S33 (7) 13 – Nightmare in Silver

Home Forums Episodes The Eleventh Doctor S33 (7) 13 – Nightmare in Silver

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    ScaryB @scaryb

    So is Mr Webley this week’s Chekhov’s gun??!


    Incidentally it was the gun of choice for the British Empire, and according to the wikipedia was in service from 1887-1963.



    wolfweed @wolfweed


    ardaraith @ardaraith

    Just completed my re-watch and I still enjoyed the heck out of that story.  A few things that lept out:

    Again with the mirroring!  The Emperor feeling the weight of killing billions to eradicate a deadly enemy.  Clara is being shown so many glimpses into the Doctor’s heart, and inner workings.  She understands now, after her experience in Hide, that the Doctor doesn’t reveal his feelings, perhaps doesn’t even allow himself to feel them – keeps them behind a wall.  She says this plainly during her conversation with the Cyber Planner.  I think all these encounters with characters who mirror the Doctor are offering Clara an insight that will come in handy, very soon.

    My impression of the Doctor allowing the Cyberiad into his head was so he could study them, not the other way round.  I was never truly worried…only a little.

    As for the kids….well, that pre-adolescent girl child was fairly true to form, in so many ways!  I have experienced a 13-year old who, upon finding herself in Italy for her birthday, moaned and complained as she rode horses through poppy fields in Tuscany.  I laughed each time Angie opened her mouth to belly-ache – especially after being ‘snatched’ by the cyberman!

    The foreshadowing going on between the Doctor and Clara increasingly feels like a man falling in love with a woman.  The flirtatiousness was apparent in the first three episodes featuring Clara: AoTD, TS, and TBoSJ.  The tone shifted a bit in the next two, but the foreshadowing picked up again in Hide and hasn’t stopped since.  Just look at the expression on the Doctor’s face when the Emporer proposes to Clara.

    I’m intrigued by this continued focus on ‘webs’ – first the Daleks and now the Cyberiad.

    Each of the episodes in 7.2 have captured my imagination and suspended my disbelief.  Having only properly been introduced to Doctor Who over the Christmas, and promptly engaging in a “catch-up-a-thon”, I am having a ball!  I hasten to add that my enjoyment of this show, and its long and illustrious history, has been increased by the enthusiasm of the fans on this forum.  I’m so glad I found you all!

    elwingt @elwingt

    Well! Matt Smith was sooo good! I think this seals it. Eleven is my favorite Doctor. I think I may stop lurking until after the finale tho. Even here, tho you guys have been excellent about avoiding spoilers. I know that a couple of you have been spoiled by a BBC trail for next week. And am guessing your bonkers theorising will be a tad affected by that. Am trying to go for a complete blind entry into next week (tho I did watch “She said, He said”.

    You guys are awesome tho, and I’ll do a lot of retroactive trawling through comments when the series is done. Have fun!


    ScaryB @scaryb

    And what is Porridge emperor of? That is a VERY high tech empire – they can blow up whole galaxies, his ship can find and transport him in about a minute, even when he’s supposedly in hiding. Liked the difference between his public image and what he really is (and that other than that nothing is made of his stature). Mirroring the Dr again? And his sympathy for “the poor guy who had to press the button” suggesting that it wasn’t a morally wrong choice, it had to be done – setting up forgiveness for the Dr? As Porridge it seems unlikely that if he was the guy who had to press the button that he would be the one to make the decision. But as the emperor, it’s a different thing. (And mirror of someone hiding from his world, suffering remorse at having had to take a morally tough but ultimately inevitable decision. The emperor comes back to his world at the end).

    The marrriage proposal at the end – a bit out of the blue, though in context with fairy stories, with Porridge being the opposite of the conventional handsome prince). Interesting Clara rejects the obvious power option (Queen of 1000 galaxies) – in favour of the power of time travelling the whole universe with the Dr? The Dr is interestingly placed in a vey tight 3-shot, given that he said he wasn’t going to influence her at all.

    I know some people have said they are frustrated that Clara’s “impossible girl” status is still going on, but because of that we have the real danger that this Clara might die or be cyberised (or go and have adventures as the Queen of 1000 galaxies!). We don’t know for sure that this is the version who becomes a companion – assuming a Clara does eventually. (governess to general – not such a big leap really!)

    Predictions – Next week – The GI is creating a series of alternative realities which the Dr has to choose between. The reveal of who Clara comes fairly late in the episode. Her voice saying the Dr’s name (“Doctor”) is the key/password to the final game-changing reveal of the events which have been going on just out of our range of vision (while we’re distracted by the smoke and mirrors in front of us) that everything the Dr (and we) thinks he has been experiencing for the last 50 years is his memories uploading and he’s actually in a hospital – maybe to cure any residual GI, cybery or daleky traces. I suspect we might even get a happy ending 🙂 The Dr wakes up with upload complete, ready to head off in search of new adventures but the starting point can be anywhere they want to make it.

    It’s not a dream, it doesn’t negate any of the last 50 years adventures as they are memories, but canon inconsistencies can be explained by the odd bit of “reality” or nightmare seeping in. It’s still the same Dr, not recreated or ganger, or…

    Or if you want it darker he could be a human (eg John Smith) waking up in an asylum or a prison, in a straightjacket, from a dream of being a Timelord…

    Or the episode ends with a regeneration…

    Clara’s a “plant” by the Dr or has post hypnotic suggestion etc to save him – she may not be too pleased about that!

    Or (more likely), none of the above


    Craig @craig

    A bit off topic, but someone posted this on The G last week and I thought it was great. A song by Mitch Benn (well known Doctor Who fan) about how he’s proud of the BBC. The BBC may not be perfect, but we’re lucky to have it – “Did I mention Doctor Who?”.

    ScaryB @scaryb

    @ardaraith I agree with you re 13/14 year old girls. I thought the script nailed it! Kids themselves were a bit stage-school but OK, especially as they were lobotomised for most of it 😉 Oh for a real life “teenager on stand-by” button 😀

    (And glad you’re having fun on here; it’s great to have a fresh perspective on the show from you and some of the other new members)

    ScaryB @scaryb

    @craig Great clip, made me laugh, thanks. (It ain’t perfect but  like Who it’s a target for the irrational haters) PS hope your head’s better 🙂

    Anonymous @

    Sorry I’m late. Only just watched the ep as was at a wedding yesterday — I only go for the dancing (just kidding, I don’t dance).

    Well, this was an odd one with lots of stuff I loved in it but mixed in something that was ultimately slightly unsatisfying.

    The logical place, I suppose, is to start with the reimagined Cybermen. My initial reaction when I first saw the internet pics of the new Cybermen was that they still hadn’t been reimagined enough. For me, Cybermen shouldn’t be completely encased in metal as the Nu-Who iterations have been. I personally don’t think they’ve ever been more chilling than in the Tenth Planet. And even the later stories, like the Moonbase and onwards, where they became more recognisably as they are today, it was still made clear that they were encased in material, or a kind of pliable metal, rather than actual metal. My reference point for them that they should resemble accident victims rather than robots, as such. They are, to me, a scientific and medical horror, rather than militaristic one. And this is one of the reasons why I think I’ve disliked the most Cybermen stories from Revenge of the Cybermen onwards. I think they’ve been consistently mishandled, even to the present day.

    I think the key to the Cybermen is that they are scientists living in ‘bad faith’. I think deep down in their collective psyche they know they’ve made a terrible decision in the direction they’ve taken and the only way that they can reconcile that to themselves is by aggressively pursuing a campaign of making everyone else adopt their ‘lifestyle’. Cyber-conversion is not just a technological process but also has overtones of the religious sense of the word as well. To me, Cybermen are Scientologists who have been in a really bad car accident, essentially.

    (A quick word of thanks to @wolfweed by the way. I really liked The World Shapers. And I think the idea that Cybermen will ultimately upgrade themselves to be a force for absolute good in the universe is a really interesting one. Would love to see that incorporated into the show. It could really bring in some (silvery) shades of grey.)

    But having grinched a bit, I have to say that the Cybermen in NiS, are a big step-up from the Cybus versions and there were some real chills here. I like the new ‘faces’ — quite chilling and definitely a shout back to the more 60s versions. They definitely had more power than they previously had and this can only be a good thing. I was hoping for a truly great Cyber-story again. I don’t think we got it but the pieces are now definitely in place for it to happen in the future.

    One scene that bugged me though was the one with the ‘hiding’ soldier. I find it hard to believe that upgraded Cybermen like this wouldn’t have had infrared or body heat sensors. It would have been more effective if the Cyberman had kept on walking but had already detached its hand to deal with the soldier way before ‘we’ were even aware it was there. A bit more Terminator-like maybe.

    I’ve noticed lots of bitching on the Guardian about the new Cybermen being a rip-off of the Borg. But bearing in mind that the Borg themselves riffed on the Cybermen themselves, I really don’t see this as an issue. And I really don’t see why nu-Who shouldn’t borrow some of the Borg’s iconography. It seems to me a perfectly obvious and sensible thing to do.

    On to the script proper. There’s a draft of Serenity by Joss Whedon out there on the interwebs called The Kitchen Sink draft in which Whedon had shoved in everything that he wanted to put into the move in there. (It’s well worth a read btw.) This, to me, felt like a ‘kitchen sink’ draft. There was just too much going on for it to be truly coherent. Some of the ideas should have been pruned back, or it should have been a two-parter. (I really notice how much I’ve been saying that recently, but that’s a subject for a follow-up post, I think.)

    But I did love all the ‘kisses to the past’, from Moonbase to Tomb to Earthshock. I would have quite liked the whole ‘gold’ thing to have been quietly forgotten but thankfully they didn’t make too much of it.

    Oh, and the kids. I didn’t dislike them as much some did but they only just got away with it, I think. I never, ever, want to see them anywhere near the TARDIS ever again.

    What really worked for me was the Cyberised Doctor and his internal struggle. Matt was great here, I thought. I definitely think we’ll be getting a Dark Doctor at some point now. As I’ve said before, Moffatt tends to foreground plot elements in other stories before using them himself. (We see the ‘Doctor’ killed on the beach and then we’re shown the Tesselector in action (as well as possible red herrings like Gangers) before being shown the true resolution.) We’ve now seen two Doctors foregrounded here, as well as the idea that it’s possible for the Doctor to turn evil. It was also a great performance and shows that if the arc goes in this direction that Matt will be great as an anti-Doctor.

    This episode also makes me wonder if Dalekised Doctor theory can really be correct anymore. Could the Doctor have been Cyberised if he was already partially on his way to being a Dalek puppet? I tend to think not, I’m afraid.

    I haven’t talked about Clara in this episode as I’m planning a post on my reactions to this series in the run-up to the finale. Again, apologies for the length and the general grousiness. But while there was lots to love in this episode, it seemed to me like little isolated elements that ultimately quite failed to deliver.

    PhileasF @phileasf

    I enjoyed this episode very much. Do I say that every week? If I haven’t, I’ve meant to. I have enjoyed everything this half-season a lot, with the exception of RingsoA, which I only enjoyed. Perhaps that doesn’t say much for this episode, as it may mean I’m easily pleased. Better than being easily displeased, like so many at that other place, which I could only tolerate for a few minutes this week.

    When was the last time I actually disliked an episode?

    I wasn’t crazy about A Town Called Mercy — I’ve seen the kind of moral dilemma that was central to it too often to be very interested in it again.

    I was bothered by the hand-waving at the end of Angels Take Manhattan. I’ve read Steven Moffat’s explanation, which I accept as making sense (but really, if it’s not in the show it’s just another fan theory). Maybe I respect his talents more than he does, but I think he could have pulled off an explanation that would make sense and be acceptable for a TV audience. And I think it was necessary to justify such an important plot/character development in the show. I still liked the episode, though, as the rest more than makes up for the hole.

    I wasn’t overly fond of the Almost People.. It seemed driven a lot by what I think of as ‘phony conflict’, where characters do stupid and aggressive things to generate conflict that doesn’t arise naturally out of their previously established character or the situation, but out of a need to add some fighting and running to a story. The best writers create characters and situations from which the necessary conflict will arise in a way that seems natural; lesser writers sometimes make too many characters nice reasonable people like themselves, so conflict has to be shoehorned in.

    OK, the last episode I actually disliked was The Curse of the Black Spot, because the pirates were so unrealistically family-TV-friendly, and the threat turned out to be a damp squib.

    So I’m generally well-disposed to the show, especially over the last few years. And I think this latest half-season is the best half-season since… oh, maybe season 14.

    Anyway, Nightmare in Silver. Loved Mr Clever, and Warwick Davis, and the upgraded Cybermen. Arguably this is Porridge’s episode, he’s the character who gets an ‘arc’, who undergoes a change, as he learns to accept his terrible responsibilities. How much does his story parallel the Doctor’s? Is the Doctor erasing himself from history just as much about hiding from his ‘responsibilities’ as about protecting the universe? Porridge’s story (killing everyone in a whole galaxy, to defeat the Cybermen) is a lot like the Doctor’s experiences in the time war. If this is all a dream he could easily be a dream-version of the Doctor.

    The Doctor-shaped hole in space-time. One notion that has been simmering in the back of my mind the last few weeks is this: If the Doctor didn’t exist, it would be necessary to invent him (with apologies to Voltaire). His absence might reduce the fear factor for the monsters, but everyone else must be awfully worried.

    So, new bonkers theory: someone or something capable of making things like the Doctor… made the Doctor, to fill the void left by the Doctor’s (apparent) nonexistence. But this has happened before, and this is where the Doctor came from to begin with… So maybe the apparent doubling we’ve been seeing this season is because the original Doctor, and another created to fill the void left by his apparent nonexistence, have been created almost identically, and are in almost the same place at almost the same time. But what could make a Doctor? How about the TARDIS’s machine-that-can-make-anything?

    Plausibility… low. If you can’t explain to a TV audience why the Doctor can’t ever see Amy again, I don’t think you could explain what I just said. I said it and I’m not sure I get it.

    Mr Clever is a sexualised Doctor… The Doctor’s progressed from being very uncomfortable about private human things, to air-kissing, to actual kissing, to ‘… squeezed into a skirt that is just a little bit… too tight.’ Every little boy falls in love with his nanny. The Doctor has finally entered puberty… (It’s a little hard to reconcile this with his marriage and the supposedly kinky stuff he and River were getting up to a few years ago.) But River was a sort-of Time Lord, while Clara presumably isn’t. Perhaps he’s become human, and is starting to experience humany wumany feelings? There’s that fob-watch he’s been carrying around. Maybe this is the final stage in ‘hiding’ from history, to make the Doctor cease to exist by becoming human? This might also explain his drinking alcohol, too.

    Clara as a commanding officer. She’s good at taking on whatever role is required. Junior Entertainment Manager, Dalek, governess, barmaid, nanny, time traveller, general. Someone else has pointed out that this is like the experience of reading stories and becoming like the characters in the stories, as you identify with them. (It’s like writing stories, too.)

    Clara can’t disobey the Doctor. (As pointed out by various people upthread.) It seemed absurd that she would give away so much information about their defences to Mr Clever; but it makes sense if she really can’t disobey the Doctor, and if her programming is too unsophisticated to differentiate between the Doctor and Mr Clever. This points a little disturbingly toward Clara being some kind of robot-like person (even if she is biologically human), which wouldn’t be much fun.

    Clara from the 19th century could disobey the Doctor. Oswin? I don’t think there’s any evidence. Clara’s compliance may have something to do with a growing dislike I detect towards the character. I’m fairly sure it will be dispensed with by the end of the season.

    Theory: she is like she is because the GI made her so — when she was downloaded back into her body (BellsofSJ), she carried a sort of virus which was probably intended to make her the kind of person the Doctor would want to keep around. Little does the GI know that a companion always doing what the Doctor says is just going to make him suspicious.

    I enjoyed the theory that the mystery will turn out to be something that happened between Doctors ten and eleven, and that Clara might be the real eleventh Doctor, or else that we just haven’t seen the real eleventh. However, I just rewatched the regeneration, and you can clearly see ten become eleven.

    The Cybermen have a sort of hive-mind. People are saying this is like the Borg — but really, it’s like the Daleks. In fact, ‘hive-mind’ is the term first used to describe the Dalek pathweb in Asylum. IIRC it’s Oswin who says ‘The Daleks, they have a hive mind — well they don’t, but they have a sort of telepathic web.’ Everyone has an internet these days. The real theme of the season may be the danger of becoming trapped in the internet (and thus being removed from real life).

    See You Next Wednesday: IIRC John Landis said the line stuck in his mind because it was the most emotional line in the otherwise almost entirely emotionless 2001. It stuck out as weird, in Doctor Who. Firstly, the Doctor and Clara only meet once a week? And on a Wednesday? (Maybe there’s nothing good on TV on a Wednesday? Maybe it’s Clara’s night off.) Traditionally a reference like this could be expected to refer to the day of broadcast. Buffy’s ‘just another Tuesday night in Sunnydale’ line, for instance, referred to the usual day of broadcast of the show.

    Various milestone episodes of the Moffat era have been set on the day of broadcast — the day the TARDIS exploded was the day the Pandorica Opens was broadcast, if I recall correctly. So why Wednesday? Those ‘in-joke’ references in movies always seem like a bad idea to me, as they destroy the illusion for the most enthusiastic members of the audience (i.e. the sort of people who get the references). The moment Clara said it I was thinking about movie references (What are the odds that the next episode will be surprisingly broadcast three days early?)

    PhileasF @phileasf

    (Draws breath. Time for a fresh post…)

    It seems a little pointless to theorise when a lot of people have apparently been spoiled by a BBC trailer. (I’m trying hard not to look. It could be misdirection, and no-one’s really been spoiled. If it’s only a character saying what’s happening, it could be a clip from early in the episode, when they think they’ve worked it out but they’re wrong).

    But anyway, here’s my last attempt at figuring it all out…

    It’s all a dream. (Can the audience deal with it? Dallas says no; Life On Mars says yes.)

    The Doctor has caused the death of his companion, someone very like Clara/Oswin. This might have been an accident. It might have been a necessary sacrifice, like his queen, or a galaxy.

    This is a reality too horrible to deal with. So he retreats from the world, into his own head (a la souffle girl). Possibly he’s uploaded himself into the library computer so he can be with River after her ‘death’… but then you’d think we’d have seen a lot more of her lately. But it seems consistent with the recurring element of people’s minds being uploaded into various kinds of internet.

    But there’s no peace for the Doctor inside his own head, because it’s haunted by the ghost of Clara. He can’t let himself forget her. So he’s condemned to re-experience her death repeatedly, like a recurring nightmare.

    His dreams are full of versions of himself, people forced to make terrible sacrifices of innocents for a greater good:
    – the monks sacrificing the little girl to the grandfather (Rings);
    – himself, willing to sacrifice the submarine crew and Clara to save the world from nuclear annihilation (Cold War);
    – Alec Palmer, who sent men and women to their deaths during the war (Hide);
    – himself, burning Clara’s hand to save them all (Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS);
    – Mrs Gillyflower, sacrificing her daughter (and a few billion other people) (Crimson Horror);
    – the emperor, the loneliest man in the universe, who destroyed a galaxy to stop the Cybermen.

    The emperor calls himself a monster, and this is how the Doctor sees himself now. The recurring motif of the Doctor being a monster is fairly obvious.

    His dreams feature people (and monsters) hiding and being revealed:
    – the monsters in Hide;
    – the emperor in Nightmare.

    His dreams feature people (and monsters) waking up:
    – Oswin in Asylum;
    – the grandfather in Rings;
    – Skaldak in Cold War;
    – the Cybermen in Nightmare.

    His dreams feature music and songs, Melody/Song. (Not much water, though, except in Cold War.) This may be something to do with library-River trying to make contact with him.
    In order to explain what happened to Amy and Rory, and to appease audience members who might hate hate hate the dream idea, it might be revealed that his dreams are all versions of things that really happened, distorted by the preoccupations of the Doctor’s unconscious.

    The Doctor, in short, is pretty badly broken. What can he do about this? Undo the event that broke him. Go back to reality, go back in time, and save the original girl on whom Clara/Oswin is based, even if this threatens to unravel the spacetime continuum. And this is what makes the TARDIS explode, and what makes the crack in time and so on. But it will all work out for the best. Because anyone can sacrifice someone for a greater good, but a great character would tear down the universe to save a friend.

    Craig @craig

    @scaryb Thanks. Head’s beginning to feel better. I think my earlier thoery about the Daleks and Cybermen fighting for control of the Doctor’s head may have been slightly influenced by my own situation 😀

    FiveFaces @fivefaces

    An episode with so many fascinating parts. I thought that Smith was superb. Seeing him be the evil Cyber-Planner provided super contrast to his suddenly more innocent and less-dark actual Doctor; he captures the young-old, brilliant innocent dynamic so well. Almost Davison-esque in places.  Lots and lots to think about.


    1) I loved the idea that the Doctor’s plan to erase himself from history leaves a gap, which one could use to reconstruct at least the idea of who the Doctor was/must have been. It reminded me of the beginning of John le Carre’s,The Honourable Schoolboy, when Smiley uses the activities of the mole to learn about the enquiries that the Soviets wanted to suppress, and so deduces what their weakness are. Someone else could work back through time, find the holes, and build a picture of the Doctor. I really like @lula ‘s idea that maybe someone is making up the story of the Doctor, out of the gaps he has left by trying to erase himself from history? Is it a friend (Clara?) or an enemy (the GI?).

    2) So Angie has a phone that the TARDIS made for her. I’m guessing she therefore has the TARDIS phone number – maybe, in a timey-wimey way, she’s the person who gave it to Clara. And she also gave Clara RYCBAR, ensuring that the Doctor knew he person he as talking to in Bells was indeed Clara. Perhaps Angie will turn out to be a major plot mover.

    3) Porridge was an emperor tired of the burdens of office, so he ran away from them. That could be an echo of the Doctor’s own running away from Gallifrey. Was he running away not out of boredom, or because of some dark secret, but from responsibilities he didn’t want and couldn’t face. After all, isn’t that the end of The Five Doctors?

    4) Apart from the images of his previous regenerations, the doctor explicitly says he has regenerated ten times, and he again echoes previous incarnations, with ‘fantastic’ (9) and ‘allons-y’ (10), just like ‘brave heart Clara’ last week. I wonder if the next time trailer when he says he is crossing his own timeline suggests that the place he can never go is his own past life (or lives). Are the fanged, but otherwise faceless, creatures horrific representations of earlier incarnations of the Doctor himself?

    5) This episode was all so Jekyll and Hyde, and we’ve had so much doubling up of Doctors and dark Doctors – as, of course, frequently noted here by eg. @juniperfish, that the idea of mirrors and parallel timelines looks so much more convincing now.

    Charlie Cook @charlie-cook

    Not relevant to current posts, but the ’emperor hidden in plain sight’ was similar to an episode of Blake’s Seven.

    Timeloop @timeloop

    @PhileasF Thanks for so many great ideas! And the time that took you to break it down =) There is much room for them even with the trailer. I cant really say much as I have been partly spoilt but I would love some of the themes you outlined in the actual episode.

    ” It could be misdirection, and no-one’s really been spoiled. If it’s only a character saying what’s happening, it could be a clip from early in the episode, when they think they’ve worked it out but they’re wrong).”

    As for the trailer you just dont see someone talk, you see (some) action 😉 Avoid it if you are strong enough for it 😉
    [If they did give nothing essential away that would be flabbergasting in TnotD]

    Anonymous @

    Spoiler (spoilerish discussion) …


    Do not pass ‘Go’ if you have not seen the trailers for next week’s episodes ….


    Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.  (The Catcher In The Rye)

    So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.  (The Great Gatsby)

    These quotes were found for another purpose on another thread, but they are apposite to general bonkers theorising for the whole series.  Theorisers on this site have so many literary references to call on that it’s an embarrassment of riches (and a massive tribute to everyone’s collective erudition); but these two quotes seem to fit seamlessly into the tapestry:

    The Doctor certainly seems headed to a place/time where he starts missing everybody, because he tells something.

    The Doctor will be crossing his own timelines, causing a major Tardis malfunction (where he might be ‘borne ceaselessly into the past’ or indeed ‘into the future’ …)

    WhoHar @whohar


    I have found most of this run enjoyable but the last half (of this half) has stalled a bit for me. “Hide” seems to be the peak IMO. I have hopes for the finale but they are not the grand hopes I had earlier on.

    Season 14 – remind me, is that early Pertwee?

    janetteB @janetteb

    Final theorising? Here’s my poor effort nothing new here, I have simply consolidated though I am so certain that I am hesitant to post my ideas here. (Though I have never been right before.)

    I think Clara is a construct of the Tardis. It can make things, of which we were reminded in this episode with the phone. (The phone served no pupose other than to remind us of this.) His comment about the skirt, while clearly echoing Cyber Doctor also implied that she is “smaller on the outside”.  Her comment in “Snowmen” implied a prior familiarity with the interior of the Tardis. The Tardis is her mother, hence all the mother and daughter references and she is created to be nanny/governess to the Doctor. She is the first assistant/companion in over a thousand years who does as she’s told. It has long been established that humans don’t take orders. Maybe the Dr programmed the Tardis to generate her and then “forgot” for some timey wimey reason or sent her back to an earlier spot in his time stream. Alternately she might have been created by River Song at some time when she was alone in the Tardis. Not sure I really like the idea of an assistant who is replicatable or presumably able to regenerate and is essentially a blank slate, especially as it is that “blankness” that makes Clara difficult to relate to. How any of this ties into the G.I and the explosion of the Tardis, I have no theory as yet. (Working on that one in my spare time.) I suspect that the G.I is simply a new recurring “big bad”.



    janetteB @janetteb

    Still pondering. We never find out how Clara’s mother dies. Maybe she was killed by the autons. (Rose) Possibly Clara also died then and current Clara is not the original either or maybe the past that Dr witnessed was a construct, hence the difference in leaves. Her only real characteristics are nurturing and a desire to explore/travel, though she cannot think of any specific locations. Still haven’t worked out how she gets scattered in time. Urgh. Can’t explain how she would end up on a Dalek planet or the Alaska/snowmen connection. Think my theory has just hit the dust. Maybe time I did some work..



    Bobbingbird @bobbingbird

    I’m really pleased that so many enjoyed NiS, and have been enjoying this series so much.

    I’m —- a bit — and how I hate to say this —- underwhelmed. Both by this episode and this run.

    The episode first: I loved the upgrades to the Cybermen and hope this will continue until they become “impossible to defeat”. I was annoyed that only one had the super speed updgrade, but am happy with @bluesqueakpip‘s take on why this might have been the case. Being a bit dim, I think they should have explained this in-show, however.

    Why oh why wasn’t this a two parter? What a cliff-hanger it would have been if the Doctor had lost the game of chess and with it the last 2% of his brain to the Cybercontroller. As it was – well hey ho, quick get out and it was all over. No tension, no story development. How was I supposed to take it seriously? Even the characters didn’t seem to. Too many jokey quips that belied the danger they were supposedly in.

    Which leads me to this run. The big problem for me is three-fold:

    1: No two parters. Every thing is too rushed. None of this series has been given space to breathe and develop. Characters are – sadly – pretty one dimensional.

    2: Lack of decent story arc. The Clara mystery hasn’t moved on from The Bells. We have had nothing to go on since. To be honest, I just don’t really care any more. I want to. I really do. As it is, it’ll all be resolved next week after a 5 week hiatus (other than weekly reminders that the Dr finds her impossible, and is obsessed with her) with no clues, not even hints as to who she is. It’s almost as if Moffatt (more on him below) thinks that the more he repeats the mantra that she’s impossible the more we’ll believe it. We’ve been tossed crumbs.

    Likewise The Doctor mystery. The last three seasons have been leading up to The Fields of Tranzalore, haven’t they? Moffatt has been playing the long game, hasn’t he? So why no arc to lead us to next week’s game-changing finale? We’ve (well you good people on this board have, I’ve given up) been speculating feverishly on what the Doctor’s big secret is. If there is a dark Doctor on the horizon. Whether we’re seeing two or even three Docs/timestreams/universes). But leading up to this supposedly huge episode? Nothing. Silence (pun intended). Just one-off, stand alone episodes.

    I just don’t feel engaged in this series the way I did with season 5 and 6. Not once have I felt like I couldn’t wait until next week to see what’s going to happen. I haven’t even been that bothered about rewatching the episodes (although I have. Of course I have).

    3: Sorry, most will hate this. I hate saying it, but here goes. Moffatt’s shameless self-promotion. Series 7.1 was overshadowed to a large extent by the speculation over Angels Take Manhatten, and how “not everyone get’s out alive, I really mean it this time!”. 7.2 has been overshadowed even more by The Name of the Doctor, and how the very future of Doctor Who is going to be changed.

    The whole of series 7 is centred on two Moffatt written episodes. The rest just feels like filler. Enjoyable filler, but filler nevertheless. I think this is a huge disservice to the writing team. To me, Moffatt’s (“you’ve been erased from Doctor Who!”) ego is beginning to negatively impact on the program.

    I do wonder if this series is Moffatt giving two-fingers to those who criticised the last two seasons. He was criticised (unfairly, I think) for the complicated story arcs, and lack of resolution (think the hissed “silence will fall” in the Big Bang). It’s almost like he’s thought “Sod it. One off episodes. No story arc at all. That’ll show them what they’re missing.” And I am missing it. I really am.

    Sorry about this everyone. I’m really not a subscriber to the hate Moffatt/Dr Who/BBC brigade. I am a huge fan and will continue to be so. I’m just becomming increasingly concerned. Please feel free to disagree.

    WhoHar @whohar


    I actually agree with all of 1., and the sentiment of 2. – particularly since Hide, we’ve had very little Clara arc to go on, and that’s frustrating for me.

    Regarding 3. – I’m not at all knowledgable about the internal machinations of the BBC but three Exec Prods in three years (I believe) would signal an issue somewhere in the DW team.

    Also, I agree that some of the promotion for this show is way over the top. It should “under promise and over deliver” but sometimes seems to be the other way around. I first noticed this at the start of series 6 when Moffat claimed that someone in TIA would die. Actually die, for real (not a verbatim quote). Of course once the Doc was ‘shot’, you just knew that couldn’t be the case and, pfft, the tension had gone. It would have been better if he’d not said it, IMO.

    The end result of all this is, I am a lot more concerned about the finale than I was a few short weeks ago, although I am still hopeful. As to the 50th, well. My theory is that Moffat has been focussing on that story so much, the main series has been left to run on autopilot a bit. On the plus side, that means the 50th should be an epic, not an epic fail. But that’s November, which seems a long way away right now.

    janetteB @janetteb

    I agree @bobbingbird re’ the two parters. I feel that this series has really suffered from rushed scripts. If episodes are to be 45 minutes then were need more two parters. I would much prefer the series to comprise entirely two parters rather than individual episodes that lack depth and tension. My partner suspects that the film is sped up. Some of the episodes certainly have that feel.

    I have enjoyed the episodes however and think Moffat has strewn clues about, mostly red herrings. They all benefit from a re watch and I can’t wait until next Saturday.



    Bobbingbird @bobbingbird


    I wonder if Caroline Skinner’s departure is anything to do with this? Apparently they had quite a falling out – hence the “you’re erased” outburst from Moffatt. I think you could be spot on with Moffatt focussing too much on the 50th. The trouble with this of course is that the series leading up to the 50th is (for me) a disappointment when it should be building up the excitement and anticipation for it.

    @janetteb – of course on Sunday (which is when I’ll see it) I’ll be on tenterhooks awaiting an (what I hope to be) amazing finale. Then everything will be forgiven and forgotten.

    Fickle? Me?

    confuseus @confuseus

    Watching this a second time, as with many Matt Smith’s episodes it’s actually better the second time around.

    I love the dark Doctor, Matt’s very good at menacing.

    I’m a bit clueless about where the story arc is going, it should be a good ending though I agree with @bobbingbird ‘s assessment about the stories being apparently filler episodes.  I thought at the end of Crimson Horror the Doctor had an idea of who Clara was, but at the end of this episode he seemed a totally clueless.  Clara increasingly behaves as if she is much older than she actually is, which takes me back to my theory that the GI downloaded more than just Clara back into her mind when she suddenly gained those remarkable computer skills.  Scattering clones of her through time to spark the Doctor’s interest and his guilt.

    Wait and see..

    CraigNixon @craignixon

    I was….meh.

    I liked it but it didn’t seem to grab me.

    The Cyberhand made me laugh (Its Thing from the Addams Family) and I agree with the comment that 3/4 Cybermen would have been creepier than 30040348374872384234 or however many.

    Overall, solid and likeable but could do better.  6.5/10


    (Hark at me, rating it like I’m qualified to)

    My prediction, the WHOLE thing over the last three seasons (or more)… Black Guardian.

    Establish Chaos by getting the Doctor to do bigger, badder, bolder things and disrupting whole systems.

    He nullified it a bit by getting Erased by Oswin, but the GI has been used to reconstruct it for other species (after all, the BG wouldn’t be affected by it).

    Clara is the White Guardians attempt to help the Doc. But, they were forced to flee by the Time War (and diminished), but the Chaos that called helped the BG get stronger but the WG can’t and is still weak.

    Maybe Clara is the embodiment of the Key of Time?

    Anonymous @

    @bobbingbird — actually, I also concur with your assessment of this series. I’ve found it far less involving than series five and six. And the primary reason, I think, was the ‘movie of the week’ concept. The arc elements have been far too lightweight, I think.

    I was going to post something on this anyway but since we’re hanging under a Damocles sword of imminent spoilerage this week, I’ll post it a bit earlier. My reservations about this series in general:

    1. Starting with the cosmetic. I don’t really like the new title sequence. It’s too whizz bang, flashy and, well, 80s. One of the things that RTD got right I think was to eschew starfields and flying faces and the like and go back to real old-school, dark, slightly creepy, vortex titles. It was much more unique to Who whereas the current titles try a bit too hard to ‘have their cake and eat it’ by trying to be both.

    2. The console room. I’ve just never warmed to this one. I can understand the desire to maybe dial back a bit on the whimsy of the previous one (although I quite liked it) but this is just way too clinical and just looks, well, like a set far too much. For all its idiosyncrasies, I thought Matt’s previous TARDIS interior struck me as a place where people actually lived and just hung out comfortably between adventures. The current one is a bit too much like an 80s nightclub after last orders.

    3. Matt’s costume. I haven’t really taken to that either. I get that it’s meant to mirror the various Doctors costumes over the years — Hartnell’s Edwardianness, Troughton’s bowtie, Pertwee’s purple filtered through Baker’s tweediness. But I think that’s just the problem with it. It looks too much like an arch Doctor ‘costume’ designed by committee. I thought Matt’s original costume, which played on a kind of 1930s boffin look was really good and was Doctor-ish, while still being different and giving him his own identity (something that all the previous Doctors benefited from). This new costume just seems to be ‘generic Doctor outfit’ and as such I think it has made the Doctor sink back into the background of the stories a bit. Not a good thing for an anniversary year.

    4. Now on the meat of the thing. The Clara arc has been a bit rubbish. Well, no, not rubbish, as such. Just underdeveloped. It got off to such a promising start — even better, I’d say, than the ‘shock’ ‘death’ of the Doctor in the previous series. It continued in good form with The Snowmen — surely the best use of a Christmas Special by the series — but all that potential now seems to have been frittered away to the point where I’m now mildly interested in finding out who Clara is, rather than on tenterhooks, brain buzzing with a million ridiculous theories.

    I suppose part of the problem is that, as @bobbingbird says, there seems to be this feeling of disengagement from Moffatt with this run. It’s essentially been book-ended by two showrunner-penned episodes, with not much of a feeling of involvement in between. I remember feeling a similar thing in season four of Buffy, as Joss Whedon’s attention was diverted with getting Angel off the ground. They might not think it, but the difference is always palpable to the viewer, I think.

    Although to be fair to Moffatt, he’s probably focusing his attention on the anniversary episode, as well as Sherlock. And perhaps the behind-the-scenes woes do also have something to do with this perception. I’m hoping that one day we’ll get a behind-the-scenes book on the Moffatt era of Who. I’m sure it will make very interesting reading.

    I suppose another part of the problem is that as arcs go, it’s not actually got that much to it. There aren’t really that many bits to the puzzle — it’s more like ‘who’s this girl? — oh, so that’s who she is’. I think the multi-Clara thing could have been emphasised one more time. If it had been me, I’d maybe would have had Clara not surviving JttCotT and the Doctor ‘acquiring’ another version of Clara for the last three episodes. A little dark, I know, but I think it would have helped perk up the arc no end.

    5. Pretty much all of the stories, with the exception perhaps of The Bells of St John, have very much felt that they would have benefited from being two-parters. This surely would have been sensible if they had wanted an ‘epic’ movie feel too. Plus I would have thought from a budgetary point of view it would have made sense, if money is so tight these days. Certainly Nightmare in Silver seemed to be crying out to be a two-parter, as did Cold War.

    It all this sounds like I haven’t enjoyed this series, then that’s not the case, because I have. I think there have been some really strong stories here, as good as anything in previous series. But there has also been something of a disconnect this year. This, I think, has been largely down to Clara, who has been strangely one note — cocky, quirky, bit of a smart alec. This is not a reflection on JLC who I think has been very good but more on the character she’s playing. The ‘mystery’ aspect means that I’ve been actively prevented from warming to her as a companion.

    Compare this to Amy who must surely be one of the most prickly, challenging companions of either iteration of the show but who I still found myself warming to pretty quickly because she was the ‘access point’ to the show. This becomes even more important when you have a Doctor who is much more of an unknowable, alien presence than his predecessors.

    PhileasF @phileasf

    @WhoHar, season 14 was about the middle of Tom Baker’s run, consisting of The Masque of Mandragora, The Hand of Fear, The Deadly Assassin, The Face of Evil, The Robots of Death and The Talons of Weng-Chiang. To my mind it’s the most consistently good season of the original series. (Season 13 — Terror of the Zygons to Seeds of Doom — is a close second, but season 5, Patrick Troughton’s middle season — Tomb of the Cybermen to The Wheel in Space — might be a contender if I could see more of it.)

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @bobbingbird and @janetteb – generally speaking, I’ve enjoyed 7b considerably more than 7a – barring the one bobble with Journey ttCotT, which was technically excellent but, for me fell flat emotionally.

    I think there is an arc behind these seemingly standalone, single episode stories – but probably not the kind of arc you can pick up on beforehand. I hope Moffat’s going for an ‘epiphany’ experience for the audience; a sudden striking revelation that will make the oddly disjointed nature of 7b (and 7a) suddenly make complete sense.

    And it is oddly disjointed; they’ve basically taken a tour through the Doctor’s ‘greatest hits’. Great Intelligence, Virgin Sacrifices, Ice warriors, Scientific Advisor, Victorian horror story and the Cybermen. Throughout, the Doctor has made constant references to his previous selves. 7a made a quick ‘short story’ style tour through the highlights of his relationship with Rory and Amy.

    So I’d go for the ‘memory’ and ‘story’ bonkers theories; the whole of S7 has been disjointed because we’re watching a story; a story told by the Doctor. A Doctor whose body has been taken over and who no longer has undisputed access to his own memories. We’ve been watching the construction of a Mind Palace. Or rather, the construction of a Mind Fortress. He is telling himself his own story; not to find a way out – he’s helpless. But because all he can do is keep part of himself alive and rely on his friends to do the rescuing. He’s picked the stories which are the most central to ‘The Doctor’, and sometimes he’s having to fill in the gaps – or leave gaps.

    We’ve been watching him remember the most important parts of his life; and that most important part started in a junkyard in Totters Lane. And we haven’t seen the bits he wants to forget – like the Time War.

    Doctor: Anything that is remembered – can be brought back.

    River: We’re all stories in the end.

    Anonymous @

    @bluesqueakpip — if that turns out to be the case, that will be awesome and will unreservedly retract any earlier grouchiness…..

    PhileasF @phileasf

    @craignixon, nice theory about the Guardians. They’re one of the best ideas of the original series that hasn’t been seen yet in the new series.

    If there’s someone that could fill the gap left by the Doctor’s seeming absence from history, it would be one of those guys. But which one would think him more essential — the guardian of order or the guardian of chaos? Maybe they’d each want their own.

    Regarding story arcs. I get that a lot of TV viewers love an arc these days. It’s something I started noticing when Babylon 5, arguably the series that popularised arcs, was on air. (I say ‘arguably’, because Twin Peaks is a strong contender). Once people fell in love with the arc, whenever the show did a standalone episode they’d hate it, because it wasn’t part of the arc. I always found it a bit sad that people would fail to enjoy a perfectly good story just because it wasn’t a chapter of a different story they wanted to see. As someone who usually has 5 or 6 books on the go at once, maybe the prospect of a delayed continuation of one story doesn’t prevent me enjoying another story.

    I agree that a lot of episodes seem like they’d benefit from a second episode. But on the other hand, the two-parters written by writers other than Steven Moffat have generally been among my least favourite of the new series. I think everything moves so fast these days that two episodes of the new show is just too much, unless you can make each episode quite different. (Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone is a good example — same set of characters, but the situation changes a lot from episode 1 to 2). For episodes that seem too short, I think generally another 15 minutes would be sufficient.

    CraigNixon @craignixon

    I always liked Ghost in the Shell (TV) take on it. It’d tell you in the Opening Credits if it was a Complex (Arc) episode or Stand alone.

    Hmmm..I need to watch that again. Its been too long

    Lula @lula

    @bobbingbird  @JimTheFish   You both summed up my exact feelings about this series, with one exception–I rather enjoy Matt’s costume.  The waistcoat and fob watch are so old-fashioned that they’re in fashion, and the purple just does it for me, especially since I spent most of S6 theorizing about the whole blue Doctor/red Doctor.  Red+blue=purple!  It has to mean something, right?  🙂

    For me, splitting the seasons into part A and B isn’t a terrible tactic, because American shows do it all the time. Which is to say that I’m used to the practice.  (Hi, Breaking Bad, I’m speaking to you…having one half of Season 5 in the summer of 2012 and the other in 2013 is just rude.)  I believe we suffered this series because 7A was, obviously, Pond-centric, whereas B has given us 8 episodes of hearing the Doctor ask, “Who are you?” or exclaim, “She’s not possible!”  Clara is a mystery that, at this point, only Steven Moffat seems excited about!  Jenna-Louise Coleman is delightful and I really love having her in the Tardis, however I haven’t formed an emotional attachment to her as I did with all the previous companions.  But had we not met her in AotD (credit to Moffat, that was a stroke of genius, because no one expected it), she would have felt even more disjointed for me in this second half of the series.

    Further, I didn’t realize what the lack of 2-parter episodes would feel like until this series.  Frankly, it feels like crap.  Where’s my Silence/Forest?  Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon?  Yes, I mention those 4 episodes because they’re some of my favorites, but they also feature River, and S7 has suffered due to lack of her.  I know that’s an unpopular opinion, but River-centric episodes are always 75% more fun for me, and I’m not ashamed of being a tremendous fangirl for her!

    All of this is to say that for me, a less-than-perfect series of Doctor Who is still exceptionally better than most of the television programming currently being broadcast–in both America or England.  Last week I turned on my DVR to watch the latest episode of Nashville, but saw that Curse of the Black Spot recorded earlier in the day.  I watched it instead, and I think we’re all in agreement about that particular hour of Doctor Who.  Still…I chose to view it over a brand new hour full of Connie Britton’s luxurious hair, so I’m pretty sure that speaks volumes for my love of the mad man with the blue box.


    OsakaHatter @osakahatter

    @phileasf – was about to say the same thing about two parters.  They’re a hard thing to accomplish, 2 stories that work as standalones, but the first sets up the second well, the second resolves the first satisfyingly, viewed together they still work (which almost demands a 3 act structure across the 2 episodes.)

    I think you’re right that most of this season’s run could have benefited from a longer run time, rather than 2 parts.  And if fact, a two parter in some cases could have been detrimental – for example,  CH as two parts we could have lost that wonderful flashback sequence in favour of more detail on Dr and Clara investigating.  I’d have liked seeing more of the Dr contemplating what losing the TARDIS would mean in JTTCOTT but not over another full episode.  Hide got criticised in some quarters for having too much ending.

    On  the other hand, RoA could have really benefited from being a two parter to contrast the wonder and excitement at exploring another world with the horror of sacrifice and imminent destruction.  The switch from the false threat of the Mummy to the true threat of Grandfather could have been handled better over two parts (thinking about it – is this foreshadowing the end of the season, a false threat that is actually only a herald of the true danger in plain sight?)

    I’m struggling to think of any non-Moffat examples that work completely.  RTD S1 finale perhaps – his conclusions tended to fall a bit flat (to the point where the unexpected (if you managed to watch unspoiled) 3 parter at the end of S3 worked brilliantly for 2/3’s with Utopia and Sound of Drums, but Last of the Time Lords just didn’t quite live up to it for me).  Quite a few of the others felt like too much story for 45 minutes, not enough for 90 – Rebel Flesh and Almost People perfect examples of this.

    janetteB @janetteb

    I am with you @lula on Matt’s costume for this series. I really like it but I am totally in agreement with @jimthefish on the resdesign of the Tardis interior. I just don’t think it works. I don’t have such a problem with the opening but the face looks more like Colin Baker than Matt which bothers me. @osakahatter  I don’t think the two parts of a two parter need to be stand alone.

    @phileasf Apparantly JMS (B.5.) was inspired by shows like Dr Who and more especially Blakes Seven. The way series are shown in the U.S. (with breaks mid season) created lots of problems with designing an arc story. Personally what attracted me to B.5 and more recently Fringe was the arcs. I have never been a fan of series like Star Trek which consist entirely of stand alone episodes. So naturally I love Dr Who arcs and want more arc even when I suspect that sometimes the writers get themseles tied in knots which they can’t unravel.




    HTPBDET @htpbdet

    In defence of the Children

    I liked them and I am happy to admit it.

    I think they did precisely what the script required of them and then some.

    Artie was a cute nerd who spoke in tones which suggested he was not really Angie’s sister. Another mystery? Or pure co-incidence? His being taken by the Cyberman was scary. His delivery of the cyber-controlled line was faultless – and Angie’s scream real.

    Angie has the harder part, because she is trying to be the cool “whatevs” snarky one – yet, she provided the solution when it was, actually,  staring at everyone in the face. She knew who Porridge was because she had paid attention. Her joy at the anti-grav ride was great – as were her complaints about “the stupid box” and the Moonbase feel. She was unafraid to challenge the Doctor. There was a consistency to what she did which made her seem very normal to me.

    My daughter was once abducted at a fair ground. She was 14. She was found, unhurt and safe, about an hour later – her mad abducter had just wanted a little girl to go on the ride his own daughter had died on years earlier (that child had suffered from a hole in the heart and she died unexpectedly) – but she had been terrified, told me she had screamed a lot until he told her he would tape her mouth if she didn’t stop and cried – but as soon as she was back with me and her brothers, she hugged me and wanted an ice-cream. Children are very good at dealing with absurdly disturbing things.

    My nephews were glad they were there. Firstly, because it was “cool that kids like us get to fly in the TARDIS ant just grown-ups”. Secondly, because if the kids were not there, then, “inevitably, Clara would have been the one cyber-ised” and they preferred her in all the castle action, especially her “brilliant electrocution plan”. Thirdly, although none would admit this, it was not as scary because the kids were there and there was no way they were going to die.

    My eldest nephew though it was quite clear why the TARDIS gave Angie a phone: its a bribe to ensure loyalty and a way to control any attempt to use it to spread secrets the Doctor would rather not be spread.

    They had no trouble with why the kids were told to sleep in Webley’s trailer. The Doctor would not lock them in the TARDIS because Angie couldn’t be trusted not to wander around and, as Journey showed, the interior of the TARDIS is full of traps for the unwary. They would not have gone to sleep in the Armybase – so where else was there? And both Porride and Webley had been safe as houses there for some time.

    I am with my nephews. I liked the children and do not see that anything they did was damaging or suspense-breaking. In fact, I think they helped the show – because it was able to be that thing only Doctor Who can be – quirky, childish, murderous, thrilling, scary and unexpected all at once. 

    I found it to be 45 minutes of mostly pure pleasure. (I will come back to that when I am feeling braver)


    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @htpbdet – I thought the kids were fine little actors, but not brilliantly directed. When they knew what they were doing, as you say, they delivered faultlessly; but I got the feeling the young actress playing Angie wasn’t given much help in varying the tones of the ‘an interstellar journey through time, whatever’ attitude.

    But that might be just me. I very much enjoyed the story; when the closing credits rolled I found myself saying ‘That was fun!’ out loud. :blush:

    Anyway; regarding the bonkers theory that we’re watching the construction of a memory fortress, the Doctor retelling himself his own story so he can keep part of himself alive – wouldn’t it be fun if we see this new, unexplained control room up to nearly the end of the finale? And then Clara walks into the control room – and we see the steampunk control room never really changed? This new one is the one in the Doctor’s head. 😀


    @HTPBDET – quite right. And of course, by spotting Porridge’s secret, Angie was more the companion that Clara, which may or may not prove significant.

    OsakaHatter @osakahatter

    @janetteb – I was more getting at that its not as simple as writing a long story and cutting it in half (and I’m not suggesting that that is what you’re saying) – both episodes need an internal structure.  The first ep should leave you wanting to see more, not that ‘huh!? It’s already over?’ feeling.  My least favourite episode of SM’s run is Lets Kill Hitler (and I’m no critic of the last few years, I think we’ve been spoiled with a generally very high standard) – and I think my Iissue with that was because it only works when viewed as part of the whole, as a standalone viewing experience it lacks something.

    I’m sure I saw something justifying The Hobbit being split into 3 films was because 3 films could each have an internal structure and logic that couldn’t be managed with 2, without rushing one film and dragging the other out (neatly avoiding the ‘well keep it as one’ argument of course).

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    It’s been interesting to read all the feedback on the series as well. I can understand some frustration in some of our number. As I wrote last week, we’re a fairly broad church. As @jimthefish hasn’t engaged as much, @htpbdet appears more so. I had my doubts about the “movie poster of the week” format, but with a few reservations I’ve really enjoyed it. The main reservation has already been expressed a few times – some episodes have far too many good ideas crammed into a short period. While not full two parters perhaps, a running time of 60 mins like the Christmas specials would maybe have been a better fit.

    The first half of the series seems to be labelled as “The End of the Ponds”, and the second “The mystery of Clara”. Rewatching them it’s easy to see why, especially with the break in the series, and the TARDIS redesign. For me though, watching them all in a row, if series 5 and 6 were about Amy, Rory and River, this season is all about the ramifications of that period. It’s not really about the companions. It’s more about the Doctor himself. Hence, I think, the reason why no companion seems to truly travel with the Doctor “full time” in the episodes themselves. They are more like little trips.

    If this is a series about the Doctor, Matt Smith has played it to near perfection. From giddy humour to loss, pain, loneliness and obsession. Bewildering and compulsive viewing.

    I’ve really enjoyed it, but I think I favour the S5/S6 approach. A mix-up does keep things fresh in the overall scheme of things though. One of the responses by Dan Martin in his blog seemed to indicate this split series may have been a compromise – something different to the “year of specials”. If that is so, I really favour this approach. Who knows? Difficult times at the Beeb, and you can’t help but wonder if certain decisions labelled “creative” (for example holding back a filmed Christmas special for Top Gear, extending it and using it as the last two episodes of a series) are really more about money?

    Whatever. I’m eagerly awaiting the finale.

    HTPBDET @htpbdet

    At the risk of being denounced as a heretic, I really do not think that the finale will see any memories (except perhaps Clara’s being used to fix the Doctor maybe) and I don’t think it will be a dream, in the Doctor’s head or that the Doctor will wake up suddenly possessed by Cyberaid or Dalek hive entitites.

    Moffat is pretty predictable in his unpredictableness.

    I have been saying for a while that I think Clara will, in some paradoxical way, possibly with the kelp of the TARDIS, create herself as the Impossible Girl. And the trailer seems to back that up.

    She might be normal or she might be someone – but she is going to make herself Impossible here – I feel sure of it. Maybe River helps – not sure.

    We know the GI is there – and I would not be surprised if that is a trick, a cover. I am sure they will be important and they will probably possess the Doctor’s mind, it having been weakened by the experience with the Cybermen.

    But the “game-changing” moment… I don’t think that is going to be about the GI.

    @jimthefish made an excellent point about there being a deliberate plan to celebrate THE Doctor Who monsters. So we have had the big five – Daleks, Cybermen, GI, Sontarans and Ice Warriors one way or another. And we have been told the Zygons are coming. It almost makes me wonder if the Nestenes are lurking around somewhere.

    But then I realised that Asylum was really part of the Pond story. So maybe, we have not had the Daleks as yet in this celebratory mode? Maybe Asylum was a feint? Maybe they are coming in the finale?

    I wonder too if  Clara being around to save the Doctor turns out somehow to be a surprise plot point – maybe she has saved him when she shouldn’t have – say in Rings?

    Moffat says it is in plain sight – well there is nothing in more plain sight than the Doctor. By saving him, has Clara altered some time line – or, as we saw foreshadowed in Journey, could her saving of him in Rings somehow have a retrospective effect on his life which alters it and therefore him – and maybe other things? Is this how River gets released and becomes corporeal again? Will the doctor be faced with the dilemma of restoring his timeline and losing River or not restoring it. Will his failure to restore the timeline mean a brand new start?

    Whatever happens it is certain to be timey wimey, involve at least one maybe more paradoxes and given how there is so much emphasis on Clara saving the Doctor I am betting that she will have saved him one time too many (and Rings looks like the one because the leaf thing was so odd) and that will somehow cost the Eleventh dearly.

    And she didn’t save him in Silver – somehow I wonder if that is a clue too? That she doesn’t always save him; she may be Impossible but not Infallible?

    Rather sadly, I think I have given up hope on her being Susan. 🙁

    Anonymous @

    @phaseshift — please don’t think I haven’t enjoyed this series because I very much have. I think it’s been a very strong run of stories. I just think it’s suffered from the lack of a sufficiently strong arc, which I think, despite the naysayers on the Graun a year or so back, is kind of needed these days. Even the relatively light structure of Bad Wolf way back in series one helped give the series structure, slowly raising the stakes and the excitement with every passing episode and rising to the crescendo of the finale (yes, I know that things don’t actually rise to a crescendo but there you go…)

    It just seems to me that this run has lacked, I don’t know, cohesion, somehow…

    I also think JLC has been a little unfairly hamstrung by the Clara mystery. She’s clearly talented and I think will be a great companion but the ‘who’s that girl’ aspect has kept her a little too much at a distance.

    @htpbdet — Yes, I’m wondering what the game-changer is going to be. I tend to think it’s either going to be a Dark Doctor or a female regeneration. Maybe it’ll be both.

    I like your point about the Who monsters. I don’t remember making it so it’s likely that it’s probably someone else’s good idea (or I was very, very drunk at the time….) It struck me that multiple Claras could well be Nestene duplicates with only one original knocking about. And when you think about it the GI and the Nestene Consciousness are quite similar Big Bads. I wouldn’t be surprised if they ended up in an alliance or turned out to be different aspects of the same thing. Maybe they’re both offshoots of The Matrix which has gone rogue since the end of the Time War with no Time Lords to control it and is seeking corporeality itself.

    I’m also wondering if we’re actually going to see River in physical form. Perhaps all we’ll get is some kind Obi Wan like spectre from the Library. (I’m still suspecting that we might see a return to the Library at the weekend.)

    I think the idea that Clara is some kind of computer program designed to save the Doctor is gaining a lot of ground too. Is she like the human equivalent of the fob watch? Or is it the other way round? Does the Doctor’s new fob watch contain the essence of another Time Lord (Romana? The Corsair? River?) which will be released at some point on Saturday?

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    Rather sadly, I think I have given up hope on her being Susan.

    To be honest, reading your excellent blogpost on companions made me give up on that.

    It appealed to the romantic in me for the 50th. The Doctor sailing away with his offspring again to see the Universe. A “Why not? That’s how it all started” moment for the 50th, echoing The Fifth Doctors line to Tegan in “The Five Doctors”. Yes – that gives us a great moment for an anniversary, but does it really drive the Doctor story onwards? I don’t think it does.

    OsakaHatter @osakahatter

    @bobbingbird, @jimthefish, @phaseshift – personally, I also found the S5/S6 approach better with a more solid arc to get our teeth into, but then have also thoroughly enjoyed each episode of 7b (I do however think the Clara mystery should have been either deepened or resolved by now).  Thinking back, there was a hell of a lot of (spurious) criticism from the press during s5/s6, all that it’s too complex for kids nonsense.  Wonder if there’s been a compromise this season for the 50th celebrations to avoid negative press and speculation about the future of the show?  Can’t say I’ve noticed any negative stories recently?

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    @jimthefish & @osakahatter

    I think there is a season long arc in play, and The Dark Doctor is what we are seeing to a certain extent. I think we are so used to seeing the arc as being a companion issue there is a tendency to put your attention on them. I started to reappraise after Journey and put my thoughts into the G blog. On speculation I’ve tended to focus on my Doctor ideas and the “hippocratic oath”.


    I think the Doctors obsession with Clara is being played beautifully. At one point I thought my theory that she was an artificial construct of the TARDIS was going to be realised (the description of a machine that built other machines) but the likelihood seems to be she is an ordinary girl, who will later become the impossible girl in some future event.

    He starts of Series 7 disconnected from Amy and Rory, never continually travelling with them it seems. Makes questionable decisions, loses them and goes into retreat a massive sulk. Clara gets him interested and, although he loses her, there is a bigger mystery.

    In the prequel to BoStJ we saw a young Clara tell the Doctor how she got her Mojo back. We, I suppose, can see a parallel. The mystery of Clara has energised the Doctor out of retirement. Determined to unravel “what she is”. In Bells a lucky phone call forces a meeting and he saves her life after he looks like he been obsessing for a while over her picture. In Rings we see him basically stalking her parents and her early life. He wanders off and leaves her to her own devices. No real concern. He puts her in the face of danger in “CW” and forces her to explore the house she’s not really keen on in Hide. In JttCoTT, he’s basically demented and paranoid towards the end, demanding to know her secret, and in Nightmare in Silver he casually puts her and kids in danger again. Perhaps you feel disconnected from her because there is no sense at all he really cares for her other than solving her mystery.

    Pretty dark Doctor? This isn’t a Doctor with his mojo back. This is obsessed Doctor, not believing what he’s seen of her past and what he is told – that she is a normal girl, and this obsession and travels with him have caused these other Clara’s in a way. I loved @haveyoufedthefish’s (I think) theory that the future Clara could have been caused by the events of JttCotT. We don’t know the time period for Asylum except for a human future.

    So I think that Clara really isn’t the focus. The story here is The Doctors. About how secrets, wars against him, prophecies and the desire to be unknown is changing him.

    In a meta way, we had a jokey nod of the head to speculators in TPoT.

    Brian: What if they’re bombs? Billions of tiny bombs? Or transport capsules maybe, with a mini-robot inside. Or deadly hard drives! Or alien eggs? Or messages needing decoding. Or. They’re all parts of a bigger whole. Jigsaw puzzles that need fitting together.
    The Doctor: Very thorough, Brian.

    So with all this talk of “mirroring” perhaps the ultimate meta reference is mirroring the Doctor paranoid obsession onto us? We, as the audience after the events of S5 and S6, are really having difficulty believing she’s normal as well?

    SatsumaJoe @satsumajoe

    @bluesqueakpip Might that explain the curious line about breaking the TARDIS in?

    Galactus @galactus

    Some great theories on here, especially about the Doctor’s journey perhaps being this series’ story arc rather than what ostensibly seems to be another one for a companion.

    @phaseshift I took your suggestion of Saturday night on board and have written a few words on Sandman for Who bloggers. I can post them here, somewhere else, or email them to you to see what you think.

    Incidentally, did you see the news last year that Gaiman’s writing a prequel to Preludes and Nocturnes?

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    That’s brilliant. It’s probably best if you post directly yourself. I think @craig needs to make you an author (hopefully he’ll receive an e-mail with this on) and then follow his advice which I’ve copied from the Website comments thread.

    Basically I think you just need to hover over the +New tab in the top bar and choose “Post” you will then be given a screen where you add a title for your post, and then in the main box just paste your post. After that, just click publish on the right and your done. I’ll sort out any formatting issues, if there are any, afterwards.

    I had heard that something new was going on, but hadn’t heard it was a prequel. I’ll look forward to reading it and your piece. Many thanks – the blog roll increases.

    Craig @craig

    @galactus I’ve made you an author, so please go ahead and post, following the advice as laid out by @phaseshift

    Many thanks for doing that. I have every single issue of Sandman in original comic form but haven’t re-read them in years, so look forward to your post. That really was another Golden age for comics around that time.

    ScaryB @scaryb

    Sorry so many people were undewhelmed by NiS. Have watched it again and still confirming my first reaction – I really loved it, not just looking for clues, but got carried away with the story. Some minor quibbles, eg agree they didn’t really need 3 m cybermen and recreation of the end of  Zulu, since a dozen or so would have been enough to terrify… though not enough to go and repopulate the universe. Presumably they wanted the Tomb of the Cybermen moment tho. By doing the army they had to revert to clumpy – 3m zooming about on superspeed setting would probably be messy. But an explanation would have been nice!

    Couple of things I picked up on second time thro – when the cyberplanner first moves into the Dr’s mind he says “not a human brain, not even slightly human”

    So we now have the Dr verified as defnitely not human, as Clara has been verified human

    It’s very fast – but just after Angie has been given the coin and they have the chat next to the emperor’s waxwork, you see Angie look at the coin, look at the waxwork, turn round to where Porridge had been, look thoughtful.

    I got sidetracked earlier – what was the Lampwick poster about @wolfweed ? I thought that came from the episode and had a whole Pinochio theory worked out with Clara as construct but becoming a real girl next week.  DOH!

    Galactus @galactus

    @phaseshift @craig have published. May need some formatting. Hope you like it.

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