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    CountScarlioni @replies

    @nerys   I’d missed the `Doctor Who’ in the coding. @doctordoctorwho spotted that; excellent catch!

    Isn’t the big take away from this episode that, for once, the Doctor lost? As noted by @jimmyp he didn’t just win and then leave behind issues or a mess (a big theme this series), but he lost.

    Still pondering (among other things): How, exactly, the blind sandmen are able to find people, like the rescue crew, to attack (I thought that point was pretty much a throwaway) & given the staggering number of sand particles that must be transmitting images, how can all that information be sorted (not even a gesture at an explanation)?

    CountScarlioni @replies

    @bendubz11  Bravo!!  Looking tonight at the trailer for Face the Raven, it makes excellent sense in the light of your reading.  Like @blenkinsopthebrave  I think you are on the money.

    If it’s not what happens, it should be. Clara’s impending doom has been laid on so thickly this entire series, I’ve thought for a few weeks that there must be some sort of twist coming. I hope this is it!

    CountScarlioni @replies

    Liked that one a lot; scary and ambitious. Echoes of Gattiss’s Cold War in terms of the very tightly confined action, but thought the sandmen were far more creepy and menacing and embedded in a much more complex story than the ice warrior who was loose on the submarine. With an episode title from Macbeth, there were also I thought echoes of Forbidden Planet, which itself is supposed to have drawn on The Tempest, in terms of the basic plot.

    The Countess picked up another line the Doctor spoke that was from elsewhere: “Consider yourself part of the furniture.” From the musical version of Oliver Twist when Oliver is introduced to the gang of thieves.

    Like others who’ve already posted, I too look forward in the next few days to more viewings, reading comments and getting a bit firmer grasp as to what the heck was actually going on.

    Felt odd too to get a one parter after the diet of two parters.

    @iusedtobethedoctor    Yes, Clara Oswald' is in the collection of numbers and names downloaded at the start. I hunted forThe Doctor’ too. Didn’t see it. Couldn’t find `Basil’ either, or any that might plausibly be the Doctor’s real name (damn).

    also the morpius machine, no sleep for a month, the previous episode the doctor made a comment about “the longest month of his life”  this must be referring to that  

    Now there’s a thought to conjure with!

    CountScarlioni @replies

    @purofilion  @geoffers  @jphamlore  @blenkinsopthebrave  & other diner theorists I’ve accidentally missed…

    The latest Radio Times story with pictures from the last three episodes of the series is

    So we get to the diner in Hell Bent, two episodes after Clara’s (supposed?) departure…


    CountScarlioni @replies

    @geoffers  @purofilion  Thing is, if it is Clara, then would Sir Moff have known, way back then, that Coleman had agreed to be the next companion?  I’d dearly love to know how long a game SM really plays. And along with the point about ambiguity, SM would not need to know who the actress would be ahead of the casting if we just see the back of their heads. I was hoping there might be one dark haired and one light haired actress in the first diner scene in The Impossible Astronaut scene in order for SM to have both given himself scope in the casting of the new companion and to play a very long game. Prompted again by geoffers and after getting on my hands and knees in front of the TV to peer at the `extras’ in the diner scenes, I made life a bit easier by finding the image below.

    I took another and closer look at the second diner scene and we do see the face of the extra, but I need more convincing this might plausibly be Capaldi.

    Here’s another shot inside the diner with a waitress at the far end with a white skirt, white sneakers and her hair tied back. But the uniforms of the waitresses were black in <em>The Impossible Astronaut</em>, not blue. So, now I’m inclining more towards some sort of distressed dream state thingee involving the Doctor in a post-departure Clara state, but with Clara still `inside’ his head. And to follow that thought….

    @blenkinsopthebrave  the Nethersphere  Yes, excellent prod. I need to think about this more!

    Time to get a pot of coffee and twelve jammy dodgers…


    CountScarlioni @replies


    I reckon the diner is a replica -it’s not real. It can’t be. There are no ketchup bottles and it’s waaay to clean

    My money,  based on the Radio Times story and a quick recheck of bits of The Impossible Astronaut, is on Clara being inside the diner at Lake Silencio.  Maybe the key issue is: Is this for real, or is this something that’s just going on inside the Doctor’s head? We’ve had lots of dream or close-to-dream-type state stuff lately (Clara in the pod in the <i>Zygon Inversion</i> as well as the last Christmas special).


    and repercussion #1 of being the doctor is that, well, sometimes he dies? (or is it that lots of other people around him die, despite his efforts?)

    Yes, that’s a worry as we march forward. Please let Clara walk out under her own steam when she departs!

    CountScarlioni @replies

    @purofilion     Yes, I fell off my chair when I saw that image! Just spent  a few minutes rummaging around the internet and I found this story from the Radio Times.

    The image I posted earlier has the 12th Doctor in the back right (at least I presume it’s him). Now, the picture of Clara in the diner 0n the cover in the Radio Times article does not show the 12th Doctor sitting in the back right. Why not?

    The text on the cover is surely meaningful too. “Clara is no longer the apprentice-she’s sort of become the Doctor. It’s time we saw the repercussions.”

    The Veil. The Viel. Le Verrier.

    Lots of ‘Ve ve’s’

    Oh! I’ve not made that connection. Very good!

    Much time wimeyness ahead it seems….




    CountScarlioni @replies

    @pedant   Le Verrier. After successfully `bagging’ Neptune, he then went on to use the same strategy based on Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation to predict the existence of a planet inside the orbit of Mercury based on anomalies of its motions. An amateur astronomer claimed he had indeed seen the predicted planet, Le Verrier agreed, and so the planet Vulcan (I’m not making this up) was  in history of astronomy textbooks until it was decided that in fact the planet did not exist. The claimed sighting was a mistake. To explain the anomalous motion of Mercury, it’s necessary to use General Relativity, invented by Einstein in 1915.

    So from a grand triumph to a grand failure. Is this what’s in store for the scientist aboard Station Le Verrier?


    CountScarlioni @replies

    Part of the cover for the latest Doctor Who Magazine. Back to Lake Silencio it seems!!

    Who saw this coming?


    Embedded image permalink

    CountScarlioni @replies

    Great stuff! I thought that was the episode of the season by a long way and suspect that in five years time we’ll look back on Inversion of the Zygons  as a classic. Jenna Coleman was terrific as Bonnie and I agree with everyone about the stunning power of Capaldi’s performance. In the scene in the Black Archive he soared. The Doctor spends so much of his time wearing various disguises, but here was the Doctor completely unmasked.

    @hillforest   Yes. Mire helmet highlighted in the Black Archive. Maybe a reminder that there were three mire helmets pulled off the Mire in The Girl Who Died and so three medical `repair kits’. The Doctor used one on Ashildr, Ashildr/Lady Me used one on Sam Swift, so one is still unused and presumably still in the Doctor’s pocket.

    More hints (especially the exchange between the Doctor and Clara at the end of the episode) that Clara is fated to die. This only strengthens my suspicion that that end has become just a bit too obvious and there must be some sort of twist in store.


    And, empty box(es)! Amidst the wreckage of so many failed interpretations and bonkers theories that crash, it was heartening to have the theory of the empty box stay aloft.



    CountScarlioni @replies

    While rooting around for more pictures of the Osgood Box, I came across a story in the Radio Times about an internet posting by SM in 1995. Maybe the message here is, hang on to your bonkers theories, you never know when you might be able to use them!! I’ve put the full link to the story below.


    Well, it turns out that back in 1995 a young Steven Moffat (who has confirmed to that this story is genuine) posted an idea on the chatroom rec.arts.drwho, suggesting that the Doctor’s name may have actually been the inspiration throughout the universe for healers and wise men to call themselves doctors. 

    Here’s the post in question (which you can see in its original form here, after we dredged it up from a reddit thread).

    Steven Moffat (100043.121@CompuServe.COM) wrote:

    Here’s a particularly stupid theory.  If we take “The Doctor” to be the Doctor’s name – even if it is in the form of a title no doubt meaning something deep and Gallifreyan – perhaps our earthly use of the word “doctor” meaning healer or wise man is direct result of the Doctor’s multiple interventions in our history as a healer and wise man.  In other words, we got it from him.  This is a very silly idea and I’m consequently rather proud of it.

    Interesting stuff – but if you’re wondering why that idea sounds so familiar, try casting your mind back to 2011 episode A Good Man Goes to War, and in particular a speech made by Alex Kingston’s River Song (see the video and text below).


    CountScarlioni @replies

    @geoffers     Here is a close-up and slightly different shot of the box (in this one, Bonnie’s coat is buttoned up a bit differently to the earlier one). If we are dealing with one box it seems to be able to change colour. But I like your idea of a box for each of the Osgoods!


    CountScarlioni @replies

    @lisa  Thanks for the tip on the picture of the box! I just posted something on this image in BBC Approved Spoilers.

    CountScarlioni @replies

    Is anyone else confused by this image released yesterday by the BBC from The Zygon Inversion? Is this Tardis blue box really the Osgood box we saw at the start of The Zygon Invasion? It was difficult to see the designs on the box on the desk in front of the Osgoods but it did look distinctly brown. Are there two boxes in play??    

    CountScarlioni @replies

    @lisa @blenkinsopthebrave  @purofilion   and fellow box theorists, I wondered if the Osgood Box was anything like a match to the box in The Day of the Doctor, but it seems not, though it’s hard to be sure. The box that was on the table in front of the Osgoods at the start of The Zygon Invasion does look a bit larger. Or is it simply the camera angle? I also found it hard to see any designs on the Osgood Box.





    CountScarlioni @replies

    @lisaSo do we have anyone that wants to make a prediction about the Tardis blue Osgood Box?”

    So here’s my theory from an earlier posting.

    3) What’s in the Osgood Box?? Nothing. The box was left by the Doctor simply as a `security blanket’ for Unit and its political masters so they’d feel better about the Peace Treaty. The Doctor really wanted the humans and zygons to work things out rather than rely on some deux ex machina.

    CountScarlioni @replies

    On a second viewing, I was struck by the continuities between the end of The Woman Who Lived and The Zygon Invasion. In the final exchange between Ashildr/Lady Me and the Doctor we get The Doctor: Who told you about me? “The man who comes for the battle, and runs away from the fallout”?’ Then near the start of <em>The Zygon Invasion</em>, Kate complains the Doctor has left them with animpossible situation.’  The Doctor saves people but there are consequences. The theme of the The friend inside the enemy, the enemy inside the friend’ is here in spades with the zygons and I’m enjoying the wide array of theories on offer on who is or isn’t a zygon! But @blenkinsopthebrave’s reasons have convinced me the Doctor we’ve seen is not a zygon. Somewhere or other though we must surely getfriendly’ zygons because if the dynamic is just the Doctor & versus Rebel Zygons that would not feel right.

    Down to this episode I’d been pretty much interpreting The friend inside the enemy, the enemy inside the friend’ as external to the Doctor. But now think there is much more symmetry to Missy’s explanation to the Doctor of why shegave’ Clara to the Doctor, and the Doctor as `enemy’ to his friends is very much in play.

    Just as it’s very hard to see how the political situation that this episode engages with ends, I’m really struggling to see where we will be by the end of The Zygon Inversion.

    CountScarlioni @replies

    Really enjoyed reading the posts; lots of interesting stuff!

    The current state of my bonkers theorizing for what it’s worth, which is likely in the long run to be very little…

    1) @ichabod    Yes, 127 missed calls is a lot! And this from Clara who is now desperate to go on adventures in the Tardis. Even taking the Year 7s to Tae Kwon Do surely would not lead to 127 missed calls. And, given the switch to zygon Clara was meant to be so obvious, perhaps it was too obvious and Clara had in fact already become a zygon.  That would explain why she was not returning the Doctor’s calls at that point. Another option for the missed calls maybe is she has had a chat with Ashildr/Lady Me (!).

    2) @mudlark   I think you’re right. The Kate in New Mexico is not the human copy but Kate in the form of a friendly' zygon. We did not actually see thedemise’ of Kate and I don’t think it happened. The friendly zygons are helping to battle the rebel zygons.

    3) What’s in the Osgood Box?? Nothing. The box was left by the Doctor simply as a `security blanket’ for Unit and its political masters so they’d feel better about the Peace Treaty. The Doctor really wanted the humans and zygons to work things out rather than rely on some deux ex machina.

    4) @juniperfish  @soundworld  (and others) Yes, the hybrids are key again. I’m hoping Davros was right to poke the Doctor about why he ran away from Gallifrey and that we will get the real reason in this series.  I just went back to check that exchange from TWF:

    “Davros: There was a prophecy, Doctor, on your own world.
    The Doctor: Please, you must, you must stop this.  You must stop this!
    Davros: It spoke of a hybrid creature. Two great warrior races forced together to create a warrior greater than either. Is that what you ran from, Doctor? Your part in the coming of the hybrid? Half-Dalek, half-Time Lord.”

    5) @fatmaninabox  Yes, great spot! A portrait of the first Doctor in the Unit safe house; splendid.

    CountScarlioni @replies

    Something of an epic feel to that episode and again it’s one that again calls for much bonkers theorising. But a few quick first impressions and a question…

    What’s Clara up to? Why (before she was put into the pod to free the field for Zygon Clara) did she miss 100 plus calls from the Doctor?? That looks like a big-time brush-off. And the Doctor’s been told Clara’s dead for the second time in the series.

    Delighted Osgood is back. I thought that was handled beautifully inside the first 20 seconds.

    Davros and Missy did give us big pointers in The Witch’s Familiar to big themes for this series: hybrids  and <i>”</i>The friend inside the enemy, the enemy inside the friend.”

    Enjoyed another call out to earlier Doctor Who with the reference to Harry Sullivan. Harry was far from the imbecile the Fourth Doctor claimed if he could work out how to reorder the DNA of the zygons to turn them inside out.

    Really, Doctor Disco??

    CountScarlioni @replies

    @purofilion @mudlark

    One final thought on the anachronisms in this episode: at the same time that we got the cocktail and the 2008 Gladwell theory on 10,000 hours to master a skill, the writer was careful to get other facts correct. Ashildr/Lady me tells the Doctor, for example, that the life expectancy in England in 1651 is 35. A quick internet search and check via google books (up popped Mary J. Dobson’s Contours of Death and Dying in Early Modern England) shows that 35 is right on the money.

    CountScarlioni @replies

    @arbutus    Very elegantly  put. When watching The Witch’s Familiar, I didn’t feel that Clara’s fate was really up for grabs as the Doctor was not going to listen to Missy’s urgings. But the context has by this point shifted mightily and that scene now looks like a clear warning and has taken on a new force.

    My 15 year is not interested in the nuances though; she just does not want Clara to die!  

    CountScarlioni @replies

    @arbutus    My 15 year old daughter was devastated when Danny Pink died. So, on a personal level, I very much hope Clara is upright and walking at the end of Face the Raven or there will be serious (domestic) consequences. However, it seems that the logic (using the word loosely given it’s Doctor Who) of the series is suggesting it might very well be otherwise. But it seems to me that so much evidence has been piling up on the `dark’ side I’m hopeful her death has become too obvious an end for Clara for it to be realised.  


    CountScarlioni @replies


    We could argue about ‘true love’ but as Missy says “can you humans understand the meaning of real friendship?” This is true love – as true as any sexual love, and as some Greeks would have it, truer and longer lasting than most other forms which flit and fly by on the ether.



    Fully agree. Or perhaps along the lines of a father/daughter relationship (though not literally father/daughter), as suggested by others on the site (sorry, I forget who). What father', thinking he was a dead man walking, would not risk the entire fabric of space/time to save hisdaughter’, as the Doctor thought he was doing in Before the Flood?


    @mersey & @purofilion

    Beethoven’s Fifth. Good to know this stuff!



    The use of the word ‘cocktail’ in a context which suggested the modern meaning leapt out at me as an obvious anachronism, and I am with @countscarlioni on that; but I also think that it was intentional. Remember what Missy said to Clara about anachronisms?


    Yes indeed; not quite the same level of anachronism as a tank in thirteenth century Essex maybe, but perhaps significant in the end. They are adding up.



    They are coming out with a Ashildr book.

    I’d certainly order it!


    Bring on the Xygons!!!

    CountScarlioni @replies


    “Doctor already lost Amy and governess-Clara. And he was really devastated by their deaths. I don’t know if Moffat want to stake on the same card. But maybe 12th can cope with her loss much more better than 11th. He is a very ambiguous charater in case of feelings. He couldn’t understand the feelings of the crew who lost their friends (cards in Under the Lake) but he was so moved by the death of a girl that he made her immortal. Is he really devoted to Clara or it’s just a sense of duty? He definitely owes her.”

    On the Doctor’s position, what follows isn’t a bonkers theory but an inspiration for bonkers theorising. Rather as the Doctor for two weeks could not get “Mysterious Girl” by Peter Andre (as he told us in Under the Lake) out of his head, I’ve been struggling to get out of my head “Crazy Man Michael” by Fairport Convention. As we head towards what by all indications will be the climatic Face the Raven, I keep thinking the Doctor is utterly devoted to Clara, but also hearing

    Within the fire and out upon the sea
    Crazy Man Michael was walking
    He met with a raven with eyes black as coals
    And shortly they were a-talking

    “Your future, your future, I would tell to you
    Your future, you often have asked me
    Your true love will die by your own right hand
    And Crazy Man Michael will cursed be”

    Then a few verses later we get,

    He [Crazy Man Michael] took out his dagger of fire and of steel
    And struck down the raven through the heart-oh
    The bird fluttered long and the sky it did spin
    And the cold earth did wonder and start-oh

    “Oh, where is the raven that I struck down dead
    That here’d lie on the ground-oh?
    I see but my true love with a wound so red”
    Her lover’s heart it did pound-oh

    (For the full lyrics:

    Crazy Man Michael makes a terrible mistake, kills the raven, and so kills his own true love. Given the great play in the series so far on the problems of separating friends from enemies, and the pre-season promise from Peter Capaldi (as far as I can tell, unlike SM, Capaldi might be economical with the truth but does not lie) that the Doctor would make a catastrophic blunder in this series, I wonder/worry if this is the direction we are moving in???





    CountScarlioni @replies

    @nerys  @django  @brewski @lisa  @FatManInaBox


    If I’ve missed any other cocktail theorists in working through the comments, my apologies.
    My original puzzlement over “cocktail” was not just with the word, but with what seemed to me the modern manner in which it was offered to Ashildr/Lady Me, as if could almost have been a moment from a cocktail party of the 1920s.
    As Ashildr/Lady Me also explained to the Doctor the theory (due I believe to Malcolm Gladwell in his 2008 book Outliers) that it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field, this young very old lady strikes me as having a decidedly modern bent for someone who has not made it beyond (we were supposed to believe) 1651…

    CountScarlioni @replies

    @mirime  @Arbutus  @purofilion

    The cocktail. Minor errors with hats and Viking helmets I can understand. But calling for a cocktail in 1651?? Even for a village theatre group to make that sort of mistake would be very embarrassing. On the face of it this is such a ludicrous anachronism that I wondered if we were being told something, that Ashildr/Lady Me had in fact got further up her time line and well beyond 1651 at some point(s) where she learnt about cocktails but had come back to 1651. She’s made it to 2015 in the selfie, but perhaps not simply by waiting for time to pass. Or maybe it’s a silly mistake….

    CountScarlioni @replies

    @pedant  “Or simply filling in for Clara’s mother. Or offered her….”

    If I’ve understood the point correctly, I think I’m with you.

    Maybe this is hope beating out reason, but has SM only thrown a bone to devoted and eagle-eyed fans with Clara’s `mother’? Ashildr/Lady Me dressed like, and wearing her hair like, Clara’s mother must be a very significant plot point, even if she is not really Clara’s mother. Viewers were definitely supposed to notice Ashildr/Lady Me in the background of the selfie. And so to dress her up in this highly deliberate fashion seems perverse (even for SM??) if it is just to be left dangling, even if the vast majority of viewers won’t have made the connection between Ashildr/Lady Me and Clara’s mother at this stage. Perhaps the link will featured in a future trailer?

    CountScarlioni @replies

    @ichabod  “I got the impression though that Me is committing not to looking out for discarded companions, but for the normal folks that the Doctor leaves behind when an adventure ends (for him!) and he takes off.  So far, Me has no means of traveling in time and space, so how could she “look after” Clara?  Stuck on Earth, I think her only option is to look after us after the Doctor has zoomed through leaving hurricane damage, large or small scale, in his wake.”

    Maybe this is a misreading, but I took Ashildr/Lady Me to mean her experience of being abandoned by the Doctor meant she was now watching out for anyone so abandoned, and that could, from her position in the selfie, also include Clara, at least when Clara is Earth-bound and in her `regular’ time. And Ashildr/Lady Me did bring up Clara in an exchange with the Doctor so she certainly remembers her too.  Presumably (?) Ashildr/Lady Me expects the Doctor to abandon Clara.

    CountScarlioni @replies

    @kharis  Wonderful catch!!

    With Ashildr/Lady Me now looking out for those the Doctor abandons, and now at Clara’s back, I couldn’t help but think of an exchange from Deep Breath.

    Half-Face Man: Where is the other one?
    Clara: I don’t know. But I know where he will be. Where he will always be. If the Doctor is still the Doctor, he will have my back.

    And who did tell Ashildr/Lady Me about the Doctor’s habits??


    CountScarlioni @replies

    The powerfully played and thought provoking exchanges between Me/Ashildr  and the Doctor made that episode for me, and even the feeble Leandro didn’t really detract from the strong overall flow.

    A few first impressions…

    “Purple is the colour of death”. Which fits perfectly with Missy’s outfit, but why then have there been publicity shots of Peter Capaldi in a purple third Doctor type jacket, which I think we have not yet seen in the series?

    @winston & @pendant.  A guardian for the discarded.  This seems important in the overall arc.

    Ashildr’s appearance in the selfie of Clara and her pupil at the very end of the episode was a gripping moment. And another exchange about friends being enemies paired with Ashildr’s remark that she’ll be watching out for those abandoned by the Doctor. So Ashildr, it seems, now has a purpose.

    I’d taken all the pointers to be in the direction of Clara’s departure being her death. But maybe by now her death has been made too obvious for it to actually occur? Perhaps there is now an out with Ashildr watching her back, literally and metaphorically?

    I suspect we’ve not seen the end of either Missy or Ashildr in this series.


    CountScarlioni @replies


    Just back at the computer after taking another look at the last couple of minutes of the episode… The use of “she deserved it” didn’t seem untowards. I took the exchange in the sense of, say, someone winning a prize for her efforts and an onlooker agreeing that the prizewinner indeed deserved it.

    Seeing that last scene in the Tardis again underlined for me how beautifully it was played by Peter Capaldi.

    CountScarlioni @replies

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    @ichabod First, happy birthday. Second,

    He says Ashildr is a hybrid — because of the Mire-tech chip?  Of from before that?  His being so struck by the familiarity of her fact back at the beginning suggests that he could know things about her from another encounter that nobody else knows, like that she’s always been a hybrid, or was made into one at some earlier time.

    Here is the last exchange in the episode between the Doctor and Clara. I take the Doctor’s reference to “isn’t just human anymore” to mean Ashildr is now a hybrid, but was not one before.

    The Doctor: I was angry, I was emotional. Just possibly I’ve made a terrible mistake. Maybe even a tidal wave. Time will tell, it always does.
    Clara: Whatever you did for Ashildr, I think she deserved it.
    The Doctor: Yes. Yes, she did. But Ashildr isn’t just human anymore. A little piece of alien in her, so inside a way, she’s…. In a way… she’s a hybrid.


    CountScarlioni @replies


    Ashildr also seems problematical: she has brought her village bad luck

    But has she?  Her father says, she thinks that every bad thing that happens to this village is because of her; and the villagers don’t react to her the way small communities tend to react to people singled out as bad luck — just the opposite.  That bit doesn’t work for me.

    I’m taking it here that her father is being a typical parent and being protective towards her and does not want to blame her. I suppose I’ve also been influenced into thinking bad things are coming (at least until the Doctor sorts them out) because the Doctor haltingly gets out at the very end of the episode that she’s a hybrid.


    he simply doesn’t know if he is about to create a serious ripple or a tidal wave when he breaks the rules (“Time will tell.”)

    But this does; if he’s thinking in terms of cascading consequences of a “small” act of his (a resurrection), yes.  But “tidal wave” has been used by Clara in conversationg with the Doctor to mean HIM.  Clara: “*You’re* a tidal wave!”  Doctor: “Don’t say that!”  So I thought he meant that Ashildr might personally live to bring about big changes in the way that the Doctor has done in the past.  If it’s a natural cascade of change coming about automatically, not because of Ashildr’s personality, that makes more sense: it’s not that Ashildr is a (potential) tidal wave, but that the fact that she’s still around instead of properly dead creates ripples that mount up to a tidal wave.

    Yes, I think that’s a more precise way to express it than my inept effort. I’d focused on the Doctor’s fretting late in the episode.  “I can do anything. There’s nothing I can’t do. Nothing. But I’m not supposed to. Ripples, tidal waves, rules. I’m not supposed to—” 

    CountScarlioni @replies

    @ichabod  “how can he know by the end of “Girl” that Ashildr will in fact become a problem because of the chip he’s given her?  He know that he himself has, on occasion, been problematic to the universe (all right, remind me — does he remember now that he’s both destroyed Gallifrey and saved/hidden Gallifrey without destroying it?), but she’s just starting out, and she’s human, not a Time Lord with a TL’s knowledge or expertise, so — I get it that she could become very unhappy to outlive everyone; but how can she be a tidal wave as one young woman?

    Does the Doctor tune in telepathically and see evidence that her budding shamanic gifts (of which she’s currently a bit ashamed and untrusting) will make her formidable in future?”

    Let’s give this a try. The Doctor understands that giving Ashildr the chip is very problematical. This act, this ripple in time, he agonizes, has the potential (but isn’t certain) to turn into a tidal wave. Clara is exasperated that the Doctor won’t tell her what the rules are, and breaking the rules has been a big theme in the last two episodes.  Even though Ashildr is now a young girl, he has made her functionally immortal, and in doing he accepts he has surely “broken the rules.” Ashildr also seems problematical: she has brought her village bad luck and has the gift of story telling. The bonkers theory bit is that her story telling gifts will (based on what we saw in the preseason trailer with the lion in the stagecoach) become amplified in some fashion. So, she is now a young girl, but she has the potential to become far more.

    I don’t think the Doctor’s sure she will turn into a tidal wave, but he thinks she might well as my sense is that from the way the Doctor talks about ripples and tidal waves, he simply doesn’t know if he is about to create a serious ripple or a tidal wave when he breaks the rules (“Time will tell.”) He didn’t care which it was (ripple or tidal wave) in Before the Flood because he was so alarmed at the danger Clara faced.

    Here, with the chip and Ashildr, the rule breaking seems a bit different from The Waters of Mars because the tenth Doctor knew that Adelaide Brooks had died on Mars but he saved her anyway. It was Adelaide Brooks’s suicide that puts things to right.

    I’m enjoying the two parters hugely, in part because there are so many thought provoking comments here that really help set-up things for the second parts of the two parters.


    CountScarlioni @replies

    Perhaps out of the mist it’s possible to glimpse an arc.

    If in The Woman Woman Who Lived the Doctor realises he indeed made a “terrible mistake” (his words) in letting Ashildr become “functionally immortal” so that she could become a tidal wave of mayhem rather than a mere benign ripple in time, then later the Doctor will be in what will be for him an impossible situation if Clara dies in Face the Raven. Does the Doctor give her the third chip he (presumably) took from inside the helmets of the Mire, thereby making her “functionally immortal,”  or does he let her die? But if he gives her the chip, Clara too has the potential to become another destructive tidal wave. The Doctor, as he shouts at the end of The Girl Who Died, can do anything, but here he grasps, after Ashildr has hugely sharpened his understanding of this, he shouldn’t save Clara.  No wonder the Doctor has to go off by himself for an entire episode after Face the Raven in Heaven Sent.

    After a third viewing, another call back to a BG Doctor, this time the seventh. From the Doctor at the end of the episode “Time will tell. It always does.” This is from (after a bit of research via wikipedia), Remembrance of the Daleks. (Apologies if this has already been noted; I’m behind with reading the postings)

    <b>Ace</b>: Doctor. We did good, didn’t we?

    <b>The Seventh Doctor</b>: Perhaps. Time will tell. It always does.


    @blenkinsopthebrave I’m  delighted there is another trouser speculator! Excellent pointer to the second Doctor’s trousers in The War Games. If they had been Hartnell pants, I suppose the obvious link would be to The Time Meddler, which even has vikings. Now however the boot (or trousers) are on the other foot (leg) as it’s the Doctor who is meddling dangerously in time.







    CountScarlioni @replies

    <div class=”bbp-reply-author”>Very much agree with @blenkinsopthebrave and @janetteb ‘s point that The Girl Who Died had the feel of a BG story.</div>
    To follow-up the point on the Doctor’s trousers (which I believe are supposed to be Troughton era trousers-see below the bit from the Radio Times in August), Peter Capaldi has directed us to “specific trouser things that happen for specific reasons” in the series (unless he’s joking!?). Why, then, point us at the Troughton era for this story?? Is it just a little bit of homage, or more?

    And also to follow-up the story telling dimension to the The Girl Who Died, the Countess Scarlioni detected possible echoes from the great BG experimental story on story telling from the Troughton era, The Mind Robber.

    In The Mind Robber, the second Doctor battles a master mind who can transform people into fictional characters. At one point the Doctor encounters the Medusa no less, which would fit with the snake/serpent theme of this series.

    My initial bonkers theory was that the now “functionally immortal” Ashildr would develop the ability to burst the bounds of her imagination and be able turn her own stories into reality. After a second viewing of The Girl Who Died, my money’s still on the story telling Ashildr (who, she told us, had brought bad luck to her village) turning at some stage into (or threatening to do so) the tidal wave the Doctor agonizes about in the last minutes of the episode. Has the Doctor just made a cataclysmic mistake? Indeed, Doctor, what have you done??

    Off to rewatch The Mind Robber…



    From the Radio Times in August

    “From the moment he first stole a homeless man’s coat, Peter Capaldi’s version of the Doctor has definitely been ‘dress-down’. His initial David Bowie look has developed into a hoodied, torn-jumpered style at odds with Capaldi’s sharp features.

    “In the Christmas special I thought we’re in the Antartic, I better put a hoodie on,” he told journalists at a special exclusive amazing set visit. “And I quite liked it, so I thought I’ll get some more of those. He’s sort of loosening up a bit more, but he still sometimes goes back to his more severe sort of look.”

    But Peter! What about those new, Patrick Troughton-esque trousers you’re wearing in new publicity shots?

    “There are some specific trouser things that happen for specific reasons. It will become clear to you when you watch the show.””


    The Medusa from  The Mind Robber

    CountScarlioni @replies

    That struck me as a deadly serious and deep episode disguised as a romp. Lots of very thought provoking stuff about the nature of stories, the endings of stories and a story within a story to help defeat the Mire. The Doctor also likes to remind us he himself is a story.

    The face of the lion in the stagecoach with (we now know it’s) Ashildr that we saw in the pre-season trailer promises another story within a story in the next episode as the lion is surely a character from a story (like the serpent in The Girl Who Died). How has that come to be? Has the now immortal Ashildr burst the bounds of her imagination to be able turn her own stories into reality? Doctor, what have you done??

    As well as the overt stuff from Fires of Pompei, Waters of Mars seemed in play too, with the tenth Doctor’s willingness to break the rules. Adelaide Brooke had the sense to shot herself after the tenth Doctor messed up and he saved her (but in so doing threatened a tidal wave as the twelfth Doctor puts it). Ashildr has not taken the same route and so, due to the Doctor’s (misplaced) compassion, this hybrid threatens to become a tidal wave. Davos did warn him.

    Or at least that’s what it looks like after one viewing.

    Like others on the list, loved the “reverse the polarity of the neutron flow” moment and I really enjoy these little callbacks to earlier Doctors.

    CountScarlioni @replies

    Amazing, mind boggling stuff again….What I took from Before the Flood is the lengths to which the Doctor will go to prevent harm coming to Clara. The rules of time go out the window if Clara is under threat and so he creates the bootstrap paradox before he, as he believes he is shortly to do, dies.    

    But that’s based just on one viewing so maybe I’ve completely missed key things. The complexities in this series really demand multiple viewings. A minor example: On the third watch of Under the Lake I finally noticed that one of the Doctor’s cards read “It’s My Fault, I should have known you didn’t live in Aberdeen,”  a reference to School Reunion and Sarah Jane being dropped by the Fourth Doctor in Aberdeen and not Croydon.

    The two-parters are great, especially as we get cliffhangers!

    CountScarlioni @replies

    O.K., to try to take up the art criticism challenge set by @bluesqueakpip and following up @juniperfish

    In the Bible story of Jonah and the whale, Jonah is thrown overboard from his ship by his crew-mates in order to put an end to a terrible storm (though they are reluctant to take this action), he is swallowed by a giant whale or huge fish (depending on how you do the translation), stays inside the huge fish’s belly for three days and nights, and then re-emerges when God commands the huge fish to spew him up. Jonah in effect rises from the dead. The suspended animation chamber/sarcophagus was retrieved from the church/temple by the mini-sub when the Doctor was hunting for something to “raise the dead and turn them into transmitters.” Who, indeed, is in the jaws of the giant fish/serpent in the mural? Perhaps someone about to rise from the dead.

    To follow up the suggestion by @craig , yes, from the pre-season trailers also we have the promise of lots of dragon/serpent stuff in this series, and there have also been some references already to souls, which looks like another theme.


    CountScarlioni @replies

    Lots of really insightful comments that made a made a quick second viewing essential! Many thanks!

    I found the discussion jumping off from the mural in the eating area in the base especially intriguing. Isn’t the serpent in the mural pretty much a match for the serpent/dragon we saw in the pre-season trailer (but in the trailer it was alive and roaring and far from an underwater base,


    CountScarlioni @replies

    Those of us acted on by the forces of timeywiminess and therefore shifted to a different time zone were able to attend tonight a cinema showing of Dark Water/Death in Heaven in 3-D (which was stunning stuff) followed by a `Prequel’ to Series 9 and an interview with Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman.

    The Prequel; it was called The Doctor's Meditation' and features a medieval castle and where the Doctor is, we presume, in hiding. Bymeditation,’ Peter Capaldi explained in the interview, the Doctor means more `preparation’ for something he needs to do.

    When asked in the interview if there were any Classic Who episodes that fans could brush-up on to prepare for Series 9, Peter Capaldi suggested Dalek stories and regenerations. Karn is the site for the Prologue and is certainly a good place for regenerations so he’s perhaps nudging us to look back to the `Brain of Morbius’?



    CountScarlioni @replies

    Oops. Sorry for the confusion. I should have paid more attention to the Dan Martin BuzzFeed piece as he quotes Moffat on the numbers:


    “Moffat cleared this one up in Doctor Who Magazine after the minisode had aired. “No, I’ve been really, really quite careful about the numbering of the Doctors,” he said. “He’s very specific, the John Hurt Doctor, that he doesn’t take the name of the Doctor. He doesn’t call himself that. He’s the same Time Lord, the same being as the Doctors either side of him, but he’s the one who says, ‘I’m not the Doctor’. So the Eleventh Doctor is still the Eleventh Doctor, the Tenth Doctor is still the Tenth…””

    CountScarlioni @replies

    @Bluepipsqueak  Thanks very much for this which looks conlusive. My query was prompted by the fact that we did not get to see clearly who the John Hurt Doctor was regenerating into. I’d have expected that it would not have been hard to have thrown in a second or two of the footage of the Ecclestone Doctor to Tennant Doctor regeneration.


    I also wonder how we deal with the numbers of the Doctors now. If Matt Smith is really the 12th, what about the fall of the 11th?


    CountScarlioni @replies

    Terrific! A splendid tribute to all the creative people who have got us to this point as well as to gesture at new directions.

    Is it certain that John Hurt’s Doctor has regenerated into Christopher Ecclestone’s Doctor?

    CountScarlioni @replies

    I’m sorry but I’ve had to delete this post as it discussed the trailer. Please keep discussion of the Trailer on the Trailer blog.

    The particular question asked has already been discussed (and quite possibly answered). See here:


    • This reply was modified 6 years, 10 months ago by  Craig. Reason: Discussion of Trailer
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