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    Arbutus @replies

    My remark on the other thread, about the refusal to let the dead rest, immediately brought to mind the very old song The Unquiet Grave. This is my favourite version, for its haunted feel.

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    @miapatrick  The fact it doesn’t work on the daughter makes me wonder if it simply doesn’t work with family members    We’ve already seen that Hanne is very sensitive to lies. She knows immediately when Ryan is lying to her.

    Btw, I just love this take, regarding the Doctor and River: I think what seemed like a good idea when he had only just met her and only knew that she would become important to him and she had given her life to save him, felt like less of a good idea once he got to know her and love her   


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    @thane16  But to me, the baddie was the solitract: luring people with promises of “forever.”  Or not even the solitract, but the refusal to accept reality, let go of the past, and let the dead rest.

    @bluesqueakpip  Just for a couple of seconds, as if the Solitract had thought it might try taking the Doctor back to the barn and becoming someone in her past – and then decided against it. I like this, because I was definitely expecting it to do that. I like @miapatrick‘s point that the Doctor found the solitract more relatable when it wasn’t trying to deceive. The solitract might well have gotten that sense of the Doctor, that she would be better dealt with honestly.


    @ichabod  Did the Doctor ever really consider spending some time telling the Solitract stories of her adventures in our universe?  No . . . not really.  It was a trick, to escape a trap.  That’s what I found sad.  I’d like to think that the Doctor’s offer was more of a “take me instead”, spur of the moment attempt to save Erik, and that she only realized afterward that she wouldn’t be able to stay.

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    And the dead stay dead.

    It’s interesting to me that this series, in which numerous people have died and stayed that way, still feels lighter and brighter than many a previous series in which most deaths didn’t stick.

    I loved this, both the underlying theme and the story itself, which engrossed and delighted me from start to finish. We saw a very quick and authoritative Doctor here, she really took charge, without showing much sign of the self-doubt that’s been plaguing her. I loved the brief but clear reference to the scope of her history and experience (the “reverse the polarity” moment made me laugh). And the Doctor’s open enthusiasm for life and sentience in every form shone very clearly at the end.

    Oh, and Ribbon of the Seven Stomachs!

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    @mudlark   Echoing the best wishes of everyone. I trust everything will proceed accordingly.


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    @idiotsavon <span class=”Apple-converted-space”> </span>On the subject of names, I don’t disagree with the principle. And yet, I recall that while Tennant and Capaldi were mostly called by last names, Matt Smith was very often “Matt”. Due to youth, perhaps, or personality? There might be a bit of that element with the use of Jodi (as well as the typing issue, as someone mentioned).

    The hip hop guys frequently go by one name (often made up, as you say). Interestingly, Vancouver’s new mayor, a guy named Kennedy Stewart, ran his whole campaign on a first-name basis– “Elect Kennedy”, to the point where Mr. Arbutus wasn’t sure whether his name was Kennedy Stewart or Stewart Kennedy!

    @thane16   Puro, re “smelled” vs. “smelt”, there is this old line: “He who smelt it, dealt it.” 🙂

    @janetteb  Love the story of R2 and the mince pies! With a 19-year old son at home, I would pretty much have to label things “do not touch” if I expect them to stick around!

    @pedant   I love a good form letter.

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    @miapatrick   I didn’t see the Doctor as ineffectual, more as torn. It’s interesting to see the Doctor actually trying to live up to the “don’t change history” rule, as opposed to just blowing it off most of the time. As I recall, she acted immediately Graham told her about his witch tour and the fact that this town wasn’t mentioned. In other words, as soon as she realized that she was free to act, she did. It’s nice to see the moral conundrum of time travel taken seriously, which I think it has to be if we’re going to see this number of historical settings, which personally I love.

    And from what I’m seeing here, I’m really glad I’m not reading comments anywhere else! I don’t mind reading criticism here, even when I disagree, because it is rarely of the “I don’t like the ideological slant” variety. Thanks for that!

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    I loved, loved, loved this. Looked gorgeous, great performances from the guest actors, excellent use of each member of Team TARDIS, and a growing sense of this Doctor. I felt that most of the historical inaccuracies were covered by the stated fact that the events were out of the ordinary and were wiped from the historical record.

    There’s a bit of a return to BG-style Who in the fact that the Doctor feels in no way “super human”– she can’t talk, sonic, or psychic-paper her way out of everything. I loved her interactions with the King and with Becca, they felt very Doctor-ish to me. I also enjoyed the moment where the Companions realize who must be on trial. (Oh, can I claim that pun as intentional? 🙂 )

    I agree with those who felt the ending was rushed, I could have used a few more minutes. But I happily accepted that for the excellent pace at which the rest of the story played out. I admit I do find it a bit strange that they would arrive for Elizabeth I’s coronation in modern clothes, so I hope that @bluesqueakpip is right and there is a reason for that.

    I really think this series is winning on the historical episodes, they’ve all been excellent. I’m looking forward to watching this one again.

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    @bluesqueakpip   The maddening thing is that I somehow thought that by leaving out the little knob, it would prevent the heat-based explosion from happening. Which it did. The lid didn’t come off. The soup just shot out through the hole, hit the overhanging cupboard, and rebounded downward in multiple directions. This is me being clever. I do wonder about myself, sometimes.

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    @blenkinsopthebrave     Ha! “I think the time has come for us to go down to the pub.” Well, that’s pretty much what I did, isn’t it?  🙂

    Mr. Arbutus found some more lentils underneath the espresso machine this morning, and did not hit me over the head with a bottle, or behave badly in any other way. So that’s something.

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    Okay. We’ve all done the dumbass thing with the blender, right? Where you fill it with lentil soup to puree, and for who knows what reason, you put the lid on without the little knob thing in the hole? And one pulse later, there are Puy lentils all over that corner of the kitchen? Which in my kitchen means the espresso machine, the bean grinder, the olive oil dispenser, the salt container, the counter, the wall, the electrical outlet, and the bottom of the cupboard? You’ve all done this, right?

    I don’t think I’ve used the F-word so many times for one incident. 15 minutes to clean it up, and I’m going, “I just want to eat my effing dinner.”

    I feel a bit better now, after a couple glasses of Cabernet, the soup, and the roquefort. But damn.

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    @blenkinsopthebrave    This makes absolute sense to me. I can see why those who prefer story arcs and complexity are feeling underwhelmed. I loved Moffat’s approach, and Peter Capaldi was probably my favourite-ever Doctor. But right now, I feel as though after a long period of challenging, multi-ingredient cocktails, I’m sitting down to a nice dry martini with a lemon twist.

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    Just finished winding my way through about a month’s worth of fascinating pub conversations to get here, and good grief. @pedant, I gather that you are okay, but how scary. I trust you’ve continued to recover. And great news on the blood sugar! I’m about to get my own checked as it was a little dicey last spring, and I was told to ease off the white flour products (my weakness more than the sweets!)

    I’m sorry to have missed so many interesting discussions! (Debates? Arguments? Everyone here is so polite.) My immediate takeaway is that @thane16 has to write essays for maths class! I believe Arbutus Jr. would have thrown himself off a bridge. Even in primary school, he was outraged by “explain your answer” questions. He felt that one place at least should have been free of handwriting, spelling, and grammar.

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    @kevinwho   I should clarify that I wasn’t so much talking about people who aren’t liking the interpretation or who don’t feel that Whittaker is working for them. This was more about vague criticisms of change, because it struck me that we have now seen the new Doctor speaking up for humanity in a very Doctor-like way.

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    @kevinwho<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>    </span>That’s interesting. Personally, I never felt that the RTD and Moffat eras felt all that similar (although of course, the whole Last of the Time Lords/Time War arc ran through both). It’s true though, that RTD’s arcs were less complex, less timey-wimey, than Moffat’s. I preferred Moffat, not so much because of the timey-wimey, but because I preferred his take on the Doctor’s character, and I enjoyed the journey of those stories.

    @bluesqueakpip     I wrote a long comment on your blog but I can’t seem to get it to post. I’ll just say here that you encapsulated perfectly what I’ve been feeling about the thematic arc of the series, with its de-emphasis of alien villains. I’m really enjoying that element of the stories.

    And you make a good point about Umbreen, guessing the truth about what happened in her past. I tend to forget that some of the episodes from earlier series establish that humankind is by now well aware that aliens exist. Graham, or whoever it was, never said that aliens don’t come to earth, only that they don’t come to Sheffield!

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    This was absolutely beautiful, and the last ten or so minutes had me in tears. The issue of divisiveness, that was so wonderfully expressed here, is something I feel passionate about, so I’m truly loving the ways it is being explored in this series. The heartbreak of families torn apart by the uncaring decisions of others was vividly portrayed. It feels as if all the stories are touching upon issues that are very pertinent right now. I appreciate that, and I hope they keep the historical episodes coming!

    By this point, I’m not sure how anyone can continue to argue that this isn’t the Doctor. Her speech to the “assassins”, and her words during the marriage ceremony, were as doctorish as we’ve ever seen. She really is all about hope love, and optimism, which I’ve always felt were core values of the Doctor, even during his post-Time War incarnations.

    And if there’s anyone better suited to travelling in the TARDIS than Graham, I’d like to meet that person. Every word and look makes me happy.

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    I’m late to the party, but I loved this. It was set up as a stereotypical corridor-running, danger-on-a-spaceship story, but there was a great emotional payoff. My only real complaint was the creature. I wish it had looked a little less like Stitch! Although they might have been trying to emphasize that it wasn’t truly malevolent (although very, very dangerous).

    A few takeaways:

    We rejoin a fully-functioning Team TARDIS, as shown by the opening scene. Chibnall clearly understands, from back in the day when we had companion groups, that they work best when they are allowed to split up, and play different rolls as needed. Everyone had a job to do here.

    Once again, the guest characters were lovely. I know it could be argued that we don’t gets loads of depth, but I don’t see that there’s room for that in the confines of a single episode that also has to tell a story.

    I absolutely loved Ryan’s words of support to the childbearing character (I forget his name). The fact that nobody is truly ready to be a parent, you learn as you go no matter who you are, and that what matters most is being there.

    I enjoyed the general’s statement that having this critical illness did not fit with her personal narrative. That scene spoke loads, and all the dynamics of that group of relationships (including android consort) were beautifully done.

    There were further hints of a story arc, in the suggestions of dark times in the 65th century. I liked the light touch of the return to a universe in which the Doctor’s reputation might have preceded her.

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    @pedant       Okay. I’ve stopped laughing now. Still smiling, though. 🙂 I was sad to see Steve go, although I don’t think anyone would have seen the MVP truck coming. But what a story. (And we all love a good story, don’t we?)

    And in other news, there was this headline yesterday: It isn’t just your imagination: sightings of spiders are on the rise in Metro Vancouver this fall, and, according to one pest controller, they’re bigger than ever. Uh oh.

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    @swordwhale   @mudlark

    I wonder if the TARDIS cookie dispenser produces whatever you’re thinking of, like the food machines on the Heart of Gold spaceship? I’d be thinking of gingersnaps.

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    @lisa    I haven’t had time for a second viewing, but did they actually change that or just not make it clear? Because they definitely showed her as part of an activist organization. The Doctor’s concern was to keep history exactly as it was, hence we couldn’t just have Graham drive the bus, for instance. So I don’t think it was actually stated that she couldn’t have just done her protest on some other occasion, only that the Doctor was concerned about the change to history. Possibly a desire not to dilute the urgency of their task made them keep things more vague.

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    Welcome, @kevinwho!

    It’s a fair point. I loved Flatline, too. Chibnall et al were telling a different story, but it’s fine to say that you would have enjoyed a different one more. I think we need to compare our villain-of-the-week less to your family friends with the racist views, and more to the guy who takes those views out with a weapon and shoots up a grocery store. There are both kinds of people out there, and villain-of-the-week was obviously the more activist kind.

    Personally, I didn’t mind the more “bear witness to history” approach, and the storyteller’s desire to keep it simple. And a Black writer is likely to tell the story from a different point of reference than mine. Personally, I found plenty of interest in the reactions of the companions to being part of this history (believable reaction to me, since I found it hard enough just watching), and in what Yaz and Ryan learned from Rosa. The final scene on the bus had me in tears!

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    @troygorsline     It’s a bizarre irony that so many white people in North America feel that we own it, after having stolen it from non-whites in the first place! But that’s clearly the root of the problem. In Canada as well, there are those spouting the “they will take over our country, change our culture” nonsense. Like you, my hope lies with the young people. Like your daughters, my son has zero tolerance. His friends come from many cultures and races, they are lovely and smart and thoughtful, and I have more faith in them than in much of my own generation.

    (And btw, if “changing our culture” means I can get a banh mi, bao bun, empanada, or Cubano, instead of just burgers all the time, well, I’m down for that!  🙂 )

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    Okay, more random thoughts.

    Re the one dimensional Krasko: There wasn’t a dramatic need to show us more about Krasko, as he was only technically the enemy. The real enemy was racism itself.

    @miapatrick, @juniperfish, and others discussing previous stories dealing with racism: Interesting that Ryan was better able to control himself when encountering that treatment than Martha was. Presumably Martha, from an educated middle class family, was even less prepared to face overt racism.

    I was struck that when Ryan got on talking about doing something that to the uninitiated could only have been interpreted as attacking someone, the bus driver’s sole focus was on which door he used!

    I think it was @miapatrick who said: This, I think, may have made us in the UK somewhat complacent, and this episode offers an important perspective. This applies equally in Canada. Many Canadians, and Canada as a nation, are only now coming to terms with our own racist history, which was mostly (but not entirely) less overt than slavery and Jim Crow. The treatment of our First Peoples remains a disgrace, and the people of colour who make up a large part of our population still aren’t properly represented among the ruling class. We tend to look at American history through a lens of “we didn’t do that” while ignoring all the things we did do (and continue to do!).

    I like this practical Doctor, who is able to accept the realities of history knowing that it is history, which cannot (or should not) fundamentally be changed. I’m reminded of the argument we see from time to time about the viewing of history through a modern lens, with Shakespeare’s plays and so on.

    I think it’s necessary that she have a pretty matter-of-fact relationship with her companions. With the gender change, the last thing I think anyone would be comfortable with is too much emotion. (And if that relationship is going to be less angsty for awhile, I for one will be pleased with the change). It hearkens back to a First Doctor kind of feel (maybe influenced by the Doctor’s encounter with his earliest self just prior to regen?)

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    That was devastatingly good. Painful to watch at times, and a weep fest at the end. Really beautifully done in every way that I can think of right now, although I suppose when I watch it again the emotional impact will be less and I will see flaws. None at the moment, though.

    At a time when white liberals like myself who grew up in the sixties and seventies have been jarringly reminded of how much hasn’t changed, it was great to see a story that acknowledges what has improved, what has not, and what never will (mostly without beating us over the head with it). What a great conversation parents will be able to have with their kids after watching that!

    I’ll come back a bit later with dryer eyes, etc., to express some more rational thought, but just want to add right now that I am loving Graham so, so much!

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    @thane16     Well, there you go, then.  🙂  I won’t let myself veer wildly off-topic, but briefly say that I do like Berg, with some reservations.

    Hm, I wonder what music the Whittaker Doctor likes?

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    Argh. Sorry about the weird brackety things. I cut and paste my posts, and I can usually catch the spaces that don’t translate properly. However, I’ve found lately that trying to edit just causes whole posts to vanish, so I’m leaving them in this time.

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    @shinymcshine<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>    </span>It appears that the franchise considers Dr. Who to be for prepubescents now.  Well, as someone well on in my fifties, I still enjoyed these first two episodes. We’ll see where they lead. In the end though, I’m still willing to fork out for an iTunes subscription, which is not true for anything else on TV these days.

    @ichabod<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>    </span>In general, I find that expectations are great killers of joy and satisfaction, and so best avoided where possible.  As the millennials say, this is a very good take. 🙂

    @idiotsavon   You are all of us. I also gave Series 1 a go, and enjoyed it, while feeling not quite sure that it was really DW. In my case, I stopped watching due to a kindergarten-age son and lack of time. By the time I got back to it, through iTunes, it was already Matt Smith’s era. I went back, binge-watched them all, and started lurking in the Guardian comment section and then lurking on the Forum, until an epic post of @bluesqueakpip’s after the 50th Anniversary special forced me to come aboard just so I could express my admiration!  🙂

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    @thane16     As I read your post, I was hearing an expressionist aria for soprano, with piano accompaniment, vaguely Berg-like, with the lyric: If we are not calm, the pitch isn’t low. If a cause always leads to an effect then absence of that effect is evidence of absence of the cause.

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    @thane16    I like dark chocolate but Mum who ALWAYS sneers at white-choc eaters was eating white chocolate the other day!

    I also prefer dark chocolate. However, I have been know to hoover a peanut-butter Oh Henry bar. When necessity calls, etc.

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    @mudlark    Well, that’s just it. I’m not sure that the Doctor is (currently) interested in publishing. Possibly too many years spent in the ivory tower, before Bill came along?

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    @shinymcshine  @ichabod    I have to agree here with @pedant and @miapatrick, that no incarnation of the Doctor would have been happy with Karl’s action. The fact that (as far as I recall) she didn’t take her criticism any further suggests that she understood Karl’s feelings while disapproving of the act.

    Also, the “test” was not to kill a defenceless victim, but to find a random human without help from among the population of an entire planet. Actually quite a hard thing to do, except that he cheated.

    As far as your story goes, it’s frequently the case that someone’s critical take really translates to “I would rather have watched this story”. I get that; I occasionally felt that way about RTD-era episodes. But we’re not the one telling the stories, we don’t own the show.

    Off to the Sofa now to talk about chocolate.


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    Someone suggested that we are seeing a deliberate de-emphasis of character-drawing. I don’t agree. I’m not concerned about the slower flowering of the Companion characters. We have a whole series in which to do that, and all that matters to start out is that they all seem likeable and competent, and have some good potential backstories.

    @cathannabel   As someone who grew up with an absent father, I would be fine seeing this troubled relationship explored. I understand that with Ryan being Black, it could be seen as a stereotype, but it’s also a true thing that happens, and could make for some interesting character development. It’s unclear how much Ryan’s dad has actually been a part of his life, but Ryan did say he had wanted him at Grace’s funeral, which suggests some kind of emotional connection, whether good or bad.

    I had an interesting feeling at the end when the Doctor momentarily lost hope, and the Companions, led by Graham, came together to backstop her. That was the moment that they really became Team TARDIS, and immediately following that, the TARDIS shows up. Did the TARDIS sense that somehow? Had she waited just long enough for her new Doctor to sag just long enough to make that happen? (Btw, although I have no strong views yet on the new TARDIS, I do like the contrast between bright, practical Doctor and the surprisingly mystical interior.)

    All to say that I find loads here to feed my love of characters in stories. I hope the detailed drawing of one-off characters continues. I really enjoyed the two we had this week. It is a weakness in my own writing that I tend to give too much time to peripheral characters, which makes stories run longer than they probably should. Everyone should have a story, even if we only get a bit of it. We saw this last week with Carl.

    @kharis  I would never say you shouldn’t notice the music, and I loved Murray Gold’s compositions. But I’ll admit there were occasions when I felt that the music, good as it was, pulled a little deliberately on my emotions. So far, I’m finding this a nice change.

    @bluesqueakpip   A few thoughts about Graham and Grace   Now this is what I come here for! 🙂

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    Finally got another viewing in. More thoughts about it all.

    The Doctor seems to have finally moved past the Time War, having regretted, forgotten, and done penance. This may mean that, for awhile, she is more of an open book, less of a mystery. I’m okay with that (although it seems that there will still be the occasional mystery!) We’ll see what comes when the inevitable questions start coming from Team TARDIS.

    @ichabod  This Doctor may be less of a reader, but she’s clearly still big on the importance of information. Her insistence on learning the facts about the planet and its history suggest that she’s more of a field researcher than a back-in-the-library type.

    Interesting conversation about the new costume, leading to the bigger issue of a woman in an authoritative role. It’s a long-standing problem of course, the linking of respect for women to appearance/style/clothing rather than actions/abilities. A guy can be a CEO in jeans and a hoodie, but a woman executive has to wear a power suit. I don’t mind that the Doctor is saying no to this, and will earn respect and maintain authority by way of her abilities rather than her personal style. @juniperfish I really like your take on all this, especially “a refraction of light in the universe”.

    I had no problem seeing this Doctor as “authoritative”. To me, she came across as capable, smart, and generally self-confident. I would certainly do what she told me to in a crisis. Pessimist dude (whose name I have sadly forgotten) certainly bowed to her in a crisis, due apparently to her obvious understanding of the situation and clear self-confidence.

    @thane16   As you say. Most women are vaguely mezzo-soprano in range, but their speaking qualities can be quite different. I watched a mayoral debate yesterday between two women and three men. The most stereotypically authoritative voice among them belonged to one of the woman, not because it was lower or deeper, but due to her style of speaking. She was deliberately taking it to the guys (she kept mentioning the “old boys’ club”), but her style did not feel particularly “leader-like” to me!

    I think this is perhaps another reason for my early connection of Thirteen to the Fifth Doctor, who tended to be a more soft-spoken, rational type. (In fact, Two didn’t always come across as traditionally authoritative, either!)

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    I hope I haven’t just spammed everyone, I had a little trouble getting this to post. The site claimed I had posted it already, but it wasn’t showing up for me. Apologies if you’re seeing the last post a few too many times!

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    @jimthefish   I too saw a certain amount of Matt Smith, this week, but both this week and last, I’ve been seeing Davison rather than Tennant. It might be that she undersells that bright sunny aspect a bit, so it recalls for me more of Davison’s cheery but restrained demeanour. And I never minded the cricket outfit, so that may be why I’m okay with this look as well! But it’s possible her look will evolve as both Smith’s and Capaldi’s did. One other thing about her current outfit is that, for me, it channels a little bit of millenial nerdism that perhaps calls out the techie side of her character.

    I think we all have to give her time, as it may take a while both for Whittaker to settle into the part, and for the writers to settle into her take. I enjoyed that evolution with Capaldi and I’m perfectly happy to enjoy something like it again.

    Regarding the Stenza. In the Big Finish audio world, there was at one time a move toward portraying the Daleks as in an “evil empire” fashion, and they were much more effective as a collective or societal menace than an individual one. I caught a hint of that in the references to the Stenza in this episode. As has been said, Tim Shaw was not terribly threatening. But apparently, his people are out there colonizing the universe, and from the sound of it, a force to be reckoned with.

    @mudlark @juniperfish    Love your thoughts on the TARDIS!

    @ardaraith    I loved that moment, too, with Ryan and the gun! The sense of “it’s all so easy, I’ve seen this before”, until it isn’t.

    @geoffers    I had exactly the same thoughts about the Doctor’s surprise at not finding the TARDIS. Perhaps she is still in a bit of a mental muddle after regen?

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    Holy crap, you guys. So how good was that?

    I had to watch the opening theme a half dozen times before I even got to the actual episode! I love the way the old-school music gets going, and then runs down like a record losing speed for just a second. And the gender symbol in the logo!

    Speaking of the music, I hope everyone liked the Doctor in the TARDIS theme at the end. I loved it. The last scene was brilliant, I thought. It had all the joy of that moment when a new Doctor is reacquainted with his/her best friend. And from the moment she said “You’ve redecorated”, I knew that this Doctor would like it. Because this Doctor is ready for change.

    So many great little moments, but two things stood out for me.

    I never had time to get back on the other day to say how much I hoped for Graham’s character, and it doesn’t look as though I’ll be disappointed. He is going to take everything he learned from Grace and run with it. He is going to show the Doctor (and us) that human frailty doesn’t have to slow us down, that we can grow and embrace challenge, face fear. I love having an older Companion in the TARDIS!

    As for the Doctor, I do like her. Despite being in a way a kinder, gentler Doctor, she hasn’t altogether lost her snark, or her arrogance. I loved the words of encouragement she took the time to share, while still expressing disdain for certain attitudes in her own direct fashion. And while it’s no surprise that she is still firmly on the side of “brain over brawn”, it was great to see her using Venusian Akido to get someone’s attention!

    Yay! Can’t wait to read all your thoughts (and watch it again!) 🙂

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    After second viewing, I have a few more thoughts. I liked the soundtrack just fine. The pulsating, percussive, old-school music throughout the opening scenes did a great job of keeping the suspense up, without intruding too much. I loved those few beats of DW upon the appearance of the Doctor, before she was distracted by the problem behind her! I liked that it tended to be understated, taking second place to our discovery of all the new characters. No memorable themes stood out, but it’s too early for that yet, with a Doctor and companions who have not yet become all they will be.

    I agree with @bluesqueakpip and @cathannabel about the mediocrity of Tim Shaw’s character, and I liked it. On the one hand, we get villains like the Master, so intricately painted in their weaknesses as well as their strengths. Then, all too often, the more “monster” styled aliens are not shown the same way. I loved that Tim Shaw was a minor player among his own people, a cheater and a bully (anyone else see a possible metaphor there?).

    I saw lots of earlier incarnations in different snatches of dialogue. One that I particularly liked was her groan of frustration and the words, “I hate empty pockets!” It felt very Twelve-like. I also saw moments that reminded me of Ten and Eleven, Five, and Three. But as lots of you have said, there are some very clear contrasts to Twelve. I thought her ready use of personal names was very anti-Capaldi!

    Liked the scenic opening. The light was gorgeous. I agree with those that liked the strong sense of place throughout this. This is something that I always prefer to see (nothing more disappointing than a story set in, say, NYC, where you don’t get any actual sense of being there!).

    I think we can all agree that “Salad Guy” was brilliant. Because haven’t we all seen Salad Guy in some form? Yesterday, in fact, I saw his equivalent, Singing Beer Guy, while waiting for the bus. Dude was absolutely nailing “Cover of the Rolling Stone”. We had a chat about the classics, and he had a bit of a sad over how many people have died (“even the young good ones are gone”), before remembering that we still have the Rolling Stones and Rod Stewart. 🙂

    I liked that after his Nan’s death, there was no magic moment when Ryan was suddenly able to ride the bike.

    I liked this bit: “This is exciting – not exciting, what do I mean? Worrying.” Funny, I thought, because of course, she probably did find it exciting, as well as worrying.

    I like her matter-of-factness. Not unkind, but not overly emotional. “Really sorry— not good news.” Then the technical explanation.

    I like the Doctor’s description of regeneration, it helps us to understand why the Doctor is less and less keen to go through it.

    @thane16   Back at you—actually flapping with happiness! 🙂

    Arbutus @replies

    Hello, lovely people! I’ve missed you all but that’s entirely on me. Have thought of you often during these months of fire, flood, hurricane, and political turmoil in so many parts of the world. I hope everyone is fundamentally well. *heart*

    Okay, new Who, new Doctor, new companions! I enjoyed this and I think it’s all going to be just fine. I like this Improvisational Mechanic Doctor (as opposed to CapDoc the Scholar), and love that the female Doctor can be techie as well as understanding. Regarding the new empathy, in her “I’m the Doctor” speech, she made a pointed statement that you can choose how you change, keep the core and make yourself into the person you want to be? (Have to listen to that bit again.)

    As to the story, I thought it was fine. Agree that the alien wasn’t all that scary, but I don’t look for that kind of scare to be honest. Now, I’m terrified of heights, so there were 10 or so minutes that were pretty hard for me to watch. And it will take me awhile to forgive CC for the loss of Ryan’s nan, she was my favourite and would have made a great companion. Although, from a writing point of view, Graham has a lot more room to grow as a character. I hope that he will carry on trying to live up to his love for Grace, and show everyone that you don’t have to be a cute young thing to be a companion! He, as well as the others, haven’t yet become companions! But the seeds are clearly there.

    I appreciated that they have (at this point, at least) come with the Doctor by accident. It would have been a huge leap away from the Doctor’s recent experiences for her to have invited them, while barely still knowing them, to share her very dangerous life (especially with the reminder of Grace right in front of her). Nor did they ask to come, which doesn’t always feel believable. (Donna’s arc with the Doctor always felt right to me, because she turned him down the first time, quite rightly really.)

    Time will tell about the new showrunner, but I get an early sense that CC might give us some nice, human-scale characters. I like the normalcy, everyday quality of the challenges the new companions face, more relatable in some ways than those of Clara or Amy. (Even Rose; “The love of my life is a 900-year-old alien” is not a challenge that resonates for me!)

    One small thing: I was reminded of Tennant’s opener when the crane operator pushed the alien off the crane, and the Doctor said “You had no right.”

    I’ll have to save sensible comment on the music for after a rewatch, was too focused on other things!

    Btw, did anyone else see the Oxford Dictionary’s word of the day? Dicrotic: denoting a pulse in which a double beat is detectable for each beat of the heart.  🙂


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    @gwladys24     I’d say it’s more relevant to his future story than his backstory.  🙂

    @greyhoundjon    Fabulous first post! I lurked for months before summoning the courage to post. I’m not much for online posting as the level of debate (if it can be called that) in most places is absolutely appalling. People can be so very nasty and dismissive. It’s rare to find such a strong culture of courtesy and reasoned discussion as happens here.

    Arbutus @replies

    From my own point of view, I have to say that while I’ve not been one of those banging the drum for a female Doctor, I have no inherent problem with it. Whether or not the actor in question is the right choice, only time will tell. Not everyone will be pleased, but we can’t really know until we see some action. Personally, I have loved Capaldi in the role so much that any followup was going to feel like a bit of a let-down to me! I am just as concerned to see the direction in which a new show runner will take things, because that is a huge part of the equation.

    To those who are so certain that audience will be lost as a result of the change, I would point out that in the world of my recently-graduated son, gender as such is a non-issue. During his five years in high school, he had two classmates come out as gay, one as lesbian, and one as trans. These were seen as such complete non-events that he never even mentioned them at home at the time, except for the young woman because she happens to be the best friend of his girlfriend. As a result, I have a hard time believing that young people on the whole will have a problem with this. And they are the future.

    I view the resistance of a certain segment of society to issues surrounding equality and inclusivity as a last, desperate attempt to beat back the tide. (There’s my required daily note of optimism, thanks for your tolerance! 🙂 )

    Arbutus @replies

    Love the tweets. Nice to hear the positive words from former Doctors, and the look on that little girl’s face just made my morning. Here’s another:

    Arbutus @replies


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    @serahni     You’ve pretty much nailed down a lot of my feelings about the Rose arc. I loved her (most of the time) with 9, less so with 10, although there were plenty of times in Series 2 that I really enjoyed her. I also agree with those who suggest that what made it hardest to take was the post-Rose period. RTD really didn’t want to let her go, so neither did the Doctor. It worked for me that the Doctor might have tried, at that point in his timeline, to fool himself that he could form a successful relationship of that sort with a human, but not that he wouldn’t have moved on afterward. I always loved Twelve’s statement to Clara that he wasn’t her boyfriend, followed up with “I never said it was your mistake”. It felt to me that it addressed the entire Ten/Rose situation in a few lines.

    I tend to agree with @jimthefish that Ten has not stood the test of time for me. I thoroughly enjoyed him at the time, but watching through most of his episodes last year, I found myself missing the later incarnations. (How much of that was the writing, I’m not sure.)  I have loved Capaldi in the part and will miss him; however, I’m not hard to please, so I expect I will continue to enjoy the Doctor going forward!

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    I see I have lots of catching up to do around here!  🙂

    Right now, just a quick “Hey it’s summer!” to all members in the northern hemisphere. I’ve sort of got the garden organized (it was a wet, wet spring), and loving eating outside despite the ants and so on. I love summer. My clematis is about to turn majorly purple, and the olive tree is growing back from the roots, having apparently not died during the snow after all. There’s prosecco in the fridge, and folk fest this weekend, so I’m sure to discover some great new music.

    To our British and American friends: We live in interesting times, with lots of eventful news to read every morning. To our friends down under: It’s winter, so hopefully no forest fires? To my fellow Canadians: If you have a moment, get on to the Canadian Red Cross, and donate something to help BC forest fire victims (14,000 evacuated so far). But on a positive note, how cool is it that our new Governor-General speaks six languages and has been in space?

    Heading over to the BBQ to stir things up and make flames. Did I mention I love summer?  🙂

    Love, a hopelessly optimistic Arbutus!   OOO

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    @tardigrade       At the very least, Moffat has to leave a window open for the Master’s return, future writers wouldn’t thank him for writing the character out irrevocably (although, as we’ve learned over time, nothing in DW is irrevocable!). I think Missy did hand something off to the Doctor, I wondered at the time what it was.

    I’m hoping that the Doctor will learn of Bill’s survival in the Christmas episode, I think that would be necessary for him to move forward unencumbered.

    @ollie14       I’m pretty sure that regeneration is almost always possible—you can’t be too dead!  🙂

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    @bluesqueakpip   Great comment!

    I see a lot of people assuming a two-doctor story for Christmas. I don’t know if this is based on rumours/leaks, as I have been trying to avoid spoilers as much as possible. But from a non-knowledge POV, I’m not convinced that the First Doctor’s involvement will necessarily run through the entire episode. But I’m definitely hoping for a story that will resolve the Doctor’s outstanding issues and give him hope for his future!

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    In my opinion, fabulous. I loved the tone. I loved the Master/Missy interplay. I remember feeling hints of what the Simm master could have been, if he hadn’t been written so over-the-top. This was it, just really good. The Master as the ultimate narcissist. Of course, the Doctor’s wonderful speech “explaining himself” to the Master. Pearl Mackie’s performance. Nardole was written and played to perfection. The scene in the TARDIS. For the first time, I felt that I really that I understood why the Doctor would be resistant to regeneration, that after so many, many changes, he would just have had enough. Particularly as the adjustment this last time was so difficult.

    I loved the resolution of the bad Master/good Missy conundrum. This was exactly what I had hoped for, something that doesn’t completely erase the development we have seen over this series, but doesn’t mess too much with the mythology. We were left with the impression that Missy is permanently dead, but that can’t be right, can it? I guess we shall see, in the fullness of time. I hope that before the end, Capaldi Doc knows that Missy tried to stand with him, that his work with her was not for nothing. I guess they both had their “without hope, without witness” moments, in the end.  🙂

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    Oh, and Michelle Gomez just kicked a** in this. I’ve never loved her more!

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    Holy… crap.

    I was enjoying this to pieces, and with the line “It took me awhile to work out who you were…”, well, I lost it. I felt like I was the one with the exploding cyber-heart. So beautifully put together, balance of suspense and humour, the visuals, the soundtrack. The reveal was so fabulously done that even knowing what was coming, it was still out of this world. Oh, Peter, I will miss you.

    “Don’t change the channel.” “A week raising his eyebrow. Why would I change?”  🙂

    I can’t even imagine what is coming. Tragedy and hope, I suppose.

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    @thane15   @janetteb   I was poised to pop in last evening, cocktail in hand, and then realized that everyone was talking about the latest episode which I hadn’t yet seen! So I fled the area, trying desperately to avoid spoilers.

    Thanks on Arbutus Jr.’s behalf and my own for your wishes (and for Puro’s delightful track on the music thread). I don’t think he realized quite what a milestone it is until it happened. I managed not to cry as he walked across the stage, but for some reason, I kept tearing up every time the words “Class of 2017” were mentioned!

    Things are settling down a bit now, and I can see I have a load of catching up to do around here. My thoughts have been with the people of London, they seem to have been hit hard by the vagaries of life lately. Just a lot of astonishing things going on in the world in general, too much to keep up with. Hugs to everyone everywhere.

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