Orphan 55

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    Arch @arch

    Loved the season opener, very my type of WHO. This on the other hand I have no compulsion to rewatch.

    Pacing seemed off and it introduced a lot of characters, rushed through some very sloppy character development and had way too many redundant scenes.

    It’s a stand-alone episode, which does not add to the season arc hinted at in the opener which is fine if its entertaining. The dreg will likely never be mentioned again and the whole episode was designed to make a very important point on our current real life situation as a planet.

    I have no issue with the premise of the episode and I think WHO has always had commentary political or otherwise on current issues, but if they are going to do it, wrap a decent, well paced story around it.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    I’m not actually saying you shouldn’t protest – heck, with the recent devastating fires which were (very high probability) aggravated by an inadequate response to climate change, you should! But what I am arguing about is an assumption that the most important thing to you will necessarily be a) the most important thing to someone else and b) justify overriding their rights.

    soon there will be no more work for the poor to get to.

    Keeping this as a discussion around the episode, rather than one more suited to the pub – the Doctor plus fam are being chased by slavering Dregs, who seem to see them as ‘lunch’. Should their immediate action be to a) make a powerful speech about ignoring climate change or b) not get eaten for lunch.

    The answer is b).

    Equally, if you argue that ‘the poor’ soon won’t have any jobs to get to – those poor might well respond that if you don’t let them get to work today they will be in danger of not being able to ‘have enough oxygen’ for their rent and their bills. If someone’s spare cash per week is less than the hours your protest causes them to lose – then that’s a bit like asking our characters to stop worrying about the oxygen that’s running out right now while everyone else forces them to sit down and plan what to do about the long-term problem of the climate change that created the oxygen shortage.

    Also, you’re comparing some protestors, people who are self funded retirees, to a vainglorious woman from a completely different century.

    Well, ‘let them eat cake’ and ‘Marie Antoinette’ are both proverbial in the UK, even though she almost certainly never said that and would very likely have responded to a lack of bread amongst the local peasantry by paying for bread to be handed out. See, I do read history books. 🙂

    But am I accusing self-funded retirees of having the attitude implied by that proverb? Yes. Completely. I think it’s a big problem at the moment. I’d be astonished if Chibnall is going that way, but I think that we could easily have a series arc where the Time Lords are us. Us, in the sense of people like me – highly educated people with a distinct tendency to think they know better than everyone else. 😀

    People who don’t see themselves as aristocrats, but are used to having both the leisure time and financial means to go on protests and the expectation that other people will listen to what they say. Who then proceed to inform the people that don’t have that leisure time and money and who don’t expect others to listen to them very much that they should – if they are losing money from the protests of their ‘betters’ – ‘eat cake’.

    Or, that they should listen to their ‘betters’ about what’s good for them and do what they’re told.

    People, in fact, rather like the Doctor. Aristocratic rebels. The Doctor gets very, very annoyed when people call him/her out as ‘officer class’, but that’s what she is. She completely expects to be listened to, to take charge – and to tell human beings (and other races) what’s good for them. She often gets quite cross when people want to make their own decisions. Of course, the way the programme is structured, the Doctor usually is right and the people going their own way are wrong – but that’s drama, not real life.

    The last series was partly about the Doctor learning to stay and tell people how their loved ones died and not to fly off in her little blue box without looking back. To deal with the aftermath of what she does; take responsibility beyond the immediate moment. Possibly this series is going to look at the Time Lords and the Doctor and Master’s aristocratic attitude to other people. Or perhaps it’s going to be about the Doctor discovering both that the Time Lords lied and that maybe, just maybe, while she can stand up and tell people what she thinks is good for them – they have the right to disagree.

    Mudlark @mudlark

    @thane16 @bluesqueakpip

    ‘Qu’ils mangent de la brioche’* certainly shouldn’t be attributed to Marie Antoinette, since it was originally quoted in the autobiography of Jean-Jacques Rousseau where it is attributed only to ‘a great princess’, and this was written before Marie Antoinette even arrived in France. It has been suggested that it was in fact said by Marie-Thérèse, wife of Louis XIV, but that is probably no more reliable an attribution. Poor Marie Antoinette was as much a victim of circumstances as anything, and a good deal of the vilification she endured during and after the Revolution was founded in xenophobia as much as her royal status – ‘l’autrichienne’ and so forth. And it isn’t as if she had much choice when she was married off to a French prince. She was only what? Fourteen?

    One explanation for the apocryphal saying that I read, I forget where or when, was that there was at one time an ordinance in Paris that if bakers ran out of ordinary bread during the day they must sell more expensive breads at the same price, which would mean that it was a somewhat less callous or ignorant observation, but I have never come across any documentation confirming this.

    * ‘Let them eat cake’ is perhaps slightly misleading as a translation, since I would have thought that brioche is more accurately defined as a type of bread made with an enriched dough. More expensive, yes, but not exactly cake either.

    BanjoFiddler @banjofiddler

    Oh, wow.  Just watched that and it was painful.  Like when your favourite football team is doing really badly but you still support them and love them.

    I just had to check the IMDb rating on that episode in case it was me, but no.


    syzygy @thane16

    We’re not both against Oxygen Right Now. Most people want it affordably. It’s not as if a “they” exists who shouldn’t have it (though water’s a massive problem & that’s a ‘not us Right Now argument’). Nor should ORN be discussed via them & they, but as an ‘us’.

    Most are willing to understand people should be paid to ensure there’s Oxygen RN even though
    disseminating Oxygen is difficult or technical. To cast the debate about whether self -funded retirees have the right to protest about Oxygen RN is a compromise block attitude leading to a discussion about limitations of government & whether everyone really deserves it & how dare people protest who have paid tax all their life & who’ll fund every single thing they’ll ever need & the ORN of many others.

    This is turning it into a sacred -value platitude argument & it often includes discussions about to what extent we must permit protests if the groups affected by this action are going to lose out in some “big” way.

    This then leads to more value debates about whether we should ignore the rights of poor people when ORN is more important even though no-one is claiming ORN is a bad thing or that our values are so very different. And even when the very few glued their hands to trains, apologised, & were sentenced to prison, no-one spoke about this as loudly as the “he yelled at us because he couldn’t get to work” story because it’s easier to hide behind a veil of platitudes. You see it again in the “we voted 3 times for B*e*it & now what do you want?” argument which obfuscates the technical nature of the discussion about how the outcomes are going to be framed. Compromise Block attitudes are sexy because they’re not technical.

    So, yup, we should make speeches in a fantasy show because it’s emotional to do so & not cold or institutional. We have similar values so prompting viewers to consider how the outcomes are going to be framed in this fantasy world is a decent way to start talking. I enjoyed it because I imagined that if I were stuck there it would be hard to focus on one group; it could lead to knowing only a little about a person like Benni before he died. It seemed horrifying because it felt real: the emotions – if not the science -which didn’t stop my engagement in the ORN problem.

    Syzygy the Young.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    To cast the debate about whether self -funded retirees have the right to protest about Oxygen RN is a compromise block attitude leading to a discussion about limitations of government & whether everyone really deserves it & how dare people protest who have paid tax all their life & who’ll fund every single thing they’ll ever need & the ORN of many others.

    No,it doesn’t. I cast the argument as one of whether the Doctor has the right to prevent someone else getting their Oxygen Right Now because she decided that climate change was more important. Actually, we both know the Doctor would be more likely to give somebody her own oxygen, then go and sort out climate change while using her oxygen reserve system. Whilst making a witty remark.

    (Also, I can hardly be saying ‘how dare people protest’ when I told you at the top of the post that you should be protesting.)

    whether we should ignore the rights of poor people when ORN is more important

    Are you sure you’re debating the right thing? Because what I’m arguing about is whether poor people, the little people, have rights. Have agency, have the right to make their own choices. The right, for example, to decide that they don’t want to join in your protest and would rather go to work. That’s not a ‘compromise block’, that’s a very vital discussion about what we do when rights clash.

    Vilma was slowing people down; Vilma chose to charge the Dregs. Should the Doctor have rugby tackled her to the ground and ‘saved’ her? She has a right to life; what about her right to choose to try and save the others? Her agency?

    Now, I happen to think – having had a worm’s eye view of the impact in London – that the Extinction Rebellion’s extended protest over here did over-step the boundaries between their right to protest and other people’s right to make their own choices. I really don’t want protesters kicked to death by an angry crowd furious at just how many days this protest has lasted -and if you think I’m kidding, this is the video of Canning Town.

    how dare people protest who have paid tax all their life & who’ll fund every single thing they’ll ever need & the ORN of many others.

    Not what I was saying. What I was saying, bluntly, is: does the fact that they’ve paid tax all their life etc, give them the right to act as if they are more important than someone else? Does it make them more important?

    Should the Doctor see herself as more important than Yaz? The Master certainly does.

    I don’t think this episode mentioned the B word? So arguments based on it probably belong in the pub.

    Speeches in a fantasy show are fine. But if you’re trying to convince your audience about a scientific topic where the science is contested – you need a scientific adviser to look at the script. Preferably one who won’t tell you to reverse the polarity of the neutron flow.

    syzygy @thane16


    Yes, we’re  debating rights. Or rather you are. You’re talking about “rights & choices” when no-one has actually said they (the “poor”) don’t have any rights. You’re using sacred-value platitudes in order to build an argument no-one’s arguing about because no-one’s saying those values are wrong. The argument should be couched in how to go about it not, once again, whether or not ORN isn’t necessary or needed or a requirement.

    There endeth the debate, sorry, stuff to do! But fun anyway! Now to the next episode

    Syzygy the Young.

    syzygy @thane16

    @bluesqueakpip oops. yes, see, you did it again “does it make them any more important” with the platitudes. No-one is claiming they are more important, more significant or better able to argue.

    And yep, the poor sods who glued their hands to trains -apologised -& were fined*, making this a stronger sacred value platitude. It’s an illusion of a debate when the outcomes (ORN) is important & how to frame these outcomes. That’s where the energy ought to be directed.

    *that’s a story no-one wants to follow. Those issues aren’t followed up by The Guardian or by Murdoch Press initiates in this country, at least.

    Right, back to driving….

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    No-one is claiming they are more important, more significant or better able to argue.

    Okay, if you wish to continue this argument, you need to move it to the pub. Because we’re moving outside this particular episode, and I can’t attempt to refute your belief that I’m talking in ‘platitudes’ without moving outside this episode.

    syzygy @thane16


    I didn’t actually start it 🙂 I am 18, so maybe arguing is still a ‘thing?’

    The platitude -sacred belief issue is one quite common to those in certain areas of journalism, preaching etc. It tends to be used a lot when no-one is ‘arguing’ that a particular point is otherwise.

    No-one has said “poor” don’t have access to Oxygen Right Now. Or, in the West, clean water (though that will happen soon -to all of us -it’s certainly happening in NSW). But there is a load of media complaining that the “poor” couldn’t get to work that day even though 20 % of those, once exposed on Telly had payments from their exployers (TM) because they’d been infuriatingly late or worse, couldn’t get there. No-one’s arguing that’s a good thing -to be late or worse. But value arguments are sexy. That’s  a left over from your other argument -“how many times do we need to tell you we’ve voted Leave  -when you think we need to be told again  -when we can think for ourselves.”

    To be very brief so we can all move on. I think:

    if you don’t want people to speak for the poor & if you continually say people are speaking for the poor you really have to canvas these “poor” you refer to, because if they’re middle class now, & that’s often the case, you’re now one of ‘them’ & now you’re speaking for “them” or on behalf of them, which is problematic according to your scenario.

    It’s not really an “us or them argument. It’s about ORN for everyone.

    Did I mention it’s a fantasy show?  🙂

    Also if all the fire chiefs in Aus & all the people & most of the pollies wanted a ‘sit down’ but Morrison refused, there’s a feeling that protest might just help because despite all the “let’s sit down & talk” if the dudes won’t do that then all the petitions in all the world won’t change anything but protest just might -by the very self-funded retirees whose taxes paid for the rail in the first place but being self-funded, they still have to pay full price for rail tickets -& not a one complained about this. Again, sacred value yelling is boring to the media so they don’t report it. But there are a few Aussie bloggers & thankfully ABC radio which do.

    Unfortunately the very desployers who employ the “poor” are the self-same who contribute to bad climate change. The local private hospitals used to give out cordial in large ceramic containers with a glass every morning. Then it became water & a glass & now it’s 6 bottles of water per day then chucked out & not recycled. Soon, ORN will be water RN. Many people are protesting this & no doubt cleaners & cooks at these hospitals are late for work -except not. Not once because protests require 12-24 hours notice so people can make other plans which are no more expensive or lengthy because protests are part of the law. Stopping them or trying to ‘change’ them so they’re less effective is a massive boondoggle & also part of a tyrannical state. The “poor shouldn’t be told but should speak for themselves” is a wonderful get out of gaol free card for others isn’t it? What can one say in return? YOU protest? But that means they lose a job or pay. Or YOU write a petition or YOU find another way to work…

    The issue is almost never the technical ‘outcomes’ arrangement because it just aint sexy. These poor want the same thing -ORN or clean water. & most want it for everyone. So, let’s argue instead about outcomes & consequentialist behaviour…

    Mods I apologise for off topic except it’s still about ORN


    Capt Addams @captaddams

    All this was, was a rewrite of “The Leisure Hive” with a few break down on cannon themes. Absolutely ignoring EVERYTHING that had been placed before from Hartnell to Capaldi. Before anyone says it, you can not just jump the multiverse!!!

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    Basically, the problem is that you keep going into ‘you are talking in platitude/sacred belief’ and I’m going ‘uh, no, I’m talking about something that’s been happening in the US and UK in the past three years.’ Which is why I’m suggesting moving this to the pub.

    The academic term is ‘epistocracy’.

    Glad to hear that it hasn’t reached Australia yet. 😀

    syzygy @thane16

    Epistocracy is not a new idea. I remember Paul Keating & speech writers discussing John Stuart Mill & Plato at a university round table meet in the late ’80s. The idea was subsequently ditched. Theoretically Jason Brennan has been working on this for a long time.  Ideas like this were put forward in a text book I edited in 1996 which heralded the failure of Social Science as a subject containing the gamut of history studies; economics; legal studies;  geography etc. The civics book in 1999 introduced the theory better for years 8-10.

    Pip, it’s not viable because experts, happily dogmatic (& even more now as specialities quadruple+) will still be frustrated by politicians putative crowd-work.  Those who argue against epistocracy are actually well informed citizens (The Vulcans), ‘plainly’ informed citizens & politicians -the latter group rightly accused of compromise blocks. 🙂  Experts with sound political knowledge won’t get traction because telly finds them boring. Technical discussions of consequentialist theory is ratings manure. And Thane knew the discussion so the “do you know what you’re talking about?” was a tad unnecessary.  But it’s all fun & games this arguing, innit? 😉 Not to mention we had a terrific example of compromise block in Tesla’s Night of Terror….

    The social sciences hold that modern democracies include a non-instrumental element as significant as its elder brother.

    Attempting a top-down “I know & you don’t” isn’t workable. Dippng in & out of vastly competitive, presumed confused & obtuse legislation would produce haphazard results & stand-stills which Brennan & co. admit. Even in their own ‘areas’ experts disagree significantly (less in CC) so generating sensible practicalities is near impossible.

    It would go against parliamentary conventions & constitutions. And it would be difficult to work around the slight problem of microcosm politics. Or that these experts would have sufficient knowledge to  avoid the  oft-cited “damage” of current voters leading to spun-out budgets. Ultimately, experts wouldn’t like the consulting-wages & they’d argue over the physics of lighting & colour spectra so “doing their colours,” a la Mrs Hudson,  would cause stop-work.  😀

    The Syzygy.

    Kharis @kharis

    I can see just coming on the Forum simply to complain is frowned upon by some members, so maybe I should end this post here, LOL!

    My esteemed and serene Emperor @craig I have returned from the void and see you have kept your Council in session with dignity in your pocket universe at the end of the internet.

    Welcome New Voices: @indigo-1 @peter3110 you’ll get no judgment from me.

    Complaining about our favorite show is just part of being a member of a long tradition of crazy fans going back to the 60’s who enjoy debate, dialogue and YES just venting when our favorite show feels empty, or worse we feel shut out by our inability to connect, understand or even just lose ourselves in our other world – our sometimes more real world.  A loss of quality or content is a loss, and I hear you and sympathize. Heck, I can write a book complaining about the loss of Murray Gold alone, so please get out the tiny violins playing the saddest song. It’s rare for a fan to like every episode, season, etc.

    Go ahead vent, even virtually cry, some of us are lurking, listening and sympathizing.




    Anonymous @


    I’ve been out of the country visiting my daughter so have been catching up this afternoon. From my previous post you will have seen that I didn’t like Orphan 55 but have now watched Nikola Tesla and Fugitive of the Judoon (good to see Jack again) and they were much better. Just hope the rest of the series continues like this.


    scmods @scmods

    It seems that every season is contractually obligated to include one absolute stinker of an episode, and this was it.

    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    Orphan 55 – first impressions

    That building looks like Calatrava to me (similar to the complex in Valencia in ‘Smile’). (Googles: Yes, it was the Auditorio de Tenerife and yes it was by Calatrava. (Smug grin)).

    Somehow, Chibbers’ attempts at humour (the hopper virus that infects Ryan) just seem silly. Not my thing, anyway.

    Bella looks really cute (or would without that ghastly nose ring) and refreshingly sarcastic – “Does this usually work? Pretending to be stupid so girls have to answer your questions?” The Doctor, meanwhile, is still suffering from the babblegush virus.

    Why does Hyph3n look like a pantomime cross between a clown and a cat? Impossible to take seriously.

    Why do they set out on the rescue mission with a truckload of assorted liabilities? Why not just a few of the more competent guests? I’m getting echoes of the drop ship in Aliens crossed with the Keystone Cops.

    More babblegush from the Doctor. “Apex predators and we are driving straight into their territory”. Yeah, precisely what you just shamed Kane into doing, so whose fault is that?

    How can Benni be doing 37kph when the Dregs have no wheeled transport? And they certainly can’t run that fast or the humans would be dead before they could blink.

    Service tunnel? This is starting to feel more like ‘Aliens’ all the time. How do we know it isn’t full of Dregs?

    But Kane strikes me as the only competent and determined character in the episode. And yes, killing Benni ‘had to be done’ but none of the others would have had the nerve.

    So then Bella and Kane have an idiotic personal meltdown when they should be running for their lives – that sort of stupidity gets people killed, frequently other people. I will give Chibbers this, he has managed to engage my interest. And Bella is a raving psychopathic idiot, Ryan should clock her one round the back of the head (but we know he won’t) before she kills everybody.

    I will give props for the ‘Novosibirsk’ sign on the tunnel wall, in my (limited) observation, signs in Russia are indeed often in both Cyrillic and Latin letters. (Minor quibble – if Novosibirsk has a Metro – which it may well have, now or at some future time – it’s highly unlikely it would have a station called just ‘Novosibirsk’ any more than the London Underground has one called ‘London’. Google: Yes it does and no it doesn’t.) But – standing around discussing the future of Earth while the Dregs are closing in on them – this gormless lot almost deserve to get themselves killed.

    Since when did a virus look like an insect? Bella is completely insane. Wanting to blow the whole place up (and kill everybody) because Momma didn’t give her enough attention – what an entitled dick.

    Yaz seems to have caught the babblegush virus – babbling questions while they’re trying to sneak past sleeping Dregs. Seriously, Chibbers, sometimes less is more – learn to let your characters STFU.

    So then Kane commits suicide-by-Dreg for no apparent reason.

    Um, if the Dregs breathe CO2 and exhale oxygen, howcome they can function inside Tranquillity? Oh, I see the Doctor finally worked that out too. But wasn’t it convenient that syrillium 3 fuel mutates into syrillium 4 when attacked by the hopper virus? Too much quasi-technical gobbledegook! (And also, it makes no scientific sense whatsoever).

    I have a dreadful feeling the Doctor is going to talk the Dregs into submission.

    And – saved by the child genius Sylas who just knows how to convert the syrillium. Wouldn’t you know it?

    By the way Doctor, if you’re going to deprive the chief Dreg of carbon dioxide – stop talking! But oh my god, she *is* talking the Dreg into submission. I hate you Chibbers!

    Howcome the teleport still works even when the hotel is blown up? Oh, and wouldn’t you just know it, the teleport doesn’t have capacity for everybody so Bella goes off to commit suicide-by-Dreg, what a surprise. Except Kane suddenly appears (did I miss something?) so they can both face the Dregs and die together, how sweet. BUT howcome the teleport knew its capacity was going to be exceeded when they sent off Nevi and Sylas separately *then* the Tardis Four? Makes no sense.

    So then we get the inevitable environmental message from the Doctor, with all the subtlety of a bulldozer. Spare us, Chibbers. (And I say that as a confirmed tree-hugging greenie).

    This episode was half-good, I felt. It also felt like v1.0 of the script. So many improbabilities and inconsistencies, it could have benefited from a bit of script editing.

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