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    nerys @replies

    @dentarthurdent Dad has had books, crossword puzzles and Sudoku to keep him busy. Oh, and the dreaded TV, too. But he told me that doing those things felt more like having to do them, rather than wanting to do them. That’s the toll isolation takes, I think.

    However, I received very good news yesterday: Dad’s oxygen levels are up where they need to be, so he was transferred yesterday into a different Covid unit, with the plan of transferring him to a rehab hospital soon. So things are looking up!

    @winston My small town in Nova Scotia has experienced something similar. Halifax is undergoing a similar tightening of restrictions starting on Monday. But even before that, people from “the city” were driving here, and elsewhere along the South Shore, because it’s “safer” to shop here. Of course, we worry that they will bring the virus with them, to a region that up until now has had only one assigned case of Covid (a university student who had arrived on campus, was tested and was in isolation with the positive result came back, so there was no community spread). Now hairdressers and other small business owners/operators are asking their clients if they have visited Halifax recently. I know people will be upset by that, but it has to be done.

    nerys @replies

    Hello, all! I spoke with my dad on the phone today. Not much change from when I spoke with him on Friday, except that he complained of hearing strange sounds all the time. Apparently this comes and goes. He mentioned this to his doctors, and says they are not concerned, that this is “just part of it.” He is bored, unsettled by the constant hospital interruptions, and frustrated by the isolation … understandably so. But physically, he feels all right. Minor discomforts, but nothing major. I think that’s as good as it gets, at this point.

    nerys @replies

    Hello, @bluesqueakpip @janetteb and all! So far, so good for my dad. He’s still in hospital, but feeling reasonably well. His oxygen level is still low-ish, so that’s why they’re keeping him there. Meanwhile, Dad is reading a book I sent him, filling out crossword puzzles and Sudoku. Plus he watched an Indiana University football game on TV. They won … which made him happy!

    nerys @replies

    @missy @winston @blenkinsopthebrave @janetteb @dentarthurdent Thank you so much for your kind thoughts. I’m worrying, yes. But my father has been dealing with health issues for four and a half years now. They were serious enough that I was confronted by his mortality in a way that I’d not been beforehand. Up until this point, I thought it would be my father’s failing kidney, not Covid. Assume nothing, right?

    Doctors are treating him with Remdesivir, an antiviral drug that has shown to be effective against Covid. So we all hope that he responds well to that treatment.

    Living in Nova Scotia as I do, I’ve been in a bit of a bubble when it comes to Covid. We have had 1,134 cases in the entire province, and only one case in our specific sub-region. So, while I have not been casual about Covid, it does seem rather distant from me. My parents live in Indiana, and they have been telling me how serious the situation is, yet it still felt far removed from them, somehow. Maybe that was me projecting my own experience onto them. It’s not at all distant now.

    nerys @replies

    Well, now I can add myself to the list of those whose loved ones have tested positive for Covid-19. My 93-year-old father, who has low kidney function, tested positive last night. He is hospitalized, in isolation, with mild symptoms. But I know how quickly things can change with this virus, so it’s scary.

    I feel especially helpless, since I’m in Canada, he’s in the States. I don’t know if I would feel any better, living in close proximity. I suppose I would feel equally powerless to help in any meaningful way … as we all do.

    nerys @replies

    @thane16, I’m so sorry to read this news of your mother’s passing. Hugs as you work your way through this grief.

    @missy, I had the same initial confusion and emotional reaction to Puro’s post, so you’re not alone. Then I breathed a sigh of relief that it was not our dear Puro (though saddened by the news about her mother).

    Speaking of breathing a sigh of relief: When I learned of the election news Saturday afternoon, I finally felt I could exhale. I didn’t realize what a toll this past four years had taken. And then to hear first Kamala Harris, and then Joe Biden, speak like true leaders … wow! I’d almost forgotten what that sounded like.

    I still fear that Trump will attempt a scorched earth policy in his graceless exit. And I also fear what some of his followers may attempt. But for now, I feel hope. It’s all the more bracing for having been missing for so long.

    nerys @replies

    49…that is way too young.

    Indeed it is. Very sad news about Grant Imahara.

    nerys @replies

    Oh my, I am late to the party! Apologies to @winston @blenkinsopthebrave @arbutus and all, and thank you for the Canada Day wishes! It was a good, quiet day for us.

    And yes, we do live in a beautiful country. My little neck of the woods, along Nova Scotia’s south shore, is especially exquisite. I’ve been driving to our local beaches and watching piping plovers, willets and Arctic terns. I haven’t seen any chicks yet, but hopefully will soon. I love being by the ocean, and the shorebirds make it all the more enjoyable. You never know what you will see. Thursday I was watching an adult piping plover foraging on sand lance (a small, eel-like silver fish). S/he was having quite a good meal of them! It does my heart good to see a wild animal living its life as it should, without any care or concern for all the “stuff” going on in human lives.

    nerys @replies

    @blenkinsopthebrave It’s good that folks are being responsible. Sadly, there are some, in various parts of the world, who still believe none of this applies to them, and they are above it all. But I’m glad that’s not true where you are!

    nerys @replies

    @blenkinsopthebrave Ha, we love The Beaverton! But, as @winston points out, it may be satire … but parts of it are all too true. Some folks wield their sense of entitlement like a bull in a china shop (at the expense of everyone else).

    nerys @replies

    @winston A nursing home in Halifax has been similarly devastated. It seems especially cruel that people living out the last stage of their lives should be hit in this way, and their loved ones can’t be there with them. The COVID-19 deniers are exasperating … as are many “human nature” things these days.

    I’m not sure how we’ve managed to escape the scourge of COVID-19 where we are, but I think a big part of it is because we are rural, and people can spread out rather easily. There’s not the congestion that big cities have. Now, when the summer really hits, and people feel free to travel more? And they think they’re “safe” by coming here? We’ll see if that changes. I hope not.

    nerys @replies

    @dalekbuster523 Nova Scotia beaches (especially in my part of the province) are rarely crowded. The crowds can be larger near Halifax, which is the only city in the province. Hence, the population density is higher there. But where I am, the population is sparse, and during most of my beach walks, even in summer, the most people I see are five, 10 at the most. Some beaches typically have only a few people. So it’s not at all risky. In fact, it’s far easier to practise social distancing at our beaches than almost anywhere else!

    nerys @replies

    Hello @thane16 and all! I realized it was time to check in and see how everyone is doing. My husband and I are plugging along, both of us still working. They just reopened the beaches (with physical distancing rules in place, of course), so that’s a huge relief. Walks on the beach are one of my favourite stress-relievers. I’m looking forward to following the return of the shorebirds as they migrate back for the summer!

    So far, my little corner of the world has no (as in zero, zip, nada) assigned COVID-19 cases. I don’t know how we have managed that, except that we are in a small, rural part of the province. And so somehow there has been no community spread of this virus. Because surely, if even one person picked it up from somewhere and brought it back, there would be community spread. But we haven’t seen that here. It’s a different story in the more densely populated regions of the province. And it may be a different story as temperatures warm up, and people come here, perhaps thinking they are “safe” here. Maybe, maybe not. We shall see.

    @whisht Denmark! Oh, that’s one of my favourite places! Where in Denmark? My husband and I celebrated our 10th anniversary there, driving around the mainland. (He’d gone there for business travel, took one walk on a local beach and knew I’d love it. He was right!) I’m envious. I’ve always imagined living there. Of course, as is true with anywhere, vacationing there is, I’m sure, quite different from living there. So I doubt that those special trip memories would make the transition to full-time living there. But still ….

    @missrori I sympathize. Believe it or not, I just read this comment on Facebook. My friend, a former co-worker in Kentucky, was complaining about meat prices. Here’s a reply to her post, quoted verbatim:

    “Thank the Democrats for this fake plague… All of the meat producers have been shut down for several weeks. There’s plenty of meat, just not enough hands to process it. Prices will be stupid on meat for at least a month.”

    Really, “fake plague”? And it’s the Democrats’ fault? Sadly, the Trumpsters are still out there.

    nerys @replies

    @winston and @janetteb Thank you for your kind thoughts. I think we will never have many questions answered, and certainly not to our satisfaction. One of the awful things, besides the magnitude of the tragedy, is that people cannot gather in groups to grieve together, because of the COVID-19 lockdown. But one good result of that is that media outlets have been contacting the government, asking for permission to travel here. They were turned down, again because of the COVID-19 lockdown. So at least these small towns and villages are spared the media circus that usually descends.

    nerys @replies

    Thank you, @blenkinsopthebrave It is a tough time. It was already a tough time, before this. But I believe that sense of community you remember will get us through this. But I feel so shaken for those who must live with this terrible trauma.

    nerys @replies

    @blenkinsopthebrave I’m with you on Picard. I think what I loved most about it is that for a Star Trek series, it was beautifully restrained. The action was just enough, not relentlessly over the top the way Discovery has been (at least, for me). The characters’ nuances really shone through, in the best “show me, don’t tell me” tradition. My husband and I both loved it!

    My husband is far more familiar with Picard’s past than I, so the only drawback for me was not knowing all that Next Generation backstory. But it didn’t detract to the point where I lost the thread of the story.

    nerys @replies

    As many of you know, Nova Scotia is my home. My husband and I moved here in 2011. It’s a small province, and we live in a rural, sparsely populated region. It’s peaceful, beautiful, a wonderful place to live.

    Our little town was well away from yesterday’s horrific mass shooting, but I know we have driven past many of the impacted communities on our little sojourns throughout Nova Scotia. It’s hard to wrap my mind around what has happened only about a four-hour drive away. My heart aches for those whose lives were stolen, and those left behind, whose lives will never be the same.

    What’s even more awful is that this sets a new record for Canada … and it’s one no one wanted. This is Canada’s worst mass shooting, the first to surpass the École Polytechnique massacre in 1989.

    nerys @replies

    @winston Yes, I am still working. Our grocery store managers put up more Plexiglas at checkouts, and we are constantly sanitizing our belts, bagging areas and other surfaces. Plus we have arrows on the floor for people to follow through the store so that traffic is moving in the same direction, and people aren’t moving into that six-foot distance zone of other customers. For the most part, it’s working reasonably well … though there are some who are frustrated by it and don’t see the need for an abundance of caution. *sigh*

    Before we moved to Nova Scotia, we lived in Brockville, Ontario (my husband is from North Bay). So I am familiar with the places you mentioned. I hadn’t even considered the agricultural sector, other than that seasonal migrant workers might not be allowed to travel for work. Seniors’ homes have been hit hard here, too. So far, no local cases … but I can’t imagine that our luck will hold forever.

    I live in a small, rural town with little in the way of manufacturing. Most of our economy in western Nova Scotia is made up of small businesses. Of course, most of those businesses have been forced to close during this state of emergency. The lobster industry is a big employer here, and they were sort of the “canary in the coal mine” early on when the Chinese market dropped out. China is our biggest market, and normally people would be buying lobster to celebrate the Chinese New Year. But when people were quarantined at home, no one was going out, so no one was buying lobster. So, lobster shipments stalled, then the price plummeted, and has stayed down ever since.

    It is a double-edged sword, but in many ways I am glad to be where I am. Our part of the province is sparsely populated, with only 42 cases reported so far (total number of cases for the entire province is 342). So, on the one hand, anyone who becomes ill faces a longer trip for diagnosis and treatment. But, on the other hand, fewer people are interacting, which reduces the risk of transmission. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how this plays out.

    nerys @replies

    Oops! In my previous post, my editing “window of opportunity” timed out before I realized that, after I moved the last paragraph up to where it belonged, I forgot to delete it at the end. So anyone reading it will be scratching his/her head, wondering why I repeated myself at the end. Sorry about that!

    nerys @replies

    @winston Just looked at your Sandy Point webcam but all was dark except for the lights on the water so I will look tomorrow. We love N.S. and spent a month there in 2015 on the Digby Neck and it was so beautiful!

    Sorry I am so late in replying; I just spotted this! It’s likely we are in very different time zones, in which daytime here might well be nighttime for you. If you click on that Sandy Point cam, you should be able to scroll back to earlier in the stream. It won’t be “live”, per say, but you can see what it looked like earlier in the day. Having said that, sometimes the “rewind” feature doesn’t always work.

    Sandy Point is a 10-minute drive from my place. The Shelburne Harbour webcam shows the waterfront of my small town, which is a five-minute walk from my home. It’s a beautiful place to be, especially in this time of self-isolation. At least I can walk outside and smell the salt fragrance in the air. I can hang laundry on the clothesline, and it needs no artificial scents. The fragrance imbued by the fresh air is delightful!

    How wonderful that you visited Digby Neck, another place I love! We have gone whale-watching out of Westport many times. It’s about a four-hour drive to get there. If we could go as the crow flies, then it would cut the time in half. But of course we have to drive from the South Shore up to the Acadian Shore, then swing back around St. Mary’s Bay, then drive across Digby Neck, taking two ferries to cross the islands before reaching Westport at the very end. But it’s worth it. The drive is beautiful (unless it’s foggy and you can’t see much). We have never been disappointed in the whale-watching out on the Bay of Fundy. We have seen humpbacks every time out (including a mother and her calf, who swam right up to our boat). The operators are very respectful of the humpback whales and know how to visit their home without causing them undue stress. It’s a very special experience, and will always rank among our favourite memories of living here.

    I’ve taken countless photos of the Sandy Point Lighthouse. Here’s a link to one of my favourites:

    Sandy Point Lighthouse

    And here’s a video I shot at that same time: Sandy Point Lighthouse

    In normal times, the Sandy Point Community Centre hosts Saturday-morning breakfasts. The view out the big, plate-glass windows is as good as the food. The first time we went there, we counted our lucky stars to be here. Needless to say, those breakfasts haven’t been happening for weeks now. And, I’m sure the same will be true for our annual lobster festival, which normally occurs at the end of the lobster harvest season in June. The lobster fishery was sort of the “canary in the coal mine” for what would transpire later. The fishing season started off on a high note in November. Then, when COVID-19 flared up in China, all the orders for lobster (normally purchased and consumed during the Chinese New Year) dried up. China had become our largest lobster market, and so when that vanished, the price plummeted. So one of our biggest employers saw a precipitous decline early on … and now, with the shutdown imposed by COVID-19, many other businesses have followed suit.

    Having said that, sometimes the “rewind” feature doesn’t always work. Sandy Point is a 10-minute drive from my place. The Shelburne Harbour webcam shows the waterfront of my small town, which is a five-minute walk from my home. It’s a beautiful place to be, especially in this time of self-isolation. At least I can walk outside and smell the salt fragrance in the air. I can hang laundry on the clothesline, and it needs no artificial scents. The fragrance imbued by the fresh air is delightful!

    nerys @replies

    @missy So far, so good. I work as a cashier in a grocery store, and that has brought its challenges, for sure. We now have plexiglass shields set up at all checkouts, plus barriers behind us so that we’re not in any direct contact with customers (other than handling cash or coupons).

    The main issue is that we are doing so much sanitizing at our checkouts and all throughout the store, using a spray sanitizer, that several of us have developed asthma-like symptoms in response to the spray. I know I am (and I realize that this may have been going on for quite a while now; it’s just that I’m noticing it a lot more now). It’s not serious; I had a much worse asthma episode as a child, and this is nothing like that. But it’s noticeable.

    @craig Happy birthday (wished belatedly)!

    nerys @replies

    @blenkinsopthebrave Picard will be on our viewing schedule tonight. Can’t wait!

    nerys @replies

    My husband, who is nine years younger, is the original Doctor Who fan in our family. He started watching as a young’un during the Tom Baker years. So he was quite excited when he found out about the reboot. I had a sort of “meh” attitude about the whole thing, but agreed to watch “Rose” with him. And I found myself completely drawn in. I loved Chris Eccleston’s Doctor. His wit and whimsy, contrasted with his occasional turning inward to somewhere dark, enthralled me.

    I also liked Billie Piper’s Rose and her relationship with Eccleston’s Doctor throughout that first season. “Everybody lives, Rose!” is one of my favourite Doctor Who moments. As time went on, I liked Rose less … but not enough to completely dislike her. (I think it was the relentless emphasis on a romantic undercurrent between Rose and David Tennant’s Doctor that wore me out.)

    But certainly, this first episode turned me into a Doctor Who fan.

    It was much the same as James Bond … though I’d actually seen a few James Bond films prior to Daniel Craig. The only Bond films I genuinely liked before that were For Your Eyes Only and The Living Daylights. But ever since Craig signed on, I have been a fan.

    nerys @replies

    @miapatrick I am so sorry to see this news about your significant other. I hope this is temporary, and once this thing settles down (as we all hope it will do), his treatments will resume. But I know it must be hard to think so far forward into the future, and even more difficult to keep from worrying about the present.

    @thane16 Good to see you! I’m glad you got home safely. I fervently hope that all the precautions on your flight safeguarded you!

    nerys @replies

    @blenkinsopthebrave You are correct, we haven’t seen the most recent episode. That might be in tonight’s viewing lineup. Thanks for revealing no spoilers!

    @jimthefish I loved Penny Dreadful, so I’m up for a rewatch blog!

    nerys @replies

    @jimthefish I agree. Chemistry is one of those elusive qualities. A relationship either sparks it, or it doesn’t. Even though they are actors, doing what actors do, sometimes there’s that little extra something that makes all the difference, in terms of believability.

    nerys @replies

    One of the things I loved about “Day of the Doctor” is how Clara and Matt Smith’s Doctor really connected. I never felt that emotional connection in the regular episodes. And she really clicked with David Tennant’s and William Hurt’s Doctors, as well.

    It seemed such a shame that it didn’t happen (at least, not for me) at other times. Over time, I felt that Clara and David Capaldi’s Doctor did develop a strong chemistry. And then Capaldi’s Doc and Pearl Mackie’s Bill hit the ground running. It’s interesting how that happens … or doesn’t. And maybe it’s all in the eye of the beholder/viewer. I’m guessing that for others, Clara and Smith’s Doc had a chemistry that I missed.

    nerys @replies

    @blenkinsopthebrave As I watched that episode of Picard, I made a similar mental connection to Doctor Who. I am siding with the notion that the mental image now afflicting Dr. Jurati is a fiction concocted by Commander Oh to compel Dr. Jurati to do what she did. I guess we’ll have to wait and see if it was real. Either way, I liked Picard’s response, that just because this happened before doesn’t mean it’s going to happen again. It doesn’t match the Doctor’s insistence that the future can be changed, that what they’ve witnessed as they travel forward in time isn’t the only possibility. But it aligns with that belief.

    nerys @replies

    @missy I just got around to watching the video you linked. Who’d have thought? Zookeeper’s interpretive dance, complete with prop. I love it! Thank you for sharing that. I hope you are well and safe. Please keep us posted on how you are doing.

    nerys @replies

    To ease the boredom of isolation, here are some nature-related streaming webcams that I’ve watched for years now:


    Djuma Cam

    Hancock Wildlife Foundation Eagle Cams (three of the four nests have eggs now, with hatching of the eaglets expected in April)

    Nova Scotia Webcams (the osprey cam should be up and running soon, and the Shelburne waterfront and Sandy Point Lighthouse, where I live, are among the featured webcams)

    Explore Livecams (they have a snowy owl webcam that goes live during the snowy owl breeding season, plus lots more webcams that are active now)

    WildEarth Safaris (they stream amazing live safaris from South Africa twice daily)

    The Log Cam (series of videos a photographer set up to capture the wildlife crossing a log across a creek)

    I’ve wasted more time on these sites than I should, but I do enjoy them. Especially the WildEarth live safaris. It’s such an amazing thing to have a virtual “seat” on a safari vehicle, or “walk” next to a guide during a bush walk, as they are happening. You never know what you are going to see!

    For their afternoon drives (morning in my time zone), they usually start out with a kids’ hour. The drives are interactive, so viewers can post questions in the chat, and often the guides answer them during the safari. It’s especially fun when the kids ask questions, and the guides respond.

    Usually the questions come from one or more school classrooms that are watching. But since schools are closed, this would be a really fun thing for kids to do at home. They never show live kills during the kids’ hour, but parents should know that sometimes they do after that time. They start out each drive with a caution about the possibility of a live kill happening during the webcast, so people know up front what may happen.

    The great thing about the webcams that are on YouTube is that you can scroll back to see what you missed (usually a three-hour time frame). Sunday I was watching the Djuma cam, and a herd of elephants, including several babies, did their “water run” down to the dam and started playing in the water. They were having so much fun! You can’t stay stuck in your head, watching that.

    nerys @replies

    @blenkinsopthebrave @winston @janetteb Thank you for your kind thoughts. Interestingly enough, occasionally in that job I get an “Oh, you’re just the cashier” attitude. Can’t say that I’ve experienced that lately. Quite the opposite, in fact. So it’s an odd but welcome thing, to be appreciated in a time that’s so stressful for everyone. I’m trying to do whatever I can to ease that stress for people at my checkout … and most of the time, people have been great. But it’s clear that some people are feeling more anxiety than others. They have underlying health issues, or are worried about picking up the virus and passing it on to someone who is vulnerable. It’s pretty overwhelming for many people!

    nerys @replies

    I didn’t do a “Day of the Doctor” rewatch this weekend, but I can since we have Doctor Who in our cable “on demand” menu. I rewatched it not too long ago and was entranced all over again. I still love it. @janetteb “like a bit of chocolate left out in the sun” is a perfect way to describe the feeling!

    Working as a grocery store cashier has had its challenges lately. But I don’t have to deal with nearly the amount of stress our managerial staff must cope with. Nova Scotia just declared a state of emergency … because idiots were ignoring the public health advice and crowding our beaches (the scenes were similar to those reported elsewhere around the world). “State of emergency” boils down to: If you won’t do the right thing, then we’ll have to make you do it. Sad, and a bit perplexing. What’s so disappointing is that in my part of Nova Scotia, our beaches are often largely deserted, so social distancing was no problem. But now we all have to pay because others refuse to acknowledge the seriousness of this situation, and behave accordingly.

    nerys @replies

    @blenkinsopthebrave Thank you for that link! Already there are film titles jumping out at me, so I will be watching.

    nerys @replies

    Thanks for the good wishes, everyone! Happily, I am feeling better today. Actually, Saturday I was better, then Sunday I fell back a little, and now today I’m feeling pretty good again. So hopefully the lowercase disease (cold) has run its course.

    Going back to my cancelled travel plans, the other thing is that I work in one of the higher-risk professions: as a cashier … in a grocery store, no less. (My other job is as a freelance writer, but that work has dried up somewhat.) So that’s another reason for me to be concerned. What if I managed to contract the virus, but was asymptomatic? I could pass it on to anyone, including my parents, my sister and other family members and friends, without knowing it. It’s a scary thought, and not something I want to do if I can avoid it.

    The store I work at  has had the same panic buying as everywhere else. Friday, Saturday and Sunday were a madhouse. Today was a little less frenzied, the crowds not quite so overwhelming. Remarkably, we have toilet paper back in stock today, at a front-end display (not on the regular shelves). But that’s our entire supply till Wednesday.  I’m hoping things settle down soon. This is getting very difficult for a lot of people. Getting past the ramifications of being or becoming ill, it’s hit small businesses very hard. I’m looking at buying gift cards or gift certificates wherever I can, to help support those businesses during this time.

    nerys @replies

    Wonderful words of thoughtfulness, @whisht. And @bluesqueakpip, I hope you are feeling better soon (with no worries other than dealing with a pesky cold).

    Strangely, I have had a cough for five weeks now, along with enhanced postnasal drip (which is an ongoing scourge, for me). I have no fever, no body aches, none of the other symptoms associated with the dreaded uppercase disease (as one of my fellow pit band members calls it). Just a slightly irritated throat, post-nasal drip, a feeling like there’s a wad of phlegm that must be cleared from the back of my throat, and, when I blow my nose, my ears make a (usually futile) attempt to clear. Oh, and this sensation largely vanishes when I am outside in the fresh air. Which leads me to believe this is environmental. I hope. Especially since one of my jobs is as a cashier. *sigh*

    This has impacted my travel plans. In February I booked flights to visit my family in Indiana in April. My parents are seniors (Dad early 90s, Mom late 80s). I just don’t want to take the risk of exposing them to this, especially since seniors and people with pre-existing health conditions are most vulnerable to this virus. Plus, in Nova Scotia, it’s now required that anyone traveling out of the country must self-isolate for two weeks after returning home. So, for many reasons, it’s just not worth it.

    The good news is that, based on what I have read on the airline website, I won’t be penalized financially. I won’t be refunded the money I paid for my ticket, but I can redeem the value of my cancelled flights toward flights later on. So, hopefully once things have calmed down, I can rebook.

    nerys @replies

    We’ve been enjoying Picard (though I admit that I don’t know a lot of the past history for Star Trek: The Next Generation, so that can make some aspects of it confusing). I so wish Star Trek: Discovery were written and paced in a similar, more mature way.

    We also like Avenue 5, an HBO series starring Hugh Laurie. Don’t invest too much emotional energy into the first episode; it’s meant to introduce all the characters and lay out the plot, and isn’t all that funny. But the subsequent episodes are. We’re into the second season of the TBS series, Miracle Workers. As far as I can tell, Season 2 is a completely different premise from Season 1 … but still very funny. And then we’re looking forward to HBO’s Westworld starting Season 3 on March 15.

    nerys @replies

    @devilishrobby I didn’t get the feeling this was a sendoff of the Doctor’s companions. I thought they were separated at the end, but will reunite next season. It does leave things open as to who will return, though. But that’s generally true at the end of every season.

    nerys @replies

    I just gave this episode a second viewing, and I must say, I found it much more satisfying than my first viewing. But that’s no different from many of the Moffat episodes that left me scratching my head. I got the general gist of it, but I often had to visit this forum, get schooled on the finer points by the good folks here, then give it a second viewing before I could finally appreciate it. The same was true for me here. Much of what pulled it all together for me is found in my response below.

    @kelleromalley The other thing that happened that I have yet to see anyone talk about is that the Doctor LET ANOTHER PERSON SACRIFICE THEMSELVES. That is the doctor’s place, the doctor’s fight. If I did not desperately want at least one more season of Jodie’s Doctor I would have preferred she died and Ko Sharma came out saying he was one of the previous doctors. But she let him do that. Chibnall, what?

    Initially I agreed with you, but on second viewing, I felt this was explained to my satisfaction. The Master’s whole point of doing this, he said, was to bring the Doctor down to his level: to get her to inflict death on a massive scale, and do it because of him … to become him, essentially. But the Doctor couldn’t do it. She intended to, she tried, but in the end that’s not who she is. So her victory was in her failure. As she told the Master, what he did in telling her about her past didn’t diminish her. Now she’s got her history … or, at least, more of it. She’s more whole now, even though a big chunk of her history is still hidden or redacted.

    When Ko Sharmus stepped in, the Doctor tried to stop him. But he told her this really was his fight to finish, because he was part of the resistance unit that sent the Cyberium back in time … “but not far enough.” He wanted to finish this fight, and he believed the Doctor was still needed. So he was willing to take her place, enable her escape and set off the bomb and death crystal, thus wiping out the Master and Cybermasters (though it’s doubtful that happened; right before the bomb went off, I’m pretty sure I heard the Master say, “Through here”). It made sense to me.

    nerys @replies

    @bluesqueakpip So what’s the point of the retcon? I’ll have to think about it some more, but I suspect that Chibbers, having tackled the God Complex, is now possibly trying to develop the Doctor’s characterisation away from the ‘rebel Time Lord’ schtick that we’ve been stuck with since The War Games. Trying to explain why the Time Lords seem to absolutely hate the Doctor but are seemingly happy to let the Master(s) do what they like – and possibly remove the need to continually explain why the Doctor never stays to sort out his/her home planet.

    Like others, I was asking why Chibnall came up with this, as you say, “re-retcon.” You make some very good points. This gives me more context with which to rewatch this episode. Thanks!

    nerys @replies

    @davros Isn’t that last screenshot Brendan?

    It’s still not clear to me why the regenerations of the Timeless Child are so different from the regenerations we have seen of the Doctor. Throughout the series, the Doctor doesn’t age to that extent. The closest I can recall is Matt Smith’s Doctor in “The Time of the Doctor”, in which he had visibly aged. But when we saw the regeneration of Tennant’s Doc to Smith’s Doc, Smith’s Doc wasn’t an infant; he was an adult. Same as with all the other regenerations. So I am still puzzled by that.

    I agree with @miapatrick, and a little bit with @phaseshift, that this doesn’t come together for me in the same way as Moffat’s best work. It’s like there’s too much explaining going on. If anything, Moffat didn’t always explain enough, and I had to watch multiple times (and rely on the experts here) to help me understand. But I also agree with all who say that at least this gives Jodie Whittaker something to work with. She’s had a spark through most of this season that was absent last season. Overall, her Doctor was too aloof and lighthearted, an observer seemingly disconnected from much of what was happening. She’s not disconnected from this, nor can she pretend to be. It’s good to see her considerable acting talents being given a suitable challenge … finally!

    nerys @replies

    @bluesqueakpip All very plausible. When I rewatch, I will keep your suggestions in mind! And maybe my questions will be answered.

    Also, good point about Capaldi’s Doctor having some “undoctorly” moments … that one, in particular.

    nerys @replies

    I really liked the episode. It wrapped everything up, and contrary to my fears, no companions were harmed during the making of this episode.

    But I am confused by several things. Who was Brendan, really? It wasn’t clear to me if he was a Time Lord, part of the separate Division unit that was created (and, as I recall, those Time Lords were limited to 12 regenerations). So why was he first found as an infant, then grew to be an old man? That isn’t the usual way that regenerations work … or, at least, that’s not how we viewers have had them presented to us.

    I see how Brendan’s story mirrors that of the Timeless Child found by Tecteun. So are that child, Brendan and the Doctor all one and the same? If so, why are the regenerations we saw in this episode so different from those we’ve seen throughout the series?

    Is the Master part of the Division, and that’s why he was enraged to the point of destroying Gallifrey?

    Was Ko Sharmus a Time Lord, part of the Division?

    I wonder why Chris Chibnall went this route, re: limitless regenerations. Steven Moffat was faced with having to deal with 12 regenerations for the Doctor, which he did in “The Time of the Doctor.” It seemed as if Chibnall felt he had to readdress that so that the Doctor has unlimited regenerations … even though that had already been established at the end of Matt Smith’s run as the Doctor.

    nerys @replies

    @craig Ah, I think I’ve got it. It’s Professor Yana from the “Utopia” episode (David Tennant era). Derek Jacobi played Yana/the Master before regenerating. I’d forgotten all about this episode, but now I see (as others have been pointing out) parallels between this episode and that one. And yes, “you are not alone/y-a-n-a” was a running theme.

    nerys @replies

    @blenkinsopthebrave …, the connection between Brendon and Yama being discovered as babies is fascinating,…

    I’m totally blanking out on this. Who is Yama?

    Also, I agree with you that there are hints of Graham and Ravio heading off together into the sunset.

    @psymon I agree with your take on Graham’s verbal stumbling as he introduced himself. I thought he started to say he was the Doctor’s companion, then thought better of it and just introduced himself as himself, to lend normalcy to the situation.

    nerys @replies

    @bluesqueakpip Anyway, my bet is that Brendan IS the Timeless Child, and his ‘minders’ are responsible for wiping his memory at the end of every ‘life’.

    Oooohhhhh … boy, am I thick. I was trying to work out who the heck Brendan is, and how he figured into this story. Just as I forgot about him (not a good sign), he kept randomly reappearing. So I wondered if he was the Lone Cyberman. If Brendan is the Timeless Child, then that makes sense. Except that for me, as a viewer, it made no sense at all within the flow of the story. So I found that very jarring.

    Beyond that, I felt the companions (with the exception of Graham) were almost an afterthought. As in, “Oh, we must have something for the companions to do.” That, combined with the “too much crammed into one episode” narrative, was disruptive, as well.

    So, like others, I’m worried about whether Chibnall can nail the climactic ending next week. But I do take hope in the good episodes. Fingers crossed!

    nerys @replies

    @davros Chibnall wrote all of Broadchurch. The man knows how to write pieces set in the modern era…

    True, and it’s Season 2 of Broadchurch that’s had me concerned. The other two seasons, especially the first, were excellent and engaging. I’m not sure why Season 2 was such a mess, other than the usual “sophomore slump” suggestion. But you are correct that Chibnall can write for the modern era. So far it seems that his best Doctor Who episodes have been based on historical figures.

    Are you suggesting Graham’s bladder is bigger on the inside?

    Touché, LOL!

    nerys @replies

    As my husband and I keep saying, we have to remind ourselves that it’s not just the Doctor and her companions who are different. It’s the head writer and all (or at least most) of the other contributors, as well. I find myself enjoying some episodes, and not enjoying others as much.

    I agree with @blenkinsopthebrave about the pacing, especially when comparing “Heaven Sent” to this episode. I was riveted by that one (though I appreciate @bluesqueakpip pointing out that not everyone found “Heaven Sent” to be riveting). My problem with many Moffat episodes was that, at least for me, they required multiple viewings for me to make sense of them. Chibnall’s episodes are mostly the opposite; I get them on the first viewing. So they strike me as a little too simplistic. I liked this episode. I just wasn’t as emotionally satisfied as I hoped I’d be. It’s puzzling.

    “The Haunting” did require a second viewing from me, by the way. For some reason, our DVR cut off the ending. I thought something was missing, and indeed it was. So things came together for me a bit better when I streamed it.

    nerys @replies

    Thank you, @arbutus!

    nerys @replies

    I think I will have to watch this episode again. We didn’t watch when it aired, and then had a rough week in which we had to have one of our cats put down. So I only got around to watching it last night.

    I admit I felt distracted as I watched; I’m not sure if that was due to my own state of mind, or problems with the episode. But I found it very cluttered, in an “Orphan 55” sort of way. There were too many characters and (I hate to say this) too many ideas. That sounds like a ridiculous criticism, especially of Doctor Who. But I was struggling to pull it all together, thematically. I understand what they were trying to do: present the mindset of each of the companions, exploring their deepest fears. But it felt so scattershot that I had a difficult time staying engaged in the story. Which is too bad, considering the themes it explored. Maybe a second viewing will improve things for me.

    As others have noted, the Doctor’s complete lack of empathy for Graham, as he was describing his fears about his cancer returning, was jarring. I thought they were moving in the opposite direction with the 13th Doctor, but now, for some reason, we’re back to the socially inept one. Very puzzling.

    nerys @replies

    @geekknocker123 These articles do a good job of exploring the history of social consciousness on Doctor Who:

    Doctor Who’s History of Political and Social Consciousness

    Doctor Who has always been political, and it has the right to be

    Sylvester McCoy says Doctor Who has always been political as classic series lands on BritBox

    @miapatrick You make some excellent observations about why this married couple worked so well. The fact that both were men created an absence of some of the imbalances we intuit between heterosexual married couples, and how those assumptions play into our interpretation of why those relationships can drift apart. Also missing, as you point out, were the stereotypes society has about homosexual couples. They were simply allowed to be a couple with challenges in their relationship. They both just happened to be men. I thought it was very well done.

    The difference between this episode and “Orphan 55” is that, at least for me, they didn’t whack the audience over the head with the message. Or, as Gat said of the Judoon in the previous episode, the writers weren’t using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Yes, the message was there. No more, no less, than in many of the episodes outlined in the articles linked above. But it was done with enough finesse and subtlety that I was drawn to the story, and didn’t feel like I was being preached a sermon.

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