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This topic contains 143 replies, has 33 voices, and was last updated by  Missy 2 years ago.

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  • #56653
    Mudlark @mudlark

    @nerys @thane15

    I agree with you on the subject of Donna. Of all the AG companions so far, she was the one I most warmed to, with Rory and Amy coming second (in no particular order).  On present form, though, I think even she may be superseded by Bill, who displays a delightful combination of earthy practicality and wonder, and probably has the potential for emotional depth as well.

    I have been trying to resist the temptation to nit pick on this episode, but I regret to say that the will is weak.  In the introductory scene on the planet Kezzia, returning to the city, says that she and her vardies have just pollinated three miles of wheat, which suggests that the writer, Frank Cottrell-Boyce and Moffat, not to mention the rest of the production team, are somewhat deficient in their knowledge of agriculture. Passing over the minor niggle that a farmer is more likely to refer to acres or hectares of wheat rather than miles, there is the matter of pollination. Wheat and other cereal crops, like all grasses, are wind pollinated and require no intervention on the part of insects or micro robots – and what kind of planet with what kind of atmosphere has no weather and no wind?  When she says this she is walking through a crop which, as far as the eye can see, is in full ear and ready, or nearly ready to harvest; but on that score we might suppose that a planet with two suns might have no appreciable seasonal variation, so that crops could be sown, ripen and be harvested at any time of year.

    In passing, it would seem, also, that in this future the lower jaws of human skulls, like those of Time Lords, remain firmly attached even when the skull has been completely de-fleshed.

    I will now slink away and do penance for my irreverence.

    #56654
    Mudlark @mudlark

    @pedant

    The cyberman special edition, from the Under Gallery, perhaps

    That suggestion gives me an excellent excuse to view it again and have another close look – but any excuse for a re-watch suffices 🙂

    #56655
    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    @mudlark

    Fair enough – true the last frost fair was twenty years before Victoria ascended the throne.

    I wonder if the Doctor is going to run into River (or most likely, see her from a distance – ouch – clutches heart). She returned to the Storm Cage after a visit with the Doctor to one of the frost fairs in A Good Man Goes to War.

    Nice spot in terms of The Raft of the Medusa (and that painting is from the same period as the last frost fair).

    That means we now have two shipwrecks – last week’s Marie Celeste and this week’s Medusa, together with two self-portraits, last week’s Rembrandt and this week’s Van Gogh. A wrecked ship and a self-portrait?

    Perhaps what’s in that vault is the Valeyard’s wrecked TARDIS?

    @Thane15  Hi Puro – Yes, Cosey was a very engaging speaker. Emotionally honest and and also fun. Her autobiography sounds like a great read. On my list.

    #56656
    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    @mudlark

    I will now slink away and do penance for my irreverence.

    Not at all! I think it is great that you can out-pedant @pedant!

    #56657
    Whisht @whisht

    I think everyone’s said what I had thought about the episode better than I (initially I thought it enjoyable if a bit slight, but I’m wondering if it was because of when I saw it – maybe I’ll try again tonight).

    So, what have we got in terms of bonkerising-food?

    Mirrors (Bill’s choice to go with either Heather/Pilot or the Doctor as well as other ones that others have noted)
    – Mirrors (needed for self portraits)
    – A promise he’s kept by staying on Earth for 50 years.. so made around 1967? kinda the time he first regenerated…. purely coincidental I’m sure….
    – A Vault [see ‘promise’]
    – Unfortunate ships (Mary Celeste, Medusa though maybe that’s just the first episodes that actually have unfortunate ships!).
    Circles (in the Rembrandt self portrait [see ‘mirrors’] and in the title sequence;
    David Bowie (yeah, its just us but hey, what the hell!)

    So – is Moffatt coming ‘full circle’ back to the first regeneration and a promise the Doctor made…?

    Any particular aliens around that time {cough} ?

    Not sure emojis are a theme…

    ;¬)

    #56661
    Mudlark @mudlark

    @whisht

    A promise he’s kept by staying on Earth for 50 years.. so made around 1967? kinda the time he first regenerated…. purely coincidental I’m sure….

    Coincidence or not, the same thought struck me some time ago.  William Hartnell’s last appearance as the Doctor was in November 1966 in The Tenth Planet, after which he regenerated, and The Tenth Planet saw the introduction of the Mondasians – the proto-cybermen. And what have we been promised?  Admittedly the story was set in what was then the future – the 1980s, I think, but I  have a spine-prickling feeling that the dates are significant.

    I disagree in the matter of emojis, in that I think they *are* a significant theme, not least because one of the critical points of the story is the problems of communication between beings of different origin.  Even between human beings whose mother tongue is different there are difficulties, as anyone who has been faced with translating a work written in one language into another knows. Language expresses the way we think but also influences it and ultimately is a product of culture.  Emojis above all convey mood and emotion, and it is easy to see how an artificial intelligence, lacking hormones and all the other things which influence our mood and emotions, might misinterpret things.

    #56662

    @whisht

    There’s going to be a laughing gnome at some point….

    #56664
    Frobisher @frobisher

    @pedant

    A laughing gnome? Oh yes! I sincerely hope to see one. And I am not joking! 🙂

    #56667
    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    @mudlark

    I  have a spine-prickling feeling that the dates are significant.

    We know (from Hell Bent) that the Time Lords possess the power to use an extraction chamber in order to retrieve someone from the moment before their death (or regeneration?).  That might explain how it could be the first Doctor in the vault at the time of the Mondasians in The Tenth Planet. If so, that implies, not simply that the first Doctor could re-appear (yah!) but so too could the Time Lords. Indeed, the “oath” that Nardole refers to may well have been given to the Time Lords.

     

    #56668
    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    The paintings are an interesting spot and definitely seem to be a ‘thing’. Although I must admit I was convinced by the Tarot talk last year and that didn’t seem to have any lasting significance. I do wonder if SM and the production team do like to throw something in for the likes of our little gang to chew over but which is essentially tangential to the core series arc.

    RE. the promise. I’m moving towards the theory that the Doctor’s oath is to himself (whether that be his past, present or future self remains to be seen) rather than the Time Lords.

    #56671

    @jimthefish

    Also, remember the dreamcatchers in S6.

    Re the bird, it did occur to me that it might be a Dodo (think about it)…

     

    #56673
    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    @pedant–

    Re the bird, it did occur to me that it might be a Dodo (think about it)

    Ooo, that’s a really cool idea. I’m really enjoying all the Hartnell love this series. It’s often felt to me that his era tends to get forgotten about as somehow being too ‘old fashioned’ or ‘too long ago’ or something…

    Though I suppose it’s probably too much to expect some Chumblies showing up.

    #56675
    Anonymous @

    @all

    What if the vault contains the new doctor?

    In story, instead of “we now present…the”

    Obviously, not but funny…anyway.

    😀

    #56679
    Arbutus @arbutus

    @thane15      Actually, I think that would be very cool.  🙂

    #56681
    CountScarlioni @countscarlioni

    @mudlark  Great spot on the Raft of the Medusa! To follow-up @pedant‘s suggestion, has anyone established if it is the cyberman version?? I spent five minutes on my hands and knees in front of the tv trying to decide, but with no success. The cybermen in the painting in the Under Gallery look to be modern versions, well beyond the Mondasian stage.

    cybermenpicture

     

     

     

     

    #56684
    tardigrade @tardigrade

    A bit of a mixed episode for me.

    The pros:
    * Some great design and overall visuals. I liked the robot design- as noted, it’s maybe not altogether original, but it was well resolved. The exterior scenes of the colony from the wheat field were really effective. Generic ugly spaceship interior, not so much so.
    * Pearl Mackie again. She settled into the role very promptly. Her interchanges with the Doctor were strong again in this episode.
    * The upfront acknowledgement by the Doctor that he’s not altogether in control of where the Tardis ends up- that he sometimes instead ends up “where he needs to be”.

    The con:
    * A rushed and rather mundane resolution- a “reboot” solution isn’t a great one. Given the Doctor’s decision not to wipe Bill’s memory in the previous episode, he still rushes to wipe another supposedly intelligent species’ memory without any meaningful attempt at communication beforehand, so he treats them as a software glitch, rather than an intelligent species. I wasn’t convinced that there were signs of consciousness in the robots – they’re relying on the badges to even read emotions and then acting in an inappropriate way seemingly at odds with a core goal of ensuring human happiness. Learning (particularly a bad habit) doesn’t equate to intelligence let alone consciousness. As a result, the downfall resulting from technological hubris angle falls flat. Which to be honest it usually does in any context, but when it’s the Doctor delivering the lecture- as a member of the most technologically advanced race in the universe, whose hubris resulted in untold damage- then it grates rather more than usual.

    Overall generally enjoyable, but let down a bit in the last few minutes for me.

    I will note for the record that the Doctor says he’s “over 2000” years old in this episode. Even allowing for his inaccurate reporting of his age (it would be tough to keep track of), it seems he doesn’t include any subjective time in the confession dial in Hell Bent in his age. I get the feeling though that line was included largely to orient viewers new to the series, and an age of 2000+ years gives the right sort of impression (an age in millions of years, not so much so). Some other references were also seemingly shoe-horned in for new viewers, like the Doctor having two hearts.

    #56685
    Missy @missy

    @pedant: Prototype vashta nerada 😎🚀🏥🍠💀

    Such a surprise, I actually thought exactly the same as you, the moment I saw them. I wonder if it was deliberate on the writers part?

    @morpho: A valid point. It would be much better.

    @pufferfish:  In the Forest of the Night, is not a favorite of mine either. Like you I don’t hat it, but I agree, Smile is better.

    @mudlark: It’s fortunately that I can watch this episode again, because I didn’t spot anything to do with VanGogh (my favourite painter btw) and the wheat fields certainly did not make me think of him.

    @geoffers: I would think that the round badges would stick on anything, even bare skin.

    All your posts are thought provoking, and I cannot think of anything to add. As I’ve said, I do not analyse, don’t know how. So, my contribution is simple I thoroughly enjoyed Smile, can’t wait to watch it again, and roll on next week. As yet I haven’t watched the Whovian discussion. Last week I thought the presenter was rather silly and not a true DW fan. He was just doing a job. That was my impression anyway.

    Missy

    #56688
    Anonymous @

    @tardigrade

    Hi there and from Puro. Looking back though (this is Thane the 15 year old one) if the Doctor set them up as “the interface” and then rebooted them, he was effectively recognising they weren’t the “intelligent species” or, on the other hand, they were ‘The Magic Haddock.’

    They were built to do what they did. They weren’t slaves or Oods.  So if they weren’t intelligent or conscious then the technological hubris was connected to the Humans -and so the Doctor mediated between the Humans and those ‘creations’ that the humans built or sent ahead. In other words, the re-boot makes the best sense of all. They weren’t ‘intelligent’ in the sense that the Humans or other creatures the doctor meets, are.

    I thought it was set up upon arrival.  Also, the connection between what he nearly did to Bill, but didn’t and what he does do the interface robots is part of the point. It’s what he doesn’t do versus what he does. And what Donna experienced (in the absence here).

    Thank you,

    Thane.

    #56692
    Mersey @mersey

    @jimthefish

    That’s my main charge against Steven Moffat. He leaves too many meaningless cluess (don’t tell me he doesn’t, he does). Look how it works in Agatha Christie’s books or any other really good detective novel. You usually know all the clues, know all the suspects and yet you are still surprised at the solution. And that’s the trick!

    I didn’t believe in the Tarot card meaning and I treat that paintings thing as a funny game althoug as a painter I find it arrogant to change such masterpiece as Rembrandt’s self-portrait only for meaningless play.

    #56693
    geoffers @geoffers

    @mudlark  (with the eagle-eye)

    It’s The Raft of the Medusa, painted by Gericault in 1818/19 currently in the Louvre.  A bit tricky to make out at first, because it’s been stood on its side and there are various objects in the way, but identifiable if you pause the screen and tilt your head to the left.

    ah, that old thing. it’s over two series old, now! 😀

    i, too, wonder if it’s the cyberised version from ‘the day of the doctor?’ it seems to be filmed quite obscuredly, and on purpose. but does anyone know why that variant even exists, in the context of the who universe (or that story, in particular, in ‘tDotD’)? i don’t recall any comment on it from the creators of the show, at the time (or in this forum)…

    #56694
    geoffers @geoffers

    @tardigrade

    * A rushed and rather mundane resolution- a “reboot” solution isn’t a great one.

    it felt rushed to me, as well, but i accepted it as the least of three evils, the two greater ones being: wipe out the vardy to save the humans (which, if done successfully, would cause the building around them to possibly collapse, or simply doom the colonists to a slow death without their helpers?), or allow the humans to be killed in a war with the vardy (y’know, kinda like humans are wont to do, like, always and forever). the reboot was simply grasping at the closest solution to hand, to save the maximum amount of life, on both sides…

    #56697
    tardigrade @tardigrade

    @thane15

    They were built to do what they did. They weren’t slaves or Oods. So if they weren’t intelligent or conscious then the technological hubris was connected to the Humans -and so the Doctor mediated between the Humans and those ‘creations’ that the humans built or sent ahead. In other words, the re-boot makes the best sense of all. They weren’t ‘intelligent’ in the sense that the Humans or other creatures the doctor meets, are.

    The Doctor does however explicitly refer to them as a “slave class”, which to me implied he was ascribing consciousness to them. He then, in his own words, acts as “mediator”, which again implies two intelligent parties with their own agendas. And then at the end, he opens negotiations with them, accepting that they have a right of self-determination and that the human colonists need to negotiate with them to stay. Add the references to “wet brain” thinking and the Magic Haddock- an intelligent species, but a non-human intelligence with little understanding of humanity and the Doctor’s words and actions parallel his behaviour towards the Ood.

    I’d have preferred to have had things play out more closely to how you describe, as I think that’s a much more defensible approach. As it was, I felt that the actual dialog was over-reaching.

    @geoffers

    it felt rushed to me, as well, but i accepted it as the least of three evils …

    I’d have accepted it as an expedient solution in a situation where he didn’t have time to spare, but the Doctor seems so happy to be carrying on with the negotiation afterwards, that it doesn’t seem that it was a necessary evil in his eyes. When the Doctor has wiped the memory of others through necessity, it hasn’t been easy on him.

    #56698
    Mudlark @mudlark

    @tardigrade @thane15

    The Doctor talked to and about the emojibots and the vardies as if they were intelligent, although whether they were supposed to be independently intelligent or together formed a composite intelligence wasn’t entirely clear, and in that light the reboot could be seen as a liberation.

    I understood the vardies to be some form of self-replicating universal constructor, designed to utilise elements of the environment of the planet both to reproduce themselves in the manner of a living organism and to terraform the planet and construct an environment suitable for human life – including the buildings in this instance. It is one of the ideas posited as a hypothetical solution to the problems of extra-terrestrial colonisation.  The emojibots, which the Doctor described as the interface enabling communication between the vardies and the colonists, could have been constructed by the vardies also, once the terraforming etc. was complete, but it seemed to me that we were intended to understand them as having a considerable degree of autonomy and the potential for self-determination.

    The problem arose from the fact that their initial design had included programming or conditioning to serve the colonists, and in the context of the utopian philosophy of the colonists that included ensuring their happiness* as a primary imperative. But machine intelligence is unlikely to be the same as human intelligence, particularly when it comes to abstract and emotional concepts such as happiness – with the consequences we saw. By rebooting them the Doctor removed that programmed imperative, so freeing them to interact with the colonists on equal terms; and since they had built the environment he saw them as having first rights of ownership.

    One question which was not addressed was whether the planet which had been barren and effectively devoid of life, like Mars, for example, although capable of being terraformed and adapted for human occupation, or whether it had already supported some form of indigenous life.  If the latter, it raises a whole new package of ethical concerns.

     

    *  I’m not sure about the meaning of Kezzia, but the names of all the other ‘shepherd’ colonists referred to in the opening scenes on the plant had an overt element of cheerfulness, happiness or good will.

    #56699
    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    @missy–

    Last week I thought the presenter was rather silly and not a true DW fan. He was just doing a job. That was my impression anyway

    Think that’s a bit unfair. Christel Dee is a long-term YouTuber with serious Who tendencies and was doing really rather good fan vlogs for quite some time now. That the BBC has taken on her show as the ‘official’ after show gig is pretty cool I think and yet another sign of one of SM’s real strengths as a showrunner — that he has paid attention to the fan community, taken on board feedback and also utilised fan creativity. But I appreciate the show itself might not be to everyone’s taste.

    @mersey–

    That’s my main charge against Steven Moffat. He leaves too many meaningless clues

    I don’t really look on them as meaningless, merely an extra level of detail — one that that those who enjoy this kind of thing can indulge in but which won’t alienate the casual viewer (or Graun types who bemoan ‘it’s too complicated. Won’t someone think of the childreeen’). And again, I feel it’s a sign that he engages with the communities around the show. While not suggesting that the ‘puzzles’ are strictly for ‘our’ benefit, I think they are there as an acknowledgement or tribute of fans like us who like to delve (possibly too) deeply. I’m sure, for example, that SM had more than one little chuckle to the colour symbolism in bow-ties theories of a few years back.

    But personally I rather like it and think it gives the show texture that it didn’t have even in the RTD days. With a couple of honourable exceptions, it seems to me that the RTD era doesn’t have that much in the way of rewatch value. It’s like a sugar-hit of excitement on first watch but there’s a low of diminishing returns to rewatches. I’m not sure, for example, that this site would have existed in the RTD era. There just wouldn’t have been that much to dissect in each episode. I think SM is making Who for the box-set streaming generation — TV that rewards the viewer who returns to it, who invests in it.

    I treat that paintings thing as a funny game althoug as a painter I find it arrogant to change such masterpiece as Rembrandt’s self-portrait only for meaningless play

    Well, if the Beeb had bought the original painting and stuck some circles on it I might have agreed but I think it’s perfectly legitimate playing with an image otherwise. And I don’t think it’s meaningless — rather it’s a layer of meaning that is overlaid over the core plot and which informs it but is not integral to it.

    @geoffers and @tardigrade–

    I think some of @tardigrade‘s reservations about the ‘reboot’ resolution have a lot of merit but think I agree with @geoffers that it was the best solution given the drama of the situation and the time constraints of the episode. There’s a trade-off here, I think and in order to get the lovely leisurely opening to the episode I think we have to accept a bit of breathlessness and corner-cutting at the end.

    This is a perennial problem with Who, particularly in its new format. Single episodes to feel rushed but I’ve almost always found the two-partners a bit bloated and dull. Of course, the same was true of the old four parters of the BG series, which would always have at least one episode of filler. The sweet spot seems to be around the 60-75min mark and that’s a length that’s never going to be commercially viable — or at least not until Who moves into a streaming-only format, which I suspect it ultimately might.

    #56700
    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    No, @thane15 , I think @tardigrade has called this one pretty well, because I came in to make the some of the same points. I hope @tardigrade won’t mind if I post what I wrote last night as it reiterates certain points. Fair warning – @tardisgrade was kinder than I am.

    —–

    So, third rewatch and Smile still baffles me slightly. I like a lot of what it does – the start, and exploration of the problem is great (special mention must be to the soundtrack which is quite synth heavy in parts -eerie 80s synths!). It’s the resolution that seems a bit messy. I was sure I’d missed something on the first couple of watches, but I’m not convinced the thing I was looking for was actually there. I was looking for the point of it all.

    I’ll pick out a couple of things I noticed which I think haven’t been discussed first.

    – Bill’s classification of the Doctor as a sort of interstellar policeman is interesting given the montage she later reads in the book that profiles the rise and fall of humanity. The montage before the bomb is heavy with politically charged pictures of Policemen. Orgreave, the Poll Tax protests, race riots are all in there in a ‘Blink and you’ll miss them’ montage. In Bowie terms, ‘take a look at the lawman beating up the wrong guy’, perhaps. I suppose this leads into:

    – The Doctor wanting to blow something up as first option is pretty unusual. It’s more like Pertwee era Brigadier. That’s pretty much mirrored by the reaction of Med-Tech One. He’s the highest qualified Medical person on the mission. He’s a Doctor, and he get’s pretty gung ho himself from the off.

    Both these points are pretty aimless and don’t really play into anything other than maybe the Doctor isn’t as sharp as he was?

    Weirder still, the Doctor seems to preempt that the Vardy are sentient by calling them a ‘generic slave race’ early in the episode. Slavery is a loaded word. You take the freedom from a self determining being by making it do what you want rather than what it wants. I understand the original understood derivation of Robot as ‘slave’ but language changes. If anyone seriously suggested that a BMW assembly Robot was a ‘slave’ I’d be tempted to give them a slap for devalueing the term ‘slave’. The Doctor may as well come into your house an berate you for using a dishwasher or washing machine for doing your chores. “Stop oppressing your Toaster! You could build a fire and burn bread yourself!”

    I think realisation that the Vardy have developed sentience is fine and the relationship between human and Vardy would have to change. But the fact that the Doctors solution on discovering their sentience is to effectively ‘mind wipe’ them as first action doesn’t particularly sit well with the resolution of The Pilot. There are some real mixed signals here, especially the final thought that the hope filled agrarian Utopia could not have developed a relationship between Human and Vardy that was a bit different than – Capitalism, yay!

    Very odd.

    @geoffers

    but i accepted it as the least of three evils, the two greater ones being: wipe out the vardy to save the humans (which, if done successfully, would cause the building around them to possibly collapse, or simply doom the colonists to a slow death without their helpers?), or allow the humans to be killed in a war with the vardy (y’know, kinda like humans are wont to do, like, always and forever). the reboot was simply grasping at the closest solution to hand, to save the maximum amount of life, on both sides…

    Maybe there is another option though.

    You know the point at which the Doctor launches the emojibot into the cold fusion reactor, and it squeals? Perhaps we could cut to the others and they show puzzlement? One of us is not here anymore.

    The Doctor could sonic another. A cut scene shows some emojibots with ‘anger’ and some with ‘sorrow’.

    The colonists fire on the emojibots and the Vardi, and the tsumani of emotions resonates. Fear. Anger. Surprise. Sadness. The Vardi, in experiencing loss come to understand ‘grief’ and start to show it with ‘idea’ and ‘embarrassment’ They stay their hand, showing they have understood and they are sentient. And then the negotiations begin. At a point where grief is not the enemy of happiness, but is the fertiliser of hope that may lead to happiness? This may seem trite. There are other ways. I think I would have preferred it to the hollow mess the underlying story actually is though.

    Ultimately I can’t help but think this tries to take a broad swipe at a lot of issues and in too short a time and doesn’t actually connect with any of them. I’ll keep coming back to it as time progresses and see if any themes seem relevant.

    #56702
    Anonymous @

    @phaseshift

    As a moderator do you have the ability to see I’m logged in and log me out? That’s happened three times in exactly this situation.

    Interesting.

    As for “no” (I’m going to type the whole thing out again anyway).

    “no” is like saying : “you’re wrong.”

    I don’t think I am. I have another opinion.

    The Doctor isn’t wrong headed about blowing things up. He knows the colonists are coming, he’s knows there will be grief, he doesn’t want a new (or only) human outpost degenerating into a war and the humans losing.

    Re-booting works because the Doctor can say: “look I’m the mediator for you and THEN all the other things like “grief” and moving on can be taught by you to them“. As an interface they can be re-booted. The humans weren’t going to stick around listening to the Doctor lecture. Who listens in these situations when they’re pointing guns at something they don’t understand?  This can’t be The Zygon Invasion. He has to do something quickly, to stop the humans from obliterating something they don’t understand because then  there’s nothing left. No progress.

    The “discussion of rent” was a direct satire aimed at a Utopia -because they don’t exist and a long negotiation is not part of this new Doctor either. He’s sensitive but recognises efficiency when it’s called for.

    He said “don’t sentimentalise me” and he was very certain about it. He also said “I muck in”.

    And he makes mistakes.

    Thank you -see if this post gets blown up 😀

    Thane15

    #56703
    Mudlark @mudlark

    When I wrote post #56698 above I don’t think I had drunk enough coffee, because I meant to clarify the sense in which I was using ‘intelligence’. It was probably evident from the context, but if not, I meant conscious, self-aware, sentient as well as capable of reasoning, but as machines – dry brains, not wet brains, as the Doctor put it.

    I have been assuming that both the vardies and the emojibots had been designed to be so from the first, this being necessary for them to carry out their intended functions, so that programming them to serve was analogous to conditioning human minds from birth to think in a certain way, in which case the Doctor’s term slave was not wholly inappropriate.

    #56704
    Anonymous @

    and the other thing of import was that “generic slave race” was a quick way of explaining things to Bill. By the end of the episode we see they have some sentience. But not much. Because they need re-booting. And I think it’s a ‘need.’

    Also, as @mudlark stated, far better than me and I appreciate it, is that they’re a type of composite, possibly a composite-add on with features of sentience? But I may have touched the wrong end of the stick, Mudlark, and I apologise for that.

    But yes, the Doctor has started the learning process for the colonists and the Vardi. Should he hang around to see if they’ve gotten the message? Be the negotiator? No I don’t think that would ‘help’ -the best way of assisting is to allow others to work through the problem and so, knowing the colonists were armed to the teeth (and thinking this isn’t going to end well) the Doctor re-started the robots.  Maybe not the most elegant of methods..I grant you. 😀

    Thane15  g’night.

    #56705
    Mudlark @mudlark

    @thane15

    No, I don’t think you got hold of the wrong end of the stick I proffered though, as you see from the above, posted almost simultaneously with yours, I took them to be sentient from the first, and that the Doctor, whether he foresaw it or not, did them a favour by removing a layer of conditioning which was preventing them from realising that sentience fully.

    #56706
    Anonymous @

    @mudlark

    Oh that’s very good. I understand that a lot better now. “He removed a layer of conditioning”  and I recall him saying a lot of quick words which suggested that was his ‘plan’.

    I recall, way back in the first episode when he meets Davros that Missy was explaining to Clara how the Doctor saved himself and others? The sonic, the time limit (2 seconds) and he made it (phew)!

    Hooray the Doctor -mostly he does the right thing but he’s not….like the Pope (I’m afraid I don’t know the word!)

    Yikes!

     

    #56710
    Pufferfish @pufferfish

    @mudlark

    Kezzia is probably an alternate spelling of Keziah, one of Job’s three daughters – it means ‘sweetness’ and has the same derivation as Cassia (cinnamon). So the character’s name fits in with the general positivity of the other colonists’ names. Also a very popular name in Puritan/early Protestant circles (I have a few of them dotted around the C17/18 Huguenot/Calvinist branch of my family tree).

    #56713
    Mudlark @mudlark

    @pufferfish

    Thanks for that. I assumed that it was a variant of Keziah and that it had an appropriate significance, but the only work of reference I have to hand wasn’t very helpful, since it gave the meaning as cassia without reference to the primary significance.  Strange, because in general it seems to be informative and fairly reliable on names of Hebraic origin. I should have googled it instead 🙂

    If I may be permitted to stray off topic briefly, the work I consulted is a fascinating volume which, judging by the date of publication – 1902, and according to the title page the 99th edition – probably belonged to my great grandmother, since her daughter, my maternal grandmother born in 1882, did not marry and set up home independently until nine years later. The title is Enquire Within Upon Everything and it is a household reference book which covers an astonishing range of subjects, out-Beatoning Mrs Beaton; not just a very wide range of household hints, including diseases and how to concoct remedies (highly dubious), but intricate matters of social etiquette, the rules of card games and much, much more.

     

    #56716
    Pufferfish @pufferfish

    @mudlark 

    That book inspired the internet itself:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/ENQUIRE

    #56718
    Mudlark @mudlark

    @pufferfish

    I wasn’t aware of that fact. How wonderful!

    #56721
    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    @mersey and @jimthefish

    The “meaningless clues” vs “extra level of detail” debate re Moffat and teams’ work (on Who and Sherlock) does get to the heart of one of the elements of his work which can be both wonderful and infuriating.

    Sometimes the clues have really gone somewhere, narratively speakng, like the build up to ganger Amy – first introducing gangers as a concept, then the TARDIS reading of Amy in two states, pregnant and not pregnant, leading eventually to ganger Amy herself.

    Sometimes, like the tarot iconography last season, they have added another interpretive layer to the narrative without being plot-essential.

    I really enjoy both of these varieties of “clue”.

    And sometimes, as happened in Sherlock S4 in my view, they wrap their fingers round the throat of the narrative and strangle it (the sharks, Chekhov’s rifle, TD-12) because they are Schrodinger’s clues which mean everything and, apparently, nothing.

    I think it’s because there’s a flip between leaving a trail of bread-crumbs for those so inclined (such as ourselves) to follow (in which case there is an invitation to “play with”) and leaving a trail of blind-alleys and dead-ends (in which case there is an invitation to “play against” – sort ot indecipherable text vs detective audience, where the writers aim to “win” by producing an insoluble puzzle). I prefer the “playing with” to “playing against” form of engagement.

    #56724

    @pufferfish

    No to in any way dis Tim Berners Lee, but there’s a bit more to the internet than the Web and it far predates 1980.

    #56726
    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    @mudlark and @pufferfish–

    I think there’s a definite Puritan edge to all the names of the colonists and I think this is possibly what made me think of Faber’s Book of Strange New Things. Is it possible that this colony ship is reserved for a religious faction/cult of some kind (after all, the Scots got a ship to themselves). Although it is an odd kind of religious group that carries the kind of firepower they seemed to have (although maybe it isn’t).

    @tardigrade and @phaseshift–

    I’ve just rewatched myself and I have to admit that the resolution does make me more uncomfortable now. Even if the Vardy retain their sentience and their ability to grow as an emergent species is unimpaired, the concept of the mindwipe is uncomfortable coming so soon as it was made so clear it was unacceptable to do it to Bill (one rule for wet brains/one rule for dry brains?).

    (To be honest, I’m hating the whole concept of mind wipes in general. RetConning was a crap concept that tied Torchwood up in knots. I was just about willing to let them get away with it with Donna (although it does feel like a cop out), I was less happy with it with Clara (although it did feel like natural justice for the Doctor having done it to Donna) but it really is a concept that needs to go away I think.)

    I quite like @phaseshift‘s idea of the Vardy coming to an understanding through grief, and feeling loss of their own. I must admit I felt quite fond of the Vardy and felt that the tumbling of the one into the core was a bit unnecessary and mean. Definitely felt a slight pang for the little fella. No, I like that idea a lot.

    Do know what you mean about the Doctor’s first idea to blow the place up. At first glance it does seem quite un-Doctorish. But then, which Doctor? Certainly, say 2-5 would have an issue with it and would probably try to find an alternative. 6-7, I’m not so sure. And the War Doctor would probably be all for it. But the phrase ‘I suddenly have an overwhelming urge to blow it up’ doesn’t quite sit right, does it?

    #56727
    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @mudlark

    Wheat is hand-pollinated if you want to incorporate new genetic traits; I understand it’s a right pain. Managing several acres in a single morning would certainly have someone bouncing for joy.

    So it could be a writing mistake, it could be that the only Great Big Field they could rent was wheat, or it could be that they quite reasonably thought that farmers on a brand new planet would need to do some work on the plants’ genetics so that they’d flourish in their new environment.

    #56729
    Mudlark @mudlark

    @bluesqueakpip

    Valid point. I wasn’t being entirely serious, but my detailed agricultural knowledge for what it is worth is in part that of an archaeologist/historian and in part derived from youthful observation of more traditional practice.  Such of my extended family and their friends who were farmers and whom I knew were in a rather different line – small scale hill farming in Yorkshire mostly, so sheep and dairy rather than arable.

    #56730
    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @jimthefish

    I did suggest on the Guardian that the mind wipe was really to save the Vardy from the justifiably furious humans. They killed people’s mums. Yes, they were following their programming, but the Doctor’s assessment of sentience suggests that they don’t have to.

    So they’re probably guilty of manslaughter (robotslaughter?). Put the two together, and the Doctor is probably trying to administer his own bit of justice. In a way that also stops the humans committing some vigilante roboticide; humans have a strong sense of fairness. It isn’t fair to punish people for something they can’t remember doing. 😉

    #56733
    tardigrade @tardigrade

    Just took a quick look at a transcript and it hasn’t helped me. The Doctor goes from ready to blow the ship up to eliminate the Vardies to calling them a slave class without having any interaction with the Vardies in between, which is a wild swing.

    I’m also not that enthused about the prospects of the situation at the end. The human settlers now have as “landlords” a completely utilitarian species who killed humans without hesitation when they had as a goal to maximise human happiness. Remove that goal and it doesn’t seem there’s much safeguard against that happening again for some reason. The Doctor has introduced the notion that the humans will pay “rent”. What’s that going to be in the form of? What is it the Vardies need that the humans can provide? All they had was their ship- their major asset was the Vardies themselves. So do they provide labour in lieu of rent? Has the Doctor made the humans the slaves in place of the Vardies? My guess would be that there are Vardy experts among the colonists who can reset/reprogram the Vardies and restore them to being slaves, and they’ll do that as soon as the Doctor leaves, since they won’t be comfortable unless they’re in control of the Vardies, knowing what happened before.

    #56734
    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    @bluesqueakpip — yes, I think the Doctor did perform what he considered to be a piece of ad hoc ‘justice’. (so much for him not being ‘the police’). It’s also his Time Lord showing, let’s face it.

    @tardigrade — it wouldn’t be the first time that the Doctor has left a planet with a precarious ad hoc ‘peace’ and just hopes that it’ll all turn out OK. I think he has a policy of trusting that the best of people will come out. Or perhaps he is of the belief that after he dematerialises it ceases to be his problem.

    I’m not crazy about the Doctor essentially jumping straight to creating a free market economy — and for a race that don’t essentially have any needs but who I think are clearly benevolent, so I don’t think there’s an undue cause for concern. But it is a ‘fake’ economic system (kind of like our current system when you get down to it). Unless the Vardies do have needs, or develop them. Do they need repair? Do they need raw materials? Presumably they need fuel of some kind. Laws of physics and all that. Or maybe they’ll develop needs. A need for love, for companionship, perhaps. Is it possible that the need to make people happy was not just programming, but a nascent need of their own?

    Leaving aside the ££ joke, which I think was just a bit of levity, I’m not sure the humans will be literally expected to pay anything, except perhaps to respect the Vardies’ right to autonomy. I’d also suspect that the Doctor would give the Vardies some kind of defence (better firewalls maybe) against just being returned to slavehood. If there is indeed going to be a capitalist system, you’d hope at least that the Doc put some kind of bond boards in place.

    It’s actually quite an annoying thing to inject into Doctor Who, especially since it was pretty unnecessary to the resolution of the story. I suspect it was just considered a visual gag, the implications of which weren’t thought through. I think it was put in there to emphasise in a slightly clumsy way that the Doctor was leaving the Vardies and humans as equals and that it was no longer desirable for the humans to have an automatic assumption of privilege or superiority.

    Although maybe you’re right and there is no solution, that each side will continually be trying to de facto enslave the other and that is the natural state of sentience. Depressing, if so. It really is a massive can of worms just to lob in there in the last five minutes of an episode.

    But to be honest, if it comes to some kind of war, I’m on the side of the Vardies (despite their inadvertent homicidal tendencies) because from what little we saw of the colonists they were without exception rather smug and annoying. 😉

    #56736
    Anonymous @

    @jimthefish @tardigrade @bluesqueakpip  @juniperfish

    I’ve been kiboshed from the site by Mum who says “study study” and it IS the business end of the semester now, but I really saw that the ‘rent’ was satire.

    I mean, they’re a robotic species, an AI, so rent may well be “saying hello and thumbs up every time you pass an interface.”

    I understand “smile” wasn’t given a thumbs up as an episode. But I actually liked it more than The Pilot because there were certain layers which give us an element of understanding; something to chew over and, boy, was it creepy.

    The connection here, amongst my mates and teachers was an ANZAC Day one -the significance of which was a springboard. The difficulties of recognising what is war, the concept of “if I’m gonna be on a side, it’s the side of Group A” which basically means we haven’t grown a great deal; we’re not acting globally on many levels. I was chewing that over and thought despite the “end rush” I conclude “the rush” was the point! The Doctor was about to see 20 or more colonists killed, there was no time for a “sit down, I shall now lecture you on how sensitive this all is” so he pulled the plug.

    I think he did the right thing and also, I would add that if it is satirical then the helter skelter, s**t, what are we gonna do now” atmosphere was exactly how it would work -in real life. That in itself, to coin mum’s phrase from her comments to @jimthefish ‘s blog makes it “exceptional” or an “exception” as an episode.

    Interesting to read a lot of: “I liked it” and “I loved Pilot but didn’t like Smile”. I don’t know how that works? Is it that simple, to say “I liked it. Not.” My mind, to my shame, doesn’t work that way. I tend to think not “no” or “you have it wrong” (@Phaseshift ) but rather “there’s this which was great but this, I didn’t take to.” Unless it’s a Tom Cruise movie, in which case 🙁 actually, not even then.

    Also, the whole “Bowie is the new Tarot” is a bit fun, but you could easily pick out a Dylan choon or a theme from the film ‘Giant’ or, as we saw on Foreign Correspondent, the film The Great Escape.

    @zeyra

    I feel for you: I think I’d recommend some good Labour newspapers or periodicals in your country? That might help . It is sometimes easy to say: “they’re all as bad as each other” when that’s often not the case? Anything fascist as @pedant and others have said (I think Miss @mudlark too) must be stopped in its tracks, however. Lives are on the line. And I think I know what I want to do when I grow up….mediate. Because it’s bloody hard and someone needs to do it. Mum had a mate when she was growing up and even though she started uni at 16, her mate, knowing she was a music student recognised she had zero political knowledge. For weeks, every day, he’d creep over to the house and leave three newspapers at her door. This gave her the fundamentals but also opened her mind to what was going  on. Articles in newspapers from different sources are important. How’s Le Monde?

    Us against them: seeing it in Aus on the brilliant Q&A (and on various forums) I see just how small and terrified a country we’ve become. Anyway, separate point but ….another 400  words have to be memorised…

    “Good night and Good luck” people 🙂

    Thane15

    #56737
    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    @thane15
    Really liked your take on being at your ANZAC ceremony. I remember standing in the school hall during the ANZAC ceremony in 1969. I was 16, the Vietnam War was raging, and there were a lot of us at school that thought there was something very, very wrong about that war, and the Deputy Headmaster stood up and lectured us on how the battle of 1915 was about how white, British, Christian, civilization (which, apparently, we, the 16 year-olds of Sydney, Australia, in 1969, represented) stood up to the pagan forces of evil. A good friend was standing next to me during this address. His parents were from Lebanon, and their parents had gone to Lebanon from Turkey. As the deputy headmaster was droning on, he whispered to me: “Why am I listening to this? My grandfather was on the other side at Gallipoli.”

    The next year the movie “If…” came out. I saw it, and I highly recommend you see it as well.

    @zeyra
    On the question of the French elections, I would cite my story above. Certain politicians (and deputy headmasters) talk about some people as “the other”, who are (all, apparently) somehow not like us (as if “us” are all the same). As it was with my friend in the school hall, I think life is a bit different from the way some politicians claim it is.

    #56739
    ichabod @ichabod

    @mudlark  Wheat and other cereal crops, like all grasses, are wind pollinated and require no intervention on the part of insects or micro robots

    Maybe this wheat has been engineered to be artificially pollinated because of some weird quirk in the weather patterns?  Or the vardies just like flying around and have made a job for themselves that lets them do that.

    Well, *that’s* pretty bonkers.

    @jimthefish  it seems to me that the RTD era doesn’t have that much in the way of rewatch value. It’s like a sugar-hit of excitement on first watch but there’s a low of diminishing returns to rewatches. I’m not sure, for example, that this site would have existed in the RTD era. There just wouldn’t have been that much to dissect in each episode.

    I share that opinion, and consequently hope that Chibnall is up to writing enough depth and texture into the show (or encouraging that in his co-writers) to keep us going here.  And I think you’re right about episode length. We have a similar problem in SF in print — for many writers of shorter work, the short story is too short for satisfying character development, and book length is too long for the amount of development they want to put into the plot/idea of the tale.  Awards given by our professional organization include one for “novella” length, which is more or less 18,000 -25,000 words, because we *need* that length to do some concepts justice.  I don’t know whether time slot limitations are all that’s makes some DW feel cramped or rushed at the end — there are also considerations of expense and budget, for an extra 15-10 minutes or so.

    @thane15  He said “don’t sentimentalise me” and he was very certain about it. He also said “I muck in”.
    And he makes mistakes.

    Good spot.  Yes; he’s improvising (one of his go-to talents, which can also lead to loads of trouble down the road).  He’s the guy who knocks things back together and then moves on — declining to get stuck in the role of long-term governor or policy maker.  He’ll throw out the mess you’ve made and cobble up a new arrangement that won’t get people killed — and then he leaves you on your own together, responsible for your own choices, because what’s free will for if not taking responsibility for your own stuff?  He’s a rebel, not an authoritarian; a handyman, not an engineer or architect or military strategist.  And above all he’s not perfect, has excellent reason to know it himself after recent experiences, and wants to make sure Bill knows it, too.

    @mudlark  . . . to clarify the sense in which I was using ‘intelligence’. It was probably evident from the context, but if not, I meant conscious, self-aware, sentient as well as capable of reasoning, but as machines – dry brains, not wet brains

    English is very confused on this point, IMO.  Humans used to be “The Tool-Making Animal”, but then we saw those crows making wire hooks to pull food out of containers . . . Now we use a number of words fairly interchangeably to mean human-like brain function, but they don’t all mean the same thing: sapience, sentience, intelligence, consciousness, self-awareness, time-binding, others that don’t come to mind right now, all (I think) in opposition to “instinctual” or “automatic”.  We need more clarity about *all* of it.

    @bluesqueakpip  . . . Doctor is probably trying to administer his own bit of justice. In a way that also stops the humans committing some vigilante roboticide; humans have a strong sense of fairness. It isn’t fair to punish people for something they can’t remember doing.

    I hadn’t thought of that — after all, the humans *need* the robots/Vardies, some basis for cooperation is definitely indicated.

    @thane15  [of the Doctor’s fix]  I think he did the right thing and also, I would add that if it is satirical then the helter skelter, s**t, what are we gonna do now” atmosphere was exactly how it would work -in real life.

    I’m definitely with you on this, on rent and on the resolutions being not so much “rushed” as “necessarily patched up in a hurry, before there’s an attack from the angry humans, and then a lot of skeletons to be fed to the cabbages.

    #56740
    geoffers @geoffers

    @phaseshift

    The Doctor wanting to blow something up as first option is pretty unusual.

    as his first, uninformed impression, i totally get this reaction. human colonists on the way, murdering robots waiting for them (the doctor has seen his share of murderous robots), newly minted companion to keep safe (and a promise to get back to keeping). and i kind of see the doctor as a universal force of nature, now, as he sometimes will interfere and end up mucking up things beyond belief (or simply be caught up in the mucking, depends on your point of view), despite his best intentions. and like forces of nature (volcanoes, earthquakes, exploding suns), sometimes stuff gets blown up, so that new stuff can begin out of the ruins…

    but i really like your other option, for sure. it’s too bad the writer(s) of the episode didn’t come up with that, for whatever reasons. but i’d like to add, just because we don’t see any bot reactions when the first bot falls into the reactor, doesn’t mean those reactions didn’t happen. there was an obvious reaction when the bot was shot by the colonist, which could be an indicator that they weren’t pleased with the loss of the first one, either, and had “learned” the meaning of being disposable. (although, showing is better than telling, of course. but sometimes, maybe the writers trust us to fill in the blanks, or are simply unaware there is a blank that needs filling…)

    #56741
    tardigrade @tardigrade

    @Thane15

    … but I really saw that the ‘rent’ was satire.

    I recognise that this is largely a throwaway line essentially to camera and the ££ eyes were a joke the writers couldn’t resist, but did the Vardies know that it was a joke? :-). Honestly, I can’t see them having any concept of rent as we’d understand it.

    I understand “smile” wasn’t given a thumbs up as an episode…

    I still give it a thumbs up (just one thumb up I guess) despite my reservations. The setup and action in this one were about as hard sci-fi as Who gets – the terraforming / bot swarm aspects are within the realms of hard SF – conceivable in our universe not just the Whoniverse, and I appreciate the effort to include stories like that. Plus the visuals at the beginning were a delight. I’d have preferred to see those hard SF aspects explored a little more and not to have the Vardies portrayed as sentient in the story- it was maybe too much to attempt in the timeframe and left the end of the episode unsatisfying as a result, at least to me.

    @jimthefish

    The sweet spot seems to be around the 60-75min mark and that’s a length that’s never going to be commercially viable — or at least not until Who moves into a streaming-only format, which I suspect it ultimately might.

    Around 60 minutes works for me I think, or freed from TV schedules, it doesn’t have to be tied down to a specific length. I suspect a lot of content will go to a streaming-only format soon enough. It’s only barely an exaggeration to say that my kids have never seen free-to-air TV (and for that matter I watch it almost exclusively through catch-up services). The future of commercial-supported free-to-air television is bleak, if it’s not already in its death spiral, with falling numbers of viewers, advertising rates dropping and advertisers deserting to greener pastures. In contrast, streaming services are on the rise, and increasingly showing, or even commissioning, exclusive content.

    #56744
    Missy @missy

    @jimthefish:

    Oh dear, I didn’t mean Christel  Dee, I meant Rove McManus – I thought he was the presenter?? He introduces it and sits in the centre  asking questions.

    I finally found the self portrait of Van Gogh, but only after I paused the scene with the Book, and pressed fast forward.

    Such a shame, their are so many posts that I’d love to read, but simply can’t. It would take me all day.

    I enjoyed Smile, very clever, but not as much as The Pilot.

    Missy

    #56749
    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    @missy–

    It must be some other show you’re thinking of — perhaps one specific to your region? The ‘official’ after show is definitely Christel. Here’s this week’s btw, with a cracking interview with Peter Capaldi, replete with some interesting tidbits on his take on the Doctor’s character, the discovery of alien life and the usual gubbins about the hair.

    Plus lava lamp…

    I initially thought that people didn’t have a whole lot to say about Smile so it’s cool to see that it’s raised all kinds of interesting discussion. On the back of it, I think I’d actually like to see a return to this world just to see how things turned out. Maybe seeing how the Vardies and the humans cooperate to see off a third threat. I’d say that even if the episode falls short in some areas, it’s world-building has been top-notch.

    It’s also got me thinking that perhaps a blog on the show’s relationship to politics, in the widest sense of the word, might be worth pursuing….

    #56751
    tardigrade @tardigrade

    Sorry if this comment is duplicated- I posted it earlier and for some reason it didn’t show up…

    @thane15

    … but I really saw that the ‘rent’ was satire.

    I recognise that this is largely a throwaway line essentially to camera and the ££ eyes were a joke the writers couldn’t resist, but did the Vardies know that it was a joke? :-). Honestly, I can’t see them having any concept of rent as we’d understand it.

    I understand “smile” wasn’t given a thumbs up as an episode…

    I still give it a thumbs up (just one thumb up I guess) despite my reservations. The setup and action in this one were about as hard sci-fi as Who gets – the terraforming / bot swarm aspects are within the realms of hard SF – conceivable in our universe not just the Whoniverse, and I appreciate the effort to include stories like that. Plus the visuals at the beginning were a delight. I’d have preferred to see those hard SF aspects explored a little more and not to have the Vardies portrayed as sentient in the story- it was maybe too much to attempt in the timeframe and left the end of the episode unsatisfying as a result, at least to me.

    @jimthefish

    The sweet spot seems to be around the 60-75min mark and that’s a length that’s never going to be commercially viable — or at least not until Who moves into a streaming-only format, which I suspect it ultimately might.

    Around 60 minutes works for me I think, or freed from TV schedules, it doesn’t have to be tied down to a specific length. I suspect a lot of content will go to a streaming-only format soon enough. My kids virtually never watch free-to-air TV (and for that matter I watch it almost exclusively through catch-up services). The future of commercial-supported free-to-air television is bleak, if it’s not already in its death spiral, with falling numbers of viewers, advertising rates dropping and advertisers deserting to greener pastures. In contrast, streaming services are on the rise, and increasingly showing, or even commissioning, exclusive content.

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