Thin Ice

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    Anonymous @


    blimey heck. This is ALL my fault. Shouldn’t have started that discussion.

    There is sexism. It’s everywhere, dear.

    @mudlark you’re probably right, I said he was “fatherly” and hinted at avuncular: he’s not. I think I was grasping  – -(for straws) for words signifying something other than the boyfriend-intent stuff with 10, and even with 11 -occasionally. 🙂

    @brewski In our house it’s 50 , because we count too quickly *-_-*

    I’m still using emojis, btw -I’ll do a Morrisey “flounce whine” shall I? Oh and a ‘LOL’.


    The LOL doesn’t work. :{


    Anonymous @


    I dunno about ‘friend’ . It’d be nice, but I hear this shit all the time: “we’re just friends” which pisses me off. (and I’m not thinking of Spike’s best ever speech either) It’s in the word ‘just.’  But I see where you’re coming from, though: change the language, change the ‘tude.

    It’s like when people have one child and say “just the one”. Boy do I go bonkers. ( _-_)

    Puro (no coffee yet, hence the swearing).

    ichabod @ichabod

    @nick  The Doctor studied under Dr. Bell?  Bell, the model Conan Doyle used for Sherlock Holmes?!  OMG, what a gas!

    Companion v. assistant v. — ?  I like “companion” because it’s nice and broad and allows for variation.  Suppose Missy traveled with him for a season?  She’s not exactly a friend, and would die rather than be thought of as an assistant, but she is, after all, his oldest — companion.   “We were traveling companions” does describe the situation pretty well, I think.

    Nick @nick


    I knew I had something wrong. It was Joseph Lister. More famous at the time, I’m sure.



    ichabod @ichabod

    @nick — Gosh, yes, and rightly so.  Revolutionary medicine . . .

    Missy @missy

    @ichabod:  Agreed — Moffat is fully capable of catching us up in a vortex of emotional arcs and call-backs, closing out with a lion’s  roar (“Take THAT!”); which would be, for me, more satisfying still.  Meantime, I’m not going anywhere — as long as I can watch PC and Bill, I’m in for the ride to the — bitter?  Uplifting?  Rip-roaring?  Sad and meditative? — end.

    I couldn’t have put it better. I’ll drink to that.






    janetteB @janetteb

    I’m with @icabod re’ sticking to the term, “companion”. The show is about the Doctor, he is the ongoing character and it is his Tardis but he too is the companion. Companion does not infer inferiority, it doesn’t imply a sexual relationship, that is companion plus, it can go both ways.

    @mudlark A few years ago my S/O presented on the Enlightenment, he covered the positives, the advances in human thinking especially in science and human rights, while I covered the negatives of the industrial revolution which was born of the Enlightenment, the human suffering, the destruction of a traditional way of life, of community and the impact upon the environment and the use of child slavery. I was playing devil’s advocate as most of those present viewed the Enlightenment through rose tinted glasses and had no real comprehension of just how much suffering was caused by the Industrial revolution. I don’t think many of them have spent an entire day busing through the aptly named “Black country,” though these days it might be called “the orange country” on account of the light pollution.

    I often wonder if those BTL moaners ever actually watched BG Who.  They are probably afraid to because it wouldn’t match their rose tinted ideals. Trolls are not overly concerned with little inconveniences like the truth rather like the right in general, looking back to an ideal world that never was. The companions weren’t all yes girls to the Doctor ie Barbara. Even Jo, who was perhaps one of the more compliant showed plenty of spirit and frequently stood up to him. Clearly however John Pertwee did want a goggle eyed assistant. Tom Baker also wanted to be the hero but had a companion who was the Doctor’s equal in intelligence just not in experience.



    Mudlark @mudlark


    urchins with a business sense

    A very apt definition of a mudlark 😀   though I have to admit that as regard the business sense the moniker doesn’t really suit me

    MissRori @missrori

    @ichabod I agree with you that even though the first few episodes have been a bit lighter than we’ve come to expect from the Capaldi tenure, it’s probably building up to something big, perhaps sooner than we think.  At about this point in Series 9, we’d had the character drama of the Davros 2-parter and the base-under-siege horror fare of the Fisher King, but looking back they were the “lightest” stories of the season, and still turned out to have a lot of foreshadowing of the season finale — particularly the latter, which on the surface seemed to have the least to do with the arc (aside from the one-off of “Sleep No More”) but in hindsight was as much a part of it as anything.  Then we had the Ashildr/Me thread introduced with episode five, and things took a deeper turn.

    As for where things are going, I notice that for all the speculation about What’s In the Vault, there hasn’t been much about who the Doctor made the promise/oath to with regards to guarding the vault.  It would be easy to guess the Time Lords, given the vault’s exterior, but then why would he be dealing with those backstabbers again?  And given his general dislike of authority, it’s hard to imagine any “celestial body” that could win his favor and agreement to — more or less! — put his wanderlust on a shelf for decades for, apparently, little or no reward.  Or…did he make the promise to what/whoever’s in the vault?  What was that thing that happened, anyway?  😉

    janetteB @janetteb

    @missrori we were speculating in the car tonight that the promise might have been made to River as he spent 24 years with her and most likely reassembled Nardole during that period. Nardole worked for River and he appears to be endeavouring to keep the Doctor to the promise.



    Nick @nick

    @janetteb @ichabod

    But “Companion” can imply a sexual relationship ( a mistress who travels with her – usually richer – male lover) and can imply a difference in the status in the relationship (the obvious is a sort of nurse who travels with her wealthy patient or a usually poorer women who travels with her wealthy patron).

    Whilst we might not recognise it today, Conan Doyle built in a social difference into the Holmes/Watson dynamic. His Victorian readers would certainly have understood that. Holmes is descend from a country squire. That could easily be minor aristocracy. Certainly he would have been a Gentleman in the Victorian sense. Watson on the other hand is clearly Middle Class; he would have been viewed as Holmes’ social inferior.

    It is also quite an old fashioned concept these days. I think it does tend to imply a social status difference difference between the two companions in the way it was (is) more commonly used. I certainly don’t think you can complain if people use the word to mean or imply a superior/inferior dynamic in the relationship.


    Nick @nick

    @janetteb @missrori

    I agree with you why is just or more important than who is in their. I assume that the ship and the bio-liquid that was ‘released” from it is ep 1 will also have a part in the answer.

    I really like the idea that the promise (I would take an oath to be something more formal and beyond a promise) was made to River to be a really nice idea.



    @nick @ichabod @janetteb

    When I was doing my undergrad work we went to a teeny tiny village in Gloucestershire to do “retrospective interviews” – essentially, having a copy of the 1938 electoral register and finding the oldest people we could to see if they could remember those on the list.

    Everyone we spoke to was sharp as a button. Lovely people, fascinated that a bunch of long haired 20-somethings were doing this.

    The answers were really quick and confident: “Oh, yes he was a blacksmith – live just there”, “He was a farm hand – big strong fella, died in the war”; “He was owner of the Big House”; “She was a writer – live just there”, “He was a carpenter”; “that’s me” etc etc


    “She was, she was… she was the writer’s ….companion.”

    The only hesitancy or stumble said more about life in the village before the war than anything else.

    ichabod @ichabod

    @mudlark  “urchins with a business sense”
    A very apt definition of a mudlark 😀 though I have to admit that as regard the business sense the moniker doesn’t really suit me

    I wonder how many people notable for their business sense and success are DW watchers?  The Doctor himself carries no money, isn’t “enterprising” in the usual sense, asks no pay for his services, and generally travels with humans who don’t worry much about losing their jobs or their customers while they’re gone.  Of course, “We can be back before the kettle boils” does create an enormous loophole — you won’t get fired for not showing up if nobody knows you’ve been gone.

    @janetteb  I wish I’d been there your sessions on the Industrial Revolution — sounds like a wonderful approach to take to the subject.  I don’t think I’ve come across a book reckoning up the societal toll taken by the Enlightenment, specifically, either.  Ah, well; a project for the next life, maybe.

    I love the idea that his promise was to River; but in that case, even after 50 yrs, would he flip it off so lightly for a spin in the Tardis with this lively young human?

    @nick  But “Companion” can imply a sexual relationship ( a mistress who travels with her – usually richer – male lover) and can imply a difference in the status in the relationship (the obvious is a sort of nurse who travels with her wealthy patient or a usually poorer women who travels with her wealthy patron).

    Yes, there is that — the Doctor himself does, from time to time, underline that status gap himself: he *is* superior to humans in the depth and breadth of his knowledge and experience, and in the durability of his exceptionally malleable body, so that sense of “companion” works fine.  Also the human companion is quite a bit like an attendant keeping an eye on the Doctor’s mental health (“I’m his carer” = I’m his keeper).  As for the possible sexual meaning, using a term that allows for that possibility is one way of keeping your audience involved when they’re grown up.

    Nick @nick


    I assume you mean as a “cover story” for a gay relationship ? I’m not going to assume that all co-habitating older ladies (or men) (spinster another terms that I’m happy to say is past its sell by date) were in a a gay relationship, but many must have been.



    They weren’t older ladies in 1938 (the respondent would have been in her late teens/ early 20s then).

    It was something that even 45 years later caused hesitation. I don’t think two women of whatever age living together to save rent would have caused that.

    Nick @nick


    I’d say that I’m his carer = keeper, is a recent invention courtesy of the Moff, not one that has very much history. I’d also say that “we can be back before the kettle boils” is also relatively new (mostly came in with Amy/Rory I think) as a convenient way of having the companion have a non-Doctor back story/life. In season 2, Rose had been away for about a year if I recall correctly. This was certainly consistent with BG Who.

    I’m not suggesting Companion isnt a good word to use, but I am asking if there’s another possibility, that has more neutral connotations, which might be more useful today. Do people even have companions today ? I can’t recall it being used in real life speech.

    Nick @nick


    Understood and agreed. Back then, even mid-30s would have been considered Old to be an unmarried women.

    ichabod @ichabod

    @nick  Do people even have companions today ? I can’t recall it being used in real life speech.

    I think it faded out when it became associated with closeted gay men living together (Liberace and his long-time companion, Rock Hudson and his long-time companion, etc).  I think it still works in DW because it’s always carried the sense of “traveling companion” even though we rarely use it that way any more in common parlance.  I can’t think of a better term, myself.

    Redlemons @redlemons

    To all those saying companion, works or doesn’t work… Wouldn’t colleague or associate work? Although I like the word companion, I don’t think it works when introducing Capt. Jack.

    Nick @nick


    I had thought both of those were possible, but I think a word that describes a close, friendly relationship is needed. Neither of these imply that. A better description than Companion, which is more meaning neutral, might not exist.

    Craig @craig

    Just as an aside on companions, one of the American companies that my company owns introduced a blood pressure cuff for pets (it’s a much needed thing supposedly). We discovered when we went to write a press release about it that in the USA they didn’t want to use “pets”, they are “companion animals”, to differentiate them from working animals such as police dogs, farmed animals etc. Turns out it really is a thing:

    Not quite sure what that says about the meaning of “companion” but I’m not sure it’s completely complimentary now. Especially as the Doctor may not see humans quite the same as himself. “Assistant” might actually be better now.

    Anonymous @


    I have an occasional actual nurse 🙂  I’m retired, she earns quite the big bucks and never calls me “ma’am”

    She pushes me around in wheelchair and doesn’t wear a uniform, bar, a tiny badge.

    Is she a companion too? Or just a nurse?

    🙂 @redlemons I think colleague is nice but somehow it becomes less mysterious -which of course it isn’t as it implies that the ‘companion’ is also alien and can ‘drive’  a tardis, which, unless you’re River, and Missy, you can’t do?

    Colleague seems dry to me? Associate could work!

    We may need to create a whole new word, what do you think?  @janetteb and others, like the idea that the promise is to River somehow -I fear we’ve seen the last of River unless (somehow) when he regenerates part of him will ‘drift’ towards River in the vault -containing many other things too – which could be enormous on the inside!  Which is an odd fantasy and unlikely. 🙁

    Mudlark @mudlark

    @ichabod  @janetteb @nick  @redlemons

    Companion seems to me the most exact term for those who travel with the Doctor because to me it denotes above all a close relationship based on something shared: companion, from the Latin roots cum (with) panis (bread), so someone with whom you break bread; hence a companion on the road, a companion in adversity, a companion in arms etc. The exact nature of the relationship beyond that element of sharing depends on context, but as @janetteb has said, it doesn’t necessarily imply inequality. In Series 9, for example, the Doctor and Clara could reasonably be described as companions on near equal terms, even if the Doctor did feel he had a duty of care.  Secondary connotations burdened with innuendo are not what would spring immediately to my mind, but perhaps I’m just incurably naive


    Back then, even mid-30s would have been considered Old to be an unmarried women.

    Given that the slaughter of the Great War had resulted in a generation in which women outnumbered men to a significant degree throughout Britain and much of Western Europe, it wouldn’t have been particularly unusual in the late 1930s, even in a small village, for there to be several unmarried women in their mid to late thirties and forties, or women who had been widowed very young and never remarried, and such women did sometimes end up sharing a house for economic reasons or for companionship in the straightforward sense, so that would not in itself necessarily have given rise to gossip  – even though small villages are notoriously gossipy places.



    Nick @nick


    It’s hard to be precise about the impact of the Great War on UK population, although it is certainly detectable. Total population in 1911 census was around 38 million or say around 19 million men. Average life expectancy was 51 for a male, 55 for a female. Total UK war deaths were about 725,000 over 4 years. That’s about 3.5 % of the male population. Perhaps 6 % of the 20 to 40 age group. The 1918 flu epidemic apparently caused about 150,000 excess deaths in 1918/19. Annual deaths were c600,000 per year (

    Broadly this suggests there would be 6 or 7 unmarried/widowed women per 100 at the peak in the 1930s. How many of these would alone and how many with family would be interesting to know. The other intersting parameter, is what % of the population never married at all.

    Re Companion

    If you mean sex when you say innuendo, I’d tend to agree. However, I’d suggest the word usage more often than not implies some form of inequality in the relationship. I might even go as far as suggesting that would have been implied when used in BG Who times. It seems certainly to be implicit in the troll criticism.

    One problem that english does have is the paucity of words that don’t imply a role or profession is essentially a male (or female) occupation. Trying to be gender neutral can get to be a real chore.


    Nick @nick


    You know the answer to that question better than me. However, if you are paying your nurse, you employ them, they have to always go where you want, then I’d suggest nurse more than companion (you could choose paid companion).

    Obviously Companion isn’t a familial relationship, but can be some form of paid or paid in kind relationship (the sort of thing that turns up in Poirot, rich lady with less wealthy cousin or friend in tow, who are friends, but there is an element of master/servant to the relationship). I would also suggest the word is more often used to denote a female companion. I think it would be rare to find the term used between two males, even for a similar situation as two women. Rarer still for a female with a male companion.

    I’m thinking more about general usage rather than the absolute meaning of the word.

    Anonymous @


    I have an occasional nurse.   I’m retired, she earns quite the big bucks and never calls me “ma’am”

    She pushes me around in wheelchair and doesn’t wear a uniform, bar, a tiny badge.

    Is she a companion too? Or just a nurse?

    I think therein was humour.


    Aaand we’re back to the word companion. By thus breaking bread we have an equal relationship. The Doctor himself (as per the writers) tended in the past to reduce the status of the (usually) female ‘person. Now the writers  comport the role of companion in a way which shows them as considerably ‘clever’ (less screamy)  -Clara, Rose (by season’s end), River and now Bill (Firsts in physics). Clever is different on Gallifrey, I suppose, or, it could be argued, not necessarily! Murky waters indeed.


    CountScarlioni @countscarlioni

    @thane15  @janetteB  The paintings I’ve used for various purposes I can spot, but once outside that realm it’s another matter! I very much agree that the Coalbookdale image is striking indeed.

    @mudlark  Paintings can matter, witness the 50th Anniversary episode. But I’m also inclined to agree that by this point the paintings in this series are there pretty much for decoration and tone. The Doctor’s hung a few paintings in his study to make it look, well, like a professor’s study. Perhaps he sent off Nardole to buy some appropriate prints.

    @nick    I think the reference to Studying Medicine under Bell goes back to Pat Troughton. I’m probably wrong, but I think it was the “Moonbase” story.

    Very good! Pleased to see the Doctor is keeping his story straight eight regenerations later.

    @jimthefish  @mersey  The power of SM’s conception of Clara for me was that we in a way got to see at times perhaps not two Doctors in the Tardis but maybe a Doctor and a half. Certainly in Flatline we saw the first female Doctor. Maybe I’m misremembering, but I can’t recall any companion ever speaking to the Doctor as Clara did in Listen when she ordered him not to go out of the Tardis after she’d been in the barn (and the Doctor followed orders).



    CountScarlioni @countscarlioni

    @nick  @ichabod   Oops. On travel, and working off a crummy wifi link so I at first missed Nick’s later posting on Bell with the correction that the second Doctor claimed he’d studied under Joseph Lister. Maybe the Doctor studied under both; certainly the 10th Doctor claimed he’d studied under Bell (the Bell, I think we are meant to understand).

    ichabod @ichabod

    @craig  Not quite sure what that says about the meaning of “companion” but I’m not sure it’s completely complimentary now. Especially as the Doctor may not see humans quite the same as himself.

    Missy: “You’re the puppy.”  She wasn’t lying; she was telling it as she understood it.  I’ve always seen a touch of this — species condescention (including the affectionate “duty of care” owed to the “more fragile” and less knowledgable being) about the Doctor.  It’s part of what makes the character interesting: TLs are not human, and all of them but this one appear to be completely uninterested in us.  He, on the other hand, is not so much interested in as fascinated by us.  He visits Earth a lot, hangs out with us or at least around us, a lot.

    And sooner or later invites this or that human along with him into space and time — in part to have someone to show off to.  Now, you don’t show off to your puppy, right?  And crusty as he can be about it, he does clearly like affection between himself and his human companion(s).  Is he just starved for warm and mercurial relationships (assuming that TLs are “above” all that, back home), and human company is the best source of that he’s found?  Does he stand midway between the cold, manipulative TLs and the violent madness of Missy, and that position is like ours as a species, so that draws him to us?  Not a “bad” TL because he was a crappy student and a goof-off, but because looking into the thingie-vortex didn’t make him crazy, like the Master, but it also didn’t make him cold and aloof, like the TLs; so he’s defective as a TL, and the closest thing to comfortable company that he can find is — us?

    MissRori @missrori

    @ichabod That’s a fascinating way of looking at the matter!  <3

    ichabod @ichabod

    Ooops — it’s the Bad-tempered Schism, right?  There’s a vortex lying around somewhere too, but they’re not the same thing?  Brain on strike . . . !

    @missrori  Thanks; it’s been on my mind since that line of Missy’s, because “the puppy” rang true for that aspect of the Doctor/companion relationship, right on the mark about this niggling unease.  I have conflicting feelings about it. On the one hand, the Doctor, as a 2,000 (+?) year old regenerating time-and-space traveler with technology that provides whatever he needs at no (apparent) cost, is a) objectively superior to normal humans (so far), and b) free  from the basic economic pressures that constrain all human lives at some levels.  From that angle — yes, we are “the puppy”.

    However: while most people might like to have a puppy at least at some point in their lives, nobody absolutely needs a puppy.  But the Doctor needs humans, as often as he can get them to accompany him.  He’s got Nardole now, and has had for some time; but he still can’t resist inviting Bill into the Tardis.  The company of machines (K-9, Handles, the Tardis itself) doesn’t do it.  From what we’ve seen, he needs humans to keep him sane, presumably because solitary confinement, even in a nifty spaceship, isn’t good for anybody’s mental health, and Moffat keeps telling us that the Doctor is nuts from the get-go (I haven’t seen that in any of the AG Doctors, myself).

    So the question is, what does a human companion bring that no other kind of companion does?

    ichabod @ichabod

    @countscarlioni  The power of SM’s conception of Clara for me was that we in a way got to see at times perhaps not two Doctors in the Tardis but maybe a Doctor and a half.

    And — how ultimately there’s only “room” for one Doctor in the Tardis, as CapDoc said in S8.  We can have an uneasy and demanding team of (more or less) two Docs for a bit, but not, it seems, in the long run.  Although if the second Doctor were not a human but another TL — we’ve seen that with the Master, way back in Delgado’s time as I recall.  Of course the Master was nuts, so that’s hardly a test case.

    Whisht @whisht

    Just a few odds-and-ends before tomorrow’s episode….

    Someone (apologies I forget who) asked about the boot that falls onto the Beast below so that it opens its eyes at the beginning of the episode.
    For me, the boot was simply stuck to the bottom of the ice sheet and got dislodged by the ‘bump’ of the falling fruit that landed on the ice directly above it.
    If the fruit had gone through, it would have been dangerously thin ice!!

    How did the boot get there?
    Either (as I initially thought) it was simply flotsam in the water that got frozen over.
    However, as we learn that people have been ‘sucked’ through the ice by the weird fishes [ooh – song!] then it ‘could’ have got there from a previous victim
    {chilly thought}

    Another random thought before the next episode – I just wanted to mention that the ‘Butterfly Effect’ in this episode’s case, is referring more explicitly to Ray Bradbury’s short story A Sound of Thunder.

    For @thane15 (Puro) ‘joke’ #2
    (question from vewer to Moffatt)
    “Who’s in the vault?”
    “I said – ‘Who’s in the vault?'”
    …. {ad nauseum}

    @missrori – you were apologising for “overthinking”??!!??

    aw – for me that’s half the fun!

    And finally, I guess the other question is – Why is it in the vault?
    To protect it?
    or protect us?

    Anonymous @


    Jst saw mum posting in response to Mus Thread: loved that joke!

    They should  do it! I 😀  it

    Whisht @whisht

    oh. my. god.

    I am so, so sorry.

    Unfortunately that means @pedant is correct and I’ve harmed Thane’s critical faculties with recent music and now this.
    @thane15 – that ‘joke’ is so, so poor as to barely be a joke.

    Quick – run now, don’t turn around and ignore me henceforth!!




    Average life expectancy was 51 for a male, 55 for a female.

    Bear in mind that this is skewed by high infant mortality. If you made it to adulthood you had a good chance of living into your sixties (which is why, eventually, the retirement age was eventually set at 65. No cynicism there at all).


    I warned you.


    Anonymous @


    thorry? Thwat were you thaying? Run? Run where? Where am I? WHO am I?

    <sits picking nose in corner and inspecting the foraging results>

    Thane -with-no-mind-left-at-all

    (probably not distinguishable from my previous state).

    Thane 😀

    (jokes, good or bad, are an essential element of our lives!)

    Missy @missy

    I’ll add my two bob’s worth. Companion seems the right word to me, although in Clara’s case she was the Doctor’s carer, said with tongue in cheek of course.

    As for the vault and its contents, I’m finished with speculation and shall wait until we find out. It will be interesting to see who came the closest.


    ichabod @ichabod

    @missy  Oohh — Somehow I read your last line as “It will be interesting to see who comes out of the closet.”  Good grief; how late is it here?


    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    So Thin Ice. Generally loved the look and feel of this one. After Smile, which seemed almost a two-hander for the majority of it’s run time, this one seemed bursting with life with the kids, revellers, performers a moustache twirler of villain and assorted henchmen.

    I think the relatively simple story with so many repeated aspects does allow a glimpse of what may be the defining characteristic for Capaldi’s final year – the change in the Doctor that inevitably leads to regeneration. With 10 it was the Time Lord Victorious stuff. With 12 I think it’s the fact that he is thinking and, more importantly, reacting immediately like a human. The Doctor’s speech about how progress is measured is brilliant. The flaw is that it’s delivered after the punch.

    The punch. Who doesn’t love a punched fascist? I have a phone gif of Rory punching Hitler that I can watch and it always raises a smile. It’s a very human reaction isn’t it? Not really the Doctors style though. In fact it’s lampshaded immediately before with the I’m a 2000 year old alien and I don’t have the time for the luxury of outrage bit. Followed by a instinctive outraged punch.

    The child drowning is also unusually positioned. Like @whisht it originally occurred to me they were highlighting the Doctors more ‘alien’ quality, but I think we are past that now. I think the only time Capaldi has played it slightly aloof with a Child was with Danny Pink, very early on. His subsequent child encounters such as In the forest of the night, young Davros, through to his delight at Rigsby’s baby ‘Bring the New Human!’ and his easy relationship with young Grant in the Christmas special. This scene doesn’t really feel quite right somehow. Maybe after a rewatch.

    So yes, I think I’m adding these to my list of slightly off-putting Doctor behaviour to consider as the series goes on. Like the line about Heather not being human, and the instinctive desire to blow up the Vardy in Smile.

    Can’t wait for tonight. That’s the one good thing about not being able to watch this one until today. I get a double bill! Or double the Bill, even!

    FiveFaces @fivefaces

    Just wanted to follow up on the reference to Midnight by @tommo @Thane15 @countscarlioni and probably many others.

    Apologies if this has already been mentioned, but in Midnight the Doctor makes a very explicit promise, almost a contract, with the entity that appears to have possessed Mrs. Silvestry.

    He says, ‘Whatever you want, if it’s life, or form, or consciousness, or voice, you don’t have to steal it. You can find it without hurting anyone. And I’ll help you. That’s a promise. So, what do you think? Do we have a deal?’

    So maybe that’s the promise that is keeping him looking after whatever is  in the Vault: not sure if it’s a ‘you know what’ or a ‘something or other’. And since the entity from Midnight is consumed with learning from others, perhaps a university is not such a bad place to hang out with it.



    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    Yes, there’s something very odd about the death of young Spider. Firstly, it’s unusual in Who that we see a child dying. Secondly, the Doctor doesn’t appear to care; which is really unusual – part of the reason that we don’t often see children dying is that the Doctor prioritises saving the kids. Yet he relates to the other kids, reads them stories, makes sure they’re all right after he leaves. As you say, he’s outraged enough about Bill.

    But with Spider, he grabs the Sonic, but not the child’s hand. Why?

    Unfortunately I’m up to my eyeballs in coursework for the next few weeks, so I don’t have as much time as usual for pondering. But, I dunno, it seems ‘off’, somehow.

    Given that Spider was a one-off character, I’m wondering if the Vault and the new-looking Sonic are connected. Especially since the TARDIS (and new Sonics) were fully available at that point in the story.

    Nick @nick

    @phaseshift @bluesqueakpip

    Re the punch. It does seem that PC is referencing Jon Pertwee. Could this be another tie back (JP’s venusian aikaido) albeit in a subtle way ?

    I think you’re both spot on with respect to the punch. That scene (and perhaps the later one with the foreman who drowned) seems particularly out of character, not just because the child died, but because the Doctor did nothing to attempt to stop it from happening. Maybe it was too late, but some sort of crazy attempt was called for.

    I actually felt the same about the women who was absorbed by the intelligent liquid in episode 1. Again, it might have been too late, but I half expected the Doctor to try something, or at least see whether the absorption process could be reversed in some way before writing her off

    Handing over his Lordship’s wealth to the street urchins (little Oliver’s) is this guilt talking ?

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    My commiserations on your workload. I find myself in a similar position as you can probably guess. It’s frustrating as I would have liked more time to talk through Moffat s last full series as showrunner.

    & @nick

    Thanks both for the comments, and I agree. One of the things I was going to mention was that the stories superficial similarities to The Beast Below (which I think many people have picked up on) really highlight this issue. In that, we had Amy becoming familiar with the Doctor and his instincts to break his rules ‘whenever a Child cries’.

    I was just thinking about the Mysterio Christmas special and the Doctors instinctive grabbing onto Grants legs and he rises and flies. There is something in the scene with Spider that is troubling. It is that lack of immediate instinct and apparent care. There is a lot of ambiguity in Capaldi s performance around this point, but is that fear?

    I also can’t help but remember Sarah Dollard s last script in Face the Raven. The transformation in Clara to mirror the Doctor making her more fearless (or reckless). If this is the opposite, with the Doctor becoming more human, is he more fearful? As in that a more immediate instinct for self preservation is kicking in?

    Good to see you back @nick. I don’t think you were around to comment on The Pilot, so the bit that made me sit up was the line:

    Bill: I saw it all for a moment. Everything out there. She was going to let me fly with her. She was inviting me. I was too scared.
    The Doctor: Scared is good. Scared is rational. She wasn’t human anymore.

    And then the Doctor offers her the same thing as Heather (Everything out there). He’s never been human though, but perhaps living like a human is making him subconsciously think from their/our perspective?

    Nick @nick


    Fear. Thought proving idea. Following your train of thought, I suppose the vault would essentially contains the Doctor’s death. The oath could be to himself (or to River as @janetteb suggested) to keep it sealed, to protect himself from the inevitable.

    I suppose it depends on how you interpret what’s going to happen in thew Christmas Special (or is it two specials ?) based on the big spoiler out there. The vault can contain the circumstances that cause the regeneration crisis or it can be just another red herring, which is resolved this series, before the regeneration.

    PS I don’t think this goes beyond the spoiler boundary ! although this was something I often failed to get right in the past.

    nerys @nerys

    @whisht Thanks, I was the one who asked the question about the sinking boot. Good answer!

    @fivefaces I loved “Midnight” … so I would be impressed if that were the being kept in the vault.

    CountScarlioni @countscarlioni

    @ichabod     And — how ultimately there’s only “room” for one Doctor in the Tardis, as CapDoc said in S8.  We can have an uneasy and demanding team of (more or less) two Docs for a bit, but not, it seems, in the long run.

    Yes. And who but a Doctor travels through space and time with a stolen Type 40 Tardis and a companion?

    @fivefaces   Apologies if this has already been mentioned, but in Midnight the Doctor makes a very explicit promise, almost a contract, with the entity that appears to have possessed Mrs. Silvestry.

    He says, ‘Whatever you want, if it’s life, or form, or consciousness, or voice, you don’t have to steal it. You can find it without hurting anyone. And I’ll help you. That’s a promise. So, what do you think? Do we have a deal?’

    Very good! From Nardole’s mutterings at the end of Thin Ice, it seems the oath involves nothing more than not going off earth while guarding the Vault. And the Doctor’s already got tired of that. So in the set of `promises/promise/oath,’ then the promise/promises is/are maybe the thing(s) to focus on?

    Anonymous @

    Well, I hope he’s the Doctor and not Missy wrapped up in what seems like the Doctor.

    He had an urge to blow up the ‘vardi house’ -undoctorish

    He let a child die without expressing any concern except for his sonic -undoctorish

    No, of course he’s still the Doctor, BUT, is he forgetting what was written on the board: “be a Doctor.”

    You’d think he’d stick by that. Unless his time with River changed that as well?

    From, Thane.


    winston @winston

    @thane15  Your theory just “blew my mind”!  Very bonkers and the Doctor has been  undoctorish lately.

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