On The Sofa (10)

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  • #70056
    Davros @davros

    (Rewatching all of post-gap Who with my 11 year old son, continued: 2×4 to 2×6)

    (Forgot to mention that in School Reunion, a conversation between SJS and 10 makes another Time War ref: “I lived. Everyone else died.” The slow drip drip drip of information is always something I liked about Who, even in the Before Times.)

    “The Girl in the Fireplace”
    This is a fun but also somewhat poignant episode. The basic concept of the ship repairs is horrific, but the Doctor’s repeated connection to Reinette is romantic.

    Arc-line, latter used by the 11th Doctor: “You’ve had some cowboys in here.”

    Zinger: “How many ticks left in that clockwork heart, huh? A day? An hour? It’s over. Accept that. I’m not winding you up.”

    Two favourite conversations:
    __
    Reinette: Monsieur, be careful.
    Doctor: Just a nightmare, Reinette, don’t worry about it. Everyone has nightmares. Even monsters from under the bed have nightmares, don’t you, monster?
    Reinette: What do monsters have nightmares about?
    Doctor: Me!
    __

    Doctor: Sorry, you might find old memories reawakening. Side effect.
    Reinette: Oh, such a lonely childhood.
    Doctor: It’ll pass. Stay with me.
    Reinette: Oh, Doctor. So lonely. So very, very alone.
    Doctor: What do you mean, alone? You’ve never been alone in your life. When did you start calling me Doctor?
    Reinette: Such a lonely little boy. Lonely then and lonelier now. How can you bear it?
    __
    It’s also Mickey’s first TARDIS trip, and he’s quite an effective operator. He also continues to rib Rose about The Doctor’s supposedly libertinous behaviour.
    My boy loved the horse in space…
    This ep is called back to from “Deep Breath” when the 12th Doctor encounters robots from SS Madame de Pompadour’s sister ship, SS Marie Antoinette, but can’t quite remember where he’s seen this kind of thing before.

    “Rise of the Cybermen”/”Age of Steel”

    I always thought that the manner of the Cybermen’s introduction into new Who was quite brilliant. Basically similar to the original, except rather than on a planet that was Earth’s twin, the cybes originate in a slightly different parallel universe. Although in pre-gap Who, the origin of the cybermen was made plain, we never _saw_ it. We never really found out how we got from A to B. (“World Enough and Time” later gave some kind of version of the origin of the Mondassian Cybermen.)

    Despite the lack of direct blood and gore in this pair of episodes, the information we are given is horrific enough. Sally Phelan, the Cyberman with the broken inhibitor trying to make sure her groom doesn’t see her before the wedding … that was just heartbreaking.
    Pete’s World Jackie was a terrible person, whereas Pete’s World Pete was nice, so I suppose we should have known which of them would survive…
    Somehow I had misremembered, thinking that it was made clear that the Cyberman who tries to climb the rope ladder after PW-Pete was PW-Jackie. Actually it was the Cyber-controller. If I were writing it, it would have been Jackie…
    It felt satisfying that Mickey found a place where he was needed, taking care of his PW-grandmother.

    #70083
    Davros @davros

    (Rewatching all of post-gap Who with my 11 year old son, continued: 2×7 to 2×11)

    Although I’d remembered the Cyberman-related eps of Series 2 fondly, somehow in my memory the rest of the second half of the Series was a bit bland. Although they certainly have their weaknesses, they are much better than I’d remembered. They all contain Torchwood references of course, and in most of them there is a strong suggestion of Rose’s developing romantic feelings towards Our Hero.


    “The Idiot’s Lantern”

    One of many episodes in which The Doctor does not end up where he intended. We’ll never know how many of these are due to his incompetence and how many are due to his wife interfering with his trajectory…
    This is the second historical episode of this season to involve a British Monarch. The first involved a plan by an alien to take over the Empire by possessing the Queen, whereas this one involves a Queen’s coronation being used by an alien to restore its corporeal form at the expense of millions of people.
    The secondary villain is Eddie Connolly, the unredeemed abusive husband and father of the family at the core of the story. In the end, The Doctor counsels young Tommy Connolly to reach out to Eddie. In real life this might not be the best advice (shrugs). Also a little reminder that not everything was great in the olden days.
    Eddie: Oh, he loves his Gran, this one. Proper little mummy’s boy all round.
    Betty: Oh, you know what they say about them. Eddie, you want to beat that out of him.
    Eddie: That’s exactly what I’m going to do.


    “The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit”
    The invocation of the name of Satan in this, and the statement that the Beast is a Demon older than the Universe, is probably the only bad part of this story. The tension, the intrigue, the drama, are all top flight. Then again, any time The Doctor can’t get to the TARDIS is usually a bit tense. As in “The Girl In The Fireplace”, the Doctor faces life on the slow path.

    Rose: No signal. That’s the first time we’ve gone out of range. Mind you, even if I could. What would I tell her? Can you build another Tardis?
    Doctor: They were grown, not built. And with my own planet gone, we’re kind of stuck.
    Rose: Well, it could be worse. This lot said they’d give us a lift.
    Doctor: And then what?
    Rose: I don’t know. Find a planet, get a job, live a life, same as the rest of the universe.
    Doctor: I’d have to settle down. Get a house or something. A proper house with, with doors and things. Carpets. Me, living in a house. Now that, that is terrifying.
    Rose: You’d have to get a mortgage.
    Doctor: No.
    Rose: Oh, yes.
    Doctor: I’m dying. That’s it. I’m dying. It is all over.
    Rose: What about me? I’d have to get one, too. I don’t know, could be the same one. We could both, I don’t know, share. Or not, you know. Whatever. I don’t know. We’ll sort something out
    Doctor: Anyway.
    Rose: We’ll see.

    Also introduced one of the best species of new Who, the Ood. Very well conceived, lovely character design.


    “Love and Monsters”

    Now this is near-universally regarded as one of the worst, or THE worst, episode of new Who … and I don’t disagree with that assessment, but my son and his young cousin thought it was great. There’s nothing wrong with having an episode strictly for the kids, I suppose. The monster character design and name came out of a Blue Peter competition for children. TD and Rose are only on screen for a few minutes. I suppose this is the first episode since “Rose” to concern regular folks who are trying to investigate the mystery of The Doctor.
    The episode is not completely without its charms. Jackie’s receptiveness to Elton’s infiltration efforts is epic. Ursula is played by Shirley Henderson (Moaning Myrtle in the Harry Potter series), and Elton is played by Marc Warren who has been in an enormous amount of British gear, including one of the better Dracula adaptations in the titular role. I was not familiar with Victor Kennedy’s standup work before seeing him here: funny chap.
    The Abzorbaloff is from Clom, referenced later in “The Stolen Earth” when the Doc says, “Clom. Clom’s gone? Who’d want Clom?”


    “Fear Her”

    A small local story, to be sure, but pleasant. The Doctor shows wisdom, rationality and mercy: the Spock references (the hand gesture, the mind-meld) are apt. Also a little bit of a call back to The Empty Child: “Give me some Spock, for once. Would it kill you?”
    I thought it was an interesting choice to have the girl’s greatest fear be her abusive dead father. Hmm, second episode of the season to involve an abusive father.
    I thought is was a bad choice to call the force being used by Isolus “ionic energy”. That’s a pretty bland term with an ordinary real-life meaning.

    Jokes:
    Rose: (to a cat) Aren’t you a beautiful boy??
    Doctor: Thanks! I’m experimenting with back combing. Oh.
    Rose: I used to have one like you. What?
    Doctor: No, I’m not really a cat person. Once you’ve been threatened by one in a nun’s wimple, it kind of takes the joy out of it.

    Advancing the Grand Arc:

    Rose: Easy for you to say. You don’t have kids.
    Doctor: I was a dad once.
    Rose: What did you say?

    Worst prediction:

    Doctor: Well, I will tell you this. Papua New Guinea surprises everyone in the shot put.

    PNG didn’t even qualify for the Olympics in that sport! Pity he didn’t say New Zealand.

    #70084
    Nightingale @nightingale

    @davros

    It has only just occurred to me while reading your commentary that there’s an odd disparity between what I think most fans of the reboot consider the golden age and the received wisdom about the quality of its content.

    I think for a lot of people, David Tenant + Billy Piper = Who at it’s best. In terms of the dynamic between the leads, I’d agree with that. That combination was, for me, Mr. Davies’ second greatest coup (first being bringing the show back in the first place).

    And yet that was the season that featured The Idiot’s Lantern, Love and Monsters, & Fear Her, not a few bad episodes scattered amongst the gold but an almost uninterrupted run of bad Who (by received wisdom, as I said).

    By contrast, season 3 featured many fan favourites throughout (Blink, Human Nature, Family of Blood, Utopia and the follow-up two-parter), and some underrated gems (e.g. Smith and Jones), but Tenant + Agyeman doesn’t have the same currency.

    I think this extends to the Capaldi era too. Clara is a bit of a hate figure both in Smith’s and Capaldi’s seasons, and yet with Capaldi especially the stories were often excellent. Season 9 for me was almost end-to-end brilliant. Season 10 had fewer great episodes. World Enough and Time was terrific; Exodus was very good. But despite the individual stories being a little underwhelming, it was generally considered a return to form, and again I think that’s down to the more successful pairing of Peter Capaldi with Pearl Mackie.

    The last two seasons have felt to me rather unengaging, and the principle fault I find with them is the lack of rapport between the Doctor and any of her companions. Ultimately, I suspect that questions of which episodes are better than others are largely moot: get the dynamic right, and you can get away with much.

    #70088
    Davros @davros

    @nightingale

    Yeah I never really understood the lack of enthusiasm for Clara or Martha. My favourite companion is still Donna, though.

    (Rewatching all of post-gap Who with my 11 year old son and now his 6 year old nephew, continued: 2×12 to 2×13)

    “Army of Ghosts”/”Doomsday”

    Why oh why does the BBC give away the farm in the end-of-episode preview? Early in the piece I learned to skip them but the fact that this was a Dalek v Cyberman story was given away in the “Fear Her” preview. Hmph.

    This is a very well conceived and executed story. Great sci-fi concept, funny, exciting, heartbreaking at the end. Very happy to see Mickey again, but the dynamic between the Tyler family members was very well played.

    This was our first look at Torchwood and they’ve kind of cocked everything up… This is also our first look at Freema, but she’s playing Adeola Oshodi, Martha’s cousin.

    (What went wrong with Yvonne’s inhibitor chip? )

    Like “Dalek”, “Doomsday” expands the scope of the Daleks’ ability to adapt immediately to fresh forms of attack.

    I always thought it was a bit of a plothole that the Doctor and Rose, coated with Voidgoo, could hang on to the sides of a wall just by using magnaclamps. They’re just … clamps, right? This suggests that the force of the Void is so pissweak that it can be resisted by a human hanging on to a clamp. A Cyberman should have no trouble hanging on to something. What if the Cyberman is indoors? In a basement? They should have dropped some line about the clamps dampening the fieldstrength or something. I suppose he does say they are “steeped” in Void stuff so perhaps they are more strongly affected than him and Rose.

    Interesting that the Cybermen were fairly ready to form alliances, first with the Daleks and then with the humans. The Daleks of course would be revolted by the idea of working with non-Daleks. The Cyberman also display more human traits in conversation. Very nice work by Davies as author.

    <span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”>Dalek: Establish visual contact. Lower communications barrier.</span><span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”> Identify yourselves.</span>

    <span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”>Cyberman: You will identify first.</span>

    <span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”>Dalek: State your identity.</span>

    <span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”>Cyberman: You will identify first.</span>

    <span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”>
    Dalek: Identify!</span>

    Mickey: It’s like Stephen Hawking versus the Speaking Clock.

     

    <span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”>Cyberman: That answer is  illogical. You will modify.
    Dalek: Daleks do not take orders.
    Cyberman: You have identified as Daleks.</span>

    <span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”>Dalek: Outline resembles the inferior species known as Cybermen.</span><span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”>
    Cyberman: We followed in the wake of your sphere.
    </span><span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”>Dalek: Long range scans confirm the presence of crude cybernetic constructs on worldwide scale.
    </span>

    <span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”>Cyberman: Our species our similar, though your design is inelegant.</span>

    <span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”>Dalek: Daleks have no concept of elegance.
    </span>

    <span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”>Cyberman: This is obvious. But consider, our technologies are compatible.</span><span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”> Cybermen plus Daleks.</span><span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”> Together, we could upgrade the Universe.
    Dalek: You propose an alliance?</span>

    <span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”>Cyberman]: This is correct.</span>

    <span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”><b>Dalek</b>: Request denied.</span>

    <span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”>Cyberman: Hostile elements will be deleted. (shooting)
    Dalek: Exterminate! (destroying two cybermen)</span>

    <span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”>Cyberleader: Open visual link.</span>

    <span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”><b>Cyberleader</b>: Daleks, be warned. You have declared war upon the Cybermen.</span>

    <span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”><b>Dalek</b>: This is not war. This is pest control.</span>

    <span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”>Cyberleader: We have five million Cybermen. How many are you?</span>

    <span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”><b>Dalek</b>: Four.</span>

    <span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”>Cyberleader: You would destroy the Cybermen with four Daleks?
    Dalek: We would destroy the Cybermen with one Dalek. </span><span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”>You are superior in only one respect.
    Cyberleader: What is that?</span>

    <span style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;”>Dalek: You are better at dying. Raise communications barrier</span>

    Dalek: The female’s heartbeat has increased.
    Mickey: Yeah, tell me about it.

     

     

    Darlig Ulv Stranden. Brilliant. 🙂

    I do think that the events of “Journey’s End” somewhat retrospectively tarnished the perfect sadness of “Doomsday”, but it still stands on its intrinsic merits.

    There were a LOT of questions from my nephew concerning these two episodes. I don’t think the concept of parallel universes comes easily to a 6 year old and he wasn’t really convinced The Doctor couldn’t just go and collect Rose at the end. My 11 year old son was a bit moved at the end.

    Also: damn, I miss Murray Gold.

    #70094
    winston @winston

    @davros   It sounds like so much fun watching these episodes with your son and nephew. I agree that a six year old might struggle but 11 is a great age to watch Doctor Who. I am watching with my 11 year old granddaughter and it is so great to see it through her eyes.I came to the show as an adult so its fun to watch a kid enjoy it and sometimes for totally different reasons than we do. She loved the Slitheen and the Abzorbaloff an teases me that she loves the Daleks and thinks they are cute.

    When I watched Love and Monsters I enjoyed seeing this small group of people ,all from different backgrounds, who got together for one reason but found friendship and acceptance instead. I really think that it was lovely. Of course that all ended badly, very badly. Have fun watching series 3.

    #70098
    Davros @davros

    (Rewatching all of post-gap Who with my 11 year old son and now his 6 year old nephew, continued: 3C)

    “The Runaway Bride”

    Donna’s spectacular intro. I kind of had the feeling we would see more of her.

    The Doctor says Donna is not important: he has said this about other people too. Kind of contradicts his comments for instance in “Christmas Carol”, that he’s never met an unimportant person.

    The scene where the TARDIS is bumping along the motorway trying to stay level with the cab is still brilliant.

    Corniest joke in Doctor Who history:

    Doctor: It was all there in the job title. The Head of Human Resources.
    Lance: This time, it’s personnel.

    One thing that’s a bit off here … The Doctor commits bona fide genocide here. Yeah he gives the Empress one warning, and then exterminates countless hungry children. I guess he’s only really got a heart for the cute kids. Donna says, “Doctor, you can stop now!” but he’s not actively doing anything, just watching them all drown. I think they probably needed to insert that line (as well as her parting comment “sometimes you need someone to stop you” in order to tie in to “Keep Left” later. But in context, it doesn’t really work.

    The boys want to know if Rose is coming back… I’m not saying anything.

     

     

     

    #70133
    dsegal @dsegal

    <div>Hi All, my brother has passed away leaving me a rather large collection of Dr Who DVDs and Audios. He was a passionate Dr Who fan and I would love to sell his collection to someone who would appreciate it.</div>
    <div></div>
    <div>

    <div dir=”ltr”>

    <div dir=”ltr”>

    <div dir=”ltr”>
    <div class=””>There are 151 sets of DVDs & Blue-rays here (plus a few VHS! Collectables)</div>
    <div class=””>http://www.sortitapps.com/items.php?username=damonsegal&type=movies</div>
    <div class=””></div>
    <div class=””>There are 593 Audio CD sets (Big Finish Productions) including several limited editions.</div>
    <div class=””>http://www.sortitapps.com/items.php?username=damonsegal&type=music</div>
    <div class=””></div>
    <div class=””>There are also a five books http://www.sortitapps.com/items.php?username=damonsegal&type=books you need filter by doc</div>
    <div class=””></div>
    <div class=””>There is also a handful of old Doctor Who Magazines and a large Danbury Mint Doctor Who Chess Set with every piece they made.</div>
    </div>

    <div>I am open to reasonable offers, please email me at dsegal@me.com using subject #JS-DW, thanks to Craig for the suggestion to post on here.</div>
    </div>

    </div>

    </div>

    #70138
    Nightingale @nightingale

    I’m sorry for your loss, Damon.

    #70140
    dsegal @dsegal

    Thank you, appeciated

    #70247
    Davros @davros

    I was watching a Doctor Who reviewer on YouTube, some seasoned whiskery Northerner.

     

    He said, “I didn’t really understand the concept of regeneration when I saw the 9th Doctor’s regeneration,  ’cause I was only five years old…”

     

     

    Get the hell off my lawn.

    Still surprises me that there are full grown adults for whom the start of New Who represents very early childhood nostalgia. That’s how time works, I guess.

    #70281
    Craig @craig
    Emperor

    Russell T Davies just posted this on Twitter:

    Okay, so, PREQUEL on the BBC website at 2, then 2.30 on my instagram in a different format. What can this mean?! Rose at 7pm, then 7.45pm, ROSE: THE SEQUEL. Yes! The sequel!

    I will try to keep up.

    #70294
    janetteB @janetteb

    @craig Sounds great. I do love this rewatch iniative. It is so positive and that is just what we need right now. Look forward to hearing more. Have not watched Rose for many a year so will be good to re watch it.

    cheers

    Janette

    #70367
    Craig @craig
    Emperor

    Doctor Who for April Fools’ Day

    #70369
    janetteB @janetteb

    @craig aaarghh. Noooooo. (thanks for the link. We all need some good April Fools Day humour at the moment.)

    Cheers

    Janette

    #70372
    winston @winston

    @craig  Thanks for the clip.  It was funny yet chilling at the same time.

    #70376
    Craig @craig
    Emperor

    Tomorrow night.

    Eleventh Hour

    #70378
    janetteB @janetteb

    We still have “Vincent” to watch. The trouble is that Rose sent us on a spin watching first and second series episodes and I don’t feel ready for Matt Smith Doc yet.  We have just watched School Reunion and Girl in the Fireplace and I feel that a Human Nature/Family of Blood re watch is required before heading off into the joys of M.S.’s era. And don’t know if I can bring myself to skip over Silence in the Library, or Blink. Ah. Once one starts re watching Who it is hard to stop.

    Cheers

    Janette

     

    #70408
    Craig @craig
    Emperor

    This time it’s 8pm (because Neil Gaiman is currently in New Zealand) – Saturday 11 April we’re all gonna watch “The Doctor’s Wife” and join along with Neil on Twitter.

    #70411
    winston @winston

    @craig  Count me in!

    #70435
    ColouredCrayon @colouredcrayon

    I don’t know where best to post these, or where would be appropriate, but I love all things doctor who and am trying to get rid of some older merch to make room for new stuff. If anyone is interested in a few of my beloved doctor who shirts, please take a look! It’d be nice if they went to a lovely new home. 😭

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/193412574412https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/193412576974https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/193412580951https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/193412586567

    Selling on eBay rn but thought maybe peeps here would be interested!

    #70436
    Craig @craig
    Emperor

    In advance of tonight’s global viewing of “The Doctor’s Wife” at 8pm Neil Gaiman has posted this cryptic message on Twitter:

    SOMETHING related to #BiggerOnTheInside is going to be released at 7 pm BST. Follow @Emily_Rosina on Twitter to find out what. I’m saying absolutely nothing, not even hinting that it will be the first time we’ve seen a beloved Doctor Who character in YEARS.

    #70450
    Craig @craig
    Emperor

    At 8pm tonight, there’s another mass watch-along, this time it’s of “Heaven Sent”. Join Steven Moffat and director Rachel Talalay on Twitter to get their insights. Details are on the Home page.

    #70451
    janetteB @janetteb

    Excellent. An episode that I will never tire of re watching and timely as today is Peter Capaldi’s birthday.  (and yesterday was Peter Davison’s birthday.)

    Cheers

    Janette

    #70452
    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    @craig

    Have to say that I love that trailer. It’s probably my favourite of all the ones so far.

    #70455
    Craig @craig
    Emperor

    Okay, I’m having trouble keeping up with all this along with doing nothing all day 🙂

    But you can now be part of a sing-along!

    #70465
    Craig @craig
    Emperor

    #70466
    winston @winston

    @craig   Nice!  There is something good about watching these episodes with a lot of other people around the world like it aired in the first place. Also knowing when they are playing and planning for that adds some much needed structure to my life. It also helps me know what day it is ,they are all becoming a blur. So thanks and stay safe and sane.

    #70468
    WoctorDoo @woctordoo

    Hello, I’m WoctorDoo, and I have always loved Doctor Who. My mom was a big fan when she was a kid, and I watched the classic series when I was about two years old, but obviously forgot before I was introduced to it (the new series) at the still relatively young age of eight. As of current, I have watched The Aztecs from the 1st Doctor, The Autons from the 3rd Doctor, Seasons 1-7 of the new series, and something about Robin Hood in Season 8. I would like to catch up, because I absolutely love the series. In any case, I was watching YouTube (mostly some Video Essay : Doctor Who things) and heard word of “The Doctor Who Forums” and decided to check it out. It seems like a wonderful place, and I am rather enjoying The Couch. In any case, I hope to discuss Doctor Who (which makes sense) and eventually learn some more of the show that I would otherwise not know by watching it.

    In any case, even if you do not bid me a warm welcome (I doubt that you wouldn’t), I say welcome to you all.

    #70478
    Sontarhaha @sontarhaha

    Hey there,

    Inspired by the possibility that more Doctor Who novelisations might be on their way this summer, I’ve currently revived a pet project of mine that involved writing my own novelisations of the S2 episodes “New Earth” and “Tooth and Claw” in the style of the BBC Target novels.

    I thought of incorporating bits and pieces of earlier drafts of the episode scripts to expand the stories a little, and even had this rather ambitious structural gambit of dividing “New Earth” into two parts – one from the Doctor’s point of view and one entirely from Cassandra’s perspective, including her experience body-swapping into Rose and then the Doctor, etc.

    Mainly looking for feedback, really. Any ideas or suggestions???

    #70504
    Davros @davros

    (Rewatching all of post-gap Who with my 11 year old son and now his 6 year old nephew, continued: 3×1 to 3×3)

    Smith and Jones. This is an enjoyable character introduction. Little Old Lady villains are the best, even better than Child villains. There’s something very unnerving about Grandma gone wrong. We also see a poster for Harold Saxon.

    This was also the introduction for the Judoon. I’ve always had mixed feelings about the design: great animatronics but did they have to look _so_ much like rhinos? We also see Martha’s family, who are quite important later in the series. Gugu Mbatha-Raw has gone on to be kind of a big deal. If I have any criticism about it is that Martha gets feelings for The Doctor straight away. Tennant isn’t _that_ handsome and charismatic. Right?

    The Shakespeare Code.
    I do like this ep, mostly for the humour. The witchy Carrionites are way over the top but hey, the kids loved it.
    The Doctor keeps feeding Shakespeare his own material: the old Bootstrap Paradox. He even gives him the word Sycorax… “I should be on 10%”.
    There’s a running gag with the 10th Doctor, in which he tells a companion not to try to speak in the local dialect. “No, no, don’t do that. Don’t. ” He pulled it on Rose in “Tooth and claw”, kind of does it with Donna in “Midnight”  and here he pulls it on Martha. Either he’s embarrassed because they are doing it so badly or perhaps it messes with the Tardis’s translation gear.
    Martha’s jealousy about Rose comes up again. We get the first hint of his trouble with Elizabeth I.
    Martha: “I don’t know how to tell you this, oh great genius, but your breath doesn’t half stink. ” I’ve often thought about that!
    Maybe if I have one criticism it’s that the words he uses to dismiss the Carrionites should be more … Shakespearian?

    Gridlock. Far and away this is my least favourite 10th Doctor episode. Worse than Love and Monsters. You heard me! You _have_ to watch it, though, because we learn a bit more information about Gallifrey, it builds on The Doctor’s relationship with Martha, and the Face of Boe’s message is a key piece of info later. I note that when the Doctor mentions the Daleks, Martha just nods. She’s familiar. Astute earthlings would know about it. Also, Adral O’Hanlan (from Father Ted and Death In Paradise) is in it, so that’s nice.
    There’s not much else good about it. Even in the context of a series as bonkers as Doctor Who, the story makes no sense at all. People are share-riding “to save fuel” but they’ve got onboard fuel regeneration. If you’d got fuel regeneration, then you’d beaten energy conservation, and can achieve anything. There’s a street with nothing but three mood-sellers, hardly any customers, because everyone’s gone on the road. The economics, psychology and physics are just baffling. I know it is meant as a parable but it’s too clunky and clumsy to work.
    Then they sing Abide With Me, 5 billion years in the future. The Macra were completely tacked on, in a failed attempt at a nostalgic hit. And the sets and CGI don’t look great. It all looks small.
    <h1 class=”header”></h1>
    <h1 class=”header”></h1>

    #70508
    Davros @davros

    (Rewatching all of post-gap Who with my 11 year old son and now his 6 year old nephew, continued: 3×4 to 3×5)

     

    Daleks in Manhatten/ Evolution of the Daleks. This two-parter is a lot better than I’d remembered. It does a lot to further the grand lore of the Daleks, and provides a nice link between the events of Doomsday and those of Stolen Earth. Sec, Thay, Jast and Caan each have different sounding voices, different personalities: it’s something that’s rarely been done.
    Hooverville provides a nice little slice of historical fact, though I’m wondering whether racial integration was really so smooth in 1929.
    Hugh Quarshie plays the “leader” of Hooverville. You probably know Quarshie from The Phantom Menace but he also played one of the immortals in Highlander back in the 1980s. He is a British actor whose American accent is pretty solid. The same cannot be said for all members of this mainly British cast. One of those with the iffiest accent is Andrew Garfield, of later Amazing Spider-man fame.
    As with the Judoon, I was wondering why the character designers decided to make the slaves so much like an existing Earthly animal. I guess the reason is that some random horrifically altered human face would be more disturbing for young kids than a dude with a pigface. I thought it was a good choice that The Doctor could not fix all of the problems, leaving Lazslo as he was (though it did seem that probably the worst of it could be fixed with surgery.)

    Couple of good lines:

    The Doctor: They survived. They always survive while I lose everything.


    Tallulah: Oh, sure you are. I’ve seen the way you look at him. It’s obvious.
    Martha: Not to him.
    Tallulah: Oh, I should have realised. He’s into musical theatre, huh? What a waste.

     

    The author, Helen Raynor, has done surprisingly little work outside the DWU.

    #70509
    janetteB @janetteb

    @davros I have to disagree re’ Gridlock which, despite the flaws you mention, and there are underlying logical flaws in much of Who, and most other stories for that matter, is a great story. It is one of the episodes that I re watch frequently. The other point you made that I cannot agree with is D.T. not being charismatic. He is and I can believe that Martha would be attracted to him instantly, that cheeky grin is infection, but it does annoy me because it limits her character, a great shame. I had forgotten that Gugu Mbatha-Raw plays her sister. Nice to see actors starting out on Who go on to bigger (though not necessarily better) stuff. Likewise Andrew Garfield.

    I also really enjoy The Shakespeare Code. Have not watched Daleks in Manhatten for many years. Was not overly taken with it at the time from memory.

    (enjoying your reviews)

    Cheers

    Janette

     

    #70510
    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @davros

    I’m wondering whether racial integration was really so smooth in 1929.

    Not one of my historical areas, so I wouldn’t know about Central Park Hooverville specifically – but Wikipedia says that the St Louis Hooverville was well known for being completely integrated. Given that, I’d say that whether or not it’s historically true, it’s allowable artistic licence for the Whoniverse Central Park Hooverville to have the integration that was in St Louis in our world.

    Rather like Thin Ice, where every black person in London obviously decided to visit the Frost Fair on the same day. Artistic licence, again. There were Black people in London then and they might have all been at the Frost Fair on the day Bill and the Doctor turned up. 🙂

    One of those with the iffiest accent is Andrew Garfield, of later Amazing Spider-man fame.

    I think that’s probably because he was asked to do a Tennessee accent, and he’s from Los Angeles (though at that point, he’d mostly lived in Essex). Kerry Shale displayed a similarly dodgy accent in Day of the Moon – a Canadian actor asked to do a Floridian accent; didn’t go well.

    The author, Helen Raynor, has done surprisingly little work outside the DWU.

    Not actually true. She’s had a reasonably busy career outside the Whoniverse, but not if you compare it with top-level writers like Moffat and Davies. Post Who she’s done a series for BBC Wales (Baker Boys) and was lead writer for Mr Selfridge. Currently I think she’s got several treatments out and a pilot filmed, but I dunno if any of them have been greenlit. She’s also done an episode for Call The Midwife this year.

    #70512
    Craig @craig
    Emperor

    And all the Doctors took part in tonight’s Big Night In too.

    #70513
    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    @craig

    That was pretty great, to see all the Doctors doing something so…well, what the Doctor would do.

    And seeing all the Doctors without make-up made me feel much better about looking at myself in the bathroom mirror!

    #70514
    winston @winston

    @craig Thanks for that! I for one will listen to the Doctor and stay inside.The “Big Night In” looked great and I hope it raised money and let the front line workers know how much we appreciate them. Canada is doing a big show on Saturday with  some great Canadians like Celine Dion, Micheal Buble, Justin Bieber, Margaret  Atwood and Mike Myers just to name a few. It looks pretty good. It is amazing what is done from everyone’s home not to mention seeing what their homes look like( because I am nosy).

    #70515
    janetteB @janetteb

    @craig that was lovely. brought a tear to the eye. (both eyes)  Hopefully this crisis will convince even right wing governments of the vital importance of national health care.

    Cheers

    Janette

    #70516
    Craig @craig
    Emperor

    @winston Hope the Saturday night show is good.

    The funny thing is, most of them just shoot against a blank wall or a bookcase. But Matt Smith was in a converted church. And, as I know he lives near me, and if that is his home, I think I know exactly where he lives now. Maybe not the best thing to do on TV.

    But it was excellent to see them all together. And I thought Tom Baker looked even better than he did in Day of The Doctor. Is he getting younger with age? He is a Time Lord after all!

    #70530
    winston @winston

    @craig  I always thought that a converted church would be a nice home and I wish I lived near The Doctor. Tom Baker did look good and he might be getting younger which makes me wish even more that I had a Tardis.

    I found out our show is on Sunday night.Ooops.

    #70532
    Davros @davros

    @bluesqueakpip
    “Not actually true. She’s had a reasonably busy career outside the Whoniverse, but not if you compare it with top-level writers like Moffat and Davies. Post Who she’s done a series for BBC Wales (Baker Boys) and was lead writer for Mr Selfridge. Currently I think she’s got several treatments out and a pilot filmed, but I dunno if any of them have been greenlit. She’s also done an episode for Call The Midwife this year.”

    Thanks for that info. 🙂
    ———————————————————
    (Rewatching all of post-gap Who with my 11 year old son and now my 6 year old nephew, continued: 3×6 to 3×7)

    The Lazarus Experiment. This is a pleasant but not outstanding episode: a decent story, relatable villain. By the by, we see more of Martha’s family, and the agents of Saxon move in, setting up conditions for “The Sound of Drums” later in the piece.
    Lazarus is played, nice and smarmily, by Mark Gatiss, who also played Gantok in “The Wedding of River Song”, and Captain Lethbridge-Stewart in “Twice Upon a Time”. Is there anyone else who has played four different characters in the DWU? (Not including voice-only portrayals)

    The Doctor gives Lazarus a speech about the pitfalls of extreme longevity. Martha compares The Doctor to James Bond, another British property from the early 1960s that’s regularly swapped out its lead actor. The Doctor and Lazarus quote The Hollow Men, a poem by Eliot about survivors of WWI. Martha gives The Doctor an ultimatum, and hence is promoted from passenger to companion.

    The weak spot in this episode is the CGI and character design for the transformed Lazarus. There’s just something about the face that is ridiculous and unimpressive. I don’t like to harp on about effects: I mean I know that even in the new era DW has had a fairly modest budget. But there are things you can do if you can’t afford minutes of full CG, e.g. keep the beast partly hidden except in crucial moments etc.

    Some quotes:


    MARTHA: But we’re trapped.
    DOCTOR: Well, yeah, that’s a slight problem.
    MARTHA: You mean you don’t have a plan?
    DOCTOR: Yes, the plan was to get inside here.
    MARTHA: Then what?
    DOCTOR: Well, then I’d come up with another plan.

    DOCTOR: Really shouldn’t take that long just to reverse the polarity. I must be a bit out of practice.

     

    ———————————————————

    42.
    A satisfyingly tense bottle episode. This was the first Chibnall-written Doctor Who story, though he’d previously written Torchwood eps.

    I’m bound to say that there are numerous similarities between this episode and “Impossible Planet/ The Satan Pit”. In both episodes, the Doctor and his companion land the Tardis in a confined space with a small crew that are there to obtain natural resources,  and are separated from the Tardis by things going wrong. In both episodes, there’s imminent danger of falling into a nearby stellar body (a black hole in Impossible Planet, a yellowish star here). In both episodes, members of the crew are infected and mentally taken over by a mysterious being. I suppose the thematic and specific differences are enough that this doesn’t feel too much like a lazy recycle. The Beast is literal evil: the star just wants to heal its injury. Is the idea of a living star too silly to put up with? You decide! I was okay with it.

    The title refers to the 42 minutes they have left, and the episode basically plays in real time. This is similar to the TV show 24, which plays out in real time as well (but over 24 episodes each of an hour).

    When the Doctor yells “I’ll save you” to Martha as she drifts away in the pod, she can’t hear him: it looks a bit as though he’s saying “I love you”.

    The Doctor extends Martha the same privileges he gave Rose: Universal Roaming and a Tardis key. Saxon’s staff are with Martha’s mother during their phone calls.

    #70536
    Davros @davros

    (Rewatching all of post-gap Who with my 11 year old son and now my 6 year old nephew, continued: 3×8 to 3×9)

    The last six episodes of season 3 are, to my mind, one of the greatest runs of eps in the history of the Doctor Who: this two-parter lays the basis of the final three parts, with the iconic “Blink” in between as a breather.

    Human Nature/The Family of Blood.
    This is one of my favourite stories in all Whodom. It’s a beautiful little human story, it’s an interesting sci-fi concept. It’s creepy, scary for the kids, with the sniffing Family and the animated scarecrows. Well-written and acted. There’s some realistic historical elements. It develops The Doctor’s relationship with Martha. It introduces new technology and concepts that will be important later in the series. We open in media res: it’s exciting and intriguing right off the bat. There’s not much to fault here.

    This story was written by Paul Cornell. It’s based on a novel he wrote in 1995, called Human Nature, involving The 7th Doctor and Bernice Summerfield. It began as a work of fan fiction in the early nineties. Cornell also wrote Father’s Day, another emotional episode.

    Jessica Hynes is the star: her restrained work as Joan is lovely. It’s all in the eyes. It’s nice that so many of the people from Spaced have been in Who: Hynes, Pegg, Frost and Bailey. Edgar Wright should write and direct some DW eps…

    Thomas Brodie-Sangster is also good as the gifted Tim. I think this was the first time I saw him (I did not see Love Actually until later). He went on to be a big deal in Game of Thrones and the Maze Runner series but I’ll always think of him mainly in this role.

     

    Some observations:

    The Arch doesn’t just humanise: it really makes a character. Smith is very much a man of the era, complete with casual racism and approval of bullying. His accent has also changed a bit: less Estuary, more Received Pronunciation.

    John Smith’s diary has little sketches of the various characters and objects from The Doctor’s past but notably it shows the 1st, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Doctors, and I think this represents the first time that these were shown in any form in the New Who, and indeed the first acknowledgement of specific pre-Gap Doctors.

    One thing that I noticed on this re-watch is that, in this episode, Joan says, “All those images of mud and wire. You told of a shadow. A shadow falling across the entire world”, in reference to John Smith’s diary. Those visions actually represented The Doctor’s actual memories of World War One. The words echoed The Doctor and Lazarus’s quote from the Eliot poem about veterans of that war: “Between the idea and the reality, between the motion and the act falls the shadow.”

    At the ball, a gent is collecting for the veterans of Crimea. Blimey, by 1913, any veterans of Crimea would have been seventy-five years and up. Can’t have been too many. Maybe should have gone for the Boer Wars eh?

    The Chameleon Arch headpiece used in Human Nature resembles the device used to zap Brendan in Ascension of the Cybermen, a bit. I’ve mentioned elsewhere the connection between the Irish setting of that episode, and the fact that John Smith confirms that Gallifrey is in Ireland, in this.

    Early in the piece, the children are singing To Be a Pilgrim. “He would valiant be ‘gainst all disaster, let him in constancy, follow the Master.”

    The Family has stolen a Time Agent’s vortex manipulator. This reference might serve to remind us of a Time Agent who will be appearing later in the series.

    If I’ve got a complaint about this story, it’s one line:
    ” And then we discovered why. Why this Doctor, who had fought with gods and demons, why he’d run away from us and hidden. He was being kind. ”
    That doesn’t fit. The suggestion is that the Doctor fled from place to place, putting himself and Martha and others around him in danger, ultimately getting a lot of humans killed, just to avoid punishing the Family, to be “kind”? I know there had to be some explanation for why he was able to capture them now when before he couldn’t, but really any old plot device could have done that, more satisfactorily than this. Ah well, I can tell myself that Son (who narrated those lines) was mistaken.

    Most of the script is gold but here are some of my favourite bits.

    MARTHA: Would you like some tea?
    JENNY: Yes, thanks.
    MARTHA: I could put a nice bit of gravy in the pot. And some mutton. Or sardines and jam. How about that?
    JENNY: I like the sound of that.
    MARTHA: Right


    MARTHA: But we need it. Oh, my God, Doctor, we’re hiding from aliens, and they’ve got Jenny and they’ve possessed her or copied her or something, and you’ve got to tell me, where’s the watch?
    DOCTOR Oh, I see. Cultural differences. It must be so confusing for you. Martha, this is what we call a story.

    DOCTOR: Latimer, get back to the school. Tell the headmaster
    LATIMER: Don’t touch me. You’re as bad as them.


    JOAN: Then tell me. In this fairy tale, who are you?
    MARTHA: Just a friend. I’m not. I mean, you haven’t got a rival, as much as I might. Just his friend.
    JOAN: And human, I take it?
    MARTHA: Human. Don’t worry. And more than that, I just don’t follow him around. I’m training to be a doctor. Not an alien doctor, a proper doctor. A doctor of medicine.
    JOAN: Well that certainly is nonsense. Women might train to be doctors, but hardly a skivvy and hardly one of your colour.
    MARTHA: Oh, do you think? Bones of the hand. Carpal bones, proximal row. Scaphoid, lunate, triquetal, pisiform. Distal row. Trapezium, trapezoid, capitate, hamate. Then the metacarpal bones extending in three distinct phalanges. Proximal, middle, distal.
    JOAN: You read that in a book.
    MARTHA: Yes, to pass my exams. Can’t you see this is true?
    JOAN: I must go.


    LATIMER: Because I’ve seen him. He’s like fire and ice and rage. He’s like the night and the storm in the heart of the sun.
    DOCTOR: Stop it.
    LATIMER: He’s ancient and forever. He burns at the centre of time and he can see the turn of the universe.
    DOCTOR: Stop it! I said stop it.
    LATIMER: And he’s wonderful.


    MARTHA: He gave me a list of things to watch out, for but that wasn’t included.
    DOCTOR: Falling in love? That didn’t even occur to him?
    MARTHA: No.
    DOCTOR: Then what sort of man is that? And now you expect me to die?
    MARTHA: It was always going to end, though! The Doctor said the Family’s got a limited lifespan, and that’s why they need to consume a Time Lord. Otherwise, three months and they die. Like mayflies, he said.
    DOCTOR: So your job was to execute me.
    MARTHA: People are dying out there. They need him and I need him. Because you’ve got no idea of what he’s like. I’ve only just met him. It wasn’t even that long ago. But he is everything. He’s just everything to me and he doesn’t even look at me, but I don’t care, because I love him to bits.

    JOAN: Oh, you look the same. Goodness, you must forgive my rudeness. I find it difficult to look at you. Doctor, I must call you Doctor. Where is he? John Smith?
    DOCTOR: He’s in here somewhere.
    JOAN: Like a story. Could you change back?
    DOCTOR: Yes.
    JOAN: Will you?
    DOCTOR: No.
    JOAN: I see. Well, then. He was braver that you in the end, that ordinary man. You chose to change. He chose to die.
    DOCTOR: Come with me.
    JOAN: I’m sorry?
    DOCTOR: Travel with me.
    JOAN: As what?
    DOCTOR: My companion.
    JOAN: But that’s not fair. What must I look like to you, Doctor? I must seem so very small.
    DOCTOR: No. We could start again. I’d like that. You and me. We could try, at least. Because everything that John Smith is and was, I’m capable of that, too.
    JOAN: I can’t.
    DOCTOR: Please come with me.
    JOAN: I can’t.
    DOCTOR: Why not?
    JOAN: John Smith is dead, and you look like him.
    DOCTOR: But he’s here, inside, if you look in my eyes.
    JOAN: Answer me this. Just one question, that’s all. If the Doctor had never visited us, if he’d never chosen this place on a whim, would anybody here have died?
    DOCTOR: …
    JOAN: You can go.

    MARTHA: I meant to say, back there, last night. I would have said anything to get you to change.
    DOCTOR: Oh yeah, of course you would. Yeah.
    MARTHA: I mean, I wasn’t really
    DOCTOR: Oh, no, no.
    MARTHA: Good.
    DOCTOR: Fine.
    MARTHA: So here we are then.

    #70538
    Craig @craig
    Emperor

    Thursday 30 April – to mark the 15th anniversary – the world will be watching “Dalek” at 7pm UK time. Join in the fun on Twitter with the hashtag #TheMetaltron

    #70539
    Craig @craig
    Emperor

    #70551
    winston @winston

    Hi everyone!  I hope you are all safe and sane. I wanted to tell you all about the the new Canadian cover of the song Lean on Me that you can watch on YouTube.(I have no idea how to make a link) It seems to have almost every Canadian singer in it and it is very pretty with some lovely harmonies. You get to hear Bieber and Getty Lee sing together along with Buble and Celine Dion and well everybody else. It is really good especially since it was made in everyones own home and sometimes with their dogs. The show Stronger Together has raised over 2 million dollars for Canadian food banks and the Red Cross so good on you Canadians!

    #70552
    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    @winston

    Is this it?

     

     

    #70553
    Craig @craig
    Emperor

    @winston @blenkinsopthebrave

    I think this is an uninterrupted version.

    #70554
    Davros @davros

    (Rewatching all of post-gap Who with my 11 year old son and now my 6 year old nephew, continued: 3×10)

     

    Blink.

    What’s not to like? It’s a nice time travel story, it’s terrifying for the kids (and spooky enough for the adults, if I’m honest). The Angels are the first new evil critters of the Post-Gap era to make an enduring and valuable contribution to the Whoniverse.

    I’m one of the people who bought a “The angels have the phone box” shirt.

     

    Like “Human Nature”/”Family of Blood”, this episode was based upon a previously published story, in this case Moffat’s “‘What I Did on My Christmas Holidays’ By Sally Sparrow”.

    I’ve no complaint about Bootstrap Paradox stories, but I have some questions. The Doctor had Sally’s dossier, so he could have known that it was dangerous to take the Tardis to Wester Drumlins. Perhaps he couldn’t help himself. Or maybe the Tardis took him there because she knew he had to be there. Or perhaps the dossier was not that detailed.

    By the way: who threw the pot in the opening scene? And why? It’s not exactly the Angels’ M.O., and if anything it forewarned her.

    Apart from the iconic conversation across time, there are a few other quotes that bring a smile:

    KATHY: What’s good about sad?
    SALLY: It’s happy for deep people.


    BILLY: And that’s Sally?
    SALLY: Sally Shipton. Sparrow! Sally Sparrow. I’m going now. Don’t look at me.

    BILLY: Ah, life is long, and you are hot.

     

    #70555
    winston @winston

    @craig and @blenkinsopthebrave That is the one! Thank you both,now everyone can watch it. The one thing I have learned to regret during this lock down are my dismal computer skills. Without someones help it is harder to learn now but I am trying…..I need a grandkid here. I also want to learn how to skype or facetime or whatever so I can see my kids but my pc has no camera so that is the first step.Oh well that is for another day.

     

    #70557
    Davros @davros

    (Rewatching all of post-gap Who with my 11 year old son and now my 6 year old nephew, continued: 3×11)

    The start of the de facto three-part story that ends season 3.

    Utopia.

    Has there been a better revival of a pre-gap entity than the reveal of the Master here? They did clues that the Master was someone known to the Doctor, and I suppose “The Professor” does seem like a typical Master pseudonym, but it was still a wham moment. I love Derek Jacobi and it would have been nice to see a bit more of his Master. I’m going to have a listen to the BF series “The War Master”.

    Obviously, this was one of the moments that had an “older person advantage” as the impact of the appearance of The Master was greater for those familiar with the pre-Gap Who.

    Captain Jack’s back and he’s brought the hand! And Doctor Who fans who don’t watch Torchwood hear about his immortality and how he got it. And of course he hits on everyone, including Chantho, played by Chipo Chung. Chung later played The Fortune teller in the Donna-centric episode “Turn Left”. She’s gone on to get quite a bit of regular work in television series, including Fortitude (alongside Ecclestone!), Into The Badlands (in which she plays a character called The Master), and Absentia.

    The Torchwood theme is heard here and there, but there are three new pieces of incidental music. While Yana muses, we hear the Gallifrey theme for the first time. The impulsive thumping four-knock is heard while Yana struggles with his internal pounding. We also hear that disoriented whirling stringy music, whose name I don’t know, while he ponder’s his chameleon device. (Sidebar: This is Gallifrey is one of my favourite pieces of music from television, ever. What would New Who be without Murray Gold, eh?)

    Obvious callbacks to “Christmas Invasion”, “Human Nature” and “Gridlock” here.

     

    Some lines I liked.

    MARTHA: Oh, she was blonde? Oh, what a surprise!
    DOCTOR: You two! We’re at the end of the universe, all right? Right at the edge of knowledge itself and you’re busy blogging!

    MARTHA: What would you happen if you didn’t?
    CHANTHO: Chan that would be rude tho.
    MARTHA: What, like swearing?
    CHANTHO: Chan indeed tho.
    MARTHA: Go on, just once.
    CHANTHO: Chan I can’t tho.
    MARTHA: Oh, do it for me.
    CHANTHO: No.

    DOCTOR: It’s not easy even just looking at you, Jack, because you’re wrong.

    #70559
    Davros @davros

    (Rewatching all of post-gap Who with my 11 year old son and now my 6 year old nephew, continued: 3×12)

    The Sound of Drums

    We start with the big payoff to the Saxon breadcrumbs. Master as Prime Minister is a suitably nightmarish scenario. Old Who Master was a hypnotist so we may suppose he got his start by hypnotising a small number of people until he was in a position to launch Archangel and hypnotise everyone.

    When the Doctor is asking Martha why she was going to  vote for Saxon, what were the policies she liked, she says, “I don’t know. He always sounded good. Like you could trust him. Just nice. He spoke about. I can’t really remember, but it was good.” This was a bit too real for me. I’ve had conversations like that IRL.

    The best part of this episode is The Master’s mania, his sheer glee at his own evil. Loved his response to Albert’s “You’re insane”: big grinning double thumbs-up.
    New Who fans were also treated to learning more about the relationship between Doctor and Master, and finding out a bit more about Gallifrey. We are also shown Gallifrey for the first time post-Gap, a shot of the Citadel and its surrounds, while “This is Gallifrey” plays. (Indeed, I think this is the first exterior shot of Gallifrey that has been seen since The Five Doctors). The Master is shown as a child! It’s obvious that part of what The Doctor is feeling is excitement that he is no longer alone: he’s a nice guy but let’s face it, humans aren’t real people.

    As is appropriate for the 2nd part of a 3-parter, this episode ends in the most desperate situation: the Empire Strikes Back of the trilogy. The Joneses hooded and bound are marched onto The Master’s plane. The Toclafane kill literally hundreds of millions of people, spinning and zapping and slicing. The Doctor is enfeebled, all his team are captured except for Martha. Having watched it previously I know that this is “undone” but I do remember thinking, the first time I watched it, that this was pretty bold stuff in terms of the Earthly future even when The Master’s defeated. The kids were pretty taken aback by it.

    The cliffhanger of “Utopia” is resolved by the Doctor fixing Jack’s Vortex Manipulator but the end of The Sound Of Drums isn’t even a cliffhanger: the maximum damage has already been done.

    I thought perhaps The Master had taken the name Toclafane from Toc Shafe Cane of the previous episode, or that that was meant to be a clue, but it turns out that Toclafane is a word known to The Doctor, the name of a fairytale critter on Gallifrey. The Master drops a big clue as to their identity but I have to admit, first time through, I had no idea until it is spelled out in ” Last Of The Time Lords”. I suppose the Tardis butchered into a Paradox Engine should have been another clue.

    I’ve read somewhere that there is supposely a significant anagram: Mister Saxon = Master No Six. But how is he the 6th Master? He’d have to be about 15th or something.

    The four-knock drum beat becomes crucial to the plot in a clearer way. Note that it is also part of the theme music for this season. The Lazarus technology and The Doctor’s Hand also becoming important.

    The relationship between The Doctor and The Master has sometimes been compared to Holmes/Moriarty but somehow this conversation reminded me of the final pages of The Killing Joke in which Bruce gives The Joker one last chance.

     

    MASTER : Do you remember all those fairy tales about the Toclafane when we were kids back home. Where is it, Doctor?
    DOCTOR: Gone.

    MASTER: How can Gallifrey be gone?

    DOCTOR: It burnt.

    MASTER: And the Time Lords?

    DOCTOR: Dead. And the Daleks, more or less. What happened to you?

    MASTER: The Time Lords only resurrected me because they knew I’d be the perfect warrior for a Time War. I was there when the Dalek Emperor took control of the Cruciform. I saw it. I ran. I ran so far. Made myself human so they would never find me, because I was so scared.

    DOCTOR: I know.

    MASTER: All of them? But not you, which must mean…

    DOCTOR: I was the only one who could end it. And I tried. I did. I tried everything.

    MASTER: What did it feel like, though? Two almighty civilisations burning. Oh, tell me, how did that feel?

    DOCTOR: Stop it!

    MASTER: You must have been like God.

    DOCTOR: I’ve been alone ever since. But not anymore. Don’t you see? All we’ve got is each other.

    MASTER: Are you asking me out on a date?

    DOCTOR: You could stop this right now. We could leave this planet. We can fight across the constellations, if that’s what you want, but not on Earth.

    MASTER: Too late.

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