Mummy on the Orient Express

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    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    Re his second date accusations of lying – yeah, that was a bit off.

    Yeah. What’s even more off about it is that somebody in the school (probably the School Secretary and the Head) would know his original name. The criminal record checks that any teacher has to have (and keep updated) ask for all the names you’ve ever used.

    It’s like there’s some kind of competition to get everything about Danny just slightly wrong. 😈

    janetteB @janetteb


    Do you think I’m being unfair if I say that anything fantastical is automatically distant from real life and therefore less powerful in a political sense?

    Simply Yes. 🙂 Well written fantasy/sci fi could made a stronger statement about real life than stories set in “real life”. For instance I would argue that shows like “Midsummer Murders” say almost nothing about real life. Reality TV which is supposedly “real life” has nothing at all to say about real life. Dr Who has occasionally addressed real life issues for instance in BG Who ‘The Green DEath and “The Sunmakers” both made statments about modern day Britain. There have been numerous “reflections” in AG Who of real life especially during the RTD years. Any good story be it Sci Fi, Fantasy, contemporary, historical, Social Realism, Magic Realism, Romantic or whatever, reflects real life. Being distant from real life can often give the writer more power to deal with issues and to explore the implications of those issues. Writers can point out potential concequences in a fictional reality that have not yet happened for instance, and personally I think fictional and fantastical settings give a story more impact.

    Personally I think Dr Who is at its best when it is referencing some aspect of reality be it through human drama or political or social allegory. And, just to dodge the ire of the topic dalek, the consequences of Clara’s lying need to be explored. In fact I was never entirely comfortable with the “Doctor lies” meme, as though his lying was a good thing.

    Really enjoying this discussion BTW. @everyone making such excellent points, almost has the feel of sitting about a table in a pub with a great group of people.( just lacking the wine/beer/cider and crisps.)





    idiotsavon @idiotsavon


    Ha ha yes, you’re right 🙂

    I got a bit carried away wondering whether/why/why not “soap opera” was a good thing, a bad thing or even a thing.

    I’ll take my questions to the pub/sofa 🙂


    idiotsavon @idiotsavon

    @janetteb @lisa (pub? yes no? I think they have Scampi Fries there 🙂 )

    idiotsavon @idiotsavon


    Back on-topic, I think the “belief” theme you pointed out several episodes ago seems to be playing itself out in lots of very interesting ways.

    This episode, the mummy was a legend that the Doctor did not initially believe in. However he was later persuaded (persuaded himself?) that it was real.

    When the first victim (Mrs Pitt) and the second victim (Stumpy the kitchen worker?) were attacked, they weren’t believed, either. It seems that it was only later that the passengers believed that the killer was really an invisible mummy that the about-to-die could really see.

    Was it the evidence that persuaded them? Or was it the Doctor?


    lisa @lisa

    @idiotsavon- Yes however I haven’t been able to get my head around how it all completely connects with the story arc yet – but I blame Perkins!! That character has sideswiped me totally and taken me off topic ! lol
    So any brilliant contributions of how all the Belief puzzle blends in is much appreciated at this point !! 🙂

    idiotsavon @idiotsavon

    @ Lisa

    I am starting to think that the “belief” you’re onto is a belief in heroes.

    I was taken with the Faust idea, as you know (Good man/Bad man; Saved/Not-saved) and I thought (and am still not entirely dissuaded) that the Doctor’s new regeneration cycle carries a Faustian price (“Everything has a price tag, I think you’ll find” – as Miss Delphox put it.) And I’ve since watched/read Marlowe’s Dr Faustus, and there are a few little things that could be an allusion to either Faust. For example, the Doctor flicking Clara’s nose while invisible is a bit like Marlowe’s Faust being invisible and boxing the Pope’s ears. And @purofilion’s Gretchenfrage is straight from Goethe 🙂

    But ultimately, I think you’re probably on the money, and all of those little echoes of bits of things can be meaningfully interpreted as references to belief (and maybe even belief in a certain type of hero) in one way or another. (Traditionally, the Faust character went to Hell because of his lack of Christian belief. Goethe’s Faust went to heaven – because he believed in (and what’s more strived for) something. *)

    And then there’s the Carlisle/Carlyle reference. The first time Carlisle was mentioned was in Hide (Ignorance is Carlisle.) In that same episode, you find the rather strange statement “The music room is the heart of the house” and in Carlyle’s writing you find that “If you look deep enough you will see music; the heart of nature being everywhere music.”

    Then in Into The Dalek and Mummy on the Orient Express, you get a Miss Carlisle and a Mr Carlyle, and over the series we get a huge tease about some sort of heaven/salvation, and a lot of stuff about heroes.



    The fearful unbelief is unbelief in yourself;

    No sadder proof can be given by a man of his own littleness than disbelief in great men;

    No iron chain, or outward force of any kind, could ever compel the soul of a man to believe or to disbelieve.

    It’s a belief in heroes that I think we should perhaps look backwards at, and forward to: Where does the Doctor fit into all of this?

    Kind Regards


    GothamCelt @gothamcelt

    I have read the rules on etiquette and have always respected other opinions even if I disagreed with them. If I am in a minority in thinking that terms such as ‘socially retarded’ and ‘knee-jerking homophobic fuckwits’ are acceptable on this forum then I will (gladly) delete my account and go elsewhere.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    Thing is, I can remember similar concerns being expressed in the 2005 show about the various issues surrounding Rose. Do we really need to see her mum? God – now it’s her dad. I got a bit exercised by some of the criticism of Father’s Day when it was shown. Boring soap opera, some called it, when I thought it was a very good character piece about the impact of death on a life, and probably said more about Rose than most of the preceding episodes. I think you can only decide at the end of a companions run whether they (and their storyline) has been successful.

    To me, I think Clara has been pretty consistent, and it doesn’t feel forced. I rewatched the “Impossible Girl” storyline in order last year – starting with Belles to Name of the Doctor. Then I watched the product of Name of the Doctor, the Claricles in Asylum of the Daleks and the Snowmen.

    Take a look at the Claricles – Oswin, uber confident, perky, controlling and can spin a yarn. Living a double life in her Dalek shell with an imaginary world. Look at Victorian Clara, uber confident perky, controlling and living a double life as barmaid and Governess. And lying to her employer to hide that fact.

    The story on the one hand is repeating in certain ways. I don’t think this is really out of the blue.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    @mudlark @jimthefish @scaryb

    Ah – Z-cars. I’ve only seen a couple of episodes in retrospectives. I’d love to see more. I think the episodes may be lost now, but I remember that Who producer Barry Letts appeared in the show for a while in one of his acting roles.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    I agree with @janetteb. In some ways, distancing the story from the real world can make it easier to make difficult points about the world.

    Star Trek, I think, made a number of decisions in it’s initial run that did resonate. The kiss between Kirk and Uhura is an obvious one. Having a Russian crewmate (with hilarious accent) in the middle of the cold war another. Some of the actual storylines are pretty pointed (if a little “hit you over the head with the message”).

    When the remake of Battlestar Galactica ended, cast, writers and crew were invited to a panel at the UN to talk about the underlying themes of the show – conflict between philiosphies, human rights, etc. There is a report about it here.

    “Human Rights Deputy Director Craig Mokhiber lamented that even the utopian ideal the United Nations was formed around was considered, by some, science fiction. “We look at it in a different way,” Mokhiber explained. “It’s true that we are an idealistic organization… but we are focused on international law and diplomacy to settle disputes. We don’t see it as utopian, we see it as the only reasonable alternative to what inevitably would be a horrific dystopian society.”

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    I’d rather be more impressed by the flounce if you had made a previous issue of the kiss. You never have. I’d see this as creating a problem for effect, because you didn’t like my comment to you earlier.

    Feel free to do whatsoever you wish.

    Anonymous @

    @gothamcelt – I have read your posts and I don’t think you should leave. Don’t’ take this the wrong way, but I think you are over reacting right now. You obviously are not in the minority about the first phrase you find so offensive – although not so offensive that you will not repeat it again after PhaseShift already conceded your point and changed it.

     The second phrase can not be misinterpreted by anyone as referring to none other than the specific individuals who it describes arguably well and is therefore much less offensive.

     Knee-jerking Homophobic Fuckwits as used in the post 33622

     Knee jerk reaction – an immediate unthinking emotional reaction produced by an event or statement to which the reacting person is highly sensitive; – in persons with strong feelings on a topic, it may be very predictable.

    That is not offensive at all. Very accurate description of the people referred to.

    Homophobia – 1. Fear of or contempt for lesbians and gay men. 2. Behavior based on such a feeling.

    That is not offensive at all. It is an accurate description of the specific behavior referred to.

    Fuckwits – a fool or idiot.

    That is strongly express opinion, possibly offensive for those extremely adverse to any use of profanity. But it is not the first use of the same profanity used elsewhere on this site, which did not get a response of objection from anyone. However, that is an opinion, which could be mistaken and can be debatable.

     GothamCelt – How it is so offensive to call the people who hold such unthinking, contemptuous views fools or idiots?

    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    @wordmuse — as @scaryb says, you don’t need to worry RE. ratings. The show is doing as brilliantly now in terms of audience than ever. And as SM has pointed out, the show is now a global brand. It’s kind of pointless to just focus on UK overnights (which don’t take account of things like time-shifted viewing, iPlayer etc). The final viewing figures for most episodes must total out at 60 or 70 million on occasion. In other words, more people are watching the show now than at any time in its so-called hey-day. Trust me, the Beeb aint’ going to kill off one of its biggest headline-generating, merchandise-spinning international hits. Having said that, I do think that a break might be the best thing for the show creatively at some point. Just not yet, Lord. Just not yet.

    @pedant — that’s an excellently put line about the undervalued creators of yesteryear. It’s interesting that since the demise of The Bill, there just hasn’t been a cop-soap on TV and I for one feels its absence. But is there a Troy Kennedy Martin of today out there willing to do it? Is there even an appetite for it these days as soap figures are plummeting rapidly? (Hmm, maybe there’s a blogpost in this, or on the history of the genre at least?)

    @scaryb — thanks for the link. You’re right. That obit was strangely moving.

    @gothamcelt, @phaseshift @Raxo-getamoreuserfriendlyusername — @gothamcelt, overreact much? One of my major bugbears is the emergence of faux-offence in modern media. It’s one of the most insidious means of agenda-management you’ll ever see and it gets right on my nends. You often find people using spluttering outrage and an insistence on ‘civilised politeness’ to mask some truly offensive behaviour of their own — usually this means the oppression of someone or other, or their rights to do what with their bodies, or to publicly display their love for someone or some such thing. It’s very much my opinion that using demonstratively strong language to call these people out and tell them that their oppression won’t be tolerated is very much a good thing.

    So, I’m thinking yeah, I’m thinking ‘knee-jerking homophobic fuckwits’ is fair enough. I actually didn’t have a problem with the original expression either.

    Anonymous @

    @gothamcelt – Just so you know, most of what I posted was not intended for you.  I probably went too far again, which happens when I make arguements.  Sorry for that.  Like I said, I don’t think you should leave and you were probably just caught up in the moment.   

    @jimthefish – LOL this name is only one letter longer than IamnotafishIamafreeman.  🙂

    Thanks for trying to tag me anyway.

    I changed my mind on Handles, so I’m going back to Barnable after this.

    GothamCelt @gothamcelt

    I think some clarification is in order as there are various assumptions on why I wrote what I did and what those comments meant. My comments on the use of certain terms used on this forum were exactly that – their use in this forum.

    I thought I made that clear, perhaps I should have been clearer. The assumption by one person was that I had had a ‘flounce’ (not sure what that means but I think something akin to ‘strop’) because I did not like what that person had written in response to a previous comment from me. He then assumed I was ‘creating a problem for effect’. The reasoning behind this was because I hadn’t commented about the kiss in question in the first place . Wrong on a number of counts. I didn’t comment on the kiss in question because it didn’t bother me one way or another. I didn’t have a flounce/strop and I am really not interested in what others think goes on in my mind.

    There appears to have been assumptions by others that I am somehow part of the groups towards whom the terms were directed and that I need to be taken to task. Wrong again.

    It was then suggested elsewhere that I was of those people attempting a form of agenda management “to mask some truly offensive behaviour of their own”. Not very accurate and not very nice. Some soothing comments were then posted by the author, which I was pleased to see. May I remind you what it says in the Etiquette section of this forum?

    “We like the community we’ve created here. It’s friendly, fun and respectful and we’d like to try to keep it that way. All we ask is a little bit of civility……. Just because you don’t agree with someone doesn’t mean that they’re stupid or Hitler.”

    I said I thought that the terms used were out of place on this forum. I still think that. That is my opinion. I think the reaction to my comments, rather than the comments themselves, have been presumptive , condemnatory, and above all, judgemental. To paraphrase a person whom we all admire “My point being, in a forum as immense and bizarre as this one, you cannot be too quick to judge”.

    lisa @lisa

    @idiotsavon – I agree with your take on the belief in heroes – and I also keep thinking this goes back to when the Doctor asks Clara ‘am I a good Man’ – that was central and very upfront at the start of this series
    All these different belief options we have had with each new episode forms for me a circle to get to the Doctors
    We are all being taken on that philosophical journey in addition to all the individual weekly adventures
    Its been very Joseph Campbell for me but also the screenwriting textbook by Christopher Vogler that I reference
    here's_Journey:_Mythic_Structure_for_Writers –its as if SM has been
    very influenced by this book for his take this series too– and I think this concept is working out amazingly well !!
    When looking up Vogler for this post – I found that he has a connection to BBC writers room – I find that very interesting – this has to be within SM’s sphere of awareness and obviously a strong influence as well

    soundworld @soundworld

    @lisa thank you for the link, thats interesting.  I’d been thinking very Joseph Campbell too.

    It could be as suggested earlier up-thread that this season’s episodes are taking place within a virtual-reality type environment as a series of tests; maybe Missy is interviewing people after they are ‘Doctored’ out of the game?  She still doesn’t come over in a terribly benign way, to me, however!

    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    @gothamcelt — let me be clear. I was not lumping you in with the faux-offence, usually Daily Heil-reading ‘down with this sort of thing’ crowd that I was referring to in my last post. However, I do still think you’re overreacting a bit.

    Brewski @brewski

    I loved “Soap”!  And… wait!

    One of the characters in it was “Danny”. A reformed gangster.

    Ah HAH! We are on to something here….


    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    I do wish Jenny and Vastra had been on the Orient Express in space – I feel they would have acquitted themselves admirably and no doubt Vastra would have wanted to eat Gus for breakfast – the rascally chuffing rapscallion.



    JimboMcMaster @jimbomcmaster

    @scaryb – Yes, I concede he has at least chosen the lesser of two evils off camera during the Time War. And I really enjoy that it is explored further in The Day of the Doctor, and similar ideas this season.

    Maybe I’m cynical but I think these sorts of impossible choice would face the Doctor more often, given the life he leads. The real ones, that is, where there really is no better, third way. But, equally, I think I’m idealistic in some ways, and think that he’s got the guts to go through with the less terrible choice, rather than stand aside completely and let the worst happen. Which is in itself a kind of heroism – perhaps that’s why I like the idea.

    lisa @lisa

    @ Soundworld Yes Miss Missy- what can I say besides we need to see her again soon !!
    Is she a Guardian of the Nethersphere or a Trickster or what exactly? Cant wait to get
    another glimpse of her so we can have something to say about her place in the story.
    Also her lieutenant Seb .
    Regarding my reference before of the Josesph Campbell and the heroes journey.
    Its the strange world of myths and adventures but also rites of passage and
    beliefs/spiritual aspects which is also a part of the CapDoctor’s journey/story arc this series
    and how he’s trying much more to connect to new different self

    Anonymous @

    Gus/Executive might be ………………….. a needy game player

    @mudlark I’m liking that idea the most, because Clara was leaving the Doctor! So the Executive could have been the WitS, just like in Deep Breath but giving tickets instead of news paper ads. WitS motive of keeping the Doctor/Clara together would explain who called the Doctor and gave him the tickets. That could still mean Missy was Gus/Executive and WitS too.

    I’m surprised Missy didn’t collect anyone from the train. The conductor and the alien myth expert helped the Doctor before they died.

    Maybe it didn’t count because they didn’t choose? Or maybe it is misdirection by the writers and we just didn’t see Missy collect them?

    (In the Caretaker, Seb says the Skivox Blitzer sent a lot of people to Missy, and we only saw one of them). So the Mummy might have sent a lot of people to Missy too, and as a bonus she wanted the Mummy tech at the same time. 😉

    I agree with you Mudlark that Perkins was the chief engineer, but I think that could be his cover story as a Time Agent at the same time. Time Agent is a brilliant explanation for how Perkins had so much information about the Mummy. I’m guessing Perkins was on the train that had only 4 deaths and was promising. “Promising Leads” is something an investigator would say.

    @lisa – nice spot, that Gus got mad at the Doctor when Clara found the papers, so I agree the papers had to belong to someone else. I think Perkins put them there.

    Perkins said he thought the Tardis needed some drive stacks replaced

    Good point, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t install the teleporter though. Perkins might have noticed the stacks while he was working on the teleporter, and just wanted to warn the Doctor about the problems with the stacks.

    Lisa you are right, a fishing expedition is a perfect explanation for the Doctor/Perkins chat at the end, especially since the Doctor didn’t really need Perkins’s help installing the teleporter at all. The Doctor looking for more info on Perkins makes more sense like you said; so there should be more to learn right? But I think Perkins has to be good, since the Doctor trusted him looking around at the Tardis.

    lisa @lisa

    @ Barnable Hi — Yeah the conductor was a retired soldier and Missy theory is that she collects soldiers
    but didn’t collected him ? Hm ?
    On the teleporter – So the Doc was messing with it on the train and the next scene on the Beach he tells
    Clara that he used it to teleport everyone onto the Tardis and dropped them on that Planet
    I think the Doctor still had the teleporter device- not Perkins
    However I still think Perkins got some free and alone time by himself on the Tardis ?
    He was still lingering around apparently on his own until the Doctor returned from hanging out
    on the beach ?
    So why did the Doctor leave Perkins alone on the Tardis and did the Doctor really trust him to be
    alone there?
    No idea !!! But it still doesn’t add up to me

    Anonymous @

    @bluesqueakpip – Interesting questions about Danny. I think he is already stuck doing something he doesn’t like for Clara (loved one). He waits at home for her. Maybe she gets captured and he has to go to war to save her, then Danny will be both.   That would be good imo, because my only complaint about Danny is he isn’t doing anything yet. So it seems like he is unnecessary to the story all the time (except Caretaker and filling out Clara’s home life story a little more). I think Danny will become a more important character than that eventually.

    I like this quote Bluesqueakpip

    …that’s the ‘arc’ of Series 8. The most unscientific, unhistorical and seemingly preposterous myths may be based on fact.

    My brain is really melting from all the possible arc explanations. But I think that is a good theory too. It seems like Doctor/Clara could be traveling around inside a myth world during this series. I can’t figure that part out and don’t really believe that, but I’m definitely starting to think SM must be drawing from some unusual sources for his ideas. The Soup Dragon video from @scaryb had a lot of crazy similarities to Kill the Moon. And now Thommck posted another one about Danny. 😯

    @thommck Rupert and the Walking Woods. Epic! 😆 😆 😆

    I want that sign of the 7 Wonders of the Universe!

    I like your answer for The Diamond Falls (Midnight). I think Catacombs of the Whispering Dead fits with The Wedding of River Song (Dorium is there). I’m stuck after that too.

    I think there is something unusual about the place at the end of MotOE. It doesn’t remind me of New New New…. York though, because it doesn’t have grass (could just be the other side of the city?).  

    It does seem important to me. The part about Clara being outside sleeping, and Perkins inside working on the Tardis just doesn’t seem right. So I really think they ended up inside the Monster/Missy Dimension at the end of the episode. That is theory number 50000 this series for me, Argh! my brain can’t take this much longer. WooHoo! 👿

    @pufferfish – some of what you said makes sense to me. Missy getting energy from collecting the people is good. It is similar to the way the mummy and WA work. And since I still think Missy is building an army, your theory might be how she gets out of the monster dimension.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    Sorry – lots of posts followed and I had limited time.

    I agree, in that I think when you look at the writers who came out of soap, you get the feeling they were almost programmed for arcs, development, social relevance, and so the list of writers and what they went onto (Jimmy McGovern! Russell T, !) shouldn’t surprise, but always does.

    I agree with the point about Buffy – it was the easiest sell to the TV crowd. Buffy had been a surprise hit (for BBC2) in their evening showings. “It’s a bit like Buffy” is easier to say than “Imagine old Doctor Who, from Cartmel, with trappings of Pat Mills/Alan Moore comic works, with lashings of the spin-off novels you’ve never heard of”. Jane Tranter once struggled to put the actors who played the Doctor in order on screen – it would have been a bewildering sell for her. “A bit like Buffy” – she could tell her bosses.

    I was interested by Joss Whedon’s influences, and it’s peculiar that he’s referenced people like Chris Claremont’s run on X-Men in the late 70s/80s. I think the comics writers, like Soap, were writing continuing narratives. Claremont, in particular, was one of those writers whose success was in combining the rough and tumble of comic books with the character interactions – arcs. Again, I think he would have been accused of “Soap” tactics. But it was amazingly influential and, ultimately, successful. When you look at certain storylines in US comics (such as Tony Stark’s alcoholism) you realise that the desire for aspects of social realism in US comic books (burdened, even as it was at the time by the Comic Code Authority) probably influenced a young Whedon a great deal. In many ways, I think comics on both sides of the Atlantic honed that mixture of the fantastic and the mundane well ahead of other media. Perhaps that’s the reason that TV, 20 odd-years after the fact, is looking at the comic books for inspiration? The generation that were influenced by that storytelling are becoming more powerful (and prevalent) in the industry? It’s an interesting question.

    To expand, and take in @blenkinsopthebrave ‘s excellent points about the innovative nature of the work in the 50s/60s, the writers were working hard in a medium trying to establish itself. Everything was to play for. You had an older generation of writers like Nigel Kneale, Malcolm Hulke, who influenced a subsequent generation. – Robert Holmes loved, and took influence from Kneale, Hulke became Dicks Mentor. By the eighties, you had Eric Saward, a big fan of Doctor Who, and was a pupil of Holmes, worshiping Doctor Who and his mentor’s work. His work became very self referential under a Producer who encouraged it because – it was what the fans wanted (apparently). He wanted to write a sequel to Tomb of the Cybermen. It’s what he grew up with. By the late eighties, the writers had been influenced not only by love of Who, and its alternative iterations in comics, but other shows. The diversity had expanded somewhat. I think that evolution of generations, the desire to reflect what you grew up with, may explain why early 80s who seemed a little bit stilted and socially stuck.

    Just floating an idea, but it has a certain attraction.

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    Nice discussion @phaseshift and @jimthefish and @blenkinsopthebrave about the nature of soap as a genre and in its defence.

    To that I would add that there is often an un-thought out response which labels “soap” as a derisory form when there is a gendered cultural history to that. Soap was created as drama aimed at women (paid for by soap manufacturers in the US on the radio originally, hence the name). Women’s culture has, in a patriarchal society (one where men are in far more of the top positions of power in media for example) historically been denigrated, in part because of the old Ancient Greek dichotomous separation between intellect coded as masculine and emotion coded as feminine.

    Doctor Who has a more developed emotional element to it than BG and that enriches rather than debases it in my view. We are all, men and women, both rational and emotional creatures in reality.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @JimboMcMaster- good points, all. Obviously, I disagree. 😀

    Firstly, because I think it would make good drama.I think a television show should try to explore as many facets of its premise as possible.

    But the aspect of its premise that applies to Doctor Who has already been explored on-screen – in The Fires of Pompeii and The Waters of Mars (note that the titles makes it obvious that they’re exploring the same thing). The ‘impossible decision’ between bad and worse is the show’s premise of ‘fixed points’. You can’t change certain historical moments.

    Those are both from the Russell T Davies era, and RTD’s opinion appears to veer strongly towards ‘all you can do is drag one or two people from the wreckage. However, you should drag one or two people from the wreckage.’

    If something isn’t a fixed point, then the Doctor can never have an ‘impossible decision’ because he can change stuff. In fact, if something is a fixed point he can go back and change stuff – and that leads me to the Steven Moffat Era.

    I think it would make good drama because seeing a character taking an action that is consistent with one important aspect of their character, but that also goes against many other aspects of their character, can make for powerful drama.

    It can also make for very easy, unearned drama. Unless you are very, very careful, the drama is imposed on the character – and this is especially a danger in continuing dramas like Doctor Who.

    The action you are proposing will change the character.
    Fires of Pompeii is really about Donna; her realisation of the human cost of these fixed points (read ‘any ginormous disaster’) and her realisation of the limited scale of what she can accomplish. Having to choose between ‘bad’ and ‘worse’, she chooses ‘bad’ and then manages to turn ‘bad’ into ‘less bad’ by saving Caecelius and his family. Donna’s a companion – her character is allowed, nay encouraged to progress. And then that progression gets horribly taken away, but let’s not go there. 😈

    [Who frowned him that face? Is this Doctor wearing the face of the man he saved? Or the man he couldn’t, because he refused to act?]

    Waters of Mars – now, David Tennant is on record as saying that they couldn’t have done ‘Waters of Mars’ until just before regeneration – because it’s a character changing moment. The Tennant Doctor refuses to make the impossible choice, and leave Adelaide to die. Instead, she has to make that impossible choice for him.

    Now then – it’s a great, character driven moment, but it does rather depend on another little bit of characterisation. Namely, the Doctor’s gone more than a bit bonkers, ‘Time Lord Victorious’ and so forth, and decides to change time instead of circumventing it.

    And this is another problem with ‘the impossible decision’ in Doctor Who. There aren’t actually that many of them. Even in Waters of Mars, all the Doctor had to do was take Adelaide and her two surviving crew to another place and time – so that the historical record was unchanged. This gets pointed out in The Wedding of River Song and in Hide – a ‘fixed point’ seems to be fixed because of its effects. You can change it – providing what everyone thinks happened doesn’t change. Hila can be rescued in Hide, providing the Doctor is careful to not take her back to her own time. (Presumably a pioneer time traveller wouldn’t be too distraught at being permanently stuck in the past).

    In the Steven Moffat era we get to see how very few impossible decisions there really are when you’re The ‘I’ve got a time machine and I’m quite prepared to use it’ Doctor. 😉 The major ‘impossible decision’ moment was the one that happened off screen in the Interregnum. The destruction of Gallifrey. And he can change it – once he realises that he CAN change it.

    I think the lesson kids would learn, if this was handled well, would be that you can’t judge a person or what they do simply on the direct results of their actions – the indirect results should be considered too: maybe they were intentional.

    Okay. Judging from that, you’re ethically a consequentialist. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s a handy Wikipedia entry.
    I’m very much not a consequentialist, nor do I think it’s a terrific ethical system to teach children, so we’re definitely not going to agree on that one.

    Which is in itself a kind of heroism – perhaps that’s why I like the idea.

    I can only quote Clara and the Doctor on this:

    Clara: We’ve got enough warriors. Any old idiot can be a hero.
    The Doctor: Then what do I do?
    Clara: What you’ve always done. Be a doctor.

    ScaryB @scaryb

    Agree with @juniperfish (and thanks again to @phaseshift and everyone for contributing to the soapy discussion)

    It’s noticeable that a lot of people who use “soap opera” as a criticism for DW also tend to be the ones who throw “deus ex machina” and “sloppy, lazy writing” into the mix without expanding on why they think that. Or complain they couldn’t follow it while tweeting, texting, phoning etc.

    Sloppy, lazy criticism IMO 🙂

    Really looking forward to Flatline. Same writer as last week and Douglas MacKinnon (Listen, Time Heist) back in the director’s chair. And he’s promising scary on twitter… even behind the sofa might not be safe!! 😯

    See you all on the other side.

    Mudlark @mudlark


    Re GUS :  I was seeing him/it (assuming that he/it is an Artificial Intelligence or, alternatively, an entity ‘saved’ to a computer) more as a disembodied criminal master-mind – a kind of Blofeld of the far future, with monocle but minus the white cat – moving his chosen pieces round the metaphorical chess board.  He does so in order to achieve his ends – in this case to capture the Foretold – but derives amusement from setting puzzles for his pawns to solve, rather than providing the information in a straightforward manner.  It is abundantly clear that his purposes are not altruistic and that he is ruthless – after his the ‘pawns’ had solved the mystery, though without capturing the Foretold, he stated that as he had no further use for them he was not going to keep them alive.  I doubt whether Clara entered into his calculations at all, though I could be wrong about that, of course.

    lisa @lisa

    @bluesqueakpip I enjoyed reading your post- I think the ‘Doctor-hero” which is a special class of hero

    Anonymous @

    @phaseshift back in the Mater Hospital (which, being more like a hotel, is christened by some, as the Mater Mirage -after certain lovely hotels at the Gold Coast) I was thinking about the Apocalyptic allusions you had discussed referencing the Foretold.

    The Black Horse contains a pair of balances for justice.  With the Pale Horse:  ‘I beheld a pale horse and the name that sat on him was Death and Hades followed with him’.

    With the 5th horseman there was a White Horse called ‘Faithful and True’. He judges fairly as well. His eyes are blazing and on his head are a series of crowns. He has a name written on him that no-one knows “but he himself”.

    But then with this White Horse “…he that sat on him had a bow…and hell etc etc”. We were still  looking for famine and pestilence (or pollution?). I find this intriguing and interesting that the biblical ‘ology/ideology and the mythology of Greek and Roman or Babylonian times (and of course the Osiris and Isis mystery as you and @juniperfish were discussing) is terribly relevant…or else a tease!  I hope it’s not the latter but then if so, what does it matter?

    The very fact that last week I pulled out my copy of Babble Tower (AS Byatt) and, this week my theology books and mythology treatises by J. Campbell, means that lots of brain cells were plugging away. Where else can we repeatedly mine our brains and ‘libraries’  when we might normally retreat into the awful shell of truly terrible tele (reality shows etc).

    Kindest, puro


    idiotsavon @idiotsavon

    @phaseshift That’s incredible about Battlestar Galactica at the UN. Thanks for the link!

    So I think I’ve got to admit I’m wrong (again) 🙂

    @lisa – thanks for the references. It’s really fascinating. So many aspects of the “monomyth” that ring true for recent (and past) episodes.


    Anonymous @

    Hi @mudlark,

    I think I’m trying to solve too many problems at once and they are getting all tangled up. There is the problem of explaining the Characters and there is the problem of solving the Story Arcs. When I tried tying WitS/Gus/Executive/Missy all together into one character, that was good for solving the Story Arcs, but I don’t know if it is the best thing for the show.

    For Characters

    More characters would be better for the show imo.  So, I definitely like the idea of GUS as a super criminal AI like you said, that sounds very cool to me.  Hopefully GUS will be back again, since it could be a CAL like mainframe just linked up to the train.  I want Executive to be a character too (a super, super criminal controlling the GUS mainframe). 🙂


    For Story Arcs (WitS and Missy)

    Great points about GUS trying to kill the Doctor/Clara once the objective failed, so it does seem unlikely that GUS/Executive is also WitS, but not impossible.

    WitS/GUS/Executive/Missy could all be the same character.

    1. Gus/Executive are definitely needy game players, but so is WitS (Deep Breath).
    2. WitS always tries to keep Doctor/Clara together too.
    3. WitS always leads the Doctor/Clara into dangerous situations we know that for sure (tBoSJ, DB).
    4. Gus/Executive tried to kill the Doctor/Clara, possibly so did WitS?
    5. Gus/Executive is definitely bad, but we don’t know if WitS or Missy is good or bad yet.

    So we don’t know for sure if WitS is helping the Doctor/Clara by leading them into danger? Or is WitS trying to get them killed?

    I think it is always better to have the maximum amount of cool characters as possible, so I am hoping WitS, GUS, Executive, and Missy are not the same person now.  That way there will be 4 cool characters instead of one.  But my head will explode trying to solve all the story arcs. 😉

    Anonymous @

    @scaryb followed your posts whilst in Hobsital as well! I find the DEM (as I briefly mentioned on the latest thread) also the typical reaction when some people are attempting to follow a ‘complex drama’. Yes, sloppy writing is another adage as is (again on the new thread) an apparent lack of Doctor present/too much Clara and no sign of the Dr’s personality-as yet. I just can’t see this! I think he’s clearer than ever. Still mysterious but that’s its raison d’etre . He’s a little ‘off to the side’ now but that’s easily explained by his phenomenal weight and presence -awesome in the old use of that word. Kindest, p.

    JimboMcMaster @jimbomcmaster


    If something isn’t a fixed point, then the Doctor can never have an ‘impossible decision’ because he can change stuff.

    I’m not certain that fixed points are actually the only time an ‘impossible choice’ can occur in Doctor Who; there surely are other times when he can’t change Time. My two main ‘impossible choice’ examples, which we’ve had this season, concern Ross’ death in ‘Into the Dalek’ and the Doctor’s use of the Mummy’s victims’ last 66 seconds in ‘Mummy on the Orient Express’. These are not fixed points in Time (they’re definitely not presented as if they are). But these are still instances of ‘impossible choices’, where there are only bad choices and worse choices to be made, and Time can’t (deliberately) be rewritten.

    Ross’ death:

    • Bad: cause Ross’ death.
    • Worse: cause, by inaction, the deaths of the other people around you.

    The Mummy’s victims:

    • Bad: assuring the victims that they are about to die, that that fact is not important and that they can use this time to save others from death.
    • Worse: Through inaction, allowing the victims to die without using their brief, unique position to observe the Mummy and help save the lives of other future victims.

    In these examples, there really are only bad and worse choices; just like with fixed points, the Doctor cannot deliberately go back in time and change things that have already happened. Here is why I think this:

    My general understanding of this sort of thing in Doctor Who is that time-travellers can’t ‘contradict’ things they already know, in other words they can’t cause something to happen/not happen that they know in fact doesn’t happen/happens, like killing Hitler in 1937 despite having learnt in school that he died in 1945. I think of this as ‘The Time-Traveller’s Rule of Thumb’.

    For example,  after the Doctor finds out what to say to the Mummy to ‘disable’ it (‘we surrender!’), he cannot then go back in time to before the mummy kills the old lady in the first scene of the episode, and say ‘we surrender!’ to it, thereby saving the lives of the five people who he had previously heard had died (including at least two he’d seen die). This episode, as far as was mentioned, had nothing to do with fixed points, and neither do most episodes, but it seems to be the consensus among writers and fans that the Doctor isn’t allowed to simply play with Time in this way at all: he can’t just figure out how to stop the monsters and then go back in time to a moment before the monsters killed anyone and stop their plans using his newfound method for defeating them. Once he’s found out that somebody died, he can’t save them (presumably because of some law of Time).

    (In the example of Caecilius et al, the Doctor had presumably not heard that Caecilius et al had died in the eruption (they’re not historical figures), and therefore is not technically contradicting his knowledge in saving them – saving the whole of Pompeii would be different, of course). If my ‘Time Traveller’s Rule of Thumb’ isn’t valid, then the Doctor would be able to go back and save everyone all the time – this would make for bad television, so I think we as viewers have to accept that he just can’t do it.

    Hopefully, all this demonstrates that fixed points need not be the only example of ‘impossible choices’ in Doctor Who. Once the Doctor finds himself in a situation where he has to choose between a Bad and Worse choice, he can’t then use time travel to stop this problem arising before it starts: he’d be contradicting his own knowledge of the timeline, and thus be breaking some law of time. If this behaviour didn’t break a natural law, he’d be doing it all the time.

    So I dispute your claim that the only ‘impossible choices’ are fixed points – there is scope within the premise of the show to have stories featuring these non-fixed-point impossible-choices, eg ‘Into the Dalek’ and ‘Mummy on the Orient Express’. Also, I think fixed points are a different sort of choice, because they involve thinking about temporal physics/that sort of thing, not only morality.

    I think it would make good drama because seeing a character taking an action that is consistent with one important aspect of their character, but that also goes against many other aspects of their character, can make for powerful drama.

    It can also make for very easy, unearned drama. Unless you are very, very careful, the drama is imposed on the character – and this is especially a danger in continuing dramas like Doctor Who.

    I agree it can be a bit risky, but as you say if the writer is careful it can work. What I am saying is that I think that we can have the Doctor perform this sort of action without it appearing ‘imposed’ on him by the writer, as you put it – for example, ‘Into the Dalek’, as I’ve said before, handles this reasonably well with the death of Ross (although admittedly doesn’t use it to generate much ‘drama’ of the angsty did-I-do-the-right-thing variety, probably because it’s Twelve, not Ten or Eleven, doing it). It can still generate interesting scenes though, like the one on the beach at the end of ‘Mummy on the Orient Express’.

    I’m not sure if I’d describe myself as a consequentialist based on that Wikipedia entry, as I personally believe that the basis for judging the rightness or wrongness of an action is more about the intended consequences of the action, rather than the actual consequences. But perhaps this comes under consequentialism too?

    I’m very much not a consequentialist … so we’re definitely not going to agree on that one.

    Fair enough. So the really interesting question is: Do you think the Doctor is a consequentialist, when it comes to the sorts of choices we are discussing? Because that would have a strong bearing on the sort of situation I was initially describing.

    I can only quote Clara and the Doctor on this:

    Clara: We’ve got enough warriors. Any old idiot can be a hero.
    The Doctor: Then what do I do?
    Clara: What you’ve always done. Be a doctor.

    The Doctor is often in the privileged position of being more knowledgable, more clever, more resourceful, more experienced than everyone else in his situation, because he’s from a very advanced race and has much more advanced technology (the Tardis, the sonic screwdriver, the psychic paper). This means that when he finds himself in a problematic situation, he very often has the option to solve that problem in different ways to what others would be in a position to do (compare him to UNIT or Torchwood). Hence he can be a doctor when others have to be heroes. But surely sometimes (and this is sort of my whole point) the universe wouldn’t let him off so lightly.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    The Doctor didn’t cause Ross’s death. Ross accidentally caused his own death, by trying to damage the Dalek and setting off the ‘anti-bodies’. The decision is to not use his death (thus killing others) or use his death (thus saving others).

    Likewise, if you want to look at the best outcome in Mummy, see the death of the Captain – who gets his self-respect back in those last 66 seconds.

    I appreciate that you’re saying that a fixed point isn’t the only ‘impossible choice’ for the Doctor, and generally he does choose to regard his own past time line as a ‘fixed point’. Except when he doesn’t. See The Day of The Doctor for details.

    Basically, never tell the Doctor that he has to follow the rules. Okay? That’s a paraphrase from The Time of the Doctor. 😀

    In answer to your question about whether the Doctor is a consequentialist – go watch Flatline, because in fact, it discusses a lot of the things we’ve been talking about. You can also watch The Day of The Doctor, because the ethics of bad vs worse gets acted out there, as well.

    Did the Doctor act according to consequentialist ethics/greatest good of greatest number when he destroyed Gallifrey? Yes.

    Did he think it was the right/good/ethical thing to do? No. It nearly destroyed him.

    But surely sometimes (and this is sort of my whole point) the universe wouldn’t let him off so lightly.

    Go watch Flatline. And consider the following points.

    You cannot answer the question of asking ‘Do the ends justify the means’ without asking ‘Which ends? Which means?’

    If you constantly save the universe at the cost of continually deciding between a ‘lesser bad’ and a ‘greater good’ – are you a good man?

    JimboMcMaster @jimbomcmaster


    On rewatching Into the Dalek, I agree that the Doctor doesn’t exactly cause Ross’ death. But, as you say, you understand my overall point about fixed points not being the only ‘impossible choices’, and the example of Ross was only really to explain that, so I suppose my mistake there has little bearing either way now.

    (I will say this: With the Mummy, I agree it’s nice for the Captain to regain his self-respect, but really it’s the information the Captain’s vision of the Mummy can reveal to the other scientists (eg that the Mummy can teleport) that makes his last 66 seconds an example of the Bad rather than the Worse, as it’s that information that will save lives (the quicker they get more information, the sooner they can stop the Mummy, the less deaths that occur – surely this is more important than him regaining his self-respect). A killing that does not contribute to the scientists’ knowledge is Worse than one that does).

    The fact that the Doctor very rarely goes back to change his past should tell us that he doesn’t have the option to do that, and that his occasional being-able-to-change-his-past is exceptional. He  would be changing the past all the time otherwise, and he would spend a reasonable amount of his time engineering the universe so the bad things he witnesses never happen. He never makes a regular thing of doing this in the show, so we can assume that, almost always, he can’t do that. You say to never tell the Doctor he has to follow the rules, but clearly he does, almost always, have to follow them.

    But regarding your exception to the rule: My understanding of the Day of the Doctor is that he is only able to change his past because, as a result of the Moment’s interference, it is also his present (ie it’s happening ‘right now’ for Ten and Eleven). I’m under the impression (correct me if I’m wrong) that the Doctor can’t choose to meet his past selves, but that it can be arranged by an outside agency (eg the Moment in the Day of the Doctor, the Time Lords in the Three Doctors (I think I’m right in saying), and a temporal engineering-related accident in Time Crash). In those circumstances, he might be able to ‘rewrite’ his past, but he can’t choose to find himself in those circumstances, therefore he can’t simply choose to rewrite his past when he likes. Therefore, he really can find himself facing a genuine ‘impossible choice’ that he can’t use time-travel to get himself out of.

    Did the Doctor act according to consequentialist ethics/greatest good of greatest number when he destroyed Gallifrey? Yes.

    Did he think it was the right/good/ethical thing to do? No. It nearly destroyed him.

    I agree with the answer to your first question. I think your second answer is up for debate.

    The Doctor (pre Day of the Doctor, let’s say the Ninth Doctor) is clearly deeply bothered by what he did at the end of the Time War. Being the one responsible for the deaths of your entire species would be massively depressing, especially as it probably included his family (even Susan?). But being depressed about an act you committed is not the same as thinking you did the wrong thing. Depression can often be caused by feeling that the world is against you, even making you do things you don’t want to. The Doctor obviously does not want to destroy the Time Lords, but I get the impression that he felt he didn’t have a choice.

    So, consider: did we the audience hate the Doctor from 2005-2013? Did we believe he had committed a terrible, cruel, unforgivable act? I never got the impression any of us did. I definitely did not get the impression Russell T Davies intended for us to do so, despite being the one who effectively made the character do it. So did he/we-the-audience think the Doctor was in the wrong?

    More importantly, does the Doctor believe that what he did was wrong? You say he did, but I get the impression he just feels terrible for being the one that did it. Anyone would feel terrible doing what the Doctor did, but that’s not to say that he believes it was not the best option available. At the very least, look at it this way: after the War, there would probably be a tiny part of him that says: ‘Am I absolutely sure that was the best thing to do? Can I ever be 100% certain that the Time Lords and Daleks wouldn’t have just reached a stalemate, and that the High Councils plans (The End of Time) would have failed, and that my inaction would only have led to a few thousand more deaths before both sides agree to conserve resources and stop fighting, saving the children of Gallifrey? What if that was going to happen instead? What if the action I took (destroying them) did not yield the best potential results?’ These thoughts would be pestering him constantly, causing the misery we see in Nine, and sometimes Ten, these thoughts would, as you say, nearly destroy him. But that does not mean that what he did didn’t leave the universe in a better state than it would have been in otherwise – it would, in fact, be a massive risk hoping that this other better chain of events came to pass, considering the way (we gather) the Time War was going – the Doctor seems to believe it would be irresponsible for him to ‘hope for the best’ and not do anything. The Time War, so we gather, was at risk of damaging the universe far more terribly than the Moment did.

    So the way I saw it was that the Doctor did what he thought was in and of itself  a Bad Thing To Do , but something which he saw was the Best choice to make after he weighed up all the probabilities. He felt terrible as a result of being the one to do this thing, but that does not mean that he thought it was a mistake to do it.

    The thing that makes the Day of the Doctor so glorious is not that the Doctor realises that there was always another option he could have taken (because of course he would have considered going back on his own timeline, and using multiple Doctors/Tardises, if it had been an option – you could never convince me otherwise) but that, out of the blue, another option which he never even conceived would or could be available suddenly is available – at last he can save the children of Gallifrey, not because he realises (at last) that it’s the right thing to do, but because, like lighting out of a clear sky, he is now in a position to be able to do it.

    (You’re probably thinking ‘what about Clara’s part in all this?’ From my memory of the Day of the Doctor, Clara’s role in that is to shake the Doctor out of the fatalism he starts to suffer as the War Doctor, and which continues throughout his life until the Eleventh Doctor experiences the Day of the Doctor, that there is/was no other way to end the War. The reassessment of the situation Clara prompts then enables the Eleventh Doctor to think again, and realise that, this time, a better option has presented itself (the fact that, with multiple Doctors/Tardises, they are able to save Gallifrey).)

    Go watch Flatline

    I think Flatline is an example of the universe not letting him (or Clara) ‘off lightly’. He has to choose between saving the innocent people (the humans), or helping the Boneless, who so clearly want to get through but aren’t behaving very nicely about it. He has to choose a Bad option, turning the Boneless back to 2D, in order to save people who maybe don’t even deserve it, because the Boneless have made the option of helping them to become 3D a Worse option by killing people to do it. I think that’s the way I saw it; hopefully that answers your questions about that, but I’m not sure cos I’m very tired.

    P.S. Apologies for asking you to read so many acres of text, but I find explaining my ideas with clarity requires many words to do it in!


    Davros @davros

    Nice episode, cute idea. Furthered his efforts to make Clara more Doctor-like.

    He seems to tacitly accept that he was an officer as he _dismissed_ the soldier. When he says “Ancient soldier being driven by malfunctioning tech…” he might as well be talking about himself.
    “You knew this would be dangerous”

    “I didn’t know. I certainly hoped.”


    I loved the Tom Baker references (jelly babies and the voice-alike). Also, “Are you my mummy?”

    Anonymous @

    @phaseshift @craig or @fatmaninabox we have a problem Houston with the Mummy on the Orient Express in the last post # 33919

    I’m sure Davros has some interesting things to say, here! Cheers, puro

    seanradmore @seanradmore

    <span style=”color: #707986;”>Hi All…my first ever comment on theory goes..well some bits…reading reports from the actor who plays Danny,he has said that he hopes that his character returns,you can surmise from this that his story “is told” in episodes 11 and 12,therefore i believe that he is from UNIT,being a soldier and that he kills Clara,hence his tears in the episode when mentioning that he killed someone,someone he loves.He has gone back to meet Clara before he kills her to find out about her.Also think the master is somewhere here as the (Missy,Master) connection seems too big to avoid.Perhaps the cyber men are just being used as well.</span>

    ScaryB @scaryb

    @jimbomcmaster @bluesqueakpip

    It’s an interesting discussion! A thorny problem!

    I do think that Day of the Doctor showed that choosing the bad option (as opposed to the worse option) isn’t good enough for the Doctor. He has to find a third way that doesn’t involve killing all the children. The option he found isn’t necessarily a great one either – depends where Gallifrey ends up, but it’s presented as definitely better – it’s an option of hope. But I do think that the “impossible choice” situation has been dealt with.  And there isn’t a worse possible choice scenario that the Doctor could face.

    While it was a good idea when RTD brought the show back, as time went on it became more difficult  for the writers to deal with. That kind of guilt – genocide of your own people – can’t just be shrugged off/written out without trivialising it. But after several series it becomes limiting for the writers that this is the defining trait of the lead character.

    You’re right Jimbo, that he can’t go back on his own timeline without outside (Timelord) agency.  I’m sure that’s been spelt out in various episodes, inc the ones you mention.  In Day of the Doctor we were shown the very end of the Time War – Hurt Doctor is exhausted from years of being a warrior.  The emergency committee state that all their weapons have been used, except for the Moment (which is presented as the weapon of absolutely last resort). The Daleks have broken through their defences and are rampaging round Gallifrey itself.  This is definitely the end game. There’s nothing left, except for the Moment.

    It’s maybe worth noting  that the TV Movie, with McGann, actually did have the Doctor go back on his own timeline to undo the deaths of 2 characters. And it was a shit move dramatically (in my opinion)!  To have him undo death puts him back in the god-like position that Moffat has so carefully unpicked over the last 3 series, so that we once again have a Doctor who isn’t all-knowing, all-powerful. Consequently deaths of characters have a dramatic impact on the Doctor as well as the audience. It’s not so much it’s the rules, as just not possible. (Where on earth would he stop? How would he choose? You can’t stop everyone dying!)

    As opposed to “fixed points” which are fixed in order that the most desirable outcome (from the POV of whoever decides it’s fixed) continues to happen. eg there are probably consequences to humans spreading throughout the universe (following Adelaide’s space-bootsteps (in Waters of Mars)) that presumably timelords think are desirable/what happened.

    In his defence, in Mummy, there’s nothing he can do until he knows what he’s dealing with – he can’t see it, sense it or feel it. When the Captain indicates where the Mummy is, the Doctor immediately tries to stand in its way. It walks straight through him (loved that effect!!). And although he knows he’s about to die, as @bluesqueakpip says, the Captain feels better about himself than he has for years, has found himself again in many ways. I found it very moving. (It reminded me a bit of Octavian in Flesh and Stone). If you bring him back to life you devalue that scene and rob it of its emotional power.

    • This reply was modified 8 years, 11 months ago by  JimTheFish. Reason: Possible spoilers. At request of original poster
    thommck @thommck

    @scaryb, @JimboMcMaster, Would you mind not referring to ‘future’ episodes in the previous episode posts. It’s kinda like crossing your own timeline!

    I haven’t had a chance to see Flatline yet, so trying to avoid any mentions of it! 🙂

    ScaryB @scaryb

    Mega apologies @thommck

    (I forgot which thread I was on)

    😳 😳 😳

    Maybe a passing Time Lord (@Phaseshift, @jimthefish, @fatmaninabox ? ) could mod the offending last paragraph (post #33925) out of existence, for future readers.

    <goes and sits on the naughty step>

    thommck @thommck

    No problem @scaryb, I managed to gloss over the post when I saw Flatline mentioned.

    However, on re-reading @JimboMcMaster’s post #33916 is a lot worse for spoilers.

    Hopefully a mod can sonic that one a bit too (@JimtheFish, @Phaseshift, @fatmaninabox )

    JimboMcMaster @jimbomcmaster


    Very sorry about that. Yes @jimthefish@phaseshift, @fatmaninabox go ahead and get rid of the final paragraph my post #33916, before the ‘PS’ (but please leave the rest of the post, it took ages to think/write out!). My apologies again @thommck, I hope I didn’t ruin things too much for you. I reminded myself not to refer to the ‘future’ when I wrote my previous post, and forgot this time, so I’m doubly kicking myself twice over.


    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    I’m planning to reply to you in the Flatline forum. I am planning to reply, but I should probably point something out. I’m dyslexic.

    Which means that any post which is three pages long has to be put to one side until I have an hour or two of spare time. It really will take me that long to write a reply.

    JimboMcMaster @jimbomcmaster


    I agree that for the Doctor choosing Bad over Worse isn’t good enough, and I think that’s something that’s true for all of us. None of us would ever want to choose Bad – that’s sort of what makes it ‘Bad’ – and I think a lot of us would put off making that decision for so long that, sometimes, the Worse would sadly come to pass. And I think that’s one of the things that bothers the War Doctor so much – he doesn’t want to not-act for too long, in case it gets too late. But I agree he desperately desires a third option – and so he should: if there is a Better option, then it’s undoubtedly one to strive for.

    I also agree that the ‘impossible choice’ situation has been dealt with to some extent with the Time War, particularly in the Day of the Doctor. As I said in my initial statement way back when, I feel appeased by this season’s acknowledgement that ‘sometimes the only choices you have are bad ones’.

    Hi @Barnable Thanks. Yes I think @Bluesqueakpip and I have different interpretations of some of the more complex aspects of our favourite show! Nevertheless, I am enjoying the discussion.

    I think that the Doctor doesn’t ever have the option to change his past, but that sometimes very occasionally he’s put in a situation, by an outside agency, where he can make a change  – eg the Day of the Doctor. I think there may be other times where he could change his past by accident, not realising he’s doing it, which can happen because time is in flux. But as you say if he was doing it deliberately it would create a paradox. In other words, he almost always can’t change his past – but I think he definitely always can’t change it deliberately.


    JimboMcMaster @jimbomcmaster


    As long as you’re happy to, I’m interested in what you have to say. There’s no rush, I’m enjoying this discussion of ours, but I don’t always have the time to ‘check in’ regularly. Sorry if I’m rambling a bit. I try to be economical with my language, but sometimes it seems I need a lot of words to explain my ideas clearly. I too take about that amount of time on my longer posts sometimes, as I find it tricky getting my words to match my nebulous thought processes.


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