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    tardigrade @replies

    I didn’t mind this one as a stand-alone episode, after the flurry of series arc revelations in the previous episode. @jomomentor In terms of pacing, I’d agree that it might have been better to have some of that in this episode though, rather than in the rather overstuffed previous one.

    Probably the main positive for me, after a period where the companions haven’t always had a whole lot to do, was to see them independently in action, and to see the confidence and competence each of them has gained. @davros @mudlark I agree with the comments that two of them not knowing the relatively common term “pathogen” was an odd writing decision though, and undid some of that character development unnecessarily.

    Again, I found the environmental message a little heavy-handed. In the Dr Who universe, there’s plenty of scope to set stories like this away from Earth and not tackle them quite so head-on.

    Probably “brains” doesn’t really mean anything, but… it does remind me of a half-formed idea that occurred to me the origins of the Time Lords was called into question. Whether or not Time Lords have multiple brains, it’s certainly very well-established they have two hearts. Could that just possibly mean that they somehow came about as some sort of amalgamation of two species? A revelation that include a reason for the four beats of the Time Lords circulatory system might be a factor in sending the Master over the edge, particularly if that Master was from a point in his timeline where he was still experiencing the drumming.

    tardigrade @replies

    Running behind and have only just caught up. For some reason, it seems the BBC didn’t personally notify me that there was a new season starting…

    I won’t go back to comment on the older episodes at the point, except to say that the hint of a story arc from the opening two-parter was very welcome. And like most it seems, I found Orphan 55 a weaker episode, although I’ll admit to choosing to ignore some of the weaknesses and just enjoying it for what it was.

    Another good “historical” episode, with an interesting setting. More than I’ve been aware of with prior Doctors, the fact that there is a team of writers is apparent from week to week, as the tone and character of the Doctor varies. As a result, the episodes don’t sit side by side as neatly as they might, and issues such as a fairly arbitrary and casual memory wipe from earlier in the season doesn’t sit that comfortably beside leaving Edison and Tesla untouched, as two of the most influential people you could image revealing future/alien tech to. And also I think it’s fair to say that some types of episodes seem to have worked better than others, with the historical episodes generally being strong ones.

    The creature design I thought was OK, even if the queen was a little too humanoid. I didn’t quite get why the scorpion creatures were played as being so clumsy in the chase- it really hurt their menace.

    In the end, I felt the character of Edison ended up getting painted with a little more nuance than that of Tesla. I got a feeling of Edison as relating to the historic figure, more so than Tesla, who was portrayed as a morally-centred genius. From what I’ve read, I get the impression that Tesla wasn’t an easy person to work with and that a personality clash with Edison was inevitable.

    The companions were left without a lot to do in this episode, which gets a bit more glaring when the Doctor is dragging three around. But actually, I don’t mind that the writers don’t feel forced for find something crucial for each of them in every episode, as long as they each get some opportunity to shine from time to time.

    While this episode didn’t really advance the season’s story arc, it did occur to me as some have already mentioned, that the theme of stolen technology could be relevant to the overall arc. If I might be permitted some wild speculation…might it be that time travel technology wasn’t invented by the Time Lords, as has always been implicit, but ultimately stolen from some other race? If we’re looking for something that could have unbalanced the Master, perhaps the discovery that the Time Lords originally stole time-travel tech could do that- the revelation that the Timeless Child was in reality a time-travelling dalek could certainly cause something of an identity crisis 🙂

    tardigrade @replies

    Apologies if this is a double post, but my attempted edit seems to have deleted the post…

    @kevinwho @pedant

    I’ve got to admit, wiping UNIT away, some of the most-longstanding “cruft” in Doctor Who, was something that caused me a certain amount of disappointment. It can obviously be reinstated as necessary though, so that’s not a decision that needs to stick. And if it does come back, then it can be remolded to whatever new vision the writers choose. In any case, the story was probably better for not having UNIT complicating the personal battle of Doctor versus dalek though.

    I agree with the comments that a single dalek poses a more interesting threat, if not actually a more credible one, than a battalion of them. I’m not sure if the Doctor is actually concerned that the lone dalek would be able to contact allies, particularly in any reasonable amount of time, if it it relying on radio communication, as seems to be the case. If 9000 rels is a few hours, that does seem unreasonably optimistic in any case.


    Chibnall doesn’t want his show cluttered up with things people loved in the past; he wants it cluttered up with things people will love in the future.

    I’m concerned that if too much is wiped away, then what is put back in a couple of seasons won’t have the same depth. Particularly if many episodes are one-offs that don’t leave much to revisit in the future.

    tardigrade @replies

    Late watching this one, so not sure how much I have to say that hasn’t been said.

    I thought there were some interesting ideas in this one, that carried it into being a pretty decent episode, if not a huge finale. I haven’t always been that impressed by some of the previous over-the-top finales, so that’s not necessarily that big a criticism.

    Tim Shaw found a new level of ineffectiveness, protected by feeble “sniper” bots and personally able to be bested by one untrained old guy with a gun. His only significant power was by proxy, through his influence on the Ux.

    I’m not feeling Bradley Walsh’s portrayal of Graham – I find I just don’t believe his performance – so when he changes his mind about shooting Tim Shaw, I didn’t have any great connection to his dilemma and it seems shortly afterwards, when he shoots him in the foot, that not being scolded by the Doctor was a major motivation, which is not really the message.

    That wraps up a series that really has hit the reset button pretty hard. As far as I can recall, there wasn’t one alien race, person or place that has ever been used before this season in Dr Who, and only very scant oblique references to anything that happened before this season. So very little in the way of fan service. It does appear to have built a new audience, so in practical terms, it probably has done what it set out to do, even it that has meant some disappointment amongst long-term fans.

    tardigrade @replies


    Producing a good talking frog was the responsibility of the special effects people, not the writer or the producer.

    If I’d been directing, I suspect I would have been shooting an additional scene with Grace as the Solitract’s embodiment, in case the frog didn’t work out. I think the idea of the frog is OK, but it didn’t quite work for me in practise.


    And the dead stay dead.

    I must admit to having a moment of “No, no… They’re not un-dead-ifying Grace. Can’t anyone stay dead?”

    Oh, and Ribbon of the Seven Stomachs!

    It is a great name. Not quite sure what references this name was intended to conjure up, but for me a stomach ribbon brought up the image of a tapeworm, which was suitably unsettling.

    tardigrade @replies

    A bit of a different style to this episode and one that appealed to me. Some heart to it, but without getting melodramatic, and while retaining some pacing to the plot. Some real Doctor-y solutions to problems also.

    Because I was generally engaged, I let slide some of the more unnecessary off-the-wall stuff. The Doctor is talking nonsense about a Woolly Rebellion and eating the soil, and somehow it’s a cottage without smoke coming out of the chimney that’s odd, apparently. To the point that she insists on searching the place, even when there is apparently no-one home, which would adequately explain the lack of smoke.

    I did notice that the Doctor was essentially giving orders in this episode. It was “You two search upstairs”, rather than “Could you two search upstairs?”. A sign of growing confidence in the Doctor? Or re-asserting her authority after the “flat team structure” of the previous episode?

    The run of not-really-all-that-scary monsters continued, with the creature of the week being moths. They’d need to be a whole lot bigger to present much of a realistic-appearing threat, at least to me.

    I particularly liked the portrayal of not-actually-Grace in this- just slightly off- just enough for those who aren’t invested in seeing her as real to pick up on. It’s a delicate balance, and I think it was done very successfully.

    I had a little trouble buying that the Doctor genuinely saw froggy as a friend. She really only seemed to embrace it when she knew she’d have to be allowed to leave. It didn’t help that the frog wasn’t all that convincing. I think the episode would have been better served just using Grace as the incarnation of the self-aware universe.

    And of course this was one more case where wasn’t an out and out, black and white “baddie” facing the Doctor.

    Definitely not a flawless episode, but for me it was a enjoyable one that swung the tone in a direction I liked.

    tardigrade @replies


    It is much more common than not that the Tardis crew go out in their regular clothes… And literally nobody gave a fuck.

    One fuck was given here. Particularly for some of the more egregious examples like Roses’s miniskirts. It’s not a sudden issue for me, just a repeated niggle that came up again here, as it was particularly obvious.

    tardigrade @replies


    Yes- It’s clearly a deliberate choice to keep the Doctor in particular in much the same costume throughout the season, not the choice of the individual writers. I can only hazard the reasons- perhaps to try to firmly establish an “iconic” look? Maybe they’re concerned that JW doesn’t come across as Doctor-y in period dress. At some point the illogic of it is detrimental though.

    The lack of communications can also be a problem the writers need to work around. If a means of communication were introduced, the communication could be as unreliable as necessary for plot purposes. Star Trek had no shame about introducing interference from chronoton radiation, or whatever else the writer of the week decided, to avoid any sticky situation being exited with a quick “Beam me up”.

    The psychic paper works on me too. When I look at it, I see the words “Plot Device” printed in bold lettering. I find it a bit clunky.

    tardigrade @replies

    For some reason, this episode pushed a number of wrong buttons for me, so I struggled with this one.

    I was annoyed that the crew were intending to attend the coronation of Elizabeth I, and turned up in whatever they were wearing. They’re scarcely dressed for the period. Showing up a century late. in odd clothing at a witch trial would also be ill-advised, but they didn’t know that’s where they would find themselves.

    I continue to be annoyed that the crew keeps splitting up, without having a means of keeping in contact. For people of Yaz and Ryan’s age, not having a mobile phone to keep in contact would be like missing an arm. The Doctor could apparently easily keep them in contact by jazzing up their phones, but for some reason has chosen not to. Of course, pulling this phones out in the environment of this particular episode could get them burned at the stake.

    I was annoyed at the psychic paper, which continues to seem just an easy out for the writers, to give the Doctor instant authority. Though I’ll admit that I quite liked the little twist- that the most impressive credentials that the king could bring himself to imagine for the Doctor was as Witchfinder’s Assistant.

    I was mildly annoyed at the camp portrayal of King James, though admittedly, I don’t have any historical knowledge to know how he might have realistically behaved (and would give some leeway in that anyway).

    I found the claim that Lady of the manor would grab an axe and cut down the tree herself implausible. Surely that’s hardly something she would do herself.

    And, as noted by others, body-snatching zombie creatures aren’t the most original, and the resolution was rushed. Given the strength of earlier historicals in the series, and the interesting prospect of the Doctor being treated as a witch, I found this one something of a disappointment. I’ve said enough- I don’t want to simply post a list of negatives, and I know many enjoyed this one.


    I also thought that Whittaker really came into her own in this, and the ‘Bradley Walsh should be The Doctor’ types suitably chastised.

    I’m struggling enough with Bradley Walsh playing Graham. I really can’t begin to imagine him as the Doctor.


    I thought this was the weakest episode this season… I must give it a rewatch because I feel like I missed something.

    Agreed, but don’t think I could rewatch- too many niggles in this one for me.

    tardigrade @replies

    I rather enjoyed this episode. In many ways, a classic type of episode that could easily have been made with many of the previous Doctors. I thought this script was tighter than some previous ones this series, with each of the companions doing something meaningful.

    I assume that a current-day worker in an Amazon fulfilment centre would feel a lot like the workers here- an organic part of a system that is largely automated. Though perhaps not, as yet, as redundant to the needs of that system.


    I also didn’t see why the Doctor needed to dispatch the dispatch bots at the end, since she seems to have the means to get them to teleport somewhere safe. Even if they’re not sentient, then it’s unnecessarily destructive and messing with a system that the Doctor by now knows isn’t really at fault (apart of course from deliberately killing Kira to make a point). And additionally she knows Charlie has gone down amongst them and she doesn’t even try to stop the bots exploding.

    tardigrade @replies


    One thing this series gets right and better than the previous ones, is the visuals. This has been a stunning series.

    I’d agree that the production values have been generally of a high standard- costumes, props, locations, environments, computer inferfaces and CGI (leaving aside some choices for the Pting) have all been well-realised. Not sure that these things are necessarily better than previous seasons, but there’s certainly no dip in quality. The Tardis is possibly an exception- I’m not that keen on the current design, but not to the point of it detracting from my enjoyment. I do however think I like the current opening sequence better than ones from previous seasons.

    I also think the actors have done a good job with what they’ve been given. Any reservations I’ve had, and I think this probably holds true of most people, would lie with the writing.

    tardigrade @replies


    Mostly though I’m reminded of Eccleston with Whittaker

    It’s also Eccleston that I’m reminded of most. Not always in a good way. Eccleston’s forced cheeriness sometimes comes across to me in Whittaker’s portrayal. I wasn’t that fond of that, but I came to accept it with Eccelston, as (over)compensation for his inner pain/insecurity from his part in the Time War. And it was toned down over time. I rather hope that’s the case with the current Doctor too, as she gains more confidence in herself. I agree that it’s time that we saw more character development in the Doctor, and that the ensemble cast has taken away focus from that.

    tardigrade @replies


    why not a shalwar kameez for Yaz, especially when she knew she was going back in time to see her grandmother?

    It’s something that I feel that would make sense more often- for all of Team Tardis to get dressed suitably for the period and location where that makes sense to do so. With a planned visit like this, to a known time and place, that makes sense here. Particularly as they wanted to blend in and not affect the timeline.


    Her wedding speech this week … kind of gave me the boak a little bit

    I didn’t care for the Doctor’s speech at the wedding either. Calling the couple the most powerful people in the universe wasn’t just sentimental, but also seemed insincere from a rational standpoint, knowing as the Doctor did, that they were powerless to affect the wider events going on around them, and one of them would be dead within hours.


    I’m fully expecting outrage about ‘white people bad, PC gone mad

    If you’re going to tell this story with any honesty, then the English won’t come across smelling of roses. For some comment not to be made when English people show up uninvited would be the odd narrative choice. They might reasonably have expected a greater level of distrust.

    he’s [Graham] pretty sure he’s dealing with a limited time frame

    For whatever reason, I’m getting the feeling that Graham is here for one season. I suspect that ultimately his end will be via a self-sacrifice and full acceptance by Ryan though, rather than sickness. That would serve to close his character arc and parallel Grace’s sacrifice at the start of the season.


    let’s talk about the ‘nervousness’…

    I don’t take the nervousness as JW’s nervousness either. She’s a accomplished actor, so any insecurity I take as part of the character, not of the actor. The Doctor openly admits to blathering when nervous- the blathering isn’t a new trait, but the open admission of nervousness is.

    tardigrade @replies

    Another small-scale, personal story (I recognise that the actual partition of India was very large scale, but the story that was told was a personal one). No great stakes for the Doctor here- in fact things play out the same when the Doctor and crew are there or not. They are as much observers as the Vajarans. I think telling the historical stories from a personal perspective has been what’s made them work this series.

    The Doctor is forced to walk away again. Previously she had to sit and observe an injustice, knowing it was serving a greater good. This time however, she has to walk away knowing a decent man will die purposelessly. This Doctor has the pragmatism to do so however. She does leave the Vajarans to serve at witness though, rather than staying herself, perhaps not trusting herself to stay out of it.

    With the crew going back to visit Yaz’s grandmother in her youth, it’s apparent that there must have already been a conversation about going back to save Grace, and specifically the impossibility of that. It feels like that probably should be been in an episode, as that was potentially a defining moment in the relationship of Graham and Ryan with the Doctor.

    While I’m enjoying individual episodes, I’m getting impatient for something with a little more scale to it. The lack of much in the way of story arc is just one way that I’m feeling this season is paying little in the way of fan service. I recognise that is a deliberate choice, but it’s starting to frustrate a little. Each episode, it seems the number of comments posted on this site drops, excluding the odd troll and general complaint or compliment.

    tardigrade @replies

    Another decent episode, but not one that had enough to it that I’d be in any hurry to rewatch.

    Visually, I thought the environments and costumes in this episode were a real highlight. A white-dominantly environment, but not some generic white environment in BG Who style, but one that showed some real design had gone into it and highlighted the production values for the episode.

    It was an interesting choice to dial up the creature design so far on the cuteness scale though. For me that didn’t help the story, with the Pting never seeming menacing as a result, something that’s been a bit of an ongoing theme with the “monsters” in this series to date, to a greater or lesser degree.

    The main storyline pretty much worked. Some appeared to like the the subplot with the pregnant man, but for me that seemed a bit forced and wasn’t a highlight, even if it did contribute to the development of the Ryan and Graham characters and their relationship. I found the Eve/Durkas subplot more engaging.

    I’m tiring a little of one-off episodes and I’d really like a bit more of a plot arc to tie things together. The general level of bonkerising has been severely limited to this point- there’s been very little in the way of speculation posted and much more in the way of critiques and analysis of thematic connections.

    I was left for a minute thinking that Ronan could find himself on Team Tardis, if his future is to be decommissioned and the Doctor gets wind of that. Not that I think we’re in need of more on that team, and an emotionless android isn’t that promising as a companion.

    tardigrade @replies


    I didn’t mind the coda either- I think it was useful to make it clear that Rosa’s actions didn’t make things at all easy for her and there was still a lot more to be done. I did think that JW played the Doctor as a little too enthusiastic during that part though. The Doctor is not the sort to be impressed by Presidents and so on, so she seemed a little too breathless at the prospect of Rosa receiving presidential approval, as if that would make up for any negatives she’d experienced before that point.

    tardigrade @replies

    This one was a bit of a mixed bag for me. Overall I found it fairly enjoyable though.

    I thought the spiders were well realised and generally looked quite real. Not really much scare factor to them though. Arachnophobes may disagree 🙂

    The interactions between the companions were generally well done and we learned a good deal more about Yaz in particular. Looked at impartially, you can see why the Doctor might come across as lesbian- relatively short hair, androgynous clothing and something like a rainbow motif on her top. So to Yaz’s family, who appear to want to see her paired up, it’s not that unreasonable for them to wonder if they’re involved, even if Yaz isn’t openly bi. The Doctor’s clueless answer when asked doesn’t appear to have put that suspicion to rest.

    I thought the segments where Graham was interacting with an imaginary Grace were highlights and gave a genuine reason why he would want to go with the Doctor rather than hanging around at home. More so maybe than Ryan and Yaz, who appear to be motivated more typically from a desire for more adventure.

    However, I thought that the plot was patchy, with the main problem being the lack of a conclusion – the anticlimax when facing the big spider and indeterminate fate for the spiders lured into the panic room meant that the story just petered out. I think they couldn’t really address what happened to the spiders in the panic room, as it would make it more obvious that shooting wasn’t really that bad an option ethically (as @lionheart564 suggests- welcome to the board btw).

    The character of the rich American came close to working, but was left a bit too cliched. I suspect we’ll see more of him. Still, I enjoyed the line “What’s wrong with you people? What’s wrong with this country? Why don’t you do what normal people do? Get a gun, shoot things like a civilised person”. Which is a pretty good summary of the American version of civilisation.

    tardigrade @replies

    @pedant @mudlark

    The time displacement device appears to have been capable of sending people forward to the 85th century, from memory. If its ability to send people backwards is similar, then Krasko could have ended up around 6000 BCE. At that time, the American continent was populated solely by native Americans. Krasko would have found himself very much out of place and likely subject to xenophobia, at least that’s how I like to imagine it 🙂 In principle, the Doctor could also nip back and pick him up, if she felt the need. I don’t think it was a fatal displacement to a primordial soup.


    Just on the Doc’s historical approach to racism, watched the first two episodes of Tomb of the Cybermen recently and it’s a story where it’s getting increasingly difficult not to ignore its racism, or just how little the Doctor seems to be troubled by it

    I think as fans, we should accept that there are elements of the First Doctor’s character that are products of the time that the series was being produced, and allow those to be retconned away in terms of the canon of what the Doctor’s character was like. I think that’s preferable to having to contort to explain how the First Doctor could have acted in ways that by any modern standards would appear casually racist and chauvinist. When we watch an episode from that time, we learn about that time, not about the Doctor.

    tardigrade @replies

    This episode clearly wasn’t action packed. That didn’t stop it being good viewing by any means. In particular, I felt the characterisation for all three companions took leaps forward. I particularly appreciated Graham’s reaction upon being forced to play a central role and stand on the wrong side of history without being able to act. Apart from his personal discomfort, he may have felt in some way that to do what he did was a betrayal of Grace, even if he was doing it for the right reasons.

    It is still surreal to me that there were people in America acting like this at a time period that isn’t really that far removed from today. Sure, the episode got close to preachy. For me, this is something that I’m prepared to be preached to about though. The music towards the end got a little much for me, but for some I’m sure that to some it was a highlight.

    While I’m really glad there’s a place in Doctor Who for an episode like this personally, I’m deliberately trying to take a step back and see whether the new season will appeal to new viewers, since I think it may have drawn in more than normal with a change in Doctor, particularly once that’s gotten a little more attention than most. Three rather different episodes so far and I’m unsure. Perhaps mixing it up is a good thing? It certainly doesn’t feel like it’s particularly targeted at a younger audience.

    I agree with the comments that previous Doctors, especially PC’s Doctor would have struggled to take the actions (and inactions) that the Doctor did here. Sitting down, shutting up, and not getting involved aren’t characteristics I’d associate with the Doctor, even if that’s the right thing to do. To do things differently to previous Doctor’s isn’t a bad thing though- a touch more pragmatism might keep her out of trouble at times.

    I’d have liked to see the Doctor do a little more to blend in. Her mode of dress would have raised eyebrows in the 50s. I guess she hasn’t shown more than sporadic interest in prior incarnations in blending in, but I would have thought that newfound pragmatism might have warranted that. I don’t think it’s essential that the Doctor wear the same outfit constantly in any case.

    I tend to think that if Rosa Parks hadn’t acted on that day, she or someone else would have soon afterwards. Some ideas just have their time and the boycott that followed showed that people were looking for a catalyst to get change started- the fact that Martin Luther King was present should indicate that pretty clearly. That isn’t intended to diminish Rosa Parks in any way, but I’m doubtful that a few little changes on that day would really have done a whole lot to history in the broad.

    tardigrade @replies


    Another thing which I noted was that the police box is now, for the first time I think, represented as a kind of vestibule to the whole rather than as containing it, as if it were merely a portal to another dimension. Maybe that shift in concept shouldn’t bother me, but it does a little.

    Noticed that also. I’ve always rather enjoyed the idea that the Tardis is bigger on the inside and literally contained within the police box exterior, at least in some sense, so I found having the bulk of the Tardis outside the police box a bit conceptually jarring.

    tardigrade @replies


    I would put money on Graham’s time in the Tardis being his time in remission and him sacrificing himself in some way…

    Yes- much more what I’m thinking. Although… now that I think back, Graham was out of his medipod first- conceivably that leaves room for him to have gotten a nasty diagnosis from the machine that he’s keeping to himself. Or maybe Ryan was in longer, as the medipod was trying to resolve his dyspraxia.

    tardigrade @replies

    I meant also to mention, that since Ryan and Graham are now aware of the ability of the Tardis to travel in time, I’d be expecting them to be asking very shortly about going back to save Grace.

    tardigrade @replies

    I’m not used to the new timing for episodes. A Sunday evening UK time makes in Monday in Australia, so it’s harder to find time to watch. I’ll have to get used to it though 🙂

    I liked this episode a whole lot more than the first one in the series. I felt that the tone swung back much more to where I expect the show to sit. Some hints towards an arc were welcome. It even retroactively improved the first episode a little, with the Stenza encounter seemingly meaning more as part of a wider storyline. I didn’t pick that the Ghost Monument was the Tardis until it was shown, so the misdirection around that worked, at least on me.

    I enjoyed the new intro- obviously calling back to older iterations, but doing its own thing.

    Character development still seems a bit slight for the companions- I felt in some ways that we got to know the one-off characters in the episode better than we have Yaz in particular.

    The overall Tardis interior design didn’t grab me. Overall a bit dark, and the spinning mini-Tardis in the centre of the console, especially it wobbling around as it spun, bothered me a bit more than it probably should have. (I know that some BG consoles were very wobbly 🙂 )

    On those commenting on the sunglasses- it occurred to me also they must be things she’d picked up on Earth, probably at the charity shop and, despite the banter, definitely nothing to do with Archimedes. At that point, the Doctor hasn’t revealed that she has access to time travel, so it must have seemed very off-the-wall to Graham and the others.


    given that Graham is supposed to be a cancer survivor I couldn’t quite shake the feeling they were setting up an out for him, especially given B W’s workload on his quiz show does not appear to have been effected.

    I’d find it very unsatisfactory to have someone leaving the Tardis due to a chronic medical condition. That is something that the Doctor could help him address, given time. Graham has already spent time in a medipod, and if it had time to implant a universal translator, a little cleanup of dormant cancer seems a higher priority.

    tardigrade @replies

    Good to have the Doctor back after what seems a very extended period. But I struggled with this episode quite a bit and honestly found it a bit of a slog to get through. The story really didn’t warrant the extra running time, but the extra characterisation of the last few minutes were possibly worth it.

    First the main positive. Jodie Whittaker owned the character of the Doctor, and I’m comfortable the part is in good hands. No excess of quirkiness in the writing or performance, but the character of the Doctor came through. The parts with her improvising both a sonic and the teleporter (?) near the end were good fun.

    For an episode that was presumably mostly to introduce the Doctor’s companions, I felt I didn’t get to know any of them that well yet, and that wasn’t helped by possibly the most interesting character being killed off. Given the choice, I’d have preferred Grace over Graham as a companion. Early days there though.

    I was a bit troubled by the Doctor being able to fall from a great height and survive apparently unscathed. The justification I found for myself was that immediately post regeneration she can recover from injuries much more easily, since the regeneration process is still going on.

    Some have commented on the derivative plot and slow pacing, and those definitely bothered me. In part that was because this was an episode that should have had as an aim to draw in new viewers, and to be honest, if this was my introduction, I might not be back for more. I’m definitely hoping for some tighter writing in coming episodes.

    For me, there was something a little off with the tone in the episode also. I’m not sure why, but it felt in places like the Doctor Who movie, which isn’t a comparison that I make lightly. Darkness in the lighting and the general tone contributed to that.

    I’m certainly interested in seeing more of the new Doctor, but this episode was a forgettable one for me.

    tardigrade @replies


    Locke is obviously well before any understanding (nascent though it still is) of the brain and was, I imagine, a cartesian dualist, so in his view, memory presumably resided with the soul, so a reconstituted body containing that soul would contain the same self.

    I’d argue that in the modern understanding, and disregarding dualism, self emerges from the structure of the brain, and that memories shape that structure, so are a part of that, though not all of it. There are certainly many who hold hope that their self could, at least in principle, be “uploaded” and they could exist in some virtual form that reflected that structure, captured their memories, and contained their self, but wasn’t dependent on the hardware of the brain. The Doctor apparently previously bought into that when River was uploaded to the library computer. Not so much now though, it seems.

    tardigrade @replies


    It was not so long ago that the Twelfth Doctor was fumbling with Clara’s index cards containing her notes on human social cues he’s supposed to heed. Has he really finally picked up on those clues?

    I’d agree there’s something of a disconnect there. I think that’s more about the cuecards than his sensitivity at present though. I was critical of the cuecard scenes, as I thought they went much too far in the opposite direction, in the writers’ enthusiasm to reinforce his alien qualities. He’s lived well over a millenium, a significant amount of that around humans, so he really must have picked up on these things by now, if he’s capable of doing so at all.

    Plus it seemed to me it would not just be his sensitivity to how these statements would be perceived by Bill that triggered the Doctor’s discomfort, but also his own personal reaction, coming from a society where it’s hard to see those attitudes prevailing. The Time Lords of 60’s TV were doubtless a partriarchal society, but I would have assumed that was essentially ignored / retconned now, rather than representing something that was carried through now as canon. So it wasn’t Twelve’s sensitivity that was surprising to me, but rather the First Doctor’s obliviousness.

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    I’ve thought a little about the “memory as identity” concept that’s raised in this episode. I tend to think that there is more than memory in identity. Even stripped of all memories, I feel that something of the self remains. I’m not talking about a soul, as I think that everything of the self comes from the physical components of the body. Ultimately, if you broke down the structure of the brain, at some point the self would be destroyed, but I think that removing the higher level constructs that we perceive as conscious memories would not (fully) do that.

    Most particularly, it’s clear that the Doctor doesn’t believe that memory is identity – he doesn’t treat Bill as the person he cared for, but only as a simulation of that person, whom he barely addresses directly initially.

    And it’s clear that the Doctor feels that he himself is more than his memories, since he feels a real change of identity, even the death of his current self in some sense, whenever he regenerates, even though that leaves his memories intact. It’s significantly more for him than just a change in appearance.

    And yet, he “transferred” River into the library computer, presumably in that case feeling he was doing more than creating a simulation of her.

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    While there was a lot to like in this episode, and it was a fitting farewell to Capaldi, it didn’t feel like it really quite scratched the itch I had. A sentimental character piece wasn’t I think what I was looking for in a Xmas episode. Though when it’s also a swan song for Capaldi, that should perhaps have been expected. Though, perhaps, that’s a little unfair- a single episode wasn’t going to do much to relieve that itch in any case.

    The banter between the Doctors was an obvious highlight, with the writer having fun with the premise. And David Bradley did a wonderful job as the First Doctor. I was unsure about another actor reprising the role and essentially playing William Hartnell playing the Doctor, but it was so well done that I put those reservations aside almost immediately.

    However, I have to register my discomfort with the First Doctor being portrayed with 1960’s (or earlier) attitudes to gender roles, even with that being played for comedy. I have difficulty in reconciling that with the Doctor’s character as I know it- I’d have preferred that those dated elements were treated just as a by-product of making a show at that time, rather than intrinsic to the First Doctor, essentially just retconning them away, or being part of an act to fit in. As an alien from a society where people can change gender, having ingrained “traditional” gender roles isn’t something I could imagine as part of the Doctor’s character.

    I appreciated that the Doctor’s memories of Clara were restored. There would have been an important piece of the Doctor missing if he’d regenerated without those memories.

    When an unnamed captain was introduced, I was expecting from the outset that his name would turn out to be a Lethbridge-Stewart. In fact, I had that impression just seeing the preview shot for the episode. I’m not claiming any particular prescience though- I imagine that would have occurred to many. And that didn’t stop it being an enjoyable callback.

    To those who mentioned it, I definitely also got the impression that the Tardis was deliberately ejecting the Doctor. If it’s for her own safety, which is reasonable, given the state the Tardis was left in, then it’s left the Doctor in a rather precarious position though. The Doctor really should set the Tardis down, and preferably go outside, before regenerating in future – this isn’t the first time a problem like this has occurred :-). The Tardis did seem to be dematerialising at the end, perhaps zipping off to another time to self-repair and will be back in time to catch the Doctor before she hits the ground. It is an interesting way to introduce a cliff-hanger after Whittaker has had all of two words of dialog, and has me really ready for a new series. Those two words we’re full of promise though, delivered as they were with her natural accent, with renewed enthusiasm, and with the use of “brilliant” calling back to Eccelston’s Doctor.

    But my favourite line was Capaldi’s one where he gives in and decides to regenerate – “Well, I suppose one more lifetime won’t kill anyone… well, except me”.

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    @wolfweed Looks interesting. I see there’s some criticism of the animation style, but for the purpose of bridging elements of the story where there is no footage, I think it’s fine. In fact, it makes the animation look more like it’s a product of the time when the rest was filmed, rather than a modern day animation studio, so there’s a certain appropriateness to that.

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    That last picture does concern me a little- the decision to spray-paint her skin silver is an unusual constuming choice- her hands are the same colour as her coat :-). Someone’s got a bit heavy-handed with the Photoshop filters.

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    Just on my last point, I had another thought. When discussing different incarnations of the Doctor, it’s usual to refer to the Doctor via surname (or number for fans). So it would be the Capaldi Doctor, not the Peter Doctor (even if that didn’t introduce ambiguity with Peter Davidson). That practise, I think, biases fans towards using a surname, even when the first name would be perfectly fine when referring to the actor. Perhaps with Jodie Whittaker not yet established in the role, that hasn’t taken on as firmly. That’s pure speculation though, assuming there is even some phenomenon to explain.

    While doubtless there is some sexist sentiment in places, I wouldn’t want it to be thought that merely using Jodie Whittaker’s first name pushes you into that camp. The use of first names is well established in the entertainment industry- if I refer to the latest gossip on Tom and Katie then everyone knows what I mean- if I said “Cruise and Holmes” I imagine I’d get quite a few momentary blank looks while people mentally parsed that. (There’s me talking as if I’d have the slightest clue about said gossip 🙂 ).

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    @thane15 good to talk again- it’s been a while

    I am actually a bit amazed that people are really commenting on this -or in any way commenting negatively about this? There wasn’t this level of criticism of Peter Capaldi’s clothing -but I could be wrong?

    I wouldn’t comment on Jodie Whittaker’s personal choice in clothing, or Peter Capaldi’s for that matter. However, the costume chosen for her character is fair game though. If she was wearing a highly sexualised outfit for example, then it would be rightfully criticised, but I wouldn’t think of criticising what she chose to wear to an awards ceremony. I have in the past been critical of costumes chosen for the Doctor- Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy in particular, for trying way too hard to be quirky. I don’t think Peter Capaldi’s costume garnered much comment, due to its dullness. I will admit, commenting on the costume is more from a lack of much else to comment on at this stage than anything else.

    I think that not all women have hips to hold up pants?

    True- more than men though, and Whittaker would not be in need of suspenders. I can’t speak firsthand of relative comfort for women of suspenders and bra, though surely the first would necessitate the second anyway?

    I’m not sure why you’d need to cover your ankles

    It’s not showing the ankles that concerned me (though I guess the Doctor might choose something different for Victorian England if she wanted to avoid attention), but more practicality in all conditions. As someone who’s hiked through areas with leeches, seeing exposed ankles tends to give me a shiver. The reason you don’t see commandos in shorts isn’t related to prudishness.

    Also, I wonder if people called Capaldi just ‘Peter’ as I read in the papers they call JW ‘Jodie’ & that smells a bit of anti-feminism?

    I’m not very sensitive to these things. As an Australian, it wouldn’t be disrespectful to use first names- if I were introduced to the PM, my response would likely be “Nice to meet you, Malcolm”. “Mr Turnbull” would be a little stand-offish. But that obviously varies with culture – if I were introduced to Bill Gates, it would be “Mr Gates” for example. It’s “PC” / “JW” and so on that I don’t like using, since I feel like I’m speaking in code.

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    There’s a “Doctorish” feel to this costume, so I can’t be too down on it, but for me, this isn’t a great look.

    Braces/suspenders on women have never seemed very practical to me. Women have hips to hold up pants; those who typically prefer braces are obese men for whom belts aren’t very effective. And the straps on the braces would seem to me potentially pretty uncomfortable across the breasts, depending on the woman’s build. So when braces are worn by women, outside practical clothes for manual work, I think they tend to be either a fashion statement, fetishised, or a self-conscious indicator of sexual orientation.

    Take the suspenders away, and the “Doctorishness” of the costume does drop a little, so maybe a collared shirt would be required. Covering her ankles would also seem more practical. Perhaps that is getting a bit too boring and generic though. Still preferable to going overboard on quirkiness though.

    What I’d really prefer though is that the Doctor doesn’t have a single costume, but changes more freely. I realise there’s some value in an “iconic” look that can translate into cosplay and so on, but that doesn’t mean that she needs to dress the same all the time, and can adopt period appropriate clothing for example, as female companions might do.

    I’m a little late commenting, but I’m more concerned about the ensemble cast that appears to be planned. I’m hoping in particular that Jodie gets the opportunity to establish her Doctor’s character before the Tardis gets too crowded.

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    @blenkinsopthebrave @jimthefish @cathannabel I agree also that this thread has probably run it’s course, though not necessarily that it’s having a negative impact. I don’t think opinions are going to change or solidify very much until we actually see episodes with the new Doctor and showrunner, which is further off than I’d like.

    We should keep in mind that Peter Capaldi’s not done yet either, with the Xmas episode to come. I can’t quite work myself up to getting involved in the discussion of Peter Capaldi’s tenure until it’s actually completed.

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    @whofangirl-73 I’m very open to a female Doctor, and thought it was an appropriate time for that casting to happen (even if I’m still apprehensive, by dint of not knowing Jodie Whittaker’s work). But if Benedict Cumberbatch had been available (and able to commit to more than one season), then, to my mind, he would trump literally anyone for the role. It’s very tough to see him clearing a schedule to do Dr Who any time soon though, so I think that’s only a fantasy casting. Beyond that, I don’t think his fame would disqualify him from the role, though perhaps it also means that it’s not an obvious career move for him.

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    @stew1221 To be clear, I don’t blame Colin Baker for issues at the time- it was the writing and some questionable production decisions. Agreed that costume was a mess- trying much too hard to be quirky (something that carried on into McCoy’s Doctor, though perhaps a little less egregiously). And Peri is amongst my least favourite companions, so that didn’t help at all.

    I think the Doctor’s core character shouldn’t be changed too radically, and certainly not in a more unlikeable direction. With all the talk of winning people over and the Doctor as a role model, that would seem a very risky direction to take.

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    @stew1221 Romana I being relatively cold and a touch arrogant worked well for the Key to Time series, so that she could bump heads with the Doctor. After that, I thought it was a good decision to make her much warmer as a regular companion. I’d be pretty concerned if the Doctor’s character was deliberately made less sympathetic- I think that was a key decision that damaged BG Who, when Colin Baker’s Doctor was made unlikeable, particularly initially. Lalla Ward’s Romana is one of the reasons that I’m confident that a female Doctor will work- we’re already seen Lalla playing something close to that character, and I think she could just as easily have stepped into the Doctor’s shoes.

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    …maybe the transition (in universe/story and in reality) will be easier to accept if he CHOOSES to regenerate into a woman (perhaps in an attempt to honor missy’s and bill’s sacrifices)?

    It’s a little difficult to see the Doctor getting to a position of making that sort of choice (and has had precious little control over previous regenerations). Perhaps he might have some unconscious control- there was a suggestion that his current form was unconsciously chosen. However, at present, he’s struggling with the prospect of repeated change to who he is, and him deliberately choosing to depart even further from his current identity doesn’t seem to sit that well with that. Perhaps he’s trying for a ginger and this is the result 🙂


    I’d prefer to see Jodie play a Doctor who is female (rather than a female Doctor). Whilst I don’t think the gender element should be down played, I do think the essentials of the doctor’s character and behaviour should remain essentially the same. I think the point of having a gender change character should be to show that gender is not the primary thing going on.

    Yes- I think that’s rather well put. The Doctor is fundamentally the same character underneath, regardless of external appearances and the twists on that character that each regeneration brings- the Doctor’s gender is a part of that, but not a defining feature. In that respect it was a piece of good fortune that the Doctor happens to have a gender neutral name.

    I think it wouldnt have caused anything like the same impact as today.

    We’re talking the days before Twitter and YouTube, so it’s easy to forget the relative difficulty of “outrage” getting kicked off in any case. A female casting for the Doctor would have been unlikely to have made much, if any, appearance in the mainstream media then- it would have below the radar and there wouldn’t have been easy access to as many comments as you please dragged from social media to generate a story from. Letters to the BBC wouldn’t have had much visibility.


    Gallifrey is obviously a classist society which is one of the reasons the Doctor keeps running so I think keeping the elitist titles is justifiable.

    I agree that on Gallifrey, it makes sense for the elite to refer to themselves as Time Lords. It’s the Doctor running around the universe at large and taking that title that niggles- he obviously doesn’t have much truck with that hierarchy. It seems to me that he might have chosen to drop that title after the Time Wars and not taken it up again.

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    @lisa @genek1953 “Time Lady” has been used by Missy in AG Who:

    DALEK: You are a Time Lord?
    MISSY: Time Lady, thank you. Some of us can afford the upgrade.

    However, I actually think it may be a good time to ditch the Time Lord/Lady terminology altogether, as it’s not just the gender of the term that’s the issue. The modern connotations of “Lord” don’t sit well with the Doctor’s character. I don’t think that “Lady” is much better in that respect- it makes me think of “tea lady”, which doesn’t carry the right vibe either 🙂 . The Doctor could call herself “Gallifreyan”.


    I fully believe that this would have happened in the 1990s in pre-gap Who if the show hadn’t have been scrapped by the BBC.

    If instead of scrapping the program, there had been a female 8th Doctor, then I suspect that the major reaction may have been that the show was “jumping the shark”, and then blame for the demise. The possibility of a gender change from regeneration wasn’t established in lore then.

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    To be honest, I’m ready for the Master to be gone for a long time. I’ve said this repeatedly but I want to see new twists and villains or even old ones we have yet to entertain in the new series.

    Agreed- I think that as things stand, the Master/Missy, cybermen and Time Lords can all disappear for a season or more. The daleks are doubtless going to make an appearance in S11, but I think its time to expand into new places, new races, new villains and new storylines. While returning to some old themes can be seen as paying fan service, in the end the series needs to evolve and returning to the well too often can make the Whoniverse seem smaller in scope than it should. There’s deliberately a very clean slate at the moment, so I think this is a really good time for that.


    Is she [Jodie] going to get to keep that wonderful Yorkshire accent?

    I assume so. I think it’s preferable for actors to use their natural accent whenever they can, even if they are very capable in affecting other accents- it’s one less thing for them to think about for one thing and helps them concentrate on their performance. I’ve always assumed that David Tenant didn’t use his native accent in deference to American viewers- a Scottish accent can be tricky to an ear trained on American English, at least to some.


    I have decided that what I’m actually hoping for, after all this outcry, is that The Doctor asserts the identity he’s always had and demands to be considered male, despite appearances.  Admittedly, this is because I feel like people who are protesting from a viewpoint of extreme misogyny would be utterly furious to discover this isn’t a feminist agenda, but that damn liberal media and their ramblings about gender identity!  Still, we know The Doctor is quite comfortable being referred to as “him”.  Why should that change?  I don’t think they’d go down this path, and it could be for the best since it might get tedious having to correct every second person that turns up on screen, but in the privacy of my own malicious fantasies, this is a thing.

    I can’t see that happening- those crying “feminist agenda” would just seamlessly switch over to “liberal agenda” and you introduce a new group of haters- unfortunately trans people face a significant degree of negativity. And it potentially undermines the positivity of having a female casting if the Doctor herself can’t accept it. I think a better outcome would be if the Doctor, who has struggled with the reality of changing again and again achieves an epiphany and fully embraces her latest, and perhaps greatest, physical change. And yes – I know you had your tongue planted in your cheek in making this suggestion 🙂

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    Does the Doctor now have existential angst not knowing how many regenerations he has left, I wonder? Or has he now got all the regeneration energy of all Time Lords no longer around, and is effectively immortal…

    If anything the angst appears to stem from not knowing how much more change he can go through, rather than a more conventional existential angst of impending mortality. The uncertainty is a problem anyway.


    I thought the outfit was meant to be similar to Twelves, as in the regeneration had just happened because the coat and hoody looked too big on her – like Tennant in Eccleston’s  leather jacket.

    That’s certainly possible. A newly regenerated Doctor can take time to establish their own look. The more I think about it though, the more I like the idea of the new Doctor not necessarily having one iconic look, or at least departing from it much more freely. I wouldn’t be wanting to see a particularly quirky look, and from what I’ve heard, that’s not likely to be Jodie Whittaker’s style anyway.


    I feel sry for the 6th doctor, I met Colin Baker a few yrs ago, what a lovely man he is

    Is he facing some issue I don’t know about? I struggled with much of his term as the Doctor, but that was mostly due to the writing and companions of the period. I never assumed his “Doctor” personality was his own.

    A very sad day… Been watching dr who since I was 4yrs old, my first doctor being the late great Jon Pertwee, never missed an episode in all that time. The doctor has defeated many foes but alas could not beat the bbc’s political correct agenda… I wont be watching anymore

    A fan of similar longevity here. I can remember Jon Pertwee regenerating and not knowing whether things would be the same, only to be enchanted by Tom Baker’s irrepressible Doctor. And then when he left the role after so long, feeling the same again. And yet the show continued finding new directions.

    I was worried about David Tenant leaving the role, after making the role his own, only again to see Matt Smith step in and himself do a wonderful job, and then feeling worried about Peter Capaldi stepping into the role, and having those worries promptly assuaged, when it was clear it was in capable hands. There’s been a good record of casting for the role, and as a result, I now have a good deal of trust that the new casting is delivering an actor who’ll do justice to the role, and opening that role up to a wider pool of actors can, I think, only be a good thing.

    The program you’ve watched for all that time will survive another regeneration, and there’s every possibility that it will be all the stronger for it. I hope that many who are expressing concerns at the casting will continue to give the show a chance.

    I really don’t see this as part of any agenda, driven top-down, but rather a bottom-up decision from the creative team, who saw the opportunity to cast an actor who can bring something new to the role and open up new creative directions.

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    @premonition Welcome to the forum. Perhaps you missed the events around the regeneration of the 11th Doctor? It turned out he was on his last regeneration then, and the Time Lords granted him more regeneration energy, and an unknown additional number of regenerations. So that issue was dealt with then.

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    @rorysmith @nerys It would be fun to see the Doctor regenerate and see her much more interested in her new hair colour than her changed gender, just based on comments from earlier Doctors. As long as that’s made clear that it’s not a preoccupation based on her new gender.

    I really think it’s quite a small group who’ve had the inevitable knee-jerk reaction against the concept of a female Doctor, and I think the new and lapsed viewers that a new Doctor will bring to the show are likely to make up numbers anyway, so I really can’t see this as a particularly risky decision, at least any more so than other regenerations / shake-ups. This is, however, a very clean slate in this case, with Capaldi, Mackie, Lucas and Gomez all seemingly written out, and the show-runner changing.

    I don’t know Jodie Whittaker’s work at all (I’ve never seen Broadchurch in particular), so I can’t comment on her casting, but the reports I’ve heard are positive, and that doesn’t make her any different to previous Doctors for me. So I join with those welcoming her (and Chibnall and new companion(s) aboard) and look forward to seeing the series continue to evolve.

    I’m assuming, as others have, that the costume for the reveal was only for that purpose (a relatively androgynous costume was needed, and a hood was necessary to cover her hair to avoid spoiling the reveal). My mental picture of her outfit is still a relatively androgynous outfit in keeping with recent Doctors, but I’m aware that’s probably a deficiency of my imagination, and consequently a disappointment if that’s how it turns out. Or slightly more radically, perhaps she doesn’t need to have a relatively fixed outfit and can actually change outfits much more freely than previous Doctors. That would be one way to signal a change in personality with the new regeneration.

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    So I think this is why Missy clasps the Doctor’s hand as they part ways near the end. Without words, just this gesture, she is reassuring him that she is on his side.

    When they clasp hands, earlier in this episode and previously, it clearly affects Missy emotionally. She actually rejects an attempt by the Doctor to clasp both her hands when they’re parting for the last time. The way I see this, she’s still in two minds at that point, and I think doesn’t trust herself not to immediately give in to the Doctor’s wishes if she clasps his hands – she possibly even sees it as a deliberate attempt at manipulation by the Doctor. So she instead goes for the much more impersonal firm handshake. I don’t think this is intended to convey a covert message. I’m sure that the Doctor can read the signs that she is in two minds though.

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    In fact if you act on the basis of any expectation for reward or recognition (in this life anyway) you can’t claim any moral basis for your action, whatever it is.

    I really don’t see that the phrase “(in this life anyway)” is particularly relevant ethically- the expectation of personal gain is still present, even if that comes later on. And that’s one reason that I think it’s actually easier to talk about morality once it’s separated from traditional religion belief. If you’re operating within a framework where your actions are scrutinised and you can expect (substantial) reward in an afterlife or future life based on those actions, then the purity of the moral basis of those actions is called into question. It’s the actions you take when you’re not being scrutinised (“without witness”) that are the better indication of character.

    But to claim that someone with a religious belief that they will be judged and rewarded/punished based on their actions cannot take actions based on moral grounds is, I think, taking things much too far. I don’t think that treating the morality of actions in black and white terms is very helpful, and leads to the rather extreme position that you mention, that if you feel good about something you’ve done, then that is a reward, and that throws doubt onto the morality of the action. I’d prefer to think that morality, like pretty much anything else, is better considered on a spectrum, with truly selfless acts right up at one end, but still with many other actions towards that end of the scale.

    I’m suggesting that the Doctor has lost this element of his moral code, even whilst he restates it at that moment.

    In the end, the Doctor’s moral code compels him to regenerate, and to accept the personal negatives that come along with that, so that he can continue to help others. But it may be important for him to recapture why he is doing that and feel an internal reward that affirms that he’s doing the right thing.

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    But there was a long beat, holding on that hand-clasp, so *something* was sure going on.

    There have been several points, including earlier in this episode where holding hands affected Missy, so I don’t think that something beyond it likely being the last time they’d do it was necessarily implied.

    Somehow I find it difficult to imagine Missy preparing a confession dial, but perhaps she may have, in the lonely hours in the vault, particularly towards the end, when she began to feel that she had something to confess.

    If Master Simm does achieve regeneration once he’s in his own Tardis, could he simply regenerate into Missy again, since in the Black Hole story that regeneration hasn’t happened yet? …

    I don’t think I understand what you’re suggesting here.

    My expectation would be that the Simm Master regenerates into Missy (as Missy explains). If he doesn’t, I’d expect that Missy is a later regeneration. I don’t know if it’s possible for her existence to be erased (this potentially gets messy though, as her interacting with her past self is paradoxical). Are you suggesting that the Master might have enough control over his regeneration to avoid regenerating into the same form?

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    @jimthefish In reality, I don’t expect that a Valeyard storyline is planned, or would work. Even if you regard it as something in the Doctor’s future, that can be pushed out indefinitely.

    And I think the War Doctor can fully be regarded as the Doctor- by retrofitting him into the timeline it was just tricky to number him- I think he deserves more than being called Doctor 8.5.

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    I haven’t got involved in the speculation about the identity of a new Doctor in the past, and I won’t get carried away now (I’m too uninformed about British actors for that to be fruitful in any case – inevitably many potential candidates are unknown, or mostly so, to me). However, the line “We can hope” does gently hint that a female Doctor might be on the horizon. And one of the other little barriers to that has been removed – while there was a female companion and female Missy that might have made the transition to a female Doctor also a bit harder – we all know there’s a faction who would be dead against a female Doctor and a mostly female cast would only disenfranchise them further – although realistically that isn’t many of the core audience, and not ones I care much about, so maybe I’m seeing a problem there where there isn’t much. I’ll stress that wouldn’t have been a problem for me at all – I’d like to see Gomez’s Missy play opposite a female Doctor. If Missy has been killed off, then it also opens up the possibility of the Doctor adopting Missy’s form as his new incarnation (i.e. Gomez playing the Doctor).

    One further note- Missy doesn’t confirm that she’s the next regeneration after the Simms Master- she’s seemingly deliberately vague on that point. So there would be potential for others to be inserted between the Simms and Missy incarnations, even if Missy was the end of the line. Any such regenerations would of course not have experienced Missy’s turn towards aligning herself with the Doctor, and be back to a more “traditional” mindset 🙂

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    To those commenting on the reasons for the Doctor to be resisting regenerating, the experience of a TL regeneration is hard for me to imagine as a personal experience. And I imagine individual approaches and attitudes to that would vary between TLs. From what we’ve seen, most TLs don’t appear to be overly fazed by the experience, but the Doctor has been through many now- a full set if you don’t consider Ten’s extra regeneration, as his appearance/personality didn’t change. And has the prospect of many more in his future, so perhaps it’s the lack of any end in sight that makes that prospect more unwelcome. And potentially, in the back of his mind at least, there is the prospect of the Valeyard, an unwelcome, un-Doctor regeneration in his future.

    However, I can imagine other TLs embracing it. Being reborn in a new form after death is something that many people across different religions embrace of course, so broadly it seems to be a more enticing prospect than coming to a final end. I did like the Doctor pulling out a bag of jelly babies in this episode- a little nod that underneath all the changes, at the core, there is the same old Doctor.


    I also don’t think the First Doctor is the only one we’re going to see — and I don’t mean the 13th either.

    Interesting idea- perhaps there are multiple older incarnations involved, showing him his error in fighting the regeneration and the positives that have come from his many faces. That may give a sort of “Christmas Carol” vibe to the Xmas special 🙂


    I think it was Heather’s tear that enabled Bill to retain her “humanity” through the cyberisation process.

    That’s possibly a factor, but the Doctor does suggest in the episode that it may have been from her experience living under the Monks and fighting their control- although she did seem naturally able to retain her sense of self through that period, so it may also be innate to her.

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    Like most it seems, I enjoyed this one and thought it a fitting end to the series.

    We did get the answer to the question “Missy, would it kill you to be kind for once?”. That answer appears to be yes :). It wasn’t only Bill who was unwilling to live if she couldn’t be herself. It seems the Master felt the same and didn’t want to become what Missy was becoming.

    Given the Master’s history, I don’t see this being the end for Missy. If she could remember being told by her future self to pack a spare dematerialisation circuit, then the matter of shooting herself in the back might well stick also and she might have made appropriate preparations, fiddled with the Master’s weapon perhaps and made it non-fatal to her, or somehow made herself immune to its effects, or perhaps she did hand a ring or something over to the Doctor (admittedly not a plot device I much liked first time around). At least it’s as open as ever after a demise for the Master/Missy to make a reappearance.

    I thought the decision to (for the most part) show Bill as herself in the episode, at least as she sees herself in her mind’s eye, rather than as the converted cyber-Bill, was a very clever one, as that allowed an emotional connection to the character that would frankly have been impossible as a mechanically voiced cyberman.

    And the ongoing existence of Bill with Heather, even including the ability for her to return in human form, I thought was a very appropriate way to wrap all that up, and to complete an arc for Bill, even if a relatively short one. Though the Doctor may never know what happened to her, which would be a pity.

    Nardole is left fighting the good fight. It did occur to me that the Doctor might be able to nudge the ship a little closer to the event horizon and increase the time differential, buying Nardole and the settlers more time.

    The Doctor is extremely resistant to regenerating this time around, perhaps drawing it out a little more than is comfortable for viewers, but realistically, I had no expectation of seeing a completed regeneration in this episode.

    And the cross-over with the First Doctor promises to be an interesting one. I have a feeling that this Doctor may be closer to being able to find common ground with the original Doctor than many, if not all, of his predecessors.

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