Into the Dalek

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    Nick @nick

    Bit late I know, but I was on holiday (for a change).

    I really like Capaldi’s characterization of this immediate post-regeneration Doctor, who is, I think best characterized as relearning just who and what the Doctor is (as opposed to the TimeLord called the Doctor) @bluesqueakpip‘s character explanation feels right to me, so far. The character scenes around this have been really good and very well acted all round.

    My only quibbles are that I don’t think the Matt scene was really needed at all and that mending the Doctor/Clara relationship post regeneration (which is ongoing at the moment) needed a bit than the 4 month gap (?) between the first and second stories to account for the change we see at the beginning of the story. This all still feels a bit scripted to me though, it lacks enough emotional bite to me so far.

    On the “am I a good man” question, I thought it might have been a bit more cutting if Clara had answered that he used to be, but she wasn’t sure any more. If Clara lacks the deep trust in who the Doctor is (as Deep Breath showed us), then the “I don’t know” answer ought to be backed up by more distance between them in this story too. I felt the whole way the why can’t their be a “Good Dalek” point Clara delivered was a bit forced in the script at the end of the day.

    Although I’ve really enjoyed watching both stories so far, I haven’t really felt that either has had that WOW factor that makes either story stand out as a potential future classic for me.


    re “slapgate”

    Thanks for the reminder regarding previous slaps. I don’t particularly remember thinking or feeling anything was wrong with 3 of the previous examples at the time (I always thought that the whole Jenny kiss/slap thing was a small mistake), but like @thommck ‘s wife I did find this rather incongruous. On the whole, whether deserved or not in the context, I think it should have been done differently in this story.



    Am I alone in thinking that it almost contradicts Clara’s character as a modern, intelligent woman if she’s going to start going all ‘Nora Batty’ about differences of opinion.

    I think there is a world of difference between a “difference of opinion” and “an affront”. Clar, for me, was cleaelry offended not just disappointed. She’s been the good Dalek.

    Silverman @silverman

    @pedant – mmm, I’m possibly out-of-my-depth arguing this point as I’ve only seen the ep once, so you probably have a point about the level of offence, although I’ve always thought of Clara as being intelligent enough to effectively berate or scold someone, rather than resorting to slapping.

    However, on the point about the her having ‘been the good Dalek’, this incarnation hasn’t been a Dalek, so it’s not like she can feel personally affronted, is it? She can be offended on a moral level about the Doctor’s response to the situation, but surely, for a witty, intelligent woman, capable of giving a verbal scolding, there’s a better way to deal with the situation?

    That said – I concede that she seemed to be struggling to control her class at school in the flashback in ‘Deep Breath’.


    However, on the point about the her having ‘been the good Dalek’, this incarnation hasn’t been a Dalek, so it’s not like she can feel personally affronted, is it?

    In-story I’d say it is perfectly possible and all part of the Impossible Girl – a hint of collective consciousness is all that’s required… She may not even know why she is so affronted, but Oswin was a total screaming genius and just a tiny bit modest…

    Either way, the lead up to the slap was (for me) clearly painted as a bit more than mere disagreement.

    Silverman @silverman

    @pedant – you’re probably correct! I need to watch it again to be sure, although I don’t really disagree that the exchange ‘pre-slap’ was more than just a disagreement (bad phrasing on my part in the original post.) – I suppose I’m just disliking resorting to a physical response to solve a big argument.

    I really liked Oswin, but wouldn’t have called her ‘modest’! Her character was so confident and not shy about proclaiming so that it reminded me of Ten and his ‘I’m brilliant!’. Neither bothered me, but I wouldn’t call either ‘modest’.

    The collective conciousness angle is interesting, and I admit, not one I’d considered.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @silverman and @phaseshift

    The relevant lines are in Day of the Doctor when Clara meets all three Doctors:

    Clara: So they’re both you then, yeah?
    The Doctor: Yes. You’ve met them before. Don’t you remember?
    Clara: A bit. Nice suit.

    So, yeah, she kind of remembers. Which may well explain the Capaldi Doctor’s digs about Clara’s age this week. Dunno how many Claricals there were, but when you multiply 27 by however many that was, Clara’s quite possibly ‘older’ than the Doctor. And she’s complaining about his grey hairs?

    Whisht @whisht

    [gasp] [pant]



    nearly there –

    huuhh. made it.

    Finally read through 5 pages over the last few days and…

    Nothing to add!


    OK – Only had chance to see Into the Dalek once but some stuff from my curdled brain:
    [the rest of my life got busy – not ‘real life’ – me typing is part of my ‘real life’! Just another part of my life – anyway…]

    I thought the slap was possibly played harder by the actors than it was written (but I’m probably wrong).

    Missy = ‘those I’ve missed (from saving)’ [nah, probably not].
    [equally probably not this though it shows just how my brain has been squeezed over the last few days, was a note-to-self: “Missy was companion who jumped into the steam and Clara’s a claricle of Missy” – yep, I’ve now stopped eating cheese at night cos of this].

    But agree that Missy may be getting sent these ‘soul-downloads’ via the Doctor ‘zapping them’ with the sonic (as CAL did – though I can’t remember actually how CAL did).
    Though still think Papal Mainframe is a more obvious setting for Heaven…

    Loved the Psychedelic into-the-eye movement. Quite gorgeous.
    Must listen to the in-episode music more as I think it may be a bit more synthy (which I quite like as its not the shrill synths from the 80’s series, but deeper and darker).

    There’s some clue I feel I’m missing with the “Clara you’re older than you think” jibes from the Doctor. And think its more than the accumulation of claricles’ lives… hmm…

    Overall I liked the episodes – but I could have sympathy for all those wanting an ‘easier’ Doctor; where you can cheer and ‘hurrah’ etc etc. As Capaldi said, this one’s less user friendly. I also think that Capaldi’s (justifiably) finding his feet per episode so I wonder what order they filmed them.

    Oh, and its a blast reading everyone’s theories – sorry I can’t credit people but if I start I’ll miss some out – so I mean you (yes you – you know who!).

    midnyt @midnyt

    @phaseshift – You forgot one. 🙂 River also clocked Eleven in “The Angels Take Manhattan”

    Def no justification for that one either.

    Devilishrobby @devilishrobby

    Hmmm some of the comments and a rewatching of the episode have been tugging at an idea in my brain.

    The doctors reference to Clara’s age and some of the previous comments have made me think that just perhaps the doctor actually knows there is now something more to Clara other than her having been in his timeline. As someone has previously noted (apologies as I don’t remember who) SM rarly givs out a throw away line. So the doctors reference to her age might just have something more to it. As to exactly what this might be I am not sure, I am sure one of our more cerebral genius members might be able to make something of it. It’s just I am reminded when the doctor realised Amy was not Amy he kept stum for quite a while before letting on.

    midnyt @midnyt

    so, slapgate. I just went back and re-watched the episode.

    Doctor: There was never a good Dalek. There was a broken Dalek and we repaired it.
    Journey: You were supposed to be helping us.
    Doctor: I gave it a shot. It was a Dalek, what did you expect.
    Journey: No more talking, you are done. Ok new objective, we are taking this Dalek down.
    Doctor: What’s that look for?
    Clara: It’s the look you get when I’m about to slap you.
    Doctor: Clara.
    Clara: We’re gonna die in here and there’s a little bit of you that’s pleased. The Daleks are evil after all. Everything makes sense. The Doctor is right.
    Doctor: Daleks are evil. Irreversibly so. That’s what we’ve just learned Clara.
    Clara: No, that is not what we just learned.

    Here’s what I haven’t seen said:
    Clara has just realized that she’s probably going to die.
    Clara has also just noticed that the Doctor has basically accepted this. He also has a bit of a “told you so” attitude about it. If Clara had been a man, he would have punched the Doctor. Men sometimes punch each other as a wake up call. That’s what this was, a wake up call.

    So, if you drag me into this situation, I’m about to die, and you are OK with that – I’m not going to be OK with that. If I’m about to die, you might get a punch, or a slap, or a whatever. Impending death can cause out-of-character behaviors.

    Serahni @serahni

    I’ve had a few busy days, still reading to catch up but I need to head to work so I’m just going to quickly throw in my two-cents about ‘the slap’.

    My very first reaction to that whole scene was definitely that there was a deep resonance for Clara in the Doctor’s constant assertion that Daleks can’t be good.  It linked directly in my head to Oswin so much that I nearly expected the dialogue to reflect it.  The more I thought about it afterwards, however, the more I realised there are probably several layers to it.  I love the explanation up further, (sorry for forgetting who it was), that she also recognised how important it was to shake up The Doctor’s unrelenting opinion of his oldest nemesis if Gallifrey is ever to be saved.  I also think that, by now, she’s watched The Doctor make several truly out-of-character decisions that are downright in the morally-grey area, including using a man’s death to his advantage.  This comes after he abandoned her back in “Deep Breath” for much the same reason.  He seems to be swaying back and forth at the moment, agonising about his morality whilst at the same time displaying near-military pragmatism when faced with impossible odds.   The physical reality of a harsh slap is probably a mixture of her own offense and fear but also just an attempt to genuinely reboot his thinking processes.

    After all, doesn’t he ASK her to slap him in Nightmare in Silver to help him regain control over his own mind?

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    Apparently the workprint featured a scene where Rusty suicide-bombed the Dalek Mothership…….

    midnyt @midnyt

    @ Serahni Yes, he does.

    C-DOCTOR: They’re waking from their tomb right now. You can either die or live on as one of us.
    (Meanwhile, his right hand is writing Hit Me on a notepad.)
    CLARA: The Doctor will stop you.
    C-DOCTOR: He can’t even access the lips.
    (Clara hits him. Hard.)
    DOCTOR: Argh! Ow! Oh, that hurt. No, stop. Enough, Bit of pain, neural surge. Just what I needed. Thank you.

    Anonymous @

    @devilishrobby yes I agree with you & the others who’ve maintained there’s a purpose behind (most) every scene and conversation between characters.

    The age issue was referred to in a few ways -typically, the ‘can you squeeze thru the gap’ gag – which Clara defensively took as a negative appraisal of her hips (I think the Dr said ‘your hips are fine’) was mixed with the ‘you’re looking younger today/ or older’ comments/ quips. They seemed to come thick and fast, when really, there were probably only three comments.

    It’s a truism that when a woman’s age is discussed it often seems out of proportion to the rest of any dialogue there might be -probably any female might switch off at that point and stomp about fuming (purofilion’s reaction  :)).

    midnyt @midnyt


    D: Are you alright back there? It’s a bit narrow isn’t it?
    C: Any remarks about my hips will not be appreciated.
    D: Ahh, your hips are fine, you’re built like a man.
    C: Thanks.

    LOL, I’m starting to warm up to Clara with this episode. She’s becoming a lot more human to me. If anything her slapping the Doctor helped with this. Still not crazy about the fact that she had to be the savior by making him get his head back in the game, but we’re getting somewhere.

    Brewski @brewski

    Ok.  Just did MY second watching and am ready to fire! 🙂

    Missy reappearing definitely creeped me out! More on her later. (But don’t expect me to be very serious.)

    Question: When did they get cleaned up after the protein bath?!  The climbed in the “bolt” hole, and one commercial break later they were nice and dry.
    Danny Pink: is there some sinister double meaning to “Lady Killer”?
    On the Doctor remarking about Clara not being young as a reference to her many lives. Right afterwards he does say her name…. many times.

    @theatreguy In another life I go by “DramaQueen”. :p

    I’m wondering if Danny Pink was a version of the dead brother –

    Had exactly the same thought! Then I wondered if it was too obvious.  Now I see many same thoughts.  Hmm…

    Oh and that Clara slap was felt all the way through time and space – another belter from Jenna

    Hee hee! Yeah I flinched a bit myself at that one!


    Another thought about Danny – wondering if he’ll follow Clara one day – into the junkyard perhaps – to find out what she’s up to with the old guy and the blue box.

    Oooh! I love that idea. And while we’re at it, can we have the Doctor wander into the Chairman of the Governors office and say “I never forget a face.” And Ian say “Who are you?”

    ‘He was dead already, I was saving us’

    Yeah, the first thing I thought was, “that is cold”. But we were promised a darker, less user-friendly Doctor. Tenant or Smith might not have said it, but Pertwee or Hartnell might have!

    This Doctor actively encourages some people to sacrifice themselves for the greater good. And these people end up in Missy’s “heaven”. Hmmm.

    Hmm, indeed! The last time someone pointed out this trait was Davros in Journey’s End. Hmmm….


    The anti-bodies looked a bit like (Dalek) ‘eyes’ and Clara’s shirt was covered with eyes…

    Moffat does love his eyes! Lol… It’s like Hitchcock and birds! 🙂


    No good Daleks indeed; how deeply personal that is to you even if you don’t realise it, Oswin.

    Oooh! Excellent callout!  She may not remember being a dalek (ultimately a good dalek, no?)  But she may have had a sense of it.  And more to the point, a sense that the Doctor should have remembered the dalek who saved him!


    Oh, by the way, has everyone noticed that the rebel ship was the Aristotle?
    Marcus Aurelius last week and in the 50th, now Aristotle. Both, of course, discuss the nature of a ‘good man’.

    I did not notice either.  You guys are amazing!


    Pink/Blue names – notice that they’ve reversed the usual gender connotations.
    Or what we think of as ‘usual’. The notion of pink for girls and blue for boys is a relatively new concept.

    Said the blue man. 😉


    What was the Doctor trying to do? I believe he genuinely thought he could repair Rusty and keep him “good”; his reaction to the creature’s return to its natural state was as much disappointment as self-justification.

    I must say, this is where the episode lost me, too. I’m willing to chalk it up to post-regeneration brain farts, but… If the Doctor was THAT confident that a Dalek can’t be rehabilitated, then I’m honestly disappointed that he didn’t a) Have a contingency plan already standing by in case the dalek did go nuts again, and b) Not wait so long before reacting. That moment of helplessness kind of bugged me.


    The similar shot of heaven/the two streams facility

    I’m going to be boring on this one and say “re-using an interesting looking location for filming”. Sorry. Sort of Bonked Out on that one.

    That thing that leaked radiation reminded a few of us of the tears in time and space

    Spotted that too. Also going De-Bonked and gonna say “I think Moffat is deliberately yanking our chains on that one” 🙂

    Ok, well I think that catches me up for now.  Off the the Missy Theory!



    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    Question: When did they get cleaned up after the protein bath?!

    Yeah, a few people noticed that one over on the Graun. There was a mention of Rusty’s tubes being hot with heat as well as radiation, but he also seemed to be fitted with some kind of internal dry cleaning facility. 🙂

    It all had the feel of someone sticking up their hand and saying ‘You have to find a way to get Peter Capaldi’s costume clean and dry as soon as possible because it’ll shrink if we don’t get it cleaned quickly … ‘

    Please note that it is usually the costume. Nobody cares about leaving the actors to wander around in dried goop for hours on end, but heaven forbid you ruin the costume. 😉

    Arbutus @arbutus

    @purofilion  @midnyt  I’m guessing that the “no spring chicken” remarks aimed at Clara are meant as a joke regarding the fact that it is the Doctor himself who has aged rather dramatically! As she is so clearly young and gorgeous, they don’t bother me as they might if they were aimed at an older companion.

    midnyt @midnyt

    @arbutus I’m also wondering if he’s not so old that he can’t really judge the ages of humans any more. I mean after a few hundred years, 20 or 30 might seem pretty much the same. Although both Rose and Amy were 19 when they went first ran off with him, and with no real careers to speak of. Maybe Clara’s job as a teacher makes him think of her as older as well?

    janetteB @janetteb

    Re Slapgate, I think Clara is reacting, not just to the comment but to his attitude overall. It  is a “wake up you are the Doctor” call, an expression of her frustration with the new regeneration. She is still not fully accepting him and certainly not ready to forgive him for not being “her doctor”, whom she knew to be “a good man”. I saw it as a wake up call, and delivered as an extreme reaction to an extreme situation because at that moment her life really depends upon the Doctor being “Her Doctor”.

    Re Missy. I read an interesting suggestion on the Guardian that she is the G.I, still operating from within the Doctor’s timestream. Given that the concept of miniturisation has been introduced into this series it might be setting us up for something which is happening within the Doctor’s brain. (A possibility. I am still hoping that she is something new, though that doesn’t preclude her from being a virus which will lead to he and Clara going for a voyage into his brain.) The big question for this series is “is the Doctor a good man”, may be answered at a neuroscience level.

    Re’ Adric.  I am truely sorry for that horrific suggestion.

    I like the suggestion that the Blues might be descendants of the Pinks. Maybe Journey will team up with Jenny (The Doctor’s Daughter) instead. A rebel ship fighting Daleks seems to be a likey place for Jenny to find herself. (I am not expecting that to happen in series.)

    The story background of the rebellion against the Daleks interests me. As far as I can recall there has only been one previous story where humans are living under the authority of Daleks. (In the TV series that is) This story could well be set in the same time period as Dalek Invasion of Earth.





    Devilishrobby @devilishrobby

    @janetteb as I Remember they have done the lets travel inside the doctor before in BG who I think it was a TBaker who episode but can’t quite remember the story I am afraid.

    As to miniaturisation it’s been a common theme through out Who essentially Carnival of monsters occurs when the tardis materialises within some kind computerised exhibition. 🙂 devilish 👿

    Anonymous @

    @brewski  yes yes! I just saw bits of the beginning again this morning and noticed the “Clara, Clara, Clara, Clara’ all a-sing song and thought -hah, he could do that 13 times….ah hah! thirteen. Mmmmm. @arbutus yes, you’re probably right about the age thing. Clara is ‘cute’ in the way that is different to River (makes me shiver): River is beautiful and unusual but Clara is not your typical lean, long woman with legs going all the way to the floor etc  Neither, is she….um…cosmetically altered?

    Not even whiter -than- feta- cheese teeth!  I can’t stand over-done teeth. What is with that? Teeth have character. Look at Shane Warne, our cricketer: spent $40 000 on his teeth. For what? He’s certainly not ‘a good man’ because of it.

    Any-waaaaay -off topic! Kindest, puro.

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    Hi @DoctorBoe- although I don’t agree that Missy is River, but you’re right to remind us about the unbroken physic link. I’m sure River’ last ‘spoilers’ wasn’t just a farewell trotting out of her catchphrase, and I do agree with you (and @giulia42, as I meant to mention earlier) about the Library being connected.

    If only that meant we would see Donna again! ;(

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @midnyt- actually, I was trying to remember if she slapped him there, thinking if she did there was a kind of justification for it.

    A lot of classic film noir and pulp fiction seem to involve women slapping men rather painlessly, and men slapping women, harder, either to calm them down, or knock them out (for their own protection, naturally). For this reason, occasionally the sight of a woman slapping a man hard almost feels justified as a reaction to this. Given that River is dressed straight out of pulp fiction and narrating the events of the episode in a novel (that is in fact written by her mother) the (not painless) slap rather makes sense.

    One problem with River belting the Doctor is unlike Clara and Twelve, River looks as though she could be physically as strong as her husband.

    Overall, I think in life one can never slap a person of the opposite sex. Men because the tendency for greater physical strength has rightly created a taboo against it, women because this taboo renders men (or ought to) unable to retaliate. It’s ungentlemanly either way (taking Trollops distinction between gentlemen and ladies, the Great Lady Glencora would have made a perfect gentleman.)

    On TV- I wonder of one of the appeals of Buffy was the sight of a delicate looking female in a full on fight that wasn’t just her being beaten up. I don’t know if the sight of a female slapping a man feels funny partly because overall violence is more frequently inflected on women by men and it’s seeing the reversal. Moffart probably does use female on male violence a little too often, I think it encouraged people to see the Last Centurion as the wimp he really, really wasn’t. I don’t think it comes across as domestic violence, though, anymore than I think the Vastra-Jenny marriage appears abusive.

    Nick @nick

    @devilishrobby @janetteb

    The Invisible Monster is the one you’re thinking of

    janetteB @janetteb

    @devilishrobby The T.B. story you are thinking of is “The Invisible Enemy” and is noteworthy because it introduces k.9 (As a teenager I always had a soft spot for k.9) Miniturisation is certainly not a new idea but doesn’t mean it can’t be used in a new way. Going into the Doctor’s head though has been done and I doubt Moffat would repeat that story. It is still a possibility. I tend to be much better at suggesting what won’t happen than what will. 🙂 Tossing ideas in the air however is fun.

    @miapatrick, I agree re’ River’s last words. A mystery was left hanging there and I expect it to be returned to at some point, with or without a River appearance. It seems that Moffat does attend to “loose threads”, though not immediately. Possibly what it aludes to is Clara’s telepathy. I think it was @bluesqueakpip who mentioned her “mind reading” of Danny Pink. “Ordinary” Clara is perhaps even less ordinary than when she was the impossible girl.

    @purofilion I didn’t think your comment was “off topic” at all.



    janetteB @janetteb

    @nick. You posted while I was deliberating over my post and I didn’t notice that you had beaten me to it. Sorry.




    Nick @nick


    No problem. If I hadn’t been pondering on whether I should comment on your slapgate comment then it would have been the other way round.

    On slapgate, I agree with you that this

    I think Clara is reacting, not just to the comment but to his attitude overall. It is a “wake up you are the Doctor” call, an expression of her frustration with the new regeneration. She is still not fully accepting him and certainly not ready to forgive him for not being “her doctor”, whom she knew to be “a good man”. I saw it as a wake up call, and delivered as an extreme reaction to an extreme situation because at that moment her life really depends upon the Doctor being “Her Doctor”.

    may have been along the lines of what Ford/Moffat were thinking, but I never felt (from the scene context) that the Doctor was at all concerned about getting out of the Dalek (or killing it) so its hard for me to buy into the whole dramatic premise that there was any risk to Clara.

    In the equivalent scene in Deep Breath, when he leaves her in real Danger, it would have worked well afterwards. I still don’t think any slap would be appropriate though in this sort of drama.

    Nick @nick


    anymore than I think the Vastra-Jenny marriage appears abusive

    and yet as Jenny points out, its still depicted as quite an odd relationship. It seems more in keeping with that a Victorian gentleman might have had with his (much poorer) mistress than a modern day couple to me.

    janetteB @janetteb

    @nick I agree Re the relationship between Jenny and Vastra. It is very much determined by Victorian class attitudes. It is not a relationship of equals, hardly surprising perhaps when one considers that one partner is a lizard who remembers when dinosaurs roamed the earth. The clear inequality is leavend a little by Jenny’s self assertiveness. As I mentioned once before in a way the Jenny/Vastra relationship has similiarities to that of the Doctor and Companion and also to that other great Victorian odd couple, Holmes and Watson.



    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @nick and @janetteb

    It seems to be based on genuine Victorian marriages, where the class problem meant that a legal marriage was concealed as a master/servant relationship.The poor bloody woman had to be a servant in her own house.

    Unfortunately I can’t remember the name of the play that dealt with such a real-life marriage, but it does make me wonder if Moffat or Gatiss has seen it.

    Serahni @serahni

    @midnyt  Thank you, that’s the conversation I was recalling.  It’s the same conversation that I think at least gives Clara some precedent for believing a slap might jolt the Doctor’s think processes back into line.  I admit it’s quite out-of-character for her to suddenly strike out like that but it is a least fairly symptomatic of the huge changes that have taken place.  This is a Doctor who doesn’t even know himself if he’s ‘good’ and who has made a number of rather startlingly callous decisions.  Wanting to ‘reset’ him is an entirely understandable reaction, I think!


    I think I may have mentioned this before, but when I was a student we went on a field trip to the west country. Part of our task was to carry out “retrospective interviews” (ie find the oldest people around, show them a 1938 electoral roll and ask if they knew them.

    “Oh yes, he was a farm worker – lived just there”

    “Yes, he lived in the Big House”

    “He was the blacksmith, lived next door”

    “She was a writer – she lived in that big house”

    “He was a ploughman, only died just recently”

    “Oh, that’s May – she the one who sent you to me”

    “She was a ….er….um…

    …er…she was

    the writer lady’s…


    Silverman @silverman

    @midnyt – thanks for putting the text for the ‘slap’ argument down, as it helps put it into context. I can see now that feeling in very real danger of dying, and the Doctor almost loving it, because he was ‘proved right’ about Daleks, would be enough to push anyone to anger – especially as this incarnation is so much more ‘alien’ to her that before. I can understand the slap a bit more in that context. It’s probably more succinct and effective than screaming him a verbal b*llocking.

    Out of the realms of superhero films, or where someone is actually fighting with a enemy, I’m still not keen on slapping. I don’t consider  Doctor Who to fit into the former category – there might be a lot of running, but physical violence has never been depicted as being the answer, especially by Ten – although Nine did do a bit of fighting while fighting off the guards after Rose had been ‘disintigrated’ in ‘Parting of the Ways’.

    I’d like to think society is moving on from depicting physical violence as a serious solution – as @miapatrick said, ‘no-one should slap someone of the opposite sex’, as it’s resorting to ‘base’ responses. Also, @midnyt – I didn’t really agree with your suggestion that  ‘Men sometimes punch each other as a wake up call’ , although in mitigation I would say that as a man who in nearly 40 years has never thrown a punch, aside from one ineffective effort as a 12 year old!

    @Seranhi – was what the Doctor did as Ross died ‘morally grey’? It certainly was cold, but from the moment Ross shot a grappling hook into the side of the Dalek’s interior and the anti-bodies arrived, he was dead anyway – the Doctor was getting him to ingest the tracing agent in a quick way, and was more concerned with everyone else’s survival. He couldn’t have done anything to save him, and saying how sorry he was and asking if he mind eating the tracing agent, and what it was, wouldn’t have been possible in the time Ross had left. Do you not think that things like getting humans to kill a race (the Silence) on sight is probably more morally grey? (In my humble opinion!!)

    @midnyt – ‘Still not crazy about the fact that she had to be the savior by making him get his head back in the game, but we’re getting somewhere.’ – is that a reference to the number of times Smith’s companions got him out of trouble?

    @arbutus @midnyt @purofilion and many others…

    I saw the ‘age’ remark as a cynical joke about our society’s obsession with youth, that as you approach thirty people can feel ‘old’ when mainstream media is so youth-oriented, and that to an 18 year old, 27 is ‘old’! Of course to a 38 year old 27 is an enviable age, but I wonder whether the Doctor’s remark was revealing just how irrelevant the concept of age is to him – even if this incarnation looks older – but of more relevance to humans.

    midnyt @midnyt

    @silverman – I thought the slap helped portray Clara as a real person, which quite frankly, has been lacking up until now for me. We’ve seen the perfect, impossible girl. Now, I’m starting to see a real person instead. That’s also what I mean about her saving him. (I’ve never really though about Eleven and his companions saving him.) Right now I’m getting the feeling that while Clara can do without the Doctor, the Doctor cannot do without Clara. I’d like to see that a little more balanced.

    I don’t think that the slap shows that violence is an answer to anything. We do have a tendency to overthink things here. Its part of the fun of the forums. I think that the writers were trying to portray a realistic person, and real people don’t always have ideal reactions. I think that negative things like this are few enough and far between with Who that they can be used as teaching moments. I think the strong reaction to the slap means we are not desensitized. This is the perfect point in time when your child asks “Why did she slap him?” for a discussion on how best to deal with certain situations and what someone might do differently if that were to happen to them. The phrase “you can’t learn from someone else’s mistakes” isn’t exactly true is it? There is value in imperfect role models as well as perfect ones. Some times there is more value in the imperfect ones.

    @miapatrick – I didn’t think the slap was justified in Angels in Manhattan, however I do feel it was keeping with the character and like you said, maybe the time period too. River has just been called out on lying to him. She’s frustrated, worried, in pain, and her Doctor is acting very out of character by healing her broken wrist. (I love that moment, by the way, so sweet) She also knows that he doesn’t have any regenerations left. It was an over-reaction on her part, but very in keeping with the character.

    She did almost clock him in Name of the Doctor too. But I imagine she thought she was very much a ghost at the time and he would never even know she was there. What else can you do to get attention when you’re invisible? 🙂

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    I’m sure we all loved the milkshake kiss…(?!?)

    ScaryB @scaryb

    Slapgate – really interesting discussion

    I suspect a generational/cultural thing going on. Those of us growing up with eg Laurel and Hardy, Chaplin, 3 Stooges, Tom and Jerry etc were used to a culture of “slapstick” (literally slap and/or a stick) where physical contact (especially weaker on stronger, which is where the slap gets its comic power) was much more common. That would include Moffat, and I think he plays with that culture a lot. eg Matt’s various “she’s a woman!” comments.

    I also think @thommck‘s kids’ reaction (which is what kicked the discussion off in here) shouldn’t be ignored (and kudos to him and his parenting skills that they responded that way) – it’s a sign of how far we’ve moved as a collective culture.

    I liked @janetteb‘s comment that it worked before to reset the Doctor’s braincells, in Nightmare in Silver, when he asked her to do it. Doesn’t make it right, but it does show how desperately frustrated she is with the Doctor’s inability to see past his prejudice. She also uses basically the same method to restore the Dalek – walloping its cortex units.

    I also agree with the comment above that role models in fiction are much more interesting when they’re imperfect.  A perfect, infallible Doctor would be boring.

    @phaseshift – top 10 slaps – just brilliant 🙂

    ScaryB @scaryb

    Re Vastra and Jenny – if Vastra was a male human I think our reactions to her making Jenny pose gratuitously, not to mention hitting on Clara, would be very different!  See above re flawed characters 🙂

    janetteB @janetteb

    @scaryb. I agree Re Vastra. I don’t think that someone who eats wrongdoers for dinner is supposed to be a role model. Vastra is a deeply flawed character but with moments of brilliance not unlike River Song. We don’t expect either character to abide by the same rules as us “common mortals”. Both have the instinct to be good, (despite R.S. claiming to be a psychopath and her upbringing) but often fall down in the application of it. We trust Vastra to fight for or with what is right but her actions are often dubious at best. It is Jenny who often reminds her of her flaws and keeps her in check and which whom the audience identifies.



    ps Re your point about older generation being more used to slapstick violence. We recall Leela and the janis thorns.

    Nick @nick

    @janetteb @scaryb

    I think there is unreal violence (see most westerns, most war movies from the 60’s/70’s, Leela’s Janis thorn, cartoons, silent era slap stick comedy etc), which doesn’t feel reel to adults or children and (I think mostly) doesn’t really affect them developmentally. Then there is the rest which seems realistic, which is frightening and damaging to young children.

    Unlike Rose’s mum slapping Tennant, it didn’t seem to me that this slap naturally evolves out of the scene or the character (eg River). Nor did I find it plausible that the Doctor was frightened or lost what to do next or had given up, needing a jolt to get him moving.

    Yes he was intellectually pleased that the Dalek had proved to be exactly what it seemed to be – implacable evil – (thus avoiding him needing to reevaluate his entire way of dealing with the Daleks, something which the existence of a good Dalek would have demanded), but I didn’t get that he was about to either surrender his own life or Clara’s, just to stand around feeling pleased with himself.

    I have seen men and women slap or punch each other in real life, but never outside the context of an extremely hot argument (or excessive alcohol intake). Clara wasn’t in that place at the moment. Poking him in the ribs, shaking his arm, shouting at him would have been just as reasonable in the context IMO.

    I don’t see the use of mild non-comic violence as being warranted in the way the scene as written and shot. For me, this was a poor judgment call by the production team. Not a sackable offence though.

    I have to say that, none of the other previous times in AG Who, gave me any cause to actually think about the slap at all. It seems many of us feel the same this time round given the discussion.

    Nick @nick


    Thanks for that brilliant fact – I had never come across the idea that some Victorian marriages were so class divided that they had to pretend they weren’t married. I wonder how common they were.


    Thanks for that as well. Gay relationships were much more common than we appreciate today in the past. It might have been common knowledge, but never talked about out loud.


    re your Mme Vastra comment


    On a slightly more serious note, I had got the impression (probably wrongly) that female Silurians were more numerous than the male of the species – hence the role reversal ?

    Silverman @silverman

    @midnyt – ah, I see – you were referring to Clara merely being a plot-point who saves the Doctor, instead of a rounded person? I get your point about the slap showing her as a real person, albeit one with flaws. I know we all have them, but – bearing in mind the ‘look’ on  @thommck ‘s kids’ faces – there’s an issue somewhere here about role models and behaviour (like the oft-quoted bad behaviour of premier league footballers being aped by kids).  In terms of learning from other peoples’ mistakes, it’s fair enough to show a flaw of a character, but show it to be a flaw, rather than – as here – it being some sort of excusable, or reasonable, action.

    I know I’ve made a few comments on the slap, and my views on it are probably getting tedious by now (sorry!) and the weird thing is I only did so after reading other peoples’ comments – on first viewing I didn’t really think much of it, other than an extremely mild internal gripe. Interestingly, on second viewing I’d argue that what Clara says, the argument she puts forward is the swaying factor, rather than the smack to the chops. The lightbulb moment comes a bit after the slap, and in reaction to what she’s said.

    Arbutus @arbutus

    Interesting conversation about Vastra and Jenny. Not just inter-class but also same sex relationships were sometimes covered up by the pretense of mistress/servant or mistress/paid companion type relationships (as with @pedant’s example, great story, btw!). And even when the marriage was a conventional one, there were often public and private faces. Wives were meant to fill a specific role in the public perception of marriage and family, but that didn’t mean they were always limited to that role in reality. And thanks @janetteb for the reminder that we are also talking about, not just a dominant partner, but a dominant lizard partner, one who clearly from her dialogue sees her species as the superior one!

    And by the way, this: I don’t think that someone who eats wrongdoers for dinner is supposed to be a role model  is brilliant! And I think your comparison to River Song is spot on.

    Arbutus @arbutus

    @scaryb   These are really good points (and isn’t it fun to use the word “slapgate”?). However, I also agree with @nick that I didn’t see Clara as being upset about the danger they were in, more angry about the conclusion the Doctor had drawn. “Is this what we’ve learned?”

    @midnyt  I think that in the previous episode it was deliberately established that the Doctor needs Clara right now, to help him through his regeneration. I would expect that as he sorts through his issues, he will not continue to need her in that way. But it has also been established many times in the past that the Doctor needs companions (not specifically Clara) to keep him on the straight and narrow, as it were.

    Arbutus @arbutus

    I also meant to add, re Vastra and Jenny, that Jenny comes across to me as one of those wives who played along with her husband’s belief in his own superiority, while not buying it for a second herself!



    not to mention hitting on Clara, would be very different!

    Didn’t strike me as ‘hitting on’ at all, just treating her the same was as anyone else might treat a neighbour’s cat, compared to her own.

    Arbutus @arbutus

    @silverman   the Doctor’s remark was revealing just how irrelevant the concept of age is to him – even if this incarnation looks older – but of more relevance to humans.     This makes a lot of sense to me. The Doctor is trying to think in what he sees as human terms (“You aren’t getting any younger, great you’re still making an effort” kind of clichés). Because the life cycle of a time lord is a completely different thing. A time lord’s real age is not always reflected in his physical appearance, or even in his behaviour and attitudes, because regeneration is not just a renewal of the body, but also of the mind and spirit. The Doctor gets a new body and a new outlook on life (we’ve seen this repeatedly). So really, for a time lord, the whole concept of aging in the rather simplistic human manner is moot. And for our part, it actually must take a special person or set of circumstances for a companion to truly get past a regeneration and continue to have a strong relationship afterward.

    Actually, when you think about it, not many companions have actually forged strong relationships with more than one incarnation. Really, I can only remember Sarah Jane and Rose. (You could probably make a case for Mel, as her time with Six was probably more significant than what we saw, and she did have a whole season with Seven, albeit a shortish one.) So maybe that sheds a little more light on Clara’s difficulty in accepting a new Doctor.

    And on another note, I wonder if the Doctor’s attitudes as distinct from those of his fellow time lords has been reinforced over a long time by more frequent regenerations (due to the insanely dangerous life he leads)?

    Serahni @serahni

    @silverman  Whilst I can agree that The Doctor’s choices regarding Ross are not the only questionably-moral thing he’s ever done, his absolute acceptance that it was the correct course of action did seem a significant change in his recent personality, at least.  If we’re taking it purely from Clara’s perspective, which is the context I put it into, then this clearly isn’t a Doctor making the same sorts of choices as the man she first met and agreed to travel with.  There is a self-preservation streak coming through, even if it’s just ultra-pragmatism on his part because he’s the one in the position to move forward, and that has got to be astoundingly different to a man who gave up what he believed was the rest of his life to save a town called Christmas from extinction.  This is a man she watched, through three different perspectives, struggle to hold himself together over the sacrifice of his own people for the ‘greater’ good.  In her experience, these kind of judgement calls usually resonate very deeply with him and, wherever possible, I think she at least had come to expect that The Doctor she knew would have done anything, anything at all, to avoid using Ross in that way.  And, as someone mentioned, would have apologised when there was no other choice.

    I really had meant my whole argument to be reflective of Clara’s point of view, since I was talking about it in regards to her slapping him.  There’s bound to be a heap of things we, as viewers, could point to and various other explanations, which I love reading.  I only meant to point out that Clara herself probably had reason to be very scared, and thus to overreact, to The Doctor suddenly treating people like chess pieces.

    Anonymous @

    @silverman I think that by giving this discussion ‘slapgate’ air time we’re ignoring the fact that real battles about violence are happening. Right now. Even subtle ones. Right now. This is a cosmetic issue. Talk about it all you like but it doesn’t change the fact that  it was: a) friend recharging neural pathways -they’ve done it before b) giving that very close friend a wallop c) a slight female weighing what I do (and I’m about 5 foot 2 now)  as against an over 6-footer d) about a  human’s reaction to someone who isn’t.

    I spoke about this (as others on this site may have) with the students at school, & at uni and at Defence and they all said ‘it was nothing’. Generally, when it’s domestic violence or violence of a kind that is very obvious, you get a hunch ( I know, not very helpful but still…).

    I wonder about the violence of speech actually. What she might have said, instead, could have been more hurtful. But that’s just me! He is an alien. He was being cold. Clara was acting on human instinct and she was very scared. I tend to forgive her. I get scared too. Would I lash out. You bet!

    Kindest, puro.

    lisa @lisa

    but I just had to share Really loving the Missy arc- been thinking on it- could she possibly be a  regeneration of River ? because death isn’t always the end in the who universe Rose was resurrected as bad wolf and the master got resurrected and Galifrey might come back- I think Tasha Lem was River – the name Tasha actually means resurrection and Lem is Mel backwards – {Melody}  so the name means resurrection of Mel– I can actually understand Missy referring to the Doctor as her boyfriend since only the River character was actually married to him and not the other incarnations- she seems to be collecting people that sacrifice themselves – all the River regenerations all made sacrifices for the Doctor – maybe she is collecting them to make a army for something she knows is coming – wherever this garden is she says its heaven – Tasha Lem was mother superious of the ‘Papel’ mainframe – River ended up ‘saved’ to a  computer but she was able to move out beyond it- all these have some kind of  religious connotation- I know this theory is a stretch- but I had to share it cause its been bugging me- sort of a lot – lol – anyway thanks cause I needed to get it out

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