The Lie of the Land

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This topic contains 228 replies, has 35 voices, and was last updated by  Missy 2 years, 5 months ago.

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  • #58688
    wolfweed @wolfweed

    @nick @mirime  That bedroom… (2001ASO)

    2001 bed

    lie o

     

    #58706
    Missy @missy

    @nick:

    As we say, just speculation.

    @mirime I’ve only watched it once but didn’t he say ‘this is the other last of the Time Lords’

    Yes he did.

    @miapatrick:

    Good point, but we are watching an episode written by Toby Whithouse, not Moffat, so who nose?

    @missroriClara wasn’t immune to comments about her appearance in Series 8!

    Exactly. Just the thing this Doctor would say – he needed his cue cards. He can be so rude at times. Also –

    And oh he is afraid.  He’s just a bloke in a box telling stories but he knows that if he’s wounded just right he becomes the Hybrid, hungering for succor with an appetite to swallow all space and time.  He’s scared that when his final test comes, he won’t pass it.

    But I think he will…

    I think you are right, and of course he will

    @nick:

    As we say, just speculation.

    @mirime I’ve only watched it once but didn’t he say ‘this is the other last of the Time Lords’

    Yes he did.

    @miapatrick:

    Good point, but we are watching an episode written by Toby Whithouse, not Moffat, so who nose?

    @missroriClara wasn’t immune to comments about her appearance in Series 8!

    Exactly. Just the thing this Doctor would say – he needed his cue cards. He can be so rude at times. Also –

    And oh he is afraid.  He’s just a bloke in a box telling stories but he knows that if he’s wounded just right he becomes the Hybrid, hungering for succor with an appetite to swallow all space and time.  He’s scared that when his final test comes, he won’t pass it.

    But I think he will…

    I think you are right, and of course he will

    @nick:

    As we say, just speculation.

    @mirime I’ve only watched it once but didn’t he say ‘this is the other last of the Time Lords’

    Yes he did.

    @miapatrick:

    Good point, but we are watching an episode written by Toby Whithouse, not Moffat, so who nose?

    @missroriClara wasn’t immune to comments about her appearance in Series 8!

    Exactly. Just the thing this Doctor would say – he needed his cue cards. He can be so rude at times. Also –

    And oh he is afraid.  He’s just a bloke in a box telling stories but he knows that if he’s wounded just right he becomes the Hybrid, hungering for succor with an appetite to swallow all space and time.  He’s scared that when his final test comes, he won’t pass it.

    But I think he will…

    I think you are right, and of course he will

    @blenkinsopthebrave:  What is so good about Moffat is that, even at this late stage, we have little idea of what is in store for the final two parter, and the conclusion to Capaldi’s run. I don’t know exactly why, but I have a feeling that we might be left with a tragic end for this Doctor. Not just a sad end, or a wistful end, but a tragic end. He enterered the scene unsure of who he was, and he has lost a lot, including River and even his memories of Clara.

    Well, he does say that the Christmas special will be different.

    @missrori:  There haven’t been any other Time Lords or Ladies roaming about as yet.

    Not yet, but remember his daughter is flying round the universe somewhere? I never forgot her.

    <span class=”useratname”>@jimthefish: Yes it did. Thank you.</span>

    My apologies if the above seems weird,but I am answering each page of posts, one at a time.

    Missy

    #58709
    ichabod @ichabod

    @nerys  I think the Doctor’s basic problem is that he is lonely for his own kind. Missy is the only one left

    Well, Gallifrey is back so there are TLs for company if he wants to make some kind of a deal for visiting; but if we take “his own kind” to mean other *rebel* TLs who’ve broken away from Gallifreyan rules and attitudes, then I’d agree that Missy really is the only other (that we know of, anyway), so that comment makes a lot of sense in that context.

    @blenkinsopthebrave  I have a feeling that we might be left with a tragic end for this Doctor. Not just a sad end, or a wistful end, but a tragic end.

    I’m inclined to agree — partly because of the context in which that end will occur: a big shift in the direction and tone of the show itself after Capaldi and Moffat and most of Moffat’s writing crew are gone; a shift, I expect, away from brilliance and complexity and boldness,.  That’s pretty damned sad, IMO, all by itself, and if you add a “writers’ room” approach and some snarky kid-heartthrob playing the Doctor, plus the times we now live in (of what appears to be a rising tide of reactionary politics and economics), well . . . I hope for some mature acceptance by CapDoc, but I hope more for — some swaggery defiance and wisecracks as well — just a flash of Malcolm Tucker would be great (another character who came to a tragic end, come to think of it).

    @lisa   He never out right rejects her. They have an unusual and intimate thing going on. 

    That does seem to be a deep part of the Doctor’s alien-ness, doesn’t it; “unusual” intimacy (even with Davros, at times).  Being lonely for his closest companions, though — I don’t see much evidence of that, probably because the show needs us to concentrate on the current companions, not past ones that some viewers haven’t seen.

    @thane15  I’m connecting all this waaay back to when Clara and Missy were sitting under the shade of the tree aeroplane & discussing the “friendships of TLs”.

    That conversation was so crucial to relationship issues in DW — largely as reminder of the idea that friendships that last, on and off, for thousands of years would have to be different from our human concepts of friendship.  It’s one of the ways in which the Doctor, however closely or familiarly he may engage with human companions, is not a human being but an alien.  Missy is our faithful reminder of that fact.

     

    #58711
    MissRori @missrori

    @ichabod  wrote:

    I’m inclined to agree — partly because of the context in which that end will occur: a big shift in the direction and tone of the show itself after Capaldi and Moffat and most of Moffat’s writing crew are gone; a shift, I expect, away from brilliance and complexity and boldness

    This is awfully true.  And I do think poor Twelve is headed for one last decision in extremis.  But when I hear the term “tragedy” I think “meaningless” and “hopeless”, and it would not be in the spirit of the franchise, especially under Moffat, to have the Doctor’s virtue be all in vain against a cruel universe.  Twelve has done so much good even if he doesn’t always realize it, even if he isn’t perfect, and his life will not end all for nothing.  Remember, there are children watching, and a world in need of assurance that goodness is the right decision every time.  Right now far too many people are giving into despair and cruelty because they don’t see the truth of goodness… (sniff)

    The Eleventh Doctor had his Day, and so will the Twelfth Doctor in the end.

    #58713
    ichabod @ichabod

    @missrori  The Eleventh Doctor had his Day, and so will the Twelfth Doctor in the end.

    I’ll drink to that!  I don’t think Steven Moffat or Peter Capaldi would want to end on a note of doom and despair, so the Xmas special gives them a place to soften and brighten the final landing for this series.  And I do think they’ll use it well.  After all, they both love the Doctor, don’t they!  They’ll exalt the concept, not fail it.

    #58716
    MissRori @missrori

    @ichabod (raises glass)  Me too!  Yes, it’s okay if the finale is tragic and brutal.  Twelve’s previous season finales were that way.  But never without some hope to lead us into Christmas.  It’ll just come in a surprising way this time, I’m guessing.

    #58762
    wolfweed @wolfweed

    @whisht – Did you manage a rewatch? If so, did your opinions change at all?

    rw

    #58799
    nerys @nerys

    Finally had a second viewing just now. Wow, there’s so much I missed the first time around! I loved it even more this time. I can’t explain why I feel that way, while others feel let down. Maybe the holes aren’t as gaping to me as they are to others. Dunno.

    OK, to quickly address some observations made by other posters:

    Bill took her anger out on Nardole because the Doctor said the assassination ruse was Nardole’s idea.

    The Doctor said, “All the pictures I gave you. I thought I was just being kind, but I was saving the world.”

    As others have noted, it’s not so much “the power of love” that enables Bill to save the world, but her created memories (enhanced by the Doctor’s photos) that were so strong – a pure, uncorrupted, irresistible image, as the Doctor described it – that broke the Monks’ signal. “She’s a window on the world without the monks.”

    Some have said the Monks were not so threatening or dangerous, but I disagree. They erased people’s memories, rewrote history and enforced a passive acceptance of tyranny worldwide. Anyone who resisted was executed or sent to forced labor camps. That seems pretty dangerous to me … and also serves as a strong cautionary tale about our current state of affairs.

    Also, some have commented on Missy’s demeanor. One explanation for her muted behavior is that she’s in a state of depression, such as it is for Time Lords. So naturally her demeanor is different. Depression changes one’s personality, and not for the better. She’s not merrily sparring with the Doctor because she’s struggling with the loneliness and isolation he has imposed upon her. But it may be that her depression (rage directed inward) will eventually be turned outward. Time will tell (no pun intended).

    I love the Doctor’s “in amongst seven billion of you” response to Bill’s question about why he puts up with the human race. That’s his need for his human companions, in a nutshell.

    Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie were brilliant in this episode.

    #58802
    MissRori @missrori

    @nerys  Don’t feel confused or bad about liking this episode.  There’s a lot to like about it, even with its arguable dodgy bits (which most Who stories have anyway).  🙂  This one has really been growing on me, in a way that “Pyramid at the End of the World” hasn’t.

    Bill’s pure image being based on a fiction she came up with is important.  A friend of mine pointed out that the Monks could only manipulate truth, not fiction (albeit a fiction inspired by truth, aka the photos).  I was reminded of the climax of the Virgin Missing Adventures novel Managra, back in the 1990s.  That had the Fourth Doctor face off with a villain who could, effectively, replicate and then alter anything that already existed…but it had no imagination, so it could not create anything of its own.  The Doctor had imagination, so he was able to figure out how to defeat it.

    I agree that the Monks did pose a genuine, dreadful threat — they just seemed oddly easy to defeat after being near-invincible for two weeks.  And it was never really clear why they wanted to rule humanity; they didn’t have some master plan in mind.  Between that and the lack of personality, they weren’t the most compelling villains.

    I think you’re right about Missy being depressed from isolation, etc.  Being alone with thoughts like hers would be pretty awful.  It will be very interesting to see how things work out in the finale in that regard.  Last season we saw the Doctor go through a painful — albeit very different — stretch of isolation, and that did not exactly work out for him once he was free.

    The acting is, frankly, staggering this season.  Capaldi, Mackie, and company are bringing their A games every time.

    #58805
    nerys @nerys

    @missrori I agree that the Monks did pose a genuine, dreadful threat — they just seemed oddly easy to defeat after being near-invincible for two weeks.  And it was never really clear why they wanted to rule humanity; they didn’t have some master plan in mind.  Between that and the lack of personality, they weren’t the most compelling villains.

    The Monks were not very well “fleshed out” as villains, it’s true. However, didn’t Missy say they did this sort of thing just because they could? Taking over worlds is just their thing, as I recall. Not very compelling, but isn’t it a commentary on a certain president, who likes taking things just because he can? As in, “The game’s the thing.” Not an exact quote, of course, but it seems apropos. The conquest isn’t the most satisfying part; it’s the process of taking something (and, as we discovered, being “welcomed in” willingly, so there’s no real force involved).

    The Doctor, with Missy’s help, had to figure out how to conquer them, and that took time. It was only after consulting with Missy that realized Bill was the lynchpin, the only way to defeat the Monks. But that would come only at a huge cost, or so they believed, based on Missy’s information.

    #58828
    soundworld @soundworld

    Well, I’m a little late to the party, having only now managed to watch all these three episodes, and to read the threads on each (over two nights).

    Everybody has come up with such great, insightful (and bonkers) ideas that I don’t have much to add, although it just occurred to me that the Munks (© @thane15) have done the world a great service – if they hadn’t identified the bio-hazard as a tipping point which would destroy life on earth, then it would most likely have gone undetected until way too late.  By bringing it to the Doctor’s attention he was able to do something about it.

    I like that it wasn’t ‘the power of love’ per se as the power of the memory created by love, which saved the day.

    I loved ‘Extremis’ – the pacing, the riffs on Da Vinci Code.  I loved the idea of characters discovering they were in a simulated holographic projection, especially as this is a current theory; like others I found that the set of 3 episodes did not quite hang together, and found the same off-putting elements in this episode – especially the shooting / regeneration.  Definitely something off and odd about that… I now need to rewatch all three to pick up on the things I missed.  Overall, I really liked, and I’m sure that on rewatch much more will click into place.

    @nerys I agree re the monks – I feel they get their kicks from the challenge of getting the host race to invite them in, unless there is some dastardly long-term plot which we are unaware of, but going on the evidence for now.  I also agree with up-thread that it would have been an interesting plot to make them beautiful, like saving-grace angels, rather than ‘death warmed up’.  Perhaps after gaining control of the world they just stay on auto-pilot not really paying attention any more ‘it IS a game’.

    @nick (and others) Interesting discussion on trauma, survivors, and how Who doesn’t fill in the consequences.  I simply think it can’t, given its target audience, and that the constant earth invasions would by now have so radically altered the current day Who-Earth that we could no longer set stories there and have it recogniseable as our time and place.  I agree that makes the show gloss over an enormous amount, but I just accept whatever the story is ‘this week’ and go with it, I’m maybe a bit simplistic that way – but its the willing suspension of disbelief to fully enter into the created world and the current story being told.  Often, of course, the overall story is about human qualities, courage, beliefs, to which the apparent on-screen situation is a sketch which cannot have any more detail applied within the time constraints.  Perhaps I’m just like the general population depicted in-episode: I forget the implications of everything that has happened before, in order to concentrate on NOW.  That’s my take, anyhows. Sorry – not wanting to reopen the discussion, just adding my rather late thoughts to the proceedings.

    @blenkinsopthebrave I liked your essay idea!  These episodes really6 explored that essay topic from different angles, perhaps giving us a reason for them appearing not to fit together:
    (1) you discover you are a figment of a simulation – but you can still exercise free will by ending your life within the simulation in the hope (perhaps – this wasn’t shown as the reason for the suicides) that this will affect the Monks’ simulat5ion or somehow send a signal to outside the simulation.

    (2) The Monks can save the planet, but only if somebody genuinely surrenders free will and invites them into Power (with a capital), acting from love.  The ultimate giving-up of one’s own power ‘Thy will be done’.

    (3) Bill exercises free will to join with the broadcast-monk knowing it might kill her, a willing sacrifice for the greater good.  Humanity exercises its free will to forget!  OK, Who stretches it massively, but genuinely if you’re not 100% consciously paying attention to things, people really do ‘revert to the mean’ of how they think and believe things should be.  I’ve experienced this. Subconscious programming rules our lives and reactions – 90% of us is the subconscious iceberg below the waters, and we’ll do our best to ignore inconvenient facts and completely bury them if possible.  Douglas Adams ‘Somebody Elses’ Problem’ field was a great concept.
    If you are using a VPN to <cough> tune into iPlayer from outwith the UK, they don’t yet require you to sign in. I don’t know how long that situation will last.   Personally I wish they’d offer a subscription for iPlayer as there is so little I want to watch that I don’t own a regular TV.

    Right – a day off, then a rewatch of all three.

    #58829
    winston @winston

    @soundworld  Better late than never as me old Mom used to say. I also need to rewatch all 3 together to form a better idea or make a bonkers suggestion. For now I will only say I liked them quite a bit and that I am excited to see how they play out. I was confused by the Doctors part regen and I am so curious to see if it meant anything other than to trick us the viewers which is OK as I liked to be tricked now and then. Is he regenerating slowly like 10 did? Is he wearing a bit thin like the War Doctor?

    Missy will have a hard time convincing me that she is nice but you never know.

    #58839
    MissRori @missrori

    @winston

    Missy will have a hard time convincing me that she is nice but you never know.

    Davros did say compassion would be the death of this Doctor…(evil laugh)

    I think the regeneration bit was mostly a trick for the trailers and such, but at the same time he’s wearing thin too.  Twelve seems to have been feeling his age all season, and probably knows he doesn’t have much longer.  He’s a few centuries old at this point after all, and he can’t look in a mirror and pretend he’s fit and hearty as he could with his last few incarnations.  That and his grim duty to the Vault and inability to travel as much would explain his (increased) broodiness.  A slow regeneration might be in the cards, depending on how the finale plays out.

    #58840
    soundworld @soundworld

    @winston

    Missy? Nice? You noticed in my construction here that the two words don’t belong together in a sentence!  Hell freezing over is more likely (and, come to think of it – quite possible in Who – hmmm).

    I really liked the ideas up-thread that Missy might be a regen of the Doctor, although I don’t think that is likely.  The Doctor has already made a lot of acknowledgement of his dark side and many moves towards integration, I don’t feel that his character would go through that kind of total flip.  His need to have his friend back, and his hope that she can change, may well over-ride his knowing that she can’t.

    #58883
    ScaryB @scaryb

    @nerys

    I agree with you that there’s a lot the resonates with this episode, especially on a second viewing. Everything about it is about being fake, nothing is what it seems. Even the Doctor (at the start). Even Bill’s memory of her mother isn’t what it seems. It’s her fantasy of her mum (albeit enabled by the photos the Doctor took). Much like Clara and her souffles when she was trapped in Asylum… (So is there another layer to the Monks that’s not been revealed yet? (I don’t expect it but I’m keeping my theoretical options open!))

    @blenkinsopthebrave  I have a feeling that we might be left with a tragic end for this Doctor. Not just a sad end, or a wistful end, but a tragic end.

    It wouldn’t surprise me. I’m also seeing a lot of callbacks to Hartnell’s run – starting with Bill’s name (and (his wife) Heather), the photo of Susan (in the Pilot), the talk of impending death, the impairment of losing his sight (cf the first Doctor’s comment (just before his (first) regeneration) in The Tenth Planet that he was “wearing a bit thin” (as @missrori mentions as well).  The Tenth Planet, of course, being the episode which introduced those pesky cybermen that Capaldi is apparently so keen to get back.

    #58886
    MissRori @missrori

    @soundworld  I agree that if any Doctor’s been aware of his dark side, it’s been Twelve.  That was the core of his identity crisis in Series 8, and the Series 9 finale was all about him temporarily slipping into villain mode after his ordeal with Clara’s death, the confession dial, etc., and there was plenty of foreshadowing of how badly he’d take the former all season.  So instead of rehashing that concept, I see an possible inversion of that finale in the cards for Series 10: Instead of going bad for the sake of a good person, he does the right things for the sake of a bad one — compassion being his “cancer”, mixed with idealism — and pays dearly for that too.  Poor guy just can’t win!  😉

    #58895
    ScaryB @scaryb

    Final thoughts on this for now (and apologies if it’s already been said and I missed it).  I think the trilogy is a bold experiment that maybe doesn’t quite come off, but it has a lot of depth and resonance to it. And it shows how far you can push the envelope in terms of writing Dr Who. The whole thing is a metaphor – I said above it’s about fakery, but it’s also about truth. It’s about the Matrix-type themes of whether you allow yourself to accept the lies you are told, and live in that world, or if you shake off the blind faith (which is why the invaders look like (degraded) monks) and choose free will.  This is Bill’s journey – in Pyramids she chooses to disobey the Doctor so he’ll get his sight back, in the faith that he will get her world back for her. In Lie of the Land she fights to retain her sense of reality. She then chooses to shoot the Doctor (who fakes the start of a regeneration) when she believes he is part of creating the myths/lies. She then has to mentally fight to blow apart the fake world – it can’t be done by the Doctor, she has to do it herself – in order  to find the (presumably!) true reality where she is truly aware, and understands, free will.  Although the monks have gone by the end, most other people still do not have this awareness. They choose to go along with what they are told, and to not examine their thoughts/memories or the world around them in any depth.

    #58898
    Missy @missy

    @scarybAlthough the monks have gone by the end, most other people still do not have this awareness. They choose to go along with what they are told, and to not examine their thoughts/memories or the world around them in any depth.

    Rather like the EU – innit?

    Missy

    #58899
    Anonymous @

    @scaryb

    indeed, I agree. I recall thinking during Extremis that this was tale of truth vs fakery; conscious vs the sub-conscious and the inevitable discord between faith and reason: an area much documented of late in various international concerns.

    Sometimes the reasons behind the story which actually become the story also become the resonance: little strings of vibration nudging us to further thought and reflection. And is there ever a perfect ‘reflection’? Interesting themes.

    Good to see you back!

    Kindest, Puro

    #58903
    soundworld @soundworld

    @missrori

    Instead of going bad for the sake of a good person, he does the right things for the sake of a bad one

    Very good.

    @scaryb

    Indeed, very well put.  Which layer is ‘truth’ and who (Who?) is willing to make the effort to dig away the lies and distortions to find it, and themselves.

    #59137
    Missy @missy

    I’m going to make a complete ass of myself now. Is it just me, or is the Doctor becoming more attractive each episode?I love his hair. Perhaps it’s my age. *sigh*

    Missy

     

    #59159
    Mirime @mirime

    @missy I’m with you on that. And the hair is great isn’t it!

    #59164
    Missy @missy

    @mirime:

    It definitely suits him. Glad I’m not the only one. *winks*

    Missy

    #59168
    ichabod @ichabod

    @soundworld  I really liked the ideas up-thread that Missy might be a regen of the Doctor, although I don’t think that is likely. The Doctor has already made a lot of acknowledgement of his dark side and many moves towards integration, I don’t feel that his character would go through that kind of total flip. His need to have his friend back, and his hope that she can change, may well over-ride his knowing that she can’t.

    You know, he really does need to have his friend back.  Clara was a weirdly miss-matched “soulmate”, and that had to be ended; River is gone; Bill is a good, upbeat companion but the Doctor isn’t, and never will be, and wouldn’t want to be, the central focus of her life.

    So who’s left?  Who else is there who knows all about him, understands his background and his experience, can talk with him as a knowledgeable equal (when she’s not trying to maneuver or kill him)?  Missy.  Who else?  ?   ?   Home is impossible; Earth is too confining.  Even Ashildr has become too detached — she’s outgrown him.

    Missy hasn’t.  She wants her friend back (she’s as lonely and as exiled as he is); he needs his, so he makes himself believe that she could finally come round and see things his way.  But why should she?  She’d rather embrace chaos that have to submit to it being imposed on her, hurt others than be hurt by them.  Her position (if I’ve got it right) is more realistic than this.  She’d rather stay cold and inflict suffering, with all of life a heartless prank; he burns hot with ideals and hopes, and suffers loss and disappointment because of it.

    They need to be friends, confidants, fellow exiles, a comfort to each other in the enormity of cold space.  But it’s impossible . . .

    #59172
    MissRori @missrori

    @ichabod, Yes, sadly it is impossible, and I think that will be how the Doctor “falls” — he fails to redeem her and blames himself for it in the end, perhaps.

    But there is someone else who “knows all about him, understands his background and experience, can talk with him as a knowledgeable equal”, remember.

    It’s the TARDIS!

    So long as he has the TARDIS, he will never truly be lonely.  It will help him find the people he needs to be with, so he won’t be so lonesome.  Maybe that will be the heart of the Christmas episode…

    Maybe it will bring him back to Susan, or Clara, or etc.

    #59173
    Mirime @mirime

    @missy there are a few of us around 🙂

    #59197
    ichabod @ichabod

    @missrori  Excellent point — the TARDIS is his friend.  She may come to his rescue as only a Magic Box can (or its resident genie/fairy/wish-granting carp) can.

    Come to think of it, the Tardis itself is a brilliant concept for creating a variety of stories in different settings, without needing to take a chunk of run-time setting up plot reasons to go there in the first place: “Whoops, there’s war on here, run!” or “Hmm.  Seems quiet, but there’s something creepy — ”

    So why not, “I’m already glowing here, and you insist on going to Bill’s place to ruin her Christmas?”

    #59200
    MissRori @missrori

    @ichabod Exactly.  It — or she, if one likes — knows what must be, and what must be for him.  She knows his sorrows and that they must be, but also his joys and that they must be.  Footprints in the sand…

    #59219
    Missy @missy

    And….she loves him, she said so. She has tried to stop him doing things before.  It will always be The Doctor in the Tardis, one doesn’t function well without the other, and I don’t travelling.

    Missy

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