General All-Purpose Doctor Who Thread

Not boo, WHO!

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Finally got some time to watch 73 Yards.

Wow. Wonderfully atmospheric episode.

Nice to see Ruby on her own and forced to solve the problem without the Doctor. It was a great moment to highlight her intelligence, and that companions are there for more than to ask questions and look on with adoring doe-eyes as the Doctor does stuff.

From what I got of the plot:

  1. Ruby and the Doctor break the fairy circle that was trapping the evil MadJack

  2. Ruby further complicated things by reading the messages thus unleashing MadJack. (breaking the circle as bad. Reading the messages, out loud, was really really bad)

  3. Since she read the messages, magic logic says she is the one who has to fix it. Thus her timeline is split (this is how we get two Ruby’s)

  4. From our perspective the Doctor “disappears” as he is not part of Ruby’s solution.

  5. Ruby spends the next twenty years prepping for the rise of MadJack.

  6. She succeeds in preventing MadJack from destroying the world, but she does not have the power to trap him.

  7. She lives out the rest of her days until her death, when the timeline resets.

  8. Young Ruby has a fading memory of all of this, which is how she prevents the Doctor from breaking the circle the second time, but the memory dissipates even as they are talking so by the time they are leaving the hills, she’s forgotten everything.

This doesn’t really answer what “old” Ruby was telling people, but the argument could be made that a) we don’t’ need to know, or b) what she said was specific to each person.

Apparently there was also a subtext in this that us Americans weren’t really getting about being Welsh and how England treats Wales.

Also we have our Susan Twist moment in this episode. Nice that Ruby is now catching on that she has seen this person before.

Gave this one an 8/10

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Dot and Bubble

Another episode that was light on the Doctor, and this one fairly light on Ruby as well. I hope that means they needed more time for other episodes, but I also heard that Ncuti was filming Sex Education at the same time and just had less availability.

As for the episode Social media addicts meet slug monsters, but a big twist (and I don’t mean Susan, or a musical number) at the end. But who could believe that a vapid, narcissistic social media addict / influencer would turn out to be sociopathic and racist. Oh right, I have been seen people on social media.

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Dot and Bubble…

Huh…

Ok, already watched this one three times, because, well, I really wanted to find something, anything, to like about the majority of the characters in this episode.

Don’t get me wrong, the episode was great. The writing/story/dialogue… all awesome… Yes, it was light on the Doctor and Ruby this week, but what we saw… was really really great.

But, I spent most of the episode rooting for the slug monsters.

I mean, there was really only one redeemable character on that entire planet, Stingray Rob, no, Dick Trickle, no… Santino Ferrucci … no… the bad lip syncer who I guess everyone on the planet thought was … amazing? The one with the really punchable face… Well, he actually steps up and just as he’s becoming someone to happily root for on this crappy planet full of crappy people… our main character murders him.

Did I mention that I spent pretty much the entire episode rooting for the slug monsters? I did? Good.

And, yeah… the end… to quote a character on Outlander… Jesus H Roosevelt Christ… I mean, sure, of course the ditz who couldn’t even walk w/o her bubble and murders someone trying to save her life is also a racist piece of stucco. Of course she is. And, yup, so are all her friends…

And, don’t get me started on the whole, “We’re going to tame the wilderness” bull-butter. These social media zombies who can barely function working 2 hours a day w/o mitching and boning about it are going to tame the wilderness… suuuuurrrreee. And, they’re going all the way to the sea, huh… I give them 7 days before they’re drinking salt water and dead because of it.

I’m convinced that every adult on the home planet donated to ship these self-centered a-holes to another planet because even their own families couldn’t stand them.

If the big bad in this episode had been the Cybermen, the cybermen collective consciences would have imploded under the weight of all the stupid it was attempting to absorb.

Did I mention that I was rooting for the slug monsters? A lot? Yeah, I was. Still am.

Sigh.

And, we get another Susan appearance, and both Ruby and the Doctor are noticing that this is getting really weird…

Amazing writing, amazing acting… I mean, the actors playing the rich kids really made me want them dead. Awesome work all around.

Can’t wait for the next episode.

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Dot and Bubble is an episode that started with me rolling my eyes hard. Yeah, the walking aspect… just doesn’t make sense? Even in the context of the show? But despite this I quickly liked it more than I thought I would. The messaging is so hamfisted I could taste the umami but it slowly changes into a darker episode and I like that we see this character goes to dark places and then the whole episode does. The first half is kinda dumb (though I love the monsters are, even by Doctor Who standard, so slow and useless you need to walk into their mouths, which seems like it was born by a cheeky poke at the classic era) but even there I was fairly invested and when the lead character lets her hero die, I was really excited about what happens next.

The last act is special. I think like 73 Yards, it is playing to RTD’s strengths; character and being willing to go bleak. Sometimes I don’t like it when it feels too cheeky about it but despite the poppy set design and completely silly cast, all pretense of fun stops. I think this really is the first time where the Doctor, who can usually walk into any situation and take control loses it simply because he can’t “fit in” and that’s actually taking some powerful narrative advantage of having a black Doctor; that simply looking like he does suddenly becomes a barrier to helping people. And it would be easy to do “history sucks” (they’ve done episodes where companions of colour were treated terribly in episodes set in the past) but I love the first time it happens, it’s in a seemingly utopian future. I mean, at least THEY think they are a utopia.

I also think that 73 Yards and Dot and Bubble actually do two things that often bug me about RTD and does it right. Sometimes he’ll introduce cool ideas and it’s not explained or paid off, like the “I’m right” mind illness in the Giggle or, the nadir, shaolin guys showing up in that one werewolf episode from… jeez, 15 years ago?) In both of the most recent episodes, I’m fine with it not getting explained… because I don’t need an explanation, I know all I need to for the emotionality of the episode. It doesn’t matter the reason the time ghost happened or where these slugs are coming from. Because the stories aren’t about the literal “why”, there are about what it does to the characters.

I went in thinking I’d hate this one and the “old man yells at The Cloud” is a rough starting point but I genuinely liked this far more than I expected.

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Did anyone else catch that, in “Boom,” Stephen Moffat once again managed to pull off what I’m going to have to call the Well That’s All Right, Then ending where death isn’t death, or was that too obvious to mention?

Great episode of Doctor Who, but I just thought that was amusing.

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Looks like we have bird people next week.

Hopefully they will be less stupid than cheetah people.

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Which cheetah people? The nurses from New New York, or the ones in Survival?
Or am I forgetting another instance of cheetah people?

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The latter.

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Well given that the FX budget was about $1.25 per episode back then, they should be able to make it look better now.

Also, they did bird people back in the day as well. The effects should be better, by they will be hard pressed to get the bird people to look as good as Nicola.

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I’m away for the weekend so I’m not going to see Doctor Who until late tomorrow, but I’ve already seen a spoiler on twitter. Flippin’ 'eck!

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Sounds like yet another reason to not use Twitter.

It wasn’t the look, it was the fact that it was probably the worst Doctor Who story since they stuck poor Colin Baker with some real clunkers.

My friend and I caught up on the latest three episodes tonight. We’re not happy.

We really enjoyed nearly all of “73 Yards.” I had a line reading problem in the pub. When Ruby asked if she could pay with her phone, the response was way out of proportion. The pub owner took offense at Ruby thinking Wales is primitive, but I feel Ruby’s question had none of that condescension. At first we were thinking “oh, because it’s like 2005 so paying with a phone is not a thing” but that wasn’t the case. As filmed, it looks like entrapment. I think there could have been a line reading or slightly altered line that from Ruby’s perspective was a normal question but could be interpreted as condescending (like “um, phone pay? Is that something you can do?”)

But that’s pretty minor. At some point deep into the episode I said “hey, this one isn’t crap” and we got very excited. And then the ending we think just whiffed it (or “Chibnalled it” which is our new term). As srmcd1 pointed out above, a lot of explaining would be exposition heavy, which I agree with but only during the episode happenings. But at the end I want some kind of explanation. It’s like a murder mystery ending with the detective saying “the butler did it” and then leaves the room, roll credits. NO! That is the precise acceptable moment to spell things out. It’s only exposition if it’s inserted into the main narrative.

Because this episode was sooooo close to being amazing, my friend and I now debate if it was worse with Chibnall because we knew he was bad from the start, or if new Davies is worse because we know he’s capable of greatness.

“Dot and Bubble” we were on board with somewhat, though cautiously. Lindy just grated on us, and we were actually rooting for the hungry hungry tardigrades to get her. And annoying plot holes showed up, like one of the people being rescued is named Brewster Cavendish - so either they are not being killed alphabetically or The Doctor figured stuff out several days earlier and then forgot? We also started realizing that while we agree with the social commentary, we think it’s been pretty heavy handed this season. My reasoning is that Davies is thinking “yo, I tried being subtle before, but people just don’t get it, and I’m getting old so screw it - I’m just going to have characters say the exact words, no room for subtlety.” Which I can see as understandable… but I also feel that - in general - the Doctor Who audience is not the one that needs to be smacked on the head.

We both perked up simultaneously when we saw the writing credit for “Rogue.” We don’t know who Kate Herron or Briony Redman are, but given our less than enthusiastic response to the returning showrunner, we were pretty excite about anyone new. This one was… fine. It was fine. Except that it mentioned Bridgerton so much it seemed like product placement. Wait a tic… I wonder if this episode’s writers write for that other show. Lemme check… Hmm, no. Maybe it is a cross-promotional scheme after all.

Overall there is a lot of padding in these episodes. I thought maybe Davies can’t write longer ones, and he excelled at the half hour ones… except I went back and checked, and the revival series was always 45+ minutes. So I don’t know what’s going on. Is it me? Am I romanticizing the past? I know there were some duds in the first Davies run, but I feel like the writing quality was better overall (even limiting to episodes credited solely to Davies, though I know he heavily edited most of the other scripts). Perhaps we’ll revisit some of those earlier ones and see if we have the same kind of frustration.

Rogue…

Well, that was… an episode?

If they said “Bridgerton” one more time, I think I was going to throw the remote at the TV.

In the past, you’d think that the Doctor would say something historically relevant, then a throw away line about kissing a princess (or prince I guess?) running off some aliens (who would then make an appearance next season) who were trying to kidnap the lock ness monster, then roll into the episode…

Nope. Just constant… “Bridgerton”? (Yes, the bird people were cosplaying so I get the hyper focus on a popular tv show … but … meh?)

Ok then.

The twist in the last act that there were several bird aliens who were shape shifting into people they’d killed, not just one, was interesting…

Rogue, well… he just felt like a cheep knock off of Capt. Jack? Did Darth Micky refuse to pay him what he wanted? Could he not lose enough weight to fit back in the jacket? Even with the hyper focus on the evil alien cosplayers I feel like if this were a Capt. Jack episode, it would have been… fun?

Rouge sacrificing himself to save Ruby was honestly a surprise. I thought for sure this was when Susan would revel herself, actually? The Doctor had no way to save her, and Rogue just leaps in, knocks her out of the trap (would that really work based on what little they’d told us about that thing?) and poof… Gone… dead? trapped in another dimension?

I’ll need to rewatch it again I guess.

And, yes, we got another Susan appearance… but neither the Doctor nor Ruby really seemed to be as interested in this one as the previous? Was this aired out of order maybe?

I think this was my least favorite episode so far this season.

Still better than Chibnall, but that’s a pretty low bar…

My friend was all “I think this is secretly Captain Jack.” I thought Mad Jack from “73 Yards” would be him, because that would make sense for people to believe he’s a demon and banish him with magic. I feel like the show just likes to tease the idea of returns over and over without following through. Capaldi’s run had a lot of Susan talk, and Missy’s reveal really seemed like it (something like “have you forgotten me? The one you left behind?”). But I also thought maybe she’d be Romana. A former companion becoming a vengeful enemy is a pretty neat idea, but alas I’m not the showrunner.

I fear the Susan talk this season is not about the Carol Ann Ford character. Or if it is it will be a weird lame thing like “she’s been with you the entire time, she’s part of the TARDIS” which makes for all kinds of uncomfortable notions given how Matt Smith fawned over his TARDIS.

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I can deal with Davies being Davies, for good and for bad, but if he’s also going to be Showrunner Moffat, that’s too much “That’s All Right, Then” for me.

Really? None of you made the comparison between the slug monsters and the monster from The Creeping Terror? None of you? Come on guys…

So I literally just watched through the whole season and finished up with Rogue last night. I am really enjoying Ncuti’s take on the Doctor, and I have some theories on where this season is taking us, which I will spoiler:

1. The woman who’s been in every episode; Susan Twist. I’m not sure if they chose her because of her name, but I really think we’re going to finally find out what happened to Susan, the Doctor’s granddaughter. They made such a point of mentioning Susan in The Devil’s Chord that I have to guess they intend to do that, but I suppose I could be wrong. Also, didn’t anyone catch the title of that weird musical number at the end of that episode? “There’s Always a Twist At The End”. And Susan TWIST? That can’t be a coincidence with that actress’s name.
2. I don’t know if this was a function of them being in the future or not, but I sat up straight in Boom when the ambulance said Ruby’s age was 3,082 calendar years. I would THINK that an AI ambulance would be reading a person’s DNA and would therefore estimate their ages based on overall cellular death, meaning Ruby would be in her early 20s regardless of what time she’s in, so the whole over three thousand years of age seems suspect to me. Although, as a friend pointed out, it could be a function of the ambulance having access to all the records of humanity and therefore basing her age off of the date of birth the system would have on record, so this may NOT be a plot point to focus on. Depends on how the ambulance tracks age, and that wasn’t explained in the episode. But I personally think that Ruby may be either Susan herself, regenerated into a baby for some reason and brought back in time, or she’s a descendant of Susan’s who was brought back in time.
3. Another possibility that a friend pointed out though is in relation to the quote-unquote “gods” that we’ve had so far this season, with the Toymaker and then Maestro, and the Maestro referencing “The One Who Waits”. They think that Ruby could be one of that pantheon of gods, possibly even the One Who Waits themselves, or the child of one of those gods brough to earth to oppose the One Who Waits. It’s an interesting theory I think and it could have merit.

Ultimately, I’ve been very much enjoying this season and I’m looking forward to this Friday.

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At least it wasn’t Cabot.

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Side note: I fully agree with someone upthread about the racist jerks from Funtime deserving not to be saved, but one thing I think was important about that was that it showed the Doctor being the bigger person and still working to save these people who looked down on him just for the color of his skin. I thought it was a very good way to shame people who still do that by pointing out that they need to check themselves or they might find themselves in a situation where they’d need someone with something like the Doctor’s expertise, but they screwed themselves out of it by being racist jerks. Because I guaran-darn-tee that none of those idjits survived more than a week or two out in the “Wild Woods”.

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