laughs. This made the comedy of errors between Clara and Danny Pink in Listen look tame. Also loved the fact that the Doctor made up for simDoctors mistake, and bigged-up Bill’s confidence to ask Penny out.

    – The custodians of the Execution world reminded me heavily of the Jaffa from Stargate, with their ornamental robes and elaborate staffs and neckpieces.

    – I thought the ‘look me up’ moment (again reminiscent of Silence in the Library) was funny and well earned by the setup. These people obviously take a particular pride in ending life, elevating it almost to a religion. Having ‘The Doctor’ as a cause of death in their Database is very funny. Then try to imagine some of the entries that may be on it. Morbius? Magnus Greel? Sutek the Destroyer, ancient Osirian God? Death by Doctor. Satan!? They couldn’t run fast enough! 🙂

    As others have said, putting a blond wig on the President would probabloy have been a step too far, but the thought of a president driven to suicide by the revelation that he’s a fake in a fake world, as a fake news report plays in the background is quite a strong image in itself.

    @wolfweed & @whisht

    Bowie. Well it’s an interesting one this. When Bill and Nardole enter CERNs canteen, their, and our, first clear look a the timer is heavily signified (I think it’s minutely slowed down when I watched it closer on i-player).

    Screen grab:

    cern countdown

    Which reminded me of this

    I’ve posted it here because the cover of Heathen, the album it’s on is worth dwelling on. A ‘blind’ Bowie. And surely the Doctor is the ultimate ‘Heathen’ being consulted by the Catholic Church. This song is about moving on after a personal loss. Very apt for the Doctor in those flashback scenes.

    The rest of the title made me wonder – blind Doctor vs. Weeping Angel? Could Moffat resist?

    Need some sleep. Long night doing improbable things in a field. Same again tonight.

    Back with more thoughts at some point I hope.

    #57853
    tardigrade @tardigrade

    @thane15

    Goodness, I have been blagging on.

    Apologies for that! I just really enjoyed the meaty episode – totally understand how others might not.

    No apology needed. TBH I’ve probably enjoyed the discussion, your self-described “blagging” included, more than the episode itself. As always, I’m glad to see that there are still places where there can be a respectful exchange of ideas.

    And as you alude to, in the current climate, I don’t think the LHC would ever have been funded. And I really don’t think the rather silly “God Particle” moniker for the Higgs did them any favours at all. Those at CERN must be having their faith tested 🙂

    #57854
    ichabod @ichabod

    @thane15  Puro — this universe is patterned. The repetition of tropes, if done successfully, mimics the very thing from which we cannot escape: 

    Isn’t that fractals?  Perhaps the universe blossoms through time like a paisley design.  Sheesh, I’m high on Time stuff — and real time.  It’s 4:20 a.m. here, and this is getting ridiculous.

    Sleep first; then, think more.  I love this episode — and this discussion — very much.  I don’t really want to sleep, but at least I go to bed happy!

    #57855
    tardigrade @tardigrade

    @phaseshift

    The custodians of the Execution world reminded me heavily of the Jaffa from Stargate, with their ornamental robes and elaborate staffs and neckpieces.

    Oh yes- I can see that now that you mention it. I think I was a little distracted by recognizing the actor from Humans, so that slipped by me at the time.

    #57856
    Anonymous @

    @tardigrade you know that’s hilarious! I actually typed out ‘god particle’ and then thought “no just scrub it out.”

    Our minds, interlinked!

    Puro <-_->

    #57857

    The picture on the wall should really be Liv Ullman or Johanna Wokalek, since they both played Pope Joan in films of the same name.

    #57858
    wolfweed @wolfweed

    @jimthefish

    ‘It’s not something that’s ever likely to happen but what with regeneration ever present in our minds this series what would it be like if the Doctor’s regeneration was actually triggered by something other than self-sacrifice this time (say, suicide)?’

    Reminds me of the other Frobisher (John)…

    frob gif

    ‘Who frowned me this face?’

    #57859
    MissRori @missrori

    @thane15:

    Many people wander about embellishing their lives with the ornate and the refined, but simple decency, anonymous actions without reward or respect are sometimes labelled trite and passé.

    This is all too true.  What you note as happening in your country is similar to what I’m seeing in mine, the me-first attitude.  A lot of people are having a hard time in life, it would seem, and taking it out on others who are having a hard time by othering them; those who are well off pick on those who are not because there’s no gain in helping them.  No one wants to help anyone else unless there’s something in it for them, and/or they don’t have to give  anything — money, respect, kindness — to do it.  The Twelfth Doctor’s efforts to be a good man, the Doctor, are so heartrending in this light.

    Actually, why does he end “Extremis” in despair?  He knows he’s doing the right things and truly being the Doctor, so he should be happy and optimistic, even with the consequences and dangers he has to deal with.  He just has to keep being the Doctor and everything will be okay in the end…I think he needs to love himself more.  Plenty of people love themselves with far less reason to do so.  😉

    I would like to think that as this season ends, as he proves his mettle at the bottom of a pit (or black hole) it will end on a note of hope rather than despair, even though the regeneration is coming up.

    #57860
    Anonymous @

    @missrori Thane here. Yes! I hope he feels hope. He deserves it. Maybe he’s lonely?

    Wolfweed yes we said a similar thing -if the Doctor re-boots himself deliberately then that’s a voluntary death (murder of oneself) and if it means he doesn’t change -but stays the same then the simulation is working. Later, after borrowing from the universe’s future (as he did in Extremis)  he will have to pay it back and regenerate properly, I think?

    I loved that part of Torchwood with Mr Frobisher although it was really gruesome.

    Thank you,

    Thane

    #57861
    Anonymous @

    @phaseshift

    yes, about the big secret you mentioned as a game changer. In Mum’s post #57697 she quoted some old author, Pindar about “wronging friends” and he is “ashamed at the depth of his debt” to her. See the confession dial in Season 9 and at end of the Hell Bent two-er.

    Thank you,

    Thane15

    #57862
    MissRori @missrori

    @thane15 But if the Doctor wronged Missy, I think he’s paid enough for any mistake he made after all the trouble she’s been for him all their lives…

    See the confession dial in Season 9 and at end of the Hell Bent two-er.

    I see what you’re getting at about the former, but what about the ending of “Hell Bent” has to do with something he needs to make up to Missy?  If anything, he should be angrier with her than ever for setting him on the path to ruin with Clara, one of the saddest relationships of his lives, and she’s very lucky he didn’t just let her fry (as Clara would have wanted)!

    Also, it’s hard to imagine a satisfying “confession” he needs to make to her.  It would probably be another damp squib like the reveal of who the Hybrid was (hybrids do not work that way!).

    #57863
    Anonymous @

    @missrori Forgiveness is often about the person doing the forgiving: he’s learning that.

    Perhaps her death was unnecessary in its way? And also, if you have a friend (and they were friends for many hundreds of years) there may be an occasion where you might put aside the cruelty and the scheming for the sake of something valuable. If the Doctor lied to Master/Missy; perhaps it involved a  decision that went terribly wrong and he feels in her debt.  Still, he does not trust her and that’s wise. She’s still ‘boxed up’ though. Despite wronging her in some way the oath is intact -& he’s doing what he promised.

    Also on other levels the Doctor is lying -to Bill about his sight for example.

    Puro (having woken up)

    #57864
    Anonymous @

    also @missrori he’s a TL, “he’s killed them all” (he said that once – before the 50th). With long lives there is much wrong to be undone

    #57865
    MissRori @missrori

    @thane15 Hey Puro, I see your point about his many past wrongs (as I noted yesterday he does seem to be an atoning Doctor from the start).  And yeah, he’s having truth issues with Bill, an interesting parallel.  But I’m still unclear on how this connects to “Hell Bent” and its events, and the point on forgiveness and the person doing it…Missy seems like a grudge-holder so why should the Doc waste his breath seeking it?  That just reminds me how Ohila and the General claimed he was cruel and cowardly exiling Rassilon instead of forgiving him the way he did, say, Bonnie.  Rassilon would never have been worthy of forgiveness, but the Doctor showed mercy instead of letting him fry or rot in prison…  Just wondering.  🙂

    #57866
    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    Was reading the excellent posts above and, slowly, an idea started to bubble up. I was thinking about the flashback structure of the episode, about the ending outside the vault, about the Doctor’s words to Missy as he leans against the vault. And then I was thinking about the claim we have heard that this regeneration will be like no other, and also about the character arc of the Capaldi Doctor, which began with his question to Clara: “Am I a good man?”

    Could…and I realise this is going to sound far-fetched…could the Doctor and the Master/Missy be…the same person? Often co-existing, fighting and and yet recognizing their indelible bond of friendship? Wasn’t it the third Doctor who said, of the Master: “He used to be a friend of mine once. A very good friend. In fact, you might almost say we were at school together”. And then (in the gap between the Simm Doctor and Missy) there was Toby Jones’ portrayal of The Dream Lord, where it is very much implied that he is a dark aspect of the Doctor.

    How any of this might play out in the regeneration, I have no idea, but I do believe Moffat is going to depart Who doing something extraordinary, so…

    But this is one of those ideas that comes before the first cup of morning coffee. Perhaps after coffee sanity might reign.

    #57867
    MissRori @missrori

    @blenkinsopthebrave IIRC, that idea was being floated in the days of Pertwee but Delgado’s death nixed that or other ideas on what made them so close and yet so far from each other.  Moffat reviving something like that now…hmmmm….

    #57868
    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    Well, after the mind clarifying effects of caffeine, I suppose that might be a step too far, if only for the notion that it might be seen as turning the family-friendly show into the study of a schizophrenic!

    I also realise that what probably set me thinking about it was reading (before coffee, always a bad move) the reviews of the first episode of the new Twin Peaks, with…oh, spoilers!

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