Extremis

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  • #57948
    ichabod @ichabod

    @morpho   net result of *all* of that is that the (real) Doctor is alerted to an imminent alien invasion, i.e. pure exposition.

    What’s the “net result” of Don Quixote, or Alice in Wonderland, or “Midnight”, for that matter?  DW isn’t a novel; it’s a long picaresque tale of tales that goes in circles (Doctor wakes, goes on adventures, “dies”, revives as a new version of himself, goes on adventures; dies . . .   The stories entertain, provoke thoughts and question from trivial to profound and back again, and sometimes relax a bit for some by-play as part of preparing for a big jump.  If exposition is funny, shocking, threatening, smart, and enlightening re the rest of the story to come, I’m all for it;  loved this episode.

    Which reminds me of perhaps the best “Time Travel” novel I know of: Timescape, by Greg Benford (physicist, Southern Californa, probably retired now).  I’m thinking of it because the characters in the story don’t do classic “time travel”, and the “two earths” are an earlier earth and a later one, but the crux of it is the transmission of a warning message that does traverse time, going into the past.  I haven’t read it in a while, but I remember it as being unexpectedly moving because of the dogged heroism of one doomed group of people who nonetheless persist in sending another group a vital message . . . . Huh.  (Lots of exposition in there, too, but I read every word.)

    @missrori  if the Doctor were following the Aesop, he’d have let Missy fry and happily guarded her corpse for 1,000 years!

    Yup; but scorpion and frog are animals working off survival instincts; the Doctor is an alien who can live on and on by changing outward forms for thousands of years, and he seems to be trying to redress the imbalance in lifetimes between mayflies and mountain ranges by helping to keep sapient life of all kinds alive when it’s threatened.  It makes a weird sort of ethical sense — “I have this huge longevity advantage which I will try to extend to protect those who *don’t* have thousands of years to live, even though I can’t prevent their (or my) inevitable death in the end.”

    The case of Missy, of course, is complicated because she was his friend when they were young and she’s a TL too — so she also has a mountain range’s lifespan.  Hmm.  Nardole may be right about this one: “You never learn, do you.”

     

     

     

    #57950
    Mudlark @mudlark

    @ichabod

    ‘Timescape’ is one of those novels which has stuck with me, too; much exposition and not a word wasted.  Those in the doomed present who send the messages back to their counterparts in the past cannot avert their own fate but, though they will never know it, they succeed in creating an alternative future for those who receive the message – a fork in time.  It isn’t even as if the meaning of the message, repeatedly sent but arriving each time in somewhat garbled and incomplete form, is really understood; it is the fact that the message was sent and received at all which diverts the course of history. Because a student, looking for an issue of an obscure scientific journal containing a paper on the phenomenon of the messages, happens to be in a certain book depository in Dallas at a certain time on a certain date in November 1963.  An example of the butterfly effect perhaps, as in A Sound of Thunder.

     

    #57960
    ichabod @ichabod

    mudlark  Ha!  How nice.  I’ve certainly never forgotten the opening chapter (I think?) in which a scientist is flying somewhere, over the ocean, and notices the red bloom in the water of the mutant(?) algae that are slowly but surely on their way to suffocating the seas and, eventually, choking off our species.  A beautifully thought out piece of work, like another book of maybe 15-20 yrs earlier, “Earth Abides”, which I think I’ve described here before; and “The Genocides”, I think by Phil Dick — aliens want our territory, pesticide us to death, and we all die, the end.  Intelligent writers have been thinking these thoughts, on this scale, for a very long time, but “nobody” noticed until similar books were published as “literature”, not SF: “The Road”, “On the Beach”, and “Children of Men” come to mind.

    This is the trade-off for writing in the SF “ghetto”: you are guaranteed a small readership of very bright, imaginative readers and like-minded authors, and also (usually) no significant readership outside the ghetto wall.  The cutting edge is by its nature tremendously exciting, but also very very thin.

    #57962

    @mudlark

    I’ve never been too bothered with Moffat’s (and his writers’) leg pulls. I have no more problem with a bit of hand-wavy oblique reference to Pope Joan (anachronistic art style or not) than with the tendency to chuck the word “quantum” about with gay abandon (or, for that matter, straight abandon and gender-non-binary abandon).

    @ichabod

    Timescape is an absolute cracker and, as you say, the pathos of the hero-scientist’s situation was very well played out. It was also, you may recall, bleakly contrasted with what happened after You-Know-Who dodged the bullet.

    Apparently the theory he was playing with has now been pretty well abandoned, but so what? Totally not the point.

    #57963
    ichabod @ichabod

    @pedant  Right; everybody in SF knows that moment where suddenly the scientific underpinnings of your story collapse under the weight of new theories and discoveries; you just hope that your story is good enough that nobody (who notices) will care.  “Timescape” is that good a story.

    The notion I dislike the most is the parallel universe one, where every time somebody makes a decision, one time line pushes on straight ahead, but the decision(s) *not* taken branch off and keep branching (why not?) until all you have left is a page entirely covered in pencil lines, or a great big ball of wibbly-wobbly and utterly meaningless fluff made of all the stuff that ever *could* have happened, to everybody on every world in every direction — now, *that’s* a mind-splintering nightmare if ever there was one.

    I mean, where do you draw the line?  Only big decisions by great men create splits?  Why?  Whether I choose to brush my teeth tonight, or forget to and go straight to bed, should be (minus the values-weighting that we attach to everything we do) exactly as split-inducing as your decision to wear loafers this morning rather than lace-up shoes, or somebody else’s to read the whole newspaper rather than just skimming the headlines; and then the alternate you in the alternate timeline creates split-offs with each of his or her decisions as well, and so on and so on literally ad infinitum.

    As a story-maker myself, I am (rightly or wrongly) a strong partisan of the Arrow of Time as we (think we) know it.  DW gets a pass because it’s such a delightful feast of ideas and creative realizations (and mistakes to learn from).

    #57964
    lisa @lisa

    @ichabod

    I know of Benford cause I read 1 of his novels about Mars when I went  thru my  space phase.

    I think if I recall it was about a rich guy paying for a expedition to Mars?

    Elon Musk and Space X  stuff and  getting  a settlement on Mars – but he wrote about

    doing  this years before Elon.   That’s only  why I remember it cause its a real thing now.

     

    #57966
    Pufferfish @pufferfish

    @phaseshift interjecting with a possible Bowie ref for this episode:

    On the day of execution/only women kneel and smile

     

    #57968
    CountScarlioni @countscarlioni

    @kharis  The Monks. Excellent suggestions. Even if they don’t work for the Monks, perhaps they’ll work later.  The line in Extremis , as I understand, it is that the Monks are an alien race with, presumably, a Head Monk or Head Monks calling the shots.  The Doctor will likely see them off in short order, and if so, what’s the ‘extremely big thing’ that will follow them that the Doctor will have to deal with (with  Missy’s help??)?

    #57969
    Missy @missy

    Puro: Thank for that explanation, I’d never heard of a checksum.

    @craig:

    Nope, I cannot agree. I was fascinated. Apart from Heaven Sent, this is the only episode that I have watched every night since it aired – and probably will  watch again tonight.

    @thane15: 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).

    Spotonski, That’s exactly the way I see it. And yes, I did watch the After Show on YT.

    @bendubz11:  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.

    I too wondered about that and haven’t a clue. I dare say that Mr. M has though. *winks*

    @steffstaff: Hello there. *waves vigorously*

    @wolfweed: Hmm. Benedict looks nothing like his painting on the wall of the Vatican does he. *winks*

    Puro:  I almost expected Brian Cox to have a cameo.

    Good point, he did have one in The Power of Three.

    Missy

     

     

    #57970
    Missy @missy

    @pedant: Interesting post. thank you for that.

    A simm-ulation. ahahaha hahahahaha ahahahaha. aha.

    Oh very droll. *chuckles*

    @missrori;   As many are now asking elsewhere, how does the main plot of “The Return of Doctor Mysterio” fit into this timeline?  If the execution is happening shortly after the Doctor bade goodbye to River, and this is the start of his and Nardole’s team effort, how do they fit in the undoing of Harmony Shoal with his vault duties, especially since his grief over River still seems fresh at this point?  I say main plot because the Doctor’s encounters with young Grant seem to take place between “Hell Bent” and THORS, given the Doctor’s wardrobe is his “scruffy” look in those scenes.  The expanded universe has set quite a few comics between those two stories, too.

    Like most of us, I can’t answer that. All I can do is quote the Doctor; “I’m the Doctor, accept it.”

    <span class=”useratname”>@jimthefish:  I had to smile at your mention of the Da Vinci Code. It reminded me of SM’s comment that it was fun.  One wonders how Dan Brown would feel about that?</span>

    Missy
    <div class=”bbp-author-role”></div>

    #57971
    Missy @missy

    @thane15:  Thane typing for Puro (we are the Hybrid -Puro is my mum. She can’t write less than a 1000 words)

    Yes, I’d noticed! (said with affection)

    @ichabod 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.

    I too wondered about the jacket. Very smart, even though a shade dusty.

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

    @ichabod 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.

    Jealousy is definitely at the heart of it. I doubt that SM will lose any sleep over it.

    Missy

     

     

    #57972
    Missy @missy

    @thane15:  Wonderful isn’t it, sums our Doctor up completely. Then there is this one from the same episode.

    He never raised his voice. That was the worst thing… the fury of the Time Lord… and then we discovered why. Why this Doctor, who had fought with gods and demons, why he had run away from us and hidden. He was being kind…

    Superb piece of writing – both episodes – and not by SM either, but by Paul Cornell. He also wrote Father’s Day.

    @morpho: I think many people are nowadays – atheists I mean. But I can’t agree that SM is baiting anyone. It’s a shame if your friends feel that he is.Even if they were right, surely God (if there is one) has a sense of humour? He supposedly invented the human race, so he’d need one.

    Missy

    #57973
    Cath Annabel @cathannabel

    Well, I loved this.  A real change of mood, and lots to ponder on.  Trouble with not having watched till Tuesday night is that you’ve all been bonkerising like mad and I can’t keep up with all your brilliant ideas, so forgive me if I fail to credit anyone with their particular contribution…  The other difficulty is that we are currently engrossed in Agents of Shield, and I can’t really explain why that coincidence is doing my head in without spoilers for those who aren’t caught up with it (it’s far and away the best series yet, btw, so go to it…).

    I think what I’ve been pondering mostly is why those who realise they are not ‘real’ take their own lives, if indeed that is what has happened.  If they realise what’s actually going on – that this is part of a plan to conquer Earth – then how do they get to that understanding?  But that’s the only way I think to understand the CERN response, as @arbutus says.

    Oh crikey.  But yes, full on Moffat here, and for the next few episodes.  Hold on to your hats…

    #57974
    Anonymous @

    @missy

    Do you really believe that? Would you believe the same if the monks weren’t called the monks but ‘the imams’ and were dressed in a mixture of Sunni, Shia and Sufi robes? Or ‘the rabbis’?

    @ichabod

    The purpose of Don Quixote is not to set up a later episode of Don Quixote.

    #57975
    Missy @missy

    @morpho;

    Just in case you feel that I was being flippant – I wasn’t.  And yes, I would feel the same, you cannot have one rule for one religion and not the other. Please  believe me when I say – and I mean this kindly – I cannot get into SM’s head, but I truly don’t think he was baiting anyone. Politics has been dealt with (Oxygen) so why not religion? You friends should try not to take it  personally, I’ve seen worse said in the media.

    Missy

     

    #57976
    Anonymous @

    @missy

    I didn’t think you were being flippant, and I appreciate the alternative view.

    No particular organisation or group was targeted or vilified in Oxygen, so that is a very different prospect. Capitalists might get annoyed with it, but they are not personally attacked.

    Another  (great) political story was the Zygons two-parter. Here the Zygons most definitely were perceived as standing for immigrant refugees persecuted by native xenophobic isolationist on the one hand and an ethnically cousin terrorist organisation on the other.

    If you are right in drawing an analogy between political and religious representation in DW, that suggests that we likewise most definitely should perceive the monks as representing the Catholic clergy, and therefore Catholics do indeed have grounds to be offended.

    You might well welcome a horde of monsters in Jewish attire called ‘the rabbis’ trying to take over the world but I can promise you the majority of people would not stand for that, and rightly so: it would be terribly antisemitic.

    #57977
    Anonymous @

    @morpho

    I was once a Catholic. Am I incensed? No. Would they find it funny or scary? They should. In this particular story.

    I might add that the Catholic hierarchy is inconspicuous  on many levels; an impenetrable, opaque group masked by hidden revelations from an infallible being whose actions and briefs are ensconced behind multi-layers and catacombs of sovereign wealth.

    If the Catholic Church can’t take this particular nudge from Moffat then it’s crying ‘weak’ and that’s plain cowardice.

    I’m sure it can fight back: it always has before. But then it hides again.

    However, none of what I wrote above was explained in Extremis – – there was no moral conundrum poised against them. In other stories (the Matt Smith years) the ‘clerics’ gave their lives (played by Iain Glenn) and in others (during 2005), religious groups weren’t shown as ‘killers’ or ‘saboteurs’. In my mind it was The Headless Monks allied with abductors -and the word ‘monk’ is not specific to Catholic armour -actually, it’s hardly ever used. “Priest” and “bishop” are used; in 2010 it was the Bishop who gave his life so the Doctor could live. That was a Moffat-part-written story during his time as creative over-seer. A very good two-parter.

    I think you’re gathering straw…..

    Puro

     

    #57978
    Anonymous @

    @morpho

    What I really wanted to say was: “where in the heck did you see ‘pope bashing’?”

    If Catholics think it’s happening it’s my personal belief they’re building any excuse to despise Moffat.

    At no point was the Pope “bashed” metaphorically!

    But I agree: “the grounds” should indeed be “offended.”

    <confounded Puro>

    #57980
    Anonymous @

    @thane

    Do you not find it remotely ironic that a fairly tame criticism of the writing has provoked such a negative response by people who insist that people shouldn’t get offended by their organisation being represented so negatively?

    I have to reject the logic “I was once Catholic and was not offended therefore people who are still Catholic ought not to be offended” for what should be very obvious reasons.

    And as a former Catholic you ought to know better than to suggest that monkhood has very little association with Catholicism.

    #57982
    Anonymous @

    Sorry, @thane15 I mean…

    @ichabod

    The origins of that branching theory of parallel universes lies in quantum mechanics, and would occur at any event where one piece of information becomes inconsistent with another (e.g. <cat is alive| with <I see cat is dead|). So yeah at any given second, billions of new universes might be created. This is why it was criticised as being economic with postulates but liberal with universes.

    The reason why people still hold with the idea (I don’t btw) is that the contrary is just as extreme. Given that everything in quantum mechanics that interacts with anything else becomes “entangled” with it, i.e. become described by a single wavefunction rather than separate ones, it’s very likely that the entire universe is entangled and thus there is one wavefunction for everything.

    So when you make a minor decision about breakfast or looking at cats in boxes, you’re rewriting the wavefunction of the entire universe! :O

    #57983
    Anonymous @

    @morpho

    Do you not find it remotely ironic that a fairly tame criticism of the writing has provoked such a negative response by people who insist that people shouldn’t get offended by their organisation being represented so negatively?

    Irony and religion is rarely remote, this much I know. I’ve been dealing with that all day and last night in my job.

    I suggest that my opinions above, regarding the Catholic hierarchy, be seen as mine personally. I don’t believe I’ve stretched the truth. If you’re offended by my own comments I apologise.

    As to your statement, I ask, which “people” exactly?

    I will add, though, no “organisation” was “represented so negatively.” I also said “we differ on a word”  –monk. Also the Silence two-parter which I mention above, was most certainly dealt with sensitively. These were respected clerics. I reckon you need a balance sheet to mark it out -no one was baited. Not even the Pope -it wasn’t comedic. At least I didn’t that as particularly funny. It ought to be, though, he is a man: Catholics acknowledge that quite easily.

    But the straw bales are being gathered. So let’s go in peace and shake hands Mr M.

    Puro

    #57987
    Anonymous @

    @thane15

    As I said at the start, I’m not personally offended (not even by the repeated innuendoed about straw-man building). But I can certainly see how the running theme of irreverent and/or negative depiction of clergy would offend people of the faith, or at least make them uncomfortable enough to stop watching, which imo is a shame. I guess you can either empathise with that or not, which fair enough. Moffat clearly doesn’t.

    As compelling an argument as it might seem to the giver, ‘I didn’t laugh, therefore no joke was intended’, whether regarding Benedict IX or the encumbant’s slapstick crashing of Bill’s date, isn’t a valid defense either.

    Monks, btw, were definitely a big thing in the Catholic church. And when you call your baddies ‘the monks’ and have them where a mish-mash of identifiable Catholic garbs, I don’t think anyone is in danger of mistaking them for Buddhists.

    #57988

    @morpho @thane15

    This is bizarre.

    Maybe it is because my old neighbours are a Bangladeshi family who, on formal and celebration days wear the most spectacular and brilliantly vibrant colours that led my first impression to be that the monks were very much Asian-inspired.

    My first thought on seeing the monk, walking towards the Doctor bak-lit by the portal was “Buddhist” and they have monks too. Or maybe the Hare Krishna devotees, those who go down the street singing and chanting.

    And I can easily Moffat thinking in terms of other lives lived that Karma might just come into play…

    I think any groups (Catholic or otherwise) who take offence are indulging in 100 degree proof spirit special pleading.

    @cathannabel

    We only know of the “test” from the Veritas, but it seems probably to me that there was other information that persuaded both Church and Science that suicide might be an effective way to chuck a spanner in the invader’s works. Moffat is not given to over-explaining!

    #57989
    Anonymous @

    @morpho @pedant

    I didn’t laugh, therefore no joke was intended’, whether regarding Benedict IX or the encumbant’s  [sic]slapstick crashing of Bill’s date, isn’t a valid defense 

    Actually I think it was. If one hundred people laughed (catholics) and 100 people didn’t (catholics) then it is definitely a valid defence. The “I thought it funny -or not” could then apply (as I said ) to some Catholics. So, some who find it funny means that a % of Catholics aren’t as offended as you think whilst others maybe. And as @pedant said: they’re:

    “indulging in 100 degree proof spirit special pleading.”

    Indeed, as I also said “monk” is not specific to Catholics : it is used in Indonesia amongst non Catholics, and by non-Christians.

    Bailed straw -not an innuendo, merely a mention. 🙂

    I think it’d be good to drop the matter? Minds are rarely changed I find. And religion leads to disastrous talk on some occasions.

    Kindest,

    Puro

    #57990
    Anonymous @

    @pedant

    It is indeed astounding: I just got through saying those monks in a Vatican-themed episode couldn’t be mistaken for Buddhists, and straight away you’re telling me that’s exactly what you thought they were! Crazy coincidence!

    The easiest thing to do when a subset of people are offended by something is to insist they have no right to be. Personally I think that’s precisely why we have those who are placed beyond criticism and those who act as punching bags: it’s difficult to have empathy or consideration for everyone. But I find it easier to argue for that than to insist that some people have no right to feel.

    #57991
    Anonymous @

    @thane15

    As someone who didn’t originate the topic, isnt saying “shall we drop the matter” another way of saying “I’ve said my last, now shush!”? 😛 You are of course free to drop the matter whenever you please: you don’t have to give me notice. But as I said, I’ve appreciated your insights, even if it is to see how this sort of thing gets rationalized.

    #58000
    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    Just rewatched, one thought… before the bombs go off, the scientist says they’re ‘saving the world’. Obviously this isn’t something the ‘real’ Doctor will see. But before she pixilates, Bill says ‘save me’. And every time someone says this I think of the original Moffat library episodes. She’s says save me, not help me.

    and the doctor did/was, he saved everything he saw and sent it on.

    one other thought: the doctor has a device that will temporarily save his sight, for a few minutes, at potentially great cost. He’ll probably use in before the end of the season to save the world. It will be called a deus ex machina by people who don’t understand the term.

    #58002
    Anonymous @

    @miapatrick

    RE deus ex machina: yes. Yes it will.

    Yeah I prodded my partner at the “Save me” line, especially in the light of River’s diary. Was surprised when that came to naught. A little tease or a spoiler..?

    #58010
    Missy @missy

    @countscarlioni:  Who is employing the Monks?

    I dare say we shall find out.  Perhaps the Time Lords? No, that’s too bonkers. Daleks?

    Missy

    #58011
    Anonymous @

    @morpho @ichabod @missy @idiotsavon @missrori @pedant

    What’s the “net result” of Don Quixote, or Alice in Wonderland, or “Midnight”…

    Hi there Mr Morpho! It’s Thane here, Puro’s son. Mum can get quite heated on the Catholic front which I put down to her and her brother’s experiences in their teens and her brother’s in his late 20s. It caused a lot of heartache for their parents. So I hope she wasn’t offending your friends.

    I have to differ on the matter of exposition & use @ichabod‘s lines above. Having done so much writing on the matter in the last 6 months I don’t see this episode as ‘pure exposition’ with only  a ‘net result’ ‘of’… -some books and films really ARE like that but I didn’t see this here. To me it was the best episode of the season. It pulled together threads of concepts and knitted them into something substantial.

    At heart, this is about his determination and willingness to do the right thing no matter what.  The two story threads aren’t much on their own, granted, but together they support and enrich each other.  Both the Doctor in the past and the Sim-Doctor are faced with darkness itself, hopeless situations.

    What @missrori said above works for me -this wasn’t a story that involved the typical Act 1, 2, 3 of the other 5 eps but more like an answer to a question? With the one story, Missy, connected with the simulation world?  I wouldn’t be surprised if the Doctor is in every incarnation and every simulation and maybe some will appear (what a hoot!)! It’s as if right from Series 8, when he asked “Am I a good man?” he’s finally allowing for the “arse kicking” of River’s message and: “without hope, witness and reward.”

    To me that’s the lungs  of it. He’s progressed to being “that great man” which even River wasn’t sure about in A Good Man Goes to War. He’s a man big enough to know he doesn’t know everything; that life is a puzzle and relationships matter more than anything -which is Joss Whedon and Moffat’s TM. If your characters are alive on the page that’s your substance; that’s your story. If one person relates to one thing in that story, it’s successful.  The protagonist must be affected and he was.

    On the issue of religion, I finally read every post and other eps:  there’s SO much respect for people with faith here and in what Moffat has done, imho. I know Mum mentioned the 2-parter on the Silence which was confusing! She meant the Weeping Angels with M. Smith where bishops were respected by the Doctor – Moffat wrote that episode set.

    Given the ecclesiatical bent of this episode, is it worth mentioning 1 John 1:8? The Latin quotation I’m thinking of ends: “et nulla est in nobis veritas.” In English: “If we say we are without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

    @idiotsavon‘s mention of this is interesting. “Not casting the first stone when we are all sinners” is an intriguing one which holds us to kindness for evermore. To me, the Pope, all alarmed wasn’t slapstick but was expected -and I know many Catholics who, devout, still enjoy poking fun at themselves. Years ago Rowan Atkinson made a great skit where he spoke about different religions ready to be divided up: “you, Catholics, you’re wrong, go over there; the Anglicans have it right” etc. Mum was given this by a devout Catholic who loved it!

    A strong person can never be diverted from their faith by humour. If they cannot take a little bit, then their own faith is tenuous. Humour is a litmus test. I’d be more concerned for their faith then Moffat’s alleged lack of respect for Catholics.  I’m surprised that the Catholics aren’t offended by the so-called “abomination of homosexuality!”  This isn’t my belief at all: people are who they are and love is directed to all, for all. No-one is more important than anyone; no life less than any other (even Missy’s)

    My own faith is constantly challenged: “you Mormons invented bikes, yeah?” I get from school all the time. Also there was a fantastic book by Donna Tartt years ago which had two central Mormon characters getting into strife all the time because of their naivety and good heart. No-one in the community was offended -not those who read it anyways.  I should let @missrori have the last word here for ideas of “pure exposition” and religion:  forgiveness and love. Not because they deserve even it but because they need it. This shows how the Doctor’s grown:

    there is a kernel of hope in it. <i>That no matter how dark things become, he will still do what is right, no matter what.</i>

    Thank you for reading, Thane.

    P.S.: @ichabod  on the in-class story exam I got the top mark: A+ My teacher wants it in a competition. I was sure I would only get a ‘C’ . I panicked – put in too many commas so thank you for your ideas about the venturesome girl which ended up as: Escape: Finding Joy. Joy was both a girl and also my joy in meeting her/ discovering new things along the ‘path’ & the theme of escape. I escaped my room to walk and follow a strange girl and heard about her escape from foster parents; finding her mother who, it turned out, lived in the large house next door to the one Joy was hiding in and the one plain house no-one noticed. She spied on her mother before meeting her, knowing her mum had a brand new family and had become wealthy. Anyway, there were layers to ‘escape’ and ‘joy’ and I’m glad because I worked over 60 hours on that thing!! 😀

    #58013
    Cath Annabel @cathannabel

    Interesting to see this update on the notion of a book that cannot be read.  It immediately connected for me with current Agents of Shield (no spoilers, so no more info), but both reminded me of Poe’s The Man of the Crowd which starts off:

    It was well said of a certain German book that “er lasst sich nicht lesen”- it does not permit itself to be read. There are some secrets which do not permit themselves to be told. Men die nightly in their beds, wringing the hands of ghostly confessors, and looking them piteously in the eyes- die with despair of heart and convulsion of throat, on account of the hideousness of mysteries which will not suffer themselves to be revealed. Now and then, alas, the conscience of man takes up a burden so heavy in horror that it can be thrown down only into the grave. And thus the essence of all crime is undivulged.

    Which is perhaps where we think we’re going, initially, from the account of the Vatican.  Of course it takes a different turn but that opening:

    <span style=”font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;”>The Veritas is a short document. A few pages only. And yet, it contains a secret that drives all who know it to destroy themselves. </span>

    surely is a reference to Poe? Intriguingly, Poe’s unreadable text is not what it purports to be either.  It’s a real book, “Hortulus Animae cum Oratiunculis Aliquibus Superadditis” of Grunninger, which was a prayer book from the 16th century, which would only be unreadable for someone who did not want to be ‘seduced into licentiousness’, more to do with the illustrations than the words, apparently.  So it’s not really, as Poe suggests, some kind of occult text.  Any more than the Veritas is really the equivalent of the items in Hogwarts library’s Restricted Section…  <i>
    </i>

    Not sure where this is going, but it’s a nice bit of intertextuality if you like that sort of thing…

    #58014
    Anonymous @

    @thane15

    It’s worth bearing in mind that most of the episode the Doctor isn’t even in it. What we see is someone else’s simulation of him, a simulation so good that (we presume) it undoes them. So what little we learn, we learn about them. In short, exposition.

    On *the other issue* that I’m sure everyone is overjoyed you’ve resurrected 😛 , I guess you’ll have to get in line with the WELL THEY SHOULDN’T FEEL OFFENDED!!! argument. All I can say is that my friends were, and I completely understand why.

    That said, describing Moffat’s long-term preoccupation with Christianity (angel monsters as baddies, monk monsters as baddies twice, priest monsters as baddies, military clerics, slutty alters, terminal donations, and the [let’s pretend] definitely-non-comedic-and-actually-essential-to-the-story date-crashing, bewildered Pope) as explicitly *respectful*, whether one likes or loathes the church, is either a terrible joke or a rationalisation too far.

    I should repeat, I’m an atheist, I have nothing at stake here, and I’m not trying to call anyone to arms. My original comment was meant quite flippantly. But I am surprised with the persistence of the view that, for some people at least, the response to a claim by members of a group of insensitivity is, essentially, more insensitivity: a refusal to hear the party out and understand their view in favour of telling them they have no right to be offended unless everyone  (outside that group) is offended.

    Not that I’m even against offending people…

    Apologies btw for all the typos. New phone, not happy with it.

    #58015
    Anonymous @

    @morpho @pedant @missy @missrori @idiotsavon @ichabod  -I’m including other people who also made a short comment Mr Morpho

    @morpho I think your post was bellicose, my friend.  Thane (I’m his mother, Puro) believed he wouldn’t convince you, though he showed a certain amount of honesty about my own issues with the Church -which you ignored. I witness you wish to continue upon this route of self-deception.  🙂 So…on a lighter note:

    The Pope rushing into the room, bewildered is deeply offensive to your friends. A good test would be to ask them to explain, here, because it’s possible they’re not quite as upset as you are -on their behalf. Since I last wrote, I rang the archdiocese in the area (with whom we work), where the Bishop is a faithful follower… of the show. His response?

    “Is this a joke, Melissa? I thought it hilarious and certainly no one on Sunday was upset during sing-songs [he refers to matins, lauds and prime as sing-songs and he’s 80 something!]. Come on! Pop the Pope in and someone, somewhere will ask: “Who IS this man?” And that has to be good, at some level, any level.” So his response like  @pedant‘s and mine was: if you really work hard enough you can be offended by anything. In which case the show just isn’t for you or your friends. And that’s fine.

    Any and all occupants of the Tardis are amazed or terrified after their first ride. The Pope was immediately babbling. Would you not feel the same? Or is it because the Pope was dressed in the garb of the clergy that if offends? And yet why, when the Pope and cardinals sought assistance from the Doctor, and he listened and helped, was that disrespectful? Did he make a crack? Was he rude to the Pope? Was Penny? No. Was Bill? No.

    And that’s why I was baffled. I honestly thought what you’d written, first, was a joke. And as Thane above has said, those who find themselves deeply offended by seeing the Pope undone and scared is a test of their own teetering faith.

    These lines worry me the most:

    angel monsters as baddies, monk monsters as baddies twice, priest monsters as baddies, military clerics, slutty alters, [1] terminal donations, and the [let’s pretend] definitely-non-comedic-and-actually-essential-to-the-story date-crashing, bewildered Pope

    How many times are you counting these up? And why? The military clerics, as explained, offered their lives. Is that offensive? Terminal donations? Are you speaking of the headless monks in this instance? I think we can probably agree that ‘monks’ is a general term for many religions not necessarily of the Judeo-Christian-Hebraic tradition.  Your friends also think the Weeping Angels are offensive? What about other derogatory gargoyles used throughout BG Who History? The angel, per se, drawn in various guises is not included in the original biblical texts with wings in the first place and I should also add that as late as 2000AD any statues of angels were considered improper to the Christian Catholic Church (in Prague: my other home). Many priests know that the scapula was drawn to be a set of wings when one was successfully resurrected. Much of this is considered fantastical now. But I suspect an atheist may well be uneducated on this matter and is struggling to count anything remotely connotative to Catholic belief.

    On another point, then, if every other angel one sees, either metaphorically or literally is ‘good’ then is it not reasonable to consider the existence of there being one ‘species’ of angels who are “baddies”; who seek to take the future from another species?

    Who is filled with monsters. If you look hard enough, don’t blink,  you’ll find most any monster can be traced back to gargoyle-like pranksters etched on the side of churches in Prague and Krakow. 🙂 Unless they’re fish.

    Anyway, this other straw man you’re building is that “so many have commented after what was a flippant remark.” Not true. Very few posters made any allusions to your comments. If people are a bit stunned, I would argue that it’s because the Pope himself and the cardinals were not that involved. This was a development of Nardole’s character and of Bill’s ability to puzzle thru the problem whilst ‘wandering off’ (in good Who tradition).

    As a mostly Christian woman (though due to the toll of illness, struggling with left-over remnants of faith), I actually felt some comfort that the Pope sought the Doctor’s assistance. I found no offence, nor any absence of respect in that tipping point of an episode.

    As I’ve said previously, small cosmetic problems with a programme like this, which cause us to gather and talk completely avoid the very real problems all churches face: dwindling congregations; communities where aged people are lonely without traditional rituals; the patriarchal society of the Catholic Church which, at times,  denigrates women and the law of chastity within the Catholic priesthood.  Perhaps your friend’s concerns would be better spent debating these issues not a 30 second comedic scene from a bewildered man. However, at no point am I saying that your opinions lack worth. If people find something offensive and feel concerned then let them speak. I’m just saying I was surprised.

    And when I said: “let’s put this argument down” I wasn’t rationalising my way out of it, I wasn’t “giving you notice” I was merely polite and gentle.  But your comment at [2] about slutty alters is a shocker. To whom are you referring?

    @cathannabel Ah, The Man of the Crowd: what an excellent reminder and not off-piste at all. I think it’s very relevant. And your Blog, btw, was wonderful in its poignancy. I know! There are so many pages of posts after only 5 days! Nearly 5 pages -must be a record.

    Kindest, Puro.

    #58016
    Anonymous @

    @cathannabel

    This reminds me of a similar story originating in Bohemia called Hrob nas zajima: The Grave takes our Secrets where the elderly men of the village, upon confessing to a priest, immediately die: the secret being so severe, so shocking that the priest’s heart cannot contain it!

    Quite a scary tale as a child. The illustrations: winged weasels; large fish with angry teeth were certainly colourful. There were also some rather risqué images on which young lads focused 😉

    Puro

    #58018
    Anonymous @

    @thane15

    Not intentionally bellicose, I’m just not liable to form the view that my friends don’t have the right to feel the way they did just because someone less directly affected doesn’t see it that way.

    I’m sorry if you or Thane feel offended that I didn’t respond to every point, and I apologise in advance for the fact that likewise this will not treat every point of your comment. Your comments (and mine) are simply too long for that to be a reasonable expectation imo.

    So far I’ve heard that my friends don’t have the right or reason to feel as they did, so I guess the next logical escalation is that, if they don’t exist on this particular online forum, they don’t exist at all! Perhaps they’re having tea with a bishop somewhere discussing Pope date-crashing that is definitely comical/absolutely not intended as comedy! Who nose? But if they *do* exist, not being interested in joining this forum merely makes them fools rather than “hiding behind faith” as per your PM, an unkindness to my friends I think, however much contempt you might have for their feelings, is rather undeserved.

    A couple of times I’ve mentioned Moffat’s preoccupation with the church as a context for why it made my friends, and by proxy me to a much lesser extent, uncomfortable. Each time the response has been to take it apart and insist each part individually is not upsetting. No-one said anyone was upset by the weeping angels. They merely add to the context.

    The Christian church broadly believes itself to be dedicated to peace, so yes I can understand why a militant church might prickle a little, but again no-one’s saying anyone was upset by it. I think at worst it was a modest poke, testing the boundaries.

    #58019
    Anonymous @

    @morpho you have a decidedly negative view of some people. Or me.

    My intention about suggesting your friends explain themselves here was to create a safe environment for a debate. In no way was I suggesting:

    if [your friends] don’t exist on this particular online forum, they don’t exist at all [and if] not being interested in joining this forum merely makes them fools rather than “hiding behind faith” as per your PM, an unkindness to my friends I think, however much contempt you might have for their feelings…”

    People know me here: I have never uttered contempt for anyone. I do not demand people join a Forum. I respect feelings and sensitivities. You are creating an argument from non-existent evidence. As for the Weeping Angels -you mentioned these Christian elements yourself. You are using context as filler rather than substance and using it only on your own terms. At other times you say: “I am not against offending people. Well, for this record, I am.

    Your argument crashes when you mention the Weeping Angels 2-parter: Father Octavian was a good man. Perhaps an even better man than the Doctor at that point -who, by decades, is a TL growing more tolerant and understanding. I saw the Pope’s short onscreen debut as a softening towards attitudes: when humour is added without malice people’s minds are opened.

    But as we said upthread you have every right to be upset. Any single episode can be unpleasant for different viewers -there’s no consensus here. This is no pressure group. But when you say “Pope bashing” out of the blue, it’s not expressed in a manner that even allows debate. I attempt a historical discussion about ‘angels’ as well as arguments about the Judeo-Christian-Hebraic tradition: the former expresses joy and laughter as one of God’s greatest rules.

    To these issues, which would broaden the debate and lessen the tension, you offer no comment.

    So please understand it’s hard to know exactly what to say.

    Good night Morpho.

    Kindest, Puro.

    #58022
    Anonymous @

    @thane15

    I really think let your friends join and discuss this stuff: they don’t need you to be their apparatchik. Hiding behind their faith is no faith at all, really.

    If I’ve misunderstood you, please clarify. I’m not “creating an argument from non-existent evidence” or from anything else. I stated my view. I shared the feelings of some others. And I defended those feelings because I completely understand them. I have not asked anyone to adopt these views or even understand them.

    But I certainly have pointed out when the reaction against them has been dismissive, rationalizing, and aggressive, which they certainly have been, and I really don’t get why that is.

    All you know about these people is that a) I’m their friend, b) they love Doctor Who, c) they’re very Catholic, d) they were uncomfortable with the last episode, e) particularly in the context of longer-running themes.

    These people aren’t asking or demanding anything of anyone, and they’re in favour of satire and freedom of speech, and they like Life of Brian, and best of all they love Doctor Who. They just feel uncomfortable with recurring themes of Moffat’s tenure, particularly the contributio of those aspects of it that push the show in directions that, due to nothing more than basic respect for others, would be deemed inappropriate when applied to other faiths. (Unless I’m jumping the gun and comefu Mohammed is the next companion or something.)

    It seems eminently reasonable to me, so I have no clue how we get from that to them “special pleading” or “hiding behind their faith”. They’re just normal people.

    #58025
    Arbutus @arbutus

    I just got through rewatching this and loved it even more the second time around. Just a quick comment to those who have suggested that the episode is merely window dressing for a small bit of arc exposition. In a reductionist sense, I suppose this is true. Some here will be familiar with Schenkerian analysis in music, in which the entire contents of something like Beethoven’s 9th Symphony is reduced to a single dominant-tonic cadence. I have never had much time for this thinking. An extended cadence isn’t why we love Beethoven 9. We love it for the orchestral colour and brilliant vocal writing, and the inspired use of thematic material to express emotions. We love it because it moves us.

    This episode was more than just the dominant-tonic of Missy and the invasion. This used compositional tools to convey fear, horror, despair, and hope. The amazing moment of introspection when digital Doctor realizes that belief is all he is. Something that was created from the Doctor’s beliefs, which are strong enough to allow digital Doctor the understanding that he truly is the Doctor, that we all can be the Doctor.

    Without hope, witness, or reward. I wonder how that idea is going to return in the upcoming episodes?

    #58030
    Craig @craig
    Emperor

    @arbutus Thank you for that beautiful comparison between storytelling and music. I hope I, at least I tried, to make it clear that I really enjoyed the episode, thought it was a lot of great story telling, but I was just a bit concerned when Bobby Ewing walked out of the shower, so to speak.

    Having thought about it, I still think it is slight but Moffat has now set up an alien race who can create completely believable worlds (well, almost). I have no doubt we’re going to be back here just like we were with Amy and “The Rebel Flesh”. That was a simple story about a sort-of misdirection that set up a huge story arc.

    My thought at the moment is that Capaldi can now possibly regenerate into a new Doctor, but can continue living in the alien reality – and be back with River (after The Library).

    There could then be an episode or two with the new Doctor in the real world, and Capaldi Doc in the matrix world, working together at the series finish, or at Christmas. That’s my bonkers for tonight.

    #58032
    winston @winston

    @craig  That is my favourite bonkers theory of all and I sooo hope it happens.  I do love a happy ending.

     

    #58034
    Anonymous @

    @craig

    Agreed: that’s a great way to tidy up lose ends and give many the happy ending they were looking for

    @arbutus

    Absolutely: the tonic/dominant argument. This went on for years, no?

    Still, it’s a set up which is what our eyes and ears want to see and hear. This episode was a cracker to me -mysterious and odd, which is how I take my coffee Who.

    Puro

    #58035
    winston @winston

    So the Doctor watched this episode along with the rest of us on his “device”. Pretty cool!

    If none of it happened to the real Doctor then he is still safe and whole as he never really used the device to fix his eyes. Did he read the Veritas again?  Is he real? Mind blown. Sometimes I wonder why a person like me who is so baffled by timey-wimey stuff loves a show about time travel.

    #58037
    Anonymous @

    @winston

    Don’t worry, I feel the same. I take from it different things: I’ve probably said this before, but the humour, the love and loyalty and the development of the characters is a priority: without witness and reward.

    And with a good deal of fun, too. Otherwise for those under 13 it might be quite difficult. They need the monsters and the sofa to hide behind.

    Yes, he may have fixed his eyes. But which doctor: is this the most timey whimey we’ve ever seen with Moffat since the end of Series 5? Not sure. But I like it.

    Puro *\*

    #58038
    Arbutus @arbutus

    @craig    You absolutely did. It wasn’t specifically your comment that triggered the thought, there were a few people who said something similar. I love your multi-Doctor Christmas episode idea!

    #58039
    Arbutus @arbutus

    @winston @thane15     Real Doctor, at the beginning of the episode, said to Missy-in-the-vault, “They mustn’t know I’m blind.” So he hasn’t done anything to them yet at least. I wonder if he will get the idea from Digital Doctor? I think that goes beyond timey-wimey.   🙂

    Yes to “a good deal of fun”. I don’t think any other AG Doctor has been quite as good as the off-beat little asides that turn a serious situation humorous. Capaldi has such a quiet, dry delivery, it’s a delight.

    #58042
    Anonymous @

    @arbutus

    Capaldi does, doesn’t he? He’s also passionate and distinguished:  an actor of many talents bringing a cerebral quality coupled with self-parody and comic pace that’s spot on, imo.

    One little scene I liked was in The Pilot where Bill says “do you know anything about sci-fi” and Peter has that look in his eye (not quite an eye rolling) where he slowly turns to look at Bill who is looking far off, beyond the fence. Very niiice. And there have  been a lot of those moments in Series 8 and 10 thus far. I will miss the guy, that’s for sure.

    The timey-whimey stuff in Extremis is driving me to ….almost drink. I love it and love the confusion. It’s good to be in the dark sometimes. As a child watching this I variably ended up more confused when the episode was over but it didn’t seem to bother me. 🙂

    Puro.

    #58047
    Missy @missy

    @thane15:

    Oh well done on your A+ AND entry into a competition. I was good at English Lit at school, but never had an essay entered in anything. *sigh*

    @craig:

    My thought at the moment is that Capaldi can now possibly regenerate into a new Doctor, but can continue living in the alien reality – and be back with River (after The Library).

    There could then be an episode or two with the new Doctor in the real world, and Capaldi Doc in the matrix world, working together at the series finish, or at Christmas. That’s my bonkers for tonight.

    Love the idea , as long as we get to see River and CapDoc.

    @winston:

    Sometimes I wonder why a person like me who is so baffled by timey-wimey stuff loves a show about time travel.

    Because, it’s magical, mysterious, thought provoking, completely different from any other SciFi series or films, beautifully written (most of the time) wonderful music, camera work, special effects – and last but not least, brilliant actors and actresses.  Has that answered your question? *face splitting smile*

    @thane15: As Puro.

    I could watch that mans expression all evening. There are even times when  I feel that he doesn’t need lines at all,  just watch his face. Peter Capaldi going to be a great loss for me, the only thing that will help that loss, is Kris Marshall taking over. Many don’t agree with me I know, but he’s perfect, and even ginger.

    Does anyone wonder if perhaps The Silence is running the Monks?

    Missy

    #58049
    MissRori @missrori

    @arbutus  @thane15 Timey-wimey?  Perhaps….

    Sim-Doctor said that using the special device only would grant him eyesight for a little while and come at the cost of later regenerations — at worst he might not able to regenerate ever again.  So assuming real-Doctor has a similar device, he doesn’t intend to use it unless a really really big problem comes along that absolutely demands he be able to see.  He seems okay, from what we’ve seen (ha!) so far, with just using the upgraded sonic sunglasses to deal with the Monks; that’s what he wears in “The Pyramid at the End of the World” at least.

    Does he want them to not know he’s blind because he’s vulnerable, or because it might give him — at least for a while — an advantage over their abilities?

    #58060
    pıtırcapaldi @pitircapaldi

    we finally learned what’s in the box

    ı love master but will master help the doctor ?

    are we real ?

    #58063
    Anonymous @

    @pitircapaldi

    Hellooo and welcome to you: new member? I know what you mean about “are we all real?” I don’t know if the Master will help: hope so but usually the Master just helps himself unfortunately. Still, the Doctor does the right thing!

    Thank you,

    Thane15

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