S33 (7) 8 – The Rings of Akhaten

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    chickenelly @chickenelly

    Speaking of memories & grandparents

    1) Clara remembered seeing the Doctor at her mother’s funeral only at the end of the episode, is he therefore retrospectively visiting her past and implanting himself in her memories?

    2) The little girl was dressed in a red hood, but instead of seeing grandmother, she was to see grandfather – who gets eaten by the big bad wolf.

    I would be surprised if Clara turns out to be related to the Doctor, we’ve already done that with Amy/Rory/River Song arc.

    Pufferfish @pufferfish

    That Lewis Carroll reference manages to wend its way through a LOT of ’60s songs, such as Puff, the Magic Dragon and Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides, Now but Mitchell’s ‘Tin Angel’ appears to have a relevance here that’s spooky. To wit, its lyrics:

    Varnished weeds in window jars
    Tarnished beads on tapestries
    Kept in satin boxes are
    Reflections of love’s memories

    Letters from across the seas
    Roses dipped in sealing wax
    Valentines and maple leaves
    Tucked into a paperback

    Guess I’ll throw them all away
    I found someone to love today

    Dark with darker moods is he
    Not a golden Prince who’s come
    Through columbines and wizardry
    To talk of castles in the sun

    Still I’ll take a chance and see
    I found someone to love today

    There’s a sorrow in his eyes
    Like the angel made of tin
    What will happen if I try
    To place another heart in him

    In a Bleeker Street cafe
    I found someone to love today
    I found someone to love today 


    ScaryB @scaryb

    @pufferfish – Nice call. But then Joni has a habit of being relevant! There’s also “We are stardust, Billion year old carbon, we are golden” from Woodstock… bloody hippies!! 😉

    Craig @craig

    @lula Great first (proper) post. Looking forward to more. I agree that Smith’s speech should be nominated, even if the episode was a bit light.

    Much food for thought. Not sure about “We are the world” though, and personally Clara’s Mum’s a lot more hot than Clara’s Dad, if I had to choose 😀

    ScaryB @scaryb

    Having rewatched, it’s easy to see why the trolls and old school Whovians would have a go at this.

    It’s about the joy and excitement of the first adventure for a companion, and as such it’s heavier on the fantasy than sci fi. The story is about establishing Clara’s character.  (Classical) music saves the day – never a popular one, that!  Music soothing savage beasts has long tradition though. But obv doesn’t work on trolls!

    @phaseshift posted interesting link a few days ago – interview with Moffatt where he clearly states that the companion is who the story happens to and is the one on the journey. There are limits to how much the Doctor can change (barring a regeneration).  Early Who was more about the Dr and companion(s) all being observers of/visitors to the stories of the people where they landed ( a more post-colonial attitude?).

    Then again, Doctor Who has always been about shaking up formula every so often. Which is why it’s lasted so long.

    Adapt or die! Evolution rocks baby!

    Tiddler @tiddler

    Thanks for the welcome, Juniperfish – that’s why this site is soooo much better than the Guardian blog, everyone’s so friendly (that and the lack of hideous nesting!).

    Anyway, can’t come up with quite such a comprehensive first proper post as Lula, but in relation to the order of things happening, when Clara was explaining to the Doctor at the end of BoSJ how she came to be looking after the Maitland kids, she said she came to stay for a week and the Doctor says that then their mother died “and you were returning the favour” – implies that at that stage he had already done the investigating and knew her mum had died.

    ScaryB @scaryb

    Interesting take on religion in this.  The Doctor is evidently not a creationist but recognises that faith or belief in something is important to people. So long as it’s a benign system he isn’t going to criticise how people live their lives. Indeed, he’s happy to participate in the ceremony, as being something of a special experience.  Presumably the little girl wasn’t intended as a sacrifice originally, but was to become the new singer (the old one buggered off pretty sharpish as soon as he thought things were about to get tricky – uh oh, lullaby didn’t work, I’m outta here! Kudos to the girl for wanting to fix things) – a lot of it, inc the costuming, made me think of the Kumari tradition in Nepal (young girls selected at early age to become “living goddesses”).

    Bit of a reversal on the usual – singing to your god to keep it asleep – ie they reckon they get on fine without any interference from divine beings! Presumably no one remembers the last time it awoke, but they still observe the ceremonial traditions.

    ScaryB @scaryb

    All the attention on Clara’s mum… where’s her Dad?

    ScaryB @scaryb

    @bluesqueakpip – need your awesome research skills on 11/9/60. Well done on 05/3/05 connection. Another thing I picked up somewhere was a suggestion that in the Xmas special the Dr is vague on the details of his previous experience with the GI, cos these are among the episodes that were wiped. Love it!

    Pufferfish @pufferfish

    Argh, BT Internet just ate a massive post. But I’m glad of the space to entertain all manner of Who-hah because CiF commenting clashes with work and the usual dedicated sites give me the RMDEs.

    Joni Mitchell seems (like Tom Waits) to be a THING with Scotsmen of a certain vintage.

    Clara’s mother dies the same day Rose Tyler goes ‘missing’. Clara doesn’t record the year 2005 (her 16th) or 2012 (her 23rd). Think the Doctor hasn’t been to see her at 23 yet, but that’s coming, and both will be ‘forgotten’ years for that reason.

    ScaryB @scaryb


    1) Clara remembered seeing the Doctor at her mother’s funeral only at the end of the episode, is he therefore retrospectively visiting her past and implanting himself in her memories?

    He’s doing the TL equivalent of googling!

    2) The little girl was dressed in a red hood, but instead of seeing grandmother, she was to see grandfather – who gets eaten by the big bad wolf.

    Love it 🙂


    Craig @craig

    Hey @tiddler

    Glad to have you here, and fantastic that you like it. Look forward to hearing all your bonkers theories.

    Just a little note. If you put an @ symbol before one of our names then it becomes a link and we’ll get an email saying “You’ve been mentioned”.

    No biggie, but if you mention someone that way then they’re more likely to check out your post. Which is always cool.


    HaveYouFedTheFish @haveyoufedthefish

    @chickenelly – good catch on red riding hood: lots of nursery rhymes and children’s stories woven in, in a story about singing lullabies…

    The hover bike FX have been getting a lot of stick but I’m prepared to believe that was deliberate as homage the the ropey 80s Flash Gordon movie (shot at similar angles too). The same applies to most of the other criticisms as well – star wars and Raiders is mostly implausible, weakly plotted shallow spectacle held together with wit, cracking dialogue and bombastic music (and we loved them all the more for it). What people are calling weaknesses of this ep to me just seem a fun, one-off celebration of them, though given the reaction, maybe a miscalculation.

    I wonder if the movie blockbuster nature of the episodes is also a meta reference to the kind of contemporary movies Who was competing with over the years and incorporating into itself e.g “bells” was James Bond (pertwee), this week was 80s space opera, dinosaurs maybe 60s Harryhausen etc?

    On the numerology front, 5th march makes sense as the date ClaraTheShow becomes separate and distinct from and no longer protected by the parent who gave birth to and nurtured her/it (ie the classic series). 1960 is tough to weave into that though as neither Newman or Lambert even worked for the beeb that far back. Maybe a reveal for AAISAT?

    Also – tardis doors. Maybe this was a test of the doctors. He knew Victorian Clara had a key, would this Clara know she would need one ? (it appears not, doesn’t even occur to her – the “tardis doesn’t like me” is redolent of a technophobe thinking the computer doesn’t like her rather than that she’s doing something wrong). Seems like just the kind of test you might do to see if her incarnations are connected or even just unconciously share knowledge and her innocence is all artifice, which the doc clearly suspects.

    Anonymous @

    Agree with the Flash Gordon riff. That crossed my mind too.

    Still bemused with all the hate on the Guardian blog. Finding myself getting quite riled by the ‘I hated it so the show should be immediately cancelled’ brigade. I’ll never understand that aspect of fandom. So, another big thanks to @craig for creating a haven of civility for Who discussion methinks….

    Another thought RE. the TARDIS ‘rejecting’ Clara. Such a big deal was made of this that it has to be significant. Maybe it’s not THE TARDIS but A TARDIS. I’m still tempted by the idea that the TARDIS makeover was to differentiate between different Docs when the time comes.

    HaveYouFedTheFish @haveyoufedthefish

    Also it being “all about the future, not the past” is a theme that keeps cropping up (you’d think as a reference to the anniversary and maybe an admonishment to old fans) but equally could apply to Clara. The doc is wasting time digging into her past when it’s her future that is significant (and it’s her future not past selves he’s so far met which weirdly doesn’t seem to have occurred to him).

    I’ve said elsewhere what I think that future might be; unlike every other nu who companion, she’s about to be a tragic victim, not some dues ex machina saviour (Rose, Donna esp)

    HaveYouFedTheFish @haveyoufedthefish

    @jimthefish – probably this should go on the sofa stream but my filing is notoriously chaotic:

    I found CIF is now just a horrible experience and I suspect Dr Who is now subject to professional trolling; at least on person this week was canvassing for people to vote up “I hated it” comments, which is a hallmark of paid-for negative PR campaigns (however I may underestimate the self loathing of who fans).

    It’s a high profile show,there are plenty of commercial rivals to the beeb who would like it to see it devalued in the publics eyes, especially on an ep with an apparently high budget so they can roll out the “wasting tax payers money” argument too.

    ScaryB @scaryb

    @jimthefish Re trolls – I know, but what can you do?  Much of the critiscism is lazier than the scripting they accuse of the same thing.

    Re the Dr’s ego (ref your recent blog-tussle) – if anything they really have pulled it right back down this series. Few people know the Dr when he first arrives somewhere. His big speech in this was built up to, seemed more like offering a tempting menu to the “god” rather than boasting – it wasn’t about what he’d done or achieved, it was about what he remembered. (And shows a different side to him than the potentially creepy stalker Clara might otherwise come away with).

    This episode was about getting to know Clara a bit more – interesting to speculate that her later feistiness eg in Asylum, comes from her experiences with the Dr.   And about conveying the sheer heady excitement of travelling in the TARDIS, esp for the first time.

    Plus as you say, this was Who doing “big sci fi/fantasy genre” with lots of nods to classics from the past.  I liked the big speech – if you’re going to copy/pay tribute to, do it from/to the best!  Most of the current target audience wouldn’t know the equivalent speech in Bladerunner.

    Also like your point about the TARDIS makeover (love the new version, personally, but then I’m old school. If they ever bring back the original doors opening noise I’ll be in fangirl heaven, LOL)

    @haveyoufedthefish – I like that too, re it being about Clara’s future, not her past, but I really hope she’s not going to have a tragic end!  (But please go and look up the meaning of Deus ex machina – former companions don’t fall under this heading!)


    Nice touch that he gives her the ring back at the end (her mother’s?).

    Yes hut who was expecting it to be a Tardis key (in direct comparison to Snowman Clara)?

    Anonymous @

    @scaryb — Yeah, I think part of Moffatt’s long-term game plan is to make The Doctor less of a BIG character, make him more anonymous and crucially making him less of a know-all about the universe (as I’ve said before, I think this story served the purpose of robbing him of a big chunk of his acquired knowledge). Compare that with his vagueness over the GI, which I put down to the fact that maybe this is a Ganger Doc who doesn’t have the wealth of experience of the original — although I do like the episodes that have been wiped have also been wiped from the Doc’s memory concept.

    Also can we assume these days that we’re seeing the Doctor And Clara events in the order that they happen? Is it possible that The Snowmen actually takes place after these episodes? Maybe it’s not just Amy and Rory he’s grieving for in this story.

    I think something definitely happens to Clara. Either that or the Clara in Asylum is not the same one. Otherwise why doesn’t she just say she recognises the Doctor when she sees him on the monitor?

    (Afraid I prefer Eleven’s previous console room. To me it seemed the perfect fusion of the TV version and Cushing’s ‘junkyard’ TARDIS. Plus the colour scheme seemed warmer and more welcoming somehow. It just seemed more genuinely a place were people actually lived to me…)

    HaveYouFedTheFish @haveyoufedthefish

    @scaryb – I know what deus ex machina means! But i obviously didnt explain myself very well: IMHO God-Rose and Doctor-Donna are archetypal such moments – “a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly resolved, with the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character or ability” (Wikipedia).

    That there’s some half hearted attempt to explain these abilities (time vortex, meta crisis) retrospectively is moot, the point is that they up till that point those abilities were never referenced to in the previous narrative. Basically deus ex machina refers to a cheap narrative device to surprise the audience not by clever misdirection (hard) but by simple omission (easy).

    HaveYouFedTheFish @haveyoufedthefish

    @jimthefish – I much preferred the last one too. Can’t help noticing this one is much smaller, maybe it was pure practicality – the last one took up too much studio space. It really reminds me of how mission control was scaled down to basically a server room/bunker in series 2 of space 1999 …

    Lula @lula

    A few small observations:

    Just before taking off to Akhaten, Clara asks: “Do you know when somebody asks you what’s your favorite book and then straightaway you forget every book you’ve ever read?” “No, totally not.”

    “Well, it’s a thing that happens. ”

    My favorite book is Ellen Raskin’s The Westing Game, and I’ve known this for over 25 years.  My seven and 11 year old daughters don’t forget their favorite books.  As has been mentioned before, Clara has memory issues.

    Also, this is the second episode we’ve seen Clara wearing what looks like a phoenix necklace (in Akhaten it appears she’s wearing it as a pendant at her neck).  The mythical, long-lived bird that is cyclically regenerated, achieving new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor.  Uh-huh.

    Finally, the Doctor was very quick to ask Clara to hand over something she cherished so they could rent Hawkman’s Rocket Cycle (how I appreciate a good Flash Gordon reference!), because that man was not about to part with his sonic, of course.  OR…Amy’s glasses.



    ScaryB @scaryb

    @haveyoufedthefish – My apologies, point taken (In my defence, had just got back from a scrap on the G-blog – hackles were up!)

    @jimthefish – that’s a good point re order – she would have recognised him in Asylum if that came after what we’re seeng now, assuming she’s the same person.

    @lula – Clara’s memory – it does happen, but not usually in one so young… And yes, good point also about the Dr being happier for Clara to “pay”. Maybe it wouldn’t be a good idea for something imbued with the Dr’s memories to be floating about the universe for anyone to pick up. But I love your ref to Amy’s glasses – which pocket does he keep those in?

    Re TARDIS – I generally love steampunk, and I liked the last version, but I grew up thinking the TARDIS had a fairly compact control room and was shiny, white-ish, with clean lines. And roundels! A safe haven from the squelchy dark-side “other” outside. I love that the current one suggests deeper corridors leading off.  Anyway that’s my opinion and I DEMAND that EVERYONE else agrees with me or I’m going to throw an almighty strop and NEVER watch the programme again!!


    feralcat @feralcat

    Some  more things about Clara (am presuming you’ve all read others speculations and clue-assembly, so won’t repeat the basics);

    Her Father is still alive (and, as the Doctor reports in his list of messages for Clara once she regains consciousness, is rather incensed by the Government) and keeps in touch.

    The two missing years in her book are the years a) in which her mother dies,  and b) the mother of the kids she is looking after when we meet her dies. While the various specifics of those dates in the history of the TV series have been brilliantly documented here, it seems reasonable that the only two years ‘travel’ are not on her mind are due to major life traumas.

    I thought the Doctor stalking her past was well done (Ghost Town being number one in the summer of 1981, Beano Annual) – I think the fact he returns  to the Tardis convinced that evidence suggests she’s a normal girl (though obviously impossible) means just that; there aren’t any secrets in terms of parents or upbringing. He acts much as anyone with an infatuation does in fact; wants to know everything about her, and treats her as both someone to impress while almost fearing how special she is.

    …And when the time comes to save the world (someone else’s planetary system) it is her grasp of ‘the future of infinite possibilities’ that takes over when his supply of pasts begin to run out. I think this is the biggest clue of all, and perhaps now the doctor will stop looking back and enjoy the real journey of a relationship – what lies ahead. Clara’s putdown at the end is a classic of relationships,  isn’t it – not wanting to be a cypher for someone now gone, but be accepted on their own terms.  Leave the past behind.





    ScaryB @scaryb

    PS @lula – Good spot on the necklace – hadn’t noticed that at all.

    Incidentally – anything to be made of Clara’s “Looks different” about her home when she looks out the TARDIS when they get back to earth?

    janetteB @janetteb

    Finally got to watch the episode. It was enjoyable but definitely light on story. I liked the funny head aliens in the market scenes probably because they reminded me of the Zocolo in B.5. as well as the obvious Star Wars bar. I was pleased that Susan finally got a mention. Yay. Still hoping that the Doctor will meet up with her at some stage.

    On Clara. Once again Mothers are featured. I am certain that the mother/daughter thing is important. The destruction of the leaf implies that the events featured in the beginnng might have happened before events of the previous episode. Once again alternative time lines are significant and alternate dimensions, the somewhere every decision is lived out. Not sure how Clara’s relationship with the Tardis is significant. Have to ponder that for a while.



    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    Welcome to all new first-posters!

    @theatreguy I like the deduction that perhaps Clara’s Mum died in the Time War.

    @Shazzbot Yes – why was the leaf different?! Does that, perhaps, tie-in with @scaryb ‘s observation re Clara saying that her home “looked different” on being dropped back by the Doctor at the end of the episode?

    Are we dealing with two different time-streams/ realities bleeding together (one of the many things I’ve been wondering about for a long time)? This would fit with the reference to “Through the Looking Glass” and the many, many passing through water-portals references previously.

    I want that duck pond to end up being a watery portal!

    It would also fit with the eventual “big bad” being “Dark Doppleganger Doctor”. Say, in one reality, the Doctor became “Evil Grandfather”, an old soul-sucking God. This is the Doctor whom Kovarian et al are in the “endless bitter war” against, perhaps?

    The Doctor most certainly seems to identify with “Grandfather” in his speech to it, with a certain understanding borne of self-loathing (which reminded me of “Amy’s Choice” where the Dreamlord reveals just how much the Doctor dislikes himself).

    @lula Yes I noticed the Doc was still wearing Amy’s glasses. Who does Clara remind him of I wonder? He says, “Someone who died”. That could be his granddaughter, Susan, given her mention in the episode. Or it could be Amy, or perhaps River, if we are at a point in the Doctor’s time-stream when he has already taken River to the Singing Towers.

    I really do think this episode was a bit of an “F you” to the Murray Gold haters, given the importance of song/ music to the story – still loving the “space opera” pun 🙂

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    @janetteb Apologies – missed your re-mention of alternative timelines/ realities just before I posted! Great minds etc. 🙂


    feralcat @feralcat

    Egyptology count so far;

    Camels, Pyramids, Mummy, Raiders of the Lost Ark

    Any others?

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    Gruniad vibe= Dr Who is worse than Hitler, Ghengis Khan & Jedward combined.

    Lots of pee-ple seem to be narked that the Dr keeps giving us this ‘I have terrible deadly secrets’ speech. Only this is the 1st time he’s said it. Kovarian & Dorium have suggested such to the Dr before. It’s obviously there to inform new series watchers that the Dr’s (name is) potentially Apocalyptic.  As fans know we have been promised that the Dr’s identity will be revealed this year(though somehow without saying it at all probably).


    I love that the current one suggests deeper corridors leading off

    META-SPOILER *******this may be significant later one****END

    Incidentally – anything to be made of Clara’s “Looks different” about her home when she looks out the TARDIS when they get back to earth?

    Possibly that it suddenly looks somehow smaller.

    Who does Clara remind him of I wonder?

    Snowman Clara, surely? He was bluffing a little.

    Now then: I believe this is the first NuWho without other humans in it as threats/ threatees (which used to be an absolutely rule from the BBC).

    PS Great post @feralcat

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    @feralcat – On the Egyptology –  I mentioned upstream that Akhaten is so similar to Ahkenaten that I doubt it is a coincidence and @scaryb pointed out that Ahkenaten was the husband of Nerfertiti whom we’ve already met in “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship”.

    Moreover, @lula pointed out that Clara was wearing a phoenix necklace (nice spot!). Well the Egyptian equivalent is the Bennu bird and apparently it is said to be the soul of the Sun-God, Ra http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bennu .

    We’ve just met an angry Sun-God called “Grandfather” who devours souls and memories. This is a parallel for a dark version of the Doctor himself no doubt. So perhaps Clara is the Doctor’s “soul”?

    This could mean soul-mate. River and the Doctor were married on the top of a pyramid!

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    Lots of good thoughts from everyone on here. I rewatched it this morning before going out and pondering on the fairly pointless nature of my existance, and whether I am a moron or not.

    My conclusion? I may be an easily pleased idiot, but a happy, easily pleased idiot trumps being a curmudgeon ANY DAY of the week.

    Because on second rewatching I found I loved this even more than the first time.

    The concepts are absolutely great – the ideas of chaos theory (another one for fractal fans), those delightful thoughts of unrealised realities, the array of infinite possibilities that somehow conspired to create you, me and well, all this. The days that never happened delivered through the potential of a simple leaf. For some reason, my thoughts went to the great Carl Sagan. Most people of my generation will probably remember some of his discourse on the Universe and Time from his marvellous programmes in the 70s and 80s. He was a poet in a scientist’s body. I think he would have bloody loved this.

    I think Neil Cross delivered an episode that really fits well into this particular view of the Doctors life. I welcome it, and I look forward to “Hide”.

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    We are hidden from Trolls, locked in a Universe 1 hour ago…

    I set my alarm but forgot to put the clock forward. Therefor I missed this today – the reunion:


    but as you can see I’ve got a year to catch up on it!

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    @shazzbot? Welcome to an alumni of “You Tell Us”. Haven’t seen you post much recently. Still living in the wilds of North Yorkshire?

    (Sorry, not a stalker – if you remember me at all I used to post as MindOverMatter. Small virtual world isn’t it).

    nekko @nekko

    Hello All. Nice forums you have here.

    I’m wondering if Clara is a ghost or some sort of displaced consciousness. So far there have been more than a few pointed references:

    1. At the end of the Snowmen in Victorian Clara’s graveyard, she states that she doesn’t believe in ghosts. A plausible misdirection twist would be that she actually is a ghost.
    2. Some lines in BoSJ describe people trapped in the wifi as like echoes or ghosts.
    3. “Ghost Town” at the beginning of RoA.
    4. In RoA, Clara says she want to travel as herself, and not compete with someone’s ghost.
    5. Maitland was the surname of the family who died in Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice and became ghosts.

    Anyway, some ideas for thought.

    HaveYouFedTheFish @haveyoufedthefish

    @scaryb – no apologies required. Criticism from anyone on this board is just a much needed prompt to get my ideas more cogently assembled.

    Yeah I felt the “looks different” was significant but was framed to be passed off as a “my old world seems much smaller now”. Either the doc meeting her as a child has changed something subtle or GI was busy while the were away…

    Re Susan. Well 9 said he would know if any other TLs were left so only conclusion is one of: Susan is dead (presumably in the time war), time locked on Gallifrey or Susan was neither a blood relative or indeed a time lord (but given she spoke of “our people”, didn’t know)

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    On the egyptology, it could be a coincidence but I wrote on last week’s blog that the Sycamore tree is important in Egyptian mythology as a sycamore stood at the boundary between the realms of life and death. The Sycamore is a native UK tree categorised as a Maple, and those trees in the shot looked pretty conistant to my amatuer eye. The more rounded look of the “palms” of the leaf in this episode also looked more consistant as well (when shown in the last episode, the leaf looked more “spikey”).

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    @nekko Hello and welcome!

    I like the ghost references and, in fact, Oswin actually was the “ghost in the machine”, a human soul in the mechanoid body of a dalek, when we first met her. Hmmn…

    Rather nicely ties in with @phaseshift‘s excellent sycamore thought and @lula ‘s phoenix.

    I want Clara to be River’s “ghost”/ avatar and for a narrative circle to take us, via that leaf, from the first to the last page of her TARDIS-blue diary.

    Oops @pedant I am “shipping” again 🙂

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    need your awesome research skills on 11/9/60. 

    My awesome research skills came up with the following: 11th September 1960 was the broadcast date of the first episode of the ITV children’s science-fiction series The Pathfinders in Space. Producer Sydney Newman, Writers Malcolm Hulke and Eric Paice.

    There had been an earlier series called Target Luna, but no episodes survive.

    So we’re still in meta-reference land. Clara’s mother is born on the same day as a programme which is, in some ways, the ‘mother’ to Doctor Who. She dies on the day nu-Who becomes independent.

    Sheena444 @sheena444

    I will watch it again on iplayer in a minute- I should hold my hand up and admit I posted  a negative comment on the Guardian blog, because after loving the Christmas special and The bells of St John, I thought the script was weak and incoherent and didn’t match the visuals.  One viewing usually isn’t enough, is it?

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    Clara is impossible because she reincarnates. But so does the Dr (well he regenerates).

    Are we heading back to the half-broken chameleon-arch plot?

    Is it an Egyptian thing (there seems to be some dispute about Egyptian belief in reincarnation as we know it)?

    The Voice just used the 2 Steps From Hell track from the series trail on their new ad! Big Brother will be using it next (followed by a revived Merlin).

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    @sheena444 Hi there 🙂

    This isn’t (I hope) a “group think” space where some unspoken consensus only permits positive comments!

    I think what comrades @jimthefish and @wolfweed have been satirising are negative comments without critique which just trot out platitudes, such as “Who was better in ye olden times”.

    So, be very welcome to write up what you didn’t like after your re-watch!

    I grouched quite a bit about the first half of the season. I was not a “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” fan, for instance – hammy, hammy dialogue being a feature which obscured the potential for more nuanced characterisation with respect to Nefertiti and Riddell, in my view, for instance.

    Anonymous @

    @sheena444 — yep, @juniperfish is absolutely right. Bonkers theorising and critical thought is more than welcome, the more ‘out there’ the better.

    Over at the Grauniad I was just taking exception to the sheer negative, unconstructive sniping.

    Also, with the ideas of ancient ‘Others’, Egyptology, horrors on submarines and it seems ghost stories and lurking horrors later, could an argument be made for season 7.2 having a H.P Lovecraftian influence to it?


    @juniperfish : .

    I was not a “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” fan

    Pah! Call your self a shipper?

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    @sheena444 – Don’t apologise at all. My first reaction last week was that the structure was a bit weird. On rewatching I decided that reaction was possibly due to it being jarring having a typical “introduction” episode for a character we have encountered before (in a couple of guises). Over the course of the week I got into it more, with spots and observations from other people making me realise I’d missed bits, potential subtext, etc.

    This week, I genuinely came out of the episode thinking “This is fantastic” and was a bit taken aback by the vitriol. I think it dealt with some big concepts in a very poetic way. Possibly not to everyone’s taste, but I do admire a new view of the “Whoniverse”.

    The parts I loved were the explanation of why Clara is “impossible”. Merry is a unique being, and the Doctor explains why. Everyone is unique. The ideas of Choas theory made real. The fact that the Doctor has now encountered three copies of the “unique” Clara is a great counterpoint.

    I think this blog has become what I valued about the G ones. The bonkers theories, the jokes, and seeing constructive appraisal of others ideas to give you a new appreciation of the episode in question.

    I really do thank everyone who joins up and decides to contribute their own viewpoint on what we’ve seen.

    Cath Annabel @cathannabel

    Having just decided to unlurk and composed a lengthy if not massively enlightening post, I then lost it all due to some technical shenanigans.   I will try to recap.

    Random thoughts:

    Oh my stars – goes back to the 16thc, there’s a quote from Christopher Marlowe in Edward II, where it is not just an all-purpose exclamation but an address to the stars, as the force that determines one’s destiny.   So, quite pertinent in light of the chap’s speech about the leaf and so on.

    Also, the mother . I haven’t come up with a coherent theory about who she is yet, but her speech about how she will always come to find Clara wherever she is, is either just  poignant in light of her death and thus failure to keep that promise, or suggests that she is something more timey-wimey.  I’d be inclined to the latter – those words were given an awful lot of weight, and I don’t think it was just to  trigger the tears (though they did, mine anyway).

    And another thing – did people here read the monster thingie as the sun of that planet?  If it was, then as some posters have said, if the Doc and Clara destroyed it, they presumably threatened the future of the planet’s inhabitants.  But the second question is, did they destroy it or just send it to sleep?

    That’s it for now.    Nice to be able to post without worrying about being savaged by sheep or whatever…

    Cheers all!

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    did people here read the monster thingie as the sun of that planet?

    Nope. The Doctor definitely pointed at the big round thing and said ‘planet’. I know Who’s a bit iffy on terminology, but I don’t think they’d describe ‘small rock just big enough to put a pyramid on’ as a planet.

    And also, as I said on the Grauniad blog, you can see sunlight bouncing off the pyramid, and it’s coming from stage left (screen right). The Doctor and Clara are also lit as if the light source was from the left.

    Of course, it later becomes a tad confusing when the big orange thingy bursts into flame, but I’m still going for ‘gas-giant’. 🙂

    Pufferfish @pufferfish

    ‘Oh my stars’ will also be familiar to anyone brought up on Bewitched repeats. Were Rose to turn up as a South London estate-dwelling teen in 2013, she’d probably say ‘oh my days!’.

    Apart from the frankly weird references to souls and a few utterances of ‘oh my God’ this series, Who has historically been secularish, talking about religion in the abstract or as a plot point, so a euphemism in place of OMG to express surprise ought to be totally normal.

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    Okay – I’ll try a negative outlook:

    I can sort of see the gist of why the concensus didn’t like this one. The Smilie Sun has maybe pushed things too far from scary to silly. I don’t understand peoples  problems with the plot (other than space physics & ‘Which is the planet & which is the Sun?’). I think part of the problem is initial expectations – we see loads of aliens and expect them to feature a lot but there’s only time for the barker.  ‘Possibilities that will never be’.

    Including homages to old favourites such as Indiana Jones & Blade Runner can encourage some to form the idea that ‘this is a poor copy. People don’t see amazing special effects – they see Underworld 2.

    I’m all for honest opinion- to get it ‘over there’ I’d need the Troll-goggles from Hellboy 2…

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