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    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    It is canon that the Master likes the Scissor Sisters – which might be why I always listen to this one and think of the Master and the Doctor returning to Gallifrey. But it fits particularly well with the current arc.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @jimthefish and @mudlark

    I think my main problem with an alt-universe Doctor, whether the Martin Doctor or the Whittaker Doctor, is that it strikes me as full-on blue boringers. Everything you know is a lie – because we’re in an alternative to the real Whoniverse, and CapaldiDoc’s aborted regeneration produced a Buffy-like double regeneration. Two Doctors, no waiting. 🙂

    Where’s the angst in that? If the Master blows up Gallifrey (lampshaded that this was again this week), I’d like it to be a bit more exciting than ‘oh, it’s not the real one, fooled you ::manic giggle::’ I’d like a previously unknown Doctor to be more a terrible secret (like the War Doctor) than ‘oh, I have a twin, how cool’. And I would like an alternate universe where we can actually tell the dratted difference between the ‘real’ Whoniverse and the ‘alternate’.

    It’s not that it isn’t possible, it’s just that it sounds far less exciting than the history of Gallifrey being a total lie (which fits with the ‘historical’ memory of Rassilon versus the real bloke when he turns up) and the Doctor discovering that part of her past has been wiped. Not repressed because she hates that bit of herself – wiped. Just like she’s done to Donna, tried to do to Clara and did to Ada and Noor.

    And, in a bit of meta, casting a black female actor as a Doctor who’s been wiped from history is kind of … resonant.

    Anyway, Mudlark, would between Troughton and Pertwee be a possible slot for a ‘wiped’ Doctor? Jamie and Zoe were mind-wiped, after all.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @psymon – Yes, that’s a spoiler. That particular article is being discussed in the Spoilers forum

    @craig or @phaseshift or @jimthefish – can you do some post removal please? Ta

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    Yes, it’s in The Sun as well (bleurrgh … good thing lunch is curried lentils to hide the taste). Looks like a press release, probably handed out when the production office became aware that half the Twitterverse is haring off down an ‘alternate universe’ rabbit hole.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    Will now go and check the Mirror. The things we do for Doctor Who, eh?

    But as I’ve been arguing over in the spoiler-free forums, there isn’t any evidence for an alternate universe. Generally speaking, if it were an alternate Doctor, I’d expect there to have been stuff planted by now.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    Okay, I can’t find the interview (the post Skyfall panel at the Paley Centre), so this is basically gossip taken from reports of it, but –

    -Jodie Whittaker has not only said she’s planning to stay for at least a third series, but also hinted that strands of this current arc might continue into that third series.

    What she said was:

    “So these things that maybe feel as if they were in an episode of season 11 and then forgotten about, weren’t. And I think you don’t necessarily always rush to get the answer.

    “So it’s not to say that you won’t discover something,” she added. “You’re not going to be denied. But the beauty of this show is that it goes on and on and on. And so maybe some things, a few, are answered and maybe some things aren’t and I think that’s why you’ve got to keep watching.”

    General comment about the nature of Doctor Who and showrunners leaving stuff for later showrunners? Or did she sign on for series 3 because she knows it’s dealing with the fallout from this current arc?

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    No, it wouldn’t, but Jodie Whittaker would need a very good reason indeed to effectively announce that she’s unavailable for work throughout most of 2020 and probably into 2021. That’s why it’s so difficult to keep a change of Doctor secret. Actors have mortgages (and small children to feed) and most UK actors (even the current Doctor) don’t get paid enough to take a year off work.

    It’s quite different from John Barrowman (and Paul McGann and many other Who actors) fibbing that they haven’t been asked back and it’s just that they’re renovating their house/taking a holiday during the couple of weeks where they’re really filming. There, we’re talking about fibbing over a few weeks that they’re being paid for, not an entire year where they’re not.

    I had also heard a similar statement in another interview, but wasn’t sure whether it was in the spoiler territory – so I’ll post it in the spoiler forum.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    The Wizard of Oz film is a classic example of ‘she woke up and it had all been a dream’ – but I do think I’d like a bit more evidence that we’re in a dream/alternate reality. Where is it in the other episodes? Orphan 55, possibly, but that’s more ‘we can still change the future’.

    Especially since the theme in Tesla and Fugitive is memory, not alternative realities. Tesla is less remembered than Edison, but the episode writer implies our collective memory is prioritising the wrong man. ‘Ruth’ can’t remember being the Doctor in Fugitive.

    In Spyfall Part I and Orphan 55 we don’t know what we’re seeing. So in Spyfall, we see O – but it’s the Master behind the curtain. Perception filters. In Orphan 55 we’re on Earth – but first perception filters and then preconceptions prevent us understanding that until the reveal. In Tesla we see Edison, but the real ‘great man’ is Tesla (and we also don’t see the eugenics stuff hiding behind Tesla’s curtain). In Fugitive, we see Ruth – but the Doctor is hiding behind the curtain of the chameleon arch.

    They used Gloucester Cathedral a lot in Fugitive – that might simply be because it’s a great location. But it kind of fits with ‘the truth shall set you free’ – Lee sends her to the Cathedral to find the truth about herself, and it may also turn out to be the place where the Whittaker Doctor finds the truth about herself.

    So I don’t think the Oz reference is a reference to the gang now being into Oz. It’s a reference to the reality behind the curtain.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    so is your theory that the Doctor has mind-wiped herself (or allowed herself to be mind-wiped

    It may have been voluntary – something an earlier Doctor felt was necessary. Or, given that the Master seemed to be horrified by what he’d discovered (and we’re talking the Master, here), so horrified and angry that he destroyed Gallifrey – it may have been something involuntary. Something in keeping with the ‘Imperial Gallifrey’ that the Martin Doctor seems to be fleeing from.

    I agree that this arc could end with the Martin Doctor being mind-wiped/choosing to be mind-wiped. But I think she’s pre-Hartnell. If you look at the costume, the specs, the style of TARDIS, the jokes Moffat made about the Doctor not remembering whether he was male or female when he was small, Missy’s comment that she’d known the Doctor since she was a little girl – they’d all fit in with a pre-Hartnell female Doctor.

    A mind-wipe followed by a forced regeneration as a baby/toddler (with a new regeneration cycle), then never quite recovering from the trauma of those wiped memories. That could work in to such a lot (especially if it was the Doctor and the Master). The Doctor’s difficulty in passing exams, even though he seems considerably smarter than most other Time Lords. The desire to stay away from Gallifrey, which has so many different explanations it sounds almost like the Doctor doesn’t really understand why he/she never wants to stay. The Master’s obsession with the Doctor, which again has no real in-show explanation beyond ‘stalker boyfriend’.

    To me, that would be far more fun than ‘alternate universe Doctor’. 😀

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    I think Fugitive of the Judoon, while not explaining the mind-wipe as such, may explain why the producers needed to include a mind-wipe somewhere.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    Maybe on early pre-Hartnell Gallifrey it was assumed to be impossible?

    That’s what I’d go for. The Martin Doctor and Gat are from Gallifrey’s past. Which past isn’t what the Doctor thinks, maybe. Or maybe it’s her own and the Master’s past?

    The thing about the alternate timeline – where are the clues? The only clue I could possibly think of would be the ‘time can be changed’ aspect of Orphan 55. Otherwise, there isn’t a single hint that we might be in an alternate universe, or in the middle of a dream/constructed reality. We’re getting loads of ‘look at the past’ hints, but no ‘alternate reality’ hints.

    @rob and @jimthefish

    Captain Jack’s assumption that Graham is the Doctor – funnily enough, I remember jokingly suggesting that Graham was a chameleon arched Susan, back before Series 11. I know, Jim, that you don’t like this re-use of themes from RTD, but Donna and the Doctor being continually mistaken for brother and sister did turn out to be an echo from their future relationship. That’s now twice this series: if Graham is mistaken for the Doctor a third time, it may be important.

    My guess is that the reason Chibbers is reusing the Ten era as ‘the Doctor’s past’ is simply that it’s the AG Who era he knows better. He did write for Moffat, and he’s cast a lot of those actors, but he was busy with Broadchurch for a lot of the Moffat era. As Dan Martin pointed out over at T’Other Place (the recap’s up, @miapatrick) he’s written for Captain Jack, bu I don’t think he ever wrote for River Song?

    Also, my reading of him as a writer is that he’s primarily interested in how characters react to situations. Moffat took a minor in philosophy and finds time paradoxes genuinely interesting to write. Chibnall, I think, would be far more interested in how the Doctor (after a series where she tries to start with a blank slate) would react to discovering that at one point she really did re-start with a blank slate. That she doesn’t remember her entire past.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    Okay, that was exciting.

    @jimthefish – remember last week that I said Doctor Who had no compunction about using stuff from the New Adventures? And this week, guess what? A reprise of Human Nature.

    @miapatrick I’m with @devilishrobby – I’m really not convinced this is an alternate timeline Doctor. Now admittedly, as far as we know the Doctor stole the TARDIS when he looked like William Hartnell and the first appearance of the Police Box outer appearance was in that 1963 London scrapyard. But the hints so far seem to be that the Doctor has (like Ruth) a past she can’t remember.

    [I mean, I can think of at least two ways the Jo Martin Doctor might have the same TARDIS as the Whittaker Doctor, even with the Hartnell Doctor stealing the TARDIS for what he thought was the first time (guided by Clara), so I’m sure that wouldn’t be a problem for the writing team.]

    The running theme, signposted in the last speech, is of the Doctor’s past. Old enemies – the Master, the Time Lords, Cybermen, the Judoon. Old friends – the Master, Captain Jack Harkness. Old episodes – Trial of a Time Lord, Human Nature. Riffs from previous episodes have been appearing throughout these last five. The the sat-nav that tries to kill you, the underground sign revealing it’s Earth, the companion who’s protecting the chameleon arched Doctor being madly in love with him/her – though at least this time, the love was requited. 🙂 And the Martin Doctor echoes the War Doctor (another ‘hidden’ Doctor).

    Dr Fish, I think the reason Captain Jack felt slightly fanwankery is because what was needed in this episode was any major character from the Doctor’s past to turn up with a warning. Could’ve been Jack or River – anyone who could reasonably teleport/scoop the fam.

    But when you get past the fangasmy potential, it was kind of a mess.

    I’d disagree. I think this is a very clever episode indeed. It’s about the Doctor, not remembering her past. Being chased by something from her past that she can’t remember. The two Doctors are mirrors for each other – there’s a scene where even their dialogue is mirrored. But that mirror, the Martin Doctor, is a Doctor that not only doesn’t remember her past:

    Everything she thinks she knows – is a lie.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    Chibs seems to be going out of his way to retcon Moff’s vision of Gallifrey out of existence, so I wouldn’t put anything past him at the moment.

    Possibly. The way Moffatt left Gallifrey, I wouldn’t have been terribly surprised to return and find it was in the middle of a full scale civil war, so ‘smoking wreck, again‘ isn’t too disappointing.

    Or possibly Chibbers is simply re-mirroring the Doctor and the Master. The Doctor destroyed Gallifrey, leaving us in the slightly embarrassing situation of our hero having done more evil than our villain, so the Master has now destroyed Gallifrey as well. Mind, poor old Gallifrey must be getting a bit sick of it. 😈

    I might have a go at a diagram this weekend. 😀

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    The number of ‘shocked and horrified’ shots Mandip Gill’s been getting, something is definitely on the cards for Yaz. Some kind of breakdown, maybe?

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    I’d point out that the AG series has had no scruples in using any good ideas from the New Adventure series. ‘The Other’ is the thing that came into my mind when The Timeless Child was first mentioned.

    The Looms as depicted have been thoroughly dumped, I think by the discovery that the Time Lords have billions of kids on the planet. If they’re using Looms now, then the ‘product’ is coming out as babies and are being promptly adopted.

    Doesn’t mean they can’t re-use the Loom idea and set it in the past.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    I don’t think that would worry the Master. I don’t think even the discovery that the Time Lords nicked time travel from the Daleks would worry him that much. As Missy said, killing Daleks is kind of Time Lord golf, so having cunningly stolen time travel from them would just be another point in the endless (or timeless) game.

    On the other hand, discovering that the mighty Time Lords are some kind of escaped genetic experiment, originally created by another species as super-warriors – that they are, in effect, Daleks – that would truly disturb him. It would attack him at his sense of superiority, which would work with Missy’s developing empathy. It would place him at the same level as the people he’s been killing. Especially if it turned out after all these years that the reason for the human-Doctor connection is that the Time Lords are a human genetic experiment. Who may well have stolen time travel as a means of making their escape. 😀

    The Master wearing Nazi uniform is accompanied by a big script spotlight, loudly announcing that even the Doctor didn’t expect that. Which is weird, really, because this is the Master. He has no problem with mass murder and the villain turning up as a Nazi isn’t normally a big problem in melodrama. So why the spotlight?

    Another weird connection is between Rosa Parks and eugenics. A school named after a eugenicist was renamed Rosa Parks Middle School. Again, like Tesla, this is deep background that can be found on the internet rather than in the episode – but Rosa connected racism and time travel. As did Spyfall. Tesla is connecting technological advance and theft.

    It doesn’t really matter how long the Time Lords have been around, because once time travel is discovered they can be created in our future and then go back in time to Early Gallifrey.

    [And now I read on and discover that @miapatrick has made the point before me. Oops!]

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    Basically, the problem is that you keep going into ‘you are talking in platitude/sacred belief’ and I’m going ‘uh, no, I’m talking about something that’s been happening in the US and UK in the past three years.’ Which is why I’m suggesting moving this to the pub.

    The academic term is ‘epistocracy’.

    Glad to hear that it hasn’t reached Australia yet. 😀

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    No-one is claiming they are more important, more significant or better able to argue.

    Okay, if you wish to continue this argument, you need to move it to the pub. Because we’re moving outside this particular episode, and I can’t attempt to refute your belief that I’m talking in ‘platitudes’ without moving outside this episode.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    Yeah, I’m not sure I buy that personally.

    In a moral sense, I don’t think I do. I seem to recall mentioning in the Skyfall episode discussion that Ada’s mindwipe was played in a distinctly disturbing way, very reminiscent of Donna’s. It’s just that I would argue there’s a possible distinction between the effect on the futures between the two episodes. Especially if you argue that Tesla always was kidnapped by aliens in the Whoniverse (the episode all happens in his ‘present’), but Noor and Ada weren’t supposed to be taken out of their time streams.

    the Doctor shouldn’t get to choose

    Agree. Was she being ‘The Doctor’ when she did that? Or a Time Lord?

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    Dr. Fish –

    they wanted to gloss over Tesla’s support for eugenics and compulsory sterilisation of the criminal and insane

    Ah Ha! I didn’t know that!

    Okay, so that’s now two stories (Skyfall and this one) where eugenics – not just the murder of the ‘unfit’, but the breeding of the ‘fit’ – is in the backstory. Skyfall with the Nazi’s and their breeding programme, and Tesla proposing the ‘deliberate guidance of the mating instinct’.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    And also, glaring incongruity – why did Lovelace have to get her memory wiped, but Tesla (who saw the inside of the TARDIS) didn’t?

    I just answered that very question on T’Other Place. Ada Gordon and Noor Khan were both technically trained and had seen the future of their own planet. Tesla and Edison are both technically trained – but what they saw was the TARDIS and an alien spaceship from their own time – not the future of their own planet.

    So I’d guess that people seeing alien spacecraft might be technically inspired, but not in a way that’s going to disrupt anything. However, seeing their own future technology might result in them inventing that future technology before it’s supposed to be invented. A zig-zag style diagram, destabilising the time-stream.

    In the Van Gogh episode, I think the script had Van Gogh being pulled rapidly past the boombox and taken straight to the exhibition, so that he only really found out that he was going to be remembered as a great painter.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    I thought she reckoned they might eat the bread instead of them. Anything’s worth a go when you’re being chased by giant scorpions.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    Yeah, I think one possibility is that we’ll look back on the Chibnall era as the new golden age for the historicals. Some of them really have been a masterclass in ‘how to do a Who historical’.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    Okay. Interesting. Is it my imagination, or does everyone seem so much more comfortable doing the historicals?

    I’d rate this one as good, solid Who. Nice monster – and a possible series arc joke. We’ve been complaining about Chibbers seemingly stealing plots; now we have an alien race who have stolen all their stuff. Theft, taking stuff that doesn’t belong – and that ship had a certain hint about it of older TARDIS sets. Not to mention the aliens having more than a hint of Racnoss.

    The aliens who steal are mirrored in Thomas Edison, who Tesla thought stole his ideas without paying him properly. But are they also mirrored in the larger arc? What have the Time Lords stolen?

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    To cast the debate about whether self -funded retirees have the right to protest about Oxygen RN is a compromise block attitude leading to a discussion about limitations of government & whether everyone really deserves it & how dare people protest who have paid tax all their life & who’ll fund every single thing they’ll ever need & the ORN of many others.

    No,it doesn’t. I cast the argument as one of whether the Doctor has the right to prevent someone else getting their Oxygen Right Now because she decided that climate change was more important. Actually, we both know the Doctor would be more likely to give somebody her own oxygen, then go and sort out climate change while using her oxygen reserve system. Whilst making a witty remark.

    (Also, I can hardly be saying ‘how dare people protest’ when I told you at the top of the post that you should be protesting.)

    whether we should ignore the rights of poor people when ORN is more important

    Are you sure you’re debating the right thing? Because what I’m arguing about is whether poor people, the little people, have rights. Have agency, have the right to make their own choices. The right, for example, to decide that they don’t want to join in your protest and would rather go to work. That’s not a ‘compromise block’, that’s a very vital discussion about what we do when rights clash.

    Vilma was slowing people down; Vilma chose to charge the Dregs. Should the Doctor have rugby tackled her to the ground and ‘saved’ her? She has a right to life; what about her right to choose to try and save the others? Her agency?

    Now, I happen to think – having had a worm’s eye view of the impact in London – that the Extinction Rebellion’s extended protest over here did over-step the boundaries between their right to protest and other people’s right to make their own choices. I really don’t want protesters kicked to death by an angry crowd furious at just how many days this protest has lasted -and if you think I’m kidding, this is the video of Canning Town.

    how dare people protest who have paid tax all their life & who’ll fund every single thing they’ll ever need & the ORN of many others.

    Not what I was saying. What I was saying, bluntly, is: does the fact that they’ve paid tax all their life etc, give them the right to act as if they are more important than someone else? Does it make them more important?

    Should the Doctor see herself as more important than Yaz? The Master certainly does.

    I don’t think this episode mentioned the B word? So arguments based on it probably belong in the pub.

    Speeches in a fantasy show are fine. But if you’re trying to convince your audience about a scientific topic where the science is contested – you need a scientific adviser to look at the script. Preferably one who won’t tell you to reverse the polarity of the neutron flow.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    I’m not actually saying you shouldn’t protest – heck, with the recent devastating fires which were (very high probability) aggravated by an inadequate response to climate change, you should! But what I am arguing about is an assumption that the most important thing to you will necessarily be a) the most important thing to someone else and b) justify overriding their rights.

    soon there will be no more work for the poor to get to.

    Keeping this as a discussion around the episode, rather than one more suited to the pub – the Doctor plus fam are being chased by slavering Dregs, who seem to see them as ‘lunch’. Should their immediate action be to a) make a powerful speech about ignoring climate change or b) not get eaten for lunch.

    The answer is b).

    Equally, if you argue that ‘the poor’ soon won’t have any jobs to get to – those poor might well respond that if you don’t let them get to work today they will be in danger of not being able to ‘have enough oxygen’ for their rent and their bills. If someone’s spare cash per week is less than the hours your protest causes them to lose – then that’s a bit like asking our characters to stop worrying about the oxygen that’s running out right now while everyone else forces them to sit down and plan what to do about the long-term problem of the climate change that created the oxygen shortage.

    Also, you’re comparing some protestors, people who are self funded retirees, to a vainglorious woman from a completely different century.

    Well, ‘let them eat cake’ and ‘Marie Antoinette’ are both proverbial in the UK, even though she almost certainly never said that and would very likely have responded to a lack of bread amongst the local peasantry by paying for bread to be handed out. See, I do read history books. 🙂

    But am I accusing self-funded retirees of having the attitude implied by that proverb? Yes. Completely. I think it’s a big problem at the moment. I’d be astonished if Chibnall is going that way, but I think that we could easily have a series arc where the Time Lords are us. Us, in the sense of people like me – highly educated people with a distinct tendency to think they know better than everyone else. 😀

    People who don’t see themselves as aristocrats, but are used to having both the leisure time and financial means to go on protests and the expectation that other people will listen to what they say. Who then proceed to inform the people that don’t have that leisure time and money and who don’t expect others to listen to them very much that they should – if they are losing money from the protests of their ‘betters’ – ‘eat cake’.

    Or, that they should listen to their ‘betters’ about what’s good for them and do what they’re told.

    People, in fact, rather like the Doctor. Aristocratic rebels. The Doctor gets very, very annoyed when people call him/her out as ‘officer class’, but that’s what she is. She completely expects to be listened to, to take charge – and to tell human beings (and other races) what’s good for them. She often gets quite cross when people want to make their own decisions. Of course, the way the programme is structured, the Doctor usually is right and the people going their own way are wrong – but that’s drama, not real life.

    The last series was partly about the Doctor learning to stay and tell people how their loved ones died and not to fly off in her little blue box without looking back. To deal with the aftermath of what she does; take responsibility beyond the immediate moment. Possibly this series is going to look at the Time Lords and the Doctor and Master’s aristocratic attitude to other people. Or perhaps it’s going to be about the Doctor discovering both that the Time Lords lied and that maybe, just maybe, while she can stand up and tell people what she thinks is good for them – they have the right to disagree.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    [hands Whisht a teddy bear]


    If we have an arc about the basis of Timelord lies and make reference to a story where they actually lied, that may make sense.

    You know what, Phaseshift? I think you might be on to something there. Because I seem to recall that when the Doctor said she’d realised Orphan 55 was Earth only a little before the fam did, Jodie Whittaker played it with what you might call a bit of a shifty look. I could go back and check…

    … no. Actually, I couldn’t. Not even for a bonkers theory. But it would make sense, if every story this series was in some way connected to the evil that the Time Lords have, canonically done.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    Just like to direct people to the following reports by the IPCC (these are both links to pdfs): A pdf Global Warming of 1.5 degrees C: a summary for teachers and Summary for policy makers.

    The teacher one is far more readable if you don’t have a science background.

    Me, I find them optimistic – in the sense that there are indeed things we can do and there is (just) time to do it.


    getting into this with an 80-year-old won’t serve any purpose.

    It will not. I only have to go back to my 2010 chemistry textbook that I was using for teaching to find global warming taught as something ‘most’ scientists thought was happening. Go back to the 1970’s and there was a substantial minority arguing for global cooling. Most reasonably technically aware eighty year olds will be able to give you a long, long list of things ‘scientists’ were confident about in their lifetime – and which turned out to be embarrassingly wrong.

    This thought may help you grit your teeth the next time your beloved mom looks at you funny when you suggest that we need to use less fossil fuels. 😀

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    Well, I hope there’s nothing wrong with preaching because I have an actual licence to do just that.

    Okay, let’s preach it, brothers and sisters!:)

    Protesting meant doing so outside large corporate palaces where salary earners (not wage earners) were ignoring problems.

    And did you check that the people who maintain, clean and do the low-level jobs in the large corporate palaces could get in? Did you check that you weren’t blocking access to a hospital? Because that’s one of the (many) things that went wrong in London. The protesters had a righteous cause – but they somehow thought that cutting off public transport at a major interchange was a good thing because the interchange was taking bankers to their massive corporate palaces. Forgetting (or not understanding) that the interchange was also taking people from some of the poorest areas of London to their wage paying jobs.

    They stopped traffic in Central London – which meant that as well as the fat cats and the governments, Mr and Mrs Blogs were struggling to get through to their hospital appointment. A spokesperson had a major interview on a mainstream channel – and didn’t know what was in the UN report she was ‘quoting’ from.

    Protest doesn’t replace knowledge. In fact, protest requires knowledge. One reason this week’s episode was so utterly infuriating was that it will not, as we’re all saying, do anything but preach to the converted. Because it has no knowledge. Less than none – how do people expect anyone to be convinced about the science of climate change when the production team are apparently unaware that fire needs oxygen and the writer knows so little science they don’t realise an apex predator is at the top of a food chain? Seriously? After that episode, I wouldn’t trust that writer to tell me that CO2 is a molecule, let alone how it can act as a heat trap.

    Keep protesting. But don’t forget the science textbooks. 😉

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    This episode – I felt it was preaching to the converted

    Worse than preaching to the converted. It was the relatively powerful (the Doctor) preaching to the relatively powerless (the Companions, and by extension the kids in the audience). It was also hypocritical, because the programme had flown its main cast out to South Africa to make the statement.

    My worries about the current environmental protests can be summed up by the recent Canning Town protest. Relatively wealthy, well educated protesters decide to protest about our children’s future by stopping a lot of relatively poor people working to feed their children today. Then they’re shocked when the protest nearly turns into a riot – against them.

    We are not going to save the planet by having Marie Antoinette lecturing us about the carbon footprint of cake. We really aren’t.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    Another positive: Mandip Gill was doing some really good acting – completely horrified by one of the gruesome deaths. I wonder if she’s leaving at the end of the series? Or is going to turn on the Doctor? Either way, it feels like something is being set up – maybe a Tegan-style ‘I can’t cope with this any more, Doctor’.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    Um. That script needed another draft. After the last two weeks, this week was very … well, I hope tonight was the ‘Oops, that one didn’t work’ episode.

    Okay, positives. The actors were giving it their all and the direction was pretty good. The Moral of The Week was using a sledgehammer, but at least avoided landing the kids with ‘we’re all going to die’ learned helplessness. This is a possible future, not ‘the’ future. Something can still be done to change it (true, dat).

    Negatives: for an SF-style episode with a climate-science moral, the science knowledge on display was bloody awful – I agree, @rob, I think the Green Death did this much better. Unless the Dregs burn magnesium or hydrogen, their fires would need breathable levels of oxygen to burn. Humans would be struggling, but they could breathe. Apex predators need something to eat – in fact, apex predators need an entire food chain – if the Earth is post-nuclear/post-climate change and the ground looks like volcanic sands, what are the local Dregs living on? Trees? There aren’t enough random tourists to support that many and there’s no sign of any other animal life.

    If it’s so easy to terraform Earth, why has it been left to one teeny tiny hotel sized resort start-up with a staff of four? Why on earth would you chase after a missing guest with every single member of the cast?

    In the end, my suspension of disbelief just kept snapping – there was one point where I actually yelled ‘that’s just b*ll*cks!’ to the screen, which is a first for Doctor Who. Most of this would have been perfectly tolerable if they’d either gone in a more fantasy direction (like this writer’s previous script, which was very good) or got someone to science-check the dratted script.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @blenkinsopthebrave and @vervain

    I’m kind of inclined to a sleight-of-hand that involves a Moffat loop. Mainly because Chibnall was so careful to re-establish that the Doctor can solve a current problem after the solution to the problem has already happened.

    I’d say the Capitol is in shreds, Gallifrey is burning – but ask if the Gallifreyans themselves were there at the time?

    “Okay, kids, the Master’s on his way. Now, follow the Doctor, because we’re all going to go one hundred years into the future…”

    Remember Missy lied, the first time she told the Capaldi Doctor she’d been on Gallifrey. But she lied by omission. She told the Capaldi Doctor that Gallifrey was where it always was. But she mentioned it wasn’t when it always was.

    Likewise, it would be very Master-ish for him to truthfully say that he’d burnt Gallifrey to the ground, nuked it, jumped up and down on it till he got blisters – but never mention that he didn’t kill anyone, because they’d all left. He’d leave little titbits like that for the Doctor to work out. 😉

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    When I rewatched I noticed that Barton’s anger against his mother was planted in his very first scene. Yaz and Ryan, he thinks, have been granted an interview because it means there’ll be an article about him in the paper his mum reads. At the time you think it’s ‘legacy media’ he dislikes, later you realise it was his mum.

    Have you read Eatwell and Goodwin’s National Populism: the Revolt Against Liberal Democracy?

    Yup, as @lisa said, there was a fish picture. ‘What is image steganography?’ is currently trending. 🙂

    Again, there is that running fan theory that Susan is the granddaughter of both the Doctor and the Master, but for some reason I’ve got it in my head that the ‘Timeless Child’ is more akin to the LeGuin Omelas story. I agree that the Nazi scene has more significance than just an opportunity to make the Master look really evil, but as I argued on T’Other Place, I think we’re deliberately being led down the rabbit hole of Nazi’s = racists. So we’re thinking the arc plot is about racism and murderous racial purity (which was the major topic of last series) and forgetting that the Nazi’s also had a eugenics programme that included breeding more little Ayrans.

    If there’s one thing that might make the Master flip so badly that he burns Gallifrey to ashes, it’s the discovery that he and his entire people have been deliberately made. Designed. That he is the way he is because that’s what his designers wanted.

    With regard to Chibnall as showrunner, RTD’s first series was very rocky indeed and we’re only two episodes into Chibber’s second one. Maybe by the end of this series we’ll know whether he’s taking the bronze or the silver. 🙂

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    it was the recycling in this episode that really stopped me getting into it and grading it higher.

    Agreed that there was a lot of recycling, most of which seemed to be the Master recycling previous ‘greatest hits’. It’s whether it’s, y’know, recycling created by the BBC saying ‘we don’t like the direction of the last series, having told you we want something different we now don’t.’

    Or, whether the recycling is a plot point. This series arc is going to be one that uses stuff from all (well, hopefully not all) the previous series, including BG. Did you notice there were at least two references to going ‘Classic’? But if one of the biggest complaints against both Moffat and RTD was that they presumed everyone watching had a detailed knowledge of the last fifty odd years including spin off media, then maybe Chibbers has decided that the casual viewer needs a recap of the important stuff before we set off on our viewing journey through the series arc.

    As well as the things you mentioned, other recaps were: the Master’s tissue compressor, that Time Lords are telepathic, who, what and where the Doctor is from. I’d also include the ‘Moffat loop’, which makes re-using one of the most famous scenes from Moffat’s most famous Doctor Who script more an acknowledgement than a retread.

    Has anyone else spotted other ‘recap’ items?

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    I think the ‘timeless child’ picture is a flash from the Doctor’s own buried memory – but we might have to agree to differ on that one until we both have more information.

    Welcome to the forum and to our bonkers theorising!

    I think that Daniel Barton was watching when the Master banged his head against the console.

    or that the Time Lord species was built or somehow genetically engineered.

    This is something I’ve felt for a long time, so it’s not really surprising a life-long fan like Chibbers might decide to use the same idea as a series (multi-series?) arc. The end-effect of all those producers and writers adding on Time Lord attributes so that the Doctor doesn’t die this week, plus the frequent use of Time Lord characters as ‘meglomaniac of the week’ is that they seem – designed. Designed to – not die. To be super-intelligent. To want to win wars, and not care about any other races that might get in the way.

    They just don’t feel like a ‘naturally evolved’ species. They’re mirrors of the Daleks.

    The other odd point about them is that they don’t seem to be arsed about the Master. More than not arsed, in fact. It’s as if he generates this massive ‘ignore me’ field for everyone on Gallifrey (despite his assassination of some rather important people) and even the Doctor seems to struggle to actually – kill him.

    Now, for the Doctor this may be because the Master is a childhood friend and he/she simply has the same difficulty any of us would face if your best friend was suffering from mental problems that meant they were a danger to others. We could say that the Pertwee Doctor put a good face on things, and the later Doctors have been a bit more willing to try and push him in the direction of the people he’s hurt (and hope they do the actual killing).

    But – could Chibbers be about to ‘explain’ the Doctor’s inability to kill the Master by having it programmed in? He can’t kill the Master because the Master is … what? The timeless child himself? This generation’s incarnation of Chaos? An eternal incarnation who simply doesn’t remember all his incarnations and periodically regenerates as a child?

    Like, possibly, the Doctor…

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    I agree that the element of ‘melodrama villain’ seems more conscious in this Master. Doctor Who is melodrama (in a technical sense), but Sacha Dhawan seems to be doing the melodramatic villain as if it’s now an act the Master’s putting on for an audience. The top hat. The Nazi uniform. The scene in the plane hangar when his ‘I’m going to kill you … and then you … and then you’ almost has a subtext of ‘Where the bloody hell are you, Doctor, because I can’t delay killing your mates for ever?’. The whole two-parter is about alien spies, of course, but yeah, it really is like he has to put up an act in front of witnesses.

    Alone with the Doctor he seems more serious, more reflective and @miapatrick, I’d say more broken. Not just desperate, but someone barely holding off a complete breakdown. Which is why he so easily flips into furious anger, even grabbing the Doctor by the throat.

    Mudlark, I also think his switching allegiance was because Rassilon was the person who abused him as a child, treated him like a thing. He was willing to placate Rassilon if he’d stay alive by doing that, but once it became apparent that wasn’t an option, I think what came out were his real feelings. The Doctor is a friendly enemy; John Simm played that scene as if the Master genuinely hated Rassilon for what he’d done to him and would die with the rest of the Time Lords if he could just kill Rassilon first. [And he does seem to have forced him into another regeneration, even if he couldn’t manage to kill him].

    It might be worth looking at that again, because I’m wondering if Chibbers is taking RTD’s quick explanation of ‘Oh, yeah, the Master is really evil but it’s because he was abused as a child’ and using it in this plotline. That is, he’s not ignoring the Master’s established backstory, or Missy’s character development. He’s using it. The previous abuse as a flashpoint that can make the Master flip (nuke the place, burn it, sow the soil with salt sort of flip) and Missy’s learning to feel remorse as the development that makes him (seemingly) then try and get the Doctor to help without outright asking her.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    I’m betting that we are all being manipulated into thinking that the timeless child is a child.

    The Doctor’s memory flash, or race-memory flash definitely looks like a child to me.

    The Timeless Child

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    True, we are supposed to forget about the fact that if he was on Earth for 77 years he (presumably) managed to miss all the other Masters who were around London and the environs during the ’70s and ’80s, not to mention Prime Minister Saxon. But, as Mrs Blenkinsop wisely reminds me: “You are not supposed to ask those questions”.

    I think that’s why they were the most irritating 77 years of his life. Not only did he have to survive every Earth-based episode of Doctor Who, escaping various alien Invasions With Extreme Prejudice, he had to try and stay alive during his own bloody plans – and he couldn’t contact himself, because he knew he hadn’t.

    What he did during the Saxon period, I don’t know, given that Saxon was in control of the entire Earth for The Year That Never Was. Possibly he nicked a year’s supply of emergency rations and hid in a very deep cave as soon as the Vote Saxon posters appeared. 😀


    a fair deal of observations/complaints about Thirteen mindwiping Ada and Noor,

    Not surprised. That was scripted and acted in what seemed to be a deliberately disturbing way. Noor, working in a wartime environment, seems to accept the necessity, but the scene with Ada seems to be deliberately reminding older viewers of Donna’s mind-wipe. The necessity can be argued – someone as smart as Ada might have advanced the science of computing immeasurably with the glimpses she’d had of the future. But it really was a very disturbing scene, which makes me wonder if it ties into the series arc.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    Sorry to hear that. Disobedient kidneys can be a Bad Thing, so I hope it’s now under control. Lovely to see you back

    So far I’m up to two-thirds of episode 1 of Dracula and it seems very good. However, I also had a gift of Season One of Star Trek: Discovery, so after months of no telly at all, I’m suddenly in the position of trying to find time to watch everything.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    He recovers immediately and demands that the Doctor kneel, but even as she complies it does not feel as if he is really in control.

    Yes. He makes her kneel to him, call him Master, just like previous incarnations would have done – and then he needs to talk to her and kneels down to do that.

    He kneels to her.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @miapatrick Having now watched it, I think this may well be a post Missy incarnation. When the Dhawan Master talks about the buzz that killing gives him, then adds that he knows ‘I’m in the right place, doing what I was made for’ – the look in his eyes is completely haunted.

    He may also be referring to the Timeless Child reveal, that he’s discovered he’s not simply someone abused by Rassilon, but was actually made. Deliberately designed as a psychopathic killer – and one who finds killing fun.

    The final edit often has Dhawan either slightly out of focus or shot to one side as if they’re trying to hide the Master’s real expression from the audience. But in the previous episode, when he says ‘everything you know is a lie’ there are tears in his eyes – we see that again in this episode in his recorded call.

    I’m also wondering why he didn’t kill Noor. Was it because she’s a historical figure and he didn’t want to change history, or was it because she wasn’t frightened of him?

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    I’m not sure Chibnall is going to radically alter the Who Mythos into a Big Lie thing.

    No, I don’t think he is. I have read the LeGuin story and the emphasis is not on the Big Lie itself as much as it’s on the choice people have to make, whether to continue in the lie or walk away. And I suspect I’m thinking of it because, in their different ways, the Doctor and the Master are both Ones Who Run Away.

    I suspect what we’re going to find is possibly something riffing off the New Adventure novelisations, where there was a strong implication that the Doctor wasn’t who she thought he was. Possibly the Master, also, is not who he thinks he is. Not a radical alteration as much as one of those reboots where everything you thought you knew suddenly turns out to be for different reasons than we thought. Like the post-gap discovery that the Great Time Lord Hero Rassilon was actually more of an evil dictator than Time Lord history had recorded.

    “The past/present isn’t perfect so burn it all down cuz who needs the future?”,

    That it’s the Master who burnt it all down is a fairly good pointer that Chibnall is hinting that this was not the most optimal decision. 🙂

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    Frankly, this episode is coming off as rather bitterly timed.

    That is, surely, precisely the point at which a non-religious hero like the Doctor needs to point out that darkness doesn’t win in the long run. Noor is heading off to die in Dachau, possibly one of the darkest endings possible for her own story on Earth – but in the wider story of Earth, the fascism she’s fighting won’t win.

    Her contribution may have been tiny in the larger scheme of things; the point is that she made that contribution.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    I don’t think it was a questionable choice at all – it links with the communications tech we meet fighting the Nazi’s being Noor Inayat Khan. O is perfectly happy to be a Nazi, despite this incarnation’s skin colour. Noor is risking her life (and will later lose her life) fighting the fascist doctrine that would call her ‘inferior’.

    It may also link with the series-arc – at least, the Time Lords are historically a bunch of racist isolationists and the Master does seem to demonstrate that ‘other races are my toys’ attitude to the nth power.

    So the Doctor gives him a very practical demonstration of why using the Nazi’s is ‘low, even for him’. The biter bit.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    Ooh, it is nice being able to theorise about non-character arcs again. Mind you, Chibbers is a character driven writer, so my current bonkers theory is kind of character driven.

    It’s noticeable that a lot of people seem to be picking up that the Dhawan Master is somehow not entirely what he should be. There was a lot of ‘is he helping the Doctor?’ last episode discussion and this one and last one @miapatrick, you’ve been ‘maybe between Simm and Gomez?’ The normal practice of the show is to have each Master/Missy we see follow the previous one, and I’m certainly inclined to have him follow Missy until proved otherwise.

    My guess is that in this series arc, O/The Master needs the Doctor’s help, because he’s just burnt Gallifrey to the ground out of sheer fury and is now being driven completely bonkers by the remorse. That would carry on the Missy arc, anyway.

    But this O is a combination and development of his previous two incarnations – the Simm Master and the Gomez Missy – he can feel remorse, but he can’t admit it to the Doctor, because if he does the Doctor’s won (or at least, is winning) his/her ages long battle to make the Master/Missy ‘guid’.
    So he needs to get the Doctor’s attention, direct her to Gallifrey, point her at the ‘lie’ problem – and see if she can reverse or mitigate what he did. The Doctor has, after all, managed to reverse the destruction before.

    But because O still wants to win that almost life-long game, he needs to do this without admitting that he, O, is anything but an utter b*st*rd. Hence a lot of the ‘I’m really evil, me, look at me killing people for mad reasons.’

    I need to do a rewatch, I think, but my first impression of the ‘recorded message’ sequence in the TARDIS was that the person recording it was being absolutely torn to bits by what he’d done and was trying desperately not to show it.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    Okay, that was good. Couple of thoughts

    This second episode is all about the Doctor going back in time and putting an ‘escape clause’ in the Master’s Evil Plan (TM). Which kind of makes me think that Gallifrey is currently a Schrodinger’s Gallifrey – neither dead or alive until the Doctor works out if there is an ‘escape clause’ in the Master’s burning of Gallifrey. But first she has to work out why the Master did it.

    The name O is more than just a joke. But is it O as as in this Master now seeing himself as ‘nothing’ or is it O as in binary numbers? He’s the 0 to the Doctor’s 1?

    I’m inclined to post-Missy, because if this Master is post-Missy, then the character development is that the stuff O discovered about the Timeless Child and the founding of Gallifrey being all lies was so shocking that it’s utterly wiped out the progress that was being made. It’s tipped him back over the edge. In addition, those comments about the beauty of chaos, and killing people making him feel like he’s doing what he’s supposed to do felt like they had a bit more ‘weight’ to them than ‘I’m really evil, me’.

    For some reason, the Ursula K. LeGuin story ‘The ones who walk away from Omelas’ is now really running through my mind.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @miapatrick and @badwolfalice

    Another possible suggestion is that this Master does come after Missy, but ‘everything you know is a lie’ includes what he’s doing right now. Not my idea – someone on T’Other place suggested it.

    I think either is possible – a few people have noted that the Dhawan Master seems very much riffing off the Simm Master’s early style. Is this because he comes immediately after the Simm Master? Or is it because he’s post Missy, getting less uh, bonkers – and trying to remember how to act crazy.

    In other words, ‘I’m bonkers, me, look how bonkers I am’ is an act. Because whatever the Glowy Monsters are doing, they could be spying on everyone at any time.

    [And a slightly later thought.] He establishes himself as ‘O’, gets fired by MI6 and then promptly retreats to the middle of the Australian Outback. Where he’s completely alone, so moving from Missy’s Doctor imposed isolation to self-imposed isolation. A possible hint that he is still progressing?

    Okay, we’ll probably see Sunday whether he’s reverted to full on evil, but if not – I was suggesting last series that Yaz’s arc could easily be about her tendency to go all ‘greatest good of greatest number.’ What if the Dhawan Master is trying to be good, but is following the ‘greatest good of greatest number’ Time Lord morality? So he’ll tissue compress MI6 analysts and arrange for the assassination of C because he’s trying to save the billions and billions of people on Earth?

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    But you had a special line, all for you. Didn’t you notice?

    I now want to re-watch so I can spot the clues – agreed, it was a world-class fakeout. But Dracula is in twenty five minutes.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    This has been a difficult year and a difficult decade for many of us.

    So, may 2020 and the new Twenties become a story of finding light in the darkness. For ourselves, and for the Doctor.

    A Happy New Year, especially to those who are finding it difficult right now.

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