20 November 2018 at 15:17 #65802misterhoo @misterhoo
My random thoughts:
I wonder if Amazon has interrogations rooms with blast proof glass in their basements.
Calling yourself Kerblam and being able to deliver packages to anywhere is just asking for trouble.
Matt Smith doc did not follow his own advice and clear his browser history. Kerblam got his address and that he likes fezzes.20 November 2018 at 16:59 #65804DrBen @drben
Another solid episode, with good writing, good acting, and good directing. Thirteen continues to impress.
That said, I’m beginning to miss some of the timey-wimey bonkers elements of previous incarnations (har) of the show, as well as hints of larger (series arc) plot points. I recognize that that’s not Chibbers’ style, and that he is clearly going for a more straightforward approach with self-contained episodes, and I can’t really complain about any of them. But the current season lacks some of the whimsy and goofiness of prior seasons.
I also realized that I’m missing a sense of in-show history. The fez and the reference to Agatha Christie in this episode were delightful, and I want more. I understand that the BBC is trying to cultivate new viewers, and that’s great, but there is 55 years of canon to work with and it seems a shame not to do more with that. Jodie Whittaker certain nails the Doctor’s alien nature, but I’d like to see more “2000-year-old alien who has lived through some incredibly tragic stuff and needs to keep moving in order to run away from her past and the mistakes she’s made.”
My favorite AG Doctor moments are when the mask begins to slip and you see how truly ancient and tortured this being is — Nine’s monologues in “Dalek,” Ten’s breakdown in “Waters of Mars,” Eleven’s isolation in “The Snowmen,” Twelve’s temper tantrum at not finding Gallifrey. I hope that Chibnall won’t abandon that history entirely, and that Whittaker’s Doctor will get some juicier character moments in the future.20 November 2018 at 17:44 #65808nerys @nerys
I admit that I prefer standalone episodes to those with long, complex story arcs. (Especially in a series like The X-Files, where the mythology arc got so convoluted that I reached a point where I didn’t care.) It’s not that I don’t like story arcs; I do. But when I am required to know every last detail in order to understand an episode, then I find myself feeling a bit frustrated.
I was entralled with “Kerblam!” from start to finish and felt it kept a good balance between whimsy and threat. The allusions to Amazon and its ilk were spot-on and disquieting. When Judy Maddox kept checking the system and remarking on who was reported “gone,” I wondered, “OK, how many really are gone?” I thought it would be nearly all the humans … but the story didn’t take it that far … because:
Once again, the enemy is us.
The Doctor took the lead, and once again she did it in collaboration with her companions. That’s how I like their relationship to play out. My husband doesn’t remember enough of the Matt Smith era to recall the fez as a trait of his Doctor, so I had to explain that to him. But not knowing that detail didn’t detract from the episode, for him.20 November 2018 at 19:13 #65810Anonymous @
While I would love to see more convoluted stories and arcs – I’m a Moffat fan – there’s no reason the show can’t do standalone stories that still call back to previous eras. There’s no reason not to arm a villain with a squareness gun, or have someone with the same surname from a long-ago episode show up; in the first case, no acknowledgement need be made (although, “Oh, you need a banana” would be nice), and in the second, nothing more than, “I think I knew your grandfather/mother.”
With all that history, stories can be made deeper for those who know the back story, but those elements from past eras don’t have to be front-and-center, you-won’t-understand-you-new-fan-you.
Kerblam! did it nicely, and I hope we see more of it in the future.21 November 2018 at 03:29 #65814ismellofhockey @ismellofhockey
That has been one of the writers’ biggest failings this series. The Doctor is a bit flat. Doctors have usually had to blend a childish side with a darker side. Perhaps dark side is going too far, but a certain selfishness, irritability, condescension, pain… So far Whitaker has only been given the childishness and childlike admiration. They keep making a point of how difficult is has been for her to adapt to this new body, so perhaps it will come back to her. Then again, a major driver of the Doctor’s pain, the Time War, was sort of wrapped up with the Doctor coming to terms with her actions in it, so it makes sense that Whitaker would be more at peace with herself than previous iterations. But then there needs to be something else to give the Doctor some depth. If not curmudgeonliness, then something, anything!
As for the episode itself, I felt it was the funniest so far, and I appreciate that the viewers were left to make their conclusions about the value of work, the corporate balancing act between growing profits and building communities, and automation.21 November 2018 at 22:33 #65830JimTheFish @jimthefishTime Lord
it seemed to me that all the consciousness was in the system, not individual robots.
Which seems to me be the problem. If the System is in control of the bots, then why bother with a needlessly cryptic SOS? Why not just turn off all the bots? Presumably because Charlie had hijacked the control protocols in some way. But I’m still thinking the CharlieBots seemed rather autonomic in their actions for their mass forced suicide to be entirely comfortable (c.f. The Vardies in Smile).
the reprimands being given in (admittedly creepy robot) positive way
We’re probably venturing into the realms of digressionary interpretation here because I didn’t find those reprimands in any way positive. Creepy, yes. But very Black Mirror-esque in their passive-aggressive quashing of the human instinct to commune. Personally, I doubt that they’re meant to be seen as signifiers of KerBlamm being ‘essentially the good guys’. At best, it’s another instance of them failing to understand the human cost of their business model.
I think at the moment we’re rather over-programmed to think of corporations as bad things
There’s certainly a case to be made that it’s an overused trope, particularly in Who and I’d agree it’s refreshing that the episode attempted to engage with an alternative viewpoint, not to mention a social issue that’s actually a lot more burning than many are still giving it credit for. (I wouldn’t say ‘over-programmed’ however, otherwise the tossers would be less inclined to flout popular opinion and actually pay their taxes, perhaps.)
The problem is the deeply dated and unambitious solutions it presents. (You’re possibly right that McTighe started digging into the implications of the subject and just threw up his hands and gave up as the deadline approached.) Invoking a deeply Victorian enlightened overseer and ‘take comfort in the dignity of work’ approach is simply not good enough, not for Who at any rate. The fundamental problem, as the Doctor identifies, is that the work is pointless and unnecessary. Putting more people in that position isn’t a solution. It’s perpetuating the problem, possibly in a way that’s just going to lead to more Charlies further down the line, especially as they’ve seen that his homicidal strategy actually bore some fruit. It would have been nice to have seen at least some attempt by the Doctor at something a little more radical. (Which doesn’t necessarily mean anti-capitalist. The Doctor essentially solved the problem of the Vardies by introducing them to capitalism and yet it was a far more satisfying ending to a story than this one.)
This is, as far as I can remember, the first time that the Doctor put the needs of an institution (even a nominally benign one) over the needs of individuals and it’s also one of the few times where she’s upheld the status quo, despite it clearly remaining against the interests of at least half the people involved. That’s like solving The Daleks by setting up a few conflict resolution counselling sessions (which to be fair is essentially what did happen at the end of the Zygon two-parter) or maybe even like asking Rosa to be happy with getting unlimited access to half the seats on the bus but to make no more fuss than that.
And that makes it possibly the most un-Doctor-ey thing I’ve ever seen to the point that I can’t imagine any other incarnation acting in that way, not even the First in his earliest, most ambivalent, phase.22 November 2018 at 05:20 #65836
I noticed that the workers are given jobs based on “mental fitness (approximately), stamina etc and the Doc wants the Purple Group Loop but is assigned a ‘white’ one. She then swaps with Graham who initially had the cleaner’s job.
I thought “hmm” the machines assign the work according to one’s brain/experience etc etc and yet the Doc is a cleaner! Having read @xad4 ‘s comment above, though, cleaner is caretaker -as in PC’s first season and also Tom Baker’s cameo in the 50th Anniversary Special.
Puro22 November 2018 at 05:55 #65837
I never thought about the episode in that way: it’s the first time the Doc doesn’t attempt to destroy the over-arching ‘system.’ And it’s interesting. As my 2nd viewing is happening as I comment, I’m aware of the Doc saying, “you have a great attitude to life, Kira” when she recounts imagining a person receiving a Kerblam!
Judy, head of People, seems to be genuinely interested in her workers and even Slade after the “find your brain, Kira” comment is concerned about why workers are vanishing. The galaxy is under-employed; but the work, obviously necessary to the Organics, has positive elements: the ‘bots’ don’t ‘harass’ the staff but say, “keep your over-long conversations to leisure breaks” whilst the leisure ‘park’ is quite something in itself. I’m wondering if the work being pointless and “very repetitive” as mentioned by the Doctor at least twice in the first 20 mins could improve -when Judy recognises things are dreadfully wrong with Charlie?
I got the distinct impression Judy cared and so removing some repetitive jobs in line with galaxy rules could occur: but the galaxy laws would be difficult for the Doc to do anything about, I think?
I noticed Charlie looked worried when Graham said, “I can detect even the most subtle of social cues” but corrected himself, saying, “it’s obvious.” If he had detected ‘everything’ maybe Charlie would’ve ‘put Graham away’ to prevent interference with his terrorism?
I have a nasty feeling Graham will die in this series: “I am 310!” and other hints.
The bots were similar to Oods to me -a bit, at least. The Ood are a real race used as slaves and now the bots are re-vamped by Charlie….
Puro22 November 2018 at 09:11 #65838Miapatrick @miapatrick
re: the system, The Doctor does have a history of holding the human race to a higher standard than artificial intelligence the human race has created. See Smile, for example. In that episode, does the fact they’ve forgotten killing so many people really make it all right? Possibly, partly because it was after all a problem in the programming, and because they’re a new consciousness. The system asked for help, that’s a good sign. It’s something designed to be very logical and efficient, there is a logic to killing one person to save many people, and it’s one a lot of humans indulge in.
If it’s even up for debate that we should, say, destroy a giant space wale, an unhatched dragon egg, or a huge under water serpent to avoid death to humans (and the doctor put these things up for debate) how harshly is he going to judge the system for thinking, if we kill this one person the person who wants to kill a lot of people because he thinks he cares about people might actually use this famed human empathy and not do it.
I think what’s important is that this is a system designed by humans. In a similar way, the Industrial Revolution didn’t have to involve treating human beings badly, but humans were treated badly to maximise profits. And on occasions when the financial side did get genuinely precarious, that was frequently linked to the fact that, for example, the cotton-weaving industry was depending on slave labour abroad.
The worrying thing for me at the moment isn’t really the pass she gives the system. It’s the fact that, just as she isn’t doing anything about a race of aliens moving through the universe killing people for sport. She isn’t doing anything about the human root of the corporation (I assume the profits are going somewhere human) which made the decisions that lead to the situation in Kerblam! in the first place. At the end of the ganger episodes, we were left with a sense that people were going to go and fight for change. At the end of this we get a slightly wishy-washy promise to try and get a more people-lead co-operation in the future. But who made it automated in the first place?
So she’s right that it isn’t the system, it’s how the system is used. But this is how such systems are used, it’s why such systems are created. It almost makes me think more humans is pretty far from the solution.22 November 2018 at 09:12 #65839Miapatrick @miapatrick
sorry, pronoun slip in there at the top.22 November 2018 at 10:32 #65842
@jimthefish WhitDoc . . . seems to have forgotten a lot of life lessons. I quite like the hesitant naivete of this Doc but it sometimes seems to rely a little too much on her not having been remotely affected by the experiences of previous regenerations.
That’s my major problem with her too. And the wide eyes and big O mouth of surprised delight expression is starting to wear on me (very much in evidence in Kerblam!).
@bluesqueakpip The double levels of the Pickwoad sets, plus the varied seating, meant the actors and directors could change levels, fling themselves into a chair, show an explosion by swinging on the railings – lots of stuff. They looked like great sets to act in.
And this one is just a weirdly lit big elevator car with not enough room to move around in, and nothing to do. Thanks for clarifying that — I feel claustrophobic just looking at it and wondering why. The potentialities of the actors’ bodies being expressive and interesting to watch in motion is canceled, especially with four of them in there.
Re this Doctor more accepting of death: CapDoc started out with patches of that in a sort of alien-detachment sense (notably in Into the Dalek, as I recall), and got slammed for it by fans used to the more sympatico SmithDoc perhaps; now WhitDoc is showing some of this quality and it looks like simply more practical perspective that one would expect in a 2,000 yr old time traveler — and I’m seeing some similar criticism of that, here and there. Here’s a point where I think some casting back to earlier experiences as AG Doctors learning acceptance-of-what-must-be-accepted the hard way might help to make this pragmatism more of an asset to the character than a puzzling and off-putting casualness with no visible underpinnings.22 November 2018 at 10:59 #65844
@miapatrick The worrying thing for me at the moment isn’t really the pass she gives the system. It’s the fact that, just as she isn’t doing anything about a race of aliens moving through the universe killing people for sport. She isn’t doing anything about the human root of the corporation
The problem with that for me is that it’s coupled with all that child-like joy at the beginning when the package arrives for the Doctor, and her statement that she’s used Kerblam before. So, Amazonblam is so *convenient*, try to make working there a little less of a nightmare please, and maybe up the levels of constant supervision by fake-polite guards called “team-mates” — yikes!
This could have been fixed by allowing the Doctor to be a bit less ebullient about getting toys in the mail, and addressing directly the fact that a) it’s going to take more than a Doctor and crew to “fix” what’s rapidly shaping up to be humanity’s second biggest 21st c problem — the sucking out of the system of work without considering what could replace it as a lifetime focus for people who can’t sing or become perfectly meaningless icons for others to adore (begins with “K”, or example); and b) that the social solutions that work best have to come from and be carried by the people affected by the problem, rather than friendly outsiders with encouraging maxims to offer but no deep, personal understanding of the problems. That ties up well with a Dcotor who has learned to accept death as something you can’t “fix” properly either.
Why not just spell it out, as the wisdom that acceptance of one’s limitations can be, with some allusions to how that wisdom was won — by Doctors who came before? I *want* some wisdom from this Doctor, with or without the confusion of a new style of body — some wisdom has been earned. We’ve just watched it being earned through the AG seasons. Ignoring all that seems just — rude, and dismissive. And wasteful.22 November 2018 at 23:44 #65856Mudlark @mudlark
a) it’s going to take more than a Doctor and crew to “fix” what’s rapidly shaping up to be humanity’s second biggest 21st c problem — the sucking out of the system of work without considering what could replace it as a lifetime focus … and b) that the social solutions that work best have to come from and be carried by the people affected by the problem, rather than friendly outsiders.
Science fiction has often provided an oblique insight or satirical commentary on contemporary problems without necessarily offering solutions, and this is how I interpreted the episode. One would hope that in what is presumably meant to be the far future, the question of how to provide people with a means of living and a sense of self worth in a world where most routine jobs can be automated would have been resolved, but for the purposes of the story they have not, and in those circumstances what can the Doctor do but help to solve the immediate crisis and, in so doing, bring the problem to the attention of those who might be in a position to begin to resolve it or at least mitigate it ? Not very satisfactory, but it is realistic. If we are to resolve the current dilemma, there will be no fairy to wave a wand and it will take time, will, thought and effort.
Several people referred to the example of the industrial revolution in Britain, and there are similarities, but also considerable differences. The problems then arose as much as anything from the speed of change, and although the speed of change now is even greater the circumstances are not the same. At that time there was plenty of work in the industrial centres, even if the hours were long and the conditions harsh and sometimes dangerous. People migrated to the manufacturing towns and cities because they could no longer make a living in agriculture or as independent craftsmen and women. Those who had had a stake in the land in the form of copyhold tenancies lost that minimal security as the land owners took the copyhold land back in hand and enclosed the commons, depriving the villagers of grazing land and other rights such as pannage and the right to gather firewood. Even yeoman farmers who owned their land struggled to make a living in the agricultural depression which followed the Napoleonic wars. The mills and foundries offered regular employment and more money than people could hope to earn as agricultural labourers, often seasonally employed, but the manufacturing centres to which they flocked could not grow fast enough to accommodate them. Houses which had been hastily and shoddily built were multi-occupied, without sanitation or access to clean water, so disease was rife, as in the cholera epidemics of the 19th century.
Those problems took more than a century to resolve, through the efforts of many people and not least of the workers themselves. It is to be hoped that we can do better, although I’m not particularly optimistic at the moment.23 November 2018 at 05:35 #65860
@mudlark Oh, it’s going to take a good long time to come up with some better solutions, and it will be very uneven as well — after all, we still have actual slavery going on in the “Kingdom of Saud” while the ISS whizzes around its orbit above Earth. Some problems don’t really get solved at all, they just evolve into something else . . . The consequences of the Enclosures is rendered in unforgettable terms in Ronald Blythe’s book “Akenfield”, an old favorite of mine. I hadn’t tied that (and the Luddites and what brought them into being) into a depression after the wars, though — but of course it’s all woven together.23 November 2018 at 06:52 #65861Turn The Clock @turntheclock
This is terrible Doctor Who finding a terrorist to protect a dystopian corporate what next we will have the Doctor recruiting for the Cybermen. Jodie cannot fix poor scripts.23 November 2018 at 21:28 #65874Mudlark @mudlark
The village of Akenfield does not exist under that name, but Charsfield in Suffolk, the real village on which Blythe largely based his work is close to where the elder of my two brothers lives, only 50 miles or so from Norwich, Norfolk where am, and within the region which I covered as an archaeologist from 1991 until retirement, so I know the area pretty well. Another book which had a big effect on me when I read it many years ago was The Rabbit Skin Cap, in which the writer describes growing up in extreme poverty as the son of an agricultural labourer in Norfolk in the late 19th century/early 20th century. Both Suffolk and Norfolk were and still are predominantly rural and agricultural counties, though the form of agriculture, land ownership and land tenure, as well as relative wealth in the two counties differed historically for social, economic and geographical reasons *. As a result of long-term agricultural depression in the 19th century and much of the first half of the 20th century, wages for agricultural labourers were pitifully low even when I was young, though that was offset to a limited extent, in that most lived rent-free in tied cottages belonging to the farm and had gardens large enough to grow vegetables and perhaps rear a pig.
Now the villages are mostly inhabited by retired people and middle class commuters, because the increasing mechanisation of agriculture and husbandry means that there is no regular work for the younger people growing up there. So, like their predecessors in the late 18th/early 19th century, they have to leave to find work in the towns and cities. Today that often means the service or retail industries which, given the advent of on-line shopping and the like, does not promise a secure future.
The villages they leave are increasingly divorced from their original economic roots and are having to re-invent themselves as communities. What is encouraging is that some are doing so successfully. In the fairly large village where my brother lives the pub was failing as a business and was about to close. The community combined to come up with a business plan, find the finance, and buy it to run as a joint, voluntary venture. It has succeeded so spectacularly that it is thriving as a community centre, they have paid off the loan and can now afford some paid staff.
There was no village shop, but the success of the pub prompted them to sound out the population to find out what was needed, raise the finance and build one in the grounds of the pub, and that, too, has been successful, simply because it breaks even financially while providing another, much valued community service. Maybe that is an example of a possible way forward. Profit need not be the only incentive, if one thinks on a small scale.
There has always been has been economic and concomitant social change, now at an exponentially increasing rate, from the feudal systems of the medieval period to the present day, and the process of adaptation has always lagged behind. Adjustment is easier in small communities than it is on the larger scale, though even small steps make a difference. What is lacking on the macro scale is a full recognition and acknowledgement of the problems of change, and the will to address them properly, but that does not mean that a story set in a hypothetical future in which people are obliged to earn a living in a galactic Amazon should be taken as a prediction rather than a warning.
* In the medieval and early post medieval periods Norfolk was one of the richest counties in England, thanks to sheep and the wool trade, and Norwich was the second city after London in terms of size and wealth, though admittedly quite a long way after it.24 November 2018 at 00:52 #65878
@mudlark Thanks for that encouraging news about the village that has found ways to save itself — it does seem as though real, positive change in this particular environment of a labor market on the brink of collapsing (into something else, largely automated and on-line based). I can’t think of any successful news like that about dying US towns and cities either freezing working people out due to unaffordable housing or vanished jobs and tax income. Te only thing that comes to mind is the cooperative efforts that have gone into revitalizing very small portions of the largely abandoned ruins of Detroit, with communal gardens and a lively but very poor arts scene as the focus of social revival (or so I’ve read).
I’d read about pubs going under all over the UK, a development that I’ve seen attributed to the influence of inflows of muslim residents into old neighborhoods (that used to support a watering hole on every block, it seems), but that can’t be the whole story. It’s heartening to read about a place pulling its own socks up to sponsor and support local amenities that would otherwise just vanish.
Meanwhile, around here the New York Times is constantly full of stories about the latest egregious bullshit words and actions from the monster employers we patronize — Amazon, Apple, Face Book, the rest of them — and how workers are pushing back (Google workers protesting Google’s work for and links to the military, for instance); but these are broad movements in scattered work forces, not “local” in the sense discussed here. Latest concern is about how Amazon pretended to consider smaller cities in order to use the “incentives” these offered for HQ locations there to leverage up the deals they finally made with DC and New York City, which were their pre-selected targets all along; and now people living in Queens, NY, a borough already subject to creeping gentrification, are terrified that all the rents there will go sky high and force them all out — but to where? Of course, once automation hits full force (speaking of tsunamis, though we weren’t), there won’t be many live Amazon workers to house in Queens after all, so maybe the economic exiles can come back.
And create some communal gardens . . . Uh, sarcasm, but not entirely. Communal *anything* is better than a society sliced up so badly by economic autocracy and Right Wing disdain for the disadvantaged (which will soon be the majority, unless the Congress starts to swing into serious action under more Democratic leadership — which it might, or might not). Well, better than anything except gang wars, which are “communal” efforts in their own ways.24 November 2018 at 01:36 #65879IAmNotAFishIAmAFreeMan @pedant
The System was right and placed the Doctor next to what it knew to be the real threat (we really do need to slightly fanwank that it had no faith in the humans to solve the problem, and we know its own infrastructure had been compromised by cybernetics expert-cum-terrorist AND that the humans WERE trying to investigate – but had no faith in the System). So the System found the best person it could and tried to park her next to the threat. Then The Doctor overrode that and went off chasing red herrings.
The System was trying to look after its work force, AI and organic.
The senior humans were trying to look after those who worked for them.
In turn they were trying to look out for each other.
Apart from the one who was scared, who wanted to kill millions in about as cowardly way as could be.
Scared and cowardly and inadequate, like Tim Shaw;
Scared and lonely and inadequate, like Epzo;
Scared of anything other and pathetically inadequate, like Jim Crow and future Nazi;
Scared, vain and cowardly like Not!Trump;
Scared people on an imposed border, terrified that love might shattered their certainties, caused by a woefully inadequate failing Empire;
And a scared robotist terrorist liar exploiting a gap of trust between human and AI.
No arc? Really?24 November 2018 at 02:30 #65882winston @winston
@pedant Kerblam! I think you just nailed the thing on the head, for me anyway. I absolutely agree that fear is the thread that ties these episodes together. Fear of the unknown, of change , of differences and fear of others. Being scared is horrible and it drives people , animals and aliens to do desperate things to avoid it. Sometimes that fear of others makes them want to destroy what they are scared of, it makes them hate what they fear. How many times have you heard someone say “I hate spiders!” when really they are scared of them?
So, yes I think that you have found an arc that I can explore. Thanks for that.24 November 2018 at 05:37 #65886
uhm? Did I say “no arc?”
THANE? Did you?
Definitely hints of arcs. For instance the crack in the wall was very little -at first (as an idea/arc. Cute! The crack had. An. ARC. Geddit?? ROFL!). OK, seriously now, the crack continued right to the end of Smith’s era. Other little arcs and clues such as “I was born under a clock” says Clara-Prime (if there’s ever a prime) I only now recognise as part of the clock-work in PC’s Tardis; so surrounded by books and arm-chairs and other analogues was effectively one birth ‘symbol’ of Clara.
But off topic. I like the moral arcs and the arcs of people and characters learning. Which I said on the Blog a few mins ago and which vanisho into Chaos and the Problem of Evil…. 🙂 I also mentioned that there is lots to discuss, still. The puzzle and clue might be missing to some….but I think it’s still there. It’s hidden, a different kind of nuance. A bit like the Tardis taking the Doc wherever they need to be, still.
Someone said the bit of dangerous cloth- was The Remnant. I thought of the series: The Leftovers. I suppose they were leftovers, in one sense. 🙂
Puro.1 December 2018 at 16:24 #66082The Guardian @theguardian
I’ve watched this episode twice and will sadly have to rewatch it, unless one of my fellow whovians caught the point that I missed. One giant unanswered question. Spoilers…
Who killed the first 7 missing employees? Was is the Kerblam system or the maintenance man? They both had apparent motive, knowledge and opportunity. This episode was so anticlimactic that I am sure the big reveal happened while I was yawning.
It seems that only the system had the full capability to abduct and liquify the workers. If it was the system, then it needs to be put down. But, unless the other workers were apart of the uprising, why would the system kill them?? Give a dog the taste of human flesh and then let it back into your Tardis? I think not. We can’t trust Kerblam anymore than Charlie.1 December 2018 at 16:30 #66084IAmNotAFishIAmAFreeMan @pedant
The terrorist, as was spelled out in text. He ‘had to test the bombs’.
Then the system, in a catastrophic moral failure, tried to teach him a lesson by blowing up the one he loved.1 December 2018 at 16:58 #66085The Guardian @theguardian
<p style=”text-align: left;”>@pedant</p>
Thanks for the help. Totally missed it, twice!12 October 2020 at 12:33 #71042Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent
KerblAmazon. Interesting concept for an episode.
The robots reminded me of the Johnny cab driver in Total Recall.
The System decided the Doctor’s most suitable aptitude was janitor? That would certainly have evoked some funny/sarcastic dialogue in the Moff’s day – though as someone in this thread pointed out, that would have put the Doc right next to the source of the problem.
I don’t see any skill from Team Tardis with the bubblewrap packing (okay, major nitpick 🙂 Having clumsily tried wrapping things myself, and having despairingly watched the skill with which shop assistants do it, I noticed this. Ryan at least should have a clue; surely the cast could have been given a quick ten-minute practice run? And they got away with a lot of talking on the job. In fact the first quarter hour was really slow.
Very good fake-out by the writer, twice in a row, in that the villains weren’t the two human bosses, and it wasn’t the System (although the System was pretty harsh in killing Charlie’s girlfriend in the hope of discouraging him). Although, the Moff would have planted many clues for us – I didn’t notice any in this episode, not even on a re-watch. This was the first ep of Season 11 that I bothered to re-watch; typically, Moffat dialogue would have layers of meaning, and you could enjoy it as much the second time through (when the dialogue would have subtly different undertones of meaning from what you knew was going to happen) as on first acquaintance.
The Doctor, as usual, talks far too much. And Ryan’s dyspraxia made one of its transitory appearances.
On re-watch, I think I noticed a few more inconsistencies – why would drone #1 be able to understand the ‘source code’, normally that would be compiled into machine code, which is all a bot would ‘see’, and surely there would have been dozens of updates since. Oddly, that bothers me far more than the magic sonic screwdriver. Though the System hijacked drone #1 to deliver its message anyway (but why couldn’t it have used any of the maintenance bots for that?) And ‘all the power being drained down to Dispatch’ like it was subject to gravity – okay, probably not intended by the writer. And, the system on detecting organic lifeforms entering Dispatch tries to *shoot* them (inaccurately)? That could well have been skipped with no loss of drama. And a soundproof cell and a liquidizer in the basement? Well, maybe it was for product testing and recycling of damaged/obsoleted stock, but a couple of lines of dialogue would have helped (see, I can think of a plausible reason in 20 seconds!)
But, on the whole, I liked it. I couldn’t care less what ‘message’ it might or might not have been trying to send about workers’ rights or commercialisation or terrorism, which seems to have so divided the commentariat.
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