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    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.

    nerys @replies

    @galaxymage I commiserate with you about the commercial breaks. Even watching it on demand, there are still short commercial breaks which disrupt the flow. I’m always happy when a season moves to Crave, and I can watch these stories as they were intended to be shown.

    I thought this episode was good. Yes, there was a message, but they didn’t beat us over the head with it the way they did in “Orphan 55” … and the action and character interaction were more evenly balanced than in that episode. It was puzzling me where I’d seen the actor playing Jake, and then I remembered: Luther.

    And yeah, anyone who’s seen The Birds was no doubt shuddering as much as I was. And I love birds! But there’s something about making them swarm and then dive in that way that’s so creepy and unnerving.

    I do think we’re seeing a Clara-like recklessness growing in Yaz. So far, nothing terrible has happened to her. Nothing with lasting consequences, anyway. So she may believe she is somehow impervious to the perils of the universe. That can lead nowhere good.

    @psymon Weren’t the Doctor’s multiple brains mentioned at some point in the Capaldi era?

    nerys @replies

    @bluesqueakpip Missy’s comment that she’d known the Doctor since she was a little girl

    I keep going back to that and wondering if there’s some sort of tie-in here with Ruth. But it may be a case of fans remembering too much, too literally.

    nerys @replies

    Just watched this tonight, and … wow! This and last week’s episode felt like a proper Doctor Who episode.

    Jodie Whittaker was firing on all cylinders. It’s not that she hasn’t before. But somehow, for me, here her Doctor was completely captivating: alternating between funny, brilliant, manic, mysterious and dark … in the way that I have come to expect from the Doctor. In fact, every aspect of this episode came together for me in a “greater than the sum of its parts” way. I was drawn into the story and the characters, never once thinking about actors playing characters (even though that’s what they do; I don’t want to see the wheels turning, I want to be swept along for the ride). The banter did not feel forced, but flowed freely. People were reacting naturally to one another. Most importantly, the relationship between the Doctor and her companions felt real to me, I think for the first time in this regeneration.

    The Judoon were hilarious. Just the right touch. And oh, Captain Jack! What a surprise. I was happy to see him again, and I wonder where his lone Cyberman warning will lead. The imagination runs wild. I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s bonkerizing about this alternate, previously unknown Doctor. I really have no clue where this is going, but I’m hoping the delightful momentum established in this episode continues!

    nerys @replies

    @winston See what happens when you answer messages from space without call display.

    Now, this made me laugh out loud! Thanks, I needed that.

    nerys @replies

    Hmmm, some fascinating bonkers theories percolating here!

    nerys @replies

    I agree with all who say this episode is a vast improvement over the last. “Orphan 55” seemed to be a bit of a throwaway, by-the-numbers Doctor Who episode. With a bit of tweaking, it could’ve been good … but wasn’t. This episode had all the characters well drawn out and engaging, especially Tesla, of whom I knew almost nothing. Hubby’s immediate reaction was, “Hey, that really looks like him!” I didn’t have a clue.

    Not only were the characters appealing, but the story was fleshed out, without all the mind-numbing twists and turns of last week. I could follow it and ask questions, but not questions that took me out of the flow of the story. As others have noted, Chibnall’s strength seems to be in making the historical episodes engaging. And the thing the Doctor and Tesla have in common is a curious, creative mind that invents. It’s a natural connection that feels organic to the storyline. We need more of that!

    I’m reading the observations about eugenics, and how that might be tied to the lies the Doctor and Master were told about themselves, with great interest. It certainly would be a very different (and unsettling) idea than what we have been presented about the Time Lords.

    @jomomentor Hubby and I had the same reaction to Yaz tipping over the table of bread. However, the giant scorpions, scary as they were (and kudos to the CGI department for making them believably scary), seemed to be rather clumsy, so maybe Yaz thought loaves of bread would trip them up.

    @mudlark I also noticed the symmetry between the Skithra simply stealing from others, rather than creating their own original works, and Edison’s similarly theft-ridden behavior.

    @juniperfish Like you, I wondered why Ada Lovelace and Noor Inayat Khan merited a mindwipe, but neither Nikola Tesla nor Thomas Edison (or, come to think of it, Dorothy Skeritt) didn’t.

    @arbutus Your comments put a smile on my face. I can’t say I enjoyed this episode as much as you, but I’m thrilled you did. Any day a creative work does this much good for someone is a good day, in my book.

    @galaxymage It’s true that Ryan didn’t have much to do in this episode. However, he had a brief, but very important, conversation with Miss Skeritt about the emotional impact of first entering the Tardis, and trying to take all that in.

    And isn’t it fun to try to find a different way of wording “It’s bigger on the inside”? They managed it here with, “The internal dimensions transcend the external.” Bravo!

    nerys @replies

    @phaseshift Thank you for that history lesson on the mindwipe. I’m a relatively new viewer, only post-gap, and so I thought the mindwipe (and the reasons for using it) went back farther than that. So, in that context, I can see your point.

    And yeah, one of my least-favorite moments on Doctor Who was the mindwipe done on Donna. All that she had done, all that she experienced, all that growth she had made as a human being … gone.

    nerys @replies

    I gave this episode a second watch last night with hubby, in the hope that my opinion of it would improve. Sadly, it didn’t. I just didn’t feel invested in any of the characters, perhaps because there were too many of them. Just as I got focused on one relationship, we abruptly shifted to another, and another … and so on. I hate to admit it, but Benni’s death didn’t really affect me, thrown in as it was into this hodgepodge.

    I’m a fan of the “show, don’t tell” mode of storytelling, but we both felt this message was handled in a heavy-handed, preachy way. The thing is, we like and agree with the message. But we want an engaging story, and somehow this one fell short. Lots of running, yelling, growling, explosions and so on. I certainly felt like I was supposed to care. But it lacked the emotional resonance I need to draw me in.

    Contrast this with my reaction to another “vacation getaway” episode, “Midnight.” It’s one of my all-time favorites, and so I suppose any other will pale by comparison.

    nerys @replies

    @blenkinsopthebrave I thought that after the Doctor used the mindwipe was on Donna, there was a tacit agreement not to use it on the companions. But was it decided that it would be used on no one? For me, it made sense this time because two temporary companions were taken to different futures, providing them with knowledge that would have changed their respective histories, thus irreparably altering history as a whole. So I thought it made sense for them to undergo the mindwipe. But it could be that I’m forgetting something important. Heh.

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    @thane16 Thank you for clarifying your thoughts. I do agree with you. That kind of mob mentality is frightening. I’ve been reading and watching documentaries on McCarthyism, and the parallels between then and now are eerie. I knew it never really went away, but I believed it would never rise back up to the level it has. How could we, as a society, allow that?

    Your observations about the person who was suspected, then acquitted, of arson, remind me of the Richard Jewell case. He was the one suspected, then later cleared, of committing the Centennial Olympic Park bombing at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Of course, this was still long before the days of social media (though, at the time, I was discussing this and many other topics with my newfound friends all from over the world on Firefly, an early form of social media). But even then, it was strange how the media enabled this sort of pile-on effect in which people jumped to conclusions. It made me realize how easily law enforcement can succumb to that effect, as well.

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    @thane16 Two years ago: new Doctor. Only now, we have one person ‘admitting’ “oh, actually, it’s flat. No bonkerising & it disappointed” & that’s followed by a whole lot of others suddenly writing something very similar. But these same people never stated this at the time! Too respectful of a forum? Felt like you didn’t want to be the one who admitted they didn’t like the new Tardis/the Doctor’s outfit? I’ve no problem people disliking things, but why wait ’til someone else admits it? No one’s going to run at the barrel & cause an argument over a small thing.

    Speaking only for myself, it’s not nearly so complicated. It’s usually a case of memory … or the lack thereof. I forget things, very easily. And so, someone else will post something, and I’ll think, “Oh, yes, that’s precisely what I thought! But so-and-so beat me to it!” I try not to be a pile-on type of person. But when someone expresses something, pretty much the way I would’ve expressed it, then I say so. That’s all there is to it.

    @juniperfish Capaldi’s Doctor wasn’t exactly flirtatious, either. The only one I can distinctly recall him flirting with (and more) was River, and that was part of an established canon. So I don’t think we can pin that complaint to Whittaker’s Doctor. Or, at least, it didn’t originate with her. Smith’s Doctor was the last one I remember being overtly flirtatious.

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    @blenkinsopthebrave We probably shouldn’t have cable. We are the opposite of you and watch too much TV. But we try to let good taste dictate our choices. We do watch Doctor Who, after all!

    I agree with you about the different Doctors/companions/seasons. I confess that initially I avoided Matt Smith’s Doctor, because I was so enamored of Tennant’s Doctor. I soon realized my mistake when I began watching. That era hit the ground running, and at least for me never missed a step till Clara was brought in (which was an unhappy surprise, because Oswin was so dazzling in “Asylum of the Daleks). I thought they’d figured out the chemistry  For whatever reason, the Doctor seems to need a strong antagonist, and the Master always provides (though in different ways, depending on the iteration). While I was watching this two-parter, I greatly feared that we were seeing yet another return to the Cybermen or the Daleks. When it turned out to be the Master, I groaned inwardly, but then decided to be patient and let it play out. What reeled me in was Sacha Dhawan’s performance in the hologram segment. So I am feeling very hopeful about this.

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    @blenkinsopthebrave I guess I’m cheap. We get Doctor Who in our cable lineup, and can view it on demand … but it still has commercial interruptions until it goes to Crave. So I don’t feel like paying more for something I’m already getting (even though what I have cheapens my enjoyment). Ack!

    It’s strange. Last season was, for me, very similar to how I felt about David Tennant’s first season; sometimes good, but so uneven that it took me a long time to get into it. I went through a similar feeling when Clara was brought in as Matt Smith’s companion. Part of my problem had to do with being so invested in the predecessors, but also, to me, the chemistry (that inexplicable thing) seemed off, somehow. I experienced some of that last season, though there were were very good episodes. I also realize that my reactions are highly subjective, as I think they are for us all. The things I complain about are probably things that make some others shake their head in bafflement. But I also know that, at some point, I have always come around. Something happens to reel me in and make me love Doctor Who all over again. So I am optimistic that it will happen again.

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    @mudlark I agree with you. That was a too-quick bonkerization on my part. I should’ve given it more thought before posting. I watched Part 2 again last night and realized this likely has a much broader meaning, and has something to do specifically with the Doctor, the Master and Gallifreyans. What, we don’t know yet. But if the lie was enough to get the (admittedly mad) Master to destroy Gallifrey (or at least appear to us and the Doctor that he did), then it must have been something significant.

    @thane16 We feel what we feel, right? One of the ongoing problems we have in Canada is the disruption of the episode’s flow, due to commercials. That has always interfered with my enjoyment of Doctor Who, and I believe that’s probably the case with these two episodes. When I can watch them all the way through, sans interruptions, my appreciation for the work as a whole may grow.

    Until then: My immediate feeling, on first viewing, was (as @juniperfish described it) that it was a nice romp. On second viewing, it came together a bit better for me because of the impact of the ending, which I felt gave Jodie Whittaker her first opportunity to show her impressive range. That hadn’t quite happened for me yet, though last season there were some episodes that came close. So I am hoping that future episodes build on this momentum.

    I agree with those who say the three companions feels, at times, a bit much, with too little given to each for me to really get into their respective characters. That may be a direct response to those who complained that Clara was placed on too even a footing with the Doctor. I never agreed with that. And, I also recall that it took me a while to get into Clara’s character. It really wasn’t until Capaldi arrived that, other than “The Day of the Doctor,” Clara and the Doctor developed what felt like that special bond between the Doctor and the various companions. So it could be that this “family” vibe is just taking a while to grow on me.

    The note that doesn’t feel quite “hit” yet (at least, not for me) is that intangible joie de vivre that I felt in the post-gap/pre-Capaldi Doctors.  Now, remember that I loved Peter Capaldi in the role, and I understand that there were narrative reasons for his darker take on the character. Still, we feel what we feel, and I miss that. At least for me, Whittaker hasn’t quite reclaimed it, even though her Doctor seems, on the surface, more lighthearted than Capaldi’s. Again, that may be due more to my growing pains than anything else.

    To recap: What really pulled these two episodes together for me was the ending. So if this season continues to build on that, then I will be a deeply satisfied viewer.

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    @juniperfish Well, Spyfall was a romp I grant you, and I wish I didn’t feel this way, but it left me kind of cold, sadly.

    I admit that throughout most of it, that’s how I felt. However, at the end, when the Master appeared in the hologram with the “it’s all a lie”/destruction of Gallifrey/Timeless Child message, suddenly it all came together for me. It’s like I needed that emotional linchpin to give everything else a purpose. And now this season seems to have a driving theme on which to move forward, something that was missing last season.

    Hubby and I both found ourselves missing Missy. But, as others have speculated, we don’t know which regeneration this Master comes from. If he’s pre-Missy, that would explain a lot. Perhaps that’s to be revealed later on. And, by the way, it’s wonderful to see folks bonkerizing again!

    @juniperfish You know, all this talk about The Timeless Child, and children, makes we wonder whether the Master and the Doctor had a child together, somewhere deep in their history.

    And, might that be the big lie? Was something done to that child to steal him/her away?

    Sadly, I have to go to work earlier than I thought, so I don’t have time to write much now. But I will later.

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    You’re welcome, @blenkinsopthebrave and all! It’s rare that a Christmas film holds me spellbound, from beginning to end, the way this one did, so I felt a need to recommend it. It was such a pleasant and unexpected surprise to come across this film I’d never heard of, and discover a (sadly) hidden gem.

    Living in Canada as I do, many of the stations in our cable lineup are American. Turner Classic Movies (TCM) has turned out to be one of our favourites, not only because of the films they show (which, more often than not, are worth watching), but thanks to the wonderful analysis and context provided by the various hosts. I gain so much by hearing what they have to say about the people who made these films, often under trying circumstances. It makes me appreciate them all the more.

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    I love “Listen” … but I admit it doesn’t quite come together, given all that transpired later, in a satisfactory way. There are lots of loose ends, and no matter how I try to make it work in my mind, the realization that Orson Pink cannot be a direct descendant of Clara and Danny leaves me feeling like there was a missed opportunity. Granted, Steven Moffat doesn’t owe me a thing, and he has produced such a brilliant body of work, in Doctor Who alone, that I am reluctant to complain. I do love how we learn that it is Clara under the Doctor’s bed. But the difficulty in trying to work out exactly who Orson Pink is descended from (and knowing that there is no way, except for some timey-wimey twist, that it could be Clara and Danny) leaves me feeling a bit frustrated. Maybe if I watch it again, after so much time has passed, I will feel less frustrated.

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    We love Turner Classic Movies’ Noir Alley program. Eddie Muller’s intros and outros give so much insight into these amazing films. If you want a real after-Christmas treat, you should look up the one they showed a week ago. It’s called “Cash on Demand” and was produced by Hammer Film Productions. Yeah, that Hammer Film Productions, with the endless stream of Gothic horror films. But they did other films, as well. And this is one of those amazing exceptions to the rule.

    “Cash on Demand” is a riveting take on Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. I couldn’t take my eyes off Peter Cushing (channeling Ebenezer Scrooge) and André Morell (mining elements of the Ghost of Christmas Present and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come). The tension between their characters builds to an almost unendurable climax. As Eddie said, we get to see both actors at the very top of their game.

    Look for the original Columbia Pictures release (restored and re-released by Sony Pictures), which aired for the very first time on TCM last Saturday night. When Hammer finally got around to releasing it several years after Columbia, they’d edited the film to such a degree that its flow and intensity were greatly undermined. You’ll want to see this movie in all its glory!

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    Someone is advertising his web design business here.

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    @missy If I hear Mayor I think it’s a man. Very confusing when it’s a female. The same applies (in my book) to all the other titles which are being changed to the male title. Isn’t that sexist? How strange that these females who are so determined to stamp out sexism, decide to use the male title? Perhaps they would prefer to be blokes? Or perhaps they should make up their minds what exactly they are.

    OK, so now I am confused. What would you expect a woman, who is elected mayor, to call herself? Mayoress? And why would it be necessary to call a female mayor anything different than a male mayor? Candidates are running for a specific elected position: Mayor. It matters not what the sex of the candidate is.

    And that is precisely why I prefer gender-neutral terms for any professional position. The name of the position describes the work being done, not specific characteristics of the persons filling those roles. I’ve worked for decades as a journalist. What would you prefer I call myself? Journalista? Why? I’m a journalist. No confusion there. I know who I am, and I certainly don’t prefer to be a bloke. But that’s just me.

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    @janetteb Back when I was working in hospitality we all objected to the suggestion that we be called by the gender neutral, “waitrons”. naturally we all immediately pretended to be robots. We much preferred the more human sounding waiter and waitress because being identified as female was fine.

    In recent years I’ve heard the gender-neutral term, server, being used to describe wait staff. As far as I know, there’s no such thing as a servette … except for a couple of sports teams Google turned up.

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    @missy So, what is the difference between an actor and an actress? If the only difference is the sex of the one doing the acting, then it strikes me as a silly distinction. I’m fine with calling them all actresses, as long as everyone gets the same designation. (Though, from a linguistic standpoint, words ending in -er or -or have a sensible constructive meaning.)

    It’s like calling a female singer a songstress. The male equivalent is songster. Going by the definition of what’s actually being done, aren’t they all songsters? Or, really, singers?

    As for Miss vs. Mrs. vs. Ms., truth be told, a “Ms.” could be married or single. It’s the designation that woman chooses. The problem with “Miss” is that unmarried men are not given a similar unmarried title. Men, whether they be married or single, can go by Mr.

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