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    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.

    nerys @replies

    @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.

    nerys @replies

    @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.

    nerys @replies

    @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.

    nerys @replies

    @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.

    nerys @replies

    @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.

    nerys @replies

    @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.

    nerys @replies

    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.

    nerys @replies

    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.

    nerys @replies

    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!

    nerys @replies

    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.

    nerys @replies

    @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.

    nerys @replies

    @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.

    nerys @replies

    @missy Please don’t worry about thanking me. But (being horribly redundant), thank you for thinking of it. Being all over the place is very, very understandable in your circumstances. Blood clots in his lungs? Oh no, that’s serious. I’m sure you are going through unbearable stress right now.

    Oh, and I apologize for my earlier typo. Heartbreaking is the word I was looking for, and meant to type.

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    I agree with that, @winston. I never understood why female actors had to be called actresses. They’re actors. It seems to me that some terminology became unnecessarily restrictive as women entered those fields. Maybe all firefighters used to be men, but they’re not all men now, so it makes no sense to call them firemen. Language evolves for all sorts of reasons. Inclusivity is one of them. Accuracy is another.

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    @missy Such hearbreaking news for you and your OH. Prayers that treatment is successful, and complete, hard though it may be. And may the inevitable not happen. Not too soon, anyway. No good way to word that. I know you understand that so many of us are standing by you in this virtual realm. It’s good that your housing is not as huge a worry as it might have been, otherwise.

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    @ichabod Thank you for that history lesson. I’m old enough to know … but a reminder of the context certainly helps. That awful “PC” backlash has really muddied the waters, to the point where everyone forgets that it’s mostly about trying to put oneself in the other person’s shoes, and imagine how we would feel if we were called (fill in the blank), or wronged in the countless ways that so many outside the mainstream have been. There’s nothing wrong with being reminded of that, but the backlash has caused some to feel they are well within their rights, and they need not concern themselves with what the impact may be.

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    @pedant My husband and I watched Chernobyl a few weeks ago and were absolutely blown away by it. As @miapatrick noted, they never descended into preachiness. And their portrayals of the effects of radiation on the human body were excruciating to watch … but important to see so that we understand the gravity of the situation. There was so much I didn’t know, including certain actions that had to be taken in the Exclusion Zone (to which I think @miapatrick is referring). I thought I wouldn’t be able to watch, but it was handled sensitively enough that I got through it. But it stayed on my mind long after we were done watching.

    I want to read the book on which the series was based, but it’s not available at our local library, so I’ve put a hold on another book that I’ll read in the meantime. I read an article contrasting the book, and the portrayal of certain scenes. There was some dramatization, which of course we should expect. It’s not a documentary, it’s a drama. But I can understand why they took the departures they did. As the article pointed out, a series about people meekly accepting their fate, without protest or complaint, would not be stimulating viewing. It’s a remarkable window into the Russian world, and is richly deserving of all the praise it’s receiving.

    Oh, and @thane16, I’m sorry I’m only just now seeing your post. Please say hello to your mom for me!

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    @craig We just started watching Killing Eve last night, and you’re right. It’s superb!

    Not so great has been Star Trek Discovery, which has had a very uneven second season. It’s like the show can’t make up its mind what it is: pure comic book, trying to pay homage to the series’ canon or soap opera. Every time I got my hopes up that finally the series was finding its way, in the next episode everything would fall apart again.

    And then there was last night’s finale. The “show, don’t tell” mantra seems to be lost on these writers. Way, way too many ‘xplosions, way too much ‘xplaining going on. I agree with this review (which ends on a hopeful note; maybe now that they’re done connecting all the dots, they’ll get around to some actual storytelling).

    nerys @replies

    Well, all I can say is that I enjoyed this season. It had its ups and downs, but then I can say that about every season of Doctor Who I’ve watched. Apparently I must not be a proper sci fi fan.

    nerys @replies

    I just watched it again, and now I think it was the right call to save Aaron. As Ryan told him, he’d been running away and hiding for all of Ryan’s life. To have him sacrifice himself at the end would have been, in a way, too simple. Not easy, mind you. But it would have allowed Aaron another escape, of sorts, when now is the time for him to be there, finally, for Ryan.

    Did anyone notice a few Bondian musical cues, along with the “Doctor Who will return” banner at the end? (Maybe the latter is the norm for the Christmas/now New Year’s specials. I can’t recall.)

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    By the way, who is narrating the beginning of this episode? The voice sounds to me like Aaron’s.

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    @miapatrick Well … I thought I understood the bit about the Doctor’s and River’s timelines, but now that I’ve read your description, I realize I don’t. And I’m too hopelessly mired in my own linear thinking to understand it, so I won’t even try. Just enjoy their story on its own merits, and leave it at that.

    As for this episode, I actually forgot that we were due for a New Year’s special, and was happily surprised to see a new Doctor Who episode on my DVR! I loved this, and so did my husband (whose fandom goes back to the Tom Baker era). He didn’t even utter his usual, “Oh, for f—‘s sake, not another Dalek episode!” The Dalek reappeared so insidiously that I didn’t even recognize it at first. Once the Dalek was encased, I felt it was the most sinister-looking of all the Dalek designs I have seen.

    I too liked the parallel between the Doctor crafting her own sonic in the season opener, and the Dalek crafting its own case here. The weak point was what others have noted: the pacing of the B storyline about Ryan and Aaron. The story, itself, carried emotional resonance, and it was well acted. It’s just its placement within the A story that seemed to drag things down a bit. But it didn’t bother me to the point where I felt it seriously detracted from the episode.

    The call to the help desk about UNIT made me excited about seeing Kate Lethbridge-Stewart again, so I felt a bit disappointed by that turn of events. But I do understand the need to clear out the “cruft” (love that term)! And the unhelpful help desk attendant gave us a nice bit of comic relief.

    As for the prospect of darker developments, I was certain Aaron was going to sacrifice himself for “the greater good” … a common motif in the Doctor Who canon. Was a dramatic opportunity missed? Or would that have been too predictable? I will need at least one more rewatch before I can decide.

    Now, if Graham had sacrificed himself, in Aaron’s place, I would have been reduced to a bawling, squalling puddle of mush.

    If there was any question about Jodie Whittaker truly owning the role of the Doctor, any doubts were erased here. I never once thought about who was portraying the Doctor. I saw and heard, simply, the Doctor.

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    @magickirin You will find plenty of folks around here who disagree with your opinion of Peter Capaldi, and also Bill Potts (portrayed with refreshing deftness by Pearl Mackie) … myself included.

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    @pedant Thank you for sharing that! Lisa Morton makes a very good case for why she was not a Whovian before, but is now. I wholeheartedly agree with her five points.

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    @ichabod There was a pretty key difference in the two films, and I’m sort of reluctant to discuss it without some sort of spoiler tag (for anyone who hasn’t seen the director’s cut of Blade Runner). If you haven’t seen it, and want to, then don’t venture beyond this point:






    In the original theatrical release with voice-over, there are fewer hints that Deckard is a replicant. I remember watching the voice-over version on HBO, and it never occurred to me that he might be a replicant. But in the director’s cut, it is far more strongly implied that Deckard is a replicant. I agree with @craig that, while the director’s cut is by far the superior version, the voice-over version has a nice film noir texture to it.

    nerys @replies

    @missy According to IMDb, Rachel Talahay directed seven Doctor Who episodes: Dark Water, Death in Heaven, Heaven Sent, Hell Bent, World Enough and Time, The Doctor Falls and Twice Upon a Time.

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    @magickirin I disagree that Graham has not moved on. Graham is not Clara, who used her travels with the Doctor to avoid dealing with Danny’s death. I think we have seen Graham coming to terms with Grace’s death in a number of ways. He doesn’t avoid thinking or talking about her (for example, in Rosa). And I think what happened in “It Takes You Away” really made him face the fact that she is gone, never to return.

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    @craig I remember you posting about your wife before. Thank you for continuing to share your thoughts about her here. She must have been such a lovely person!

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    @kevinwho One highlight for me that no one else has mentioned is when the Doctor talked about being a bit more flexible about shooting things and blowing them up. “My rules change” gives more scope for discussion than “guns are bad.”

    Isn’t that always the way? When we first meet and look up to an authority figure, we often take their every word as gospel. Then we come to realize that we must take their rules with a grain of salt!

    nerys @replies

    OK, I watched the episode again tonight, and I was wrong about what happened with the civilizations of the planets held in stasis. The Doctor noted that as soon as the planets were removed from their orbit, it was planetary genocide. And so the people would not have been restored when the Ux returned the planets. The reason the planets had to be returned was because they could not exist in the same space. They would have destroyed the planet they were on. And, because the Doctor noted that she was trying to save the universe, I gather that the universe was at risk, too?

    There did seem to be a lack of recognition, at the end, of all who had died. But my sense was that the Doctor was dealing with the people she was with. She couldn’t change what had happened, but she could give hope to the Ux and the crew members. She urged them to travel hopefully.

    On second viewing, I felt that Graham’s path toward not killing Tim Shaw was very well established. We weren’t beaten over the head with it, but I found it convincing. After all, Graham was a good man to start with. He was temporarily jolted toward revenge because of his unexpected encounter with Tim Shaw. Revenge jumped to the forefront of his mind, and not just because of Grace. That was a nod to all the death and destruction Tim Shaw had wrought, including the planetary genocide. As Graham said, they didn’t get rid of him properly when they had the chance, and look what happened. Kind of like the “Would you kill Hitler if you had the chance?” question.

    My conviction about Graham’s path is due, in no small part, to the acting skills of Bradley Walsh, who shows us so much in his eyes, his facial expressions, his gestures. Words aren’t necessary to get all of it across.

    But talking about acting skills, I really felt that Jodie Whittaker owned the Doctor here. I didn’t feel she was an actor portraying the Doctor, but she really came into her own as the Doctor. This is a path all the actors face, and for me it always takes about this long for them to get it nailed down.

    This season finale ticked off all the right boxes, for me. I felt like this Doctor, and her companions, really hit their stride here. But I also know how subjective this can be, how so much is based on our expectations. And if someone or something we love falls short of those expectations, we can’t help but feel disappointed. I get that. Somehow, for me, this Doctor Who meets my expectations. I can’t explain it any better than that.

    Ryan keeps getting my favourite quotes: “Whatever happened to doors? Don’t aliens believe in doors?”


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    @idiotsavon Wonderful observations! Thank you for sharing them here. Now I must watch this episode again with your comments in mind.

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    @thane16 “Are you my mummy?/Everybody lives!” (“The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances”) was the two-parter that got me hooked. And then “Midnight” reeled me in once again. I was so convinced that no one could top Tennant’s Doctor that I avoided watching the Matt Smith era for quite a while. We were channel-flipping one day and came upon an episode (I think it was “The Pandorica Opens”), watched it and quite enjoyed it. So then at some point I binge-watched on Netflix to catch up. Lesson learned. Prejudice deprives us of good stuff!

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    @bluesqueakpip Most of the Doctors could talk the hind leg off a donkey, but one thing I suddenly realised last night was that they talked about how wonderful they were.

    You are exactly right! Now that I think of it, much of the previous Doctor-babble had to do with the Doctor building himself up in front of an audience. When this Doctor speaks, she is processing information. Not that other Doctors didn’t do this before. And not that this Doctor never builds herself up. But she does seem to be doing a lot less grandstanding than previous Doctors. Interesting observation!

    nerys @replies

    @devilishrobby But then you’ll get someone like my husband who, upon seeing that Daleks are involved, mutters, “Not another (expletive deleted) Daleks episode!” And he’s been watching Doctor Who since the Tom Baker era. So you can’t please everybody. He finds the absence of the Doctor’s usual suspects refreshing.

    And, if the villains aren’t the Daleks or the Cybermen, then is the average fan going to remember them? I’m not talking about the folks here, who know so much more about Doctor Who than I do. I mean the average fan who tunes in once a week to see monsters or aliens, and how the Doctor dispatches them.

    nerys @replies

    @bluesqueakpip So I think that stopping the stasis on Earth was meant to show the effect was entirely reversible (and possibly no one on Earth even noticed what had happened), and then the returned planets were released from stasis. The one second CGI showed an intact looking planet with clouds and a few lights that might be cities – so I think we were meant to think that the planets were all rescued.

    That’s exactly what I thought happened. It wasn’t just about saving Earth, but also about saving all of the planets. But on second thought, I’m not certain that’s what happened, and I agree that it should have been made clearer in the script. Maybe it was in the original script, but in the editing process that explanatory footage fell to the cutting room floor?

    nerys @replies

    I had just got done complaining in another thread about this season being too talky … not enough of the “show, don’t tell” rule of storytelling, and then Chibnall pulls out a balanced script of dialogue with action. I enjoyed it.

    For me, the stakes wouldn’t have felt so high if Earth weren’t next in line to be captured. That’s completely selfish, I know. But I think it’s also the ultimate motivation for the Doctor and her companions. The Doctor clearly considers Earth her favorite planet. There’s a reason she keeps going there and finding companions. So it makes sense that Tim Shaw would have targed Earth in his revenge against the Doctor. That’s a recurring theme throughout Doctor Who, and I would have been surprised if it hadn’t happened in this episode.

    nerys @replies

    @kevinwho Should we start calling this the divisive Chibnall era?

    Reading this discussion, and similar ones elsewhere, I’m amazed at what short memories people have. As has already been pointed out, there’s been no shortage of debate over Doctor Who … certainly not since I started watching (I jumped on board with Chris Eccleston’s debut). Do people really not remember all the complaining about the superb Peter Capaldi being “too old”? And he was Jodi Whittaker’s immediate predecessor. And don’t even get me started on all the whining about Clara being “too Doctor-ish”!

    I think the complaining becomes more pervasive as more and more people vent their spleens on social media, Internet comment boards and the like. So it gives the perception of overall negativity, when the reality may be just that, as always, the complainers complain, and the people who are satisfied keep quiet because they have nothing to complain about. Squeaky wheel, and all.

    nerys @replies

    For me, the little niggle is less that the show has an agenda; as others have noted, it’s always had that. But I have found this season very “talky” … more or less ignoring the “show, don’t tell” rule of storytelling. I rewatched “Midnight” the other night and still find it so satisfying. We viewers are not told all the details, yet we are acutely aware of the tension and growing menace, and we can fill in the blanks with our imagination because of what we are shown. I’m missing that element this season.

    nerys @replies

    @thane16 I apologize for being very late to the party. Happy birthday!

    On another topic (and I hope this is the right place to post it): I find myself in need of a musical balm these days. Just in time, this new Carpenters album has been released. I find myself missing Karen Carpenter all over again. Such a beautiful, timeless voice … now framed by a full orchestra: Carpenters with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

    nerys @replies

    @miapatrick Thank you for posting that link! Sometimes trolling has its virtues, in that it prompts posts like yours with that link. You said you’ve posted it before, but for whatever reason that’s my first time reading it. Sometimes we need to be reminded of how progressive the times before us have been, and how in reality what is deemed “PC” is often more a matter of “everything old is new again” … necessarily so, since we seem to be in a time of “one step forward, two steps back.”

    nerys @replies

    Sorry, @amdamiri but I disagree. Several posters here have laid out a strong case for how this story follows a classic fairy tale structure. I have learned much over the years from the posters in this group, who spot things I completely miss. I suggest reviewing those posts to see what you can take away from them.

    nerys @replies

    @amdamiri 2-solaris from steven spielberg

    Not Spielberg. Steven Soderbergh directed the 2002 film. There are countless other examples besides the three you named. The story doesn’t have to be an original idea to be engaging. This story drew me in because it’s told in the structure of a fairy tale, and is based on a fairy tale the Doctor was told.

    nerys @replies

    I’d forgotten about Solaris. I’ve only ever seen the 2002 film, which I loved. I subsequently read the book, which I didn’t care for. The book was dry, focusing more on science, less on mystery, and (at least for me) it lacked the emotional resonance of the film, which captured love and loss so perfectly.

    This episode didn’t go all the way down that road, but rather invoked (as @bluesqueakpip so aptly pointed out) fairy tales in their original form, not Disneyfied to make them more sentimental, less frightening.

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