Part 1 – The Halloween Apocalypse
31 October 2021 at 17:14 #72248Craig @craigEmperor
Happy Hallowe’en and Happy new six-part series. Apologies for being away most of this year but I’ll definitely be here for this series and hopefully more often in the future.
As I said on the Home page, Chris Chibnall is, perhaps, hoping to benefit from his experience at more serialised storytelling, such as ‘Broadchurch’, and has planned a story, called ‘Doctor Who: Flux’, in six parts.
This could be a wonderful homage to the Classic (before gap) Doctor Who stories that often ran for four or six weeks (and sometimes even longer). If one were to be more cynical, this could be an attempt to avoid the rapidly declining viewing figures that the previous seasons saw as they progressed.
I’m really hoping for it to be great, something to keep us hooked for the next six weeks, and I have all my fingers and toes crossed that Chibnall can pull it out of the bag this time and get us hooked with a strong, six episode mystery or quest.
All I really know is what the BBC have released. On Halloween, all across the universe terrifying forces are stirring. From the Arctic Circle to deep space, an ancient evil is breaking free. Why is the Doctor on the trail of the fearsome Karvanista? And what is the Flux?
This episode sees a new traveller in the TARDIS. Dan Lewis, played by likeable Liverpudlian comedian John Bishop, joins The Doctor and Yaz on their adventures.
This is written by Chibnall and directed by Jamie Magnus Stone. Last season Stone was the director of ‘Spyfall part 1,’ ‘Praxeus,’ ‘Ascension of the Cybermen,’ and ‘The Timeless Children.’31 October 2021 at 19:18 #72263
All I can say is what the feck is Chibnal doing I’ve never seen an episode I didn’t understand more31 October 2021 at 19:51 #72264Craig @craigEmperor
I have to say, that was not an episode with a clear inciting incident that could propel us through six episodes. ‘Messy’ was the word that came to mind
If you have a dead body on a beach (Broadchurch), it’s easy to create nine episodes around who the killer is. But what was that? I worry the rest of the series will be just as convoluted and, actually, aimless.
I had hoped for so much more. But given the rules of screenwriting, the end of act one, that really determines the quest, should take place at the end of episode two.
I’m still hoping, but it wasn’t a great start.31 October 2021 at 20:17 #72265
Agreed @craig my initial response still stands.But thinking about what happened I’m assuming this has all something to do with the doctors hidden past as it is obvious the doctor and what looks to be the series main villain have a history (obviously). At one point I did wonder if it was going to turn out that the big bad was going to turn out to be some kind of mutated version of the Master especially given the comment about the Doctor and him having been repeatedly locked in combat. Is this a case of Chibnal trying to set-up too many yet to be resolved threads basically leaving this season opener a total mess.1 November 2021 at 14:09 #72269Oochillyo @oochillyo
hey everyone how are you all 🙂
Its great to be at the same level as everyone again after many many years, like were all going into this new Series together 🙂
I watched The Halloween Apocalypse on T.V. last night as it aired and I think its a great opener, yes some areas are still slightly wonky like the Doctor questioning a lot but were improving, the humor was great, amazing spectacles/visuals especially with the Crystal Skull guy (I think he is awesome and very scary and his sister is more cheeky scary), it all was sweet and felt kinda like The Tennant era in a way.
I dont think the plot was confusing but that may just be me, we have lots to learn which is nice I am very looking forward to the next ep.
I like that Yaz is questioning the Doctor like she is losing hope in her I think the dynamic between them two is gonna be good 🙂
I like that the big disaster seems to have links to many time periods and hopefully we see how they play with each other in a very interesting way.
I love the Dog guy Man’s Best Friend after all 🙂 his ship looks epic too like we used to have in Doctor Who 🙂
I like Vinder a funny and cool character 🙂
The Classic Sontan’s updated look I wasn’t a fan (grew up on the modern look and to sort of combine them didnt appeal to me) but it was fun to see them scheming and enjoying war and the main one on the ship played his role very well pretty interested to see what they do next.
Many of the actors were good like John Bishop as Dan and the guy in charge of the Mines 🙂 things feel natural in the way they act 🙂
I could go on but really sweet for the first ep 🙂
Regards – Declan Sargent1 November 2021 at 16:55 #72270
@oochillyo as our emperor Craig said the episode felt very messy. I think/feel it’s as if Chibbers has tried to cram 2 episodes of information into 1. Now I’m used to Who having stories stretch over 4+ episodes being a pre gap fan where episodes were only 25-30 mins and essentially this season is supposed to be 1 long story. I know previous post gap seasons have had underlying story arcs, but at least previously individual episodes in the post gap era have unless a specific 2 or 3 parter story within a series have had sense of completeness. Getting back on track as far as I can see unless Chibbers is going to spend a chunk of the next episode linking the predicament the Doctor and Co are currently in to what is going to happen with the Sontarians. In fact if that is the case maybe he’s trying to essentially create what I would view as a 6hr Doctor Who movie and would be better watched all together. Also I am wondering if his original concept called for a much longer season. Of course it’s still early days but given that this season is only 6 episodes long I feel there needs to be much improvement quickly or Jodies final full season may turn into a bit of a flop1 November 2021 at 18:07 #72271
Well, when an episode is entitled Chapter 1, you know what you’re going to get. An episode in which we establish the characters, the setting and the problem.
My guess is (agree with you, @devilishrobby) that the problem is still the Doctor’s Memory Wiped Past and we are now in Act Three of that story. That’s why the Inciting Incident is ambiguous, @craig – the Inciting Incident for the chapter story is the Doctor’s quest to discover details of her lost past (which is why she’s chasing after Karvanista), which happened last series. The Inciting Incident for the longer story is the advent of The Flux, which seems suspiciously immune to Time Vortex energy.
Except the Doctor doesn’t know anything about the Flux, didn’t know that the Lupari considered themselves as having a sacred duty to rescue humans when called upon (that screams ‘time travel’ – previous humanised dogs appeared in the far future), and doesn’t know Swarm. Everything is disintegrating around her (literally, this is Doctor Who) and she doesn’t know why.
I think I agree with those reviewers who said this felt like a finale in reverse – the same quick scenes with characters who appeared in the series, the same ‘the Earth/Universe will be destroyed’ threat, appearance of Series Villain – except this is the intro episode. I dunno – I wonder if one of the reasons it did feel so bitty is that the episode was deliberately structured like a finale Part One. Chibnall called it Chapter One rather than Part One – is that a signal that the finale’s been bookended?
But it would explain why this felt so bitty – we don’t mind this sort of ‘oh, look, there’s Claire’ in a finale, because we know Claire. Now we’ve got ‘Oh, look, there’s Claire … but who is Claire?’
I’ll need to watch it again, but there seemed to me to be a lot of lines implying that almost all the characters were from the Doctor’s forgotten past. There’s the Lupari, who seem to know everything about the Flux and the Doctor (and don’t like the Doctor). There’s Claire, who seems to remember/know that Yaz and the current Doctor are going to see her in the past – which is her future. Even Dan makes a crack about ‘my mate’s TARDIS is bigger’ – and was it just me, or was he distinctly unsurprised by something being bigger inside than outside?1 November 2021 at 18:49 #72272Juniperfish @juniperfish
Merry meet everyone!
Thanks to @craig for keeping the Forum going.
I’m excited for a serial story, as I much prefer a contiguous narrative thread to pull on, Minotaur style.
There WAS a lot going on and I feel I need a re-watch – bit of a Halloween smorgasbord of aliens, with Sontarans, dog-aliens, whoever blue-crystal-face (Swarm) is, Weeping Angels, and a new companion in Dan.
I loved the food-bank setting, Dan’s empty cupboards all too real, sadly, for many. A clear link made to Victorian industrial revolution Britain, and the poor being worked to the bone in the mines (digging for what, if not coal?).
The Flux (space diarrhea?) disintegrates matter, dust to dust.
The Weeping Angels are a huge clue to think about time out of order (as @bluesqueakpip says) as they send people back in time to consume their would-have-been futures. Perhaps the Time Lords used Weeping Angels on the Doctor to conceal her true origin story from her?
Hunger, disintegration, vampirism (which is what Weeping Angels do too, in a timey-wimey sort of way) – the Flux as a metaphor for voracious power/ capitalism consuming people and planet.
The Sontarrans and the drum-beat of endless war.
Swarm (blue crystal-face) consumes others to rejuvenate himself. Just like the Time Lords.
The Doctor always knew her people were not good people (controlling, patrician); that’s why she ran away.
But now? Eugenicists who canibalised another species to engineer themselves?
I feel JW has hit her stride as the Doctor now, which makes it a big tragic that she’ll soon be gone.
But grief and loss and still going on? These are the persistent themes of Nu Who.
Waves at everyone x.1 November 2021 at 21:31 #72273
Yes, there was a lot going on.
A clear link made to Victorian industrial revolution Britain, and the poor being worked to the bone in the mines (digging for what, if not coal?).
Ah, that’s the interesting thing. Williamson was clearly harking back to previous villains like the Great Intelligence, but he and his tunnels are part of our history. The Williamson tunnels are apparently a bit of a tourist attraction in Liverpool, and nobody knows why they were built.
However, he fits with a bit of a theme in the episode. He’s played as a villain but, like the real Williamson, makes a point of employing the unemployed and the recently demobbed soldiers. So is he a villain? If he’s not, he becomes like Karvanista, who is initially portrayed as a classic Who villain – but turns out to be trying to save the people of Earth.
That also fits in with the young couple in the Artic Circle, who are a real callback to Fugitive of the Judoon – so much so, I was wondering if one was another Doctor. Instead, the woman turns out to be Azure. So seemingly nice people are villains and seeming villains are grumpy heroes.
Now, given that theme – that people aren’t who they seem – who is Dan? He is unemployed, because he’d rather be a tour guide at the Liverpool Museum (another call back to Fugitive of the Judoon, where the hidden Doctor was a tour guide)- it’s unclear why the Museum doesn’t offer their enthusiastic tour guide an official volunteer slot. He’s incredibly nice. Incredibly nice. He also volunteers at a food bank and gives small children sweeties. He won’t accept food even though he’s no food left at home.
How often have we warned kids never to accept sweets from strangers? But it’s okay here, because it’s Halloween. Err… it is okay, isn’t it?
By an amazing, total coincidence, Dan happens to be the former Division agent Karvanista’s designated human to rescue and by another amazingly total coincidence, Karvanista’s ship just happens to go through a temporal flux which allows them to pick him up early. Thus allowing Dan to be rescued by the Doctor in an apparently coincidental way.
Oh, and the booby trap Karvanista uses is a compressor, which is another call-back. To the Master’s signature weapon (and to the Master’s insane habit of setting multiple booby traps for the Doctor). Another oh, Dan has no food in his cupboard, but the table has a uncleared take-away on it, which would fit with someone who knew (at some level) they were going away for an extended period. They’ve used up the stuff in the cupboard and got a take-away last night. The photos on his fridge also reminded me of Mr Saxon’s set of ‘no, I have a history’ photos – this is Dan, he is a real human, look at him in his Liverpool shirt with Liverpool players.
None of this means Dan is the Master (it might be Karvanista), but I am really wondering if his ‘my mate’s got one of these but I think it was bigger’ is one of those lines we’re meant to think is a joke – but isn’t.1 November 2021 at 21:32 #72274whereami62 @whereami62
Is crystal face guy definitely swarm?1 November 2021 at 22:19 #72275
For me on first viewing this episode amounted to an information overload delivered much of the time at a machine gun rattle. I may be getting old,* but my hearing is still pretty good, and even so at times I had to resort to subtitles to keep track of what was going on, which didn’t help. There were plenty of intriguing and very promising elements, but the overall effect was as if Chibnall had thrown everything *and* the kitchen sink, into a giant washing machine and set it on a rapid cycle, and the result was, as @devilishrobby and @craig have already said in different ways, a somewhat incoherent muddle. However, as the story is set to play out over five more episodes, it is undoubtedly better to reserve judgement and hope for better things to come, and for all the pieces link up into a satisfactory whole. And, thanks to the insights in the second paragraph of @bluesqueakpip ‘s post above, I can at least expect to gain more benefit from a second viewing.
All this is not to say that I didn’t find anything to enjoy so far. It is good to see Yaz, as sole companion, expand into a more rounded and assertive character, and given more scope to display the competence which has, up to now, been little more than hinted at. John Bishop, as Dan Lewis, despite a tendency to groan-worth punning, looks a promising addition to the gang, and it was also a minor delight to see Dan Starkey back as a Sontaran, even if the Sontaran isn’t Strax. There also seemed to me to be a little more sparkle in the dialogue than is generally the case with Chibnal’s writing.
Without particularly looking for them I found a few nits to pick, and although I know that when it comes to Doctor Who it doesn’t do to dwell to much on matters of continuity, it seems odd that the Doctor is apparently unaware that the Flux cannot, in fact, threaten the end of the earth or even the universe – or does her amnesia extend to events even in her relatively recent past? In ‘The End of the World’, during her Eccleston incarnation, she witnessed the end of the Earth 5 billion years in our future, and she has been to the end of the universe, or as near as any living being could, in ‘Listen’ and again in ‘Hell Bent’ and, as Flanders and Swann put it in ‘The First and Second Laws’ [of Thermodynamics], ‘Yeah, that’s entropy, man’, and not some mysterious force which defies the laws of physics.
O.K, I can overlook all that if I make an effort, but what really shook me was the statement that the Sontaran fleet was 30 trillion light years away. That is not only vastly further that the currently perceptible limits of the universe, it would imply that the universe is more than 2000 times older than calculated or even feasible on the evidence. And if such distances were possible, I doubt if even Time Lord technology, bending every law of physics, could get the Sontarans to the Crimean War in time for the next episode 😈
*Background chorus of ‘Don’t kid yourself, lady, you *are* old; no ‘getting’ about it’1 November 2021 at 23:33 #72276Juniperfish @juniperfish
@bluesqueakpip – I love the idea that Dan is the Master (maybe chamelion-arched?).
@whereami62 – the credits described blue crystal-face dude as “Swarm”.
But there’s a lot we don’t know. Swarm the blue entity seems to consume life-force in a similar way to the space-cloud called the Flux. So, are they they same entity, say, at different stages in a life-cycle?
@mudlark – Ah but time can be re-written, so the end of the world witnessed by Rose and Ecclestone-Doc is one future, but that’s not to say, surely, that the Flux couldn’t end our blue planet sooner, changing earth’s time-line?
I do appreciate a science realism check though, on the age of the universe. Probably just arts graduate fuzzyness on Chibnall’s part. Or, (to add some bonkers speculating) could it be clue this story will involve multiverses?2 November 2021 at 00:41 #72277
Oh boy just had an absolutely evil thought which I thought I’d put out there to let others ruminate and cogitate. What if it turns out the Doctor as the timeless child is in fact not only the progenitor of the Timelord race as the current past story seem indicate, but is in fact some kind of hyper evolved Gallifeyan who was sent back in time and this is all part of some kind of perverse reaction of the universe to set things up. Remember the child doctor appeared originally out of some kind of strange rift, we only have the Masters word that it was a dimensional rift it could just as easily have been a time rift. And another evilly spawned thought in part prompted by @bluesqueakpips comment does Dan have to be the Master (hehe just think about who else he could be especially if he is chameleon arched). Though maybe these comments need to go into another room called the room of wired and wacky theories😜2 November 2021 at 01:10 #72279
Though maybe these comments need to go into another room called the room of wired and wacky theories
But that is precisely the mandate of this site: “Theories even more insane than what’s actually happening” And your comments fit the mandate splendidly!
Indeed that is what I have loved about all the comments on “Chapter One” so far. Dan as the Master?!2 November 2021 at 06:04 #72280
Mrs Blenkinsop (internet wizard) found out how to watch it–which we did! (With ads, however, and I have not seen TV ads for maybe 20 years.) And they were as awful as they were 20 years ago.
Before my impressions, I have to say that all the comments I have read so far were outstandingly helpful in helping make sense of what was happening on screen. Because of all those comments I was prepared for the “bitsy” structure.
Anyway, my impressions. The structure of the episode was pants, of course. I mean, really, there was no structure at all. And yet…I actually enjoyed watching it. It looked fabulous. Unlike the many embarrassing episodes before, it showed what you can do with a lot of money. And every character who was introduced gave me the impression that I would really like to see them again (as I know I will).
Do I have any completely insane theories? No. I am keeping an open mind about where this potpourri of random stuff is going to lead. But I am actually looking forward to seeing all of the characters again and finding out how it all fits together. And I have to say–this is the first time I have had that response since Chibnall took over the reigns.
But my final appreciation lies with everyone who has commented so far, for prepping me for the chaotic structure of the episode. Without you, my response would have been…”what the…?”
Is Dan actually the Master? Anything is possible, but…no, I don’t think so.2 November 2021 at 11:07 #72281
BTW, if anyone is doing another watch – keep an eye out for oblique or direct references to previous companions. The ones that are coming into my brain after a night’s sleep 🙂 are: Station Rose, Nitro 9 being unstable, Claire having the same name meaning as Clara (thanks to T’Other Place for that spot), plus a direct reference to Graham and Ryan.
As well as companions, there’s big shout outs to previous stories: The Satan Pit, Fugitive of the Judoon and possibly Witches Familiar.2 November 2021 at 20:49 #72282
Yes, time can be rewritten but, so far as we have been told, only in very narrowly defined circumstances – that is, if the change is not perceptible to the universe as a whole; otherwise the results of any attempt are catastrophic. The rewriting of events in ‘Day of the Doctor’ were possible because, as far as all observers in the universe were concerned, the change made no difference. Gallifrey had vanished and the Daleks massed against it were gone, and how this had happened made no difference. Granted, the mutability of future events is perhaps a rather fuzzier matter, but I would have thought that the same principle applies; if an event has been witnessed by observers, especially observers from the past, it cannot be changed in any major particular. Otherwise we run into a version of the Grandfather paradox.
As for the age and size of the universe, I doubt if we can get round that by citing theories of a multiverse. As I understand it, all such parallel universes, whether directly contiguous or at several removes and however diverse in nature, would come into being at the same point, – and there would still be the problem of how to pass from one to another. The Tardis can access bubble universes, as we have seen, but I has it ever been suggested that it or anyone else can cross dimensions to a wholly different universe?
That said, events in Doctor Who clearly take place in an alternative reality,* but it seems to be an alternative reality within our own universe, as the episodes set in a recognisable past and featuring real historic characters demonstrate. Even if we stretch credulity and allow that the universe in this alternative reality is so very much vaster and older than our reality allows, the distance that the Sontaran armada would have to travel is the distance which light would take to travel thirty million, million years and, as I said, I don’t think that even a Tardis could cope with that kind of mind boggling challenge.
To conclude, I realise that you probably think that I am taking this far too seriously, but I enjoy playing around with these kinds of ideas, and my tongue is at least straying in the direction of my cheek 😉
* either that, or we have all been regularly subjected to memory wipes, to obliterate all knowledge of the numerous times that we have, in our own lifetimes, been faced with extermination, enslavement or cybernetic upgrade by alien monsters2 November 2021 at 21:35 #72283
As @bluesqueakpip says , Williamson’s tunnels do exist, date from the 1820s, and are nothing to do with mining.
Williamson, who was a wealthy businessman in Liverpool, bought an area of undeveloped land in the Edge Hill area of Liverpool and proceeded to build houses there of very eccentric design, and to excavate an extensive series of tunnels, mostly by the ‘cut and cover’ technique – i.e, by excavating large trenches in the sandstone and capping them with brick vaulting. They had no obvious purpose, but he is supposed to have said, as he does in this episode, that it was a way of providing work for the unemployed, including discharged soldiers who had fought in the Napoleonic wars.
This was before the Poor Law Act of 1834 which instituted the workhouses, so the system at the time would have required the unemployed and destitute to seek relief from the parish where they had been born, often rural parishes which would have been reluctant to meet their obligations, so Williamson, if the story is true, would have been regarded as a philanthropist, even if the work he offered was pointless and poorly paid, and the principle decidedly flawed.
In Ireland, twenty or so years later during the famine, similar make-work schemes were used in one or two areas as a means of providing paid work for the destitute and starving, on the principle that this was better for their moral welfare than to be reliant on poor relief or charity. There are evidently some who still think that way 🙁 .
If the purpose of the tunnels was not to provide work for the unemployed, maybe Williamson did have knowledge of some future catastrophe in which they would be needed. Who nose?3 November 2021 at 04:31 #72284
OK, second viewing. So, there are 5 more episodes to go. Presumably, these will involve: 1) 19th century tunnels under Liverpool, 2) Diane from the Museum, 3) the Sontarans, 4) Claire and Weeping Angel, and 5) guy from Station Rose keeping watch on…stuff. They account for 5 separate stories, but are they separate? And are they going to be given an episode each? Or are they going to be woven into all of the subsequent episodes? I suspect the latter, even though each might get more air time in one particular episode. Finally, is there another character yet to be introduced? No idea. But one thing is pretty obvious it seems to me. This began, and will end, in Liverpool.3 November 2021 at 18:24 #72285Scot-C @scot-c
OK, I’m a new member but a long time fan.
Halloween Apocalypse starts with Karvanista about to drop Yaz & the Doctor into an acid ocean.
HOLD ON! The Lupari are species bound to humans, compelled to protect them, so how can he be about to kill a human? Just because it’s not his human doesn’t make sense because she’s some other Luparian’s human and they would be pissed off if he killed her.3 November 2021 at 18:51 #72286JimTheFish @jimthefishTime Lord
Well, that was quite the chaotic mess. And yet, it was a chaotic mess that I think I, on the whole, rather enjoyed. As @craig says, if you look at it as you would a regular AG Who episode then structurally it’s a mess but I think the key is to look at it like a first episode of BG gap story. I rewatched Image of the Fendahl as my Halloween treat (still for my money one of the most atmospheric and most overlooked classics of the BG show) and if you looked at that episode on its own you’d be left in an equal state of WTFness. So, I’m happy to let all those questions rest for the time being in the hope that they will be answered by the end of the story. (Whether Chibs will be able to stick that landing is another question but I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for now — and it’s not as if RTD and the Moff don’t have spotty track records in that regard either.)
If nothing else, Chibs deserves plaudits for at last giving us scope for some proper bonkerising, something I don’t think his previous series really did, even with the massive Canon Bomb of the Timeless Child. I think it’s the reason that this site, and the general reception to his era has been so muted and divisive. He just hasn’t given people enough to talk about, to take temporary ownership of the narrative while it unfolds. That was the appeal of the RTD and (especially) the Moff eras and it was, I think, the appeal of the original show too. Four and six parters inevitably resulted in frenzied playground speculation and you could make a case of saying that Who was one of the first shows to allow that sort of fan entry and is even one of the reasons for its longevity.
But despite the breakneck pace, lots to enjoy in this ep. First of all, it looks gorgeous. One of the things you can say about the Chibs era is that the show has never looked better. From the space shots to Swarm’s disintegrating ability. (My own bonkers theory is that the Flux is the accumulation of Swarm’s victims over the millennia, perhaps taking a new and vengeful form).
Dan is also a pleasant surprise. Not a huge John Bishop fan and news of his casting was met with a ‘Gawd Help Us’ from the direction of the Dam but he made Dan really personable and likable and, for my money, gave him more character in 10 minutes than Graham had in two series. And I have to say, I do like the idea of him being the Master and I think @bluesqueakpip might be spot on with those clues. I think it’s a dead cert that he’s going to show up at some point though. Though I am wondering if Dan being a former Division agent precludes this from being a possibility? Was the Master a member of the Division too? I guess he might be if that ambiguity around the Timeless Child means that the Master ends up being the Child rather than the Doctor.
The Weeping Angels sequence was nice and scary too, although was it my imagination but they seemed to move a lot slower than we’ve seen them do before? I’m still not crazy about the Sontaran redesign though. It’s just a bit Shakedown for me and I think I far preferred the slickness of the RTD/Moff-era design.
JW seems very settled into the role now, which is nice to see. Acting-wise, there seem to be two approaches to playing the Doc. One is to nail it straight off the bat and have a few stellar early seasons before boredom starts setting in. The other seems to be to circle around the role gingerly before truly nailing it after a couple of series — and annoyingly just as you’re about to move on. JW is never going to make my list of favourite Docs but she was pretty good here and I liked the bickering couple vibe between her and Yaz. (Though it took a while to get used to. The opening above the acid lakes felt a little forced, a little bit like written banter rather than an actual exchange between friends.) But by the end of the ep, I was very much on board with the concept of them as two old friends who drive each other nuts while still caring deeply for each other.
So, despite its bitty nature, I’d rate the Halloween Apocalypse pretty highly. I certainly enjoyed watching it more than I did Spyfall. And if nothing else, Chibs has made me want to tune in next week — the first time he’s managed that since the Hungry Earth/Cold Blood two-parter.3 November 2021 at 21:17 #72287
Welcome to the forum.
It occurred to me, also, that it was a little strange that the Lupari, at least as represented by Karvanista, weren’t particularly enthusiastic or consistent in their attitude to humanity, given their assigned role as protectors. Karvanista doesn’t seem to like even his assigned human very much. On the other hand, that makes him a more complex character, which is all to the good.
It also seemed a little odd that the Doctor wasn’t aware of their assigned role, given her long standing interest in Earth and its inhabitants and the number of times our species has been under threat in the Whoniverse.
I agree with almost everything you say. My comments so far may have come across as more negative than I felt because, despite the lack of structure in this opening episode, I did enjoy it on the whole, especially now that I have had a chance to re- watch it; and visually it is, as you say, spectacular, and I’m a sucker for views of the galaxy as seen through the Hubble telescope.
Where I am not so sure I agree is in this: throughout the past couple of seasons I have tried to be positive, but I’m still not convinced that Jodie Whittaker has nailed the character of the Doctor, although I think that has a good deal to do with the writing. There have been several occasions when she has seemed close to it, but my general impression is that her Doctor lacks some of the depth and complexity we have come to expect, and in particular an underlying sense of gravitas. When she says, as in this episode, that Earth ‘ … is protected … by me’, it didn’t come across with the force and authority conveyed by previous incarnations; it felt more as if she were trying to convince herself as much as her opponent.
When I argued the case against the multiverse as an explanation of inconsistencies in the narrative my memory was clearly glitching*, because I was overlooking the role of a parallel universe in Rose’s story and, going back to the days of Tom Baker’s incarnation, e space. But I still think that the argument holds. These parallel universes march with ours, and there is nothing to indicate that they have an earlier or vastly different origin not linked to our own. In any case, travel between them is evidently an exceptional event. Even the theory of alternative time streams, which is allowed for in the canon, is linked to our own universe; the hypothesis being that every decision point results in the branching of two probabilities, but all originating in the same aboriginal starting point.
* My excuse is that I am no longer a night owl and it was late, but I suspect that the long months of shielding and near isolation have dulled my faculties more than a little.3 November 2021 at 23:53 #72288JimTheFish @jimthefishTime Lord
how can he be about to kill a human?
I never thought of that and now that you’ve brought it up, it’s going to bug me endlessly. I think I’ll probably have to put it down to Chibs’s trademark writing in something that looks really cool but collapses the minute you start to think about it.
When she says, as in this episode, that Earth ‘ … is protected … by me’, it didn’t come across with the force and authority conveyed by previous incarnations; it felt more as if she were trying to convince herself as much as her opponent.
True but I could equally imagine Davison giving the line an equally ambivalent reading. They’re both similar sorts of Doctors, I think, and my take is that this is just the sort of Doctor 13 is. I think it was certainly a deliberate choice on Whittaker’s part. (Let’s not forget it’s a kind of gauche AG sort of thing to say. As Twice Upon A Time pointed out, the First Doctor probably wouldn’t even dream of saying something so grandiose in the first place.)
I think you’re right that the fundamental problem with this Doc is in the writing. Even now, I just don’t know what her values are, what she’s likely to do in any given situation. Granted, that’s exactly how One started out but it was an aspect of the character that was quickly jettisoned and is essentially gone by the time we get to The Sensorites. Even the most ambivalent Doctors — your Six or your Twelve — by this stage in their lives you know exactly what they stand for, how they’ll react at moments of crisis. I don’t have that with 13 and probably never will.
To put it in a nutshell, I think there’s a gestural shorthand to any Doctor, whether its One clutching his lapels imperiously, or Three’s Venusian Aikido or Two/Twelve playing the recorder/guitar. Thirteen hasn’t got that for me. Prior to this episode, my visual shorthand would this era would have been Adventures in Standing About. Whether that’s been sitting watching Rosa make history, or looking at a frog in a chair or listening while the Master tries to bore her to death with exposition, it’s all been so passive until now.
But these days I’m of the mind to celebrate the many great things the Whittaker era has brought to the show while we still can rather than cavil at the coulda-beens.4 November 2021 at 22:36 #72293
Yes, if we are comparing the various iterations of the Doctor, Davison’s is the one who springs to mind, but although his characterisation might seem relatively low key, I always had a firm sense of Who he was, and that is something which I still don’t get with Jodie’s Doctor. Your observation about gestural shorthand and her passivity, at least to date, strikes me as spot on.
There is also a certain inconsistency. She can be self assured and capable of improvising on the fly – after all, she built herself a new sonic screwdriver from materials to hand, without the aid of the Tardis, but at other times she so often seems to be floundering. Her tendency to think aloud, which I guess is intended to convey her ability to calculate the solution to a problem at lightning speed, as illustrated by Missy in The Witches Familiar, in fact conveys the opposite impression.
I agree with you that the grandiosity of statements such as ‘The earth is protected [by me]’ is absurd on one level. I think Tennant Doc was the first to say this, and it did make me wince at the time. But if you are going to make such a claim you should at least sound as if you mean it and can deliver.4 November 2021 at 23:49 #72294Charlie Cook @charlie-cook
Well I am pleased that I wasn’t the only that was completely at a loss to describe what I saw in episode 1. As someone above mentioned, I expect each of the plotlines will get an exclusive episode, but will I remember anything from episode 1? I don’t think so – as a scene setter it failed miserably.5 November 2021 at 18:29 #72296Whisht @whisht
Hi all – hope you’re all well.
You’ve said much of what I was thinking, but said it far more cogently.
You’ve also said things that I didn’t think but which gives me a lot to consider!
I’m guessing that someone has already mentioned a feeling of Doctor Who: Endgame from this.
Something about people disintegrating into dust in a seemingly unstoppable way.
I’m thinking we might get re-Flux with people coming back (hopefully in a similarly dusty way rather than erm…. reflux)
For fear of tagging the wrong person (i’ve lost all my old notes) @juniperfish I think there may be a red / blue thing going on.
“He’s (Dan) definitely a Red” says Yaz. A reference that ‘could’ be just about him being a Liverpool fan but… c’mon.
So – is red ‘bad’ as it was in Revolution of the Daleks?
Will try to find some relevant music but rather than some of the harsher stuff that came to mind, I might start off with something gentle and almost… pastoral.
Looking forward to reading all your thoughts. Feels nice to be back ;¬)6 November 2021 at 02:28 #72298
@whisht – so great to see you again! And so many others.
The Doctor. I know I have said this before, but Jodie Whittaker’s version still lacks authority. @mudlark made the same point above. I felt this has been her (or Chibnall’s) problem all along. And I point the finger at Chibnall because I have felt it was a conscious decision on his part to divest the Doctor of authority, to make her more…what?…I am still not sure what he was aiming for; perhaps it was a statement about us all being in control of our own destiny. If so, it might be a noble statement, but does it work in the context of the show? For me it doesn’t. Take it all the way back to Hartnell; his authority in The Aztecs was crucial. But he could equally be flawed (and often was)…in the context of being the authority figure. But with Chibnall, she has been divested of authority. For me, that robs the show of the ability to adequately and with subtlety convey the difference between right and wrong that Verity Lambert and Sidney Newman firmly established all those years ago.
Am I rambling? Probably. Am I nonetheless still looking forward to the next episode? Absolutely!13 November 2021 at 01:44 #72369nerys @nerys
Well, I guess I missed the memo that this season opener was going to be timed with Halloween, and yet there it was on our DVR.
Having just returned from my trip to the States, we only got around to watching “The Halloween Apocalypse” last night. Like others, I found this episode oddly paced and confusing. It felt like a big core dump of characters, none of them linked in a way that I could follow. Presumably they will become linked as the season continues, but it’s strange to have them introduced all at once in what felt like a rambling run-on sentence.
However, we watched the second episode tonight and found that one to be much better (possibly because fewer characters were engaged). On to that thread!15 November 2021 at 09:07 #72402Miapatrick @miapatrick
@mudlark re: ‘he doesn’t even seem to like his assigned human very much’ to be honest he rather reminded me of one of mine, down to ‘give me back my human’, and including the palpable contempt and insistence on protecting him whether he asks for or wants it or not.15 November 2021 at 09:10 #72403
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